Basic Image Clean Up
Before we get into this composite, we're gonna do some basic touch up on this picture because you may notice, well first of all, the exposure on this image is pretty whack, right? It's too underexposed. And, he has a little scratch on his cheek here because those little kids, their nails are like claws and you cannot keep up with them. They scratch themselves all the time. I'm gonna show you how we can fix this little scratch on his cheek. To do that, I'm gonna zoom in and take a look at this. I'm holding down Command + space bar and I'm gonna click and drag to draw a zoom box on the image, and I can zoom right in. And then if I need to reposition the image, I can hold the space bar and drag it around like that. Actually, I'm gonna back up a little. I feel like that was too close. So I'm gonna back up with Command or Control + - to just scoot back a little bit. Fixing the scratch is so easy. I'm just gonna come over here to the tool bar and you see this little icon, it's a bandaid with...
these little dots coming out of it. It's called the spot healing brush tool. If I click on that, I get this round cursor and that represents my brush. I can change the size of my cursor by dragging the slider down here in the options, or if you are a keyboard fan, I'm gonna use the left bracket key to make the brush smaller, or the right bracket key would make it bigger. The left bracket key's gonna make it smaller. How small am I gonna make it? Well, not so small that it's like this. I want to make the brush big enough to cover the scratch, but not so big that I'm retouching his whole cheek. 'Cause the way this tool operates is it's sort of an automated thing. It's gonna smartly fix the scratch and if I make the brush so huge, it's basically taking too much information into consideration. It basically overthinks and we don't wanna do that. I'm gonna make the cursor about this big and then I'm just gonna click and paint. I'm dragging, with my mouse, dragging over the scratch and it's gone. Pretty awesome. You can use that for anything in your image that just needs a little quick removal, whether it's a scratch like that or if you've got dust on your camera sensor, or just a little, I don't know, flare or some weird thing that gets in your composition. You can just get rid of it pretty easily like that. Again, that was the spot healing brush. I'm gonna get back to my full image on my screen by pressing Command or Control + 0 to fit it on the screen. And let's talk about the exposure and how we can fix this. There's a couple different things we can do. We can come up to the enhance menu and we can choose adjust lighting, and there is a control here for brightness and contrast. That's pretty straightforward. Even if you're totally new to this, that should hopefully make sense. When I click on that, I get this window here and I can move it out of the way by clicking on the bar and just dragging it over, 'cause it often lands right in the middle and you can't see what you're doing. Feel free to kick it to the curb so you can see. It's just got two sliders, brightness and contrast. As you would suspect, if I wanna brighten it, I just take that slider and drag it to the right. If I want to adjust the contrast, I can lessen it or boost it like that. This is a pretty straightforward operation. A lot of people like to start out there. If you're looking for a little bit more detailed information, I'm gonna go ahead and cancel this, you can also do a levels adjustment. If we go back to the enhance menu and we choose adjust lighting, we can come down here to levels. This might look familiar to some, this is the histogram. You see this in lots of places. You see this in Photoshop. You see this on the back of your camera sometimes. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident, and then you're like what is this? It's not scary, sometimes it looks a little scary, but it's just a visual representation of the different lightness and darkness values in your photo. They're spread out on a scale, basically. Over here on the left, this represents our shadows. And over here on the right, this represents highlights. As you could see, in an underexposed image, all this information is heavy on the left side. There's nothing over here. To fix that, I'm just gonna take this highlight slider and drag it inwards and we see the image is gonna brighten. We're basically, we're telling Photoshop to redistribute all of this information. We might just move the highlight slider. We may decide we also wanna bump the midtones here. I feel like when I dragged the slider over, the midtones are kinda getting clogged up, so I might just brighten those a bit, as well. Maybe something like here. It's really different on the monitor versus on my screen, but something like that. And when we're happy with it, we can go ahead and click OK and we'll see that it's adjusted.