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Thread: CS5 - Another Level

  1. #1

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    CS5 - Another Level

    Hi All,

    I really want/need to bring my Photoshoping skills to another level. I was wondering how I can do this. Are there any books, DVD tutorials and/or Training courses that you can recommend. I find it's a real limitation to the quality of my pictures.

    The main area I want to improve in is post processing. I want to be to take a picture and make it look as professional as it possibly can. My post processing techniques are very basic at the moment. I usually do the following:

    1) open picture in raw
    2) play around with the exposure, contrast, vibrance, clarity and sharpening
    3) Open in CS5 and touch up blemishes (but not always with much success)
    4) Crop picture and that's it

    After following these steps, the final product looks nice but I don't want "nice" I want "wow". I want that professional look that I see so often in many of the pictures on this site and others.

    For example: Here's a picture I took of a full moon setting in Bern. The picture isn't great but I want to use it as an example.

    CS5 - Another Level

    The problem here is that I can't remove the Moon from this picture (to replace it with a correctly exposed version) with any of the techniques I know, since there is such a complex blend of tones around it. If I can't even do that, how could I produce a professional look to any of my pictures.

    Just take a look at these amazing examples of what can be done here from Halsemann Photography (http://www.halsemann.de/SimpleVor%20Nach%201/)

    CS5 - Another Level
    CS5 - Another Level

    CS5 - Another Level
    CS5 - Another Level


    Thanks in advance,
    Rob
    Last edited by EDGE1; 18th December 2011 at 01:30 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Hi Rob,

    I guess the big question is "in what areas do you want to improve"? Photoshop is used in so many wide and varied applications that it's hard to comment on unless we know that sorts of things you want to use it for.

  3. #3
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Hi Rob. I run into this question for a wide variety of reasons as I look at the images I've taken. I've bought a few paper and digital books on different subjects but find that although there is a wealth of information, the specific issue I'm trying to resolve may be only brushed upon briefly or doesn't really get spelled out for what I'm trying to do.

    Now what I do is to use the Help feature in CS5 to list the training videos and tutorials that apply to the keywords I enter. Like doing a search on the web, it brings back loads of free training material that is specific to CS5 and the issue I am trying to resolve.

    Sometimes when I post the question here on CiC, the feedback provides me with the correct keywords that I didn't know which enable me to effectively use the help feature.

    In the end, the multiple results are specific to CS5 and what I'm doing, readily available at the moment I'm looking for them, and at no cost. I now keep a list of the best ones I find in list where I can click the link and go directly to the specific steps I need to address an issue. Hope this helps!

  4. #4
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Hi Rob. I find that if I am trying to learn a new piece of software or program, I sign up for a month of Lynda. This gives me access to a ton of video courses on CS5. From the essentials to selections to advanced to . . . There are some 43 courses related to Photoshop CS5. I see that they are offering a free week of training. http://www.lynda.com/Member.aspx

    I don't have any connection to Lynda other than taking their courses.

  5. #5
    rob marshall

    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Hi Rob

    I use Lynda and find it excellent. It covers CS5 from start to high-end. I know it costs (about 16 a month) but it's ad free, and is delivered by people who know what they are talking about. There are many other subjects covered too. I recently watched some tutorials on using Windows 7, and I never realised you could do windows-key/E to load Windows Explorer, or that you could do a CTRL/P in explorer to get a preview of file contents, or, and this one is really embarrassing, that you can drag a partially collapsed window to the top of the screen to expand it fully.

  6. #6

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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Nice Guys,

    I've just had a look at "Lynda", and I like. I really don't mind thats it's not free, in fact I'm looking for something paid, as this is where I'm most likely to find good quality. If I sign-up, are the video's then downloadable for later review or they just accessible for the duration of the membership?

    I've just had a look at some of the tutorials and already I've learnt something. The patch tool is just what I was looking for. I need to understand it's function a little better but I tried it on my moon shot with amazing results. Still not perfect but with a little more playing it should be good.

    Thanks again,
    Rob

  7. #7
    rob marshall

    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Quote Originally Posted by EDGE1 View Post
    Nice Guys,

    I've just had a look at "Lynda", and I like. I really don't mind thats it's not free, in fact I'm looking for something paid, as this is where I'm most likely to find good quality. If I sign-up, are the video's then downloadable for later review or they just accessible for the duration of the membership?

    I've just had a look at some of the tutorials and already I've learnt something. The patch tool is just what I was looking for. I need to understand it's function a little better but I tried it on my moon shot with amazing results. Still not perfect but with a little more playing it should be good.

    Thanks again,
    Rob
    Rob

    Lynda.com training videos can only be watched online as streaming video. They cannot be downloaded to your PC. You can only watch them for the duration of your membership, as far as I know. You can cancel your membership whenever you want to.

    It probably is the best way to learn Photoshop. I know people who have gone to local training courses run by their local education authority. But there's no way you are going to get an expert like you do with Lynda.

  8. #8
    Poaceae's Avatar
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Although the videos can't be downloaded, you do have instructors whose tips and techniques can be found on utube or their own web site. Deke McClelland and Deke's Top 40 leaps to mind. http://blog.lynda.com/tag/photoshop-top-40/

  9. #9

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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    I would say there are a number of issues here, Rob.

    Professionals start with perfect shots, so that is the most important thing to get correct. Then tweaking with software just adds a little which couldn't be achieved previously. I wonder how much of what you call 'wow' is what many of us would describe as OTT processing.

    However, that is still a valid style of editing which appeals to some people.

    Personally, I come from a 'pre digital age' so you could show me 1,000 video clips of how to do something but only 5 mins at the most would actually 'sink in'. I need a real book where I can keep referring back to items until they really make sense.

    There are many books on CS5 and most of them are quite good in their way. I found the Martin Evening book Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers gave a good grounding with this software. But his extra volume Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers - The Ultimate Workshop may be more to your liking. The Scott Kelby books are also popular.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 18th December 2011 at 07:46 PM.

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Professionals start with perfect shots...
    Geoff. Sorry, but I can not let that one go. Perhaps it's just the way it's worded but I think some amateurs also get it right in camera. I hesitate to use the term 'perfect shots' because I'm not sure what that means. I don't understand this rather nebulous distinction between 'professional' and 'amateur'. For example, is Colin a professional? He makes money, I think, from his photography, but then so do I, but I don't call myself a professional. What exactly is a professional?

  11. #11

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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    OK then, substitute 'experts' for professionals.

    Either way doesn't alter the fact that getting everything perfect, or as near as possible, at the time of shooting is better than having to worry about correction afterwards.

  12. #12
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Professional or Amateur...I always took 'professional' to mean that you get paid for your work..not more 'worthy' just what was wanted to fulfill the client brief...at an agreed price.

  13. #13
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Rob (OP),

    The image you've posted above would have benefited from some hdr treatment. The images you've posted below said image have had this treatment. There are many dedicated programs to this end. Until you're really familiar with PS I wouldn't recommend it for this sort of procedure, as you'll need to know layers, masks and blending techniques.

    It takes time to get used to Photoshop and people often become frustrated as the learning curve is very steep.

    My advice for anyone just starting out with PS is Google and YouTube. Don't get me wrong, Lynda.com is an excellent resource. But there is so much free stuff on the interweb, why not utilize it?

    Example, Google; "How do I use the pen tool?"

    You'll see what I mean.

  14. #14
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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    OK then, substitute 'experts' for professionals.

    Either way doesn't alter the fact that getting everything perfect, or as near as possible, at the time of shooting is better than having to worry about correction afterwards.
    I agree. Anyone who looks through the viewfinder and says, "I can fix that in Photoshop." needs to step away from the camera and give themselves a slap. However, there are certain things that can be improved in PP and certain things that can't be avoided and do need remedial work. I recommend Scott Kelby for these cases.

  15. #15

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    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    For example, is Colin a professional? He makes money, I think, from his photography, but then so do I, but I don't call myself a professional. What exactly is a professional?
    In all honesty, I think it means different things to different people, and is probably used (incorrectly IMO) interchangeably with "professionalism". Personally I think I conduct my shoots in a professional way - I think I get professional results. I don't earn 100% of my income from photography (and related retouching & printing) services, but I probably earn more than some others who do earn 100% of their income from photography. So where does that leave me?

    Personally, I think of myself as a part-time photographic professional in terms of income, but one with a "full-time" professional attitude and ability. Possibly another definition might be someone who conducts shoots - on a renumeration basis - for clients that they don't know. Who knows - just my rambling thoughts on the matter. Call me a pro ... Call me an amatuer ... Just please don't call me after 5pm!

  16. #16

    Re: CS5 - Another Level

    I think you would benefit from seeing how a pro uses Photoshop to determine both "what to do" and "how to do it" in effective post processing. There are some great examples in Scott Kelby's book "Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Photoshop CS3." It will show you how to get some wow, pop, and polish. It's a good start. Learning the PS tools is good, but I detect that at this stage you would benefit from some specifics of "how to" use some tools to get some of the effects you're looking for.

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