Monthly Archives March 2010


Earlier this week I got my hands on the latest version of one of my favorite plug-ins, Topaz Adjust, which now sports a clean, new very, very, very Lightroom-like interface. In fact, if you use Lightroom plug-in version of Topaz Adjust 4, you might not even realize you’ve left Lightroom, as the layout is so similar. That’s not a criticism—you open it and you immediately know how to get around, and how things will work, and that’s not a bad thing. [Photo above by Stephen Gober].

I use the Topaz Adjust 3 plug-in quite a bit, and this upgrade (which is free to existing customers, which is awesome) is a big step in the right direction. Here’s what the gang at Topaz says is new 4:

…includes many new presets, the ability to handle larger images, a new user interface, faster noise reduction, and greater stability.

So far, I agree with everything, except on my machine the stability part isn’t 100% there yet, as it does occasionally crash, but I imagine a bug fix will be on the way soon.

But there are these two little things….
I do love the new interface—-a huge improvement over the old one, but there are two little things that are driving me a little crazy (but, of course, these may just bother me—you may not bat an eye), but to me it seems like they stuck the “OK” button in the wrong place. Instead of putting it in the bottom right hand corner of the window (where everything from phone numbers in print ads to OK buttons usually wind up, simply because that’s where we’ve all be trained to look for them since just after birth), instead it appears below the center preview window.

So, when I’m done editing I keep going over to click where OK should be, but instead it says “I feel lucky.” At that moment, I don’t feel lucky. ;-) But that’s not the weirdest thing. When you launch the plug-in from Photoshop’s filter menu, the dialog you see below appears:


OK, so, ‘Why?” I just chose Topaz Adjust 4 from the Filter menu in Photoshop, so I was pretty sure the next thing that would appear was the Topaz plug-in. I’m not sure it’s necessary to reinforce that. Secondly, it goes on to tell the user that when you’re done with filter click OK or Cancel. If my teenage son read that, he’d say “Duh!”

Those two minor things aside, this is a big step ahead for Topaz in refining and expanding their plug-ins. While I can nit pick some of this little stuff (both of which really just make me kind of chuckle), you can’t argue with the quality it produces; the ease of how it does it’s thing, and the incredible value for the price if you’re buying the plug-in for the first time (and of course, if you’re already a registered user, the upgrade is free).

Here’s a link for more details on the new Topaz Adjust 4.

UPDATE: I just got word from Larry Becker (NAPP’s Executive Director) that NAPP members get 25% off Topaz plug-ins (check the member web site for details).


Hey, if you’re going to Photoshop World later this month, there are just a few tickets left to the attendee party at B.B. Kings Bar & Grill on Wednesday night (the first night of the conference), where my band, “Big Electric Cat” will be playing (featuring Kalebra on Lead Vocals, Felix Nelson on Bass, Tony Llanes on Guitar, Scott Stahley on Drums, and me on Keyboards/Guitar. (The photo above, by Brad Moore, is us playing at the House of Blues in Vegas).

You can get all the details right here. Hope to see you out on the dance floor!


The third installment of my popular “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” series for Kelby Training Online went live this week at Kelby Training Online, and if you can check it out right here.

As always in this series, I do everything from scratch, starting with an empty studio, and taking you through all the steps, from setting up the backgrounds and lighting, then going into the live shoot itself, and then finally through the full editing and retouching process to create our final image.

Hope you guys enjoy the final installment of this three-part series (though I will be adding a new series of segments this spring).


Calvin Rules!
First, before we do anything else, I gotta give some big love to Germany-based Photoshop retoucher Calvin Hollywood who totally rocked that Guest Blog spot yesterday with some killer techniques (I tried them myself—-they rock!) along with some great insights into the job of a full-time retoucher. I loved it, and thanks to all of you who let Calvin know just how helpful his post was. Thanks Calvin—-that absolutely rocked!

Macworld picks in theirTop 5 Design Sites
A big congrats to Corey Barker, the man behind “” as it was named one of Macworld magazine’s “Top Five Design Sites!” I have to say, with the amazing stuff Corey has been doing over there, I’m not surprised. Congrats Corey!

LA Photoshop Down & Dirty Nearly Sold Out!
My buddy, and Photoshop User TV co-host, Dave Cross is taking the “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks” class to Los Angeles this Friday, and there are already nearly 1,000 (that’s right—one thousand!) people signed up for the seminar, so if you want to grab one of the last remaining seats—this is your last chance. Here’s the link (it’s going to be a mind-blowing day—I hope you can make it).

New Episode of D-Town TV Goes Up Today
It’s Thursday—must be time for an episode of D-Town TV (Well, maybe not if you read this first thing in the morning on the East Coast, but more likely later this afternoon). Here’s the link to watch the current episode online.

No Photoshop, but Still B&W
The Online Photographer had a post where they pointed to this flickr page showing what at first glance appears to be a popular Photoshop trick, where you make something in your photo black and white, while everything else is in color (or vice versa), but in this case—it’s not Photoshop. The woman in the photo painted herself, head-to-toe in black and white and well…you just gotta see it for yourself. Here’s the link (thanks to Dr. William J Palank for turning me on to this one).

Stop by and See Me in Amsterdam on Sunday
If you happen to be hanging around Utrecht, just outside Amsterdam in the Netherlands this weekend, I’ll be doing the Keynote presentation, and some Photoshop and Lightroom sessions at Professional Imaging 2010 (they have over 5,000 people already signed up!). Here’s the link with all the details. Hope to see you there!

Twitter not Facebook
Hi gang—just a quick note. I don’t have a public Facebook page (here’s the link as to why), but I do have a Twitter account that I’m dialed into more and more, and I’d love to have you follow there at this link.

Th-th-ththat’s all folks!
Gotta run, but I hope you all have a majorly kick-butt day! See ya tamarra!


My book Publisher, Peachpit Press, has just launched a very cool new project; the Peachpit Photo Club. They invited me as their first guest, and here’s how they describe the whole shebang:

On the third Tuesday of every month, from 8 to 9 p.m. EST (5 to 6 p.m. PST), join us for a webcast featuring your favorite digital photographers, such as Scott Kelby, Chase Jarvis, Chris Orwig, Joe McNally, David duChemin, and many more!

The debut Peachpit Photo Club features Scott Kelby on Tuesday, March 16 at 8 p.m. EST! During this live webcast, photographer and bestselling author Scott Kelby will present some of his work, provide you with some insight and inspiration, and answer your burning questions!

To keep the creative juices flowing, Photo Club members will receive a fun assignment at the end of the session. Members can complete the assignment on their own, or team up with others in their area. Either way, once the assignment is completed, Photo Club members can upload their work to Flickr where your friends at Peachpit, and some of our photography authors, will help critique your work. And of course, there will be a chance for prizes!

The space is limited, but you can register to be a part of the free Webcast with me, right here. Hope to see you there. Well, I won’t see you, but you’ll probably see me, but at least I’ll hear you breathing (OK, actually, I probably won’t, but I’ll know you’re there. Somehow, I’ll just know). :)

calvin hollywoodsm

First of all I really want to thank Scott and his team for the great opportunity to write here about myself and my work.

I am Calvin Hollywood, Photoshop Artist located in Heidelberg, Germany. My major focus is to take photographs of people with the emphasis on the digital image editing with Photoshop.

And there we are right in the middle of the topic: I am addicted to Photoshop :-)

By the way, you are addicted too if:
–    you wake up after a wild night in the bed of someone and you think “STRG + Z”
–    you don’t get older, just harder to retouch
–    you order the meat in your favourite restaurant “RAW” to adjust it yourself
–    your apartments walls have 50% gray color

But what can you do in Photoshop if your starting point material is not really good? I try to get as much done when photographing and only if I can’t get further with photography I start with Photoshop.


I started photography and image editing in 2005, and since then I have continuously worked on my skills. When friends went to parties, I partied with Photoshop. And the great thing is: It was a lot of fun! Because I learned everything by myself I relied on the Internet, books and training DVDs. These media have been very effective for me and I consumed nearly everything on the market.

In 2006 I started to work with the Photopartner and “Lightguide” I am still working with today. Together we form a great team allowing me to focus on the picture and the image editing.

The work for hire I do contains a lot of portraits of artists and musicians. I love to take pictures of people who are (as I am) very passionate and live their passion.

scotty 76sm


But if you want to reach known artists, you have to have a great portfolio of your work. In the beginning I created my portfolio based on pictures I took of friends and family. For these pictures you don’t have pressure regarding time and success – they allow a lot of experimenting.




My pictures all have an artificial look. Many people think that my pictures are painted. But I really can’t paint, believe me. I shoot my pictures with the camera and give them “the look” in Photoshop.

Likely this is not what most people mean by „photography“, but it is in fact a big part of my imagination.

The techniques I am using for my work are no secret.
I have published more than 7 video tutorial DVDs on the German market and one on the English market. In these publications I explain my techniques and strategies in detail.
I host more than 50 Seminars each year and I am worldwide on the road for companies like Adobe, Wacom, video2brain, etc.

It would be way to many words for this blog article to explain my entire library of techniques, but I would like to explain some selected ones to you.

If you have and further questions please don’t hesitate to send me an email!

The Double RAW Conversion
Most of the time I am converting my RAW files twice.
For this I am using a very thrilling method which I have explained in this YouTube video.

Rarely I am removing color casts, but many times I am adding color casts to my images.

For this I am using in most cases an adjustment layer „Hue/Saturation“ and the layer blending mode „Soft Light“.
Additionally I activate the check box „colorize“ and then give the image a warm color cast.

color looksm

Freaky Details
In order to get all the fine details out of an image, I am using a very freaky method. I would like to show you a short tutorial for this. It has been created during the production of a video tutorial project.

There are so many easy techniques which have major impact on the picture. I think that it is the many small changes to an image, which create the final picture. In my opinion playing with the pictures it is very important and I really suggest it to everybody.
Combine some filters and blending modes.
Try to understand Photoshop.
Don’t underestimate the basics.

Sometimes I am also editing pictures for other photographers, who love the painted and illustrated look.
Below you can see an example of a retouch I have performed for the photographer Martin Krolop.


My style works especially well if there are a lot of structures and details in the RAW file. That’s why I like to use photos of men a lot :-).

But if I am working on a fashion project, my work-for-hire mainly leads me to female models. But it is also important for me to keep my personal style there.


i willsm

It is important to edit the pictures in the individual way of your own emotions.
There will always be people who don’t like what you did.
Stick to what you like and have fun doing it!

I believe that especially in the beginning it is really fine to copy techniques from role models or industry leaders.
I did that all the time in the past.
Copying style and techniques gave me a goal to reach and helped me keeping me on track for my target.
The personal style will automatically appear over time.

I also think it is laughable and absurd to try to keep personal techniques secret.
Photoshop is a tool and the perfect picture is not created by Photoshop.
The feel for the image and the experience working with the tools is separating the wheat from the chaff.

Thank you very much indeed for your interest, and remember: if you have questions you can always drop me an email.

Warm regards,

You can see more of Calvin’s work on his website. If you’d like to see more of his teaching, be sure to check it out here!