Introduction to Advanced Adobe Photoshop


This induction was a sequel to the beginners Photoshop induction which I attended last year in October. During this session we developed our existing skills and also learnt new skills in the software.

Before photo editing

After photo editing

We began by looking at ways of editing photographs, we started by exploring colour correction using adjustment layers.The adjustment layers we played with were levels, to adjust the shadows and highlight, and vibrance, to adjust the vibrancy of colours as well as saturation. With colour correction it is important to make sure you create a duplicate layer of the original image before any changes are made so that you can compare the before and after, also it is important to make sure that the screen is properly calibrated to ensure that the colours are accurate.

Then we began to explore editing the content within the image through the use of the sponge tool, clone stamp tool and the spot healing brush tool. Each have their advantages and disadvantages and should be used where appropriate. The sponge tool can be used in two modes, saturate and desaturate, you can also adjust the flow of the brush for more control, the clone stamp tool requires you to select a target area to sample to clone which is time consuming but allows for more control than the spot healing brush tool which will automatically select a target area to sample however this can lead to poor results if it selects and undesirable target area.

Finally for editing photographs we looked at sharpening and high pass filter. To sharpen an image it was recommended that we use the unsharp mask or smart sharpen, which can be used to add more clarity to the image and reduce any blur in the image created through camera shake. We also used a high pass filter which allows you to apply a blend mode to only select areas of the image, therefore improving only the areas that require improvements.

Before extraction

After extraction

After looking at editing photographs we briefly revisited layer masks which we covered in the induction to Photoshop for beginners as well as how to create our own Photoshop brushes, and then quickly moved on to extraction. Extraction can be used to remove a selected area from an image. We used select > colour range to select the background colour which we the removed. Then we created a layer mask, refined mask edge and put on a smart radius which we adjusted, we switched on decontaminate colours which we adjusted, as well as adjusting the feathering in order to remove any of the remaining green contaminating the image of the monkey. Finally I replaced the green background with red.

Applying my knowledge of advanced blending and selections

Channels are not something I had previously learnt before in Photoshop therefore covering their uses was very helpful for me. We looked at creating crisp line work with channels by duplicating the channels, inverting the channels and using the dodge tool to further define the line work. Finally loading the channel as a selection to create a clean and crisp selection of the line work. It was highlighted that this way of working is particularly useful for screen printing and you can split channels to create multiple documents, each for a layer of the image, we can then be used to individually print each layer of a screen print.

Finally we ended the induction by looking at grayscale and duotone. Grayscale is particularly useful as printing in grayscale can save money, however in order to do this the image must be set to grayscale and not simply appear black and white. To do this you can use image > mode > grayscale, or you can choose image > adjustments > black and white, then manually adjust how the image appears in black and white, and once happy with the appearance select image > mode > grayscale, to discard the RGB or CMYK channels.

Examples of duotone

To produce duotone images you need your document to be set to grayscale first. The using image > mode > duotone you can select monotone or duotone. You can also use the duotone curve to change how each colour relates to each other.

Overall I found this induction extremely useful. I initially attended the induction to Photoshop for beginners which was handy for learning the correct way of doing things in Photoshop however most of the content covered I already knew, however this induction taught me a wide range of skills which I was either not confident in using or had never used before. A skill that I had never even encountered before was duotone, although I have seen many duotone images over the years I never knew its name or how to recreate it, therefore I think in the future that will be something I develop from this induction in my own time or in my studio work.

Introduction to Studio Lighting


To accompany our Let There Be Light project we had a workshop introducing us to studio lighting. This workshop was held by the universities photographic service unit (University of Brighton Photographic Service Unit) which offers services such as equipment loans, bookable photographic studios and working in the photography darkroom.

Initially we began at looking at how to correctly use a camera, specifically looking at the exposure triangle. The triangle consists of ISO (how sensitive the light sensor is to light), shutter speed (how long the shutter remains open), and aperture (the size of the hole in the lens). Each three of these components affects each other and can be controlled to produce different effects. Shutter speed can be used to capture motion blur or a freeze frame of a moving object, and aperture can be used to control the depth of field.

There are settings on digital cameras which can be used to make controlling these components easier, the A/AV setting gives manual control of the aperture whilst automatically adjusting the shutter speed and ISO, and the S/TV setting gives manual control of the shutter speed whilst automatically adjusting the aperture and ISO. Another setting that can be useful is white balance, this helps to control the colour tone of the lighting in the image. Other ways of modifying the light is through hardware like soft boxes (soft diffused light for portraiture and fashion shoots), umbrellas (shoot through for diffused light or reflective to softly bounce away light), barn doors (use the flaps to direct the light), snoots (direct light) and coloured reflectors (control the tonal colour of the light).

Once we had covered the basics of photography we put what we had learnt into practice and began experimenting with different studio lighting set ups and the DSLR cameras. The first set up was a one light setup and the second was a basic lighting setup. The one light setup has a light facing the model at about a 45 degree angle, with a reflector acting as a fill light to soften the shadows, this is good for portraiture.

One Light Setup

The basic lighting setup is also good as a basic starting point for portraiture but also for still life. There is a background, main light and a fill light.

Basic Lighting Setup

During the workshop I experimented with using the a DSLR camera and one light setup to photography my calm jar, the object I choose initally for my Let There Be Light project. A calm jar is a jar filled with glitter, glitter glue and food colouring, and when the jar is shaken the glitter becomes animated and swirls around the jar before slowly settling. Due to the kinetic aspect of this object I spent a lot of time experimenting with capturing the motion by altering the shutter speed, with the help of the technician. Capturing moving objects and lights is a running theme throughout my Let There Be Light project therefore this feedback and advice was extremely valuable. I also experimented with using reflectors and adjusting the intensity of the light source in order to soften the shadows. Below are some of the photographs taken from my workshop, although they are not polished images they are recordings of my experimentation with studio lighting.