Working on some images in CS6. Everybody is talking about this feature and that feature – well guess what: my favorite so far is background file save. When you save your work, CS6 saves in the background – so you can continue working instead of watching that )()*&^!! progress bar. (I have some 1GB+ image files w/ layer stacks). Now for an SSD….
I just downloaded the CS6 Beta version. Going to be working with it this week and next. Stay tuned as I report my ups and downs, likes and not-so-likes (?!?) in the next week or so. My goal is to post something interesting at least every other day.
PS – one observation: sure looks like Adobe continues to move toward harmonizing the editing controls and tools in Photoshop and Lightroom….
Photoshop and Adobe Bridge for Beginners – David Saffir instructor
Thursday, April 21st – 6:30pm to 9:30pm
SCV Center for Photography, Santa Clarita / Valencia, California
$59 when paid in advance, $79 non-advance/paid at the door
Got a new, or not so new digital camera? Are you dog-paddling through the world of photography wondering how to make Photoshop do The Swim? This class is for YOU! Photoshop is software that is intended for use by a wide range of people – designers, photographers, artists, printers, etc. The photographer’s portion of Photoshop is pretty straightforward – and much improved in the newest version. It’s not difficult to understand the fundamentals – and this class will really get you going!
- Installing Photoshop and Bridge – and basic settings for best performance
- Introduction to Bridge – a great catalog and file editing tool
- Adjusting your picture so it has real snap and great color
- Using Photoshop menus – image adjustments, color and special effects filters, and more
- Using the crop tool, lasso, healing brush, clone stamp, and others!
- Basic portrait retouching tips
- Lighten, darken, blur, and sharpen a photograph
- Changing the size of your picture
- Changing a color image to black and white
- Adding text to your image
- Saving and backing up your photographs
We will be working on a range of images – landscape, portraits, snapshots, wildlife – maybe even a poster or two. Photoshop and Bridge run the same on Windows and Mac computers. You can bring a laptop if you wish, but it’s not required. Just bring a note pad and pen. We’ll focus on the basics in a clear and understandable way, and you’ll go home primed to practice and use your new skills!
For reservations call Mel at 661-904-2092, or David Saffir 661-373-1818. You can also click here to register.
One of the most powerful tools for non-destructive editing in Photoshop is converting a layer to a Smart Object. A Smart Object permits you to make changes to a layer – for example, using a filter – and go back to that layer and adjust the filter or other effect again and again. When you click on a layer which is a Smart Object, it re-opens the filter or other dialogue, right where you left off. Read on…..
There are other kinds of Smart Objects, but we’ll stick to this one for now. In my next article, I’ll be writing a review of Silver Efex Pro 2, and Smart Objects can play an important role when using that plug-in for Photoshop.
We want to make a “Smart” Unsharp Mask adjustment layer for this image. First, however, we have to duplicate the background layer. (You can convert the Background Layer to a Smart Object, but I like to keep it handy.)
Next, go to the Filters menu, and select Convert For Smart Filters.
Photoshop will convert the layer, and mark it with a “tag” in the layer icon. The Smart Object tag is indicated by the red circle.
Next, go back to the filters menu and select Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. A dialogue box will appear. Note that I’ve made an adjustment that is much too strong to illustrate my next point.
Close the Unsharp Mask by clicking OK. Your sharpening adjustment is applied. However, we will want to re-adjust this filter, so double-click again in the layers palette (see red arrow) and…
the Unsharp Mask dialogue reappears right where we left off! I’ve made a more reasonable adjustment, and then I’ll click OK.
If you want to make additional edits to this adjustment, just double-click again on the layer (and again, and again!) to get that filter dialogue back.
This is one of the really cool features of Photoshop. In a coming article, I will post a review of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 (for Black & White) – and I’ll show you how to use Smart Objects with this great plug-in. Flexibility and power – what more could you ask for?
I also have a Workshop coming up: Studio Lighting: Portraits with Style!, on March 19 – – here’s a link for info and registration. Just scroll down the page, and look on the left side….
Nik Software has just released Silver Efex Pro 2. I’ve long felt that Silver Efex is the best available software for transforming color images to black and white. It’s available for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture.
The flexibility and power of the new application is very impressive. Here’s some interesting features:
Control Points – selective image edits and adjustments
History Browser - like Photoshop, you can move back and forth at will in your editing history
Structure and Fine Structure expanded/upgraded – fine structure brings out more visible detail in details and textures
GPU Processing – true 64-bit processing
Image Borders – Natural and Customizable
Selective Color – easily mix black and white and color elements in your image
Dynamic Brightness – differential brightness adjustment based on tonal values
One-Click Toning and Split Toning
At the end of the day, though, it’s the image quality that’s got me hooked. It’s not just faster, it’s better.
I’ve found that images I’ve edited using Silver Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro 2 look very good on paper, whether I’m using lustre, glossy, fine art, or canvas materials.
I’ll have a complete review by the end of next week.
For more information, go to Nik Software. You can download a 15 day free trial if you wish. You can also receive a 15% discount upon purchase, using the code DSAFFIR in your shopping cart.
Here’s a link to my earlier review of Silver Efex Pro.
I have a workshop coming up this Saturday, Feb 26. Here’s a link to the course description:
I saw an article today that listed 500 keyboard commands for Photoshop. A bit overwhelming for me, so here are a few of my personal favorite Photoshop keyboard commands. Saves time when you don’t have to use a mouse! (These are for the Mac – use the <control> key in place of the <command> key on the PC.
<command> S – save (be sure you are saving under correct file name!)
<command> – A – select all
<command> T – free transform
<command> minus – zoom out
<command> plus – zoom in
<command> H – shows or hides the selection (like marching ants)
<command> Z – undo (toggles back one step, forward one step)
<command><option) Z – undo, repeats goes back through history steps
Press <space bar> to temporarily use hand tool (except for text mode)
<left bracket> – makes brush smaller
<right bracket> – makes brush larger
<shift+bracket> makes brush harder or softer
Tab – hides all panels and toolbar
<Shift + Tab> – hides all except toolbar
<control> Tab – switch between open images
D – selects default colors in toolbar
F – toggles between full screen view,
G – gradient tool
J – Spot healing, patch tool, etc
L – lasso tool
M – marquee selection tool
S – stamp tools, like clone stamp
X – switches foreground color to background color
(If you hold the shift key, and press a tool selection letter,
you can “scroll” through the tool options under that toolbar button.)
Here’s a link to our upcoming workshop where we will be giving away a FREE copy of Nix Silver Efex Pro software: Black & White Photography and Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software – David Saffir instructor $79 Thursday, January 13th – 6:30pm to 9:30pm SCV Center for Photography, Santa Clarita
by guest author and photographer Ted Dayton
If you want to add depth and drama to your images, look for ways to shoot toward the light, where the pros shoot. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a snapshot shooter anymore, so act like it! No more pictures with the sun at your back. Ever. Unless it looks really good, of course, but it won’t happen often. Learn to shoot in lighting conditions that confuse your camera’s meter. Get accustomed to throwing away most of these pictures and call it progress. Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Embrace those shadows!
If you’re not sure what I mean by ‘shooting into the shadows’, just turn on the TV or queue up a DVD. You will see scenes that are back-lit, rim-lit, hair-lit. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes subtle. And it nearly always makes the picture better, because these images have weight that front-lit scenes (images) generally don’t have.
A simple example of this comes from basic portrait lighting and it is called ‘short’ lighting, a termed coined by Leonardo da Vinci, the world’s first photographer. Just kidding about that, but I suspect that this term predates photography altogether. Actually Lenny’s Mona Lisa is a good example of short lighting, although this quality doesn’t jump out at you. She is in a subtle version of loop lighting, and there is some shading on the near side of her face. If her light source was a bit more to her right, this would be more obvious. Google the Mona Lisa and you will see right away what I am referring to.
In photographic portraiture, short lighting simply refers to facing the shadow side of the face or having the shadows coming toward the camera. The opposite of short lighting is– you guessed it – long lighting, also called broad lighting, and refers to facing the side of the face the key light is also on. Short lighting gets its name from how this style makes the near side – the shadow side – seem shorter or smaller than the highlight side –sometimes. And, as you might guess, broad (long) lighting gets it’s name from how much longer/broader the lit side of the face appears – sometimes.
Confused? Don’t worry. If you are a new portrait shooter, this will sink in quickly. Once you have seen the difference, you’ll be an expert and this simple dynamic can be applied, to some degree, to nearly anything you take a picture of.
Said another way, photographs with strong light from behind the subject have more potential for drama and mood than photos made with the light mostly from the front. There is another reason I like this type of lighting: it conveys a sense of depth and distance behind the subject and a sense of place because this backlighting or rim lighting must theoretically come from some place. Depth is good.
From now on, think about your lighting in terms of whether you are facing it or whether your subject is facing it. There is no single, best way to light any subject, but many subjects do look better one way or the other, and understanding the difference can make or break an image.
So, face the light!
I have a new post on the Pro Photo Blog (link) “Must Have Skills for Photographers: Enlarging Images and Large-Format Printing“
Wednesday, June 9th – 6:30pm to 9:30pm NEW WORKSHOP Nik Software Color Efex Pro and Viveza –A super-energizing session as we see all the hidden secrets and power of Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3.0 and Viveza 2. These are add-ons which work inside of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom or Aperture. Color Efex Pro provides dozens of preset filters and targeted image adjustments. Click here to register: call (661) 904-2092 or use this link for registration form.
You can work in layers or directly on the image. Viveza 2 brings a powerful new dimension to your image editing. It provides tools for precisely targeted color editing that are almost infinitely adjustable. This is a hands on workshop, so please bring your laptop with both Color Efex Pro 3.0 and Viveza 2 loaded, or you can just come and soak it all in. If you do not own the software, Nik has a free, 15 day trial version you can download at http://www.niksoftware.com or if you chose to purchase, we have arranged a 15% discount on ALL Nik Software products. Just use the discount code SCVPHOTOCENTER during checkout.
Why Get CS5? Productivity and Competition!
I think it’s fair to say that, more than ever, Photoshop is a tool for digital photographers. Is the CS5 upgrade really worth the investment? In a word, yes.
Even if the overall operating speed of CS5 vs CS4 is roughly equivalent, the improved toolbox should still help us edit more efficiently, and create more appealing images.
For example, the tools available in CS5 for refining selections, and masking hair or other complex items, will save time in post-production. They are significantly better than their predecessors.
In regard to the appearance of finished images, improved noise reduction, HDR, panorama stitching, and content-aware fill all offer significant upgrades. Better looking images makes us more competitive.
Another way to look at it: if I work on just five images a week, and I assume I save just ten minutes per image, that equals 50 minutes saved per week. At $65-85/hour, that equals $54-71week, or $216-283 per month.
Your mileage may vary – so download the trial version and see for yourself.