Creative workflow #1 / 15 comments + post
online tutorials

In this series of tutorials we take the creative process as our primary focus; i.e. rather than just discussing ‘how’ an image was constructed, we will also be considering ‘why’ each change was made, and how each change contributes to the image as a whole. As with our other image-based tutorials, each will also include a thorough technical discussion of any tools or techniques that were employed, but the emphasis will be upon creative rather than technical outcomes – e.g. how each image was constructed to tell a particular story, what each image says about its subject, and so on.


oldest comments first
comment by Roger at 04:03 PM on 3 September, 2008

Another outstanding tutorial David. It's really well written and helped me already to understand some of the thought processes that go into producing such superb images.


comment by Steve at 09:32 PM on 3 September, 2008

This has been worth waiting for. Like many people, I can follow the step by step process with sample pictures and understand the techniques involved. I then open one of my own and wonder what I should do first, adding curves and other layers at random without really understanding what I want to achieve.

I've often looked at David's original and final pictures and thought "How did he visualise it ending up like that?" With this tutorial you've got me thinking a different way - towards an end result rather than a series of random adjustments.

comment by Michel Roy at 01:33 PM on 4 September, 2008

Well done, but it's all stuff you have been talking about in previous tutorials, i really like your stuff, but this one is the same as the free curves tutorial with some digital blending info from others like hdr one.... great but nothing new, sorry, Mike

comment by Justin Photis at 01:51 PM on 4 September, 2008

I like this, yes the technical information contained is stuff that's been covered before but that's the whole point, you can be told all the technical information and you can understand it, but if you can't think about where you want you picture to end up it'll end up a like like a run-away train. Some of the changes David outlined look miniscule, either with the curves or with some of the cloning out, but when they are put in context with his comments you think, yeah, I get why now.
Looking forward to seeing & reading more on this topic. Thanks.

comment by Tim Vailoces at 02:19 AM on 6 September, 2008

Wonderful tutorial, I couldn't help but think what a nice complement Michael Freeman's book, The Photographer's Eye would make to this particular tutorial. If you had a section on suggested reading I highly recommend it as it explains color theory very well and in a major way reinforces what you are teaching. (the section of moving your eye through the image is there as well

comment by djn1 at 03:14 PM on 12 September, 2008

Michael: as Steve and Justin both mention, this tutorial, and others that will be released as part of this series, are about how to implement particular techniques to arrive at a creative outcome; i.e. they're primarily concerned with creative rather than technical issues. I appreciate that these won't extend your technical abilities, but they will enable you to use them more effectively.

comment by Martin at 10:06 PM on 30 October, 2008

I don´t know why I havn´t commented on this tutorial earlier. This is the best tutorial in the way it teaches me the "why´s" in your workflow. I´m really looking forward to more tutorials regarding the creative workflow!

comment by steve deer at 05:50 PM on 5 December, 2008

dave: 'auto align layers' is it new to cs4? can't find it in cs2 or cs3


comment by djn1 at 07:12 PM on 5 December, 2008

Steve: it was introduced with CS3 and is available from the Edit menu: Edit -> Auto Align Layers. I've amended the text of the tutorial accordingly.

comment by paulo castaneda at 03:09 AM on 20 April, 2009

Hi Dave: Love this tutorial. I've always appreciated the consistent "chromasia" look, and wondered what you do to get it that way and why. Thanks for the insight. Seeing your thought process and attention to detail forces me to think through steps that I once would have just plowed through. This is why I signed up for these tutorials. -Paulo

comment by Navdeep Singh at 03:19 AM on 7 September, 2009

Amazing work, I fell lucky to get all this expertise from a professional at a very minimal charge. The only thing I would like to suggest, if possible, is to make these tutorials available as pdf files, so that I can download and learn from them whenever I can.


comment by djn1 at 06:56 AM on 7 September, 2009

Hi Navdeep: thanks, and you're welcome. As for your suggestion: it is something we have considered, but it would break a lot of the functionality of the tutorials (the rollovers, video, and so on). As such - at this stage at least - we don't plan on offering PDF versions. That said, you can print the existing pages for reference.

comment by Muzna at 10:47 AM on 17 January, 2010

These are excellent, and thank you for them. Being an old fashioned type, I also like to read this stuff in hard copies. Is there a way I can print each tutorial as a continuous document rather than have to print each screen page at a time?

comment by djn1 at 02:36 PM on 17 January, 2010

Muzna: Thanks. As for your question: no, not at the moment, but this is something we could easily do. At some point during this year we're going to tidy up a lot of the code for the site so could produce a 'continuous' version of each tutorial at that point. I'll keep you informed.

comment by Jonas (americanvirus) at 10:27 PM on 15 April, 2010

Thanks David. I loved this!! I've been working through all your tutorials in order. I don't mind the repetition of techniques we've already learned, especially since it gives me more examples of how they can be used and to what effect. Granted, I love learning the new stuff as well, but I look at this Creative Workflow tutorial as a very fleshed out version of a Mini PSD. It comes much appreciated. Looking forward to more.