Monday, 24 October 2016

Photoshop CC Projects, an Online Class

This is an entirely new class hosted by, called Adobe Photoshop CC Projects - launched this September. It runs for two months, comprises 30 online tutorials, has four multi-part assignments and costs US$159. (These tutorials remain available to students for a couple of years after class finishes).In it I try to introduce students to tools and techniques that many regular users of Photoshop miss out on - the Quick Mask, Pen tool, custom brushes - these are just a few of the features that we look at using creatively in this class.

But, the best way to illustrate this is to show you some of the impressive and highly creative way my students have responded to the four assignments.

In no particular order, this is just a snippet of their work:

Original shot by John St Pierre
Same image, overlaid with a David Hockney-esque Polaroid framing technique.
Original barn shot by Pam Cone
Here Pam demonstrates perfectly how to add clouds using one of the many free Photoshop custom brushes available off the 'net (we like the word 'free').
All that is needed is a sharp edged selection in the main image to allow the brush effect to drop into the sky and to not bleed into other parts of the frame.
Sculpture by John St Pierre
John St Pierre amply demonstrating the power (and seamless accuracy) of the Pen tool in selecting the foreground detail, while adding a stock shot into the background, transforming the picture from simply 'ok', to an image with a lot more visual impact.
Original streaky night shot by Erin Cori
A simple transformation is made by duplicating the layer once, then flipping the top layer horizontally and changing that (top) layer's Blend Mode from Normal to Difference.
Nice result from Erin Cori.
Radically defocussing parts of this harbour scene produces a great Miniature Mode effect.
(Pic by John St Pierre).
Home spun goodness from Debbie Lieske
Part of this class is designed to push students into learning how to deal with clip art, fonts, camera RAW tools and of course, selections...
We also delve into the world of art by testing out the Art History Brush to transform a regular image into one that looks more painted than shot with a camera.
(image by John St Pierre).
Family group shot with a difference...
John Reveley demonstrates nicely what you can do with the Art History Brush

Another exercise involves adding a dot screen over a regular image to produce what I call the
Roy Lichtenstein 'look'.
Here's a great example from Jo Horne.
Another successful screen overlay effect from Corinne Bramwell
OK, so here's a grumpy cat photo (top) that seems to have a naturally-designed balancing space on the top of its head for an apple, or so Debbie Lieske thought.
It's a great example of what you can do with the Pen tool in Photoshop.
Debbie Lieske's Polaroid effect landscape.
Though this technique does take a bit of time to get right, it's a useful lesson in learning how layers, and clipping paths, work in Photoshop.

Another great result by Debbie Lieske
This time defocussing the foreground and the background for emphasis on a grand scale...
Another near-perfect Pen tool extraction by Jo Horne
Great example of what you can do using the Art History Brush in Photoshop
Image by Jo Horne

Monday, 17 October 2016

Using the Refine Edge Tool

One of the most asked questions I get is around how to perfect selections - Photoshop has a neat feature called the Refine Edge tool and while it is pretty good, the bare truth of any selection making process is patience. Making a selection is rarely going to be a cinch because we have a habit of shooting complex looking subjects. Here's how the Refine Edge tool works.
  Refine Edge Tool from Robin Nichols on Vimeo.