Photoshop Master Class Tutorials for PC and Mac

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2 Photoshop Master Class Tutorials for PC and Mac We often see the word Master Class used in relation to Photoshop tutorials, but what does it really mean. The dictionary states that it is a class taught by someone who has an expert knowledge or skill in a particular area. I think that's about right, but maybe a little more then that. I think it adds to the tutorial when the author is creating the image live so to speak, even though it is a recorded video. The work is being done as you see it, not practised and researched beforehand. What I am doing here is giving as near a live demonstration as it's possible to do on video. Our Master Class also includes tips, tricks and the authors creative thoughts and ideas as the image is being worked on. So there is a great deal more offered here than simply a Photoshop tutorial. In support of our decision to label these tutorials Master Class we offer our Flickr Image Galleries as our CV. We present 7 great quality videos that take you through our manipulations start to finish using Photoshop Creative Cloud and Adobe Camera Raw. The videos will run in total for over 200 minutes, but for best results as they say. Watch one at a time and allow some time between to practice the ideas yourself. We all learn better, a little at a time. Our download version took just 11 minutes to download on a moderate broadband speed. These videos are aimed at intermediate and advanced Photoshop users, but I am sure newer users of the software would also get something worthwhile from them. We have also included our completed images so you can open them yourself in Photoshop. We have reduced the resolution to 1920 pixels so they don't take up too much space The Bee Eater If you look at the meta-data for this image above left you will see that I was using a 400mm lens with a 1.4 multiplier. This gave me a total focal length of 560mm, but using that focal length comes at a price. A shallow depth of field and the potential for camera shake or movement blur. To counteract that I

3 selected 400iso which in good lighting conditions allowed me to use 2000 f8. So, in theory, I had selected the sweet spot of the lens apertures at f8 and gained a slightly better depth of field. As you can see above left, that still left me further from the bird than I would have liked, but this was as close as I could get and I am not unique here. I think this is a problem we all face at times when photographing birds or small animals. The bird is the size of an English Chaffinch, so it's not very big. It feeds by leaving the perch and catching the insect in flight, then returning to the perch, which in this case was barbed wire. (not very photogenic) It was very hit and miss trying to capture the bird in flight and of 91 images taken this is the only one usable, but it has some issues as you can see. The obvious is the wire, the next is that the bird is a little small in the frame and not at the most attractive angle. So, let's interpolate the image as we crop and rotate it and deal with that wire and one or two other issues in Photoshop. We don't have the perfect ingredients here, but it is going to be fairly typical of the sort of image many photographers, like us, will capture. We can make much more of what photographic ingredients we have, using all the tips and tricks of Photoshop and Camera Raw. The Contrast Problem Dealt with effectively with exposure and Photoshop I have often written and spoken about the problems of contrast and how our camera's sensors often cannot record the range of highlights and shadows. Our eyes deal with this contrast issue much better, and this is one of the contributory factors in why we are often disappointed when we see our thumbnail images for the first time. The thumbnails often don't reflect what we recall of the scene when we took the picture. It's the gap between what we see and what our camera is able to capture. Here we have a good example of a high contrast scene. Its an interesting scene, powerful clouds, but the sun is still way above the horizon and we are looking right at that sun. So how do we get the shot in very difficult conditions like these. We will look at all three shots in detail in the introduction of this video, but not one of them is that good, because of the high contrast issues we had. We have a couple of choices here. We can take one of the images and darken the sky and lighten the foreground, but that is a compromise we can avoid.

4 Alternatively, we can use the sky from one shot and use the foreground from another. One issue we have to deal with is the alignment one. These three images were hand held, which means none of them will line up perfectly no matter how carefully we held the camera still. Given the power of Camera Raw and Photoshop, nothing in what we want to do is a great problem, let's have a go at it Making a Black & White directly in Camera Raw I love black and white photography, but so do many others too. It has the ability to improve an image, simply by removing the colour, but have you ever thought why this is? Well, many of the filters we use on our images do a similar thing by removing detail. Those who have used Buzz filters or the Buzz simulated filters by Topaz may have recognised that we are simplifying the image and in the right choices the image is improved. A black and white image does exactly the same thing, but without affecting the photo quality, so it's no surprise to me that Monochrome remains popular and still a category in most major competitions. In addition and despite our colourful world we live in, the colour in some photos does not add much to the appeal What we have here is an image that suffers with that old contrast issue again. We can get a powerful sky and a foreground that's too dark or a great foreground and a weak sky. So let's take the image above left with 1 stop less exposure than the camera recommended and simplify it with black and white. It has a great sky, but that needs some impact, but we have to deal with that under-exposure too. We will work this image through Camera Raw as a black and white right from the start. A black and white manipulation may also help us to subdue many of the noise problems we may cause by raising detail from shadow areas. The end result if we get it right is a sparkling monochrome bursting with contrast and with impact and appeal too. The Yellow Bird and lots of distractions I won't claim anything false here, so I will tell you right away this bird was shot in captivity.

5 The bird was in one of those large walk through aviaries, but that does not mean getting a result is easy. The bird still has full control of its movement and places of rest. So, what we are looking at here is a rather typical image of what many of us may capture in similar situations. We have captured the bird sharp, the exposure is pretty good and the background is nicely subdued both in detail and colour. However, it does have obvious faults and the composition is not great either. So, here we need to process this image to remove all the distractions, the twigs and bits of branches. We need to tidy up our composition and we need to add some sparkle into the image. The bird being bright yellow against grey will help that sparkle a little. When I use this image in a live demo, I often get asked if I can bring the tail feathers forward of the diagonal branch. The answer is yes we can, but it could be argued whether that is necessary or not to help the appeal of the image. Having said that, the techniques we use to do this type of manipulation are those I have used for years and in many different situations. They are techniques I say you can take to the bank, meaning that you can use the same techniques in a variety of images and subjects. So, it's the techniques we will demonstrate here which are the important factor. Take a look at the right foot of the bird and you will see that we also need to do a little work there too, because the bird has lost two of his three toes. We need a little Photoshop veterinary work there Making a Simple Montage It's not unusual to come back from a holiday or photo shoot with a batch of images that we were quite inspired about when we raised the camera to our eye and captured the pictures. A little later when we look at those same images as we sit in front of our computer, we often find that whatever it was that inspired us at the time, seems to have also evaporated over time. I find this to be very common myself and I know I am not unique here, far from it. What we need to do in those circumstances is to put the images aside for a while and come back to them later. When we do, we don't seem to be so locked into the thoughts we had at the time and we see the images in a new light.

6 All previous thoughts about the images have drifted away and that allows us to think a bit more creatively. However, have you noticed how a quick and simple manipulation often turns out far better than one you worked ages on? Perhaps there is a moral there somewhere. A simple montage may be the answer. Here, the images I shot look flat and lifeless, because my camera doesn't capture exactly what I see. Many people believe cameras do, but here is the evidence that they don't. What we need to do is put back the appeal and impact we saw at the time we took them, but now we can add a little creative thought, by creating a simple, yet effective montage. A combination of two images, where the result is greater than the sum of the two parts, or three in our case. The Red Roadster I was asked a question recently about an image I created a few years ago. I was asked if I did a tutorial on the creation of it, which entailed removing the car from its background. I have recorded a video on the subject, but when I looked back it was way back in Photoshop CS3 days. It was called The Digital Garage and it's still available in our web site and here's the thing. The techniques I am going to cover here to bring them up to date using Photoshop Creative Cloud, are the self same ones used in the video on the Digital Garage Disk. So, one thing that you should be aware of is that the techniques we will use in this demonstration will be little different to what I used in CS-3. It's one of those things I remind people quite a lot with regard to Photoshop. It's not often that the Photoshop version used in a tutorial is essential.

7 Core digital techniques largely remain the same, but maybe evolve a little. I suppose it's like driving techniques. we don't change that when we buy a different model car. This technique does require the car to be removed from the background and I have yet to find a better way than what I will demonstrate here. We will make a great cut-out without using a selection at all and we found it only took 12 minutes. You may have to add a few minutes if you're not used to this technique, but it's still well worth the effort. However, just to add one more thing to that last statement. Since when has anything worthwhile been achieved in 2 minutes? If it was that easy, it would simply lose all appeal because it would not be valued. This is another Photoshop technique I have been using for many years. Pre-sets and Derivatives In our last video we just take a look at some filters made by Google Nik. We use and demonstrate some of the filters (too many to cover them all) as derivatives of our already completed images. Go directly to our disk version HERE Go Directly to our download version HERE (cheaper and quicker)

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