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5 minutes digital makeover (continued 2)

October 26th, 2010 No Comments

Part 3 – Adding the final touches

Already you should be noticing a lot of difference between your original image and your new one, and you may feel it is ready for printing but there are still a couple of final touches we can add to really bring the life out in them. First of all we can adjust the colour balance of the picture, and we can also adjust the brightness and the contrast. First, we will cover the colour balance tool

Colour Balance

These days, your camera is pretty smart, or at least it thinks it is. It tries to pick the best range of colours for you, as does your computer. However, sometimes what the camera and computer think is the best set of colours isn’t quite what you had in mind. Once more, you can let Photoshop do what it thinks is best for your photo, by going to the Image -> Adjustments menu and selecting Auto Color. You can also try fading the effect (Edit -> Fade) to see if it looks better. However, if you want more choice, or want to create a certain effect, then you need to do things manually.

To do this, go once more to the Image -> Adjustments menu, but this time select Color Balance. This menu has three sliders: Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green, and Yellow/Blue. Once more, working in small increments is a good idea. By default, the preview checkbox is ticked, which means your adjustments will show up on your image in real time (or close to it). If you want a quick check of what you’ve done, then deselect this box to turn of the preview and have a look at your original image. Try toning down the green on photos of trees and plants, or moving towards red to adjust flesh tones. You might also need to fix bad lighting from fluorescent or incandescent lighting. Another thing to try is combinations of adjustments, often you may need to fiddle with more than one of the sliders. Once more, remember that undo is your friend.

Brightness and Contrast

Lastly we will adjust the Brightness and Contrast, these should really be the last adjustments needed for your basic digital makeover. The brightness basically refers to the lightness of your photo, and the contrast is the difference between light and dark. When you are adjusting both of these values, you should be careful. In this case, less is definitely more. When you are fiddling with the brightness and contrast, try moving the slider or entering values 1 or 2 points at a time. You shouldn’t need to go to more than -10 or +10 on either value. To adjust the brightness or contrast, go to the Image -> Adjustments menu, and selectBrightness/Contrast.

Adjusting the brightness is a useful technique for fixing washed-out photos. Most of the time this is a problem when you’ve been using the flash, although it can also happen when you’re taking photos out in the bright sun. Try moving the brightness slider to the left, only 1 or 2 units at a time. You should be able to get your photo looking good without going past -10 for the brightness. You can also try adjusting the contrast up or down, but pay attention to what happens to your shadows when you do.

If you don’t want to do this by hand, then you can try Photoshop’s Auto Contrast, from the Image -> Adjustments menu. Remember, if you like the results of the auto adjustment but want a bit less, try Edit -> Fade, and fiddle with the opacity value.

After just a small bit of adjustment you should be able to see the amount of difference it has made to your images. The focal points of the picture should be more clear, and the colours should now be looking their best which is the most important thing when sending them to get printed on canvas. You are now ready to save them in a “lossy” format, such as JPEG, or GIF and send them on their way to us

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