I had some fun talking about what’s new in Photoshop CS6. The Beta came out 3 days ago, so I’m feeling about 3 days behind. This covers the overall improvements and shows how to use them.
It’s a brief run down of whether or not it’s worth buying Photoshop CS6. Major changes include new video editing, 3d capabilities, and a far more robust layer pallet. Also, a run down on how to use the Content Aware Move tool and actually get results that work.
After recording it, I poked around to see if there were any good videos out there. The plan was to list a few that were decent but not nearly up to par. Instead, I came across this from Ice Flow:
There are a few others with run downs that are almost as good. Adobe’s sneak peak videos, The Verge, and plenty of other similar ones, but Ice Flow did it best. Upbeat. Well paced. Informative. I could not ask for more. You’d think I’d be upset someone beat me to the punch, but I’m more relieved that it saves me the time of having to do it myself.
A big thanks to the 80,000 people who visited my site in the last 2 days.
I found it odd yesterday when the amount of comments on my youtube channel jumped by close to 600%. That’s right. I got 6 comments.
Looking at the stats, I had a 2,000 person bump in the last two days, 1700 more than I was used to. I assumed someone had embedded the tutorial on their site so was surprised to see the main referrer was listed as jeremyshuback.com.
Heading over to my Google Analytics, I saw 25,000 people had visited here yesterday. On a normal day, I get about 30 hits.
‘What the what?’ I wondered. There weren’t any major influencers. Instead, 5,000 random people and some strange algorithm brought me to their attention.
I did what I could. I saw who was talking about it on twitter and thanked them for linking. I updated my site so it had a slightly better design and added a stumble button to the bottom of it. If I want to sustain traffic like this, I just need more content.
I’d spent the day getting over being sick, mostly watching the fourth season of Parks and Rec, and this was the sort of kick in the pants I needed to get me motivated again. Which is to say, expect more content soon. Some tutorials. Some Photoshop insights. Some art things.
I have almost 80,000 people who visited my site this weekend. Let’s see where this takes me.
I have two modes – complete slacker under achiever and over the top – why the hell did you do that much work-that’s completely unnecessary. Even in school, my two grades were B- (Normally after some begging from the teacher to not give me a C) or A++ (A perfect 100, with some extra credit thrown in for good measure).
It comes out when I take on jobs. For instance, I read two dozen books, even more blogs, and spent well over 200 hours preparing for teaching my Social Media Marketing class. It can’t just be another good class. It needs to compete with Seth Godin or the most engaging TEDTalks out there. Otherwise, why bother?
This is all just a rather large prologue. I took on a freelance job to take photographs of the glass cleaner wipes my aunt and uncle sell. I thought it would be three or four, and when they sent me 50 different colors, I’d already said yes. I had never done product photography before, and don’t own an SLR, but figured I could figure it out.
Admittedly it’s doubtful this works nearly as well as the demonstration makes it seem, so Photoshop will always have its place. Still, this has the potential to be a game changing technology. It could redefine how we search for images on the web, and help immensely for those of us looking for images in composites. Also, in searching for reference for illustration this is on exactly the right track.
While it’s doubtful its selections and image finds are perfect, it indicates that one day they will be. Just when I thought Photoshop featurewise was plateauing, needing to dip into the well of 3d and video to help itself along, a concept for a program like this comes along with the abiltiy to change the fundemental way of how people approach photo manipulation.
As someone who taught Photoshop professionally for a year (aka, made the majority of my living teaching the program in cities across the US in one day intensive courses) I came to a few realizations not only about Photoshop, but about computer programs in general. The largest lesson I learned is there’s always more to learn, so realize great art can be created with the simplest of techniques. Learn the simplest possible techniques, and then push those to make things work knowing only those few basic tricks. There’s probably a quicker way, but until you learn the dumb way, don’t expect to move on. Only learn new skills when you hit a wall with the old ones. Art works best with limitations.
There’s a base level in any program that needs to be know before you can use it. In Word, it’s the ability to open it up, type, and save. In Photoshop the base requirement is a bit more. In 3d programs like Maya it’s larger still. Mastering all the shortcuts and caveats is not the major hurdle. In fact, trying to learn all those stupid little tricks is a waste of time. Again, do everything in the simplest way possible, and plan to learn better methods eventually. All programs share a common trait. The major hurdle is one of deeper skill.
To be good at Photoshop takes about a day’s worth of technical training (obviously only if done right). After that it’s a matter of having a cheat sheet by your side with the shortcuts, and knowledge of what website or book you can quickly learn about how to do X. Usually google is the second best resource, with the right book being a far better help. Too many people use google as the only resource, and end up spending an hour searching how to do every little thing.
The far greater hurdle (after the technical one is learned in a day. Maybe two) is the artistic side of things. Becoming a good photographer takes skill. As does thinking of creative ways to combine images, as well as ways to experiment with the art of photography. Learning how to paint takes a long time, as does learning how to design. Combining all these disparate skills in a way that only Photoshop can is very much the last step in a long learning process, and too many people think it’s the first. They think the simple act of opening up Photoshop will turn a person into a great artist.
While it’s true that some out there are looking for nothing more then the ability to crop images and take out red eyes, there are that many others looking to expand the bounds of their artistic abilities. It frustrates me that people think learning the technical side of anything will make them a good artist.
So with that in mind, I won’t bother pimping out the classes I used to teach through Skillpath or the class I one day plan to start through Exus Training, if I ever get my act together to market it. Honestly, until I have a very large group of online followers or team up with a good marketer, I really don’t see it happening. I had no idea how crucial and how difficult spreading the word, even about excellent products, is.
For those interested, here’ s the best books out there, that I tell people are good to buy for Photoshop. Honestly, if you want to learn the program-stop wasting your time on ‘excellent’ sites. Break down and spend the money for a book. It will save hours, if not weeks or even years. This is because it sits right by your side to be referenced instantly without the distraction and disinformation and misinformation of the internet. I learned Photoshop the stupid way. Hopefully you won’t have to.
Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One by Deke McClelland is hands down the best starter book. It’s a good resource, and also works as a good read. He’s funny. The examples are engaging, and more importantly, relevant. On a personal level, this book worked as a great guide for how to structure teaching my own classes. I’d suggest the CS4 One-on-One book, but I figure you’d prefer saving the $15. If you only get one book, this is the one.
The next book I’d suggest, which basically goes into a methodical process for approaching any image is Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System. It takes you through how to get a fantastic image, starting with the normal half way decent dreck coming out of the camera. He hammers in his points of these are the 7 steps needed for absolutely every photo, and in that way, gets people thinking in a Photoshop mindset. It’s all about case study after case study after case study.
Once you consider yourself an expert, check out Professional Photoshop: The Classic Guide to Color Correction (5th Edition) by Dan Margulis. It’s needlessly verbose, and very tough to get through, but absolutely fantastic. It doesn’t get into the technicals of Photoshop. It assumes you know those. What it does is make you perfect at color correction, and gives an understanding of how digital images work and how to get them to do whatever you want at a much deeper level then you thought possible. I thought I knew just about everything about the program when I picked up this book. Turns out I knew nothing. He has another book dealing just with LAB color mode, but I’d get them one at a time.
So those are my book recomendations. Past that it’s a matter of working on the core skills – painting, photography, and design. A life time pursuit that’s no small order.
If you insist on looking at websites, check out the tutorial list compiled at Elite by Design. Once you get a fundamental understanding of the program (let’s put that at knowing 3 dozen shortcut keys by heart, and not needing to look up a tutorial if you want to do something like metallic text. Better yet, you know better then to do metallic text in the first place.) then you should start using the internet.
I love his approach of starting with a silhouette, doing everything in black and white, painting in the light, constantly flipping it to maintain proportions, using clipping masks and then flattening, and making a color comp and then sampling from that. It goes a bit fast, so I had to watch it a few times, but I like how it wasn’t 13 minutes as originally intended.
The current way I teach text in Photoshop goes through the tools and then talks about it’s limitations, and why InDesign is the better program for large blocks of text. While this is all true, and gets a lot of information across, there’s a more advanced way of teaching text, that begins with the basic tools-then talks about applying those tools with a Swiss approach to design to show how basic tools can create powerful results.
Once that’s shown, it’s a matter of moving on to examples that play with the type, using it as masks or even as building blocks for other illustrative elements as Harmonie-intérieure does an excellent job of.
These lessons are still in the works, but I wanted to link to the sources and show the genius of inspiration of what’s to come.
The Dimensions of Colour is a site by David Briggs that talks about color at an awe inspiring level of complication. I look forward to wading through it and coming out the other end. Until I do, here’s some completely unsorted images from the site to give you a taste. It gets me excited. Stay tuned.
In the past I’ve winged it, or used web apps or stolen other people’s color palettes. Many of my illustrations fall into the trap of being much too monotone. I’m constantly striving to get better at colors, but that times a lot of time and a lot of practice. In the meantime, this is a great approach. In a nutshell: steal colors from great photographs and mother nature. It just makes sense.
So here’s the last one. By this point I was feeling much better about my manipulating abilities, and I really want to start working on more mattes again. I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from matte painting, honing my compositing skills and whatnot. I have done some much more professional yet also more subdued mattes for City of Ember. They’re almost completely hidden, so it was nice being in the lime light for this much smaller production. I can say there’s at least a minute and a half of this movie with my mattes as the background, and I really appreciate the way my coworkers and boss were able to bring out the best in me for these even if they were all done in a fairly restrained time frame.
Image Given. I was told to turn it into more of a jungle from 100 million years ago.
This attempt didn’t include enough of a hill or give room for the T-Rex to stomp through so…
I ended with this. I really had my process down by this last matte, although looking at it now months and months later the colors and tone seem far too uniform. What I’m getting at is I need to start doing more of these cause I think I might have a knack in this area.