- Mike Hoffman is a designer, artist and photographer who enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom.
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Category Archives: Tutorial
For more than a year, I’ve been contributing Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials to the excellent site TipSquirrel.com. Many of the tutorials I’ve created are in the form of a series, with progressively deeper topics exploring specific Photoshop features.
One of the series I’ve posted deals with Smart Objects in Photoshop – a feature that was added several versions back, and provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and power. Here is a summary of the Smart Object tutorials, I hope you’ll explore them and learn a little more about our favorite pixel pushing program:
- Smarter Editing with Smart Objects
- Smart Objects, Raw Flexibility
- Picture Package with Smart Objects
- Exposure Blending with Smart Objects
- Smart Objects, Smarter Filters
- Nested Smart Objects (Part 1)
- Nested Smart Objects (Part 2)
- Max Stacks with Photoshop Smart Objects
- Noise Reduction with Smart Object Stack Modes
- Creative Stacking Diversions with Smart Objects
- Automatic Tourist Remover – Smart Objects at Play
- Lightroom to Photoshop and Back – Another Way
Get to know Smart Objects; they will become an essential part of your tool box!
Today’s post is all about lines. Straight lines, curved lines, jagged lines, criss-crossed lines, you name it. This morning I saw a ladder, and it got me to thinking about lines, and after that everywhere I looked, I followed the lines, and I encourage you to do the same. By recognizing the lines in a scene, you can take advantage of the opportunity to take a simple snapshot and make it into a great image.
Lines can be interesting or boring, and when they are plain horizontal or vertical, they can fatigue the viewer. When angled and especially when asymmetrical, they can really add depth and perspective to a photo. Consider the way the offset lines draw you right into these images:
Sometimes the lines can be curvy or wavy, but the effect remains – grab your attention and pull it into the scene:
Within nature, we find the same organic trend towards perspective and symmetry.
But, by breaking the symmetry, we impart greater tension, interest and impact with our images:
Take note of the lines in your photographs. Strive to break the symmetry, shoot to add perspective and draw the viewer in. Give it a try!
I’ve recently completed a series of tutorials on Photoshop’s "Blend Modes," which are interesting and creative ways of mixing layers together according to color and brightness of the layer contents. If you haven’t explored this facet of Photoshop, I encourage you to give it a try – there are virtually unlimited ways you can use these capabilities to enhance your images.
You can find my series over at the TipSquirrel blog – where we’re nuts about Photoshop! Pop over and check out my tutorials, as well as those of quite a few other excellent instructors and artists!
My blend modes series includes:
Blend Mode Basics Part 1 – Screen Blending for Lightening
Blend Mode Basics Part 2 – Multiply Blending for Darkening
Blend Mode Basics Part 3 – Layer Styles and Blend Modes
Blend Mode Basics Part 4 – Overlay Blending for Contrast
Blend Modes Part 5 – Overlay Blending for Sharpening
Blend Modes Part 6 – Overlay Blending for Softening
Blend Modes Part 7 – Refining Masks with Overlay Blending
Blend Modes Part 8 – Image Alignment and Analysis with Difference Blending
Blend Modes Part 9 – Creative Difference Blending
Blend Modes Part 10 – Introducing Luminosity Sharpening
Blend Modes Part 11 – Luminosity Sharpening Three Ways
Blend Modes Part 12 – Creative Luminosity Techniques
I hope you find these tips and tricks to be helpful and inspiring!
We see loads of tutorials online teaching aspiring photographers how to retouch portraits of people, but it’s not very common to see one that deals with our avian friends. Nevertheless, retouching in bird photography is every bit as important (maybe more so) than retouching people. Since most birds haven’t had the chance to apply makeup before the shoot, we’re going to have to give them a little bit of help in post production to have them looking their best!
So, join me as we apply a little bit of makeup, mascara, and maybe even (gasp) a little plastic surgery as we retouch our bird portrait – and take it from good to great.
Over in the NAPP forums, last Christmas a user asked about creating textures of pine needles or straw to be able to draw a Christmas Tree. I offered a simple solution using the brush engine, and after a few requests, and enhancements (adding snow) decided to create this tutorial. I posted it on the forums at that time, but now have decided to post it online here for all to share.
Merry Christmas! I hope you’ll enjoy this!
One thing I really love about Photoshop is that it offers many different ways to solve a problem. There is generally no right or wrong way, just another way! And in coming up to speed with Photoshop, one of the key skills you’ll need to develop is creating selections and masks.
As with most other areas of the program, there are many ways to create a selection: ranging from the selection tools themselves (lasso, marquee, quick select, etc), to brushing on a layer mask or quick selection using any of the brush tools (brush, pencil, eraser, stamp, smudge, gradient, dodge, burn, etc) to even alt-clicking on a layer’s or channel’s thumbnail to load it as a selection (opt-click for you Mac users). However, I’m going to set all that aside today, and focus on another way to create complex selections – using paths and the paths panel.
We’ve seen that Adobe Bridge is a very powerful tool for managing many types of files, but with Creative Suite documents, and Camera Raw files, the Bridge is outstanding. This power comes at a cost in terms of system loading, though, and Adobe’s developers realized that not all systems are state of the art, blazing fast systems with unlimited memory. For that reason, they have added some ability to control Bridge’s on-the-fly performance and throttle back some of the processing power demanded, for those occasions when your system (or your patience) just isn’t up to it. One of the ways this is done is by controlling the display of thumbnails in the Content window.
Unfortunately, these settings frequently confuse new Bridge users. I’ll look at this problem and offer some solutions and pointers for taking control of Bridge’s display of thumbnails, and making it work for you.
Today, I have two quick Power Tips for using Adobe’s Camera Raw. These are just a couple of little time savers that aren’t obvious… and if you didn’t know they were there, you could skim right past them without seeing them.
Take a gander at these tips, and I hope they will lead you to further discoveries in the world of Adobe Camera Raw. Should you want to learn more, I’ve added some links to further learning at the end of this article.
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding Adobe Bridge CS4 is, “What happened to Contact Sheets?” They are no longer available as a script, although the Contact Sheet II, Picture Package, and other “missing” scripts are still available for download (Mac). In fact, if you ordered Photoshop CS4 in the box, you’ll find this and other scripts in the “Goodies” folder on the Content disk.
However, the reason these scripts aren’t installed by default, is that they’ve largely been replaced by Bridge’s new Output work space. With this work space, the Bridge developers have taken a hint from Lightroom’s Output Module, and have created an experience that, well, heads in that direction. As you’ll see, there is still room for improvement; but give the new work space a chance – it is certainly an improvement over the CS3 scripts, and I’m sure you’ll see many ways that it will help make you more productive.
When you browse the internet, you create favorites within Safari, Firefox or Explorer, in order to give you a shortcut to sites that you visit frequently. Having these “favorites” saved and organized allows you to navigate quickly and easily to web sites you visit most often, without having to type long and cumbersome URLs into the address bar of the browser.
When you work with Adobe’s creative suite, and manage multiple projects on your computer, you can use Bridge CS4’s “favorites” feature in much the same way as you would create shortcuts in your browser. Bridge Favorites allows one-click navigation to all your commonly used file folders within your system.