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Thread: My Road to learning Photoshop

  1. #1
    bluesbrother's Avatar
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    My Road to learning Photoshop

    Dear People,
    I have started my road to get some idea on the subject of Photoshop. Trying to get to know the interface and it's tool. Inspired by this forum, i like to document my journey.
    So as a real newbie i have some pictures here beneath. They are from a weekend in the (dutch) country and i have made some verry touristy shots. Yes clogs, a windmill etc. I leave you with the before and after and like your comments. I have played arround with the Graduate filter in ACR. Tints and color. I have trouble seeing what a picture needs. I can see it is flat, or grey, or not warm enough. But what then to do? So i play arround and not being happy with the end result.

    So how to see on what to do, what tool to use (so many ways leed to rome?).

    Thanks.
    Bluesbrother/Aldo


    Original:
    klompen_ori.jpg

    Me trying making it a postcard:
    klompen.jpg

    Original: (By the way it is not a fisheye lens, it is the way the road cornerd. Corner, well you know.

    molenhoek_ori.jpg

    My creativity:
    molenhoek.jpg


    Original:
    My Road to learning Photoshop

    I know i left some romance in here, somewhere:
    paard_molen_1.jpg

    If you want to adjust them yourself, and i know you do, then here are some better quality pictures.

    I am really wondering what do you see?
    What do you miss in the pictures (lighter, darker warmer colours etc)?
    What steps you take, what tools you use?

    And also i found this the other day.
    And i found it here.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Fantastic idea for a thread Aldo!!! I'm in exactly the same situation as you
    Everyone's images on here look amazing! but I just can't seem to recreate the same with mine. Even after reading magazines and watching Youtube videos, Photoshop (I've got CS2) still feels light black magic to me

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Hi Aldo,

    Just as an example, here's how I would process the windmill shot ...

    My Road to learning Photoshop

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    What did you do to it, Colin? (and how do you get a frame around it!!? that looks so cool

  5. #5

    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Aldo

    You have posted quite a lot here, and although post-processing is very important so too is getting details right in the camera, especially composition. If you want this to be a learning opportunity it might be better to do the following.

    1. Take a local shot that you can repeat often - perhaps near your house
    2. Shoot it in RAW
    3. Post the image as a JPEG but don't bother at this stage processing it.
    4. Get feed-back on the composition from members here. Following suggestions, go back and reshoot it if necessary
    5. When we have a good composition we can move on to discuss the processing. If you can post the RAW to a downloading site so we can edit it, we can tell you what we have done to get the end result.


    Just a suggestion - up to you.

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    bluesbrother's Avatar
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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    Fantastic idea for a thread Aldo!!! I'm in exactly the same situation as you
    Everyone's images on here look amazing! but I just can't seem to recreate the same with mine. Even after reading magazines and watching Youtube videos, Photoshop (I've got CS2) still feels light black magic to me
    Same here. You are welcome to join me.

    What did you do to it, Colin? (and how do you get a frame around it!!? that looks so cool
    Yes indeed. We know you are a grandmaster Colin, only share youre wisdom Obi One Kenobi
    (I'am in IT, so this was going to happen sooner or later, i mean the Star Wars quote.)

  7. #7
    bluesbrother's Avatar
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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    I was to quick with my reply earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Aldo
    You have posted quite a lot here, and although post-processing is very important so too is getting details right in the camera, especially composition.
    If you want this to be a learning opportunity it might be better to do the following.

    1. Take a local shot that you can repeat often - perhaps near your house
    2. Shoot it in RAW
    3. Post the image as a JPEG but don't bother at this stage processing it.
    4. Get feed-back on the composition from members here, following suggestions.
    5. Go back and reshoot it if necessary
    6. When we have a good composition we can move on to discuss the processing. If you can post the RAW to a downloading site so we can edit it, we can tell you what we have done to get the end result.

    Just a suggestion - up to you.
    Yes, i do. I'll get back to this. Great Idea. Hope to get to it, this weekend.
    On the other hand, what i lack in photoshop skills, i think i have an eye for the composition.
    And I will get the RAW image.

  8. #8
    bluesbrother's Avatar
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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    What did you do to it, Colin? (and how do you get a frame around it!!? that looks so cool
    Lookie here

    I tried it myself:
    molen_paard_frame.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bluesbrother; 22nd September 2010 at 10:04 AM.

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by bluesbrother View Post
    Basically that's how I do it. I've got it setup as a 1 button action, but one has to have an image of a certain resolution for it to work properly - and some of the shots posted here can be a bit small, so then I just to it by hand. But generally it just involves using canvas size (relative) and edit strokes.

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    Fantastic idea for a thread Aldo!!! I'm in exactly the same situation as you
    Everyone's images on here look amazing! but I just can't seem to recreate the same with mine. Even after reading magazines and watching Youtube videos, Photoshop (I've got CS2) still feels light black magic to me
    Hi Gareth,

    It can feel that way, but in reality (as I see it anyway), photography is all about choices (and their consequences) ... as you gain knowledge and experience you'll start making better decisions at every step (from composition, to capture, to processing, to presentation). We can help, but unfortunately there's no substitute for practice and experience. The good news is that everybody started somewhere ... and everybody improves. It just takes effort.

    Just take things one step at a time - post images - let us help - rinse and repeat!

  11. #11
    bluesbrother's Avatar
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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    I have a different aproach on learning. Wendy told me also to try learning one thing and then an other. I am more of a sponge and will soak op everything i can get my hands on. I will drop 40% of what i see/hear and feel. But 60% will stick. So i wan't as much information as i can. I learn in a somewhat chaotic way.


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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Hi Aldo.

    I think what they are trying to prevent is getting a habit to correct things in PS that should have been done correctly while taking the shot (something I'm more than occasionally guilty of myself); thus the advice to get the capture right first before attacking PS.

    Exemples:
    - framing the shot corerctly so as to prevent cropping as much as possible: cropping drops a lot of the pixels you paid good money for on the floor => potential loss of quality
    - correcting exposition in PS: not possible for over exposure, noise increases fast when under exposing
    - level horizons (my big problem, most of my shots need a correction...)
    - white balance etc. are a bit less important to get right 'in-camera' but I find that starting from a correct setting makes the processing faster and more agreable

    Anyway, unlearning bad habits is a lot slower than learning correct ones...

    Sterkte

    Remco

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    Hi Aldo.

    I think what they are trying to prevent is getting a habit to correct things in PS that should have been done correctly while taking the shot (something I'm more than occasionally guilty of myself); thus the advice to get the capture right first before attacking PS.

    Exemples:
    - framing the shot corerctly so as to prevent cropping as much as possible: cropping drops a lot of the pixels you paid good money for on the floor => potential loss of quality
    - correcting exposition in PS: not possible for over exposure, noise increases fast when under exposing
    - level horizons (my big problem, most of my shots need a correction...)
    - white balance etc. are a bit less important to get right 'in-camera' but I find that starting from a correct setting makes the processing faster and more agreable
    Anyway, unlearning bad habits is a lot slower than learning correct ones...
    Sterkte
    Remco
    You're absolutly right. I need to get off the automatic setting on my camera and learn how to configure the right appeture, iso, white balance etc.
    Framing i think i can do relativily okay. The rest i need to learn.
    Also i think the stuff you come across in PS, maybe can help you making better shots outside.

    Also my problem is, that i need to make my shots in a little time frame (my son 3 years does not have a lot of patience, and can not hold a position verry long). I don't have a lot of time then to configure my camera.

    I have a lot of trouble getting my head arround time this stuff
    I get the theory of it. Only to use it in real life is a B.

    Moet goedkomen.

    Aldo

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Hi Aldo: good idea what you are doing here. I will give this a shot. I do hope you give Robís method a try though, as the experts here will be able to help you much easier if there is more control in your experiments.

    I do understand the need to do things your own way though, so I will consider this as a PP only experiment, but with all of these shots I think there is a lot that could have been done In Camera to improve the shot, which in turn would have made PP easier and more effective

    Another thing to keep in mind, is whether or not you shoot RAW files. If you do, then if things get serious, the experts will more than likely want to work on the original RAW version, as working on a jpg in Post Processing is difficult and does not always give the best results. Here is a link to an excellent thread on Workflow, which I am finding out the hard way is a very important thing to consider.

    Tips on PS Editing For a Beginner

    Iíve chosen the second shot to work on. I downloaded the large version and here are some observations.
    1. The original that I downloaded is Very dark, much darker than the original that you posted, so Iím not sure what is going on there.
    2. There are blown highlights in the clouds and a lot of the blacks in the shadows are beyond recovery
    3. The shot needs to be straightened

    Here is your original that I have resized for comparison purposes.
    My Road to learning Photoshop

    Here it is with some basic adjustments in Lightroom which is similar to ACR
    My Road to learning Photoshop

    1. Straighten
    2. Lightroom indicated blown highlights in the clouds and the blacks in the trees on the right and left were beyond recovery. The settings I ended up with to try and compensate were:
    Brightness: +33
    Fill Light +34
    Highlight Recovery +75 Edit: Changed this to read Highlight Recovery
    TONE CURVE ADJUSTMENT:
    Lighten Shadows +35
    Lighten Darks +18
    Darken Highlights -5

    Please note that these settings are for reference only. I am not sure how they will convert to your version of ACR, but you can see where the pluses and minuses have been applied.

    Also, I am not saying that this is what you would want the final version to look like. I notice in all your reworks you seem to have adjusted white balance (or something) to give a more yellow tone. That might be your personal preference and that is your choice. I have left the colours as shot.

    My next step with this shot would be to take it into the Elements Editor, for sharpening and to add a border. However, if this was my shot, I am not sure I would go that far, as I would not be happy with the composition. There is no main subject, and the eye is drawn all over the place (The windmill in the centre and the people and road going off to the sides). But this thread is for Post Processing so; I guess I shouldnít have mentioned that.

    I will take this into Elements and see if I can do anything else with it. Iíll post when I have done.

    Remember, I am not one of the experts here, and am in fact learning along with you, so please understand that when you look at my attempt.

    Modís, If I have given any bad advice here, please donít be afraid to correct me. I really donít want to lead anyone off in the wrong direction.

    Wendy
    Last edited by ScoutR; 23rd September 2010 at 08:22 PM. Reason: corrected error see Edit

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Here is my final result after taking it into the Elements Editor (simialar to PS editor)

    My Road to learning Photoshop

    Main adjustments from the Menu: (these might not be quite the same as in PS but they should be similar enough that you can find the same thing in PS)

    Enhance - Brightness and Shadows - adjust sliders to your liking, I had Lighten Shadows at 13%: Darken Highlights at 8% and Midtone Contrast at 5%

    Enhance - Adjust Colour - Adjust Hue and Saturation - Select Green - Adjusted Hue to get it a bit more yellow looking

    Resize to 580 px wide
    Apply Output sharpening: Read more about sharpening here:
    When/How to Best Sharpen a Digital Photograph
    Apply my border
    Rename and Save

    Your results and preferences will of course be different. You may or may not like what I have done, and that is OK. Just trying to give you some ideas. The final result is up to you, and so much of this is very subjective.

    Wendy

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    Wendy what a great job you did !! Thanks a bunch. I have read it, but need to study your work more.
    I will try to redo your steps and post the result here. If i can redo it, i can deviate from it.
    Again Great job ! is much appreciated.

    Aldo

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    Re: My Road to learning Photoshop

    No problem Aldo. It's good practise for me.
    Please NOTE i made an error in writing the settings for the Lightroom adjustments in the first post
    Highlights +75 should read Highlight Recovery +75. I've changed it in the post now.

    Wendy

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