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Lesson 1. Getting to Know the Work Area > Applying a change to a selected area

Applying a change to a selected area

In order to spotlight the selected child, you’ll want to darken the rest of the image, not the area inside the current selection. Since the area within the selection is protected from change, you’ll reverse the selection, making the rest of the image active and preventing the change from affecting the one child’s face.

Choose Select > Inverse.

Although the animated selection border around the child looks the same as it did before, notice that a similar border appears all around the edges of the image. Now the rest of the image is selected and can be edited, while the area within the circle is not selected and cannot be changed while the selection is active.

A. Selected area (editable) B. Unselected area (protected)

Choose Image > Adjustments > Curves.

The keyboard shortcut for this command, Ctrl+M (Windows) or Command+M (Mac OS) appears by the command name on the Adjustments submenu. In the future, you could just press that keyboard combination to open the Curves dialog box.

In the Curves dialog box, make sure that the Preview option is selected. If necessary, drag the Curves dialog box to one side so that you can see most of the image window.

The Preview option shows the effect of your selections in the image window, so the picture changes as you adjust settings. This makes it unnecessary to repeatedly open and close a dialog box as you try out different options and refine them.

Drag the control point in the upper right corner of the graph straight down until the value shown in the Output option is approximately 150. (The Input value should remain unchanged.)

As you drag, the highlights are reduced in the selected area of the image.

As soon as you click the control point, the Output value at the bottom of the page can be edited directly, so you can set the level by typing, or you can scrub to set it. To scrub, move the pointer over the label Output, so that it appears as a pointing finger with two tiny, horizontal arrows. Drag left over the label to reduce the value, or right to increase it. Scrubbing is now available for many numeric options in Photoshop and ImageReady, whether in the tool options bar, a palette, or a dialog box.

Examine the results in the image window, and then adjust the Output value up or down until you are satisfied with the results.

Click OK to close the Curves dialog box.

Do one of the following:

  • If you want to save your changes, choose File > Save and then choose File > Close.

  • If you want to revert to the unaltered version of the file, choose File > Close, and select No when you are asked if you want to save your changes

  • If you want to do both of the above, choose File > Save As, and then either rename the file or save it to a different folder on your computer, and click OK. Then choose File > Close.

It’s not necessary to deselect, because closing the file cancels the selection.

Congratulations! You’ve just finished your first Photoshop project. Although the Curves dialog box is actually one of the more sophisticated methods of altering an image, it isn’t that difficult to use, as you have seen. You will learn more about making adjustments to images in many other lessons in this book. Lessons 3 and 7 especially address techniques that are comparable to those used in classic darkroom work, such as adjusting for exposure, retouching, and correcting colors.



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