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Working Smarter with Photoshop

Mar 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Glen Stephens

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Glen Stephens

Because Photoshop is useful for applications ranging from print to web design, it's a tool with which many people are familiar. But familiarity with Photoshop does not make one skilled at using the program for video applications.

“The video implementation of Photoshop is kind of unique, and it's something that not a lot of places focus on,” says Glen Stephens, chair of the “Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Nonlinear Editors” track. “Here the focus is on the way Photoshop integrates into a postproduction workflow. We look at what you need to do creatively and technically to work through that process.”

Some sessions in the track are especially well suited for those still fairly new at using Photoshop for video. One such session is “Avoiding Video Gotchas in Photoshop CS2,” where, attendees learn how to deal with such video issues as field flicker, non-square pixels, IRE-to-RGB conversions, chroma crawl, anti-aliasing, bit depth, and pre-multiplied alpha channels. It also covers working with HD and anamorphic images, as well as issues related to mixing formats.

This year’s track focuses on the incredible possibilities to be had with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

“When using Photoshop, you have to be really cognizant of making sure everything works when you go from the computer and video,” says Stephens. “Certainly one of the key goals of this track is to dispel a lot of the technical myths and cover the issues people are going to face when they are working in Photoshop for video.”

Newer users should check out a new session titled “Working Smart: Workflows and Smart Design Practices.” This session, says Stephens, “helps attendees develop an intelligent workflow so they don't just jump into the middle of a project without thinking through the potential problems that are going to arise as they work in this medium.”

Finding ways to work smarter shouldn't just be the goal of new and intermediate users, however. According to Stephens, the Photoshop track will also provide advanced users with tips designed to make them more productive. One session for such tips is “Alpha Channels and Masking In-depth.”

“People use Photoshop for masking all the time. But there are a lot of tools built in that people overlook that eliminate a lot of dirty work,” says Stephens. “Some of the tools you use for color correction, for example, can help you tremendously in cutting masks. We're not talking about the mainstream magic wand selection tool kind of stuff. This is advanced masking, and even the most agile Photoshop users should be able to get something out of this class.”

Stephens is excited about “Motion Control 3D: How to Create Movement within a Photo,” a new session teaching users how to turn 2D photos into 3D environments where the photo elements can move independently of one another. “It's a very cool class about techniques for adding motion to still images for video,” says Stephens.

He's also looking forward to his own session, “Creating Virtual Sets for Green Screens.” Stephens didn't teach this session last year and points out the content is all new.

“Because Photoshop is so diverse, there are about 100 different ways to accomplish the same thing,” he says. “In last year's session, Richard Harrington presented an approach to virtual sets that is very specific to his workflow and the things he has done for his clients. I have a completely different approach that's appropriate for the things I've done for my clients. And that's sort of our goal in general — give people options. It's all about improving your efficiency and expanding your skill set.”

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