FROM THE HELP DESK

PETER BAUER

Answers to Photoshop, Lightroom, and gear-related questions

How was Help Desk Live! at Photoshop World this April in Orlando?—Chris

TO: CHRIS

FROM: NAPP HELP DESK

As usual, it was outstanding! It’s always great to see the faces behind the email questions we receive. And, as always, some of our longtime NAPP members made it to yet another Photoshop World. (A big shout out to Vanelli!)

At this 27th Photoshop World, I answered some 400 questions about Photoshop from about 320 members, and Rob Sylvan handled l-don’t-know-how-many hundreds of Light-room questions. (As usual, Rob answered most of the Light-room questions in the back of or just outside the classrooms of the Lightroom Track.) We had a number of members who came to HDL! several times, and some who just hung out to hear what others were asking. Rob not only fielded lots of questions about the then-just-announced Lightroom 5 public beta, but also addressed a number of issues involving earlier versions of Lightroom.

Help Desk Live! was often about fixing problems with Photoshop (replace the program’s Preferences file, reset the tool through Right-clicking on its icon to the left in the Options Bar, or reinstall with all spyware/antivirus software disabled) and ways to improve images. It seems that more and more of our members are adding photo scanning and restoration to their arsenals of services offered to their clients. And some of those images are in very poor condition. In a couple of cases, entire areas of the photo were missing or badly faded because of the way the image was stored or displayed. (The NAPP member website has several tutorials involving photo restoration and repair.)

One image was stuck to the glass and our member scanned it into Photoshop with the glass. As might be expected, the places where the photo was stuck to the glass had a different tint than did areas not stuck to the glass. The Color Range command wasn’t of much help in selecting those areas, so a masked Hue/Saturation adjustment layer was off the table. Calculations and Channel Mixer didn’t help much because the problem was throughout all three RGB color channels.

So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! We converted a copy of the image to CMYK, checked each color channel, and saw that the problem was almost nonexistent in the Magenta channel. Copying that channel’s content and pasting it into a new grayscale image was a start. We then added a Curves adjustment layer to improve tonality, used the lmage>Mode>RGB command to make the document color, added a new layer, changed the layer’s blend mode from Normal to Color, and then painted in color on that layer: flesh tones over the skin, yellow over the blouse, blue for the eyes’ irises, and so forth. The result used the color of the upper layer and the luminosity (lightness/darkness) of the lower layer. The final result looked very much like a Polaroid photo from that era (the early 1960s was my guess as to the age of the original).

Another alternative to be presented to the member’s client converted the grayscale image (created from the Magenta channel) to RGB and added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the Sepia preset. (You did know that Hue/Saturation adjustments include presets, right?)

Oh, and let’s not forget that other question we’re regularly asked at Help Desk Live!, «Where’s the nearest rest-room?» Right over there, behind the stairs.

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