Professional photographer Simon Plant is one of many pros now turning to training and using DVDs as a method of transferring skills.
The composite image you will learn how to create.
He has several video tutorials to download from his web site including this one titled Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies, where he explains how you can make a detail composite image (above) using Photoshop and its complex masking features.
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies tutorial: Download
You purchase the videos online from prophotoinsights.net and instantly receive a download link. This 3 hour tutorial is in two one and a half hours segments downloaded as zip files which then need to be extracted. My home PC was averaging 385 kB/sec so it took Part 1, a 530Mb file about 25mins while Part 2 at 657MB took approx 30mins. This will obviously vary depending on your line and download speed.
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies tutorial: Videos
When you try to play the video it will check to see if you have the movie player QuickTime installed. If not you'll need to go and download this. Simon provides a link on his site. When you go to the download page there's a box to add your email address. This isn't compulsory you can just click download without entering your email.
The early section of the video comprises several short clips like this
The video starts with a lengthy introduction and sets the pace for what you will soon feel is a waffly flow of poorly scripted dialogue. The idea of presenting in a diary style is good but with unnecessary constant "catch you in a bit" moments you soon start to tire and wish the pace would increase. The concept of how to plan a shot, source props and a model are all good, but most of the time discussing this seems shallow and lacking in substance. We gain a few tips but nothing of real value. There's one point where Simon turns to the screen to show us how he sources the model, but all we see is the back of his head, the rest of the time it's a head shot to the side illustrated in the screen shot above.
At the 10 minutes stage I was starting to wonder why anyone would want to buy this download.
Simon's studio set used to photograph the model dressed as a soldier.
It then picks up slightly as we go to the studio and have a great tip on using a vacuum cleaner as a wind machine, and a few quick lighting tips but nothing to write home about. The studio session is over quickly and we don't get much from that. In fact one piece about the second light is repeated twice. As the video progresses we get lots of repeated information that us unnecessary. There is a useful if quite rough diagram of the light set up
Also throughout the sound quality is varied. We get loud bursts of music that have to be turned down if you have the level set right for his voice. And there are occasional segments where the voice goes louder or quieter, and some areas where the sound pops as he's too close to the microphone and another outside section where there's bad wind noise. You may find yourself constantly reaching for the volume control to manually adjust. The whole video needs an equalisation adjustment and better sound control.
Well by now and 30mins into the video you can tell I'm not impressed...but that's about to change. While the criticism of sound level and waffle continues, the two and a half hours that follows is an impressive making of the image using Photoshop and probably the reason you're likely to buy the video.
At this stage Simon was working on the moon and surrounding cloud.
It's a complex tutorial covering just about every nook and cranny of Photoshop. Layer masks, adjustment layers, groups and sets, alpha channels, paths and advanced dodge and burn techniques are used to bring a selection of elements together in an advanced composite. I learned a great tip on choking the mask that I wasn't aware of which will save me loads of time in future and although I rarely do stuff so advanced that I need to use grouped items I now feel inspired to do so.
His magnifying production trick tended to get in the way rather than aid the presentation.
I wondered if some of the aspects were really necessary, like adjusting for hairs on the legs and arms, but other aspects such as using dodge and burn to define muscle really worked well. Overall Simon's Photoshop skills really come through and you cannot help be amazed at what he does and the image he ends up with.
Some good dodge and burn techniques were used to define muscle
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies tutorial: Verdict
Simon is a very competent photographer who knows his way around Photoshop's advanced features really well. The project allows him to share this advanced knowledge and illustrate techniques on using complex aspects of Photoshop's features. Sadly video production and scripting do not appear to be his key strengths and that shows on a three hour video that if done succinctly could probably have been reduced by about an hour.
I did come away with a few new methods that I'd never used before and those two things alone made it worth the £10 download fee, but I did struggle to keep interested throughout the the video.
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies tutorial: Pros
Advanced methods discovered
Plenty of tips
Clear and through instruction
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies tutorial: Cons
Not brilliantly scripted
Enlarge feature distracting
|QUALITY OF ADVICE
ProPhotoinsights Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies costs £9.99 and is available as a direct download from PhotoInsights.net.
The Last Sacrafice Of Dienekies