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17 Photoshop tutorials published
(photo retouching and photo effects)

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PHOTO RETOUCHING IN 21 LESSONS .

Lesson 1. Learning photo retouching (Introduction).

  • Lesson 1. Introduction.
  • Lesson 2. Monitor calibration.
  • Lesson 3. Working with RAW.
  • Lesson 4. Basic image adjustments: Levels.
  • Lesson 5. Understanding Curves.
  • Lesson 6. Understanding Layers.
  • Lesson 7. Layers: blending modes guide.
  • Lesson 8. Adjustment Layers. Layer Masks.
  • Lesson 9. Image modes: RGB, CMYK and LAB.
  • Lesson 10. Advanced Curves. Part I.
  • Lesson 11. Advanced Curves. Part II.
  • Lesson 12. Digital noise reduction.
  • Lesson 13. Selection basics.
  • Lesson 14. Advanced selection.
  • Lesson 15. Retouching tools.
  • Lesson 16. Converting to B/W and duotone images.
  • Lesson 17. Old photos restoration.
  • Lesson 18. Portrait retouching 1.
  • Lesson 19. Portrait retouching 2.
  • Lesson 20. Using actions for automating work.
  • BONUS lesson. Digital photo frames: ideas, creation techniques and LARGE frames collection.
I'm planning to publish at least two lessons a week. So come back shortly for new lessons!

 

We live in the Photoshop era. Take a magazine or have a look at the poster - every fashion model or actress can boast perfect skin and extremely beautiful eyes; vibrant colors, sharp and highly detailed images are today's standard. What makes that fantastic look? Good camera? Yes. Photographer's skill? Yes. Good lighting? Yes.

But one more thing - post-processing - contributes to the quality of the photograph considerably. Every photo printed in a magazine is retouched. Models are not so perfect in real life. Lighting is not good every time. Colors in the original photo may be unsatisfactory. That's where Photoshop retouching helps.

In fact, you don't have to be professional photographer to use Photoshop for retouching. 999 out of 1000 photos may be improved using Photoshop, not only ones used for commercial printing - but also family, pet or travel photographs. Yes, they can be called "amateur" but they are of great value for their authors. These "family" photographs often need retouching greatly, as they are usually shot with cheap compact digital cameres or in bad lighting conditions.

 

 

How to learn retouching? At first glance retouching may seem over-complicated and very hard to learn, especially if you are not familiar with Photoshop. But in fact, every person can achieve significant results in improving images. You may not become a professional retoucher, but "WOW! GREAT JOB!" from your friends is guaranteed.

Most image problems may be corrected using rather straightforward and clear techniques. A bit of analysis (which is the first and one of the most important steps in retouching), then 5-15 minutes for intensive Photoshop tools usage - and your image looks much-much better.

If you want to go further and do more professional image editing, the importance of analisys increases greatly. If you can clearly identify the problem and the "right" ways to correct it, you may achieve the result in several minutes instead of hours.

So the first thing in learning retouching is developing your ability to "see" what is wrong. Give a "problematic" image to 10 people. Some of them may not see a problem at all. Some may say "hmm... something wrong with this image", some may be more specific and say "bad contrast" or "unnantural colors".

You have to "see" what exactly has to be corrected, e.g. "there is a problem with white balance - image is too blue, shadows are not deep enogh, skin has a foreign color tint, blue channel contains much digital noise, sharpening is needed after resizing, eyes have to be accentuated" and so on. If can identify the problem correctly, the ways to correct it are usually obvious.

In general, to succeed in image retouching you have to learn three main Photoshop concepts: layers, curves and channels/color modes. If you add selection tools and unsharp mask filter , you will get nearly everything you need. And at last, actions may increase your productivity greatly.

All other tools (and there are dozens of useful ones in Photoshop) are rather easy to understand and usually students do not have any difficulties with them.

So what you need to succeed in retouching? Passion for learning and a lot of practice are the key to success. Not very original, but 100% true :).

 

 

 

What are the most frequent problems of the image?

Below are the images to illustrate frequent problems that are subject for retouching. These photos are non-professional ones, mostly shot with cheap digital cameras with small noisy matrix and lens of moderate or poor quality. However, they are very valuable for their owners. Usually photos of this kind need retouching most.

 

 

Red eyes. One of the most common problems, and, fortunately, one of the easiest to correct. Several techniques may be used for "red eye" removal - I know at least five.

Move your mouse over the image to see red eyes removed.

 

Animal photos often have "blue eye" or "green eye" instead of red.

Move your mouse over the image to see "green eyes" removed.

 

 

Poor contrast.

It may be caused by different reasons - from bad lighting or poor camera perfomance to influence of time, if to talk about old photographs.

Move your mouse over the image to see contrast adjusted.

 

 

Bad exposure, lack of details in shadows or highlights.

The problem here is obvious: the image is too dark.

Move your mouse over the image to see it retouched.

 

Problems with color. There may be very large range of color problems. Examples here are caused by digital camera mistakes and are rather obvious.

 

 

 

 

Images that need additional sharpening.

From the first glance this photo is ok (except slight problems with sky color).

But in fact the image suffered from resizing. Nearly every image need additional sharpening after it has been down-sized.

Move your mouse over the image to see it after some sharpening.

 

Portrait retouching.

The most impressive implementation of photo retouching is working with photographs of people. That me be "glamour" style of just some slight skin smoothing - but it really makes people look much better, younger, more beautiful.

Move your mouse over the image to see it after some skin smoothing.

 

B/W conversion.

Conversion to B/W is not as simple as it may seem. Just removing color information usually does not provide satisfactory result, contrast is usually poor (as you may see in this example image).

There are various methods for getting good contrast, and some are rather tricky.

Move your mouse over the image to see better b/w conversion.