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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
Another way that we can simplify the learning process is by taking screen grabs of the software. Let me explain. Let's say, for example, we are learning about the new Refine Edge dialog. Well, can you imagine taking notes on this dialog? It would be near impossible. But If you take a quick screen grab of it, you could then print that out and include that screen grab in your notes. Screen grabs are actually really easy to do. On a Mac, you simply press Shift+Command+4. Click and drag, and then the screen grab will be saved to the Desktop.
And then if you are on a PC, all you need to do is to press the Print Screen button, open a new document in Photoshop, and paste that into that document. Now, screen grabs can really help us out when we are learning software, because sometimes notes just aren't enough. Let's take a look at a couple of examples. For example, let's say we are working with the Brush tool and we notice that in the Options bar, there are two new icons in Photoshop CS5. What typically happens when we see something new is we squint. We try to figure it out.
We try to deconstruct what it is. But it's kind of complicated, because there's so much of the rest of Photoshop that can distract or overwhelm us. Well, if we take a simple picture, we can then add a few notes. Our notes would say that this icon has to do with Opacity. This one over here has to do with Size. We could add some other notes, which say that these icons allow us to overwrite Opacity or Brush Size if we are using a pressure sensitive tablet, like a Wacom tablet. So by taking a picture of this and then adding some notes, we can actually learn what these icons are.
And we can learn them in a way that isn't overly complicated, which then will help us integrate this into our overall workflow. We can also do this in other contexts. For example, in Photoshop CS4 there was a new panel that was introduced. It was the Adjustments panel. And this panel exists in Photoshop CS5 as well. Well, the first time I saw the panel, I saw all of these little icons and I thought, okay, what are these icons and how are they arranged, because they are arranged kind of divided up in these little groups. Well, I took a picture of the little icons and I started to define them, and notice that the first set, well, that really has to do with Brightness and Levels and Curves.
We can do a lot of things there, but primarily it's kind of tonal adjustments. The next set, Vibrance, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Black & White, well, that's a lot of different color adjustments. Then the final set, Invert, Posterize, and so on, those are kind of specialty adjustments that we are not using very often. So that by taking a picture of this and then distilling this and really kind of oversimplifying it, and I know that Curves, you can do color. It's not just tone. But I am trying to distill something and by doing that, I get the panel. I understand it.
It's a piece of cake. So if I need to go looking for something, I know where to look, which level to look at, in regards to how this panel is set up. And lastly, what I want to point out is that one of the things that I have noticed is that the students in my classroom who actually take screen grabs and add notes to their screen grabs, I have noticed that those students learn so much more than the rest of the class. So if you haven't ever tried this technique, I recommend you do so throughout this training title. If ever we are learning something or you are picking up some new skill that's a little bit complicated, in regards to the Photoshop interface or the settings or the way the layers are set up, simply take a screen grab of it and then save that screen grab so that you can add some notes to it and refer back to it later.
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