Adobe® Photoshop® CC: The Complete Guide

 

Lesson Info

Camera RAW

Week One, here in our sessions we're going through. We've already done Starting From Zero. That's where I showed you, if you've never been into Photoshop before, how do you get kind of oriented with the way it's laid out. You can customize it a little bit. Week Two, here is what we're going to be getting into. Lots of great topics there. Things like, whenever I mention tonal versus color, tonal means brightness adjustments, things that don't affect color. I'll get into retouching, masking. Week Three, we'll progress further, get into some creative things like filters and blending modes, and we're gonna wrap up with Week Four, where we're going to get into more advanced functions, like advanced layers, actions, all that kind of stuff. But today, we're just in the second day out of 20, so we're just ramping up slowly, and we're gonna today get into Adobe Camera Raw. Adobe Camera Raw is where we're gonna be able to adjust our images. In a lot of images, you'll be able to use just this too...

l and nothing else to finish, maybe up to 70% of your images. Then, you'll only need to go further on those images that need a little extra work. So, let's jump right into Photoshop and get started. This is what Camera Raw looks like. I already have an image in it. I'll show you how to get to this in a moment, but just so you know, anytime I refer to either Camera Raw, Adobe Camera Raw, or ACR, which is just abbreviation for Adobe Camera Raw, I'm referring to this screen right here. And the same is true whenever you're on the internet and you see anybody mention ACR and Photoshop, that's Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. This is a one-stop spot for adjusting your pictures, and the reason why we love Adobe Camera Raw is because if we did not have it, we'd have to open an image into Photoshop and we would have to access literally about a dozen different choices in Photoshop. Different menu choices for adjustments to find the same functionality as what's right here in one window, so it's kind of a one-stop shop for adjusting your pictures where you don't have to go all over a whole program. It's all in one window. It's really nice. Also, all the changes you make in Adobe Camera Raw are easily undoable, because everything we do in here, when it gets saved, it saves it as only text, and all the text says is if you move like in here, there's an exposure slider, it simply writes down, exposure, plus two, because that's where you moved it to, so the next time you open the image, it just moves the slider back to that position and kind of reloads in those settings, so the changes we make to our images in here are not permanent. We can always change them, and that's one of the great things about Adobe Camera Raw because after we leave Adobe Camera Raw and we get into the main area of Photoshop, that's not true. We have to go out of our way to make things so they're easily undoable and changeable. It's very easy to do things in the main area of Photoshop that are permanent, but not so here in Camera Raw. So, let's figure out how to open our images in Camera Raw and how to work with what's in there. I should mention before I get into it too deep though that if anyone watching owns another program called Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Lightroom also, obviously from Adobe, is an alternative to Camera Raw. Adobe Lightroom incorporates all the exact same adjustments that you're gonna see me use here in a few minutes with Camera Raw, but does it in a separate program called Lightroom. The advantage of having Lightroom is not only does it give you the adjustments found in Camera Raw, but it also allows you to organize your pictures, and the thing that's the most special about it is when I point Camera Raw to folder and tell it to show me what's in this folder, not only does it just show me what's there, it creates a catalog that stores preview images of what all those pictures look like, and what that allows me to do is disconnect the hard drive that contains the original huge images and to leave that at home, and I can grab my laptop and if all I have is this little file called my Lightroom Catalog file, I can travel with that laptop and I can view all the pictures that I've ever had Lightroom look at and it allows me to view them and organize them, even though the huge original files are sitting at home on a different drive, and that's a massive advantage. So, if you happen to own Lightroom, I should mention that you could use it to completely replace the program I'm using called Bridge, and to replace the feature I'm about to use called Adobe Camera Raw, and you could just substitute Lightroom any time you see me using Bridge or Camera Raw, but I'm gonna use Bridge and Camera Raw here because when you are talking about Photoshop, Photoshop comes with Camera Raw. Photoshop does not come with Lightroom. You can get a package where you can get them both together, but if you have Photoshop, you have Camera Raw, and Bridge is a free program we can use, so I know everyone watching this class, if you have Photoshop, you have access to Bridge, you have access to Camera Raw, so we're using that. If you happen to own Lightroom, anything you see me do here in Camera Raw, you're gonna find the exact same sliders in Lightroom, and I would do the adjustments there, and for me, personally, I do use Lightroom for all my images when I adjust them. The time I use Bridge and Camera Raw is when I'm working other people's files that I don't want to see again when I'm done with it. You know, I'm just gonna adjust their files, give them right back to them, and I don't want it to be in a catalog file that I travel with, that kind of thing. I just want to show you first a few before and afters so you can get an idea of what kind of transformation you might be able to make with your images, and so, I'll just open a few images. I'll show you in a moment how to get them open, and here is a before version, and with Camera Raw, I can transform that into a after that I like more. Here is a before version, and here is my after. That's pretty dramatic. Here's another before. Here is my after. Here's another before. And here is my after. If you happen to go into Camera Raw to a little tab over here on the right that is known as Snapshots, you will have a snapshot that will usually be named Ben's Version, and that, if you click on it, will load in the settings I would have used when adjusting the picture so you can compare your end result to what I would get, and so it's a really nice kind of learning opportunity where you can practice as much as you want, compare it to what I would get. Maybe you'll do better than what I did, but it'll probably take you a little bit of time before you get better 'cause I've been using these tools since they were invented, so you know, I'm pretty good at it, so I'll click Cancel there. I'm gonna say not to save those changes, and let's just start using Camera Raw. First, the way you can get images into Camera Raw is there are a couple of different ways. It's called Camera Raw so it's designed primarily to work with raw files. A raw file comes from a digital camera where when you go in the menu system in your camera, you can tell it to record either jpeg or raw, and if you choose raw, the letters on the end of your filename, known as the file extension will be different depending on what brand of camera you use. If you use a Canon, you might get some that say, I think it's CR2 on the end of it. If you have a Sony, I think it is a, I don't remember. It's either arw or awr, something like that. If you have a Nikon, it'll be dot nef, but each camera manufacturer will end in a different set of letters. If I have a raw file, simply double-clicking on the picture will cause it to open Camera Raw, and I don't have to do anything else, just double-click, but Camera Raw can also be used to adjust jpeg and tiff files, so if you have a jpeg or tiff file, then, when you double-click on it, it won't automatically open it in Camera Raw, because there's no raw data which is what Camera Raw was originally designed to work with, so if you have a jpeg or a tiff file, click on that image and go up to the File menu and choose Open in Camera Raw, or just get used to the keyboard shortcut of Command + R, for raw. That would be Control + R in Windows. So in this case, I have a few files. Also, you can select more than one image and then type, Command + R, and you'll be opening more than one at a time in there. We'll do that in a few minutes here, so first, before we actually work on a picture, I'm gonna work on a simplified image that looks like this, just so we can get an idea of what the various sliders do in Camera Raw, then we'll see how those sliders affect an image. So since that's not a raw file, I'll go to the File menu and choose, Open in Camera Raw, which will cause this to come up, and now, on the right side of my screen, we have a bunch of adjustment choices. We're gonna take a quick look at the basic ones that are in here, then we'll start applying them to our pictures. So at the top, or near the top, I have a choice called, Exposure. In Exposure, we'll control the overall brightness of your picture, so if the entire picture is too bright or too dark, Exposure is where I want to go because when I move it to the right or to the left, the entire picture is changing in brightness. If the change that's needed doesn't need to happen to the entire picture, instead, the problem with your image is isolated to only the bright areas or only the dark areas, then we have two other sliders that are called Highlights and Shadows. If I move the Highlights slider, watch what happens on the right side of this image where the bright tones are. I move it to the right, they're gonna get brighter. Move it to the left, and they will get darker, but if I radically move this around, you'll find the dark part of the picture barely changes at all. It only changes enough to make sure that the changes we're making to the bright part of the image blend in to what's left in the rest of the image. If I come down here to Shadows and I move it, watch what happens to the dark portion of the image. I can brighten it up, or I can darken it, but if I do that, look at the bright part of the image, and notice, it's barely changing at all, so that tries to isolate the dark portion of the image. We then have another slider, it's called Contrast. Contrast controls how large of a difference is there between the brightish areas and the darkish areas. If I increase it, brighter areas get brighter, darker areas get darker, so there's a greater difference between the two. If I lower it, the bright and dark areas will become more similar to each other. That means the bright areas will darken up as the dark areas get brighter, and so, if I lower it, you'll see that if you look across that whole middle portion, aren't most of these shades looking very similar to each other, whereas when I move it in the opposite direction, they look quite traumatically different. This'll make more sense when we're working on a real picture. For now, we're just trying to get a sense for the individual sliders. We have three more sliders to talk about. We have the Whites slider. If I bring up Whites, watch what happens in the bright portion of the image. You see how more and more areas are becoming solid white? And if I move it the other direction, you'll find that those bright areas are getting darker. Now if I didn't have any solid white in this image, if this here was five percent gray, let's say, instead of white, when I move this towards the left, it would be getting darker. It's just when it's solid white, it tries not to mess with it. If that was at all darker than white though, it would darken along when I'm moving this. The Blacks slider, watch what happens when I move it to the left. Look at the dark areas. You see more and more areas becoming black? If I bring it up, it will lighten those dark areas, so we really have two sliders that work on the really dark part of my picture. We have Shadows, and we have Blacks, and we have two areas that work on the bright part of the image. We have Highlights, and we have Whites. I think of Whites and Blacks as being what I would call, finishing techniques. When I think I'm totally done with my picture, then I go in there and decide, do I have enough of the image White? Do I have enough of the image Black? But it's rare for me to need to move those two sliders at the beginning of an adjustment. Doesn't mean I never do. It just means that I almost always do at the very end. We have one more slider to talk about, and that is Clarity. When I increase Clarity, watch what happens on the transitions between each shade. Bring it back down. See how it gets kind of glowy around the edge? It's trying to exaggerate the difference between the various shades, and when you do that on a normal picture, it makes the detail pop out. I think of it as kind of enhancing the textures that are in your image, like the really fine details, so if you have wood grain in a door, it'll start to pop out. Where you have somebody's skin, I probably wouldn't want to bring that up too high 'cause it's gonna bring out every little crease and detail in their skin. So now, I'm gonna click the Cancel button and let's start adjusting real pictures. I have a bunch of raw files in here. Just so you know, the letters D-N-G stand for digital negative, and that's Adobe's version of a raw file. You can convert just about any other kind of raw file, like if you have one from a Canon camera, or a Nikon camera into .dng if you want to. That's a personal choice. I do it here for class because during the process of doing that, you can choose to have it scale the images down a little bit, and it can have some, what's known as lossless compression, or lossy compression, meaning that it can make the file sizes a bit smaller, and I do it for the class files because otherwise, if I give you 30 high resolution raw files, it starts filling up your hard drive pretty quick, whereas if I give you some that have been scaled down a little bit, you can still practice with them completely fine. They still work just like a normal, full-size raw file but they don't clutter up your hard drive like crazy. So, that's why these happen to be dng files. So when I use this tool, I usually look at my image and I simply ask myself, what's the biggest problem with the picture, and I try to tackle that problem first. Once I've tackled that problem, I just repeat the question. Now, with the first problem solved, what is the next biggest problem, and I keep doing that until I either run out of problems, patience, or time, and whenever that happens is when I'm done. So, in this particular picture, I notice that, two things, that you could think of the entire picture as being too dark, or if you don't mind the way the sky looks right now, you might think that it's only the dark parts that are too dark, and so, it depends on what your mind would think of. If your mind said the whole thing's too dark, go for Exposure, because Exposure controls the brightness of the entire picture. If, on the other hand, your mind said only the dark parts were too dark, then I would go to the Shadows slider, 'cause it isolates the dark parts. So when I glance at this, I'm thinking, the whole thing is a little bit, did I say, too bright? I meant, too dark. Sometimes my brain doesn't pick the right word, so I'm bringing this up until I start liking the brightness of some areas, brought up Exposure. That brightened the entire image just a little bit. Now I think the problem is isolated to the dark portion of the image, and therefore, I'll stop moving the Exposure slider, 'cause I no longer want to affect the entire picture, and I'm gonna start moving instead the Shadows slider. I've got to move it all the way up. And now, I'm thinking it looks pretty nice. If you want to see before and after, there's an icon that is near the lower right corner of your image, and it looks like little sliders. It's the icon closest to all these adjustment sliders we've been working with, and if you click it, it will reset all your sliders to zero them out, as if you have no adjustment, and if you click it again, it will bring the adjustment back in so you can just click and let go, click and let go again to see what before and after. And if I need to make further changes, I can work with more sliders. So we had a slider called Contrast, and Contrast controls how big of a difference is there between bright stuff and dark stuff, and I might try it on this. I'll just grab Contrast. I'll move it up, and then, move it down and see if I can find a setting I really like, and just a teeny bit of additional contrast, I happen to like. Then, I might want to get the fine details in the image to pop out, so that the individual blades of this grass or whatever it is here, and the little details in the tree might want to come out and that's what Clarity is for, so I'll bring Clarity up and see if I like it. You gotta be careful, though, when you have something like a tree against a blue sky, because if you happen to remember what happened when at our simplified document, didn't it make the edges of the little bars that were in there kind of glow? Well, if you think about that with a tree and a sky, it can make it feel like there's just a hint of a glow around the tree. It's not always a bad thing, but you need to just make sure you don't overdo it. Sometimes the novelty of a slider, it gets overused. You're like, wow, this is cool, and you know, a year later, you're like, this is no longer cool. It's normal, I use it every day, and then, you no longer overdo it. Then we have a few other sliders. A couple we haven't talked about and some of those are down here at the bottom. It's Vibrance and Saturation. With both of those sliders, if I move them towards the right, it's gonna make the image more colorful, and if I move them towards the left, it will make it less colorful. The difference between the two is Saturation treats all colors equally, whereas Vibrance doesn't treat everything equally. Vibrance is more aggressive with blues, because it thinks everything in your picture that's blue is a sky, and it just knows the sky's, blue skies look so much better when they're nice and colorful. It also darkens blues quite a bit, so I wouldn't overdo Vibrance if somebody was wearing a blue shirt, because it's gonna make it really vibrant and darken it. Instead, I'd use the slider below, but the other thing that Vibrance does is it makes the biggest change to the mellowest colors, though I shouldn't say it that way. It does less and less of a change as it gets into the more colorful areas. That means it's harder to overdo Vibrance. With Saturation, you could bring it up where colors start to look very artificial. An area that used to already be pretty colorful suddenly looks so artificial it doesn't look like a photo, but with Vibrance, since it mellows out as it gets into the more colorful areas, you can push it up quite a bit. In those areas that are already pretty colorful, they don't usually get overdone, so I'm gonna bring Vibrance up and see what it does here. I'll just bring it up, bring it back down to see the difference, and I can see the green grass and the blue sky becoming more colorful. I'm gonna click the Done button. In the lower right, we have three buttons. The Cancel button would cancel these adjustments. It wouldn't remember that you did them at all, so if you really screw up an image, hit Cancel. The Open Image button would open this image into Photoshop. Right now, we're not all the way into Photoshop yet. We're in a plugin that's known as Camera Raw. It comes with Photoshop, but if I hit Open Image, that means I need to make additional changes that I can't do in Camera Raw that I need to use all the features in Photoshop for, and if so, I'd click Open Image, but if I'm done with this adjustment right now and I don't feel like making additional changes in Photoshop, I just want these changes saved to the image, so the next time I open, it will remember them, but I don't need to open it all the way into Photoshop, then I click Done. And so, most of the time when we're working here, I'm gonna be clicking Done each time. Let's work with some more images. Now just go to the next one, double-click. When I glance at this image, my brain says it's too dark, and I think it's too dark almost everywhere, so I'll take Exposure, 'cause that controls the brightness of the entire picture, and I'll bring it up. Once I get to about there, I start getting to the point where the sky is gonna get too bright if I go further. So I switch down here to this slider called Shadows because that's the part that I think is still too dark, so I grab Shadows and I move it up. There we go. Then I want the detail in the image to be boosted so I'll bring up Clarity. Clarity is gonna make that detail pop. If the sky bothers you, if it's a little too bright for you, you could then go to the slider called Shadows, and move it down. Pretty much with most of these sliders, moving it to the left darkens, moving it to the right brightens. Most of them. The image is not very colorful, so I could come down here near the bottom and bring up Vibrance, see what happens. And if I want to see before and after, remember the icon near the lower right. Before, not very usable. After, a lot better. And if there's still things you don't like about it, we could do more, but I want to work on a bunch of pictures, so I'm gonna click Done to say that's good enough for now. Now just so you know, there is a limit to what you can do. And in this particular case, this is what the camera captured. It was taken right after the one we just worked on a second ago. I adjusted my Exposure settings, took a second picture. You will find that if you have something that looks like it's white in Camera Raw, if it's a raw file, oftentimes you can get detail back in that area. There's actually more detail stored in a raw file in the highlights than it originally shows you. If it's a jpeg file, on the other hand, that's not true. If an area looks white on screen, when you try to darken it, it just turns gray with no additional detail coming in, and that's one advantage of shooting in raw format. There's additional detail in your highlights that you don't originally see, but there's a limit. If I bring my Highlights slider down, I brought it all the way down just now. That should darken my highlights. I didn't see anything change. Maybe I adjust the entire picture to see if I can get anything out of the sky. I'm moving it down as far as I can go. Detail of the sky is just turning gray. There's no real detail, other than the left side. So there is a limit where on a lot of images, you'll get areas that look as if they're white, and when you bring the Highlights slider down, suddenly detail just magically pops in when you couldn't see it before, but then, there's a limit to it where suddenly, your camera, if you get it to capture something bright enough, will blow out the detail there. There'll be nothing captured whatsoever, and then, we can't do much to get it back. We could always grab a different sky, and using Layers in Photoshop, we could pop in a replacement, but this image, I'm gonna give up on, just because I want sky detail and I can't get it. If I want to, I could fine tune some of the settings just in case I needed this, but overall, I consider that image is overexposed so far that there's no usable detail in the sky. Here, in case you don't know what we're doing, we're in a building looking up, and there happened to be a domed ceiling with a little uh, I don't know what you'd call that little area, but a little area with windows up there. I like the shape of it, and so, I captured it, but I wanted to see what was in here, because in that area, there were, you'll see once I adjust the image. It will reveal what was in there. When I look at this image, I like the portion up here, but I don't like this area, because the reason I took the picture is so I could see what was in that area along with this round part. Now, the problem though is isolated to only the dark part of the picture. I like the bright areas, so that's why I'm not gonna go to the Exposure slider, 'cause Exposure controls the entire picture. I will, instead, go only to the Shadows slider. If I bring it up, and I bring it up as far as I can, I didn't really see a change happen. I'm actually surprised by that. Well, I can see a slight change happen, so instead, I have to think about which other sliders might help me, because the one I thought would help is maxed out. It's as high as it can go. So what other choices do I have in here. Well, doesn't Contrast control the difference between bright stuff and dark stuff, and so, if I wanted less of a difference, I could lower Contrast. Once I bring that down, I start to see some detail in the dark part of the picture. But sometimes, what you expect to help doesn't, and you have to go to extremes, and in this case, I think I might need to go to extremes. If I really want to see what's there, if I look at the sliders that are left over that would affect the dark part of my picture, I do have the Blacks slider, but Blacks is mainly useful for forcing more areas to black, but I could try it. That's gonna bring out a little bit. I mainly use that at the end, but in this case, it happened to help near the beginning because there was more of an extreme adjustment needed to that dark portion of the image, and if it's an extreme that's needed, I might need to go to that particular slider. We haven't talked yet about adjusting color, but if I find the color that is in here to be a little bit less than I desire, like here, to me, this looks a little yellowish, and if that's the case, up here, we have some sliders called Temperature and Tint, and I can move them so if I have too much yellow, you see yellow on the right side over here, just move this slider away from yellow. Even though you're moving it further into blue, it's not that your, that portion of your picture is gonna look too blue, and I could see what would happen if I move it over there. Or if I want it to be more yellow, I could move it towards the right. Personal choice, and how you'd like the light to look. Do we have a question? And so, if you've gone too far on any one of those adjustments, how do you actually get it to go back to center? If you decide you didn't like one of the adjustments you did, 'cause you were just experimenting and you're like, nope, that didn't work, you can manually move the slider back to the middle to get it back, or any one of these sliders can be reset to its default setting, and you can do that by double-clicking on the slider, so I'll just move my mouse on top of the slider, double-click, and you'll find it snapped back to the middle. Then you could always type the Undo keyboard shortcut, which is Command + Z to see what was that like before and after, just that one slider. And if you type Command + Z or Control + Z in Windows more than once, you're just going in between what you had before in Reset, and so, I can see that I like what it did. And you can do that with any one of these sliders in Camera Raw, just double-click on it. I have a question from the internet. Yes. Kozmob would like to know, are there as many details hidden in the dark areas as there are in the light areas. In other words, is it safer to overexpose or underexpose? Your camera captures more detail in the bright portion of your image than it does in the dark. Also, in the dark portion of your image is where all the noise is hidden, and when you brighten up the dark portion of your image, you're making that noise easier to see, and so therefore, some people would say it is better to overexpose your images than underexpose, but if you hear people say that, then people end up habitually overexposing. You want to make sure you overexpose with a very, if you're gonna overexpose that you have a very strong caveat there which is without blowing out the highlights, meaning without the highlights going to solid white, because you remember that one Buddha statue where I couldn't get the detail back in the sky? Well some people set their camera to like overexpose by a half a stop, and that's what they have it do every time they shoot, and if you do that, you're gonna have a larger tendency of blowing out the sky to solid white, so I try to expose properly, which a lot of the times, if I'm doing it for digital and I want to optimize things, I could say, capture it as bright as I can without getting near losing the detail in the brightest part. And so, in my camera, I have it setup so if anything blows out to solid white, it blinks. It's sometimes known in your camera's menu system as the highlight warning, and it makes it so it blinks if something turns white, so that you could shoot it as bright as you want without having areas blink. The areas that you could have blink are areas that are so bright it would hurt your eyes to look at. The noonday Sun. The reflection of the sun on some water where you get the really bright highlight. Those would be fine, but everything else, I would attempt to maintain detail, which means not blink. Here is an image that I captured in Antarctica. This is Elephant Island, and when I look at it, I notice that it just doesn't have much contrast. There's not a great difference between bright and dark. That's the first thing my brain thinks of when I look at it is not a great difference between bright and dark, so the slider in here I might consider would be Contrast, and I could bring it up, but this is an extreme image, and bringing Contrast up isn't really helping, and one of the reasons for that is because unlike in Photoshop, when you learn about your adjustments there, there we'll talk about an adjustment that can do contrast changes that you can really target to very specific brightness ranges within your picture. The Contrast slider found both here and anywhere else you find the word, contrast, is relatively generic, and it's gonna take all the bright areas and make them brighter, and all the dark areas and make them darker, but this image is full of only bright areas, and therefore, the entire image changes. The entire image gets brighter, so contrast isn't gonna help so much here. So I have to think about what would I like to use. Well if I think the whole image is too bright, I could start with Exposure, bring it down until I think the brightness is starting to get close to what I want. This is an extreme image, so I have to think extreme, and that is I might say the dark areas aren't dark enough. If so, Shadows works on the dark areas. See if bringing it down will help. And in this particular case with an image this extreme, this is one of the few instances when I would actually use the Whites and Blacks sliders from the beginning. If you remember, the Blacks sliders, doesn't it force more and more areas of your image to black? Well nothing in this picture, I don't think, is black yet, and so, if I bring the Blacks slider towards the left, it's gonna make the darkest area of the image even darker, even darker, closer to black, and hopefully, I'll get pretty close. Then, I could try to adjust the bright areas of the image with Whites to say, well how bright should the brightest areas be? And I'm starting to like that more. But this is one of the images where you mainly have to experiment. You have to look at all the little tools in your head, which means all the sliders you know how to use, and say, what can I do to really kind of fix that? But if you ever have an extreme image, what you really might want to do is come in here and click Auto. Auto is gonna try to get you to a starting point by moving a bunch of the sliders for you, so let me show you what it would do to this particular image. I'm gonna first get back to the original default settings. One way to get to the defaults is to go near the right side of your screen where there's little bars, just above where all the sliders are, these little bars I can click on, and there's a choice called Camera Raw Defaults. If I choose that, it'll reset every single adjustment slider in here as if you've never adjusted this picture before in your lifetime. That was just above the sliders on the right side, there's a symbol that if I click, I get a menu, and that's where I can get to my defaults. Let's click Auto. It did most of that work for us, didn't it? And look at how it did it. Didn't it adjust the Whites and Blacks? Same thing I was doing, and it brought up the Exposure, and down, or down the Exposure and up the Contrast. I think that's almost the exact same sliders that I used moving in the exact same directions. Well, I find Auto is most useful on really messed up images where the starting point is just bad, where you're gonna have to move so many sliders to get it fixed that I hit Auto to get it started. Then I fine tune it with the rest of the sliders, but I find that Auto doesn't do as good of a job if the image is close to good looking to begin with. If it looks pretty good to begin with, I don't start with Auto. It's for when it looks terrible. So at this point, I might find that the image looks a bit too blue. If that's the case, that's what Temperature and Tint is for. If it's too blue, move this slider away from the blue side. And I'm just gonna move it, 'cause if I move it too far, it's gonna look too yellow, and so somewhere in there will be where the sky doesn't look too blue but I still get a hint of blue everywhere else. Somewhere in there. Then, if I wanted to pull out a little bit of detail, I can bring up Clarity. And if I want to make it more colorful, I could bring up Vibrance. You gotta be careful because Vibrance is overaggressive with blues, and in this case, we have a little hint of blue in the sky, and so, if I bring up Vibrance too high, the sky starts looking like it thought it was a blue sky and it's not. It's more of an almost fully overcast. So that's when I might use the alternative, because whenever Vibrance just is too much, I'll try Saturation. Doesn't mean Saturation will be able to be boosted a lot, but in this particular case, I might like it more. You want to see before and after? We have the little icon near the lower right of your image. If I click it, there's our before. Here's our after. Now this has sensor dust specks in it. Do you see a black circle near the upper right? There's another black circle over here. That's because I changed my lens when I was here in Antarctica. It was really windy and snowy and stuff right before we got to this part, and when I did it outside, it was just no getting to a clean area where I could change lenses, but I had too wide of a lens on and I would have not been able to capture an image like this had I not. At the top of your screen, you have a bunch of tools across the top. One of the tools looks like a paintbrush with a few dots around it. If I click on that tool, that's designed for getting rid of those little specks. You can change the size of the setting over here on the right side of my screen, so I get a smaller brush. What you want is a brush that is just the tiniest bit larger than the problem, and you can change your brush size also using your keyboard, if you use the square bracket keys. They look like half squares, and if you use that, you can also change your brush using the keyboard. As long as that circle doesn't actually touch that spot, instead, it touches the surroundings, then when I click, it will choose from another area in the picture to copy from and it'll cover up that spot, and so, I'm gonna do that to a couple of the spots that I see on my screen. I think I see another one there. And I'm gonna call that good, for now. I'll click the Done button, and let's work with more images. When I look at this image, the first thing I think of is the bright area is too bright, and if that's the case, my brain, the way it works, is I think about what do the sliders mean, and is there any slider that targets the area where the problem is, so if it's only the bright area that's too bright, wouldn't it be the Highlights slider that would be most helpful, possibly? And if so, I will turn that down and see if my sky gets to look a little different. The next thing that my brain thinks about is this area, at least to my eye on this screen, and the video output is not calibrated to my screen, so your color could look a little different, is I can see a hint of blue down here that I think is a little too much, so do you remember that slider called Temperature? Where I could move it away from blue? Now, if I move it too far away from blue, it'll start looking yellow. That's why there's yellow on the other side, but I'm just gonna try to move that a little bit, and I'll move it back and forth and back and forth until I like the amount that I have in there, and it was a subtle change. You might not have noticed that. If you're not used to thinking about color and color correction, your brain probably hasn't been trained to look for little subtle problems with color, but from my eye, I like that. I wanted the texture to come out in here. Anytime I want to bring out texture, that's Clarity. Clarity brings out the textures, so I'll bring that way up. I usually try to move a slider too far to begin with and then back off, because you just never know if going a little bit farther would still help. If you move it up until you just like it without going beyond that, you don't know of the potential you have, if you could have gotten even more, so I'll do that. Then, let's talk about my finishing adjustments. I mentioned earlier that I adjust Whites and Blacks mainly at the end. I think of them as the finishing adjustment, and here's what I end up doing. I find my images look best if we have a small area of black in it. If I don't have a small area of black, if I display this picture next to another picture that does, the picture without the little area of black can look dull, because it's not using the full brightness range that the screen or your printer could use. There's a trick to making sure you have a small area of black. If you move your mouse on top of the slider for Blacks, and you hold down a Shift key, usually double-clicking on a slider resets it to its default but if you have Shift held down, it means adjust this automatically. It's the same as hitting the Auto button that was up above, but saying, don't do it to all the sliders. Do it only to this one, and by holding down Shift and double-clicking on Blacks, it'll pull that Blacks slider over to make sure you have a small area of black in your picture. You can do the same thing with most of the other sliders too. I'm gonna go up to the Whites slider and I'm gonna do the same thing. Now, I almost always get a small area of black in my picture but a small area of white isn't always needed, so what I'll do is I'll hold Shift and I'll double-click on Whites while I look at the picture to see if I like it better that way. And I didn't mind it, so I'm gonna leave it, but sometimes when I do that, the image looks way too bright in the bright areas, and if so, I'll go and grab the Whites slider and back off on it, and I think of where it moves the Whites slider to as being the maximum I might want to use, and then I just back off until I like how bright the brightest area is, but on my images, whenever I think I'm done, and I'm about to click OK, or click Done, I double-click on the Blacks slider and 95% of the time, the picture will look better. The Whites slider, it's maybe 30% of the time where it looks better, and otherwise, the Whites slider is not as important. Each person has a different view of what a picture should look like, so you might think this still needs more. Maybe you want to come down here to Vibrance, and bring it up to get it more colorful, whatever, until you like it. Then, with this image, I want to share with you a little trick, kind of a mindset trick, you could say. When I look at this image, I think the bright areas should either become so bright that they turn white, so I ignore them, or I want them to be dark like my eyes would have seen. You know, my eyes wouldn't see that. My eyes wouldn't see something almost have no detail in it like that. But my camera does. So in this case, I want to bring the Highlights slider down, but when I do, I get it all the way down as low as it can go, and I still don't like the bright area, and so, I want to show you how, if you happen to max out the Shadows or Highlights slider, how you can somehow get it to go beyond that. I wish I could set the Highlights slider to negative 150 right now, but I can't. It's maxed out, so here's what I'll do. Whenever I max out either the Highlights or the Shadows slider, I will go to the Exposure slider, and I'll move it in the same direction that I wish I could move the slider that's maxed out, so it's Highlights that's maxed out, I'll move this towards the left, and I'm only gonna look at my highlights when I move it, my bright areas. I'll move it until I like how bright those highlights are. Let's say it happens to be there. I wanted it more like what my eyes would see. The problem is the Exposure slider affects your entire picture, so that means I wanted to only change the bright areas, but it changed the whole thing, and what that means is now, the dark areas are too dark. So anytime you use that trick, you have to now compensate by grabbing the opposite of the slider that's maxed out and moving it in the other direction, so if we've maxed out Highlights, the opposite of the Highlights would be the Shadows. You move it in the opposite direction that you were moving the Highlights until those areas go back to normal, or they just go back to how you like them. You know, normal doesn't always mean the way you like it. So I'm gonna click on the icon near the lower right of my image to show you the before. Before. After. That's an extreme adjustment. That's crazy extreme, but that's because this is a raw file. Raw files have more detail. What happens is a raw file contains thousands upon thousands upon thousands of brightness levels between whatever the brightest and darkest is. A jpeg file has no more than 256 shades. A jpeg file falls apart relatively quickly when you attempt to do changes that are this extreme. They won't look as good. All right, now let's start looking at some other areas of Camera Raw that we have yet to explore. On this image, I tilted my camera up because this little tree, which you probably can't tell, but it's full of shoes. That's what cost, brought my attention. I picked up my camera 'cause I wanted to capture it. It was above my head, so I had to tilt my camera up. I didn't have a ladder to get up to the same height, and because of that, you notice the vertical lines in here that in real life would be perfectly straight, vertical or not. Well, on the right side of my screen, we have many choices, one of which is supposed to look like the glass elements that make up a lens. It's right above the word, Basic, and if I click there, then we're going to find some choices related to correcting problems created by your lens. And I'm gonna turn on, go in there and turn on a checkbox called Enable Lens Profile Corrections. That's gonna do some stuff. What it's going to do is sometimes you'll find little color fringing on the edges of objects where it looks like there's almost like a little red line around the edge of something that wasn't in the scene to begin with. That's known as a chromatic aberration. It will fix that. But then, there are other changes I can make. There's a choice over here called Manual, a little tab, and in there, there are some icons that are collectively known as Upright. I'm gonna click on the letter, A, which stands for Auto and let's see what happens. Do you see that it tried? If I click on the No symbol to the left, here is before. Click on the A, and it tried to get those lines to be closer to vertical, but it didn't quite correct it enough. Then there are some icons over here. This icon, to the right of the letter A, tries to make horizontal lines perfectly horizontal, so if your camera was not level, it would try to level it out. The icon to the right of that concentrates only on vertical lines. It tries to make vertical lines perfectly vertical, and that did a much better job. And then, the final icon on the far right, you know it tries to do both, horizontal and vertical lines, and you can try to do that, and that kind of straightened it out 'cause I shot that at an off angle. I was a little bit too far to the right or left, so this line here is not perfectly straight, but with that last icon, it's pretty close. Now when it did that, you see this checkerboard show up? That checkerboard indicates an empty area where it just, you didn't capture anything out there after the correction. So, there's a couple choices I could use to fix that, but the main one I would use is at the top of my screen where all the tools are, there's a crop tool, and I'll just grab that, come over to my image and I'll click and drag to define what part of this image do I want to keep, and I'm gonna just simplify it down to that. When I'm done, if I want to get out of the Crop tool and I just clicked and dragged across my image to get this rectangle show up and I can fine tune the edges. I'm going to switch then from the crop tool way over to the left, to the hand tool just to get out of that tool so it doesn't show me that rectangle. It's gonna continue showing me the rectangle until I move to a different tool. So now, that looks much better as far as it's straight. It doesn't look like I tilted my camera up and now, I just want to adjust the picture, so what I have are the various icons on the right side of my screen for our adjustments, all the things we've done thus far have been done under the one on the far left, which is the Basic tab, and when I look at this image, I don't like how dark the tree is. The tree is a dark area in the image, so I think of that as the shadows. I'll bring my Shadows slider up, and you see the tree getting brighter. I can adjust either experimenting with the other slider so let's try Contrast. See what happens if I increase of decrease it. Maybe I want to make the details pop out with Clarity. And if the image looks a little too yellow or too blue, remember, you have Temperature and Tint. You can shift between those. And if you happen to have any area in your picture that you recognize that you know would have no color whatsoever, in the actual scene, meaning it's any shade of gray, from black to white, everything in between, you can actually go to the upper left of your screen, just to the right of that hand tool, and there's an eyedropper tool. If you grab the eyedropper tool, it's designed to click on areas that should not contain color, and when you do, it says, well is there any color in this area, and let's say, when I move my mouse on top of this area, there was a little hint of blue in there, and Photoshop measured it and found that out. When you click, it's gonna move the Temperature and Tint sliders, so if there was a little bit of blue in that area that wasn't supposed to have color, it'll move this slider away from blue until the blue goes away, so I'm gonna click on this door up here, and it was a subtle change, but it ended up adjusting the picture a little. That's known as White Balance. You can get fancy in here if you'd like. The other tabs that are in there, one of the tabs, it's the one, two, three, fourth one, if you're starting on the left. Here, you're gonna find individual colors listed, so let's say, I went to the tab under here called Luminance. Now, I can adjust how bright, luminance means bright, the orange things are, or the red things. Do you see that, all the shoes in that tree changing now? I could say I want the greens in the image to get brighter. See the tree changing a little bit now? You also have a tab under there called Saturation. In there, all I could say, make all the yellow things less colorful. Make that wall go black and white even. Or make the greens get more colorful. And then, the choice called Hue will let you shift the basic color of things, so if the shoes are red and you want it to be a different color of red, we can move this, make orange shoes or more purplish shoes. Or if I want the wall, which are yellows to shift a little bit, I could fine tune the color using that. So oftentimes, I go in there to fine tune. But I'm gonna say I'm done with that one. I wanted to just show you an example of when I mentioned the little red haloes you can get around images, here I'll grab the zoom tool in the upper left of my Tool panel, and I'll click over here to zoom up on this picture, and I think this has relatively obvious areas that are, have those haloes. If you look on the edge of this, and I'm typing Command plus and minus as another way of zooming in, but can you see a green edge right there? A red edge in here? There's green there. There's red there. It just looks like it doesn't belong at all. That's what's known as chromatic aberrations, and to reduce or eliminate them, you go to the tab that looks like the little glass elements that make up a lens. It's right above the word, Basic. And under the little tab called Profile is where you'll find a little checkbox you turn on and it will attempt to correct for that, but in this case, it looked like the image disappeared. I'll show you why in a moment, but let's see. Taking just a moment here to figure out. There is another checkbox here under the tab called Color called Remove Chromatic Aberration. That's gonna specifically target those colors. You see the difference? So if you ever see those, turn that on. In fact, you might want to turn that on for every image you ever open. Then here, this was taken with a fish-eye lens, which is why the tops of these things are bent. In the checkbox found under the Profile area, which I'll turn back off, called Enable Lens Profile Corrections is gonna try to correct for any bending that the lens did. If you ever have a lens, you take a picture of a building and what should be vertical lines look like they're bowed outward, or bowed inward, and that's what you have, and it's due to your lens. Here I happened to shoot this with a fish-eye lens. Turning on this checkbox will attempt to correct for it. This is a fish-eye though, so the edges of the picture aren't gonna be very usable afterwards. If you turn that on with a fish-eye lens down here near the bottom, there are some sliders, one of which is called distortion, and if you brought it all the way down, it would say don't correct for the bending, or you can tell it how much. So there are all sorts of other settings that are found in Camera Raw, but here, we're only gonna spend one day on Camera Raw, whereas in my Lightroom boot camp, I wish I'd remember how many days we spent, but I'm guessing we spent about five days, that's my guess, maybe even more, covering all the features that are in here. There's so much you can do, but if we spend that many days on Camera Raw, then we're not gonna have enough days to get into the real, what I would call the meat of Photoshop, and since so many people are coming from my Lightroom boot camp, which I just finished up, where we spent a whole month learning Lightroom, and Lightroom has all these adjustments in it, those guys have already seen how to use all this stuff that's in Camera Raw, so here, I'm gonna give you one day of Camera Raw, and then, we're gonna concentrate the rest of the days on this stuff built into Photoshop. Know though that whenever you see me open an image, and I use the features in Photoshop, assume that I have adjusted the image already with Camera Raw. With every image I ever open, I first try to get as much as I possibly can out of it using Camera Raw before I open it in Photoshop. And for about 70% of my images, that's all I need. I just don't need anything more than Camera Raw. But for those 30% of images, Photoshop is essential, and that's why we'll be spending the rest of our time in Photoshop. Now, when you purchase the class, know that you're gonna get a bunch of extra images. Here are some of the extra images that will be challenge images for you to adjust using Camera Raw. And when you click on one of those and you open it in Camera Raw, you can experiment and adjust the picture, and then, if you want to see what I would have done, in the little icons above all your adjustment sliders, if you go to the one of the far right, that's known as Snapshots. You're gonna find something called Ben's Version, and if you click on it, you'll see what I did when I adjusted that picture. It doesn't mean mine's gonna be better. Everybody has a different idea of what a picture should look like, but I have been using Camera Raw since it was invented, and so, I've got a lot of experience with it, so if you're brand new to Camera Raw, mine might look better than yours, but you might have a completely different idea of what pictures should look like, so you'll probably come up with something different. Then, just a little bit more about working with Bridge with raw files. The images that you get with class are a special kind of raw file called a .dng. If instead of working with .dng files, you're working with a raw file that came directly out of your digital camera, so the file extension on the end is like cr2 is you're Canon. It's nef if it's Nikon, or whatever. There's all sorts of varieties. Then there's something you should consider, and that is, if i look at my images in Bridge, do you notice how some of the images have a small circle just above the thumbnail on the right side. For instance, this one up here. This one down here. The one over here. Do you see that little circle? That little circle means that that image has been adjusted using Adobe Camera Raw. If you don't see that circle, the image has never been adjusted with Camera Raw. So therefore, if you're working with a folder of images, you want to know, which images have I adjusted, and which ones have I not, look for the circles. That tells you, have been adjusted. In this particular case, the images don't look very good because what's been adjusted is all it means is I went over here to where it's called Snapshots and I added the Ben's Version, but once I added that, I went to the side menu and I went back to Camera Raw Defaults, so it had been adjusted and it's stored within the file. It's just kind of hidden in the file, but that means that it's storing some Camera Raw settings with that file. Now a raw file is a file that Photoshop doesn't want to change, because raw files that came from your camera manufacturer are proprietary. There's no manual you can get that tells you exactly how the information was saved within that file, and there's no official method for adding stuff to that file. If Adobe were to add the changes that we just made in Camera Raw to that file, it might break the file, so it could now only be adjusted by this Adobe software, and if you tried to put it back on a CF card and put it in your camera, or you tried to use the software that came from your camera manufacturer, it would look at it and go, what's this extra information in this file that Photoshop put in there, those Camera Raw settings. And it would make it so since it doesn't understand it, it might not be able to adjust it, or open it, so because of that, when you're working on a raw file and you apply Camera Raw adjustments, it actually creates an extra file on your hard drive. If I right-click on this file, there's a choice called Reveal in Finder. On Windows, it'll have a slightly different name, Reveal in Explorer or something Windows, but that'll actually bring me to my operating system and show me this folder. In here, I have my raw file, but then, below it is this extra file. It ends with the letters xmp, but otherwise has the exact same filename as my image. That is the Camera Raw settings. It's only 15 kilobytes in size. That's tiny. That's like an email that has only text in it, you know. That's where it wrote down where the sliders ended up, so all I wanted to mention was if you're working with normal raw files, and you adjust them in Camera Raw, you're gonna find extra files in your folders. Don't throw those away. If I throw that away, break it down here to the trash can, and then, I return to Bridge, you see that little circle on this image? Oh, that wasn't the image I was working on. It was this image up here. Do you see our little circle disappeared? I'll do it again for this image down here. I'll say, Reveal in Finder, and I'll throw away the file that's got the exact same filename, but ends in xmp. Did you see that circle just go away? I threw away my raw adjustments, and if I had actually changed the picture to make it look dramatically better, it would suddenly go back to the way it originally looked before you adjusted it, so don't throw away those xmp files. Now know though, the files you have for class are dng files. Dng is Adobe's version of Camera Raw, and it's fully documented. You can actually download a file from the internet that describes exactly how everything's saved, and they thought through how other people might want to use the file format, so they came up in the file format with ways of adding information to that that's official and supported, so that we can, we don't need that little xmp file if we work with dng files, so the files that I have, you see all those little circles on them that indicate we've had adjustments? But if I actually go and look at them on my hard drive, you'll find that there are no extra xmp files sitting in there, and so, that's one advantage of the file format that's called dng. And so, I wanted to make sure you knew that, so if you ever look in a folder of images after you've used Camera Raw, and you went and saw the xmp files and went, what are these? They're cluttering my image. Don't throw them away. Those are your adjustments. And one final little word of warning. If you happen to have a jpeg file, you can adjust a jpeg file with Camera Raw, but know that it didn't change the original. It only added text to what's known as the metadata, the same place where it records things like your shutter speed and your camera model attached on your image, it put in the same kind of area the adjustments you made in Camera Raw, but it didn't change the original file, so be very careful. If you have a jpeg file and you crop it, you're sitting there with your buddies partying and there's some thing going on off on the side you don't want anybody else to see, but you crop that out. You just want to show this part over here, and you email that file to somebody else. If you made the changes in Camera Raw, the changes are only saved as text and if you send the file to somebody else, and they're not viewing it here using Camera Raw, they're gonna see the original picture which will be uncropped, so what you need to do is if you open a file and it's a jpeg, you want to give that jpeg to somebody else, but you want it to have the adjustments you've made incorporated, then when you're in Camera Raw in the lower left, do you see a button called Save Image? You can also use this with raw files. If you want to give a file to a friend, and they don't need the raw file, you want to give them a jpeg. Click that. This comes up. It looks like it has a lot of settings, but the only thing you need here is what file format do you want, and it'll even let you scale it down if you come down here to Resize to Fit. I can say I don't need a full-size one. And up here, it asks where. I'll say in the same location. Hit Save, and now, you're gonna have a copy of that file that's a jpeg that has the settings that we applied incorporated, so now, I still have my raw file. That's the one I'd keep, my master file, and I also now have a jpeg that I can email to somebody else. The main thing in that screen though where it said, Save Images, about your settings, you don't have to set them all, but the very top is where do you want it saved. In the middle is what file format you want, and at the bottom is do you want to resize it to not give them a full-size picture, and if so, you can do it there. So when it comes to Camera Raw, it's my favorite adjustment, because I can do so much on one screen. It can so dramatically change the quality of my image that I can finish literally 70% of all my pictures using only that one screen, and so, if you ever see me open an image in Photoshop, you might see Camera Raw show up for a second. I'd just click, OK. Imagine I've already adjusted the picture. Don't think I ever skip Camera Raw. It's where I start and hopefully where I finish, and only for those images where there's not a feature in Camera Raw to handle something. Do I need to head all the way into Photoshop and learn all those features, and so, for those of you also that use Lightroom, everything you just saw me do in Camera Raw, if you own Lightroom and that's where you store your pictures, do these changes in Lightroom, and only when there's something you can't do in Lightroom, do you need to pop into Photoshop and keep going, all right? And if I'm a Lightroom user, I still use Camera Raw, but only when it's an image I don't want to have in my Lightroom catalog. A friend just showed up and said, I got these pictures that look terrible. I'm like fine, put the stick drive in my computer. Let me take a look. I pop open Bridge, I look at them, I use Camera Raw to adjust them, and if they have raw, I just give them back the xmp files that were created. If they don't have raw, I hit, Save Image on the lower left of raw, and I save out jpegs for them, and there you go, done, and I take out the stick drive and I never have to see those pictures again. I didn't want them cluttering up my Lightroom catalog. Tomorrow, we're gonna get into selection essentials, and if you're brand new to Photoshop and don't now what selections are, a selection allows you to isolate very precisely an isolated area of your picture to say, I only want to adjust somebody's eyes, or their lips, or I want to remove the background behind somebody's hair. Those, in order to do those kinds of tasks, you need selections, and so, that's what we'll get into, but between now and then, why don't you head over to Facebook, and if you're not in our Facebook Group yet, go to this web address. You have to ask to join the group. There's a button there that asks for you to join. It'll take just a little bit of time. Sometimes it takes, you know, a few hours, or even a half a day for us to approve you, because it's a private group. The private group means that if you post anything in the group, only other members of the group can see them, and we did that so that your clients that might follow you on Facebook, they're not gonna see your posts in this group, unless they are also taking this class and have chosen to join that group, but that way, you can say, I have no clue how to adjust in Camera Raw. What's this thing, and your clients are going, what? I don't want to hire these people because they're saying they don't know what to do here, so that was the problem if we had an open group is all your followers would see your posts. If you want to find me online, you got many different places you can go to. Love to see you there, and this has been your second episode of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. We're just getting started. I hope to see you guys tomorrow.

Join one of our best software instructors, Ben Willmore, to learn how to work effectively in Photoshop. Ben has made a profession out of teaching Photoshop and has been doing it for over twenty years. 

In this series, you'll learn:

  • Retouching
  • Compositing
  • Masking
  • Layers
  • Troubleshooting 
You'll also learn how Photoshop's adjustment capabilities are essential and how they go way beyond what is available in Adobe Lightroom. By the end of class, you should feel proficient in the workings of this complex program. If you've been paying for Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan every month and only use Lightroom, then it's time to take full advantage of your investment by learning Photoshop.

Don't have Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!


Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)
  • I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)
  • I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!