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Archive 2012 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop
  
 
JimKied
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


First, some background. About five years ago I picked up photography again after a 30 plus year absence - getting married, raising kids, etc. I also have a hearing disability and I must lip read to understand people who are talking to me. As a result, I usually do not get much from internet videos where you do not see the person doing the talking. Ditto for Skype - frequently the image quality is so poor or jagged and I cannot make out what the person is saying.

I also live in a smaller town - Pensacola, Florida - that does not have much to offer in terms of one-on-one or even group training (such opportunities exist, but I have not had much luck finding a good teacher that can work around my schedule - which includes the day job....).

I am largely self-taught, using books (Kelby, the Missing Manual, etc.) and what I can pick up from the internet and forums like this one. As such, I know there are huge gaps in my learning process.

So I am looking for advice, especially from you Adobe gurus who make it sound so simple, but it really isn't for someone like me. Where/how did you learn photoshop? Can you recommend books, services, individuals that will be more beneficial (and I hope I can afford)?

I really want to improve my skills in this area and I will appreciate any suggestions that you have.

Thanks,
Jim



Dec 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
GCasey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Check out community colleges and other local schools including universities. Several in our area offer a variety of courses. Senior citizens can audit them at no charge.

Camera clubs. Our club has a 15-minute "software snippet" -- mostly Photoshop -- at the beginning of each monthly program meeting and a summary is available on the web site after the meeting. We also have special interest groups and challenge groups where small groups form to study/photograph areas of special interest. Limited only by your imagination and time available. Check out: www.westbridgecc.com.

The "special interest groups" are those who want to focus on a special interest -- macro, video, studio photography, etc. It may be five, or 25. Someone who is interested simply 'champions' the idea and runs with it -- et a date, announce it, coordinate it, etc. The "challenge groups" are formed by three to five members who go out and take photos together of a subject/location of their choosing, do their own processing, and get together afterward to share idea on how to improve their photography.

Two of our camera club members teach classes (small groups) -- one via a camera store, the other at a local senior center. The St. louis Camera Club offers several classes, taught by a member.

The club has also had full presentations on facets of Photoshop at a program meeting.

You can find clubs by doing a search of camera clubs in your area.

A local camera store offers classes.

Hope at least one of these routes will be useful.



I'm learning, very gradually (!), by trial and error.




Dec 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM
mshi
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Knowing what needs to be done to enhance an image is far more important. A good retoucher usually spends the first time slot on analysis of the image to be retouched. Most Photoshop teaching books and videos incorrectly assume you know what needs to be done. To learn Photoshop is a process of learning how each Photoshop's tool works, its limitations and side-effects. That can be done by reading Photoshop's manual, which is online at Adobe's web site. The rest is to practice, practice and practice. No only practice how to use each tool but more importantly practice your eye, so that you can notice a tiny shift of color, hue, saturation, for example, in a landscape or fashion retouching practice and know how to deal with it.


Dec 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


K Eisman's Photoshop Restoration and Retouching has excellent well-explained instructions. While the title may lead you to feel it is too specialized, I did not find it to be so.
If you come over to Critique, folks love to rework images and will post their workflow if asked. Personally I find PS intimidating and rely largely on my LR skills.

Scott



Dec 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Essentially, everything is PS is a product of moving pixel values closer together or farther apart. Changing the pixel Hue (i.e. color), changing the Saturation or Luminance (HSL).


Pretty profound stuff, I know.


But, if you want to get "good" at PS, then you'll want to understand "how the engine runs", rather someone telling you "do this, do that". If that is what you're aspiring for, then I might recommend Dan Margulis books. He digs into color theory on channel basis, @ r,g,b,c,m,y,k,l,a,b. I've got his Photoshop book and his LAB book (Canyon Conundrum). Both are weighted pretty heavily at color theory, and understanding how that allows us to combine, separate, control our efforts.

MSHI made a recommendation to me @ Photoshop Channel Chops as well. I'm still working my way to applying it's concepts @ channels, but it is similar (imo) to the Dan Margulis material in the way that it is about teaching how it works, rather than "do this, do that" that is so popular.

I'm with MSHI @ studying the image to discern what needs to be done. This is where the color theory (etc.) is really beneficial. Then, comes the separation into command & control for making those changes. I set myself a goal in 2012 for learning Layers. My newer goal is to learn Channels. Both of these are most useful in selective adjustments and refining/balancing them.

"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

I must admit, I've not fully utilized the Adobe resources, but I do like the material & style (i.e. not "do this, do that") of both Margulis and Channel Chops. I find they make good partners. Certainly other materials abound ... but I prefer mine to be "old school" such that I learn "why", rather than simply "how to" emulate/copy what others do. They aren't the tell all, end all by any means ... but I find them to be fundamentally sound from which to build upon and retain for reference.

Then, it's all about practice & proficiency, building your refining arsenal of how you execute "command & control" to your style & taste.

+1 @ Scott's invite to the PC forum ... it has been the staple of my growth & exploration, along with Scott and other fellow FM'ers.

BTW ... I came into digital after a 20 year hiatus, so I feel your (learning curve) pain.





Edited on Dec 04, 2012 at 04:37 PM · View previous versions



Dec 04, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


There are many free or inexpensive PS actions available, including here on FM. Plugins hide their activities and steps from the user, so stay away from those.

First see which ones you like by running them on your images and then look at the steps they go through.

Combine this reverse engineering with the help available within PS and from web sites so that you learn what the various steps do and why.

And then practice, practice, practice.... Above all, don't be afraid to experiment and push sliders (or curves) to their max. You might be pleasantly surprised...



Dec 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM
JimKied
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


You guys are really coming up with a lot of good suggestions. The trial and error process is something that I am very familiar with, with emphasis on the error. I think a lot of it has to do with gaining confidence with what I am doing and knowing/seeing what it is I should be looking for.

Knowing what needs to be done to enhance an image is far more important. That is a very profound statement. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. I do know what I want out of the photo, I just do not know the best way to get there. I sometimes struggle with WB (which I try to fix in ACR), I definitely struggle with layers and masks (especially when I am trying to modify just a portion of the image), I want to try blending in a way that there are no halos (struggle with that also), and the whole concept of sharpening is mystifying to me - especially since I definitely do not know what to look for. Sometimes an image looks way oversharpened on the screen to me, but prints very well, other times it doesn't seem like I can sharpen enough and get soft prints, etc. etc.

And you guys are definitely correct - I do not understand what a particular adjustment does - although I definitely want to. It just seems that my repetive trial and error is not really bringing me any closer to the light. Hence my efforts to seek advice. I am definitely going to check and see if there are any clubs in my area. The local college does teach a introductory level of PS, but it is during the day and interferes with the day job.

And some of it has to do with learning the "language." I pick up some of these books - especially those dealing with color theory, and I feel like I need to go back to college and become an engineer or something. That is one of the reasons why I think that if I could have some validation of what I am doing and seeing I would gain confidence.

Keep the suggestions coming. I am checking out the books that have been suggested and I am still interested in any other insights.

I may never create a fine art style landscape print, but I definitely want to know how to process it if I do....



Dec 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM
mshi
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Knowing what needs to be done to enhance an image is far more important. This can be an example.








Dec 04, 2012 at 09:13 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Depending on where you want to take ... it is up to you.

I focus most of my efforts (still learning) @ correction rather than artistic ... but either way, your understanding of what you're starting with vs. where you're trying to take it ... and what tools will aid you in your endeavor, the approach is rooted the same, imo.








Dec 04, 2012 at 10:20 PM
String
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


I would suggest using the Nik plugin suite; it makes PS much more approachable. You can do things in minutes that would take a lot of masking/layers without. After using them for the last couple of years, I cant imaging PS without them.

Other than that, the kelbytraining site is a great resource and well worth the small investment.



Dec 04, 2012 at 11:20 PM
 

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Guari
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


By any chance are you using lightroom??

It is much more user friendly and intuitive than photoshop... granted, there will be many thing syou won't be able to do..



Dec 04, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Jeffrey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


There is so much instructional information on the internet that, combined with a few years of practice, you can get pretty good for free. No matter where you get your instruction, you will still need the years. I'm going on 17 years now. I still have things to learn.


Dec 04, 2012 at 11:51 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Jeffrey wrote:
going on 17 years now. I still have things to learn.


But you don't have to "learn it all" to be good ... yet it does require a time & effort investment.



Dec 05, 2012 at 12:15 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Practice, practice, practice...

EBH



Dec 05, 2012 at 03:07 AM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Go to youtube and search "you suck at photoshop"...it's a good place to start.... :-)


Dec 05, 2012 at 01:51 PM
JimKied
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


I had used Lightroom for a few years. When I finally made the jump to PS earlier this year, I quickly learned that I could do everything I did in Lightroom in ACR. In fact, I really try to deal with exposure issues in ACR using the brush tool to try to bring up underexposed or bring down overexposed areas. And most of the time I am fairly successful.

The youtube clips don't do much for me because most of them are set so that I cannot see the narrator and therefor cannot lip read (although I usually cannot lip read internet quality videos anyway).

I've actually considered using the Nik suite and am still trying to decide if I want to spring the cash for it.

I am willing to and do practice - I just need to know the best way to go about practicing. I feel my current method is pretty scattershot. I would just like to somehow get a method going.

After Christmas my schedule should relax a little and I may pad my membership so that I can upload pics and I will start posting in the critique forum. I'm hoping that will help.

Keep up the suggestions!!

Thanks,
JIm



Dec 05, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Jeffrey
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


RustyBug wrote:
But you don't have to "learn it all" to be good ... yet it does require a time & effort investment.



Correct, Mr. Bug, my point exactly!



Dec 05, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Steve Beck
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


Photography and photoshop learning join kelbytrainig.com. I have been a member for 3-4 years now. pretty much since the first month.


Dec 05, 2012 at 09:49 PM
jim allison
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


I'm no expert at PS but I feel that there is so much there that it will be a life long learning experience. I compare mastering PS to learning to read music AND mastering a musical instrument (not including the drums, which I played many years ago)


Dec 06, 2012 at 01:02 AM
328iGuy
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Need some help learning how to be GOOD at Photoshop


mshi wrote:
Knowing what needs to be done to enhance an image is far more important. This can be an example.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8485/8183934958_60b21e0e4d_b.jpg


These are not even the same image lol??



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:43 AM
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