What Makes a Good Photoshop Tutorial?

Good Photoshop tutorials should introduce the same concept and principle you are using as a graphic designer. Writing, after all, is somewhat related to design. Both have a purpose to communicate with an audience. Keeping that in mind is a surefire strategy to grab the reader’s attention. Here are a few values you need to acquire.

Technique. A good tutorial should impress the readers with its rarity. Dozens of tutorial writers on the web are vying for the readers’ trust and interest. There are readers who just need to learn something new. Some of them might just want to create a design that they can brag about. Try giving them what they ask for by experimenting.

Get inspirations elsewhere. There’s nothing wrong with picking up a few techniques from a movie poster or an album cover you’ve seen. Truth is that nothing is original. Interpretations are what matters in this post-modern world. As a designer, everything that we do is a recreation of other people’s works whether we are conscious about it or not.

So what exactly do we mean by rarity? We are talking about the final effects. The results alone can lure a novice designer into reading your Photoshop tutorials. Those who have genuine interest in design would always want to know how a certain effect is produced. These people, who have passion for technique, are what the industry need. They might as well be your audience.

Functionality. If original ideas make the design interesting, function gives its value. Unlike painting that stands in itself, the quality of a graphic design leans on the purpose it shall serve. Topics of good Photoshop tutorials should always have the audience in mind. Principles of aesthetics and elements of art matter a lot but in addition to that, graphic designs need to make all these work to achieve an ulterior motive. Graphic design is always a propaganda. Photoshop users need a tutorial that they can actually apply apart from its ability to entertain them.

Attention to Detail. Photoshop tutorials should be written with a novice user in mind. Some might think that such approach seems as if the writer is underestimating the skills of the readers. The thing is that Photoshop tutorial writers aren’t speaking to a single audience. It is difficult to determine the skill levels of the majority. If erring is inevitable, then might as well err on the side of explaining too much. Great designs, after all, can be seen based on the details. Tutorials that expound on every detail are not only considerate. They also manifest the writer’s skills as a graphic designer.

Nevertheless, every step has to be explained thoroughly yet concisely. The whole tutorial should illustrate the values readers need to acquire to achieve the final effect.

Brevity. Much like in graphic design, Photoshop tutorials should also try to eliminate clutter. Too much unnecessary information may leave the readers confused. That can only lead to the failure of your tutorial however great the final result is to them. One value of a good graphic design that also applies in the realm of content writing is the ability to simplify without missing out on important details. Without unnecessary clutter, the necessary is emphasized. Tutorial writers should always strive to focus on the instructions. Writing Photoshop tutorials is far from mere blogging. Here, you are communicating directly to an audience who needs information. You are not just expressing yourself. You are teaching.

It doesn’t mean though that you have to be all formal about it. In fact, it is best to use a more conversational tone so that the readers can easily relate to what you are saying. The important thing is that you are clear and direct to the point. No more metaphors or cryptic messages. The power of a good tutorial lies in being understood.

Top 5 Photoshop Plugins and Filters for Photography Addicts

For those who are fond of photography and photo post processing, for editing a bulk of images, using a Photoshop plugin or filter can save your time. Although there are many plugins and filters that are available in the online market, it is advisable that you only choose the one that will suit your taste and needs. You should also bear in mind that you have to study one plugin’s character before purchasing it. It is much better if you conduct first a research and survey about such Photoshop accessories and weigh them all and pick one based on quality and price after. Anyway, here are the following top Photoshop plugins and filters that can be of great help to you:

1. Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4

This plugin is one of the most famous plugins that digital photographers use. Besides its ease of use, Color Efex Pro Photoshop plugin provides sets of filters and enhancements for color correction, retouching, and creative effects that will let you choose from a wide variety of photo editing styles.

2. Perfect Portrait 1

This glamour Photoshop plugin focuses on photo retouching. Perfect Portrait 1 allows you to improve the skin texture and color, enhance eyes, remove blemishes, and beautify lips and teeth. This filter can be uprightly very helpful for photographers and photo editors like you who spend a lot of time cleaning faces on Photoshop. After trying the Perfect Portrait 1’s result, you’ll surely find out that it’s never been so easy to create striking portraits that your clients and audience will surely love.

3. Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2

This is the world’s top Black and White software that provides stunning images in lesser time. Further, this allows users to have access on different features on styles that are darkroom-inspired including the U Point technology that allows you to retouch your images using precise selective enhancements.

4. Viveza 2

Viveza 2 makes your life easier for editing images. This whole new time-saving Photoshop software enables you to just point and click to make your image stunning. It now features global adjustments, shadow recovery, and fine-detail structure control for your own benefits as a post processing addict. Besides on Adobe Photoshop, this Photoshop software’s service is also available for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Apple Aperture.

5. Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2

This Photoshop plugin lets you have the most convenient editing experience for a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photograph effect. This powerful software gives you this time a chance to create exceptional and artistic HDR images and offers you an access to a wide variety of features such as one-click presets, range of controls, and U Point technology that will help you gain speed and comfort to meet your High Dynamic Range (HDR) style.

The 5 Deadly Sins of Photoshop Composition

Photoshop is a wonderful program that allows you to edit a photograph in as many ways as you can imagine. It allows you to control every aspect of a photograph and gives you editing tools that a traditional photographer could only dream about. With this wide range of editing and compositing tools comes the ability to create fantastic works of art. With the rise in popularity of photography and personal computers, the door has been thrown open, now anyone with a half decent PC and a few spare dollars to buy PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS can and are calling themselves RETOUCHERS.

In the hands of a skilled user Photoshop can produce awe inspiring work; in the hands of a novice it can produce images of extremely poor quality. Unfortunately, as the popularity of the program grows and people become more and more exposed to these poor images, this lack of quality is becoming accepted as the norm.

Here are the things to watch for when creating Photoshop compositions:

1) Feathered edges. When you make a selection, using the dancing ants around an area you wish to move, change, color or otherwise edit, you have to feather the edge by at least 2-3 pixels (depending on the resolution of your image), in order to avoid the jagged edges we so often see in photo montages. Feathering creates a soft edge that blends the area of the selection with the area it abuts. Feathering an edge by a high value is also a useful way to fade out a selection.

2) Correct Perspective. If you have one element in an image that has a different geometrical perspective that does not match the rest of the image the whole image will look odd. A viewer will generally not know what is specifically wrong with the image, they will just know that it looks odd and generally undesirable. This is generally seen in buildings or cars that have been composited in from other images and not had their perspective adjusted to match the greater image as a whole. This would happen if two images shot at different focal lengths were then combined. An image from a 28mm lens combined with an image from a 200mm lens will need perspective adjustment to look right.

3) Correct Depth of Field. Images that have one object or area in focus and then behind that an object out of focus, and then behind that another object in focus will look very odd and be completely unbelievable. Like perspective, combining images shot with differing depth of field will require you to adjust the focus of the elements to correct the Depth of Field. One draw back, while it is possible to soften objects to make them appear out of focus or have short depth of field, it is next to impossible to sharpen soft objects to make them appear to be in focus. Depth of Field problems are one of the most common mistakes made in Photoshop compositions.

4) Direction of Light. When montaging images it is important to combine images shot with the same lighting conditions. The play of light on an object creates a series of shadows that have a specific directional play depending on where the light source was in relation to the object. If you montage together two images with differing light sources the image will look unreal and undesirable.

5) Color cast. All images have a color cast otherwise know as WHITE BALANCE, this is the HUE of the white areas. Also know as the color temperature of an image. Be careful to adjust the color cast of montaged images so that the white areas look the same, doing otherwise will render your images unreal and undesirable.

The human eye has an amazing ability to spot subtle changes in what it considers normal. Stare at a picture of a pink banana, after a short while the banana will start to appear yellow, but you will still have the feeling that something is not right. This also applies equally to Color, Focus, Perspective and Light Direction. When creating montage images in Photoshop it is important to watch for mistakes in these areas as you will want to have your images look as real as possible and thus as desirable or aesthetically pleasing as possible. I have seen far too many images used in big advertising campaigns with blatant disregard for these basic principles. Done right Photoshop can create compelling compositions; done wrong and it just looks, well… wrong!