Our primary aim for our Photoshop tutorials is to show you how to use Photoshop to transform your photographs into powerful and compelling images, but mastering a variety of Photoshop’s tools and techniques is only a part of the story, a story that wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of digital workflow. In these tutorials we will be discussing a wide range of supplementary topics – from optimising exposure, through processing your RAW files, to the long term storage and retrieval of your images – all of which will provide you with a detailed guide to establishing an efficient and effective digital workflow within which to embed the post-production of your images.
In part one of this series we concentrate on two interrelated topics, both of which will provide you with the knowledge you need to maximise the quality of your initial images. First, we discuss the benefits of shooting RAW images rather than in-camera JPEGs. The topics covered in this section of the tutorial include: colour conversion; setting white balance and colour temperature; initial sharpening, the application of tone curves during RAW conversion, adding contrast and saturation, the importance of bit-depth, why you should avoid JPEG compression, and the benefits of preserving your latent images, i.e. your original RAW data. Second, we discuss two issues relating to optimising your initial exposures: i.e. avoiding the loss of data through overexposing an image; and how to ensure that your exposures capture the maximum amount of data.
In part two of this series we cover three main topics. First, we discuss choosing a workflow model; i.e. whether to use a range of stand-alone packages or an integrated solution such Aperture or Lightroom. Second, we briefly discuss importing, categorising and organising your images. Third, we cover a variety of techniques you can use to help you decide which of your images to work with, and which to delete.
In part three we begin our discussion of one of the most important aspects of an effective digital workflow – how to convert your RAW files to optimize the quality of your final images. This will include a detailed discussion of Adobe Camera Raw (Photoshop’s built-in RAW converter) focussing on: producing technically optimal images; evaluating and correcting exposure; highlight and shadow recovery; setting the white balance; straightening, cropping and retouching an image; using the clarity slider; and altering the saturation and vibrance of an image.
In part four we continue our discussion of how to convert your RAW files to optimize the quality of your final images. This section includes a detailed discussion of: using the Tone Curve tool; working with Smart Objects; using the HSL / Grayscale controls, Split Toning an image; and using the Lens Correction tool to fix chromatic aberration and add or remove a vignette. This tutorial also includes a discussion of some of the new features available in Camera Raw v5: the Targeted Adjustment Tool, the Adjustment Brush, and the Graduated Filter.
In part five we discuss a variety of three alternative RAW processors – Capture One Pro, DXO Optics Pro, and RAW Developer – illustrating their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to Adobe Camera RAW.
In subsequent tutorials in this series we will work through a range of further topics including: Colour management; Post-production within Photoshop; Noise reduction; Output (e.g. web and print); and Digital Asset management (i.e. storage and archiving).
Please note that some parts of this series will be published as supplementary tutorials, alongside a given month’s image based tutorial, while other, more complex sections, will be published as the sole tutorial for that month.
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