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Photography workshop - day 5

Discussion in 'Photography Workshop 2005 by Connie' started by connie, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. connie

    connie Alumni

    Well today I'm going to be talking about Photoshop. Now Photoshop is a HUGE program. I only use a fraction of the features in it. Because of this, I thought it might be better to use today as more of a question and answer session.

    I'm going to start by answering a couple of questions about sizing imagery for web. After that, I can talk about changing brightness/contrast, color adjustments, putting in backgrounds, combining pictures, whatever you like. I'm going to checking the boards all day so just let me know what you'd like to hear about.

    One last thing before I start, I work on a Mac G5/OSX and I use Photoshop version 8. I know that most of the time, when I talk about pressing the apple key and clicking, those of you on PCs should be either right clicking or control clicking - its been a LONG time since I've been on a PC so you'll have to forgive me if I don't always get these things right. Still, everything Photoshop does on Mac it does on PC too. And for those of you with other photography programs, I'm afraid I've only ever used Photoshop. Still, some of what I say will apply to you as well and I might be able to help.

    Sandra/Debutante Clothing asked me on day one about sizing photos for web:

    "72 dpi? When I go to save for the web in Photoshop, I always make sure my pics are less than 50K. Are we basically talking about the same thing?"

    The standard size for all pictures online is 72dpi. What happens is that say you have a 4x5 picture at 144dpi. When you post it online, because everything there is 72dpi, your picture will show up as 8x10. This is why so many people end up with huge pictures that you have to scroll across.

    You should always change your pictures to 72dpi (if they aren't already) and size them as you want. This way, you know exactly what your getting. For instance, on my website, I have the width of my pages set at a specific size (I think its 700dpi - I forget offhand). Anyway, when I save my pictures to put on my site, I have to make sure that they aren't bigger that 700dpi wide. I could still use them but it would upset the layout/design that I worked so hard to create. If you are doing any kind of online ad, they will definitely give you the exact size of the ad they need so its just really handy knowing how to do this.

    To size your photo, after you open it up in Photoshop, go to the top bar and click on Image. Scroll down and click on Image Size. Now the box that pops up will have a different layout depending on your version, but basically you should have an area that says tells you your Pixel dimensions. Next you should have a Document size box. You have the option of sizing your picture in inches, centimeters, etc. Underneath that you should have a box that says Pixels/Inch.

    As you change your documents size, by inches or the number of Pixels, you will see the corresponding change in the Pixel dimensions.

    For most items, you are going to want to keep the Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions and Resample Image buttons all clicked. However, I had a question about this from Chris/Patentleathershoes just the other day:

    "I do have one question - and maybe this is more food for thought to cover. When i take a photo, and then edit it in photoshop it automatically is at 72 dpi. I keep setting my camera to maximum and that is the highest i get. But when i switch it to a .psd or try to open it initially elsewhere, sometimes i can fiddle to get it to 200-300 for printing, but how do i get my photos to come out higher resolution as a .jpg. ? Not for displaying on the web but more for data transfer"

    And the answer...I only know how my own camera works but I'm pretty sure that all digital cameras work this way. When you set it for a higher resolution what the camera does isn't change the dpi but make the picture bigger. When my camera is at lower quality settings it might show up as a say 8"x12" picture at 72dpi and when I set it to a higher setting it might be 24"x36" at 72dpi. (I'll have to check for actual sizes.) As far as I know, you have to actually change the dpi in a photo editing program.

    Here is how you change the dpi and sizing. I go to Image - Image size. In the image size box I have the option to Resample image. You click that button Off. When you go to change the size of the image, it will now change the dpi in relation to how much smaller you are making the image.

    For instance, say I have an image that is 20" wide at 72dpi. If I turn off the Resize button and change the size to 5", it will automatically change to 288dpi. By the same token, if I have an image that I know I want 300dpi and don't care how big that makes it, I just put in 300dpi and it will automatically change the size.

    Well that's a little start in Photoshop. I just remembered that Chris had another question about backgrounds and magic wands. I'll talk about that next.
  2. connie

    connie Alumni

    OK, here is the question from Patentleathershoes.

    "Then i used paint bucket with a 20% tolerance and further isolated with "magic wand" to make sure her hair didn't get paintbucketed out because it doesn't contrast much with the wall. It still came out a little iffy around her knees because the wall and her skin didn't contrast enough but all and all its an improvement. The original photo on left was initially larger, but i shrunk it so you can see what i cropped from

    <img src=http://www.cosmiccatvintage.com/tangerineone.jpg>

    <img src=http://www.cosmiccatvintage.com/tangerinedress2.jpg>

    what i still don't understand is how to get rid of the "squigglies". do i need better lighting as outdoor photos don't have it as bad? or better "preparing for web" So you see what i mean by that? "

    There are a couple of ways to deal with this. One is to use a background that is more contrasting to your mannequin. You won't have quite so many problems with your Magic Wand diffentiating between mannequin and background.

    Another one you might have used already. That is, after you've used the magic wand to select the background, if you have more you want to select, select the Marquee button on the tool box (on the left side of the screen). In my version of Photoshop, the Marqee tool is the one in the upper left corner of the tool box. It looks like a shape made of dotted lines. I ususally use the Eliptical marquee tool (the one shaped like an oval). On a Mac, you press the shift key and the surround the area that you want to add to what you selected with the Magic Wand. You can subract from your selection by pressing the Option key while using the Marquee tool.

    The more difficult but more precise way (the one professionals use) is to outline your item with the pen tool. I find it easiest to start by going to the Menu bar at the top, click on Windows and then click on Paths. A small Palatte will show up on the right called Paths. There is an arrow on the Palatte click on it and it will give you the option of New Path. Click on that an name your path. (I just give them the numbers Photoshop assigns them.

    Now go to the Tool bar on the left. In the middle you should find the Path tool - it looks like the point of an old-fashioned calligraphy pen. What you do here is use the Pen tool to make points all around the edge of the item. When you get back to the beginning, your path will close. The lines will be straight. To adjust them to the curves you go to the Pen tool. One of the options is the Convert Point tool - it looks like 2 sides of a triangle. You then click on one of the points and pull. As you move left and right and up and down, you'll see how the line curves and distorts. You can then, also, take either end of the line you just pulled and adjust one side of the outline at a time.

    I know this sounds really weird but it will make sense when you do it. There is a much more precise definition of this on the Photoshop help if you want to look. Personally, I find it easiest to learn by doing but that part is up to you.

    Anyway, say you've outlined the dress that you are picturing. You then go back to the Path Palette on the right. At the bottom of the Palatte, there is a button to load the path as a selection - a circle made of dotted lines. Click on that and now you've selected your dress. Then go to the menu bar and press Select - Select Inverse. Now you have your background selected.

    On the tool bar to the left there is a place for you to select your foreground and background color. Mine is below the tool options and looks like two squares on top of each other. Click on the background square. A box called the Color Picker pops up. You just pick the color you want. Go back to your picture and hit Delete. Now the background will be the color you picked.

    Now this isn't the best sample as I was trying to do this really quickly, but here you go:
    <img src=http://www.cosmiccatvintage.com/tangerine3.jpg>

    Now this is a long way to do things. With a little practice, this will give you professional looking results but you'll have to decide how much time you want to spend doing this. There is A LOT more that you can do with the Path tool so if any of you are feeling adventurous and want to try it, I'll do my best to help you with any problems you have.
  3. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Connie, it's amazing what all I've learned from you in the past 4 days. A BIG thanks.

    I don't have photoshop; I've been using the program that came with the computer. Do you think it would be a worthwhile investment, and what level should a neophyte like me get?

  4. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    Connie - wonderful workshop!

    Now, Photoshop isn't the same program as Adobe Photo Deluxe is it? I have Adobe Home Edition 4.0, and while it isn't new it does everything I could possibly need.

    But I must say, I bought 2 paper backdrops at a photography supply store, and I haven't looked back. No more Color Change, Wand or Outlining for me!

    Connie you are so right . Anything you can solve when you take the photo is so much easier and less time consuming than dealing with it in post prodution.

  5. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    I think all the photoshops, and correct me if i am wrong Connie, have the same functions. There are just less of them if you get the "elements" which is an abbreviated version, etc. Lizzie, got to Adobe.com they might have a free trial so you can "play along".

    I figured out what the "squigglies" were btw also Connie. her face is blurry, etc. I figured out that the camera was compensating for the not enough light, even though it looked like enough to me. (thanks to other parts of this workshop).

    I do have one more question, the pen tool works more precise than the magnetic lasso?

    Actually,, i don't have a pen tool. I have a pencil but that is different. i am on Photoshop Elements for Windows, and i must say i miss my Mac!!!
  6. artisannes

    artisannes VFG Member VFG Past President

    Connie thanks

    I have been uaing Paintshop Pro but do have Photoshop and may give it another try for some things.

  7. connie

    connie Alumni

    Hi Guys

    Sorry I didn't have a chance to answer all your questions. Things were kinda busy here this weekend.

    Well, lets see here. Lizzie, you asked me about getting Photoshop. To be perfectly honest, unless you are a professional, you probably don't need it. Photoshop is a HUGE program. I only use parts small parts of it and then mostly for my artwork. I pretty much only use the brightness/contrast and color adjustments for my clothes.

    I think it would be a difficult program to learn on your own. My husband is a graphic designer so I've always had him here to show me how to do stuff. It is the sort of thing though, that if you really want to use it to its full potential, taking a class is your best option. If I were you, I'd go with a less expensive program or whatever your computer comes with, That will probably be all you need.

    In answer to some other questions, Adobe Photo Deluxe is not Photoshop. I believe it is an abbreviated program with just some of the most used features of Photoshop. It should work just about the same as Photoshop though.

    I'm not sure about the magnetic lasso. I know what button you're talking about, but I've never actually used it. Using paths is always going to give you more professional and precise results. It's what I said earlier about cameras and computers being dumb. When you use paths, you are the one placing the points and adjusting the outline so it is exactly what you want. With buttons like the magic wand or lasso, you are asking the computer to figure out what you want. YOU are far smarter than a computer and have a better eye and so will get better results.

    Again, my husband does this stuff for a living and paths are just the way you do things professionally. Like I said the other day though, it is a lot of work and you have to decide whether or not it is worth your time. It is one thing if you are designing something that is going to go on a billboard and quite another for a photo for eBay.

    Anyway, I hope you all learned a trick or two this past week. If you ever have any questions, just pop it up on the board and I'll be happy to give it a go.

    Good luck photographing!:USETHUMBUP:

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