Loving Photoshop CS2

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My ongoing love affair with Photoshop and the Healing Brush.
One of the drags of working with a film-based camera in a digital world is Scanning. While scanning is necessary to getting the image off the negative and into the computer, no scan is ever perfect. Not only that but the process of scanning is time consuming and tedious. Case in point – I had 190 film shots that I took during the Amsterdam trip. I was happy with about 160 of these shots. It took me about 30 hours to scan in all those negatives. This took a long time, a LONG time. Each image took about 5 minutes to completely scan and save. 3-4 minutes was just for the scanning – including getting a preview scan to make sure I was scanning the right image and that the image was worth scanning.

After the images were scanned, I next go through and identify my favorites of the bunch. I also pick out ones that I’m not as happy with (the preview doesn’t really give the best look at the image – some end up being out of focus, or focused on the wrong thing – things I don’t really notice until I take a good look at a high res scan), and mark them as such. Before I don anything more, I burn a backup DVD or two. The 140 or so images I ended up scanning in took over 10GB of space on my hard drive – Ugh!

Once the backup is taken care of, I delete the pictures that aren’t up to par. The reason I scan most of the pics then archive and then delete is so that I will always have a digital version of the image. I may not like the image now, but in the future I may have a need for it and looking at digital thumbnails is so much faster and easier than looking at the actual film negatives. I realize this means more work for me now, but in the long run it should be less work for me. At least I hope so!
Now I am left with the pictures that I really like. Time for color correction, cropping and the dreaded dust and hair removal process. Color correction I enjoy, cropping I enjoy, dust and hair removal – its like a root canal. Well, maybe not that harsh, but DULL – dull dull dull. Not only dull, but sometimes it can be very challenging and, if done poorly, it can ruin a great picture.

Since I am a long time Photoshop user, I’ve learned to do a lot with the base tools. Photoshop has a LOT of tools, almost to the point of too many tools. After using the app for so many many years (since v2.5), I’ve found that you only really need to use about 10% of all the possible tools. I tend to stick to using the tools for all my editing work. The one tool that I love the most is the Rubber Stamp tool. I have really been able to achieve some great results with that tool and I feel I’ve really mastered using it. I use the selection tools and the brush tool. That’s about it for the tools, very few others. I never use the Dodge/Burn tool, and rarely use the Sharpen/Blur tool. In fact I’ve never really explored many of the other tools as everything I’ve needed to do falls within the few tools I use.

Well, I broke from my shell and tried the Healing Brush out just to see what the fuss was all about and boy-o-boy am I glad I did. The Healing Brush is worth the price of Photoshop alone. It saves THAT much time and produces amazing results. Doing dust and hair removal from my scanned pics went so much quicker using this tool than using the Rubber Stamp. In fact, using the two tools, the Rubber Stamp tool and the Healing Brush tool, you can quickly become a photo retoucher GURU!

The trick to using both these tools is understanding what each tool does. The Rubber Stamp tool allows you to paint with sections of the picture itself. You Option-Click (PC Alt-Click) on the source of where you want the image sampled, and then paint away, fixing blemishes and touching up the image, etc. With using the Rubber Stamp tool, the main trick is to constantly choose different source locations. This eliminates the look of a cloned retouch.

The trick to using the Healing Brush is more of knowing when NOT to use it. This tool works just like the Rubber Stamp tool, but instead of painting with a clone of the image at the source area, it paints with the LUMINANCE (brightness of the pixels) of the image at the source area, then blends the colors of the area painted. That’s the beauty. It keeps the image noise and doesn’t paint with the color at the source, just the brightness, and the colors at the point its painting. So, if you have a lot of dust in the sky area of a shot, you can basically go nuts with the Healing Brush, as it will pick up the subtle change of color in the sky, whereas the Rubber Stamp tool would not work well in a graduated sky. But, the Healing Brush is to be avoided when working on a detailed area like a brick wall. Because of the way it works, sampling colors from all around the area being painted, it would provide icky results (that is my technical term). On the brick setting, the Rubber Stamp tool is the weapon of choice.

Combining both the tools at the right time makes the act of image retouching so much easier and so much more productive. As much as I hate having to DO it, I’m more and more pleased with the final results. So, in that respect, it’s well worth doing. Still, I hate scanning…

Article from dizzyblog.com

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