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Thread started 23 Jul 2018 (Monday) 12:59
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What the heck should I focus on in Photoshop

 
BokehBender
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Jul 23, 2018 12:59 |  #1

So I have been using the Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom bundle for some time now and have become quite good at Lightroom. However, whenever I open up Photoshop I feel overwhelmed. There is simply TOO MUCH. I am never sure what to focus on or how to make my photos better with this diverse tool.

Where should I start and what resources do you recommend to learn how to use Photoshop.

I mainly do landscape, travel and portrait photography.

Lets take my little squirrel friend here: What are some possible ways I could modify this image with Photoshop tools?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jul 23, 2018 13:33 |  #2

BokehBender wrote in post #18668762 (external link)
So I have been using the Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom bundle for some time now and have become quite good at Lightroom. However, whenever I open up Photoshop I feel overwhelmed. There is simply TOO MUCH. I am never sure what to focus on or how to make my photos better with this diverse tool.

Where should I start and what resources do you recommend to learn how to use Photoshop.

I mainly do landscape, travel and portrait photography.

Lets take my little squirrel friend here: What are some possible ways I could modify this image with Photoshop tools?
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You are wondering how to use Photoshop and what to do with it.

I think you are going about it backwards. . The point shouldn't be the software you have and its use. . Rather, the point should be your photos themselves and what you want them to look like.

Can you imagine an accomplished artist saying, "Hmmmm .... I have this paint and these brushes, what should I paint with them?" . Of course not! . That is not how real artists go about things. . Real artists have a vision within them that they need to express with their medium. . It is this clear vision and this desperate need to express it that results in successful work - be it paintings, photography, sculpture, etc. . What you create really must come from within you in order to be an authentic artistic expression.

A more effective way to approach this would be to have a photo that you really wish was different - you know, where you have this clear idea of exactly what you want the photo to look like, and then you should ask, "How can I use Photoshop to make this photo look like the image in my mind's eye?"

There is no way that any of us can tell you what to do with your squirrel photo, because we don't know what your aesthetic objectives were for that photo. . Only you can know that. . People could tell you what you could do with the photo, but then it wouldn't be your personal vision - and then it wouldn't be a true expression of what you wanted to express when you took the photo.

I think that learning how to use Photoshop will be much more interesting and less frustrating if you have an image for which you have definite objectives. . Otherwise, it would be like traveling without a destination.


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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PhotosGuy
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Jul 23, 2018 13:51 |  #3

I agree with Tom.

The Simplified Guide to Getting Started in Photoshop (external link)

Adobe Photoshop User Guide!
https://helpx.adobe.co​m …com/photoshop/t​opics.html (external link)

https://www.youtube.co​m/user/tutvid/playlist​s (external link)
Here are some 5 minutes Photoshop Tutorials that go over each tool in depth, & will give you a good idea of what each tool does.

Along the way, look into Layer Masks, Blend Modes, & especially Adjustment Layers.
Good luck, & have fun along the way!


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Alveric
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Jul 23, 2018 13:58 |  #4
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Given that I strive to get it right in camera, all I use PS for is (mostly) cleaning up dust spots, clone stamping out minor elements, and sharpening (High Pass filter). You could start there; that's just three tools that are easy to learn and use (clone stamp, patch tool, and high pass filter).


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jul 23, 2018 14:23 |  #5

Clone tool and it's variants (including healing brush etc)
Layers and Layer masks

:P


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BokehBender
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Jul 23, 2018 14:28 |  #6

Haha I was hoping someone would lay a "You are thinking about this wrong" truth bomb on me. Thanks for the advice, its super helpful to keep that perspective throughout photography.

Ok, so the main reason I was asking this here was to get some info on the tools available to me. Before I knew about radial filters and dehaze on Lightroom I couldn't even picture how my photos could look like with them. So now I am wondering with such a toolbox as Photoshop, what I could do.

I should probably just keep going through other peoples photos and find effects and designs I admire and then learn the tools to match those goals.




  
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BokehBender
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Jul 23, 2018 14:30 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #7

haha Oh my I love this so much. You made Chip some friends.

Thanks!




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jul 23, 2018 14:41 |  #8

BokehBender wrote in post #18668867 (external link)
I should probably just keep going through other peoples photos and find effects and designs I admire and then learn the tools to match those goals.

.
That sounds like a great idea. . Not only for photoshop effects, but it'll give you more ideas about how things can look, and hopefully you will recall these ideas when you are out shooting. . The more visual ideas you give your brain, the more creative ideas you get when you are out with your camera. . Then you'll get a clearer idea of what you want a scene to look like when you're photographing it.


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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BokehBender
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Jul 23, 2018 14:54 |  #9

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18668881 (external link)
.
That sounds like a great idea. . Not only for photoshop effects, but it'll give you more ideas about how things can look, and hopefully you will recall these ideas when you are out shooting. . The more visual ideas you give your brain, the more creative ideas you get when you are out with your camera. . Then you'll get a clearer idea of what you want a scene to look like when you're photographing it.

.


Great points! Wow, I could spend my entire life exploring photography and still leave every day satiated. What an art.




  
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Alveric
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Post edited 7 months ago by Alveric. (3 edits in all)
     
Jul 23, 2018 15:07 |  #10
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I think one of the best ways to go about it is looking at a photo and deciding what it needs in terms of work done to it. That will point you in the direction of the right tool. You could of course try to learn ALL the tools, but eventually you'll find you won't use most of them. PS has tools for tons of image-related stuff, not just photos. I've used it to resize images, add white/black frames (Canvas Size) around them, hunt for dust when cleaning my camera's sensor (Curves or Levels layer and set to maximum contrast), and a plethora of other things.

To illustrate my first point: I shot this item on black acrylic, but no matter how much I blew the dust off during shooting, tons of tiny specks of dust ended up in the final image, along with scratches that the sheet has accumulated over several shooting sessions. Furthermore, because of the size of the sheet and the pipe, I had to place the sheet at a 45° angle, which resulted in triangular empty spaces in the corners (even though I used a black cloth behind the shooting table, it still doesn't look like acrylic).

This is the shot fresh out of the RAW processor (CaptureOne Pro 10). This is not the final shot, but a preliminary image that was shot 1 stop overexposed, and that shews the problems better than the final one:

IMAGE: http://www.diamantstudios.ca/Gemeines/Bilder/Examples/CW_OOC.jpg

Photoshop work done:
  • Extend background/shooting surface (Clone Stamp, Content Aware Scale).
  • Remove dust spots (Healing Tool, Patch Tool, Clone Stamp).
  • Remove teeth marks on mouthpiece (Clone Stamp).
  • Select background/shooting suface (combination of Magic Wand, Magnetic Lasso, and Lasso) and then blur the background/shooting surface to mask all dust or imperfections that were too small to be eliminated with the previous tools (Surface Blur filter).
  • Center and crop (Crop Tool).
  • Sharpen (High Pass filter).

The end result:

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1806/41588227170_ed5cc0fea1_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/26n1​x2u  (external link) Dublin Churchwarden (external link) by Henry Godnitz (external link), on Flickr

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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited 7 months ago by Tom Reichner. (3 edits in all)
     
Jul 23, 2018 15:28 |  #11

.
I've always thought of Lightroom as the program one uses to fix "problems" with a photo - like cloning out spots, adjusting exposure, changing the contrast, clarity, color palette, etc.

I have always thought of Photoshop as the program one uses to do things to the image that could not possibly have been done in-camera. . Things like what LHB did with the triplet squirrels. . That's what Photoshop is best for - the things that can't be done in Lightroom; big, heavy edits that radically change the content of the image, not just the way that the content looks.


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Post edited 7 months ago by s1a1om. (3 edits in all)
     
Jul 23, 2018 17:14 |  #12

You can make the squirrel skinnier. You can give him taller ears. You can change the background color. You can remove his whiskers. You can give him a red nose. You can add a glow to one corner. You lighten areas of the photo. The possibilities are endless. Now why you would want to do any of this on that specific photo, I don't know. But its possible. Many of the things can also be done in Lightroom, but what Photoshop gives you is the ability to do pixel-level editing.

I really like the Phlearn videos for learning Photoshop. He does a great job explaning and demonstrating pretty much any technique you could want to try. I bought the paid subscription this year and have not been disappointed. His photo editing 101-301 goes through both Photoshop and Lightroom and demonstrates when you'd use which program. His free Youtube video library is also extensive if you don't want to pay
https://www.youtube.co​m/user/PhlearnLLC/vide​os (external link)

This video shows a workflow using both Lightroom and Photoshop: https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=dU5XweqovMQ (external link)


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Jul 24, 2018 10:32 |  #13

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18668795 (external link)
A more effective way to approach this would be to have a photo that you really wish was different - you know, where you have this clear idea of exactly what you want the photo to look like, and then you should ask, "How can I use Photoshop to make this photo look like the image in my mind's eye?"
***
I think that learning how to use Photoshop will be much more interesting and less frustrating if you have an image for which you have definite objectives. . Otherwise, it would be like traveling without a destination.

.

I second this excellent advice and add that envisioning what you want any given image to look like poses a complex and never-ending challenge. It amazes me how many photographers post images on discussion forums and don't see the color cast or the overly bright and busy background or a hundred other things that need "fixing." Spotting flaws is one of two major challenges; the other is seeing in your mind's eye how an image might be made more aesthetically pleasing. Spotting flaws and envisioning improvements will give you specific needs for specific tools. If you can see the cyan cast in an image, you can then go to Photoshop and learn the various ways of correcting color casts.

Happy trails.

EDIT: Learn what non-destructive editing is and make it standard operating procedure.


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kirkt
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Post edited 7 months ago by kirkt. (4 edits in all)
     
Jul 24, 2018 12:06 |  #14

The idea that one should think about the enhancements, etc. outside of the context of the toolset is sound advice, in the sense that one should be able to identify what exactly their vision for the image is before they go about attempting to produce the result.

That said, there are straightforward image processing tools and workflows within Photoshop that are routine and knowing that you may want to apply these to some, most or all of your images as a matter of refining the original result can be more efficient if you have a specific source of information that covers precisely this topic. I have found over the years that the work by Martin Evening exemplifies this efficient, detailed coverage and instruction.

See, for example:

Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers 2018
by Martin Evening

https://www.amazon.com …phers-2018/dp/1138086762/ (external link)

- you could probably even get away with the earlier CC versions in used copies for less $$$.

This series of books (I think the first version I purchased was for CS4, or maybe earlier) has been an evolving and refined explanation of how a photographer might go about using Photoshop for their image making. You can read it front to back, or hop around the various topics - however you choose to use it, Evening lays out the "why" and then demonstrates the "how" with various Photoshop tools.

Another point to consider when investing time and effort and money in the process, is the image worth it? Is there something compelling about the squirrel image that makes the effort to transform it into your vision worth it? Answering this question honestly will 1) make you think about what exactly it is you would potentially want to do in Photoshop, and 2) save you a lot of time and effort if the ultimate answer is an honest, "nope, this image isn't really worth it."

kirk


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Jul 24, 2018 12:41 |  #15

I only use about 10% of what PS has to offer and I have used it since 2005. I still prefer cloning compared to LR but I'm trying to warm up to it. Over the years I migrated to LR so I forgot a lot of stuff. I don't use layers a lot but have short tutorials to remind me. If you have the bundle LR has a lot to offer.

Sometimes I get into trouble for this. I once read a quick summary is PS is for the designer and LR is for the photographer. I not trying to say PS is not for the photographer but it is a lot more advanced. You can build whatever you want from scratch. I tell people getting into LR it is like ACR but ion steroids.

The new auto feature works quite well. It does protect highlights even if they aren't important so you may not always agree with it. I try to improve the exposure and try to get the best out of highlights and shadow areas.

I concentrate on the eyes of the wildlife. Beaks and head feathers of birds. I spent a lot of time researching the Detail window. I use the brush, radial and graduated filters a lot. Brush to enhance some parts of wildlife if it needs it. Sometimes the eye can be too shadowy. Graduated for landscapes which prevents the need for layers in PS some of the time.

If you are into B&W here are some cool videos.

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=dVNBOGzO29o (external link)

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=trlXHfJRpWI (external link)

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=QiEDE_GKcLA (external link)

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=fM64UsSsdj0 (external link)

The PixelGenius group released PK Sharpener (for PS) for free. Takes the guess work out of export sharpening. it was $100 a few months ago.

http://www.pixelgenius​.com (external link)

Can you give us the RAW for squirrel?


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What the heck should I focus on in Photoshop
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