A couple of us Emma designers recently trekked up to Boston for the Photoshop World Conference and boy, did we come back with some goodies. Yes, we received our fair share of totebags and light-up pens, however, the best souvenir of all was the wealth of everyday Photoshop knowledge we acquired. Considering our design team spends a large percentage of the day working in this program, we couldn't wait to get back to Nashville and try out some of these new methods with our email stationery design. We quickly realized that implementing our new found knowledge would make for a faster, easier workflow and email template designs that were down-right more stylish.
Sharing what we learned with the rest of our team was a given, but why stop there? Heck, let's go ahead and share with the entire design community. (My kindergarten teacher would be so proud.)
In an effort to keep this information digestible and shorter than the actual Photoshop World Guidebook itself, we've picked out 6 topics that we think you'll really like. And to start it off, this first one is short & sweet:
One: The very first session I attended at the conference really started the week off with a bang. It was called 'Painting with Photoshop' by Bert Monroy. Bert creates these amazing paintings in Photoshop that one would be tempted to call 'photo-realistic.' However, Bert's pieces are considerably more detailed than any photograph ever could be. That's because his paintings are created at an extremely high resolution and are actually made up of many different files. Use a zooming function on one of his paintings and you will only find more details; whereas in a photo you would quickly find pixels.
Since most of us aren't sitting in front of our computers creating a thousand layer, hyper-realistic photoshop painting, you might wonder 'what's the take away, here?' Well, the most inspiring thing about Bert's presentation was that he focused more on his philosophy and thought process rather than on steps to simply copy what he was doing. I really enjoyed the fact that he mostly wanted to share his mentality and then challenged the crowd to apply that to what it is they do.
The funny thing about Bert's mentality is that while he calls his work 'paintings,' he uses the 'paintbrush tool' a lot less often than you'd think. Perhaps the reason for this is because he is too busy using almost every other function available in Photoshop. Here are three simple, yet oh-so-useful tips that Bert had to share:
1 – Ignore the actual names of certain tools, effects & functions. They can be used for so much more than they like to claim. For example, the 'Outer Glow' layer style sounds pretty self-explanatory, but really, what's in a name? Who says you couldn't use this to apply a drop shadow that may or may not be better than the actual 'Drop Shadow' effect itself?
To do this:
- simply apply an 'Outer Glow'
- change the blend mode from 'screen' to 'multiply'
- change your color to a darker shade of your choice
It's also useful to adjust the size, spread, and opacity. The result is a nice even shadow, whereas the 'Drop Shadow' option is usually heavier on certain sides.
2 – Push all the buttons. There are certain features in Photoshop I assume are of no use to me and tend to avoid altogether. But as Bert knows, you can be pleasantly surprised by these neglected tools. So just go ahead and push it.
3 – Slide the scale from one extreme to another. If you are experimenting with a tool or adjustment, make sure to test the way it looks at every setting from -100 to +100. This can sometimes result in perfection.
These tips may be simple, but as Bert's work has so gracefully reminded us, the possibilities with Photoshop really are endless…if you let them be.
Stay tuned for 5 more installments of Photoshop World goodness in the coming weeks!