A Better Way to Sharpen your Images in Photoshop CC

  Updated 03/01/22     NOTE – For maximum clarity, you can zoom in on (or download) any image in this post!   For best results, maximize your browser, then click on the desired image – navigate as needed.    Having challenges getting your image sharpened properly in Photoshop? Try using this technique, rather than the generic Sharpening tools, which are not as effective and prone to over-sharpening – it’s also much harder to accidentally over-sharpen your image, and gives incredible results.   This is a “non-destructive” technique, which means it will minimize throwing out unnecessary pixels.  Without getting into

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Not a Fan of Photoshop Speed Keys? Here are the 10 Essential Ones …

Updated 08/24/21     Most people have a love / hate relationship with Speed Keys, regardless of the software program.  But they’re called Speed Keys for a reason – they can save you lots of time with repetitive functions.   You should get into the habit of using a few basic Speed Key Combinations: Once you start to memorize these, you’ll significantly increase the speed with which you work.   There are hundreds of speed key combinations — Don’t be over-whelmed, as you only need a handful.  The 10 shown below are the ones that I believe you’ll find the most

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Need to Calibrate and Profile your Monitor? Here’s how to do it correctly – WITH VIDEO

  Update 03/01/22:  See more on this subject in my post: Color Management 101 for Photographers”: https://blog.main.wattsdigital.com/?p=3858     There are 3 steps necessary to successful color management – Profiling your Monitor is “Step #1”. A properly calibrated & profiled monitor will closely match the output of your photo printer or favorite custom print lab.  It’s crucial even if you don’t want to print your images, as it will allow you to see your image as accurately as possible – and in accordance with photo industry standards. Think of your monitor as your photographic “Window to the World”.   But let’s face it: 

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Photoshop CC: Soft-Proofing, plus RGB Color Spaces

  Updated 08/26/21       Two questions from Patrick C in San Diego, CA:   Should I be “soft proofing” my images before I send them to you? If so, do you provide any ICC profiles for your LightJet printer to view my images before uploading to you?   Do you use ProPhoto RGB Color Space (or something else) as your working Color Space in Photoshop?   The answers:   Interesting questions – some real “In the weeds” stuff – let me put on my “propeller-head” hat, and we’ll look at these one at a time …   _____________

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Photoshop: What is a Master File, and why do you need one? – WITH VIDEO

Updated:  09/09/21 – BONUS:  See my short video from YouTube below: X ___________ Question:   From Matthew S in San Diego, CA:   “Once you capture an image in RAW (or a 16-bit scan), what is the best way to save the image for printing purposes? Or should I convert the image to another format? I typically convert everything to a max quality JPG.  Supposedly any “lossy” degradation will be unnoticed to the eye, or so I’ve been told. But, is this the best way? I’d love to have this clarified.”     Answer:   Before I can fully answer your question,

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Why shoot in 16 bit (RAW), rather than 8 bit (JPG)?

  Updated: 08/26/21     I’ve been asked versions of these two questions so much lately that I had to share – In this post, we’ve got two important questions (and two timely answers) as seen from a “post-processing” point-of-view …   _____________________   Question #1:     From Kris K in Gilroy, CA:     “You’ve mentioned shooting in 16 bit RAW files, and I’ve always used 8 bit JPG’s.  What would be the advantages and disadvantages of using 16 bit versus 8 bit for a landscape architectural photographer?”     Answer:   Before I can fully answer your question, Kris, allow me

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Photoshop: A Trick of the Eye

Updated 08/29/21   Rods and Cones are Nature’s Own, but our eyes will still deceive us …   Our eyes are miracles that are created by God – but even God has a sense of humor!  – Do not underestimate how easily our eyes (and by extension, our brain) can be tricked – Magicians make use of this fact!   It has been my experience that of The Three Steps to Successful Color Management in Photoshop the most overlooked is #3: Assure that you have the proper Lighting Conditions and Perception. I want to prove my point on Perception (more

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Photoshop vs Lightroom? Wrong question! – WITH VIDEO

  Updated:  09/09/21 – BONUS:  See my short video from YouTube here:           FYI, this is Part 1 of a 3-part series on this subject – –    •  Part 2 is here:  https://blog.main.wattsdigital.com/?p=2375   •  Part 3 is here:  https://blog.main.wattsdigital.com/?p=2637   ________________   Lately, I’ve been asked a version of this question over and over –   “For working on my images, should I use Lightroom or Photoshop?”   To me, that’s the wrong question, perhaps not even a fair question.   Photoshop and Lightroom are NOT designed to replace each other; they’re designed to COMPLEMENT

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Photoshop CS6/CC: The Navigator and History Panels – Video Tutorial

  Updated: 05/01/19 …     The Navigator Panel allows you to “navigate” around your image at large magnifications.   •  When your image is enlarged bigger than your Document Window, simply drag the “Red Box” with your mouse to the desired location   •  Notice that the magnification of your image shows at the bottom, along with Sliders to reduce and enlarge.   •  This is also a good time to review these navigation “Speed Keys” (see this post for the 10 essential ones), as this is where you’ll use them in conjunction with the Navigator Panel:   To

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Photoshop CS6/CC: The Tools Panel and Color Picker – Video Tutorial

Updated: 05/01/19 …     In  the last blog post, we discussed how to set up a proper Workspace with Panels.  In this and future posts,  we’ll explore some of these Panels in detail, starting with the Tools Panel and the Color Picker.   The purpose of the Tools Panel and the Color Picker is to allow easy access to the some of the most commonly used tools and functions in Photoshop.   There are over 50 tools contained in the Tools Panel, including access to the invaluable Color Picker, but don’t be overwhelmed, you’ll only need a handful of

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Photoshop CS6/CC: Setting up your Workspace with Panels – Video Tutorial

  Updated: 10/10/19: Feeling adventurous?  You should definitely watch the video, but perhaps I can save you some time – once a small file, “WD Basic 1.psw”, is properly loaded on your computer, only the 9 “essential” Panels discussed in the video will show up in your Photoshop Workspace.  Easy installation instructions included (link near the bottom):   https://wattsdigital.com/free-useful-downloads   ____________________   Think of Panels as “miniature workspaces”, each accomplishing a different function.  There are almost two dozen different panels available to you, but in the spirit of K.I.S.S., I would suggest that you start with just nine, and add those you deem necessary

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We don’t need no stinkin’ HDR Hassles!! – Use ACR instead …

  Updated: 09/09/21, & still relevant today! – BONUS: See my short video from YouTube below:       Want to take advantage of the positives of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography, while bypassing all of those confusing HDR plug-ins and software (with their sometimes unpredictable and “plastic-looking” results)?   Then you’re going to love this – you can make all of your adjustments in the powerful Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) plug-in that comes with Photoshop, instead of confusing third-party software…   First, what is HDR? From Wikipedia:  “It’s a set of techniques used in photographic digital imaging to reproduce a

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Photoshop: OMG I’ve Got my Ott! (Ott-Lite, that is …)

Updated 08/29/21     “What?? That’s not what my print looks like – it’s way different in this lighting!”  – How many of us have had that frustrating conversation, and want to know how to avoid it?   When it comes to Digital Imaging, there are  Three Steps to Successful Color Management.  In my experience, the most overlooked is #3: Assure that you have the proper Lighting Conditions and Perception (more here on Perception).   Before your eyes start to glaze over, let me start with a quick and simple definition:  Color Management allows you to print what you see

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Photoshop CC – Time to get your head INTO the “Cloud”?

  Updated 08/30/21, & still relevant today …         August 20, 2013 – So, have you been hearing about Photoshop CC lately?  Welcome to the Brave New World of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and all of the confusion that results from a revolutionary concept.  Since it’s here to stay, it’s time to get your head INTO the “Cloud”.   Concept:   We’re all familiar with the traditional method of purchasing software, whether from Adobe or another company: install the software on your computer (say, Photoshop CS6), enter a key, and it’s yours to use in perpetuity – a “perpetual” license.

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Thoughts on Judging at the San Diego County Fair Photo Contest

  09/01/21 – Updated, and still relevant today … Note: Sadly, Dave passed away in October of 2020.  He will be sorely missed – both as an accomplished individual in his chosen fields – but also as a friend …   ______________   05/01/2013 – Dave King’s “must-read” on judging at the San Diego County Fair Photo Contest last Sunday is wisdom for more than just photo contest entrants – – this is great stuff!  Dave teaches Photography at San Diego City College, and eloquently makes the same observations I had as a Judge in the same contest:   Dave’s

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Photoshop CS6 & CC’s innovative new Crop Tool

  10/05/20 – This post has been updated here:  https://blog.main.wattsdigital.com/?p=3561   ______________________ So, you’ve used previous versions of Photoshop, and now you’ve got CS6.   You’re ready to crop your image, and – – “Whaaa?! #%&*  – Egads!  This new Crop Tool is really different!”  Yes, it is – but once you know how it works and get used to it, you’ll never want to go back. Purpose: The Crop Tool allows you to crop to a portion of an image to enhance the subject matter, remove an unwanted object, or improve your composition. Where to Find: You can find the

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Setting up your Photoshop CS6 Workspace with Panels

UPDATE 05/01/15 –  See this blog post in video form … Think of Panels as miniature workspaces, each accomplishing a different function.  There are almost two dozen different panels available to you, but in the spirit of K.I.S.S., I would suggest that you start with just nine, and add those you deem necessary as you gain more experience with Photoshop. Below is a representation of the panels I would suggest that you set up on your Photoshop desktop to create a proper workspace: Photoshop gives you a set of predefined workspaces: You can access these by going to the “Window”

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Photoshop: Profiling your Monitor is easier and cheaper than you think

03/21/19 – The information in this post has been updated, WITH VIDEO – Click here There are 3 steps necessary to successful color management – Profiling your Monitor is “Step #1”.  But let’s face it:  the main reasons most people avoid profiling their monitor are because they’ve got to buy something, and they think it’s too complicated. The truth is, it can be quite simple to get your monitor to match the output of your printer.  All you need are the right tools, the main one being a Monitor Profiling package,  which consists of a piece of hardware called a

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Dynamic Black & White from your Color Images using Photoshop ….

Updated 08/24/21     A question from Dave W in Maui, Hawaii:   Can you create a black & white image  from a color digital image?  My camera has a B&W setting, so should I start there first?  And can these be printed properly?  Mahalo!   Answer:   Yes, you can create stunning black and white from your color images!  I’d strongly recommend shooting all of your images in color, then convert your images to Black and White in Photoshop after the fact.   Here’s why:   •  More Information: An RGB (color) image has 3 times as much information

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Creating Custom Printer Profiles for Photoshop CS6 / CC

8/27/21 – This post has been updated – – click here: https://wattsdigital.com/custom-printer-profiles •  More on Color Management for Photographers: https://blog.main.wattsdigital.com/color-management-101-for-photographers/ _________________ Updated: 03/01/15 I’ll keep it simple: You cannot use Photoshop CS6 / CC to create your Custom Printer Profile – the “why” is too complicated to get into, but the “No Color Management” option no longer exists (CS4 and earlier), and there is not a “workaround” such as that used in CS5. So you have three choices: 1) The Best Choice:  Use an older version of Photoshop to create your Profile – Yes, you can install more than one version

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