Trying to find the best option to get more Photoshop savvy
October 31, 2012 2:29 PM   Subscribe

What sort of course should I be looking at to hone my Photoshop skills?

My job frequently calls on me to work with images slated for publication. Currently, I have a basic working knowledge of Photoshop (just enough to be dangerous), mostly self-taught with a couple of basic tutorials scattered in as well.

I'm looking for a way to get better at honing my eye and my skills so that I can fix color issues, master curves, crop more accurately, get a handle on the whole transform thing where you square up slightly uneven edges, soften reflections that snuck in during the photography process, and touch up things like a strip of yellowing discoloration along the edge of a piece that was framed badly at some point. Right now, much of this is handled by the photographer who shoots our work, but it would be great if I could do more of it. (I could probably demand a newer version of Photoshop, too...that would be nice.)

The university I work for offers Photoshop tutorials, but they're not really centered around what I need. They're kind of "I put the dog in the middle of the beach scene and add a flower and put text in a circle and voila, funny birthday card" kind of things. I attend them when I can because they're free, but they usually don't really result in my skills improving much. The local community college has courses that might be appropriate, but they're part of a program of study to produce graphic designers, and don't really fit my schedule. I might fare better looking within my own university, but I'm really not sure if all these intro-to-Graphic-Design things are what I want. Maybe I should be looking at online tutorials, or something?

Any suggestions? I feel like I've been looking very intently in all the wrong places.
posted by PussKillian to Education (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I do retouching professionally and I've never really been to a "real" class that was worth the time (including the ones at my expensive art school, the exercises were like you described - just not that useful - I personally don't think PS lends itself to a class environment that well).

I would look into one-on-one tutoring with someone who works in the photo industry in your area. Try SearchAPA and look under their assistant category for people with experience as retouchers or "digital technicians". You can give them a list of issues like you did here and ask them for various strategies for solving them (there's a million ways to do everything, a good retoucher should be able to give you several and explain when each is appropriate).

Or the way I brush up on new features / learn the ins and outs of the less common tools is
posted by bradbane at 2:43 PM on October 31, 2012

Best answer: ...and just keep on practicing. most photoshop stuff is the same bread and butter moves every day (for me) with slight variations. and i'm going on 18+ years as a user. those 'fun' exercises that are so common will introduce you to basic concepts of selecting something, and controlling what happens to that thing. That is the heart of photoshop. you need the practice to sort of open your eyes to the wider use, and then you will see that putting the dog in the middle of the beach is really similar to moving something around to fix an edge, or erasing a dog from a beach is the same thing as fixing a tear, or a dust spot. Do you need a class to do that? probably not.

agreed with bradbane, Lynda, and local users for instruction or if you can find a user group that gets together. there are a million different things you can do in photoshop. you don't have to learn all of them. Talk to the teacher at the next free tutorial as well...when you are teaching newbies you show stuff like that to hold their attention, i'm sure they can help you dive deeper as well.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:19 PM on October 31, 2012

If you're wanting to learn basic techniques that you can expand on, you may enjoy the You Suck at Photoshop series. It's presenting as a sort of black comedy "edutainment" series, which may entertain you as you learn, or it may irritate you. But the information given is valid and useful.
posted by Nedroid at 5:19 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

creativeLIVE has some Photoshop classes that you might find useful, including a free one tomorrow.
posted by JasonSch at 5:24 PM on October 31, 2012 has a ton of photoshop tutorials.

See if your university has a paid membership. (My university's library pays for an all-access pass for all students and staff.)
posted by wenat at 6:27 PM on October 31, 2012

You may also want to consider calibrating your monitor if it has not already been done. IMO this is pretty essential if you are working with images that are going to be published either online or in print.
posted by dave*p at 6:28 PM on October 31, 2012

OOH, ooh ooh I know this one! Sign up for a monthly subscription to Kelby Training. Online classes in all sorts of different photoshop skills (as well as Lightroom and other image editing programs. They have tons and tons of classes you can watch - online videos. The monthly subscription is very reasonable, given how many videos you can watch in a month. Heavily skewed toward photography, but also some graphic design/video stuff too. Beginner up to Expert level classes. No, I don't work there. ;-)
posted by bluesky78987 at 10:15 PM on October 31, 2012

You might want to join Worth 1000 and enter the contests. You'll quickly hone your skills in Photoshop, plus the site offers many, really helpful tutorials.
posted by Lynsey at 10:21 AM on November 1, 2012

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