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The addition of localized contrast definitely improves a picture, but on the other side there's the risk of damaging it and the doubt that you could have better calibrate the correction is always there. There're many way to add contrast to an image avoiding the lost of the source, first of all making a copy on a new layer, but I do like using smart filters because this way I can take a look at my final result ad adjust it many times.

Here I will describe how to use High Pass and smart filter to enphatize the details in a picture.



Step 01. First thing to do is convert the layer into a smart object: from main menu choose Filter/Convert for smart filters. Your original image will be preserved and it will be possible to keep the source intact: this will allow you to rework the file as many times you want in a nondestructively way.


Step 02. Once the layer is converted into a smart object you can add the filters in a smart way: there are many filters to increase the contrast, but personally I do like using the High Pass to better see the edges I'd like to let more evident.

From main menu choose Filter/Other/High Pass: the areas with low contrastated will be gray, whilst the edges will look enlightened. Shifting the Radius amount will increase or decrease the thickness of the edges: when you want to let more readable small details keep this value low, or increase it for a more aggressive effect. Press OK to apply the filter.




Step 03. This grey image obtained with the High Pass filter will be superimposed to the original to have the right color and contrast. To do that will be used the blending modes: in the Layers panel, double clic on the lines you see on the right of the "High Pass" text to edit the blending mode options.

In the Blending Options window, from the drop down menu Mode choose one of the fourth group modes to increase the contrast: take a look to the final result in the document window to choose the best one. If the effect is too strong decrease the Opacity. Press OK.


Step 04. Now you can adjust again the High Pass value to better refine the result. In the panel Layers, double clic on the “High Pass” text, the High Pass window will pop up again. Now you can adjust the Radius having a preview of the final result. When you're satisfied press OK.

Retouching to clean a photo can give some headache, but it gets even more difficult when the picture has some tiling texture and is in perspective, as an example a wall. To solve this kind of problem the Varnishing Point filter is a perfect helper.



Before starting make a copy of the image you want to fix on a new layer: you can easly do that by pressing Ctrl+J or Cmd+J. Then from main menu choose Filter/Varnishing point and get into the filter's window.



Step 01. On the left of the Varnishing Point window, choose the Create Plane tool, then make 4 clic on the picture to draw the 4 angles of the plane. Please take care that the plane you create should correspond to the plane of the area to fix: if the grid of the plane in displayed in blue it means that you did a good job, if it's in yellow or in red it means that the perspective is not correct. To fix the plane just drag and drop the angles.





Step 02. Once the plane is displayed in blue you'd need to enlarge it: to do that just drag and drop the points you find at the half of each side.




Step 03. When the working plane is defined you can start with the retouch. Choose from the tools the Stamp tool. To display the brush shape you need to define a source to clone, to do that keep pressed the Alt key and do one clic on the image. Once you define the source you will have the brush preview: this way it's easier to adjust the size of it with the Diameter value. Keep the Hardness around 60/70 for a soft but precise result and from dhe Heal drop down menu choose OF when you have to fix a really dirty area as in the sample. Switch on the option Aligned.


Step 04. To retouch the dirty parts you need to clone a clean area and overlap it on them. Because you're going to "rebuild" the area to fix, you need to have a cloned part that have the same design: for example don't use as a source the border of the tile if you need to fix the center of it.

Keep pressed Alt and choose a source area, then drag the mouse to patch the dirty part. During the job, you can set diverse sources.


Finish. Because we turned off the option "Heal", probably some of the cleaned parts will look strange and not perfectly in line with the area around. To fix them from the top bar choose ON in the drop down menu Heal and retouch them again: they will be recoloured and better integrated with surroundings.

I love creating raster brushes in Illustrator and I was wondering how I could do achieve the same result in Photoshop. Here's a solution!

First of all choose an image you want to be the base of your brush and refine it. In this sample I used a rose, I selected it and copied on a new document with trasparent background: this way I have only the rose that will decorate the path I will draw.


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Step 01. To place an image along a path first thing is to define it as a pattern: from main menu bar choose Edit/Define pattern. Choose a name from the Pattern name window and press OK to save it.

Once you've your pattern defined, you can use it as a sort of raster brush and place it along any path.


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Step 02. Create a new document, or use an image you want to decorate, and be sure you're on a raster layer. To draw a path choose the Pen tool, in the Option panel choose "Path" from the drop down menu and then draw a path on your document window.



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Step 03. To apply the image to the path, from main menu bar choose Edit/Fill. In the Fill window, in the Option section choose from the Custom Pattern pop up panel the pattern you just defined, then switch on the Script option and choose from the drop down menu Place Along a Path.


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Step 04. The Place along Path window will pop up: here you've a series of option to choose, it will be easy for you to set them because you have a live preview of how your path will look. Be sure that the Pattern Scale is in line with the size of your document.


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Finish. To apply the image to your path just press OK. If you're not satisfied you can choose Edit/Fill again and adjust the parameters again to improve the final result.