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By Colleen Wheeler | Monday, May 14, 2012

This week’s Featured Five: Choosing your lynda.com Photoshop course

For this week’s featured five new tutorials, I have a sampling of movies from five different Photoshop courses we offer in the lynda.com library, each with a slightly different approach, scope, or focus. With the announcement of CS6, we’ve updated three of our mainstay Photoshop training courses, and when you combine that with our existing content, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start or which course is right for your needs. Here are some quick descriptions and free movie samples of five of our Photoshop offerings, from the encyclopedic to the specific, to help you figure out which one is right for you in your current state of expertise and interest.

Are you looking for more direction on where to start with Photoshop? Let us know what you’re looking to accomplish below in the comments section, and we’ll share our ideas about where to begin.

1. Photoshop CS6 Essential TrainingIn general, Essential Training courses at lynda.com are designed to give you comprehensive knowledge of a software application and a solid foundational overview of the product from a real-world perspective. In the case of Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, this means author Julieanne Kost stays focused on the most important tools for photo editing and compositing, with just the right pairing of ‘how does this tool work’ and ‘why you want to use it and when.’ Essential Training courses are great for watching start-to-finish for the big overview, or if you need focused instruction on a tool, or set of tools, you don’t quite understand. For example, in this excerpt, you’ll see how Photoshop’s Liquify tool can be used judiciously in a variety of different real-world portrait retouching scenarios:

Note, if you’re working with an earlier version of Photoshop, there are Photoshop CS5 and CS4 essential training courses available in the library as well.

2.  Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals The fundamentals course from the Photoshop One-on-One series also covers the core concepts of working in Photoshop, but veteran Photoshop instructor Deke McClelland approaches his training as though he were your private one-to-one tutor. Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals is great if you’re looking for more insight into how tools integrate with one another, or if you prefer to learn through “mini-project” examples that develop over the course of a movie or a chapter. In this excerpt from chapter four of the course, you’ll see a six-minute lesson on blending, and, specifically, how to work with three distinct features: Opacity, the History panel, and blend modes:

Deke has been creating a version of the One-on-One Fundamentals course in the lynda.com library for several years, so if you’re working with an earlier version you can find this specifically tailored instruction for Photoshop CS3, CS4, and CS5 as well.

3. Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Using Photoshop can mean different things to different people and this course is notable for it’s focus on the needs of a particular set of Photoshop students—photographers. In this course, Chris Orwig, a noted photographer and photography teacher, details the features and techniques surrounding photo enhancement and retouching, preparation for print and online publishing, and much more. He also teaches some of the foundational science behind digital photography, including this discussion of pixels and bit depth:

Chris has been teaching this photography-centric Photoshop course for several versions of Photoshop, including Photoshop CS3 for Photographers, Photoshop CS4 for Photographers, and Photoshop CS5 for Photographers. He has also created several in-depth courses on photography-critical topics including portrait retouching and creative effects.

4. Photoshop for Designers In the Photoshop for Designers series, talented designer Nigel French digs deep into Photoshop with a specific focus on the needs of graphic designers. The series is broken up into five full-length courses, each exploring a particular aspect of Photoshop including textures, colors, type essentials, Shape layers, and layer effects. Often, when you’re using Photoshop for graphic design, you’re starting with a blank canvas and creating artwork out of pure pixels, which is the case in this excerpt from chapter one of the Photoshop for Designers: Color course which covers how to create a color wheel using Photoshop’s blend modes and layer effects.

5. Photo Restoration with Photoshop In this course, professional photo restorer Janine Smith describes how to use Photoshop specifically to restore, retouch, and enhance old or damaged photos. In addition to covering methods for fixing everything from exposure, to stains, colorcast, scratches, and tears, Janine also shares how to evaluate damaged photos before beginning the restoration process. A course that offers lessons through exploration of an example project, this course includes a hands-on photo restoration that takes an image from a damaged start to a restored finish. In this video from chapter nine of the course, you’ll see a before and after of the course project restoration, and a run-down of the improvements Janine will help you tackle, including, the restoration of a major crack through the subject’s face, color alteration, and the removal of several major damage spots:

The course was recorded in CS5 but it’s real strength is the best-practices approach that Janine takes to photo restoration, so you should find valuable information here even if you’re still working in CS4, or if you’ve just forayed into the brave new world of Photoshop CS6.

Photoshop is a complicated program that can be used in infinite ways for a variety of creative endeavors. The team at lynda.com is dedicated to making sure you can find a course (or maybe three) that really provides the depth of coverage, level of context, and variety of specific interest that you need. Are you looking for a place to start with Photoshop? Let us know here, and we’ll share our ideas about where to begin.

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