Photoshop retouching cookbook for digital photographers
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PHOTOSHOPfor Digital Photographers
I L E X
I L E X3StAndrewsPlace
Over the past decade, the digital revolution has affected us all, changing our everyday lives in a thousand small but significant ways. Computerization continues to have an impact on everyone, regardless of generation, gender, or our own technophilia or phobia. There is scarcely an element of our existence that is not influenced in some way by the microchip, from the way we work to the way we play, how we communicate and shop, the flow of our finances, our methods of learning, and even simply moving from A to B.
Photography has not been left unscathed by this digital invasion. In fact, it has seen some of the most dramatic alterations. The traditional wet darkroomthe esoteric preserve of the professional and keen amateur photographernow teeters on the edge of obscurity, its arcane practices consigned to dusty volumes for posterity.
Today, a new digital darkroom heralds a utopia for anyone interested in creative photography. Whether you are a professional, an amateur, or somewhere in between, this book has been written to demonstrate how you can use an industry-standard image-editing application to retouch your photographs with a power and flexibility that goes beyond what even experts could achieve in the old-fashioned wet darkroom. Using Adobe Photoshop, the choice of professional retouchers and graphic designers, youll see how to add a professional finish to your photographytouches that can often be the difference between a winning image and one consigned to the bottom drawer.
Digital photography is a great medium, but it does have some limitations. It wont enable you to recompose a shot or bring the sun out from behind a cloud or brighten the red paintwork. And it definitely wont prevent the unsuspecting tourist from walking into frame just as Krakatoa is erupting. However, using Adobe Photoshop, we can resolve all these problems, plus a myriad other irritating situations that can render your image a failure.
Color correction and creative color manipulation are the mainstays of photographic post-production. Along with brightness and contrast adjustments, and the general control of light, this area is probably the most intensively worked element of the digital darkroom. As anyone who has ever attempted to recover an image from the depths of darkness or revitalize a washed-out image will attest, the prescribed solution is not always successful. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to digital manipulation. As a result, this Cookbook covers a variety of recipes that should take care of most scenarios. By engaging in a little creative mixing of techniques, only the most under-performing image will be headed for the trashcan.
If color and brightness/contrast editing are the bread and butter of digital manipulation, then the crme brule has to be special effects: the subtle reflection that would have stopped Monet in his tracks and implored him to commit it to canvas; the strategically placed blur that
renders the subject almost three-dimensional against a distracting background; the suggestion of fluid motion left by a ghostly trail in the moving subjects path. All these tricks will be added to your collection.
We can also take a second look at some traditional wet darkroom techniques, as many can be replicated in digital form. Techniques such as film grain, a favorite tool of many photographers to invoke a certain mood. Reticulation and mezzotints both exist as standard Photoshop filters, but in keeping with our theme of multiple recipes, well also outline a more customized approach. Solarization, a haunting and enigmatic style embodied famously in the work of the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, is covered, using an unusual approach that allows you tremendous scope for creative transformation. Infrared photography was traditionally the domain of the scientist, but now this compelling photographic style is easy for anyone to mimic.
Arguably the most commonly photographed subject is the human form itselfand perhaps no other subject is more prone to criticism. Here you will learn how to construct the essential elements of the cover girl shot, from whitening teeth and eyes, and removing wrinkles and skin blemishes, to enhancing lips and skin tone, sculpting the face, and even changing hair color.
On a more functional note, you will be guided through the techniques of creating strong black-and-white and color-tinted imagery a function omitted from many digital cameras. Well also look at removing unwanted elements from your photographs, whether its people in the background or a stray speck of dust. And if you have valuable, irreplaceable images that have been damaged by age or poor storage, well show you how to fix these too.
Though the emphasis is on updating old photographs and cleaning up imperfect ones, well also run through some recipes designed to make you equally adept at doing the reverse: simulating an antique photograph, resplendent with fading, cracks and all the telltale signs of advancing years. In a similar vein, your photographs can be turned into classic prints using a range of posterization techniques.
Finally, for anyone seriously delving into the hidden power of digital photography, we will take a tour into the RAW formatthe digital equivalent of the negative. Using Photoshops camera RAW plug-in unleashes a powerhouse of adjustments, enabling you to not only perfect your image prior to opening it in Photoshop, but also helping you to rescue detail which may otherwise be lost.
Whatever your level of expertise, working through the recipes in this book or just using them as the basis for your own experimentation will help you come a step closer to what we all dream of: the perfect picture.
Throughout this book, well be doing some work that involves adjusting or transforming
isolated elements within an image. Every Photoshop artist has his or her own favorite
methods of selection, but they all have their place and their uses.