The Complete Guide to Smart Object Techniques: A new video series by Sean Bagshaw

Last Thursday, Sean Bagshaw released The Complete Guide to Smart Object Techniques, a new video series that provides an in-depth look at creatively incorporating smart objects into the Photoshop workflow. The early chapters provide a very thorough overview of how to make smart objects and how they work. After that, he takes viewers on an journey that, while centered on smart objects, is also an incredible odyssey through Photoshop. Sean uses menus in Photoshop that I didn’t know existed and combines them with smart objects to do things I didn’t know were possible. So in many ways, this series is as much about new techniques with Photoshop as it is about smart objects.

There are over 40 chapters in this series. Before watching it, I would have struggled to come up with even a dozen ways to use smart objects, but, chapter after chapter, Sean shows innovative ways to improve images by combining smart objects with novel Photoshop techniques. Color, sharpening, glow, blending, noise, filters, printing, transforming, blur, cloning, and texture are just some of the topics covered.

It’s also important to note that Sean’s techniques are as practical as they are plentiful. The infinite adjustments possible with smart objects means that things normally fixed in place on a pixel layer, like filters, transforms, and Camera Raw modifications, now have the flexibility of an adjustment layer. Sean capitalizes on this easy flexibility to incorporate a variety of additional Photoshop functions into his workflow. Below is a list of a few of my favorite techniques from the series.

  • Smart warp
  • Dehaze cloud-sculpting
  • Noise removal
  • Smart print-sharpening
  • Light-sculpting
  • Exposure-blending (five examples from easy to difficult)
  • Orton-soft light variations
  • Filter Gallery options

While Sean makes use of luminosity masks and the TK7 panel throughout the course, this series isn’t specifically focused on either as its scope is much broader. However, these tools naturally fit into this type of workflow and it’s instructive to see how they contribute to the larger effort.

I’ve linked to Sean’s intro below. You can watch additional chapters here.

As always, Sean has priced the new series quite reasonably and I’m happy to be able to offer it for sale on my website. All readers can use the following public discount code, which takes 20% off the price during the month of March: Save20

If you’re a previous customer, check your March 4th email for additional savings (possibly in junk/spam folder), or contact me if you didn’t receive the private discount code.

Sean Bagshaw on the PhotoPills channel

Sean Bagshaw appeared on the PhotoPills YouTube channel recently. He had a conversation with Rafael Pons from the PhotoPills team that covered Sean’s personal history, his approach to taking pictures, and then four image workflows where Sean demonstrated various ways he uses Photoshop and luminosity masks to develop images. It covers a lot of territory. The processing workflows start at 30 minutes in, but the initial conversation also provides valuable insight on how to create images that are personally satisfying. It’s interesting and fun to watch but maybe grab a bowl of popcorn first as the total runtime is a little over two hours. Also, be sure to check out the PhotoPills app. It’s a great way to plan landscape images that perfectly align with the sun, moon, and stars.

Sneak peek: Luminosity Mask Masterclass

Sean Bagshaw finished his Luminosity Mask Masterclass video series and currently plans to release it in November, soon after he returns from taking pictures. This new course is a major update to his Complete Guide to Luminosity Masks, 2nd edition series, currently on sale for $5 on the panels and videos page. That older series is now five-years-old, and pixel-based masks (like luminosity masks) have advanced considerably in that time. New masks, new methods, and a new TK7 panel are all available. I’ve been watching the new course and thoroughly enjoying it. It clocks in at nearly 5 hours and is packed with information. Fortunately, Sean has it organized in to compact chapters, so it’s possible to skip around and choose topics that interest you most, instead of watching it straight through. One of the chapters, with a brief introduction by Sean, is linked below.

Luminosity Mask Masterclass will provide a timely and comprehensive update on using multiple types of pixel-based masks, and I’m sure you’ll find it useful. More information coming soon.

Big sale: The Complete Guide to Luminosity Masks video series—$5

Sean Bagshaw’s Complete Guide to Luminosity Masks, 2nd edition is approaching retirement.  These videos have been the definitive resource for understanding luminosity masks for over five years, but time and techniques continue to advance.  The basics of luminosity masks are now pretty much common knowledge, but the methods for using these masks has expanded considerably since the series was released, as has the types of masks available and the different pixel values around which masks can be created.  The series utilized the older TK V4 panel.  It was cutting edge in its day, but it’s also considerably less capable and has fewer masks and features than the current TK7 panel.  So Sean has decided, and I concur, that’s it’s time to sunset this older series and move on to something newer and better.  The older series still has lots of valuable information on how to generate and use luminosity masks, and, before it’s gone completely, Sean is discounting the price to just $5 for photographers who want to add it to their collection.  The sale price on this product will last approximately one month on the Panels & Videos page.  No discount code is needed.

I’m also retiring my TK Actions V5 panel for Photoshop CS6.  The number of CS6 users has dwindled over the last year, and I want to concentrate future panel and plugin development on the current Photoshop platform.  Photoshop CS6 is now seven years outdated and I can’t make a good case for encouraging users to continue using it.  As such, the “CS6 Combo” product will also be on sale for $5 on the Panels & Videos page for anyone still using this version of the software.  It too will be removed in the near future.  NOTE:  If you are using Photoshop CS6, the Basic V6 panel is still available and contains a CS6 version.

This “last chance” sale is prompted by the need to make room for the new video series Sean is working on.  It’s called Luminosity Mask Masterclass and is set to debut in November.   It provides a fresh look at all the different things luminosity and other pixel-based masks can do.  The TK panel has advanced considerably since the last Complete Guide to Luminosity Mask series was released, and Sean’s had several years to refine his approach to using these masks in his workflow.  It all comes together in this new series. The Masterclass course will provide an exciting update that shows how to take the potential of luminosity masks even further.