Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5

This week, I learned some important new skills for Adobe Photoshop CS5.  The tutorials were extremely helpful.  The only difficulty I had was with the instructors use of keyboard shortcuts.  I find shortcuts impossible to remember because they seem like random combinations of "option" and various letters.  I prefer to use the drop down menus and my mouse.  My focus for this tool was on using it to extract images.  Because I do not have a photo studio and supplies, I take dance photos on the stage at school with regular stage lighting.  I do not like the way the pictures look in that background, so I extract the images using photoshop and then put them on a white background and often include gradients.  With the new version of photoshop, my job has gotten much easier.

Previously, I used the eraser tool and painstakingly drew around each image to remove the background.  I had to have an extremely steady hand and spent a lot of time backtracking and refining.  With CS5's new smart selection tool, the process is much easier.  As I show in my Youtube video, the whole process takes me about 10 minutes and the results are much better.

I now want to take it to the next level and merge these extracted images with new backgrounds to create some more interesting shots.  This year our school is going through a rebuild and has a really interesting construction zone.  I want to take the extracted pictures of dancers and place them in the construction zone so that it looks like they are dancing in the rubble.

Here are a couple of examples of photos that were extracted using CS5.


  1. Wow! These look great Melissa! The extract tool in Photoshop certainly has come a long way. Users used to have to but a specialized plugin for such great results. I've found tutorials to be very helpful as well. I'm currently using them to learn Blender, a 3D modeling application which I'd never heard of until this month. I look forward to seeing what you do with these images. I think you have some great ideas here! Photoshop has a pretty steep learning curve and you're doing great!

  2. I am going to work on Photoshop for blending and merging the photos for my next practical experience. It can be pretty complicated with all of the steps and adjustments. I am a visual artist as well so I like using Photoshop as an art tool. I might look into Blender as well but it may be a little above my skill level. Thanks for your comments.