Basic Photoshop - Part 2

Thread starter #1

JasonF

Senior Member
In part one I reviewed the histogram and how to read it. View part one here: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=544431
To tie this part two into part one, I'm going to take an image that is underexposed and bring it back to life in Photoshop.
Here is the image I'm working with:



Now, with this image, I made a big mistake by judging the exposure with my LCD instead of using the histogram. I remember looking at my LCD after I took this shot and it looked bright enough and I was satisfied. Truth be told that once I got it into Photoshop that night, I was dissapointed to see it underexposed...thankfully I shot it in RAW and was able to recover much easier from the mistake I made in the field. Here is the picture again once I pulled it up in RAW:



RAW, although it takes a bit longer to edit, allows you more room for error. As you can see below, I've moved the sliders around a bit to achieve a more balanced exposure before finishing my editing in Photoshop:



Now, I realize some people don't shoot in RAW, so instead of making the adjustments above. I will edit this as a Jpeg file. The following workflow is the most basic and should help to lay the foundation for your workflow at home.

So, as a Jpeg, the first thing I do is duplicate my background layer in the layers pallet then make a levels adjustment.



Once I select Levels Adjustment, it brings up my histogram, which is underexposed:



To correct this exposure, I must move the left & right sliders inwards torward the parts of the graph which contain detail...once I'm finished, I click on OK:



Afterwards, I typically re-open the levels adjustment and take another look at my new histogram:



I can see in the new histogram above that I've now got some blown highlights from my adjustment (red arrow).

To fix this,below, I use the burn tool (red arrow) and burn out the areas of the image which are blown. Make sure that "Highlights" is selected from the range option above and select a 4-5% exposure and work in stages. Below, I've circled the areas in blue which I will apply the burn tool to the highlights. Additionally, I then select the "Shadows" from the range menu and burn in some of the shadows in the grassed behind this american alligator. This will help give the image even more depth.



Once I completed the burning of the mentioned areas, I add a +20 saturation. I add this much saturation to help bring out the richness of the colors and it's important to note that each image requires more or less.



Finally, I prepair the image for Woody's by resizing it accordingly.

Image>Image Size
Resolution: 72
Pixels (long side): 720
*Make sure the boxes are checked bellow as shown.



After the resize, I then add an unsharpmask 2-3 times with the following settings:



Sometimes, I add just a touch more saturation before saving as well. Finally, the finished image:



Again, this is a basic workflow and each workflow could vary from image to image. Hopefully some here will find this usefull and be able to put it to good use.
 
Last edited:
Thread starter #2

JasonF

Senior Member
I forgot to mention that this tutorial is for most versions of Photoshop. If you've got PS Elements or other editing software, these steps may vary.
 

FERAL ONE

Shutter Mushin' Mod
jason it is pretty close in elements too. i shoot raw but sometimes do a levels adjustment on say a bright sky or a dark foreground . i ain't as swift on the computer stuff so thanks for putting words and pics to this !!!
 
Thread starter #5

JasonF

Senior Member
jason it is pretty close in elements too. i shoot raw but sometimes do a levels adjustment on say a bright sky or a dark foreground . i ain't as swift on the computer stuff so thanks for putting words and pics to this !!!
Yep, and to make a levels adjustment on just the sky or foreground, one would select the area needed using the magic wand or lasso tool and then make the levels adjustment....at least thats how I do it.
Also, within the levels adjustment pallet, the middle slider will help in brighten or darken the overall look of the image and most times I find that when moving the middle slider, you loose contrast so you'll need to add more contrast afterwards. The key here is to experiment.

Glad you found it useful!
 
After opening the levels histogram in Photoshop, before you click on the levels slider, you can click on the "ALT" button on your keyboard and hold the Alt down to see what changes you are making as you slide the levels sliders. It helps to see what you are changing.

Jim K
 
Thread starter #8

JasonF

Senior Member
After opening the levels histogram in Photoshop, before you click on the levels slider, you can click on the "ALT" button on your keyboard and hold the Alt down to see what changes you are making as you slide the levels sliders. It helps to see what you are changing.

Jim K
Thanks for the tip Jim!
I was informed today by Hoss that this also works when adjusting the exposure slider in RAW.
Even I learned something from this tutorial! :cool:
 

quinn

Senior Member
This is all very good and useful information.I havent tried using the burn tool as of yet.That's what makes this place great everyone is so willing to share.
 
Thread starter #14

JasonF

Senior Member
Which version of Photoshop is this? I have PSE 5 and think it's time ti upgrade.
I have the orginial Photoshop CS and although an upgrade would be nice, my version works great for me.
I did, however, check out the free trial of CS5 and it is pretty sweet!
 
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