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ProspectorNow

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Photoshop Dojo #7

By Heather Dove
Online Editor

    Being artistic doesn’t come easy for everyone.  Long strokes of paint on a canvas or armed only by a pencil and a sketchbook, being creative can seem like a war zone.

Photoshop is the saving grace for anyone who is creative, but not necessarily artistic enough to do it themselves.  With a few clicks of a button, you can manipulate images into completely new pieces of art.  Even if you just want to mess around with your best friend by putting his head onto Eminem’s body, Photoshop will get the job done.

The best part is that anyone with a computer, time and a little imagination can become a Photoshop Ninja. 

Starting in seventh grade, I’ve accumulated the knowledge that has qualified me to be dubbed a “Photoshop Ninja.”  Self taught, I’ve gone through the pitfalls so you don’t have to.  If there’s something you want to know how to do, comment below and ask me.  If I don’t already know how to do it, I’ll find out for you — your own personal Chacha to the graphics world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Ninja lesson: Ways to lighten a Photo
We all have skeletons locked in our closet, whether they’re minute or prominant.  For the Prospector, one of our skeletons marches on display.  Every single issue.

Gray or Dark photos.

For most it doesn’t matter, but because this was (and is) such a huge problem for the Prospector, I decided to do some research.
While I will cover three different ways to lighten a photo, there is one way that makes everything ten times easier.
Option number 1:
The easiest of the three options is to simply duplicate the layer, and make the top layer set to “Screen”.

Here are the results by using this method (Before, After):
 
And, if you still think the photo looks dark, you can always do the process again.  That photo looks so much better, and as it stands, it would most likely be ready for print.

However, if you aren’t getting the results you want, or just aren’t a fan– there are plenty of more complicated ways to go about lightening a photo.
Another way to lighten a photo is by using “Curves”.
Make sure the layer you want to make lighter is selected.  Once that’s done, just go to Image, Adjustments  and Curves on your menu bar.

Once you do that, a window should come up:
Using this tool, you can both lighten and darken a picture.  To lighten the picture, pull the white arrow at the bottom until it lines up with where the graph first starts to get gray.
Generally, by this point on any picture, it should be light enough.  However, you can bring it more to the left if you so choose.
Here is my result:
Not only can you move the arrows at the bottom of the graph of the “Curves” tool, but you can also move and bend the line that goes through the graph.  I would not recommend depending on that tactic though, because results are hard to predict.
The final option that I’m covering is “Levels”.  You can find “Levels” under Image, Adjustments and Levels in the menu.
When you use this option, a new window should come up.

Much like the “Curves” adjustment, in order to change the lightness, you can either drag the white arrow to the left (to about where the black graph shows up), or you can type in a lower number into the farthest box on the right.

Using that, I end up with this result:
Lined up, here are all of my results:

From looking at these photos, not much is visibly different.  However, these all are different pictures in terms of the way they were lightened.  The simplest to do is option 1, but it does lack the ability to control factors that the other tools control.  For example, the “Curves” option can control both brightness and pigment (a.k.a. color), and the “Levels” tool can control Contrast, find dark and light colors, and enhance monochromatic contrast.  In addition, you will notice that photos with more complex shadows and lightings will be more difficult to lighten, and thus having three options is a valuable asset.

 

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