Photoshop Hall of Famer, and legend of Photoshop, Ben Willmore, had a couple of spots open up at the last minute for his upcoming Advanced Photoshop Workshop at the prestigious Lepp Institute for Digital Imaging in Los Osos, California. If you act really quickly, you can snag one of those last spots and spend an incredible week learning Photoshop at a whole new level, from one of the best trainers on the planet today. The dates are October 6-10, 2008 You can read all the details at Ben's site (click here), but the scoop about what he'll be teaching is below. In this class, you'll learn to change the way you think about shooting so that you take full advantage of all the digital tools available. If you haven't changed your shooting mindset (beyond shooting to the right, inspecting a histogram and using RAW),…

Yet Another “Raw Is Best” Rant - NOT!

[ed note; Michael included a video demo with this post, and you’ll find it on the 2nd page—click the “More” button].

As a long time advocate (fanatic!) of shooting Raw format only, my most frequent response to the inevitable question of "why shoot raw all of the time?", is because you never know when the shot of a lifetime will jump into your viewfinder. And given that truth (if you accept it), one would surely want to capture that shot of a lifetime in the best quality format that their DSLR is capable of. And that, of course is raw. The reasons why have been well stated time and time again by Scott, me, and countless others. In fact, while many were still debating the efficacy of shooting raw at all, I created an entire DVD about how to shoot raw faster, better, and easier than shooting JPEG. In that DVD I touched on a subject that kept haunting me to the point where I needed to do something about it. That is why I created the free utility called Instant JPEG from Raw.

First Some Raw History
As many did, I resurrected my passion for photography back when convergence of technology brought together 3MP digital point-and-shoot cameras (in my case the Canon Powershot S20), along with the IBM MicroDisk (340MB), and the Epson 1270 printer. Finally one could go out and shoot several hundred photographs, work on them in the amazing digital darkroom called Photoshop, and print them such that people would think they were looking at a real photograph. It was a grand time of creative resurgence and discovery. This was followed by the biggest moment in the recent history of the digital SLR, the introduction of the Canon D30. It also was only 3 megapixels. But for the first time ever, those pixels were silken and magical, and at worst rivaled the quality of film, and according to many beat it when printed to 8×10 or smaller. It was also smaller, higher quality, and quite more affordable than the then reigning king of DSLRs, the Nikon D1.

Thankfully my wife was insightful enough to convince me to buy the D30 instead of the Canon G1 P&S which had also just been released She said to me that we could not afford the G1 ($1,000) and that I must buy the D30 ($3,200)! She knew in her ultimate wisdom, that a G1 purchase would only have satisfied my gear lust mentality for a week or 2, and would be followed by the inevitable D30 purchase for a total cost of $4,200. Hence we could not afford the G1 <g>. Thankfully it still applies today. D300 vs. D90 - 85 f1.8 vs.85 f1.4. "We cannot afford the cheaper one!" Have I mentioned how much I love my wife?

We only got to know the D30 by trial and error, as there was no authoritative documentation. The early adopters, along with Michael Reichmann and others, banded together to discover the mysteries that lay within this magical camera. Raw mode was one of those mysteries, but the only way to convert raw files (in fact the only way to even view raw files), was to develop/process/convert them in the then immature Canon raw software. One could view very small thumbs in the slow software, but to see the full size 3MP file, it would take about 2 minutes per file. Yup! Two+ minutes per file. No wonder people did not adopt raw early on. No way to even view your files, until after a several hour "conversion" session that completely tied up and/or crashed your computer. And that was just to view the files, before you edited or adjusted them. I went on record at DPReview saying that Raw was not ready for prime time (link). And it was not. But then the magic was discoveredâ¦

The Embedded JPEG.

The holy grail turned out to be that Canon thankfully had embedded a JPEG

You knew it was coming, and sure enough---it's here. Photoshop CS4 is right around the corner (read Adobe's Press Release here), and to give you the first look at the new features, we've launched two new online Learning Centers: (1) NAPP's Free Photoshop CS4 Learning Center This public learning center, hosted by "The Photoshop Guys" (Matt Kloskowski, Dave Cross, and yours truly, along with RC and Corey from NAPP HQ), gives you a first-look at the new features of Photoshop CS4 with videos from the three of us, including an overview video, an exclusive video interview with Photoshop Principal Product Manager John Nack, a "Top-10" New CS4 Features article from RC "New Daddy" Concepcion, and a look at the new interface from Corey Barker. Here's the link to this brand new learning center. (2) NAPP's "Members Only" In-Depth Learning Center NAPP members can dive…

If you're a NAPP member----good news!!!! Along with your next issue of Photoshop User magazine, you'll be also receiving a special free bonus "All CS4" issue of the magazine, with the whole issue---cover-to-cover, dedicated to teaching you all the amazing new features of Photoshop CS4. Each time Adobe comes out with a new version, we at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) produce a special bonus issue for our members, and I have to tell you, it's one of those things we really put a lot of sweat into, and maybe that's why it's one of the things I'm most proud of. That fact that our in-house magazine team can put together two simultaneous issues of our magazine is still amazing to me, and I can't thank them enough for all the extra hours they've worked to make this happen for our members.…

We've been doing Learning Centers now for years, but what RC, Corey, and the Layers magazine team have done with their Adobe Creative Suite (CS4) Learning Center, is beyond anything we've done before. They've teamed up with more than 30 instructors, authors, writers, and Creative Suite experts to bring you a vast collection of videos on all the new CS4 Creative Suite applications, including InDesign, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, and of course, Photoshop. If you're a creative suite user, you've gotta stop by and check out what they've done over there, because it is off the hook. Here's the link to the Layers Creative Suite Learning Center, the most comprehensive CS4 learning anywhere, and it's all free!!!

...none other than the man behind the "Whibal" white balance reference card, and the popular "How to Shoot Raw Without FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)" Camera Raw training DVD, Michael Tapes. I've known Michael for a number of years now, and when he heard a few weeks back that I didn't have a Special Guest Blogger lined up, he proposed a very interesting idea. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but he's on to something that a lot of people will really be into, so make sure you check back here tomorrow to see what Michael will be unveiling. Should be fun! :)