Smarten Up!

The ins and outs of Smart Objects

Smart Objects are smart layers, and they have been in Photoshop for years. They have been evolving, but few people truly understand them and fewer still take full advantage of them. There are major benefits to learning what Smart Objects offer you and how they can change your workflow. Here are four things Smart Objects can do for you. 1) Lightroom... Read more

More Than RAW Processing

How Adobe Camera Raw as a filter changes workflow

Photoshop CC introduced a long-awaited feature that will change how you adjust your images, when you adjust your images and what you adjust your images with—the ability to use Camera Raw as a filter. Since it was introduced, Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) has been the industry-standard tool for processing RAW files—the beginning of a digital photographer’s... Read more

Photoshop Blur Filters, Part 2

How to use Smart Filters, Blur Tools and Blur Effects to control blur in your images

This is the second of a two-part column about creative blur techniques. Inducing blur in a sharp photo seems counterintuitive, but it’s incredibly useful for guiding the viewer and eliminating distractions. There are several powerful digital tools that help you manage blur with precision. In this column, we explore Photoshop’s Smart Filters,... Read more

Photoshop Blur Filters, Part I

Take complete control of the blur effect in your images in the computer

There are many reasons to explore blur in your images: remove distractions, direct attention, enhance space, modify mood and add interesting visual artifacts are a few among many. Blur can be controlled at the point of capture and in postprocessing. Thoroughly understanding your postprocessing options will help you make choices about when and how to... Read more

Controlling Blur Effects

Guide the viewer through your images by controlling sharpness

Photographers use blur (or bokeh) for a variety of reasons: to simulate depth of field, to add interesting visual artifacts, to simplify them and to change the quality of their expression. In the past, blur was controlled almost entirely through exposure; now it can also be controlled during postprocessing, giving photographers an unprecedented array... Read more

Blending Channels Part II

More on how and when to use this powerful Photoshop tool

In the July/August issue of DPP, we explored the fundamentals of blending channels, and we took a brief look at some classic strategies. This is a particularly powerful tool that you can use when you have big challenges, but it can create unplanned shifts. In this installment, we’ll address how to keep the effects under control. 2) After blending... Read more

Blending Channels

In the first of two articles, we examine the fundamentals of this powerful Photoshop tool

Big problems call for big solutions. Blending channels is a powerful color adjustment strategy that can handle even the biggest challenges. It takes information from one channel and combines it with information from another. Rather than simply enhancing existing tonal values, blending channels reshapes one channel’s tonal structure with another’s.... Read more

Dividing The Frame

Go beyond the Rule of Thirds to create dynamic compositions with layers of depth and elements of interest

The four most important lines of any image are the ones that are often least recognized consciously: the frame itself. Second only to these are the lines that divide the frame, creating frames within the frame. Becoming more aware of how the frame can be used and how it can be divided will help you make more successful compositions. There are... Read more

How To Go Big

Get more resolution from your camera with these three key techniques: Upsample, Stack, Stitch

There are several ways to get more resolution out of your camera. Remember these three words: upsample, stack and stitch. Which method you choose will depend on how you shoot a scene. Once you know these techniques, you can choose an exposure and processing method that’s best for a given situation. 2) Images with high-frequency detail support... Read more

Extending Format

These techniques are for much more than panoramas

No one needs to learn to "think outside the box" more than photographers. The frame, literally a box, is often our greatest ally. Learning to see photographically is, in part, learning to see within the limits of this box and use them creatively. But there are times when this limits our vision unnecessarily. Once we’ve learned to see... Read more

Extended Depth Of Field

Focus stacking defeats the limits of optics

How deep would you like your depth of field? The choice is yours. Today, there are virtually no limits. You can extend depth of field beyond the physical limitations of any lens/camera system with multishot exposure practices and software that composites multiple exposures. 1) Foreground in focus 2) Background in focus 3) Two exposures combined... Read more

Beyond ETTR And HDR

32-bit processing in Lightroom

8) Five-shot exposure-bracketing sequence, plus 32-bit merge in Lightroom To one degree or another, we’ve all been underexposing our digital photographs, even if we’ve been exposing to the right (ETTR). Let me explain. More bits of data produce more tonal values, thus smoother gradations. To calculate the bits of data in a digital... Read more