Photoshop Tutorial – Portraits and Smart Objects
This video is available Free for Everyone.
Running Time: 14 minutes
After all of the techniques and tools that we talked about, you are now ready to see all these concepts applied into a single image. This tutorial will show you how to actually retouch a photo using all the knowledge you’ve just acquired, all done in a truely non-destructive workflow.
Color Corrections and Tonal Changes in Camera Raw
Let’s say we have an image of a man in a parade. To bring back the detail of an image shot in the sun, we can bring down the Highlights. Because this darkens up other areas, let’s open up the Shadows to balance out the image, and then reduce the Blacks in order to create contrast within an image. These might be very simple changes, but this makes a big difference.
Let’s increase the Saturation to put a little punch into the image. Basically, try to see what works.
Focus and Graduated Filter in Camera Raw
In case there is a distracting obstacle in the background, remember that you can use Local Adjustments to isolate your areas that you want to adjust. Use your adjustment brush and bring down the Saturation of an object in the background just so it’s not as bright and pronounced as it looks. You wouldn’t want to have the viewer’s eye distracted. You always want the viewer to focus on your subject model in the foreground.
Speaking of distractions, a busy image makes it difficult for the eye to focus properly because there are too many things happening everywhere. You can remedy this by clicking your Graduated Filter. You can click in the corner and go from there towards the subject of your photo, creating a tilted line where you want to adjust. You can lower the Exposure just a bit and reduce the Highlights so that that area just doesn’t pop out as much as the subject model does.
To highlight the subject’s face even more, you can use your Adjustment brush and click on the face to boost the Highlights.
It’s just a subtle change and it’s nothing too obvious, but it certainly pulls the eye away from background distractions, effectively keeping it focused on the subject of the image.
Cloning and Tonal Changes in Photoshop
Afterwards, you can now hit the SHIFT key and click Open Object to open up this raw file as a Smart Object into Photoshop. Let’s say there are anomalies in the picture that you want to correct. You can do some cloning by creating a new blank layer on top of your Smart Object background image. Click on the Clone stamp and you can fix some blemishes on your model’s face or whatnot.
You can also make some tonal adjustments in Photoshop as a global change by creating an adjustment layer, or by going to Window – Adjustments. Here, you can select the Curves and adjust it until you find what looks best.
Smart Objects Inside a Smart Object
For whatever reason, we might want to add some noise into the image. You may think you can go to Filter – Noise – Add Noise to add it onto the original Smart Object background image, but after doing so, you’re going to leave out the areas where you did your cloning. You would again have to add the same noise onto the Cloning layer. The problem with this aside from the redundancy is that the cloning layer now permanently has noise, and there’s no coming back from it.
To solve this, you can take the cloning layer and Convert to a Smart Object. The benefit here is that you can double-click on the Noise Smart Filter that you added and edit the noise values so that the adjustments aren’t permanent. Still, you have to do this twice on both the original background Smart Object and on the Cloning layer Smart Object.
A better method would be to select both the original Smart Object background layer and the Cloning layer, and convert them both into a single Smart Object. Now, you can just add one Noise Smart Filter to one single layer. When you double-click on the Noise Smart Filter, you can alter your Noise values and settings at any point in time. When you double-click inside this new Smart Object, you have the two layers: the original Smart Object background image, and the Cloning layer. And lastly, double-clicking inside the original Smart Object background image takes you to the original raw file in Camera Raw.
This might seem a bit confusing and the file gets a bit large, but the magnificent benefit of this kind of workflow is that it helps you go back and forth between all your adjustments whenever you need to change anything. It takes you to all the different stages of development in an image you’re retouching and gives you complete flexibility without creating any permanent damage to any part of your photo.
With that said, you can apply everything you’ve learned without the fear of not being able to recover from a bad photo. Go ahead and experiment to see what works best for you, because you can always go back and adjust your changes whenever you want!
To learn more about our complete 2 Hour Photoshop Class that this video comes from, simply go to Portraits, Camera Raw, and Smart Objects. Change the way you work on your portraits. It’s Free. Enjoy.
This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial answers the question: How to use Portraits and Smart Objects in Photoshop? If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer Adobe Photoshop Classes. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.