Making adjustments

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Though the goal with making overall adjustments in Camera Raw is to reduce the sheer number of overall adjustments needed in Photoshop, there is still much creative work to do! Photoshop is actually where you take the steps to complete the adjusting and editing of your image. The following overview of this process (known as "workflow") summarizes the steps for making quick tonal adjustments and edits to an image:

1. Open an image in Photoshop.

Using Bridge, open an image in Camera Raw, make adjustments, and then click the Open button. The image opens in Photoshop.

2. Save the image as a PSD file.

After opening an image in Photoshop from Camera Raw, the file is still in the digital format native to the camera that took the picture — for example, NEF for a Nikon digital camera or CRW for a Canon model. Additionally, you don't want to adjust or edit the original file; that process destroys some of the

Figure 1-17: The Save As window.

original data, and you should only do that with a copy. Saving the image to another folder in Photoshop format is the best method of keeping your images organized and your original image preserved.

Select FileOSave As, or press Shift+Ctrl+S (Shift+^+S on a Mac). The Save As window shown in Figure 1-17 gives you the choices to select a folder, change the filename if you choose, and most importantly change the file format. Select the folder you want to save your working file to, and then click the Format selection box to select Photoshop (*.PSD,*.PDD) as the file format. Click the Save button to save your working file.

3. Duplicate the background layer.

As you'll discover, I'm a stickler for making backups and protecting original files — and layers. In Photoshop, images are adjusted and edited in separate layers. When you open an image, all the image information is contained in the background layer. Each adjustment you make should be made in its own layer. That way, if you need to correct an adjustment,

Figure 1-17: The Save As window.

you can always go back to that particular layer and make changes without affecting the other layers. You can also delete a layer if you don't like an adjustment you made — and keep the original image intact! When you've finished making changes to your image, you'll have a number of layers, each with its own adjustment or edit. (Working in layers gets the detailed treatment in Chapter 10.)

To back up and protect the original "background" layer, choose LayerODuplicate.

4. Adjust Color Levels.

Create a Levels adjustment layer by clicking the Create Layer button located on the bottom of the Layers palette (see Figure 1-18).

Shown in Figure 1-19, the Levels adjustment window shows you a graphical representation of the color (red, green, and blue channels) distribution of the image, also referred to as the histogram. Under the histogram are three sliders. The slider

Figure 1-18:


Creating a new Levels adjustment

Figure 1-18:


Creating a new Levels adjustment on the left controls the shadow portions of the image, the middle slider the midtones (also called gamma) of the image, and the slider on the right controls the amount of color in the highlight areas of the image. With the default Channel set to RGB, move the left and right sliders to the point of the histogram where pixels begin to show up clearly. Moving the middle slider to the right increases contrast in the image by darkening the highlight areas. Experiment with moving the sliders until you get the result you want.

Figure 1-19: Adjusting Levels.

5. Adjust Saturation.

My favorite adjustment can be found in the Saturation layer. Saturation allows you to increase color in your image. To make your images "pop" with some color, click the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer button on the Layers palette and choose Hue/Saturation. In the Hue/Saturation window (shown in Figure 1-20), move the Saturation slider to the right to increase color in your image. Be careful not to add too much color; if you do, clipping can occur. Sometimes a little goes a long way!

6. Save the image.

After making adjustments, save the image by choosing FileO Save or by clicking the Save button on the Option bar.

Figure 1-20: Increasing saturation in an image with the Hue/Saturation adjustment.

Figure 1-21 shows you how making Levels and Saturation adjustments can dramatically change the appearance of an image. (Chapter 10 has the details of making overall adjustments.)

Figure 1-21 shows you how making Levels and Saturation adjustments can dramatically change the appearance of an image. (Chapter 10 has the details of making overall adjustments.)

Original image Adjusted image

Figure 1-21: Original image and the image with levels and saturation adjustments.

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