By Ellis Vener
Modern raw processing software is very capable. You can use it to manipulate both global and local tone and color; remove some image defects; and create Web galleries, Web-ready JPEGs, and prints. What does Adobe Photoshop CS4 (PsCS4) still have to offer the busy working photographer that these products—particularly Adobe Photoshop Lightroom—do not?
This tutorial covers the update of one of the more powerful Photoshop tools—layers—in conjunction with the new Adjustments panel (what we used to call a palette). If you do not already use layers in your way of working with photos, then you should, and PsCS4 makes working with layers and masks far more user friendly than before. Working in layers gives you the power to make progressive changes to an image without losing track of where and when you did what, which in turn makes it far easier to fine tune the photo and, as necessary, revisit a step. If you follow the strategy advocated by R. Mac Holbert of Nash Editions—work on global processing first before solving localized problems—and keep the layer stack tidy, you can substantially shorten your image processing time. The new Adjustments panel is a great boon in this respect.
There are 13 Adjustments panel options—Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation/Lightness, Color Balance, Black and White, Photo Filter, Channel Mixer, Invert, Posterize, Threshold, Gradient Map, and Selective Color.
Access each option through the icons in the Adjustments panel. Clicking on any of the icons creates a new adjustment layer for that effect, including a built-in mask, and converts the Adjustments panel into the menu pane for each. To return to the main Adjustments view click on the arrow in the lower left corner of the pane.
Starting with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II raw file made by former PPA president Jack Reznicki, the photo was opened in Lightroom 2.2. White balance was set to Flash and capture sharpening was done in Lightroom. The image was then exported as a 16-bit per channel TIFF using Adobe RGB (1998) as the color space, and opened in PsCS4, as seen below.
Image ©Jack Reznicki