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 Post subject: Gsmitheman's Adobe Elements 3 - Section 2 - Fixing Pictures
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:46 pm 
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gsmitheman wrote:
Adobe Elements 3 - section 2 - Fixing pictures

OK, now we are getting down and dirty - lets save some photos from obscurity or the delete key.

As discussed earlier, if you take a great picture it will need little or no help.
But even if you do everything within your power it may still need help:

You just couldn't get close enough.
You were locked into your location in the church and a basketball team was sitting in front of you.
The lighting was a bear to deal with (putting it mildly).
The groom looked like he had been drinking for days, his face was always red.
That white gown reflected so much light it lost a lot of detail.
Your stupid friend keeps making faces and ruining otherwise good shots.

I could go on, the list is endless.

There are a number of tools at your disposal that can help you solve almost any problem.

They include the following (and many more I won't discuss).

Brightness and contrast - A very normal problem is over exposed areas along with under exposed ares in the same picture.
Caused by bright sunlight or light objects much closer to the camera when using the flash. If you isolate the areas, you can bring the brightness down where needed and up in other poorly lit areas. Brightness and contrast, color saturation and many other areas involved in fixing photos are a personal choice affair. You move the slide bar until it feels right to you.
Another general rule related to your efforts is - don't over do it. A little goes a long way. Extremes are what made the picture need help in the first place. We are going for a fix that looks like it was never done.

Crop - Shoot at the maximum resolution you can. Why you say. I can get more pictures on the card at lower resolutions.
Well the picture is why you're going to the trouble in the first place. Spend some money on that really large capacity card for your camera, it's worth it.
With more resolution (pixels) you can:

Make a bigger print if needed later.
Crop out the garbage and have enough left.
Have a sharper picture in every situation you use it for in the future.

Crop is a creative tool. You are throwing out the clutter and distractions, problems in a picture and trying to end up with a better picture than you started with in the first place. Five different people would probably crop the same picture 5 different ways.

eye dropper - selects a color on the screen (from one pixel) and makes it the foreground color. You now can paint with any size brush, draw lines, fill in arrows or do anything with exactly the right color and shade needed in that picture.

Clone tool - It's the big one Elizabeth. This one makes you the hero of the day. You can fix most things with this baby.

How does it work?

You pick a brush size appropriate to the task and place it over the target area of pixels, hold down the alt key and hit the left mouse button. You just saved that piece of information.
Now go anywhere on the picture and hit the left mouse button again and the pixels are duplicated at that spot you picked.
Often that's all you want is the pixels in the brush area deposited one time. Other times you want more of the same.
Be aware, as you move the brush left, right, up or down, you are not depositing the same info each time.
As you move, it is depositing the pixels along side the original spot in the new location.

Big deal you say, what can that do? Well lets see.

Take the eye that's visible and duplicate it over the eye that was shut (you opened an eye).

Replace a missing part of a picture (torn off - gone). Lets say the bottom right corner is gone and it's a picture of your aunt Tilly in a row boat. It looks like some shallow water with stones on the bottom should have been there from whats going on around the rest of the picture. You just clone some of that stuff from another area and like magic the torn corner lost forever, is replaced. No one will be able to tell.

You have a lot of lights in the background of a picture or reflections on glasses and bottles in the picture. They draw attention to themselves and ruin a great shot of your best friend drunk at the head table. You just get a brush about the size of most of the problems and grab an area near each one. Move it over the problem and drop the proper color pixels over top of it. The lights and reflections are gone (like they never existed).
Acne, pimples or wrinkles and cracks in the picture work the same way. You are now all powerful.

Adjust hue and saturation - The last one I'll discuss here. I use it to fix red faces all the time. Using a sharp edged selection brush you select the face (and maybe hands). When you bring up the tool you have a slide bar. Go left and the red is reduced, go right it's increased. So you take some red out of the offenders face. He now appears a little strange looking.
So you add a little hue (yellow) to the face and it comes back to flesh tone without the red.
It still needs something (probably a little contrast). You have saved another picture.

Enough words lets really do something.

This is a picture of me in my first car. $60 - Not Bad.
A 1948 Ford two door sedan with a flat head v-8. Push button starter on the dash.
First gear was missing a tooth. After I ripped a few more out, I Put in a new transmission (from the junkyard) with my friend Vic's help. The picture needs some help.


First we click on the crop tool and form a box around the car that represents a pleasing crop.

When your happy, right click inside the crop and select crop from the pop up choices.

Next we click on color correction and it works nicely in this case.
If it had not we would click the undo arrow and try another way.


Next we select the clone stamp tool.
We are going to use it to get rid of the dark mark on the road under the bumper and on the right side bottom corner of the picture.


We used the clone tool to grab some pixels right next to the spots (those being the exact color we need) and dropped them onto the dark marks. Like magic they are gone.

Next we select filters, sharpen and unsharp mask.

This box pops up and we adjust to those numbers you see selected.
Remember this is just exaggerating the difference between any two colors and making it appear to be a sharper picture.
Only do what's required to improve things enough to satisfy you.
Click OK.


And that picture is done.

This is a picture I found on the Internet.
We need to remove some pimples and get some red out of the face area.
We start with the clone tool.


We need the proper size brush for the job. Smaller in this case to grab some skin color from near the pimples and drop it over them. A large brush would get more than just the skin area we need.

OK, we took care of the chin, forehead and around the nose.

Now we select the whole face area to get the red out.

Now we go to enhance, adjust color, adjust Hue/Saturation.

We make some adjustments off of the zeros on Hue and saturation and click OK.

It looks to me like a little contrast is called for so I make my way to brightness and contrast and add some contrast.

Deselect the selections around the face and this picture is done.

Here is a picture of some deer taken out the kitchen window at my last house.
It needs some help.


First some auto color correction.

OK and now Filter, sharpen, unsharp mask and shaper it a bit.

A little less brightness and a little more contrast look good. Click OK.

And that picture is looking better.

This is my son at the old house a few years back.
He's trying his hand at a little golf practice.
His image is over exposed and needs help.
Also some distractions in the trees.


First I select the skin area.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I used the clone tool and got rid of those bright areas behind him.
Your getting so good at the clone tool I didn't think you needed to see that again.


And next apply a little less brightness and more contrast to the skin area.

Select the shirt and do the same to it.

OK, I would call that one complete.

This last picture is Rose a few years ago.

Again, you are getting so good I didn't bother with the middle step pictures.
They were crop for effect, select the curtain and Rose light areas and lower the brightness and raise the contrast a little.
Last picture complete.


Question, comments, ideas all welcome at this point.

If some one wants to post a picture in need of some help, perhaps several of us can take a crack at providing that help and tell what we did and in what editor to make the enhancements. It's not a contest, just showing there are different approaches and software tools to get the job done.

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