November 17, 2007 / Photoshop/Illustrator / Winter 2007

Yearbook-friendly Photoshop

Written by Don Leonard

Adobe Photoshop software is a great tool for working with yearbook photographs and digital images. Like most software, it performs many functions that either cannot all be learned or do not apply to yearbook. Tutorials are great for learning more; there are some at Adobe.com, and more will be appearing in Idea File and on our website, walsworthyearbooks.com. So be prepared to hone your Photoshop skills.

Easier color correction
Walsworth’s specialists have tried this method with old color pictures that have been scanned, images with intense blue cast from water or sky, and images taken under extreme conditions, such as the school gym. This method requires Photoshop CS or higher.

Before beginning, make sure the Layers palette is open on your screen.

  1. Open an image that needs color correction.
  2. Duplicate the Background layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer, or use the shortcut Control-J for Windows or Command-J for Mac.
  3. Average the color on Layer 1. With Layer 1 selected in the Layers palette, go to Filter > Blur > Average. This step will change the layer to an average of all the colors in the image.
  4. Invert the average color in Layer 1. Go to Image > Adjustment > Invert, or use the shortcut Control-I for Windows or Command-I for Mac.
  5. Blend the layers to remove the color cast. With Layer 1 selected, change the Blending Mode drop down box to Color, then use the Opacity slider to reduce the opacity of Layer 1 and begin balancing color in the image.
  6. Flatten the two layers into one. Go to Layer > Flatten Image, or use the fly-out menu in the Layers palette and select Flatten Image.At this point, the color in the image should begin to look more balanced. However, because of the blending mode and opacity used on the image, the color will look a little dull and whites will not be very bright. The next few steps will help you improve the contrast and intensity of your image.
  7. Improve image highlights and contrast. Open the Curves window by going to Image > Adjustments > Curves, or by using the shortcut Control-M for Windows or Command-M for Mac.
  8. Set the white point in the image. Make sure the preview box is checked in the Curves window, then select the Set White Point button and click on the whitest or brightest element in the image. If you aren’t happy with the result at this point, go to Edit > Undo Color Sample, or use the shortcut Control-Z for Windows or Command-Z for Mac, and select a new white point.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Increase the color saturation if necessary. At this point if the color in your image is still a little dull, open the Hue/Saturation window by going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, or use the shortcut Control-U for Windows or Command-U for Mac. Use the Saturation slide to increase the intensity of color in your image. Do not overdo this step.
  11. Click OK.

If you want to compare your corrected image with the original version, open the History palette and click on the original image at the top of the palette. Then you can use the shortcut Control-Z for Windows and Command-Z for Mac to switch between the original image and your corrected image. If you want to use this image in your yearbook, save the image as a JPG as directed in the Walsworth Photoshop manual.

Lightening a photo
Several methods exist to lighten a photo. Here are two.

 

Using second layer with the Blending Mode
This is probably the easiest way to lighten an image. You create a second layer, duplicating the first, then change the Blending Mode.

  1. Open an image file.
  2. Open the Layers Palette (Window > Layers).
  3. Duplicate the Background layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer, or use the shortcut Control-J for Windows or Command-J for Mac.
  4. With Layer 1 selected in the Layers palette, change the Blending Mode dropdown box to Screen. To adjust the brightness of your blended images, use the Opacity slider to affect the opacity of Layer 1 and the brightness of your image.
  5. Flatten the two layers into one. Go to Layer > Flatten Image, or use the fly-out menu in the Layers palette and select Flatten Image.

Using Curves
To adjust images using the Curves dialog box:

  1. Open an image.
  2. Open the Curves dialog box: Image > Adjustments > Curves or Control-M (Windows) or Command-M (Mac).
  3. Click on the diagonal line in the window and push it up and toward the left.Watch the image change and get lighter. To darken an image, push the diagonal line down and to the right.
  4. Click OK when you have finished your adjustments.

Photoshop touch-up tools
Sometimes the original image you have just is not good enough. Maybe the photo is old and torn, or has a date stamp in a corner. Photoshop has several tools that can make these touchups easy and pain-free. After reviewing the tips below, use the one that works best for you.

Patch tool
The Patch tool lets you repair a selected area with pixels from another area or a pattern. This tool works best if the area to be removed is on a consistently patterned background, for example, this smudge on this sports fan’s shirt.

  1. Make sure your Patch tool options in the Control Bar are set to New Selection and Source.
  2. Draw a selection around the area of the image you want to patch.
  3. Move your Patch tool inside of the area you just selected, then click, hold and drag over another area of the image that matches the background of your selected area. Photoshop will blend the two areas together and hopefully eliminate the element you selected.

You may have to perform these steps again to get the image the way you want it to look.

Healing Brush tool
The Healing Brush tool is fantastic for evening out skin tones or eliminating dust spots from brightly lit photos.

  1. Select the Healing Brush tool from the Photoshop tool bar.
  2. In the Control Bar, make sure that the options set for the Healing Brush tool include Mode to Normal and Source to Sampled. The brush size diameter should be approximately the same size as the areas you are healing.
  3. To sample the area the Healing Brush tool will use, press the Alt key on Windows or Option key on Mac and click in an area close to the area you want to heal, making sure that the skin color and shadows in both areas are fairly equal.
  4. Release the Alt or Option key and with your mouse click on the area you want to heal. Notice that Photoshop automatically blends the existing area with the sample you selected. Make sure you resample each time you move to a new area of the image.

Clone Stamp tool
The Clone Stamp tool allows you to duplicate entire sections of an image exactly. This tool does not blend with existing areas of the image, it replaces them altogether. Use this tool wisely; it can create some wild effects. In this example, we will remove the red date stamp on this image.

 

  1. Select the Clone Stamp tool from the Photoshop tool bar.
  2. In the Control bar, make sure that the options set for the Clone Stamp tool include Mode to Normal and Opacity to 100%. Be conservative with your brush size, and it may work best if you change the hardness of the brush to about 50% in the Brush Preset picker drop down menu.
  3. Choose a sample of the image to use for cloning by pressing the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) and clicking close to the area you want to remove.
  4. Release the Alt or Option key and with your mouse click and drag in small strokes to paint over the area you want to replace. You may have to resample and paint several times before you get the entire area covered.

For more information
Review your Photoshop manual found in the Creating case in The Process Kit.

Don Leonard

Don Leonard supported the first yearbooks created using desktop publishing software in the early 1990s. He trains yearbook sales representatives and customers online, desktop publishing and photo-editing programs. Don also is involved in video and audio production, creating video tutorials for Walsworth's programs and Enhancements.