Photoshop tutorial: Photo editing in Photoshop CC

Learn how to edit a photo using Photoshop CC's new Camera Shake Reduction and Smart Sharpen features and the Camera Raw filter.


There’s a new Photoshop on the block but the question of committing to the subscription route depends on whether you find the new features useful or not.

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In this tutorial we’re going to look at the most important new features and see how they work in practice, starting with the camera shake reduction function. Camera shake occurs because there’s not enough light coming into the camera, for the aperture and shutter speed settings, to record the image before the camera moves.

Typical instances of this are low-light photos where you don’t have a tripod, or long, telephoto shots where the shutter speed simply isn’t fast enough, or close up macro shots where again, if you don’t have a tripod, keeping the camera still enough is a problem.

Usually this would consign the image to the bin, but the new tool has the potential to rescue it.

We’re also going to look at the resizing function, using Camera RAW as a filter and the new Smart Sharpen feature.

STEP 1

Here’s a low-light shot of the bridges on the Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle. It’s underexposed, there’s some camera movement, plenty of noise in the shadow areas, some dirt and it would be nice if it was bigger.

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All told, this would probably be heading for the bin. First task then, is to launch Filter> Sharpen> Camera Shake Reduction.


STEP 2

By default, the filter will select a section of the image to work with, but this may not be the best option. Firstly, zoom in to 200% using the control on the bottom left.

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In the Advanced panel on the right, right-click over the trace area and select Delete Blur Trace. In the top left click on Blur Direction Tool (R).

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STEP 3

Draw from one point on the solid image to the same point in the blurred version. Then tick Preview. With a small Blur Trace Length of 10-11px, the result tends not to be very good. Where the shake is bigger, it’s much more effective and can be used to isolate the direction of the shake.

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If this result is poor, right-click on the thumbnail below Blur Estimate Regions and select Delete Blur Trace again.


STEP 4

So, instead, click on the Blur Estimation Tool (E) in the top left of the dialog, and mark an area that has clearly defined blur and contains the lightest and darkest parts of the image.

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If this isn't possible, just aim for an area with contrast and blur. Either should give a better result than the automatic area selection.

Check that any thin wires are still visible and if not, reduce the Smoothing parameter. Then click OK.


STEP 5

We need to use the image at higher-resolution than it is currently, so let's tap Photoshop CC's new reszing tools.

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However, before increasing the image in size, it needs to be straightened, otherwise you end up cropping from the interpolated image.

Select the Crop tool and click on the Straighten option. Near the middle of the image, click on the horizon and drag the tool along it. Let go and it will rotate to straighten.

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STEP 6

Move the crop markers back out to the edge and click on the tick. Go to Filter > Adaptive Wide Angle and set the Correction to Perspective. Tick the As Shot box, which gets the Focal Length from the photo's metadata automatically.

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Click OK to apply to remove any bulging from the lens.


STEP 7

Go to Filter > Lens Correction and click on the Custom tab. Use the Vertical Perspective slider under Transform to straighten up any buildings that appear to be falling away from the camera.

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In this example, I needed to move the slider to the left. Click on OK when it looks right.


STEP 8

Crop off any white areas left, then go to Image > Image Size. Stretch out this window so you get a better view of the results.

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I changed the vertical resolution to 3,300px so that it could be printed at A4 at 300dpi. When upscaling lik rhisSet the resizing method to Preserve Details. Now, move the Reduce Noise slider so you get a good balance between keeping sharp lines and removing added noise artefacts. Click OK.

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STEP 9

One of the other new features in Photoshop CC is the ability to use Camera Raw as a filter. This is most useful when editing non-Raw images as it enables access to the Raw engine.

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Go to Filter > Camera Raw and click on the Tone Curve. Move the right point in to the edge of the histogram and curve the line up to brighten.


STEP 10

Click on the Basic header and increase the Vibrance and Saturation a little. Clarity increases the contrast but also produces halo effects, so instead tweak the Contrast.

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Slide the Shadows up to +70% to brighten them up and adjust the tone curve again if required.


STEP 11

The nice thing about Camera Raw is that it also has brushes. Select the new Spot Removal (B) tool and select the type as Heal.

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Reduce the brush size down but leave the Opacity at 100%. Go around the image clicking on areas of dirt.

As you go the tool will select the area to clone from for a best match. If this is wrong, click and hold on the patch area and drag it to an area that is better.

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STEP 12

The Smart Sharpen filter has been redone so go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen next. Set the Amount to 200% and then use the Radius slider to adjust how much of an effect this has. Increase it until all areas of the image have been sharpened, even if that means that some are too sharp at this point.

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STEP 13

You will notice that the noise levels have increased. Use the Reduce Noise slider to remove them, but pay attention to fine details and stop before it removes them.

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There are lots of lights in the scene and they are currently much too harsh. Under Highlights increase the Fade Amount, Width and Radius until you get the highlight areas looking right.


STEP 14

As this is a night scene, the lights in it contrast quite sharply with the surroundings. In a daylight scene, you won’t have to adjust the Highlights at all, but instead tackle the Shadows.

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Here they will become very noisy and need fading while retaining the sharpening effect elsewhere. It’s also worth applying the filter on a layer so you can use a mask if necessary.

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STEP 15

Now's time for a final tweak that makes use of another new feature. Go to the Adjustment Layer panel and select Color Lookup.

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In the 3DLUT File drop down menu, select 3Strip.look to add the feel of a classic film shot using Technicolor's Three-Strip Process (such as The Wizard of Oz).

Paint on the mask to just stop the building on the left getting too blue and the water from picking up too much noise. Then flatten and save.