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Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking by Julieanne Kost
(Pages 130-131 from Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking - courtesy of O'Reilly Media.)
Once I've decided that an image is worth keeping, I begin by removing any dust, scratches, or other imperfections. In order to see every pixel in the image (which allows me to be as accurate as possible), I double-click the Zoom tool to zoom to 100%. I then enter full screen mode by clicking the full screen mode icon near the bottom of the Photoshop toolbar or by tapping the F key. This hides any other open images (as well as the desktop if you're working on a Macintosh). Next, I tap the Home key to navigate to the upper left corner of the document.
My tool of choice for removing imperfections is the Healing Brush. To set the source point from which to copy, I place my cursor in a 'good' area of the image and Option(Mac)/Alt(Win)-click, then release the key, move the cursor to the problem area, and click and hold as I paint over the imperfections.
To navigate through the image, I use the keyboard shortcuts Page Up and Page Down, which will move one full screen up or down. Adding the Cmd(Mac)/Ctrl(Win) key will move left or right one full screen. This ensures that I see every pixel of the document without unnecessary overlaps.
Several images that I really wanted to include in this book had reflections from the windows or lens flares from shooting into the sun. The methods I use to correct this type of problem depend on the complexity of the reflection. If the area is simplea reflection in the sky, for example, I will remove it with the Healing brush, using the method described above.
If the reflection is over a detailed part of the image, I then use a more sophisticated technique involving dodging and burning. I'll begin by creating a new layer, filling it with 50% gray, and setting the layer's blend mode to Soft Light. The reason for adding this layer is flexibilityI don't want to work on the original image (in case I make a mistake), and I can't use the dodge and burn tools on a blank layer (thus the 50% gray fill). Changing the mode of the layer to Soft Light essentially hides the 50% gray fill.
Using the Burn tool set to midtones or highlights as needed, I select a brush the same size as the reflection. Working on the 50% gray layer and starting with very low opacity (3%), I darken the reflected area to match its surroundings. Where the values are uneven, I burn repeatedly, varying the brush size as necessary, slowly darkening the reflected area until it blends into its surroundings. If I need to lighten an area, I'll switch to the Dodge tool and repeat the process.
If I need to dramatically alter the tonal values, I will make a selection and then use an adjustment layer with a mask to blend the tonal values of the reflected areas with those elsewhere in the image that are correct (see details in the sections 'Making Tonal Changes' and 'Masking').
There was some lens flare in the upper left corner of this image. After the adjustment was applied, the flare completely disappeared and the sky color and texture is now consistent across the entire image. I also used a Hue/Saturation adjustment to intensify the colors.
This image suffered from a reflection from the window. I used a series of adjustment layers to improve the image: note how much more detail you can see in the adjusted image, particularly the underside of the cloud and the surface of the water below. A Hue/Saturation adjustment layer was added to neutralize the cyan cast of the cloud.
This image was covered with dust specks in places with many different textures and tonal ranges. I used the Healing Brush to remove them.
See more Sample Chapters from Window Seat.
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Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking by Julieanne Kost
Julieanne Kost is a Photoshop evangelist for Adobe. Her teaching commitments take her virtually across the globe, as she flies from destination to destination. In this book - Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking - she has taken a collection of photographs that she's shot through the panes of glass of her airplane window seats, and gone on to create a book that offers a blend of professional expertise and inspiration for waning creativity.
Our in-flight behavior varies greatly - many of us choose to take a nap while trying to avoid leaning too far into our seatmate's lap, while others watch the tiny drop-down screen and its offerings of archived news clips. Ms. Kost, on the other hand, uses the air travel time that we all-too-often squander in a vastly different way. She uses, to her creative advantage, the unique perspective offered from 35,000 feet as she collects a variety of photos taken through her window.
Window Seat is more than simply a collection of beautiful images, though far be it for us to undermine the often breathtaking aesthetic appeal of Ms. Kost's photography. However, she has an underlying purpose to her artistic renderings not only does she seek to share many of the insights that she has garnered over her years of work as a creative professional, but she also offers some valuable reflections on the nature of ingenuity itself.
Indeed, the Window Seat photographs speak as a metaphor to her essential message that all it takes is a simple change in awareness and perspective to awaken and sustain the creativity that often eludes even the most prolific among us.
It isn't meant to be an expert's instructional manual or an artist's complete portfolio, nor is it intended to be a guru's manifesto. What Ms. Kost has accomplished with Window Seat is a unique blend of all three, as she shares her talent, her insight and her work in a quest to remind us all why we create, and to help us when the flow of ideas begins to stagnate.
Take a look out of your very own window seat, open your eyes a little bit wider as Ms. Kost intonates, and you may well be surprised by what you see.
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