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Get Maximum Dynamic Range with HDR Pro

If you're a photographer confronted by extreme-contrast lighting, you're typically forced to choose whether the shadows or highlights are more important and then throw the other end of the tonal range under the bus. That's because your camera's dynamic range can't capture the wealth of luminance levels the real world contains. Enter Photoshop's HDR Pro, which lets you conquer high-contrast scenes by combining the brightness values from a set of bracketed exposures. The result is rich detail in both the shadows and highlights with smooth tonal transitions in between. It takes more effort than a snapshot, but the rewards are enormous.

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In the previous article, we looked at how Photoshop's HDR Toning and HDR Pro commands both work inside the magical (and largely imaginary) 32-bit floating-point editing space to manipulate tones. I also explained how the HDR Toning command is the luminance equivalent of upsampling, since it simply exaggerates the tones in a single image. In this article, we'll look closely at how the HDR Pro command works something like a multipass scan---or, if you prefer, an oversample in the world of music recording---to make the most of the 32-bit space.

Today's tip comes from Chapter 33, "High Dynamic Range (HDR Pro)," part of Deke's exhaustive video course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery for Read more » 

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Working Luminance Magic with HDR in Photoshop CS5

Photoshop's HDR Toning and HDR Pro commands give you unmatched power to finesse tonality in high contrast images, gracefully coaxing detail out of shadows and highlights that would otherwise be murky or blown. Use HDR Toning on single images such as portraits for a faux HDR effect. You can dramatically exceed your camera's dynamic range by processing multiple exposures of the same scene with HDR Pro. In this tip, we'll look at how HDR processing works and the HDR Toning command. We'll continue with HDR Pro in the next tip.

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Today's tip comes from Chapter 33, High Dynamic Range (HDR Pro), part of Deke's video course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery for Read more » 

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Ordinary Color to Dramatic Black & White and Beyond

Photoshop's Black & White and Channel Mixer commands are powerful methods for converting the color photos (that nearly all digital cameras are hard-wired to produce) into rich monochrome images. You can then take those images several steps further by colorizing them to produce extraordinary duotones and polychromes. In this tip, we'll look at these commands, as well as other ways to create black-and-white and faux-color images in Photohshop.

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Today's tip comes from Chapter 18, "Black &White and Colorize," part of Deke's video course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced on Read more » 

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The Brilliance of Smart Objects

Pardon me for my impertinence, but I have an idea. I think the powerfully enabled but abysmally named Smart Objects ought to be called "Magic Wrappers." Because, when you wrap a layer in a Smart Object, you can apply filters and other "destructive" edits to it without harm. Not to mention, change your mind later.

The Smart Object lets you adjust edits like Shadows/Highlights, Gaussian Blur, and even Puppet Warp as many times as you like without starting from scratch. Just double-click an item in the Layers panel to pick up where you left off. That alone makes these wonderful wrappers invaluable. But there's a lot more that you can do with them, as I'm about to explain.

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Today's tip hails from Chapter 29, "The Power of Smart Objects," from the video course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery on Read more » 

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Coming to Grips with the Intricate and Powerful Pen Tool

When it comes to making masks and selections, no other tool in Photoshop's vast repository can produce the clean, graceful outlines that you can create with the Pen tool. Rather than laying down pixels, the tool allows you to define connect-the-dots paths that you can save and edit at will. You can then employ these paths as vector masks. Or combine them with alpha channels (such as hair masks) to cleanly extract complex shapes from their surroundings. That is to say, they're wicked powerful. pen tool tip lead Mastering this amazing tool demands a different approach from the other selection tools in Photoshop. But it offers a rich pay-off. In this tip, we'll explore the Pen tool in thrilling detail. 

Today's tip comes from Chapter 27, "Everything About the Pen Tool," from the course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery on Read more » 

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