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Digital imaging - Give Photoshop a chance

by Gordon Beddis

Reproduced from in focus 70 (February 2001)

See also: COMPUTERS : SCANNERS and PRINTERS : FINE TUNING by Gordon Beddis

and DIGITAL SLIDE SCANNERS and SCANNING by Brian Pitkin

In this issue I am steering away from the hardware side of digital imaging, focusing on software. While there are many Programs for sale, one in particular stands out and just seems to get better with every version released. It is Adobe Photoshop, now released in version 6. While it is one of the most expensive, it is also the most comprehensive. It is used by most professionals, for image manipulation and is known as the industry standard.

I still use other software programs especially on the PC for quick printing, (this is down to my laziness and not a fault of Photoshop or the PQ; a good example is Photosuite 4, (on the Mackintosh Computer I don't have any problem and Photoshop prints fine).

Such is the depth of Photoshop that no one person knows every thing about this program.

Beginners don't be put off by the complexities of Photoshopi The author of the reference guide 'Photoshop for Dummies'' described the program as having a Jeckel and Hyde character. His interpretation is of a nice, easy-going side, that is friendly and one with which you feel at ease. The other side has a darker, deeper more complex feel that seems to lead you astray and leave you with a sense of being out of control. In fact totally bewildered!

PHOTOSHOP has usually more than one way of doing a task: an easy .way and a complex way, for example:

Colour Manipulation:

Colour Balance is the easiest way to alter colours, by use of simple slider controls.
Variations, has thumbnail photos of the photo you are working on at that time, showing all effects of colour variations, including the original and current print.

Selective colour has more slider controls, which act on individual as well as primary colours; includes black and white.

Replace colour, does what it says, but also altars Hue, Contrast and Lightness. Be sparring with adjustments.

Level, is the hardest, using small slider controls and graph curves to adjust colour. You soon lose your way here and become totally bemused...

Channel mixer, will just (as my college students say) 'Do Your Head In' and I tend to agree: leave well alone, until you have grasped the basics.

There are many other examples all to numerous to mention here and some of little use. Thankfully, all have a preview option, which acts on the main screen so your improvements can be assessed, before you press the O. K button. Also you have a 'History of actions*, which allows you to go back to any previous adjustment.

Some of you will be saying, 'Is this not a form of cheating! To make your work look better, via digital means?' May I remind the sceptics among you, that that is exactly what specialised processing houses can do to conventional photographic media: Dodge, Burn, Copy on to different films, the list goes on... So to display or show your work at its very best potential is it wrong? I leave you to decide. Please give Photoshop a chance, you might even like it...


See also: COMPUTERS : SCANNERS and PRINTERS : FINE TUNING by Gordon Beddis

and DIGITAL SLIDE SCANNERS and SCANNING by Brian Pitkin


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