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Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 2 of 20

Tonal Rescue & Noise Reduction in Adobe Camera Raw


Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 2 of 20

Tonal Rescue & Noise Reduction in Adobe Camera Raw


Lesson Info

Tonal Rescue & Noise Reduction in Adobe Camera Raw

So we're gonna get started with some tonal changes and to do that, we just need to get comfortable with some basic tools to start with, and then we'll end up using these features throughout the day whenever we need that kind of a change. So here I just happen to have an example picture open that incorporates a lot of the things we'll be talking about today. Let's just take a look on the left is the original photograph that was given on the right is one result remember, I keep going until I run out of problems, patients, time or budget, and in this case, there was no budget, so therefore it was mainly my patients, and at a certain point you just like that's enough. But if you look at this particular image, I had to reconstruct the corners at the bottom, I had to do some re touching to get rid of scratches and gouges in it, and some of those were not in necessarily easy places to work. For instance, there are the hands here where you need individual fingers to actually look right, and th...

ose are some of the things we'll end up getting into, but before we can tackle an image like that, we're going to start talking about some general tonal adjustments just so you know, I'll be using the newest version of photo shop which is photoshopped cc what to fifteen twenty fifteen but if I use any feature that requires that version, I'll try to let you know so otherwise assume that most of the stuff that I use you could use regardless of what version of photo shop you have on occasion, they make tiny changes where to look slightly different, but otherwise I'll try to let you know if it's something new and we will use some of the new stuff too. So first let's look at an example image that needs what I consider to be some total help if you look at this image that's one that usually if somebody gave it to me like if I took it, I just pass right by thinking, you know, that's when you should totally ignore well, if this was an old photograph by chance and therefore it was most like the scanned his old photos would be before digital, then I would have very, very little chance of really getting the detail out of it. Because if it's an image that needs to be scanned and there's not much of any shadow detail, then it's going to not have very much information in the original scan, but this particular picture is actually a raw file, and so because it's a raw file that means it has all the raw data that the camera that was used to capture it got from the scene and we can get us much out of that image is the camera was able to capture, and so I'm going to take that invention double click on it and since it's a raw file that's going to open it in camera raw and let's, take a look at some of the things when I build to d'oh first off, we can adjust the exposure in exposure is going to control the overall brightness of an image, so if the entire images to brighter too dark usually go to exposure first in this case, the brightest part of the photograph, I don't think needs a change, and that looks fine out the window, but I also think that what's out the window is not very important and that's why I'm going for exposure to start with is because I don't really care about the brightest part of the picture. I just want to see what we have in there then if I want to primarily work on the darkest portion of the image and I'm in kamerad doing it, then the next slider I would go to a shadows, shadows is going toe isolate the darkest part of the image and try to just brighten that up. And in this case, if I want to be able to see what's out the window, then we also have a slider that tries to isolate the brightest portion of the image, and that would be the slider called highlights, and I'll bring that down to say, darkened the highlights with these sliders in general, any time you move a slider towards the left side, you're going to darkening something, anything you move towards the right, you're going to be bright ning and therefore that's why I was moving highlights the left I wanted dark in a month now, there's a lot more that can be done in camera, and this is usually the first place I would go to when I get an image, especially that happened to be captured with a digital camera. And so if you find the adjustments that are available under the basic area of camera just aren't enough, the next place I would go to is up here. We have all these little tabs for the various adjustments in camera, and one of them is that the tone curve and with the tone curve, there are two different types I come in here, they're these little tabs, parametric in point parametric means that you're going to adjust the image using these sliders down here. And you could just think of them as once that supplement, the ones that were found in the basic area where I had the sliders of shadows and highlights and exposure. Well, here I also have shadows in darks, so if you ever max out the sliders that are found in the basic area, this is where you might head next to say I want to go even further because I have an extreme photograph so we could come in here and try the darks see what it's going to do or try the shadows and see if it's able to pull out more. I can also try toe darken up the highlights even more, using the highlights slider or the lights slider, but the main thing is any kind of change that you make to brighten up a photograph. If you're going to do extreme bright mean on a modern photo, what you're going to find is your camera delivers an awful lot of noise in the darkest part of the image, and so once you brighten it up to any level, you're going to have to deal with the noise so let's, take a look at the noise I'm gonna go to another town that's in here that is this one it's the detail tab in there, I'm gonna first find choices for sharpening and then find ones for noise reduction in the first thing he should notices that would default settings sharpening is turned on and it sharpens your entire picture. The problem with that is I wanted to on ly sharpen the useful areas of the picture, the areas where there's useful detail like around somebody's eyes or lips or hair what I don't want this to do is sharpen the noise that might be in the image and with default settings it's definitely going to sharpen her, exaggerate our noise the way we can prevent that is there's a slider down here called masking when masking is set to zero, you sharpen everything in your entire photograph as you increase the masking, you're going to limit your sharpening so it ignores areas that are very similar to each other. So if there's let's say a shade that's fifty percent gray and then right next to it touching it is one that's fifty five percent gray where there's barely any difference between the two. It might ignore that transition and not consider it to be detail that needs to be sharpened, but you get to somebody's eyelashes. Maybe you have their skin that's surrounding its fifty percent gray, but their eyelashes is more like twenty percent greats much darker to be a much greater difference between the two when you bring masking up, it says ignore the things that are really similar to each other in on lee sharp of the stuff that's quite different and here's what we can do with them if you just bring this up it's hard to tell what's going on in your image especially for not zoomed in but there's a hidden feature built into the masking slider and that is if you hold down the option key which is all ten windows and you click on it it will change your view of the picture we're any area that is white will be sharpened so right now when it's turned all the way down you see the entire picture would be sharpened as I bring it up the areas that would be ignored the areas that would not be sharpened will turn black and so what I want to do is just look at the picture and say where is the useful detail I look at and I see this guy's got kind of a beard ish look he's got his where's hair ends and his skin begins those areas of useful detail but if I look out areas like his pant leg can you see the wrinkles and his pants? I wouldn't consider there to be any useful detail in his pants it's mainly noise so that means I'm going to grab this masking slaughter well hold on the option key when I click on it that's all ten windows and I'm gonna drag it up until his pants turned black or at least close to black. And if I get to that point, look at where we still have white notice that it's still on the transition between his hair and his skin. There's still a little white line there, meaning it will sharpen that area. If you look at her face, the edges of her nose, her lips and other areas, they still have some white around it, so still be sharpened there, but we're going to make it so it does not sharpen the noise that's in his pants, in other areas. So that's. The first thing I would do, what I think about getting rid of noise or reducing it is first, make sure you're not exaggerating with sharpening and the way it did that is it in camera, I went to this tab that is the detail tab. And down here I found masking I held on the option key, and I brought it up until the areas that just looked like they were purely noisy, turned black. Then the next thing I can do is there's an area called noise reduction. In order to see what's going on with noise reduction you really needed. Zoom up on your picture, there's a couple different ways of zooming. If you double click on the magnifying glass tool that will zoom you up to one hundred percent view where you really seen the detail in your image and if you double click on the hand tool it wasn't me out to fit in window view and that's how I quickly zoom in and out or there are other methods of doing so if you're comfortable with any of you feel free to use something else but I'll double click on that magnifying glass and then I can grab my hand tool to move around now under noise reduction I can come up here and see how much of that noise I might be able to soften impossibly there eliminate or just make it so it's not too distracting but they're different kinds of noise you can end up with this slider is called lou eminence and it deals with differences in brightness so if the noise you're seeing just seems to be areas that look a little brighter or darker than the surroundings that's the slider you want to go to but once I do that I noticed other problems in here do you see that in this image I can see blotches of color if what you see are tiny tiny specks of color like individual pixels and size you would want to goto a slider down here called color if I turn that side or all the way down to zero, you'll probably see the little bitty blotches of color I bring up the slider called color until those blend in to the surrounding image in the default setting with this pretty much deals with that most of the time. But then if you see large blotches of color, I can see large areas here of red and green and all that there's, another slider called color smoothness, and I'm going to bring that up higher to see if it can smooth out those areas where it just looks like big blotches of color. And so you confined seeing this as much as you'd like and play with more settings, but if you want to see before and after, I'm just going to click on an icon that's in the lower right of my picture, you see this icon right here? That icon is going to show you what it would look like for just the settings under the tab that we're currently viewing, which is the one called the detail tab. When I click on it, it will show me what it looks like with default settings, and if I let go, it will show me what it looks like with settings I had. So here it is with our defaults and here's what I've done, I'm just clicking on it multiple times. It's not that I've gotten rid of all the noise I've just tried to make it, so the noise is not so distracting that it's the main issue because this image was so far gone that I don't expect to have a noise free image. Now this is all I'm going to do with this particular image. We could take it much further, but I just want to show you that if I come in here and show you before and after, do you think that one on the right is a bit more usable? Now? If you want to know how I showed you before and after in the newer versions of camera raw, they've had a little icons and lower right, and I happen to click on this icon here, which shows you a side by side before and after. If I click that icon again, it will split them in half either vertically or click it again and you'll see horizontally and click it one more time and just go back to your end result. But once we learn more about the other features that aaron futter shop, we could open this image and photo shop and doom or to make this look even better, but for now, I'm just going to click done. I should mention that what we just did was in camera and if you have a raw file and you just double click on it, open it and from bridge it will send you to kim are automatically if on the other hand you have a non raw file it's ajay peg or a tip file or anything like that, you can still open it in cameron use those same controls if you click on an image if it's ajay picker a tiff just double clicking on it won't bring it in the camera, but if you're in bridge here you can go to the file menu he and there's a choice just called opening camera he and a fuse that you can send any j peg her to file in there as well. Also, any change that you ever seen the macon kameron could also be done in adobe light room instead. I've generally replaced this program called bridge and the one screen called camera with light room but I don't know if everybody watching uses light room or not and so therefore I'm going to stick to using photo shop because that's a general with the classes about but any time you see me do something in bridge or you see me do it in this dialog box that's called camera the same things could be done using light room in light room if you go to the developed model

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.