Eureka! A New Bag of Tricks for the CS5 Photoshop Dabbler

27 Feb

I started seriously dabbling in Adobe Photoshop since the days of CS2 and adobe GoLive!  (I admit, I still have a soft spot for that incredibly user friendly program, despite my new fondness for the CS5 superhero, Dreamweaver). Before this week, I never took the time to seriously teach myself how to maximize the capability of Photoshop.

After this week’s readings and the usual perusal of Lynda.com’s tutorials [Jan Kabili’s Photoshop CS5 for the web], I found myself saying: “sweet!”, “I can do that?”, or more commonly…”I could have really used that when I tried…!” (not dissimilar to Claire’s reaction to some of the techniques she looked at). Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, teaching yourself a program like CS5’s Photoshop is really ineffective without the help of web tutorials or a guide like Robin Williams and John Tollett’s The Non-Designer’s Photoshop Book.

I consider The Non-Designer’s Photoshop Book as a great guide to help my culinary skills for cooking up some delicious images. It’s extremely easy to find the photoshop technique you need to utilize for a project and follow the steps on the page. The visuals are a great asset to the directions. So while some of the recipes in this book and on Lynda.com served as a refresher, I found a few (some easy, some complicated) new tricks that I was really excited to learn about.

Here are a few of my favorite new tricks: working in Camera Raw, using Content Aware Fill/Clone stamp to extend a background (if I had only known this a month ago!), and something as simple as putting an image inside of text (I tested this out in my post below). I tried out some of the techniques that Amber  mentioned, but for some of them (ie. the liquefy tool), I wish I had one of those digital pen/pads. I’m sure the same is for Illustrator— the mouse is not always the best extension for the hand.

David Shea’s Photographic Palette was a good refresher for the things I already know with regards to Photoshop’s capabilities and my own knowledge about color theory. I found the Color Scheme Designer on the “Compendium on Color Tools” in Clagnut’s blog to be my favorite—it’s either the most useful and inspiring, or things in a charcoal grey interface just appeal more to me. However, copying color as a hex value within photoshop (referenced in the Lynda.com tutorial) seems to make these tools a bit useless unless you use them for inspiring color schemes.

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2 Responses to “Eureka! A New Bag of Tricks for the CS5 Photoshop Dabbler”

  1. amberoudsema February 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I must say I’m a little jealous of everyones experience with Photoshop, little as it may be. I feel like I am starting from scratch and my lack of knowledge might work against me without the time to really explore and know the ins and outs of the program as I am just getting to know which icons mean what. I have hope though. I am excited about what knowledge I am gaining as all of it will be useful for the future.

    • mbarkovi March 5, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Even without experience, I think you’ll do great as long as you have some time to go through the tutorials. Photoshop is a vast sea of tricks that becomes a total time warp for brain consumption (just like Gardner’s vast sea of slide images*ughh* :)) . I’m a bit overwhelmed with the amount of material out there and thankful for that spring break for some extra exploration time.

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