Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Getting the better of Photoshop

I shouldn’t be posting grandson for a second consecutive time but he has WALKED ON WATER! I was trying to redesign the blog's home page montage and he insisted Photoshop’s Photomerge Panorama feature wasn’t the way to go. It had to be PS’s terrifying system of layers. We had many false goes; the jargon is horribly knotty (Why for goodness sake “duplicate” rather than “copy”?) and for a time there was no way out. Then it happened; immediately I had him repeat what he’d done. And, of course, once you know, it’s the only way and you start to understand why it’s so complex.

I know other people have given up on Photoshop and opted for easier software. Fine. But if there’s something you’d like to do, chances are PS will do it. And despite appearances PS was designed by humans for humans. Ughh, how smug I’m getting.

IT MUST HAPPEN. Had a chat with my younger brother recently. For no good reason he doesn’t figure often in WW. Much of his adult life he has sailed and recently I was drawn into this esoteric yet absorbing activity. Just enough to understand the buzz. For various reasons he sold his 36 ft yacht Takista and now he’s on the brink of buying a Contessa 32. He’s a successful businessman, now retired, and he started talking about the favourable economics of getting another boat. Passionately I begged him to put aside the instincts of a professional lifetime and just respond to the boat’s aesthetics. This may well happen. I hope the photo shows why I urged him on.


Plutarch said...

I confess to neglecting Photshop for Picassa, which serves most of my cropping and titivating purposes. I never mastered layers, though one of these days I may have to. I shall put it off as long as possible.

marja-leena said...

Hooray, a convert to PhotoShop! Welcome to the club. One just learns what one needs, a little at a time, though it helps to have someone knowledgeable to guide one, like your white-horsed black-hatted cowboy.

Sir Hugh said...

I have struggled and to some extent succeeded with Layers in Photoshop. You need the facility to think with your brain inside out!

By the way the name of the boat is a Contessa

Julia said...

Photoshop definitely rewards time spent learning its ins and outs. Once you've mastered layers, check out the mask options for more fun!

herhimnbryn said...

Am gradually working my way through PS, but do little to alter my images apart from using the crop function.

Mr Bonden Sir, 'Tis a pretty vessel and your brother should indeed appreciate her winsome lines.

Rouchswalwe said...

Yee-hah! The dude is buoyant (as the young'uns would say around here) ... he's like, totally afloat.
And the laid-back look, hat tipped forward to cover the eyes, is perfect for one who has just done what is normal for him and causes us to stare open-mouthed and exclaim with joy, "Wow!" To which the cowboy replies, "All in a day's work, ma'am."
The banner is fantastic!!!

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: Master layers and you're a master of the universe.

M-L: I've been using PS for several years now. But I needed someone to shove me into layers.

Sir Hugh: I think I can boil down the basic sequence into almost 50 words. Com now Con.

Julia: It's fun when you know, agony when you don't.

HHB: I suspect you don't tinker because you take better pix than I do.

RW (zS): Reading "New Scientist" too.

Lucy said...

RW's comment previously about Dreamweaver comes to mind about PS, that, like the brain, only 5% of it is used. I have fits and starts with it. Anna the Apprentice has tried to take me in hand, sending me tutorials, updates and extra actions, I study hard and then like people against power, memory fails against forgetting, and I lapse back to ignorance again.

Fact is I feel I spend too much time on the computer anyway, and one of the problems of PS is simply the embarrassment of choice. I cannot decide whether a picture looks better with this tweak of level here, that pulling of the curve there... before I know it I've been messing about for hours with no conclusive result, and my attempts with the dodging/burning/blurring/sharpening tools always look crude and obvious anyway. So I remain willfully self-limiting.

I really feel that if all you're going to do is a cropping, turning things black and white, a bit of cleaning up, you may as well go for something quicker and simpler which can do it just as well. I have had some fun with various liquefying effects though...

Anyway, the 'relooking' here is great!

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: We discussed this subject months ago when you recommended Picasa to me. I agree about not wanting to descend to even more profound levels of nerdism and you've proved your point by writing a must-read blog and adorning it with excellent photos. I would probably have trundled along doing inferior montages with Photomerge if grandson hadn't insisted there had to be a better way. The fact is my photos are purely functional and can stand a bit of trickery; it started with dialogue bubbles and layers offers another option. For me, illustrations are a way of bringing about the primary requisite of a blog - to be read.

Lucy said...

I do really like the montages you can get with layers, and for that PS is the only thing, I think. I just don't know how to do them.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: I'll summarise PS's layers facility in a future post.