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Creative Color

Lesson 13 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

13. Creative Color


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Creative Color

The next thing that we're going to get into is dealing with creative color and how that all works and just to understand color. And also, if we want to reflect back on our brief foray into color correction, it just helps to have a little bit of an idea of how Photoshopped deals with color. Okay, and and also like the file formats and all that. It's all kind of related. So the first thing to know is that there are different color modes, and there's more than what we're gonna talk about. We're just going to talk about to that are the main ones. The 1st 1 is called C M y que color mode and um, that stands for Scion Magenta, Yellow and trivia. The K stands for Key, which is black, but it's the key color. So this is the inks, for example, when you have something printed with processed ink. So like a newspaper or magazine, something like that. It's printed using four inks, and those four inks come together to make all the color that we see in those images. So that's one kind of format, and y...

ou can really just think of it as the print. That's like press print format on the photo world. It gets a little kind of confusing as someone who comes from also a print background for print design. It's funny, because in the photo world we use what's called RGB. That's our color mode. And even when your photos are printed at a photo lab, they're printed with an RGB process. So it gets a little like if you were designing a magazine or something, they would want to work in C M. Y que. But when you print your photos at a photo lab, or even like holiday cards from a photo lab, they're gonna work an RGB. So RGB stands for red, green and blue and in this case, those air three channels that come together to produce all the color that we see. So this is an additive process. If you are Science E and you like the technical stuff of it, the CME Wake A is a subtracted process, and RGB is an additive process. So what is happening is in, um, in the RGB color space. We're actually talking about channels. We mentioned that earlier we have channels and we saw some of that when we were tweaking color in the levels command. Remember when we did that silly big thing with all the sampled colors and there were numbers involved and I said, Don't get too scared. It's not scared. This is what we were doing. We were adjusting those channels, and by adjusting the channels and the way they come together, we were able to affect the color. So these three channels red, green and blue. When they come together, they create all the color that we see in our images so we can combine them all. We have a red version of the image, a green version of the image and a blue version of the image. And when they're all on top of each other and lined up and put together, we get a regular color photo. So hopefully, um, that helps you understand a little more when your color correcting your images or as we're about to dio, we're going to just play with color and do some, um, silly, fun, practical things with color. One question comes from Bruce, that is, can you just again clarify for folks comparing the tiff and the PSD and um because, he says the difference is really unclear and tips are smaller. And when would you? Friend? Uh, sometimes they are, uh, depends on your file, I think. But tiffs. Here's the thing with tips. Tiffs. They're kind of like a nice classic these days. I feel like years ago in my biz, my portrait business when I used to work with a local lab that we had, they actually required that I send them tiff files for printing, which was before digital uploading. So I actually had Teoh burn a CD or DVD of the files and drive across town and hand them a disc of tiff files to print. Which is ridiculous when I think about it now, Um, files are higher quality. It stands for tagged image file format for the jeopardy folks there. Ah, high quality file. You can designate it to not have compression, or you can actually technically create a tip that has day pet compression. I'm not sure when you would do that, but it's a high format, high quality format. Um, it can have Alfa channels and layers and things like that. I forget about spot color, probably also spot color. Um, There's a lot of extra things that you can bake into a file that we're not going to discuss in this class. So you may or may not choose a tiff for that. But ultimately, the people who would ever still maybe ask for a tiff would be a printer. Ah, and I don't mean like a photo lab. I mean, like a print shop. If for some reason they I needed or wanted or got better results with a tiff, they would ask you. But, um, it's just not like I never run into tips anymore, but that could be just me. Everyone who uses Photoshopped uses it differently, has a different, you know, genre, if you will, that they're doing and different work that they do with it, and that can dramatically impact the files formats that they work with. But personally, I've seen the tiff go from like you have to send it if to the lab where now allow will. Not even they don't want your tiff. It's two huge. They don't need it. It's not impacting the results, so I think they're system would even actually like I just think about like up roading. Uploading through Rose or something like that. I don't think they're file even takes tiff anymore. So my advice would be I wouldn't mess with a tiff unless somebody requests it. Unless you have a real reason to use it. So you good question. Yeah, it was kind of a long answer, but it helps to have background A thing. Really does. I don't want to just be like, Oh, you don't need it. Unless so there's some background, but it is It's a high quality for me. All right, one more quick one. Now, this is from an ah, Willets. Who says Just clarify. So each time I re save a J peg, I lose pixels. Question marks. Oh, OK. Good question. Common misconception. No, you're not losing pixels. You can say open and J peg and save it 1000 times over in a row. You will not lose a pixel. The pixels are not disappearing. It's simply that they're being packed in a slightly. It's like if you took all your clothes out of one suitcase and put him in a another slightly smaller suitcase, you would still have the same amount of clothes when you open up the suitcase. You'd still have the same number of shirts or pants or whatever, but they might be more wrinkled because you squish them in a smaller bag. It's like that, but like extreme. So sometimes people hear that and they get freaked out like, Oh, I don't want to save a JPEG cause every time I do it's like crunching it a little bit. Yes, technically, that that's true. But it's like infanticidal. I mean, you're not gonna like we're kind of J pegs, save it, open it later, maybe work on it again and save it and then be like, Oh my gosh, this photo just fell apart. It's not like that. So you don't really have to worry about that. If you're worried, you could save it as a PSD or tiff or something where you're not having compression. But it's not an issue, but also generally, if you have a file that you're editing all the time and wanting to go back to and keep editing and re doing, um, then you would probably be saving It is a PSD anyway, because it probably has layers and those types of things. So I think the question Okay, so we are gonna do some creative stuff with color quickly. Um, we're going to start with this. So one of my favorite things to dio when we talk about color and working with color is just explore the hue saturation command. You can find it up here under image adjustments, hue saturation. But again, we just learned about adjustment layers and why they're so valuable. So I'm not gonna do it up here. I'm going to do it down here in the layers panel from this little union buddy of ours. So I'm gonna click on that, and I'm going to click Hue saturation, and we get the same window just in a little different place. So, essentially, here we have these three sliders, hue, saturation and lightness. So he was just another word for color. It's like the purest sense of color. It's color minus tones and shades and all that. Just pure key, like a rainbow. A rainbow is just Hughes. Okay. And what we can dio is we can take this use lighter, and we can just, like, go wild with it. And it's going toe basically like, shift all of the colors in our photo. So wherever they fell on the color wheel before, if we take were basically taking the color wheel and just spinning it. So what was blue is now green, and what was yellow is purple. I don't even know. So we've just spun the color wheel around and all of the colors found a new spot on the color wheel. Um, so, incidentally, I would like to point this out because I do like to say that is overwhelming and confusing is Photoshopped can seem when you are new to it. It does make a lot of sense. For example, if we drag this use lighter all the way to the left. The image looks like this, and we and it says, minus 1 80 if we dragged the hue slider all the way to the right, it looks the same. And now it says, plus 1 80 So that might make you be like, what's happening? Well, here's what's happening. This slider is basically the color wheel circle that got snipped and then opened up flat like this. So now with the line, And that's why if we go plus 1 80 or minus 1 80 we end up in the same place. So I just find that, like, helpful to me as a person who's like, I'm trying to make sense of all of this. If you like numbers than that will maybe be useful. Otherwise, play with the fighter and don't worry about numbers, but anyway, so that's what the Hue Slider does, so it's taking all the colors and skewing them all around down here we have a saturation slider that adjust the intensity of the color of the saturation. So, for example, we could really amp it up. Or we could dial it all the way down, which would ultimately create a black and white looking at Mitch. Technically, the images still color. It's still capable of holding color containing color, but we've just saturated it, so it looks black and white. But it's still a color file because there's a difference between RGB and a grayscale image anyway. OK, so that that the lightness slider basically just fades the image toe white or fades it to black. It's not the same thing as adjusting the exposure, so uh, no, that I suppose that's an important thing. What you can also do That's pretty cool is if I reset this, you can reset, incidentally, by just double clicking on the name of whatever setting, and it will go back to zero, so that could be handy. But what's cool is when you do the slider here, you're you're affecting all the color in the whole image. Everything's just going to get in wacky. But perhaps, let's say that we just want to take the blue skies of this photo and maybe just push them towards more of a turquoise color. How would we do that? Well, if we just a slider, the whole image goes wacky. Maybe we want this guy's here, but then we've got the building changing colors, and that looks odd. So what we could do actually is down here. Instead of adjusting the master of all the colors, the whole image we get click and select blues now down below. Photoshopped tries to it to tell us, what do you mean by blues? Let's let's get picky and split hairs about this so photo shop is saying are a So I think you're talking about everything between these values and is actually giving us four values. It's giving us a broad definition. So that's the 1 95 value that's over here and the to 85 degrees. And it's giving us a narrow definition. That's the to 25 to to 55 degrees on the color wheel. It saying, Oh, is this what you mean by blues? It may or may not be, but we can tell photo shop. Let me tell you what I mean by clicking these little eye droppers down here. So I'm gonna click this eyedropper, and when I move my cursor, I can actually click right here to sample this. And you may have noticed that the numbers and these little bookends sliders shifted Now So we've now said, Hey, Photoshopped, this is what I'm talking about these blues. And now I could take the huse lighter. And if I drag it to the left look at that. It's just affecting the Bluth. No more building changes. The trees not changing like everything else is the same. Uh, and I didn't even have to make a selection, so it's just like a little precursor to that. So that's a neat thing that you can do with the hue saturation. I use this this adjustment layer in this box like so much, I just find it so handy. Another thing that you can do with it is actually just sort of wash away all of the color, the existing color, and you can just put in a new color. So, for example, if you wanted to create like a sepia toned image, you could just click, cull, arise, and that's gonna wipe away the existing color. And now you can pick the hue that you want your image to have, and you can pick the saturation so it could be, like, really bright or you could tone it down. So that's up to you. Um, and it's just a look at one of things you can dio. I happen to use this command a lot, cause I just think it's great. All right, let's move on. We'll talk about replacing color. So here we have this image of this little cute dog, and he's got a red collar on, and we can change the color of his collar quite easily. Before we do that, Um, I guess we could pick Well, let's just we'll talk about this. Watch is real quick, so we know what we're looking at to access your color swatches. It's in a panel, and like all panels, they could be found from the window menu under window swatches. I keep mine handy cause I use this a lot, but for the most part, these air the swatches that are just opened by default in photo shop. So to pick a color, you just click, and that will load that color into your foreground swatch, so you can confirm visually. If you looked in the absolute bottom left corner of your screen, where you see these two little squares on top of each other, the color that's on top is your purple color or your color that's on top of your foreground color. Excuse me, minds purple at the moment, and the color in the back is your background color, and you can choose that by option clicking. Oh, do that wrong command clicking. Excuse me, Commander Control clicking in your swatches panel that will load the color as your backgrounds, much so as we'll see later. These colors play nicely together, and they work together in certain things, but this is where you can find a lot of colors that come with photo shop. You can, of course, make your own. You can load other people's color swatches. You can even crowd source them by choosing window extensions. Adobe color themes. I could spend all day in this, uh, section because it's so much fun. You thought you ran into trouble at the paint store Looking at lodges. This is This is like a whole other level. So under window extensions, adobe color themes, you can create themed swatches that work together. So if you're designing cards for clients or whatever, this could be a great tool. You can, um, explore. This is my favorite. You can come over here and search for keywords, and it'll search crowdsourced color themes that other people have made. And this is like where I start all my design project inspiration. Come over here and I'll be like Valentine's Day or whatever I'm doing and or I'll think, like, oh, beach party or whatever. You could type anything into this box, and then it will just give you color themes, and you can add the color themes to your swatches by clicking the little dots down here and say, Adis watches. So like this moon's pretty awesome. So if I click that now, I go back to my swatches. We see those colors right here, so it's pretty cool. But anyway, that's where you find your colors and you can work with color and all that. So now that we know that a little bit, let's change the color of his collar. And this is actually an adjustment that doesn't exist by itself Over here. There's ways to do it this way, but they involve making selections, and we're going to save that for later. But there is actually command called image adjustments Replace color. So until we know more about making selections, we're going to start with this. And when we click on this, um, we get this window that pops up. So now we have to tell photo shop what it is we want to replace. So in this case, the red and his caller or her collar excuse who knows the dog's collar so all mouse over and I'll get this little eye dropper. And if I click with the eyedropper, it's going Teoh, select the red in the caller here, and we can see a little preview of what selected in this box. So the white area is the area that's selected and that will be ultimately changed. So if I need to expand that a little bit, I can click the eyedropper with the plus and then just click a little bit more until I feel like maybe I went too far there, Um, until I got the collar pretty well selected. If you go too far like I just did, I just pressed Commander Control Z and I undid it. Now this is the color that we've targeted for replacement, but we haven't told it yet. What we want to replace it with down here is where we do that. If you know the hue saturation in lightness values, you can put them here. Or what I would do is just click this box and this brings up the color picker. So in the color picker, we can dial in a color that we want to use. So whether you know the RGB values or the HSB values or the L A. B or the C M y que or the hex code values, you can type it in. But chances are you don't unless you're working with the branding team and they've told you exactly what you need to have. So what I would do is come over here and just choose it. So first step is to go on a little ride on the rainbow here and I'm gonna find ah, Hugh that I like. So maybe this sort of aqua area. And now that I've got that dialed in a little bit now I can pick the shade so I'll just do that by clicking maybe like this. So when I'm happy with whatever have chosen, I'll see what I've chosen right here. So his red collar is going to turn into this science color collar and I'll click OK, And again, I may adjust the fuzziness a little bit. We'll talk more about this when we do with selections, but it has to do with, like, making a nicer edge so we can see if I reduce the fuzziness. I can still see if we zoom in. I can still see red in the collar. So if I adjust this fuzziness, it's doing a better job of working around his firm. It's basically just doing a better job, so we'll click OK and that's it. And I can talk back and forth and we can see if we really get detailed. I can see it even picked up some of the red that was in his for here. So we'll talk later about how we could have masked that out. But I think this would be dandy. So there's a color replacement. We also have the ability to paint color new color on using the color replacement brush. So, for example, this image of tulips Maybe I want to change this one to a yellow tulip so I could go to my swatches panel and shoes a yellow color and come to my brushes and choose the color replacement tool. Now there's a lot of settings up here that you can tweak and they can change, and they can have a dramatic impact on your, um, document. But it's, um, a little overwhelming, I think at first. So I'm gonna do some of the work and then I'll explain what those mean. But when we put our cursor here, we see we have a round circle, which is our brush, and in the center of it, there's a plus. So if I click with my brush. What I'm doing is I've sampled the pink color underneath that little plus. So Photoshopped measured the pink, and now it knows to replace that pink with the color I selected, which was yellow. So now that I've done that, I can just paint. And because of my settings and the way that they are and where I set my sample, I don't even have to, like, try hard. I mean, look it, I can scribble completely out now if I go over here, it's going to do that one, too, obviously. But it stayed within the lines over here. Now, why is that? There's several factors. One is I set this option here to choose to sample the color. Once this setting tells Photoshopped to sample continuously, which means it's constantly measuring what's underneath the plus, which means if you drag out of lines and the plus gets on the background, it's gonna paint the background to so it's measuring constantly. So we don't want that. In this case, we just want one measure when I first click, and also here's the tolerance. These air, the two big ones will just focus on here. But the taller and setting here tells Photoshopped how accepting to be of other colors that are close to pink, but not quite. And if we look at the flowers and if I undo that, we have brighter pinks, darker pinks here. So, um, you know, if I select way down here, if I sample from this area, I bet it's gonna paint outside of the lines because this darker pink is somehow within an 80% closeness to the dark background. So I was strategic. That's why I sampled up here, where the lighter pink is different enough that it doesn't include this area. So there's some strategy involved, for sure. So that's a look at the color replacement brush. Um, so that's as faras like changing color and all of that. Another thing that we can dio is just add a bit of a, um, color overlay to an image. So, for example, of course, very popular on instagram or all the filters and everything that makes something look like old or, you know, vintage or whatever. There's so many ways to do that and finish up, and many of them are down here in our good friends. The adjustment layers. So I'm going to click on this and I'm just going to choose something called solid Color. And here we get this color picker box again. Again. Don't let it scare you. It's just basically a universal translator for color. So these air five different languages weaken. Describe color in numerically. Or of course, visually. You can just pick one. So I'm gonna pick orange and orangey color. So I'll drag my rainbow down to the orangey zone and then I'll just click to select this orangish color and I'll click. OK, and now where did our photo go? Who knows it's gone. Just kidding. Um, it's covered up. If we look in the layers panel, it's covered by this orange layer, and now we're just going to change the way that it blends and we'll talk more about blend most later. But right now I'll just come up to the blend mode options up here, and instead of normal, I'll choose something like overlay, and now I get it sort of like a stain, right? Like if you've stained wood. If you've done projects like that before, you can still see the wood green, but now it's got a stain on it. So now we could still see the photo, but it has a stain on. We can adjust the power of that same by lowering the opacity. So maybe down to like, 25% and I cantata lit on and off, and it just adds a nice effect. I love doing color overlays, so that's a fun thing. Um, let's take a peek. Oh, yeah, this image. There's also if you come down to the adjustment layers, you'll also notice something called photo filter. So those of you that, um, have ever worked with physical filters in your hands on the camera. That's why we call Instagram filters filter because they were filters used to put in front of your lens. So from the adjustment layer button, you can click that and you can come in here. And there's all kinds of presets for different. Wait, where am I? What did I dio? Oh, I close. I clicked on Channel Mixer. Well, that won't help me with that. All right, let's try this again. Photo filter. So step one is choose the right thing. Here we are now. There's all kinds of presets, So warming filters tend to be popular. Um, there's also cooling filters, just some color solid color filters, etcetera. So, essentially, it's the same thing as if you just made your own color overlay adjustment layer. But I guess it's saving you the step of changing the blend mode and such. So you can choose a filter or you can select a color, and then you can adjust the density, which is similar to the effect that the opacity slighter has. So you might want to just warm it up a little bit. Ah, and close that. And then if we toggle this on and off, it adds a nice, nice little warmth to that portrait. And, um, one other thing that I'll touch on quickly, um, is Grady. It maps. You can add Grady INTs to your images to mess with the color, which is super fun and infinitely, just a lot of experimentation. Okay, so it's gonna look wacky and stuff at first, But there's a difference between ingredient and ingredient map, so I'll just show you quickly if I grab the Grady Int tool and I happened to have this preset selected. If I grab the greedy and tool and I just click and drag like this. I just get ingredient on top of the image. And if I create a new layer first by clicking this icon and I repeat the process, I'm giving a Grady Int. Okay, so with the Grady int tool G for Grady int, I've selected something here. You can find more options from clicking this gear, and I think I'm looking at color harmonies or something. So I selected Ingredient, and I clicked and dragged to put it on the image. And if I change the blend mode to something like Multiply, we could see the color, but the color is not. It's just laying on top of the image, right? Another alternative is we can create a great didn't match. So this is a a whole other thing. Let me find that same Grady in just so you can see the difference. So ingredient map is like ingredient. But instead of just laying across the image, your mapping colors to tones, so that means you could say all the shadows are going to become purple. The highlights are going to be blue. So instead of just generically like overlaying the image, it's now actually mapped to the image itself, which is a whole other thing, and it's super cool. Um, and of course, we could adjust the intensity of this and the blend mode so you can get really different effects just by playing with blend mode and opacity, I tend to, like, multiply a little bit. You can also, of course, edit those Grady INTs If we double click the adjustment layer icon, we get this radiant map and we can click that and you can. I mean, you could just play with this stuff endlessly. So, um, you can add more colors. You can take away colors. It's a lot of fun. The Grady in you apply that from the layer many right from down here. Yeah, just like we did all the other things that we did. Levels we've done Ah, hue, saturation. The photo filter, All of that. And this is down here. Radiant map and the Grady first, Grady, and by itself. Yeah, you can do that here, too. I just forgot. And I grabbed the grating tool, and I just I did it directly, but I did put it in its own layer first, but you could also, yes, you could come down here and do it this way, and then you choose it, but you don't get to draw it the same way. You have to adjust the angle and the scale so it's a little different this way. But, um, if you make a new blank layer and then you grab the great ain't tool, you can just drag it. So you click where you want ingredient to start and you drag and let go where you want it to end so you can read dry it and change. You know, the direction that the colors are going, so that's a lot of fun. Love those greedy in just a really quick question. And this is for our Derartu says. Why sometimes when you've chosen a color, this is when you're selecting particular colors. Do you get an exclamation point within a try and what does that mean? So just in general questions in general that now I can't replicate it, Of course. Uh, there it is. So this is what pops up when it's letting you know that that color might not be reproducible in the print world with certain inks, unless you use spot colors or something like that. Is this a warning that your leg out of gamut? Um, so depending on your project, you may or may not care if you're doing screen stuff or, ah, photo printing kind of stuff. It's not as important. Well, okay, before we move into talking about selections, I just wanted Teoh point out a few quick things that didn't quite get to in the last segment. And that is that one. These Grady int adjustments and any adjustment really is easy to drag and drop to another image. But specifically, I just wanted to show that just because we're doing this ingredient map here, your image doesn't have to be black and white for that. So if I turn this on, I'm and I use my move tool. I can actually click this adjustment layer and drag it into this image and just drop it. And I can still work with this here. And even though this image is color a color photo, I can still change the blend modes and get a pretty cool effect just playing around in this color image with a greedy int map. So again, the idea is to just experiment and really play. The other thing I wanted to point out was black and white conversions. That's a big thing, that people often have questions about Photoshopped we saw earlier where we did the hue saturation adjustment. One option is to just suck the saturation out. In fact, there's a keyboard shortcut for that commander control shift, and the letter you that's the same thing is adding a hue, saturation adjustment layer and just dragging the saturation slider all the way to the left. But one thing that makes a difference here is that when we see this image de saturated like this, this boat, which is very colorful and has lots of different tones, it appears very monotone if we just suck the color out. So another option to really fine tune your black and white conversions is to come to the adjustment layer button and select black and white. And now you can actually control the way that the different colors are rendered. So this image has a lot of science, so I can take the science lighter and adjust it and the blues. Not so much the magenta, some green and hear some yellow. So I could really change this black and white to get a very different look. If we just do that regular hue saturation and I just de saturated it, let's see the difference. So there's regular de saturated and there's the converted black and white, So that's pretty dramatic. Um, see, I would definitely. If you do a lot of black and whites, you want to check out that black and white adjustment layer? You have a question. Just leave one or two colors, for example. Yeah, you can just tweak. Oh, you mean to have, like, something still being color like that. Then you leave just a Jell O's, for example, Or just see the actual yellows, you mean? Yeah, but everything black on white? Yes. And this is one way to do that would be with an adjustment layer like this. And in that case, you'd want a paint on the mask, and we're gonna look at masking in a little bit. So when we get to masking, we'll talk about it and all. I'll come back to that for you.

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Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

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