Source: ars technica
Written By Dave Girard
Welcome to Ars Workshops, and thank you for paying at the door. While you’re taking your seats and SPITTING OUT YOUR GUM, I’ll explain a little what the Ars Workshops are all about. This is the first of a series of digital imaging guides I’ll be doing that take the knowledge gained after years of banging my head against the Photoshop wall and put them together in a non-ouchy format for you to enjoy.
This first one outlines a number of typical tweaks, enhancements and fixes done by consumer-oriented imaging programs that get decent results, but do a better job of keeping you in the dark about how images work or what the actual problem was.
We’ll cover a number of goals like adjusting contrast, warming images up and reducing noise from shadows in a more accurate and controlled way. Then we’ll get into advanced stuff like masking but all explained in an almost-too friendly, “why are you touching my arm?” sort of way. As for enlarging your cat’s eyes, that will have to wait for the coming tutorials. For some people, making manual what was automatic may seem like a needless complication, but the idea is to help you understand certain fundamentals in digital imaging and give you the ability to fix common problems and create complex effects without having to find the plug-in that does it for you.
Eventually, it should also help you look and see what is wrong with your image while reducing your reliance on those “fix image please” buttons that only half work. You should walk away from this as an image mechanic: If the image is broken, you’ll know how to fix it even with the most minimal of tools. Kind of like MacGyver, only you won’t look like a golden retriever. Also, avoiding the limited choices given to you by idiot-friendly programs, you will give you more room for experimentation in the future, getting results that aren’t as canned. Besides, if there’s anything we’ve learned from those episodes of The Simple Life, it’s that having things done for you all your life is not going to prepare you for the inevitable day when you have to milk your own breakfast.
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Editor’s Note: This is a funny, yet informational and useful look at the steps one can take to improve digital images in Photoshop-worth the read!