In last weeks post, DigiKnow covered some basic editing of images via Photoshop and provided some detail about popular file types, resolution and output. We hope you found this useful.

In this weeks post, DigiKnow will look more at controlling colour corrections/enhancement, cleaning images and we’ll introduce you to the concept of layers. So let’s get started!

Colour corrections/enhancement

In March 2020, DigiKnow published a post on Composition and Program Mode. That article contained camera Exposure Compensation and White Balance.

Think about the concepts of exposure and colour. Photoshop has features to correct exposure and/or colour when they’re incorrect or to alter them for effect.

In last weeks post, we covered the auto enhancements of Auto Colour, Contrast and Tone. This is where Photoshop corrects these items.

This week, we look at colour enhancements and you decide the changes. There is no magic number. Each image has a different starting point, therefore sliders will need moved more/less to suit each image.

The colour enhancements are in a video format as it’s very visual. Do turn on your speakers or wear earphones to hear. Feel free to stop and start the video as you need.

Colour corrections have been shown here individually to show results of each option but realistically, you may use two or three enhancements to achieve what you’re looking for.

PS Tutorial – colour features

Colour enhancements in Photoshop can be found under the Image and Adjustment Menus. There are many enhancement options available and the video touches upon:

  • Brightness/Contrast
  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Exposure
  • Hue/Saturation
  • Colour Balance
  • De-satursate
  • Invert

When colour correcting images, one should consider exposure (Levels) and whether the overall colour is correct (Colour Balance) and if an image lacks contrast (Brightness/Contrast).

If some colours are deemed too saturated, think about Hue/Saturation and change the channel from Master to a particular colour and remove some saturation.

Next, we’ll have a look at cleaning images.

Cleaning images

Cleaning images involves the Clone Stamp (or Rubber Stamp Tool). This is a fancy copy/paste. If you’re familiar with the Format Painter in MS Word to copy size, colour and weight of text and reformat text elsewhere, this concept isn’t much different.

Watch the video.

PS Tutorial – cloning

The main points to remember when using the Clone Stamp are:

  • Size and hardness of brush
  • Use the ALT key and left-click the mouse to sample a good area of the image (copy)
  • After sampling, move the mouse to the area to be cleaned and just paint (paste)
  • Keep an eye on the cross (where you’re copying from) and the circle (where you’re pasting to)
  • Sample little and often to avoid patterns
  • Use the Edit Menu and Undo or Stepback when you make mistakes
  • Check the Options Bar to ensure Opacity is 100%

Using the Clone Stamp takes practice, don’t be afraid to experiment. You can revert the image back to the start if you haven’t saved it by going to File and Revert.

If you can’t see the circle (i.e., the brush), it could be the brush is very small, 1 pixel large, or it could be the CAPS LOCK key is on which changes the look of the brush from a circle to a cross-hair.

Next, we introduce you to layers.

Intro to layers

If you have used MS PowerPoint and inserted a number of shapes, these appear on different layers. If you have moved them, you would find one shape floats over or under another, as can be viewed below.

Examples of overlapping shapes in PowerPoint
Examples of overlapping shapes in PowerPoint

With Layers in Photoshop, consider two viewpoints: Birds eye view and Side View.

When viewing an image in Photoshop, one is viewing from above (i.e., birds eye view). If you were in a plane at 10,000 feet, you would see land and buildings below but you couldn’t be sure which buildings were taller or how high/low the land actually was. It appears flat (from a birds eye view).

The second viewpoint involving the Layers Palette, these are from a side view much like looking at layers in a multi-tier cake.

In a cake (we’ll make it a rainbow cake), the icing would be the top layer, whilst underneath, there would be layers of sponge and fillings in the sequence of rainbow colours. From a birds eye view, the cake would only show the icing, not the layers underneath. From a side view, we see the layers that make up the cake from bottom to top.

The image below demonstrates 3 circles in an image, we have no idea the sequence of these layers.

Three circles
Three circles

By moving the circles and overlapping them, we get a sense of sequence, as can be seen below.

Three overlapping circles
Three overlapping circles

This is confirmed when seeing the layers in the palette. The higher up the layer stack an item is, it will overlap items below in the image, as seen below.

 Three circles in Photoshop with Layers palette
Three circles in Photoshop with Layers palette

In PowerPoint, the sequence of the shapes can be altered by right-clicking a shape and Sending to Back/Front, as can be seen below.

PowerPoint, changing the sequence of shapes
PowerPoint, changing the sequence of shapes

The sequence can be altered in Photoshop by rearranging the layers. This is done by clicking and dragging a layer up or down. Below, I’ve moved the Layer with the Blue Circle beneath the Green Circle. Note a line appears between layers indicating a layer can be dropped there.

 Photoshop, changing the sequence of shapes
Photoshop, changing the sequence of shapes

And the result of changing the layer sequence can be seen below, the blue circle is now behind the red and green circles.

 Three overlapping circles - difference sequence
Three overlapping circles – difference sequence
Summary

Remember when you manipulate images to go to File and Save As and rename or relocate the image so the original is still available (never overwrite the original).

Colour enhancements can be used to correct image colour OR to give images a different colour/feel depending on what users are wanting to achieve. If you have a number of camera images with mis-captured white balance or have dark/light exposures, you should now be able to correct them.

Every photo (colour and black&white) has three tonal areas: Shadows, mid-tones and highlights. Each of the tonal areas should have detail in them, i.e., highlights should not be that bright that detail is blown out. For some badly over-exposed images, detail CANNOT be retrieved in post-production.

When cloning images, this can be to clean images, i.e., remove content, or to duplicate content within the image. It is possible to clone from one image to another as well.

Layers are used a lot in Photoshop. It’s best to get acquainted with where they live and how you can control them. It’s good practice to rename layers as some projects may have several users working on a file, or there’s so many layers, naming them makes it easier to find them.

Next week

There’s so many features and functions in Photoshop. It would be impossible to cover everything through DigiKnow. However, for basic editing and to assist novices starting out, next week, we will cover how to make selections, redefine selections and what selections could be used for.

This will involve a practical and if you have any version of Photoshop, you can have a go to help improve your skills. Join us then.

Don’t forget to join us on twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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