Category Archives Photoshop

Hi Gang. I got an email from one of my readers here asking me to point him to a Photoshop tutorial I did a few years back on how to create a poster layout. Well…I couldn’t find it, so I made a new one (and I’m sharing it with you here). :)

Check out the video, then check back in right below it.

Hope you found that helpful. :)

If you’re a Lightroom user, you should see this…

Over at my sister site, LightroomKillerTips.com I posted a clip from Bryan O’Neil Hughes from the Adobe MAX conference, and it’s the segment where he shows the new program Lightroom CC. A lot of people are talking about Bryan’s presentation – if you’re a Lightroom user, you should at least see this, even if you know it’s not for you, it’s worth watching. Here’s the link. 

Come spend the day with me getting a whole lot better at Lightroom
On Monday I’m in Phoenix, then next month I’m in Dallas and San Diego. Hope I’ll get to meet you at one of my seminars soon. Ticket and info here. 

Hope you have a great weekend. :)

Best,

-Scott

Today, during the opening keynote at Adobe’s MAX Conference in Las Vegas, it’s a day of big announcements, new features, new applications, and just tons of cool stuff! Here’s a brief look at what’s coming:

Above Left: The Lightroom we know and love is now rebranded as “Lightroom Classic” – Above Right: There’s a new Lightroom in town, it’s branded as “Lightroom CC” — it’s Lightroom for “the new generation” (my words, borrowed from Pepsi I think). 

Let’s Start with Lightroom
Lots going on in the world of Lightroom, including an update (which includes a HUGE speed boost in performance, and new features); plus there’s a whole new version of Lightroom!

Today we’re releasing the new issue of Lightroom magazine (Issue #34) published 10-times a year for KelbyOne members, and our cover story is from Lightroom super brain Rob Sylvan, and he goes over the new “Ecosystem” for Lightroom; looks at the new Lightroom CC (who it’s for, and how it works), and goes over the new features in Lightroom Classic. It’s over on our sister site: LightroomKillerTips.com

Photoshop CC gets a BIG update!
Lots of new features in Photoshop CC — lots! (one of my favorites is shown above; the ability to easily edit 360° panos taken with those new 360° cameras that are becoming hot right now), but there’s lots of great stuff throughout, including the ability to open sync’d images from Lightroom from right within Photoshop; a new Quick Share option to get your images directly from Photoshop to social media; big improvements to the Pen tool (including a new Pen tool); Type enhancements; lots of great Brush Stuff; a big new masking feature in Camera RAW, and on and on.

Live “What’s Next in Photoshop and Lightroom” Webcast
Today at 11:00 AM EDT I’m doing a LIVE Webcast for KelbyOne Members to answer questions about all the new Lightroom changes; talk about the new Photoshop stuff, and chat live with members from around the world.

Here’s the link to watch and join in the discussion.

NEW COURSE: “Get Up To Speed FAST on the new Photoshop CC 2018”
Today at KelbyOne we’re releasing my full-length course on all the new features in Photoshop CC 2018, to help our members get up to speed fast! Check out the member’s dashboard today for direct access to this brand new class — there’s a LOT of cool stuff to learn about this major update to Photoshop CC.

It’s an exciting day to be a Lightroom, Photoshop or Adobe Creative Cloud user (lots of new stuff for CC subscribers today, including new applications and updates).

Don’t forget ‘The Grid” at 4:00 PM today with my guest, wedding photographer Justin Wojtczak
It’s going to be a great show – lots to share and talk about. Here’s the link.

See you online today!

Best,

-Scott

Straightening a shot is something that is one of the absolute fundamentals of photography post-processing, yet it’s commonly overlooked. Those of you who catch The Grid every Wednesday with Scott will no doubt be aware that it commonly pops up whenever blind photo critiques are the theme of the show.

To that end, my post for this week’s #HybridDaveTuesdays is about two correction techniques you can use in Adobe Camera Raw before you hop over to Photoshop. I’m Dave Williams, a travel photographer from London, UK, and you can catch my weekly posts right here at ScottKelby.com every #TravelTuesday—feel free to drop me a message on Instagram where I’m @Hybriddave.

It’s fair to say that, this week, I’m writing about something that’s widely considered very basic, and perhaps you’re wondering whether it’s even worth the read. Here’s why this is so important:

An image that isn’t straight, but has every other element nailed—the composition, the tones, the balance, the content—can be ruined or overlooked if it’s not straight. It’s as simple as that. A “Dutch tilt” is, of course, the exception, but a simple degree or two really can be the difference between hanging it on the wall or raising an eyebrow while giving a half-hearted “meh.”

Let’s look at using Camera Raw to straighten. The reason Camera Raw is my default choice for straightening is its ease, its accuracy, and its varied applications of the Straighten tool.

Just last week, I was in Portugal with Scott, so it seems appropriate to use one of my crooked photos from the trip, hosted by Chicki Nandoas the example.

Monserrate Palace near Sintra, Portugal.

As you can see, this shot is crooked. I’ve overlaid a grid to show that the horizon isn’t straight, and it’s having a detrimental effect on the shot because the building looks as if it’s leaning. The simplest method to correct this in Camera Raw is to hit the A key on your keyboard to access the Straighten tool.

Straighten Tool

There are two options from here:

Option 1:

Double-click on your image. This sets the Straighten tool’s automatic process off, and the horizon will be found automatically, and your image straightened to match. This works 99.9% of the time (no scientists were consulted in order to reach this figure, but I’m probably not far off).

Option 2:

The Straighten tool changes your cursor to a kind of spirit level thing. Use this to draw on the horizon yourself, or any other horizontal line in the absence of a horizon, and the image will rotate slightly to set this as the horizon line. Hit Return (PC: Enter), and your shot will straighten.

The straightened crop, ready and waiting for you to hit Return

That’s it! Your crooked image is now straight!

n.b. If you have a bowing horizon, get yourself over to the Lens Corrections panel to fix it. ;)

I know this is so simple, but for some reason it’s so often overlooked. Let’s put it this way:

If you have a straight photo, people ignore the fact that it’s straight and enjoy the other elements of it. If you have a crooked photo, people ignore the other elements of it and focus on the fact that it’s crooked.

Still Monserrate Palace, still near Sintra, Portugal, but straight!

So, for this week, I thank you for dropping by.

Much love,

Dave

I’m Dave Williams, a.k.a., Hybrid Dave, and I’m here every Tuesday for #HybridDaveTuesdays at ScottKelby.com. Some of you know my friend Dodge, but some don’t. So, let’s talk about Dodge.

Dodge and Burn tools are commonly used among Photoshop professionals—the world of design and retouching holds them as basics—yet many hobbyist photographers and retouchers don’t quite get it. But, not getting it isn’t a problem—you may know what a spark plug does, but wouldn’t be expected to understand its inner workings, right? So, why should you be expected to understand the Dodge tool if you’ve never sat in a design class? If you’ve never used it, then this post is an introduction for you, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t because the Dodge and Burn tools haven’t always been as good as they are in the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. I know I keep talking about them, but it’s those Adobe boffins, again! They’re good!

So, let me get back on track and introduce you to Dodge. If you select the Dodge tool, you’re going to use it to brighten areas of your image. You use the tool as a brush and paint into those areas with it.

It’s named after an old darkroom technique, which has been carried into the age of the lightroom. The term “dodge” derives from blocking a part of your negative to block it from the light, resulting in a lighter exposure. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, and you may have re-read that sentence to check you got it right, so try not to overthink it, but look at it this way:

In a darkroom, you start with a negative slide and a white piece of paper. As you expose your paper to light, the developing image gradually becomes darker. So, to create areas which are lighter in the post-process technique, you block (or dodge) the light so that the white paper remains and doesn’t darken.

Crystal clear? It’s upside down thinking because it’s a technique originating from the world of negatives. Let’s not overthink that, though! Just remember: dodge = brighten.

So, here’s a little example: I shot this image in Arizona, somewhere in the Sonoran Desert National Monument area, whilst waiting for the sun to dip towards the horizon to get some drama on the cacti dotting the landscape. The light is pretty balanced, resulting in an evenly exposed shot, but I want to tweak it a little and add some highlights by dodging the main chunk of cactus on the right.

The Before shot

To do this, with the image open in Adobe Photoshop, we should work non-destructively and create a new layer to work on. With this layer selected, press Command-Option-J (PC: Ctrl-Alt-J), and it will replicate with a dialogue box opening giving the option to name it. Name this new layer “Dodge” and hit Return (PC: Enter).

 

Next up, open up the Dodge tool by tapping the O key or selecting it from the Toolbox. If you hit O and landed on the Burn tool or Sponge tool, hit Shift-O to cycle through to the Dodge tool. You’ll see this Options Bar appear up top:

If you look around, you’ll see there’s a drop-down menu labeled “Range,” which allows us to target either Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights with our adjustment. In this example, I’ll tackle the Shadows and Midtones, brightening them but leaving the Highlights as they are. The Exposure field is expressed as a percentage, and as a general rule of thumb when adjusting a landscape, you should set it at around 50%, but for a portrait, go down to around 15%. It really is done “by eye,” after painting a stroke and seeing what effect it has, then making adjustments to your settings as necessary.

What’s worth noting when using this tool is that every time you let go of that mouse button, or every time you pick up your pen from your tablet, it starts again. To add one layer at 15%, paint once; to add another layer at another 15%, paint again. I’ve painted over the entire cactus stalk here at 15% on Shadows and 15% on Midtones and this is my result:

The After shot

The result is subtle, but it’s there. We can use this tool to draw attention where we want it—the stats show that the viewer’s eye is drawn to the brightest parts of our images. In terms of portraits, we can brighten facial features where we need to. It’s a multi-use tool, and a great one to have in our box.

So that’s Dodge. Have you met my friend, Burn? He’s just like Dodge turned upside down, darkening the bright areas ;).

Much Love,

Dave

So, I just traveled to Italy to shoot, and while I was there, as with any sunny destination, I was thinking about what I could actually achieve in the midday sun. When a scene is bathed in even light, regardless of how bright that light is, you can usually deal with it pretty well in-camera. When there’s contrast, it’s a different story, and that story used to end up with a sweaty old guy, holstering something with a film canister in it, explaining the “Sunny 16” Rule.

The Sunny 16 Rule is a method used to cope with harsh sunlight in one frame, and it comes from a time when you could only use one frame. The Sunny 16 Rule is for film. But, the Sunny 16 Rule carried over into digital, quite strangely, and is still taught in an age when we have Adobe Photoshop to deal with these problems. Let me tell you (if you didn’t know) that the HDR functionality of Photoshop has improved considerably, and in the latest CC version, it’s actually pretty awesome. I, myself, have written about the application of the Sunny 16 Rule, but let’s throw that out right now and get to the advantages of bracketing and HDRing, instead, to deal with bright, midday sun.

First off, that “HDR look” us photographers fear is basically gone. The look and feel of a High Dynamic Range image is now much more natural than the overprocessed, surreal, and saturated look we got before. The majority of photographers and retouchers that moved away from Photoshop for the likes of Photomatix to stack images for HDR can now safely move back in. Adobe has basically got this nailed.

I often shoot hand-held—it’s good practice to use a tripod to ensure each image is the same, however, it isn’t essential. If you do use a tripod, I’d personally recommend the 3 Legged Thing range (which I’ve heard is Trump’s favourite tripod), but if you shoot continuous high speed and keep as stable as possible, it’s usually good enough.

With your camera set to shoot bracketed, shoot your series for the scene. Here’s an example of five bracketed shots:

Wine Bar in Verona, Italy, bracketed for your pleasure

Once you get into Camera Raw, and this is very similar in Lightroom, select the images, Right-click, and then choose Merge to HDR.

Wait a moment and let it do its thing, confident in the fact that some clever algorithm is running its 32-bit show, and wait to see the result. Years of development have gone into this, and as I said, the improvements are so significant that this has become a regular part of my workflow. In fact, I’ll HDR more often than not.

The HDR finished shot

Once the photo comes out the back end, you’ll notice that most of the sliders are all over the place. Most notably, the White Balance sliders—you’ll need to fix those yourself.

So long as you’ve taken enough of a range of exposures to cover the dynamic range of the scene itself, you’re covered. Here’s a fun fact: the human eye sees about 13 stops of light. That’s what we’re trying to replicate in just one, flat photo when we take a photo. While bearing that in mind, throw away the Sunny 16 Rule, go with an aperture that suits the look you want, and get the bracketing feature turned on!

Four top tips for bracketed shooting:

  1. Take enough of a range to cover the range of the scene.
  2. Ensure the difference between shots is between one to two f-stops apart.
  3. Take the photos in quick succession to minimise the differences.
  4. Use a tripod where possible.

Essentially what I’m trying to tell you is this:

Use HDR!

It works a lot better than it used to, it gives a much more balanced photo, and the clever little algorithm behind HDR in Adobe Photoshop (and Lightroom) is so, so much more powerful than it used to be. Join the party and show me what you’ve got, and as always, if you get stuck I’m @hybriddave on Instagram, and I promise I’ll help.

Much love,

Dave

Hello internets! It’s that time of week again! #TravelTuesday here on ScottKelby.com is #HybridDaveTuesdays, where I’ll share some top tips on photography and Photoshop from my background in travel photography. Thanks for your feedback from last week—I love hearing from you, keep it up!

Now for this week, let’s have a look at a common theme on Instagram right now. Take a look around and it’s clear to see that a distinct winner among the top photos in the explore section is photos with crushed blacks. That’s to say that the black point isn’t quite black. You only have to check out the likes of @MrWhisper (well worth a follow, a fellow Londonite) to see that the popularity of this technique is standing head and shoulders above the rest.

When describing this look, it’s common to hear ‘retro,’ ‘vintage,’ ‘milky blacks,’ or ‘crushed blacks.’ In Adobe Photoshop, there’s no button labelled ‘vintage,’ but I’ll show you the basics behind this look, so you can apply it to your own images. It’s worth noting that there’s not one right way to do it, but there are a number of techniques which all achieve similar results, depending on the look of your initial image. To put it in it’s simplest terms, it’s basically the opposite of HDR. Instead of increasing the dynamic range of our image, we decrease it. It may seem a little counterintuitive, in fact, because we’ve been rewarded by our favourite camera companies with some fantastic technological advances, which have allowed us to capture a much broader dynamic range, and we’re post processing to reduce it! We have the ability to make the blacks true black in post, then we go and brighten the blacks! This low-contrast look is popular, but it doesn’t always fit, so it’s important to know the right time to use it.

Here’s a straightforward technique that I use in Photoshop’s Curves panel:

We’ll deliberately introduce some clipping to our image using the Curves panel. For the dark areas, bring the left point of the line slightly up, which raises the brightness of the darkest areas of the image, and slightly to the right, which will reduce the detail. To bring the highlights down, do the opposite on the top right of the line.

The Curves adjustment tool can seem pretty intimidating, but if you play around with it to understand what’s happening, it can be very useful and powerful! It represents a histogram of the image, depicting the dark areas of the image on the left and the light areas on the right. The diagonal line is used to manipulate the brightness of different areas of the image.

So there you have it! Tones made simple—a top tip they don’t tell you! Show me how you get on, as you always do.

Much love,

Dave

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