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Learn how to adjust flesh tones by setting the gray point in this Adobe Photoshop CS2 Advanced training video.
Tags:adjust,adobe,adobe photoshop,adobe photoshop cs2,flesh tone,flesh tones,macromedia,total training
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Now at this point we might want to evaluate the midtones inside the image, specifically the flesh tones inside this women's face here. We want to make sure that we get some nice, rich flesh tones out of this. In order to evaluate the colors and the midtones here I might just go ahead and add yet another color sample. It turns out that is something you can do when the Levels dialog box is available on screen.
However, instead of just clicking with this Eyedropper Tool right here, you press the Shift key and click. What I am going to do is I am going to Shift+Click right here on her cheek in order to just identify a nice, rich flesh tone right there. I will just Shift+Click on her cheek. Notice I went ahead and added a third color target not only to her cheek right there inside the image but also to the Info Palette. So I see a third target right there.
Once again, you can go up to four targets. If you want to move this target to a different location, like let's say, I want to move it on to her nose, I would Shift+Drag it. So I have to always have that Shift key down in order to modify targets from inside the Levels dialog box. If I want to delete that target, I would press Shift+Option or Shift+Alt at the same time, move my cursor over the target, I get a little scissors cursor and then I would click to delete that point. Alright, but I don't want to delete it, I want to add it back in. So I am going to Shift+Click on her nose, I like actually using the nose at this point.
Now one other little caveat that I wanted to point out to you. I was telling you about how the Levels dialog box isn't smart enough to really accurately track numerical values inside the 16 bit color space. Well, the Info Palette is. So if I go to the RGB value right here, for example, I could say, well, instead of tracking RGB color in 8 bit, I want to track it in 16 bit. I could go ahead and choose that and notice now it gives me real values, very, very accurate values from 0 for black, all the way up to 32,000 something for white. So if you want that kind of accuracy, you can get that kind of accuracy inside the Info Palette, very interesting stuff.
Now as it turns out, the Levels dialog box provides a tool that automates the correction of midtones. It's kind of a strange little tool in my opinion. It's this middle guy right there, this middle eyedropper. If you hover over it, it tells you it sets the gray point, okay, so fine and dandy. Now you might think if you click with this tool, you grab this tool and then click it somewhere inside the image, then what you are going to do is specify a color. You are going to change a color to exactly neutral gray. In other words, 128, 128, 128 for the R, G and B values. That's not quite how the tool works, it doesn't change the brightness of the color on which you click, it just neutralizes it.
So let's say, I want to make sure that her teeth don't appear the least bit yellow, I want them to be exactly neutral gray. So I would click inside one of the teeth and that neutralizes the pixel on which I clicked. So it is now no more red, let's say, than it is green or blue. It is absolutely neutralized, but that can result in color shifting the entire image. It certainly will result in that and it can result in a negative color transition as we are seeing right here, it changes the entire image way too blue.
Well, now when you are working inside the Levels dialog box and this is true inside many dialog boxes inside Photoshop, you do have one undo available to you. So to take advantage of that undo, when you see that you have got it wrong with this Midtone Tool, I suggest you go ahead and press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z right away to take advantage of that one level of undo. So you don't make things even worse and you can't undo those changes while still working inside the dialog box.
Now let's say, okay, so I didn't like the tooth, the tooth didn't work for me. Maybe, there is some grays back here that probably should be neutral. So I will click on them and they end up shifting the image to red this time. So before I shift to blue, now I shifting it to red. So I am not really happy with either of these alterations. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to undo that modification once again, I am going to double-click on the gray eyedropper in order to specify the color of gray, and as opposed to specifying the color of gray, because what I am really concerned about is not grays, I don't give a darn about the grays inside this image, what I care about is the flesh tones.
What is the color that I will want to assign to her flesh? What is the color that is going to best identify the flesh inside this image? I am going to say, let's say, the color of her cheek is my favorite flesh tone. So I will go ahead and click on it in order to lift that color inside the Color Picker dialog box. I can even modify it. Let's say, I have a color swatch right in front of me that is showing me just as wonderful flesh tone that I want to use. It happens to be 15% cyan, 40% magenta, 45% yellow and that's it, no black whatsoever. I don't want to start introducing black into the flesh.
This turns out to be this wonderful sort of ruddy, sort of rose flesh tone that I want to work with for this image. So I will go ahead and click OK. Now having specified the color that I am going to assign to extensively gray, but it's no longer gray, this is now turning into a flesh tool for me. Then I will click on the nose and notice what happens when I click, I will adjust the flesh tones inside the image, ever so slightly. If that's still not quite what you want, if that's, for example, a little too yellow, well you can undo that modification. Double-click on the tool once again, let's go ahead and assign 45 to magenta and 40 to yellow. So change those values, swap them out with each other. That's going to give me a slightly redder color. Then I will click on the nose again and it ends up looking exactly the way I want it to look.
So that's how you are able to exactly identify the shadows inside of an image, exactly identify the highlights inside of an image, ensure that those highlights print properly and identify the warm, warm flesh tones inside of the image as well. Once I have done this and I like what I see, I am going to go ahead and click on the OK button in order to accept that modification. Now as soon as you click OK, you are going to get this weird and, I think, somewhat irritating error message here or alert message, if you prefer, because it happens over and over again. It's going to say, Save the new target colors as defaults?
Now, if this is the way you are always going to work, you are always going to work with this press and you want to make sure that your white is set to that 6, 5, 6, 6% cyan, 5% magenta, 6% yellow and you want to save that forever and ever, or at least for the next few images that you work with. You can click on Yes, but bear in mind that's also going to change your midtone to flesh. If you like that, if you are going to work with that flesh over and over again, then you want to click on Yes. Most likely, however, you are going to want to make this determination on an image by image basis. So you are going to want to go ahead and say No, don't save my target colors as defaults, just apply them to this image here. So in other words, if you click No, you are going to modify the image just as you want to modify it.
Now let's sort of get a before and after view of our image. I am going to go ahead and put the Info Palette away for the moment. I am even going to just tab away my palette, so I am not seeing anything, so I am not seeing any of the palettes on screen. Now the color targets can kind of get in your way when doing a before and after preview. So if you want those sample targets to disappear, go ahead and press Command+H or Ctrl+H on the PC. So Command+H brings it back, Command+H hides them again, just as when you are hiding and showing selection outlines.
Alright, now we can do a before and after. This is before, this is after. Notice what a wonderful precise job we have done on this image. It is a little bit subtle, however, it is extrao