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Adobe Photoshop Basics
Lesson 8a: Retouching Tools Intro

All of us strive to capture the perfect picture every time, but we all know that perfect image can be a rare and elusive thing. That's where the magic of Photoshop's retouching tools comes in. The retouching tools include Blur, Sharpen, Smudge, Dodge, Burn, Sponge, Rubber Stamp, and the History Brush. While all of these tools have value, the two most important retouching tools are the rubber stamp and the history brush, so we'll be spending the most time discussing those.

Adobe Photoshop Basics
Read This First!
Course Outline
• Retouching Tools Intro
Blur, Sharpen, Smudge
Dodge, Burn, Sponge
Clone Stamp, History Brushes
• Ex: 1&2 3 4&5 6&7 8 9 10

Interactive Classroom
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At this point in the course, the Photoshop 5.x users should have a good grasp on how to access the options palette, and the Photoshop 6 users should be familiar with the options bar. For the remaining portion of the course, when I say "options" Photoshop 5.x users should know to double click the tool button to access the options palette, and Photoshop 6 users look to the options bar. If a tool is not behaving as you think it should, you can reset the tool to default options from the options palette menu in Photoshop 5.x or by double clicking the far left icon on the options bar in Photoshop 6.0.

All of the retouching tools use the brushes palette, and many of them have opacity or pressure controls, and blend mode options. Because we've discussed these options in previous lessons, I will not be repeating those explanations again. You may either review those lessons or consult your Photoshop User Guide if you need a refresher. I will only be discussing any new options within these tools.

The "Use all layers" option has also been discussed, but it deserves repeating here because it is so important to the retouching process. When use all layers is enabled, it allows you to sample from one layer, while painting your corrections onto another layer. If you use a new empty layer to paint on your corrections, you never have to worry about making a mistake, because you can just go back and erase from the layer containing your corrections.

Photoshop's Snapshot features is also extremely valuable in the retouching process. Always make a snapshot before you begin your corrections and after... there's nothing more satisfying than being able to flip back and forth between the before and after results to see what you've accomplished. You'll also want to get in the habit of taking snapshots periodically in the editing process so you can return to a previous state if things start going in the wrong direction. Remember, however, that snapshots do not get saved with your image. Once you close the image, any snapshots are deleted. If you want to save a snapshot permanently, you'll have to create a new document from it and save it under a different file name.

Here's a tip you'll use often when working with the retouching tools: the New View command. This command is located under the View menu and it allows you see the same image with multiple zoom levels on screen at the same time. When making image corrections it is always best to check your image at 100% magnification, but you will also want to get in close as you work. Rather than constantly switching zoom levels, simply choose View > New View and another window will appear. Zoom one window in on the area where you're working, put the other one to 100% magnification, and position the windows so you can see them both. And don't forget the spacebar shortcut for quickly switching to the hand tool temporarily as you work in a zoomed view.

With that out of the way, let's get on to the tools...

Next > Blur, Sharpen, Smudge

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