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Tutorial: Image Correction via Photoshop Tools & Filters

Tutorial: Image Correction via Photoshop Tools & Filters
Created by: gossymer
Program: Photoshop CS
Tools/Filters explained: Shadow/Highlight (only in Photoshop CS and higher), Blurs (Despeckle, Gaussian Blur, Median, Smart Blur),  Unsharp Mask and Fade.

Note: Correcting colors will be covered in a separate tutorial

Before
 

 After
 


These changes were made without any use of brushes or textures. Tools and filters native to photoshop can correct pretty much any image.


 Step 1:
 
Download the full size image used here

Open it in Photoshop
 Step 2:

Image/Adjustments/-----Shadow/Highlight...

Check Show More Options to show all options available
 Step 3:

Shadows - this lifts shadows from your image, brightening up dark patches.

These are the default settings for Shadows. You can either move the sliders to see live changes to the actual image or, if you know the values, you can type them in. If you look at the three images bellow, I've tried three different settings finally selecting Shadow A). Basically just fiddle around till you get the desired result.

 

Shadow A (Chosen)

Shadow B 

 
Amount: 25
Tonal Width: 60
Radius: 40
Nice & Bright. We'll add texture via
the Highlights section bellow.

Amount: 45
Tonal Width: 30
Radius: 20
Looks a bit too dark.



  Step 4:

Highlights - returns color and textures to areas overexposed, darkening the image.

You don't usually have to bother with the highlights section- the difference it makes, as you can see bellow, isn't much. I usually only bother if I'm doing large wallpapers, webpage layouts etc.This time I selected the configuration for Highlight B.

 

Highlight A

Highlight B (Chosen) 

 
Amount: 70
Tonal Width: 30
Radius: 15
Looks rather flat in full size.
 
Amount: 10
Tonal Width: 70
Radius: 0
Not flat. Not grey. Highlights realistic.



  Step 5:

Adjustments - manage color saturation and contrast in the image

This section means you'll never have to bother with the Brightness/Contrast tool ever again. I chose configuration A from those bellow.

 

Adjustment A (Chosen) 

Adjustment B

 
Color Correction: +30
Midtone Contrast: -5
The color brings the image to life.
 
Color Correction: -30
Midtone Contrast: +20
Too little color and too stark.



Step 6: Softening the Image

Duplicate your original image and choose any one of the tools bellow for use on the new layer.

 

Despeckle (For quick jobs)

Gausian Blur (Hazy/Worst)

 

Filter/Noise/Despeckle
Do it 4 times
Layer Opacity: 50%

 
Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur
Radius = 4.0
Layer Opacity: 50%


 

Median Sharp (lines/Love)

Smart Blur (Painted feel)

 
Filter/Noise/Median
Radius = 4.0
Layer Opacity: 50%

 
Filter/Blur/Smart Blur
Radius = 4.0 & Threshold = 25.00
Layer Opacity: 50%



Step 7: Sharpening

Link your original image and the blurred image and Merge.
Then go to Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask

 

Unsharp mask for Despeckle

Uncharp Mask for Median

 
Amount: 100
Radius: 1.5
Threshold: 0

 
Amount: 100
Radius: 1.5
Threshold: 1

 

Unsharp mask for Smart Blur

 

 
Edges are already sharp.Still, the image
looks flat so unsharp mask can be used
to give body to textures too:
Amount: 10
Radius: 10
Threshold: 0

 



  Step 8:

Optional - Brighten up the image a bit.
Repeat the Unsharp mask you just did by clicking Filter and right under it, Unsharp Mask will be shown it'll apply the last filter you chosen, complete with the exact custom configuration)

Then select Edit/Fade
Opacity: 10%
Mode: Color Dodge

This way you can use very heavy duty effects and then just Fade them to an opacity and mode you like.

Finally,when saving I go to File/Save for Web and select JPG format (2-optimized) - the only thing that changes depending on picture is Quality (low, high, Maximum etc.)

 


End Notes
It may seem like a whole lot of steps but its just about selecting a tool and moving the sliders) about. Play around. I usually just do Shadow/Highlight, Median and Unsharp mask and its rather quick. You can check out the full size version here.
If there is anything you don't understand or just feel overwhelmed- I'm definitely willing to help ^__^


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