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Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 14 of 20

Refined Adjustment Techniques


Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 14 of 20

Refined Adjustment Techniques


Lesson Info

Refined Adjustment Techniques

Part of what I want to do during this segment is to revisit some of the things that we're doing in the past and look at ways we can refine them and just add mohr ideas, because sometimes when I feature I'm talking about might be new to you, if I give you every detail I could about it it's overwhelming, but if I first introduced to you using only the absolute essentials of what we do in later on at a little bit more complexity to it a refinement to it it's much easier to absorb it because it's in the past, the stuff you've loaded learned earlier and that's somewhat already in your brain, so let's revisit some of the stuff we've done you remember when we were using adjustment layers in a part of using adjustment layers was using masks and painting on them? Well, there's a bunch of ideas related to that that I haven't had a chance to share with you and so let's explore them first off, sometimes I want to isolate an area before I end up making an adjustment. And if you remember when I had ...

this image open before I ended up trying to darken up this which was where a lens flare wass where it's a little bit too bright, but I ended up either making a selection ahead of time and then doing the adjustment or I just did the adjustment and later on I painted on the mask well here's how you can paint on the mask before you end up making an adjustment here goes I'm gonna grab my paintbrush tool and get the kind of brush I'd like to use a semi soft brush possibly in I want to isolate this area before I think about doing the adjustment to do that I typed letter q so let's look at what q does we've used it once earlier today, but just for a moment if I already had a selection active like this one and I typed the letter q it would cover up everything that is not selected and if I type q a second time it would send me back the selection I had when I typed cue that sends me too quick mask mode and if I grab my paintbrush tool, I can now change this overlay that we see I could paint on it and make changes when I type a letter cue to get out of quick mask mode and return to a selection that modified the shape of my selection because the red overlay represented the area that was not selected. So when I painted and changed with that red overlay wass it changed the selection because selection in that mask are just two different ways of looking at the exact same thing this red overlay you see when you're in quick mask mode is the same thing also as the layer mask that was attached to our adjustments remember how we had an adjustment that had that little thumbnail in our layers panel and you could see the black paint you painted on it stuff? Well, they're all different views of the same thing so here's what I could do if I wanted to isolate that area before I apply my adjustment? I type the letter q and I don't notice anything happen because usually when you typed letter q it's only areas that are not selected that covered up well when you have no selection whatsoever on your screen it's there's nothing to cover with the black it's a ziff everything is selected, but now if I grab my paintbrush tool I can paint since I've been quick mask mode this paint shows up is a red overlay and I could paint this in where I want it when I'm done. If I were the type of letter cue to get out of quick mask, modi would have exactly the opposite of what I want because I wanted that area's selected and in quick mask mode red usually indicates what not selected. So do you remember the keyboard shortcut that inverts things gives you the opposite of what you have is mitt command? I used it multiple times today I'm gonna type it right now teo invert this so now if you're in quick mask mode in red stuff usually means what's not selected then this is exactly what I want I wanted everything within the area where the lens flare was to be selected and everything else not that's exactly what it looks like so when I had the letter q to turn off quick mask mon I got my little selection so sometimes you feel like making selections by not by making selection with selection tools like a lasso in the marquee instead you want to do it by painting and that's one way of doing it I'll do it once again with no selection active it all I hit q now there's no indication necessarily that I did that but all I could have to do now is paint on the area that I want selected when I'm done painting I need to invert this because red usually indicates not selected and that's the opposite of what I had then I hit the letter cube and amount of quick mask mode and have my selection so then let's say I do my adjustment look over here and do curves I will darken this I'll get the wood to be a little brighter out there and I did a much better job now because I had I had my mind set of making my selection before I did the adjustment and I it's hard for me to see a transition in there because I often find it's easier for me to see what I'm doing when I see a red overlay on the screen instead of seeing the subtle change of whatever adjustment I was actually going to be applying. And so I want to make sure you knew how to make those selections while you you were in quick mass mode. But now we have a mask here and let's, figure out what we can do that special. With that mask, I could make that mask be over late on the picture and make it look exactly like quick mask mode. What's. The only thing is, I don't type the letter q two do it. Q only works if you either have a selection on your screen or you're about to paint one where when you type a letter q. Again you get a selection. This is a mask it's attached to a layer and to get the same view, I take the backslash key that's, the slash key that's, right above returner, enter on your keyboard not the one that leans towards the right, the one that leans the other way towards the left. And if I press it all by itself, you see, I have that red overlay all it's doing is taking this thing that's right here in overlaying on my picture. Where the areas that are black here over laters reds because it was black, it would obscure my pick by view of the image, and now I can change this by painting much as I'd like when I'm done, I pressed the backslash key again to get out of that view a couple other things that are useful when working on masks. If you want to select an area let's, say one just to select this, I already have a mask active it's already sitting there attached to this adjustment if I want to add to or take away from the mask based on this selection just to make it so you could more easily see it, I'll make a new adjustment in this case, I'm gonna come in and make the image black and white just so it's obvious that the image has no color, then I'll make a selection wherever I'd like imagine I precisely traced that take a big imagination if you look at what I have, but now if I want to fill with my four round or background colors, these two colors there were two simple keyboard shortcuts for doing so the mask is what's active that's where the action is going to happen just like is if I grabbed a brush to do it, and if I want o fill with my foreground color that's option, delete option delete just filled the mask on lee in the area that was selected with my foreground color, which is black option to leave that's ah ault, back space and windows or I could do the opposite of that to get the background color I did command delete optionally for foreground color command elite for background color. A few other things that I use all the time is when I'm painting on a mask and I might paint with black to say don't apply to this area if I go too far and I don't mean to hit the letter. X x is a keyboard shortcut for swapping your foreground and background colors x x does the exact same thing is clicking this icon here, but it really speeds me off if I know to do that, uh, just using my keyboard, then a few other things about using your mass sometimes I need to clean up my masks. We'll be in here and I've already will have painted on my mask to make whatever kind of change I want, but if I want to inspect the mass to see exactly how clean is the information that's in it, sometimes I'll go to my, uh, layers panel I see that mask sitting there, and if you want to view its contents, hold on the option key alton windows in click right on the mask anywhere within it in your layers panel if you option clique that's all clicking and windows you'll see the actual contents that's just taking this little tiny thumbnail image in making it full screen and oftentimes it's useful when I'm done so I can clean it up make sure there's nothing extra in it that I didn't realize no gaps in my paint strokes no extra little specks that I didn't expect to have to get out of this view I do the same thing I did to get into the view I hold down the option key and I click on the mask and now I'm back to viewing the image you know throw that adjustment layer away because I don't need it anymore so there's just a few tips that you can use when working with your adjustment layers let's look at some of the other techniques that we applied and see how we might be able to refine them remember when we were doing some total in color rescue where we have these terrible looking colors and we needed to fix them up? One of the techniques was to make a selection if there's anything that's not part of the photo itself remember any borders any white parts of the scanner that are showing up that aren't part of the image itself in then going down here in doing levels in in levels we could go to the side menu in chiu's auto options in auto options, we switched between two settings to see which of those two settings will give us a better end result, and we tried snap neutral tones, but on occasion it just didn't seem to help much and that's when we had to go to these eye droppers. Well, first off with those eye droppers when you click with him usually it looks at a single pixel within your image when you click. The problem with that is a lot of all images have a lot of grain or noise in them, and when you click you might happen to get onto just one speck of grain. So before you end up using those eye droppers, you might want to go to the eyedropper tool that's over here in your tool pound and with that eyedropper tool active up here determines how large of an area is it looking at when you click on your picture when it's set to point sample, it means the smallest, tiniest speck on your image is what it's inspecting, but if I tell it to use three by three or five by five average now it's going to look at an area an average of the color of the it's there and by doing so it will average in any noise or grain that's in there or just odd pixels that might be part of the area that you click on and so that is another thing that can refine what it is you're doing so let's try using these eye droppers then if I used the black eye dropper and I click on the darkest portion of the image first off, how can I find that darkest area when you could just randomly look around and guess you could have? Some people have suggested used the info panel, move your mouse around your image and look for the lowest number that shows up that could also do it, but you could also write here when you're in levels go too the sliders the one here that forces areas toe white in the one here that forces areas to black I don't know if you remember or not I think I only mentioned it for a moment and that is if you hold on the option key when you click it will show you what party or images becoming black as you pull this in and what I want to do is pull this slider in until I see the first true black not red, not yellow, not magenta, but the first true black ok, do you see it's in the guy's pant leg or surrounding his pant leg that's the actual darkest part of the picture so that's where would be the most ideal place to click? So I'm just going to visually remember where I see that black information and then I'm going to move this slider that I've been moving back to its default position, but in case you didn't realize what I was moving, I was moving this well holding option then to find the bright part of the picture, I'm going to use the slider on the right also hold the option key and I'm not looking for a color like green or yellow or blue I'm looking for the first true white right there do you see it just a bunch of different areas there? Same brightness so I can click on any of them, but I'll try to remember where those words who was up here in the clouds kind of area so that's how I could find where to click with those id rockers instead of guessing you could hold on the option, keen dragged those in just be sure that once you're done dragging them into find those u put him back to their default positions because you didn't actually want to make an adjustment using those sliders you were just using them to help you out, so now I could come in and click on the darkest part of the picture, which I think was between his legs. Here I can click on the brightest area, which I think was up here and it's mainly the middle slider or the middle uh eyedropper where you have to really guess and there you're just looking around the picture and thinking, if I was there in real life, what wouldn't contain color in this picture, where what wouldn't contain much color? So I could guess on their outfits here, and if it doesn't look right, then there was some color in there, and then try another spot, try another spot, see if you can find a spot that is most useful, starting a little better. I think I turn off the side of all before after, but then remember that it might make too big of a change in brightness. We're trying to just do things to color is doing a lot to the brightness and that's when we change the blending mode to luminosity, if we wanted a brightness, change or color, if he wanted on ly a color change. Now, in this case, though, we have something that's rather common, and that is the dark portion of the image has an issue. Do you see that it looks purplish in the dark area? With a lot of old photographs, you'll find that that can easily be the case, so let's, see, if there's something special we could do to deal with the dark portion of the image, we have a couple different options, the main thing is we need to apply some sort of an adjust this is an adjustment that might not help the entire picture, but it will help the shadows. Then all show you howto limit the adjustment, so it only affects the shadows so I could go into curves here. I could let's say, use the middle eyedropper and click on these purplish areas to see if they were newt war to neutralize, or I could try the black eyedropper on them to see if that would help. If either one of those house that's the adjustment I could start with. If neither of those helps, then I could instead go in and do a human saturation adjustment, and with human saturation, you click on the little hand icon and you come into the color you are thinking of and dragged to the left, which means make less colorful and in that particular case it khun panel it for most of the image. But let's say that that wasn't the one that was most helpful one of the others wass because it's hard to tell him what image will which adjustment will be most effective, different images, different adjustments will be good. So let me try one of the other ones because those air once that were obvious that they were looking good on the entire image. I'll use the black eye dropper down here in one of these darker, purplish areas one of those all right, if I want that toe on ly affect the dark portion of the picture and I want the the bright portion the picture to go back to the way it used to look here is a special technique you can use this works with any adjustment you ever apply to any kind of image as long as it's been applied with an adjustment there so it's on its own lawyer if I go to the bottom of the layers panel where I find the letters f x if I click there and choose the top choice it's called blending options it will bring you into this now there's more than one way to get to these settings. So if you've ever been in something that looked at all like this and you did it using a different method to get there it's the same dialogue box you were in before there's only one that looks like this. I mentioned that because a lot of people will ask, hey, can't I also get to that and some other method there's about three or four ways to get to this I happen to go to the bottom of my layers panel click in the letters fx and choose the top choice now here it says this layer by this layer it means the layer that's active, which in this case is a levels adjustment layer and if I want to work on this layer, what it's thinking is in that layer is the result of this adjustment. Whatever the picture looks like, as the result of this adjustment is what it thinks it's working on if I bring in the right slider, what it's going to do is say, take anything that is in this brightness range, its brightness range right here in hided from this layer, therefore revealing whatever's underneath and that's whatever the picture looked like before this adjustment was applied. So I'm going to back off on this until I no longer see the rest of the image I'm going to bring it back, and so I start seeing the purplish shadow areas you seem purplish start to show up, then I'll bring it back to the right, say that's about the most I'd want, and then you can split the slider in half. You split it in half by holy, non option that's, all time windows, and that means blend into those surrounding image. By adjusting this, I will often be able to get that tow on lee go into the dark portion of the image so now it's only showing up in the dark portion. If I turn off the eyeball before and after you see how it's only affecting the dark stuff, not all the other the only other thing I might need to do to it is it's, making the image really dark, and so to prevent it from changing the brightness, you know how to do that, you change the menu at the top of your layers to color, then it can on ly affect the color. But now you see that change is only in the darkest part of the image that can be for any kind of adjustment you ever apply. As long as it's an adjustment layer, you go to the bottom of your layers panel, click on the letters fx and choose blending options in what these sliders air doing. Is it saying let's, take the result of that adjustment and not use the part of it that's in this brightness range right here, not using it all. Instead, use what the image used to look like in that part, and then where these two sliders or split apart here, that means let's fade out to make it slowly blend into the dark area. And if I experiment with where that blending is happening, groups didn't mean to move that one may switch these two around. Okay, I could find tune exactly how that blends into the darkest portion the image. How far does it extend into the bright areas or not? It's. Sometimes that will be necessary in extreme cases. If you look at this, when we no longer have purple stuff in the darkest part of the image, then from this point on, if I just wanted more detail in various areas, I would go into curves like we have in the past, any time you want. Details. Two dots, one of the dark part to block in its brightness and brighten up the bright part to bring out, um, stuff.

Class Description

Photographs are among our most treasured possessions, but not every photo was shot under optimal conditions or preserved in an ideal way – making photo restoration a big business opportunity for skilled photographers and retouchers.

If you want to answer every, “can you fix it?” with a resounding “yes,” Adobe® Photoshop® Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore is the class for you. 

You’ll learn:

  • Advanced color correction and enhancement techniques
  • Retouching and scratch removal strategies
  • Detail enhancements
  • Folds, scratch, mildew, ink and water stain repairs
  • Reconstruction of missing pieces such as torn corners and rips
  • How to make fix faded images and make skin tones more lifelike
You’ll learn what actions to take, the optimal order to perform them, and which tools are right for the job. Ben will share time-saving tips and offer insights on the corrections that create the biggest impact.

In Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore, you’ll develop a whole arsenal of retouching and restoration techniques that will breathe life back into damaged and aging photographs. 

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 


a Creativelive Student

Wow! That is pretty much what I thought about the course. It was my first live studio experience and it was fantastic! Ben is a great instructor because he presents the information in a straight forward manner that is understandable, detailed, and concise all at the same time. I have a couple of his other classes and the handbooks his wife creates are exemplary and make going back and reviewing the rebroadcast so much easier. Also, I want to give a shout off to the Creative Live team...Kudos! They are an excellent host...they are professional and fun at the same time! The content they produce has helped me tremendously to expand my knowledge and skills and mostly importantly they are affordable!

Wilson Blackwell

Super class! Ben is the best at explaining Photoshop and how to make full use of it. This class included techniques I've never seen or heard explained in other photo restoration classes I've taken. And the accompanying book, while I've only glimpsed through it so far, is expansive, well laid out, attractive, and looks to cover everything Ben went over in the class - it's a valuable resource as well (thank you, Karen Willmore, for all the effort you put in to produce a worthy complement to what Ben teaches.)


Ben is one of my favorite instructors on CreativeLive. (That's saying a LOT because they are all so good!). Besides being very thorough and understandable, Ben sets himself apart with two things. 1. He thoroughly demonstrates a process, then does a recap of all the steps he just took. That makes it much easier to remember. 2. His wife takes notes during the broadcast and creates a handbook which is available to download when you purchase the course. Some people find it easier to learn by reading than by re-watching the video. I like it because I can find information by using a word search. I feel so fortunate that I was able to sit in the audience for this class. It was great to be able to talk directly to the instructor and interact with the other students.