Global Tools Part 1
There's this thing called global and local. So, global is something that's going to happen to the entire image, and not have anything done to it, like masking or Blend If. Those are things that we're gonna get into in Photoshop. In Adobe CameraRoll there are a lot of global tools. And that's okay, we can't discredit global tools because they're important. We want tools that are going to edit the entire canvas of the image. But then there's things in here that let us fine-tune things and get more down to the local level. So if you can think about this in terms of the globe; Global warming, (laughter) I guess... Would be something that happens to the entire world. Whereas, Kansas City heat is just local to us. So, of the global tools the first one I wanna start talking about is gonna be the basic adjustments. Now you can see, this is a Milky Way photograph that is actually a lot darker than it probably needs to be, when I was actually out there shooting. But what I wanna show you here is...
how RAW files can just be pushed really hard and still come out with a good product. If this was a JPEG, I'd be hard-pressed to get much more out of this than what I've got. I want you to think of a JPEG as kind of like a flattened RAW file. So when we get into Photoshop and we talk about flattening our layers down... If you have a flattened RAW file, it's basically like, that's like the contact sheet. So a series of JPEGs would be like a contact sheet from the analog days that you would hand somebody to look at. Whereas, the RAW file is gonna allow us to push this all over the place. So, if we look right here. This is going to be our basic settings right here, it even says basic if you hover over. Theses are you basic settings. Like I said, let's just try this by hitting Auto and seeing what happens. Makes some pretty informed decisions. My White Balance looks pretty bad, but what it's doing is it's actually brightening up my Milky Way to a point that I actually kind of like. And if we see what's happening here, after you press that auto button, It's not gonna do anything to the White Balance up here. Because White Balance has its own auto settings. But when we press auto on there, you're gonna see that it's bumping the Exposure up to what it believes the Exposure needs to be. It's bringing the Contrast down a little bit. It's dropping my Highlights a little bit, and it's increasing my Shadows, my Whites and my Blacks. So, let's just go ahead and go back to default and break this down a little bit. Exposure is exactly what Exposure sounds like. If we just move up Exposure it's gonna make our image brighter and it's gonna make our image darker. One of the great things I like to do is I like to go to extremes. I'm not saying like, extreme mountain biking, but I'm saying like, (laughter) I like to go to extremes in that, I will push a RAW file all the way to its max. All the way to plus five. Just to see what I have available to me and what happens to the image when I take it that far. So I see when I bump the Exposure up, I can see that even after bringing that Exposure up to plus five I still have some detail in my Shadow-y areas and my Midtones. And I still have some detail there in the dark areas of my image as well. That just... All that does for me is it assesses the RAW file. If you bring this all the way down, it's gonna assess that the darkest that this picture can get, we still have light detail information somewhere in there. Which is typically gonna be in the stars. So I'll bring this Exposure up a little bit on this image specifically. Exposure is kind of like your heavy hitter. That's your hard hitter. It's gonna take that entire... All that information and brighten it up or darken it down. If we actually look at the histogram, this is your friend up here. Look at the histogram and what is happening when we push that Exposure up and down. As we push that Exposure up, it's grabbing that entire histogram and saying, "Okay, go over here." We bring it down, "Go over here." The difference is when we get into something like Highlights and Shadows. Watch what happens with Highlights. It just says, "Okay, hey you, you little part of "the histogram. How about you move over here just "a little bit, can you just nudge over a little bit?" And watch what happens when it does that. It brings up those Highlight areas and it's really, it's just a Highlight area. Now we can't actually see what those Highlight areas are right now. There's nothing that's telling me that this area is a Highlight so it's gonna be moved up or moved down. I just have to trust Adobe CameraRoll enough that it knows what a Highlight area is. Then if I have my Shadows here, I can bring my Shadows down, bring my Shadows up. Again, look at the histogram. It's just a mild adjustment on the histogram. It's taking the Shadow-y areas in that histogram and slightly moving them over. Down here we have our White points and our Black points. The White point and the Black point is kind of like the Exposure slider but it's gonna grab the edge of that White histogram and pull it over because that's the White area of the histogram. So think about these sliders down here as being a dissection of the Exposure. Exposure is the big one. Then you have these little ones that just take a part of the histogram and say, "You know what, move over "here and get a little bit more White "and then hey, wait, the Highlight areas of those Whites, taper down." So if we think about this in terms of, I don't know, my analogy was gonna be like a hair cut. (laughs) So, the clippers, if you have really long hair, lots of hair, like right now I probably do need a hair cut. If I were to get the Exposure, I would be going basically bald. Then if I was to take just a little bit off, I'm gonna go to the White point maybe do like a number three, and then my Highlights would be like a number five. So it's just a taper, like tapering in the sides of the hair. You want that really nice fade look? That's where Highlights and Shadows come in. (audience laughing) That was pretty good. Just came up with that on the fly. What do you think about that one, Jim? So these sliders are really intuitive though. If you press ALT or OPT and you click on them, as I move those Highlights down or up it's gonna tell me where things are blowing out. Now if I move my Highlights up here, I can't freak out that nothing's blowing out. Because blowing out and clipping means clipping of the histogram. So the Highlights at this point won't do any clipping because there's not information there. But watch what happens if I do that on the Whites. If I move the Whites all the way up and I press ALT or OPT, it's telling me what areas within that color are actually going to be blowing out in that color range. So the reds, the yellows, those are all areas that are all, basically, I'm losing information. Look at that at this, it's just, (imitates splat) big splotches of White. I've lost all that information there. If you want, that's like a checks and balances. You can press ALT or OPT and click on that, move that over, just to about right there. And that would actually be pretty good. There's still information in there for me. If I look at the Black areas, ALT or OPT. That's gonna make those areas pitch Black, which is not good. If you printed this, that would be inky black spots. ALT or OPT, you can see on the histogram there. Look at how the histogram has a spike up there. Bring this over here. That would actually be a comfortable place that I could bring those Black areas and still retain detail... about right there. Now the one thing that you're probably like, "Blake, you haven't even addressed this yet. "The Milky Way is not yellow, it's disgusting, man." I get it, I get it, I don't like it either. We have our White Balance up here and we have the ability to go to Auto, so it automatically assesses the information there. If I just scroll down with my scroll wheel with that Highlight I can go to daylight, cloudy, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, and I don't think it's a fluorescent light. But I'm just going back to As Shot, because there's another cool trick here in Photoshop... Sorry, Adobe CameraRoll, sorry. And that's up here at this White Balance tool. Now the White Balance tool is not necessarily one of our global or local things, it can kind of be a hybrid of both. If we press and hold shift anywhere in these basic settings and click on a pixel, it will say that that is what I'm telling it to be a neutral gray. But here is a really cool part. Let's just press CMD or CTRL-Z to go back. If I press and hold shift and then drag across portion of the image, it's gonna say, "Okay, these are the values that you want me "to assess as being neutral areas." So if, say like skin tones or something like that. You could just grab this and move this along just a portion of a face to try and fix up the White Balance on that portion. If I select the entire image it will assess the entire images White Balance automatically for me and come up with a pretty darn good White Balance. Is that gonna work on every single image, every single time? Probably not. But as an artist you can make some informed decisions of what's happening with our Milky Way. Specifically with Milky Ways, when it comes to things like temperature sliders. Things in the Milky Way are gonna come out like crazy when you start adding different colors to them and it's gonna look really vibrant and really nice. Now, if we... let's just go back. Look at the beginning we'll press P to preview. Look at that, that's how we started and we've only gone into the basic settings here, okay? We're just touching the tip of the iceberg with this. Down here we have Clarity, and Clarity is a slider that is kind of like Contrast-- I didn't even talk about Contrast yet. Clarity is slider that's kind of like Contrast but it covers the smaller, fine-tuned, micro Contrast areas. So think about Clarity as something that looks at edges, finds edges, and increases or decreases the fidelity of that edge. Let's go ahead and go to our Contrast first. Contrast is gonna be kind of like a combination of Highlights, Shadows, and probably Whites and Blacks, mixed in with Contrast. Because as you move Contrast up, the term Contrast basically means the definition between, or the ratio between, lights and darks in a photograph. So if you move it up you're going to increase the intensity of the lights and darks in your image or decrease the intensity of the lights and darks in those images. So if we bring it up, you can see it definitely increases the amount of light and dark in that image. But look at the histogram. All the other ones grabbed a certain portion of the histogram and moved it over. So, I mean, histogram here. Zero, 255. This is Black, this is White, this is Midtone in between. The other ones would grab a portion of that histogram and move it over. Contrast pushes that histogram down. And as it pushes that histogram down it might spread into the lighter or darker areas but look at the difference there. We bring that up we're gonna decrease the amount of Contrast we bring it down we're gonna increase the amount of Contrast for that over cross. The histogram is a pretty cool little tool. You see all these little spikes. When I first looked at the histogram I was like, "Why does it have spikes on it? "why can't it be like a perfect little wave? "Because that would be really cool." Well, you have to think about this histogram as a bunch of little buckets and this is telling me that in this bucket we have this many Black pixels. In this bucket we have this many White pixels. So each one of these little spikes is essentially a bucket. So if we were to put 255 buckets across the floor and start filling them with water that would be basically the analogy there to see why it has spikes and not just a smooth curve. It can't be a smooth curve if you have a bunch of pixels in this bucket, a bunch of pixels in this bucket. They're gonna be like this and not a nice little wave. Vibrance is a color boosting adjustment, that when you bring up the Vibrance it's going to assess the colors in the image. And typically what it tries to do is it tries to make sure that neutral colors, like skin tones and stuff, remain as neutral as possible while boosting up the colors around it. So think of it as, if you're doing portrait work, it's going to, eventually if you push it high enough, it's going to boost up the colors in the face. But if you just do a little bump up like that. It might make this shirt a little bit brighter, while maintaining and preserving those skin tone areas. Whereas Saturation, Saturation don't care. It's like, "Boom, just give me everything, bump it up." So, if you're gonna be adjusting things with color, just be considerate of these two things. I tend to not really do much with these colors down here. I like to adjust my colors individually because I like how much control I can get over that. So then Clarity. Let's go back too Clarity. If we increase Clarity, Clarity is looking at all those fine edges that are happening in the image and it's really boosting up those fine edges in the photograph. If I bring it down, it's gonna feather them down and almost make it look like a blurry type photo. Which actually, it might not look right on something like this, but if you're taking photos of the beach and you want more of like a silky, smooth type of wave. I've been known to just drop the Clarity on there, a little bit just to get a nice silky, smooth wave. And there are ways to do that locally. Because what's happening now? This is a global edit. So typically with these areas down here I tend to try and stay away from them in the global sense. Unless that's an image that really needs it. If it's an image of a wall and there's not a lot going on around it, it's got a lot of really cool texture in it and I don't have too much things that I need to separate. Yeah I bump the Clarity up there because it's just basically a wall. But for an image like this, I wouldn't want to bump the clarity up or drop the clarity because it's doing it globally and maybe I only wanted to increase the clarity up there. So the next one over on our list here, is going to be the curve. Now the curve is all over Photoshop, I use it all the time. If you watch this course you're gonna see me address the curves a ton. But the curve kind of takes the concept of the histogram puts it into a curve and allows us to kind of three-dimensionally move those Highlights, those Midtones, and those Shadows. The parametric curve is going to break curve down into sliders. So your Highlights if you move them up it's just gonna restrict it to just those Highlight areas. Making them either brighter or darker. You can see on this Milky Way photo it does a pretty good job of bumping up that Milky Way there. If we go to the lights it's going to work it's way, it's gonna basically take more of a selection of that area. Instead of just the Highlight portions, it's gonna take a big section of those Highlights. So you notice when I move that up it's grabbing basically from right here and pulling all this up. Whereas the Highlights was just doing this thing. And the same thing is gonna be for lights and darks. If I bring the darks up, it's gonna make those darks brighter. Bring it down, it's gonna make those darks much darker. And the Shadows, bring those up. Make those darks, a little darker down there. Now these sliders you could use if you wanted to further bump up the amount of light and dark and Contrast in your photograph where those sliders just don't give you that. And if you're really comfortable with the curve, you can just go over to the point. And now you'll see I address the curve as here's your Shadows, here's your Highlights, here's your Midtones. Shadows, Highlights, Midtones. So if you're comfortable with the curve, then you don't have to necessarily use these sliders. You can go to a point curve. And with a point curve, You get to add the points that you want to that curve and then manipulate it accordingly. Notice how it's a lot similar to the parametric curve that we had before when I segregate it down into the amount of points that are there. And you don't have to put three points on there. You could put two points on there, one point on there, however many points you want on there. In order to address your curve.
Could you talk to us a little bit about some strategies for when you might use either the Black and White sliders compared to Highlights and Shadows a little bit.
Sure, specifically, I mean, the White and Black point, if I'm working on an image. Let's just say this image for example. So, just by looking at the initial image, you can see that here we don't have a whole lot of data going on with the White point in this image. The White starts right here. The White is starting at middle gray with this photo. So, I can assess that image and instead of doing something like bumping up the Exposure. I can actually go into the Whites and pull the White point up to pull my image closer to edge of the histogram, without touching my Exposure slider. And that would be probably a good starting point, is to start with something like this and then maybe work your way into the Highlights to get that baseline photograph to bring into something Photoshop to edit further. A lot of times, I will work from the bottom to the top. I tend to not really care for how they've set the sliders up. I like to work from my Blacks to my Whites, then my Highlights to my Shadows, then do Contrast. And sometimes you start initially out with Exposure if you want to, but sometimes that can be too heavy. Where these give me a lot more fine-tune editing and then I can use this as my hammer.
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Software Used: Adobe® Photoshop® CC® 2018