Last week, Sean Bagshaw released his second video series of Photoshop techniques, and, no surprise, it’s really good.
There are three main areas covered in the new series:
- Exposure blending
- Fixing problems
- Artistic enhancement
While exposure-blending is a favorite technique for lots of photographers, Sean demonstrates that luminosity masks aren’t the only approach. His focus is on creating the proper transition zone, and while luminosity masks can be used in this regard, he convincingly shows that it’s actually some of the areas outside those most revealed by the mask that really need attention. He uses selections, gradients, feather-painting, and Camera Raw adjustments in addition to luminosity masks to make the perfect transition zone, tailoring his approach to what works best for each image. Exposure-blending always takes a little extra effort. Sean is a master at this and his transition-zone approach offers some new ideas to make the process accessible, reliable, and results-oriented.
The art of making a fine photograph also requires attending lots of small details, and often this means fixing problems that happen either during image capture or as a result of image processing. In one of my favorite chapters, Sean reviews how even the initial Lightroom/Camera Raw adjustments can be detrimental to edges within the image and makes a case for avoiding heavy adjustments during RAW file conversion in favor of the more focused adjustments that can be accomplished in Photoshop. A perfect image almost always requires some level of clean-up, and Sean offers lots of great suggestions. The Frequency Separation chapter, in particular, is pure magic. If you’re not already using frequency separation for your images, you will be after watching this video.
About half the chapters in the series are still devoted to artistic affects, and rightly so, since this is where a photographer adds their personal touch to the image. Clarity, texture, haze, and glow are the major themes this time, but there is plenty of variation on these topics. I’ve been working with Sean for many years, and not surprisingly, the TK7 panel has several of his methods already programmed in to specific buttons and actions. While he demonstrates how to do everything from scratch, it’s also obvious that the panel provides a nice boost not only to the efficiency of using Photoshop, but also the speed at which creative ideas can be tested and modified. Even I learn new ways to use the panel from watching Sean.
As always, I’m pleased to be able to offer Sean’s Favorite Photoshop Techniques, Volume 2 on my Panels & Videos page, and right now there is an introductory 20% discount that automatically activates when you add it to the shopping cart. There’s also a matching discount on the Sean’s Favorite Photoshop Techniques, Volume 1 if you don’t have that yet. (NOTE: Previous customers should be sure to check their email from August 21 for additional savings.) Please contact me if you have any questions.
I’ve posted some sample videos on my website so you can get an idea of the content and quality of this series. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.