Friday
Jan
2009
23

Friday News Wrap-Up

by Scott Kelby  |  23 Comments

I can’t believe it’s already Friday. Here’s what’s up:

  • On Tuesday I came into my office and sitting on my desk was something that made my whole week. One of my readers here on the blog had sent in a $1,000 donation check for the Springs of Hope, Kenya orphanage. Talk about being humbled by someone’s genorosity. I continued to be so impressed with the way you all have stepped up to make such a difference for these kids. (Note: I just heard from Molly & Joesph that a shipment of freeze dried meals arrived today at the orphanage—-enough for 60,000 meals! Whoo Hoo!)
  • Dave Cross has had two very interesting folks in his popular “Finish the Sentence” feature; Katrin Eismann, and Dave Cross himself. Here’s the link to give it a quick read (I always find this feature really interesting).
  • There’s an in-depth review of David Cuerdon’s Beauty Retouching Kit online class over at the Pursuing Photoshop blog. Here’s the link.
  • The 2nd part of Ed Greenberg’s amazing series on copyright for photographers is now up online at PhotoshopUserTV.com. This is a must-see series for anyone interested in protecting their images. Here’s the link.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everybody and we’ll see you back here on Monday. :)

Thursday
Jan
2009
22

Thursday News Stuffage

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

Hi gang: I’m back from a couple of days out in California (including a full day out at Adobe HQ), and here’s what’s up:

  1. First, what a incredible post yesterday from photographer and educator Chris Orwig. He had a record-breaking 157 comments, and truly inspired and moved a lot of us. His images were fantastic, his words were powerful, and he really hit one out of the park with his wonderful post. Way to go Chris—you rock!!!!!
  2. National Geographic posted this year’s winners from their popular “World in Focus” photography competition, and there are some amazing shots there. Here’s the link to check out some of the winning images.
  3. Just a reminder: The Photoshop World $100-off Early Bird Special ends in 29 days, so if you’re thinking of going, make sure you sign up now to take advantage of that $100 off the conference registration. Here’s the link to sign up.
  4. Big news: Last week (and this week), we were lucky enough to have Attorney Ed Greenberg, who specializes in copyright issues for photographers, as a guest on Photoshop User TV, and I have to tell you—-it was AWESOME!!!! I learned more about copyright in his segments than I could have imagined, and he is just absolutely brilliant about this stuff. Here’s the link to watch it right on the site. A big thanks to Ed for sharing this incredibly valuable information (and for making it so much fun—-he’s a really engaging speaker!).
  5. We just released a very special online training class on shooting wildlife from none other than the wildlife photography guru himself, Moose Peterson. His class was shot on location in Yellowstone, and he’s just got some amazing stuff to share in this exclusive Kelby Training online class. Here’s the link to check out what he’s covering.

That’s it for today folks. Have a great Thursday and we’ll catch you back here tomorrow for my Friday wrap-up.

Thursday
Jan
2009
22

My Training Sessions at Photoshop World

by Scott Kelby  |  19 Comments

psw09

I’m teaching three sessions at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo (March 25-27, 2009, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachucetts), and I wanted to give you a little background on my sessions.

  1. Portrait Retouching, Part 1
    I did this class for the first time at Photoshop World Las Vegas and it was a huge hit with the crowd. In fact, the #1 comment about the class was they wanted “more!” So, this time in Boston I’ve expanded it to two parts, so I can cover much more ground. I’ll be showing some of the latest Photoshop techniques for making people look their very best, and I’ll be including some more advanced techniques as well.
  2. Portrait Retouching, Part 2
    The first half of this class picks up where Part 1 left off, with a new batch of retouching techniques. Then, in the second half of the class, we’ll pull the whole thing together as I stage a live studio portrait shoot right in the class, and then I’ll take those shots straight into Photoshop where you’ll see the entire retouching process from start to finish. We’ll use the techniques you’ve learned in part 1 and part 2, and you’ll experience right along with me, how to deal with any unexpected retouching challenges.
  3. Creative Print Layouts in Lightroom (or How to show your work in Lightroom)
    This session (open to all Photoshop World conference attendees) is part of “The Lightroom Conference at Photoshop World” and in it I’m going to show you how to use Lightroom’s Print module to design some really creative, clever, and fun layouts that will make your work, and your client’s work, really stand out. Once you see what can be done (and how easy some of these layouts are), it will change the way you show and present your work from now on.

So, if you’re going to Photoshop World, I hope you’ll check out some of my sessions. If you’re not registered yet, you can sign up right here. Hope I’ll see you there!

Wednesday
Jan
2009
21

It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring Chris Orwig!

by Brad Moore  |  262 Comments

1_chrisorwig

Greetings! My name is Chris Orwig , and I’m a photographer, interactive designer and educator. I whole heartedly agree with the acclaimed French photographer Marc Riboud who says, “Photography is about savoring life at 1/100th of a second.” And it is true, isn’t it? Photography enriches, enlivens and expands how we think, what we see and who we are. Photography helps us live more fully, more completely. Having a camera in hand does make a difference. Yet, throughout one’s photographic journey, there are seasons when our passion and vitality dwindles. That’s why we read blogs like this. We’re looking for a bit of straightforward information and inspiration that will further us along. In light of that, here’s a post devoted to providing you with some creative thoughts and anecdotes that will hopefully lead you to creating more compelling photographs – enjoy!

Burn out or Burn Bright
As a photography faculty at the Brooks Institute, I’ve worked with a wide range of students. Some have gone on to accomplish great things – even fame! Others have dried up, burned out and left the field all together. I’ve always been interested in this dichotomy, and it interests our students as well. They are always on the lookout for the secret that will help them excel. A few years back, one student was having his portfolio reviewed by the legendary Jay Maisel.

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The review was fine, yet after it was over the student pleaded with Jay, “Tell me, how can I take more interesting photos?” With missing a beat, Jay volleyed back, “Become a more interesting person.” Or said in another way, as Chris Rainier told me last week, “…at some point photography becomes autobiographical. In order to create better photos, sometimes we need to put down the photography books and magazines. Then we need to go out and to develop who we are.”

Who we are, shapes what we see.

Make the Ordinary Extraordinary
Regardless of who you are or what your do, it is easy for anyone to fall prey to “if only” thinking. If only I had that lens. If only I had that camera. If only I was given that assignment. If only I lived in that town. If only. Yet, to counter such stifling thoughts, many photographers I know use their imagination to redefine circumstances. And right now, I’m not talking about photographically finding beauty in unlikely circumstances. While that is critical, here I’m talking about defining who you are and what you do. Let me explain. Continue reading

Tuesday
Jan
2009
20

Part 2 of the “Dave Hill Look Revisited”

by Scott Kelby  |  107 Comments

OK, today in Part 2 we’re looking at the Post Processing I did to yesterday’s image, and for that I used the new Lucis Art Pro plug-in (which I’m going to mini-review in this same post).

DISCLAIMER: If you hate the Dave Hill look, or you’re tired of it, or whatever…do me a favor—just skip this post. The reason I did the post in the first place is that this is the #1 most-requested technique I get from readers, and I thought I’d give it a whirl. Obviously, this was a huge mistake on my part, because apparently it just mostly made people mad at me (I don’t know why it always has to come to this—it’s just a Photoshop technique for goodness sakes). But since I did part one and promised to show the post-processing, I feel like I should finish it, so I’m going to. However, it’s mean comments like the ones I received yesterday that make me think I should stick to safer topics, like the Nikon D3x pricing and more Lightroom conspiracies. ;-)

lucis-1

Step One: Before you run the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in, you’ll need to do something to soften your subject’s skin, because the hyper-sharpening the plug-in adds will greatly magnify every blemish, spot, or skin irregularity and it looks pretty bad. So, I started by using the Healing Brush. I Option-clicked [PC: Alt-clicked] in a nearby area that didn’t have a blemish (to sample that skin texture), then I chose a brush size just slightly bigger than the blemishes I wanted to remove, then I moved over the blemish and just clicked once to remove it. So, I went through the image and did that first.

lucis-21Step Two: Next, you’ll need to do an overall softening of the skin. What I did for this picture is apply the same type of skin softening I might to a portrait of a woman, but I used a higher amount of blurring than I would normally use. I started by duplicating the background layer. Then I applied a 25 pixel Gaussian Blur, then I lowered the opacity of this layer to 50%, as shown here (so it’s half as blurry). Then I held the Option key [PC: Alt-key] and clicked on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layer panel. This hides the blurry layer behind a black mask (as seen here). Then I changed the foreground color to white, and I took the Brush tool and painted over just his skin. I avoided the edges of his skin or any areas that were supposed to have detail (like his eyes, eyebrows, lips, etc.). This left the rest of the image sharp, but his skin very soft.

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Step Three: Now I applied the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in (shown above). All I did in this plug-in was to drag the Enhance Detail slider over to 65, and then I clicked OK. Simple enough.

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Step Four: Now, the key part of this is Dodging and Burning the heck out of the image, in other words, over exaggerate the highlights and shadows, so the photo almost looks cartoonish (basically, you’re going to make the darkest parts darker, and the brightest parts brighter). If you have Photoshop CS4, you can use the Dodge and Burn tools, because they’ve been greatly enhanced. We’ll start with Burning; after you choose the Burn tool, go up to the Options Bar, set the Range to Shadows (so it just effects the shadows), and lower the Exposure amount to 20%. Now paint over the shadow areas in your photo (like in the folds of his shirt, his pants, on his hat, etc.). You have to really exaggerate the shadows, so you’ll have to paint over the shadow areas a few times, and let it build up a bit.

lucis-5

Step Five: Now switch to the Dodge tool. Up in the Options bar, switch the Range to Highlights, and paint over the highlight areas in his shirt, pants, and along both side edges of him, where the brighter light is hitting. Again, you’ll probably have to paint over these highlight areas a few times to really exaggerate the look.

lucis-6

Step Six: Lastly, you’ll finish off by darkening the edges (kind of an edge vignette effect). I did mine by duplicating the background layer and switching the Layer Blend mode to Multiply. Then I made a rectangular selection that’s about 1 inch in from the image borders all the way around (as shown above). Then I added a 250-pixel Feather, and then hit the Delete key, which knocked a hole out of the darker layer, which gave the darkened edge vignette look. That’s how I did the final image you saw yesterday (and the final shown below).

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Lucis Pro 6 Plug-in Review
I had reviewed the previous version of this plug-in, called LucisArt2, last year, and while I liked the plug-in, there was a problem (one problem for Mac users, one for Windows users). On the Mac, to use the old plug-in you had to launch Photoshop in Mac OS X’s “Rosetta” mode, which is a much slower (but more compatible) mode. This slowed Photoshop down quite a bit, but I’d only run in Rosetta when running this plug-in (unless, of course, I forgot to quit Photoshop, turn off Rosetta mode, and relaunch Photoshop, which I did all the time).

Well, luckily, in the new Batch of LucisArt plug-ins, they all run in regular Mac OS X. On Windows, they completely rebuilt the interface, and now it’s dramatically better. Besides fixing OS stuff, there are a lot of improvements, including a new algorithm that gives better, cleaner results, a better more streamlined interface, much more control over how the affect is applied, and in Lucis Pro 6, you can run the plug-in on 16-bit images (the other, less expensive, and less featured LucisArt3 plug-ins can only run on 8-bit images). So, overall—lots of improvements to the effect and functionality.

That being said, in my opinion there are two really huge problems with this plug-in.

  1. It’s crazy expensive at nearly $600 ($595 US). That’s twice what Lightroom costs and nearly as much as Photoshop CS4 itself (you can buy the full version of CS4 from Amazon.com for $639), for a plug-in that is essentially a “one trick pony.” There are less expensive versions of the plug-in (like LucisArt3), but of course, they have less features and can’t run on 16-bit images, but you can get one of those for around $300 (about the same price as Lightroom). Now, the case can be made that if your clients are willing to pay for this look, then it may be worth the investment, but outside of that, I would have a hard time justifying the high price.
  2. I think Lucis Pro 6 has a bigger problem than the price. It requires a USB hardware dongle. To me, this is the deal breaker. I absolutely would not buy the plug-in because of this requirement (Note: the cheaper LucisArt3 does not require this dongle).  I know they’re doing this to cut down on software piracy, but this isn’t penalizing the pirates—it’s penalizing their highest-paying customers. Plus, if I need to use the plug-in on a laptop and my home machine, now I have to carry the dongle in my case. If I leave it at home, and need it at work; I’m out of luck. If I need to use more than one USB port on my laptop, now I can’t use the plug-in. Ridiculous! I don’t know of a single software product in our industry that has become a success while using a hardware dongle (just ask Quark, who added a hardware dongle to QuarkXPress for a very short time), and I hope the people at LucisArt will rethink this going forward

The Bottomline
While the plug-in does a very good job at what it does, I would have a hard time recommending the product for the two reasons I just listed above. While Lucis Pro 6.0 is a big improvement over its predecessor, LucisArt 2, in just about every way, I think the 400% price increase is way off the mark, especially with the limited looks this plug-in can provide (Though the market will ultimately decide if the price is too high). As for the hardware dongle; for me–it’s the deal killer.

Here’s a link to their site for more details, complete pricing for all three plug-ins with a list of each product’s features, and a comparison of how LucisArt 3 compares with LucisArt 2.

Tuesday
Jan
2009
20

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…..

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

….Author, Brooks Institute faculty member, designer, educator, and Photoshop World instructor Chris Orwig.

Chris is an incredibly talented photographer and engaging instuctor, and I’m just delighted to have him here on the blog, and I can’t wait to see what’s he’s bringing us tomorrow. In the meantime, check out some of Chris’ photography (here’s the link), and make sure you’re back here tomorrow to catch his special guest post.

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