I?ve started to learn something?


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Iíve started to learn somethingÖ

26 Jul 2020 6:34AM   Views : 452 Unique : 310


Is it just me, or are many YouTubers rather up themselves? While others recommend it as a wonderful resource, I find that itís often waffly and padded (I want to know how to do X or Y, and nothing else), and also, worst of all, makes too many assumptions about what I know already.

I want to relate this to a specific editing skill that I donít have Ė using Layers. A couple of times, stumblingly, I have followed a tutorial in a magazine to (for instance) colour pop an image. And then Iíve forgotten all about it. Certainly, Iíve felt no need for using Layers. And I sort-of know thereís a dropdown menu for them, and Iím occasionally aware of something taking up space on the screen on the right.
But hereís the thing: I am being bullied into learning about Layers by a fellow-member of the Critique Team Ė I suppose itís fair enough, as Iím bullying her into trying Lensbaby optics. And we may be making progressÖ

Now, at present, I still see Layers as being inherently immoral (and probably fattening, and liable to make my hair fall out) because you canít use them in the darkroom. Thatís my editing touchstone. But Ė after over an hour on the Ďphone, I understand that there may be occasions on which I want to use Layers to tweak part of a picture, when I want to do something in editing that isnít global, and doesnít involve dodging and burning, or spot healing and cloning.

I think it amounts to the sort of adjustments you can achieve in Nik Efex with their control points, though with more adjustments available Ė I await correction on this point. And, to some extent, there are different ways to crack every problemÖ You donít have to know all of them, but sometimes itís good to know about them, at least.

Actually getting the first result ran into the buffers after about three minutes, but a further two Ďphone calls while I wrestled with my mouse delivered some suitably-adjusted hair on the picture I posted yesterday: it benefitted from a Levels adjustment to dark hair in a low-key nude.

I am not going to try to tell you how to use Layers, because Iím still faffing around, trying different clicks and selections on the Photoshop screen to get what I want. Most of the time, I end up brushing a broad white or black swathe across the image (usually both, in succession) before getting the brush to do what I want.

But Iíve succeeded with two more images today, without resorting to the telephone.

And Iíve realised that if I go on down the road, I may need to spend more than two minutes editing some pictures (even when I work out how to do it right first time). I wonít be doing that on every image,
though. My photographic style depends, very largely, on making the right choices in-camera, and then on global adjustments which donít need layers Ė to the extent that finding a picture that needs something doing for which Levels will be useful is a non-trivial task.

My instructor works very differently: she constructs her pictures one element at a time, both in the real world, assembling the objects for a still life on a table (or, yesterday, a chair). It therefore makes perfect sense to continue this process on the other side of clicking the shutter. ButÖ We shall see how it all pans out Ė and if I end up hiding in my darkroom for a week, itíll be her fault.

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
26 Jul 2020 6:58AM
Afterthought: I adjusted my post today using layers to darken the background. Yes, I know: still rather unadventurous, but it's baby steps for me with this!

chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
26 Jul 2020 11:38AM
Baby steps are good steps John.
Leave the light on in the darkroom Wink
James124 Avatar
James124 Plus
8 81 59 Portugal
26 Jul 2020 1:08PM
I've mostly avoided using PS layers too, indeed Photoshop itself except on odd unavoidable occassions. Local adjustments with brushes and NIK control points have served me well, but I've just started getting into Affinity, so will tackle layers there to see what it's all about.
And yes a lot of You-tubers are well up themselves, particularly the self-called "influencers".
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
26 Jul 2020 1:43PM
It's a bit addictive. before you know it it's teatime..
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2020 5:46PM
What some of us need is a fool's guide to Layers. I have no joy at all with them.
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
26 Jul 2020 6:27PM
I have had Elements for many years and in the last 5 or 6 years have used it a lot. Just about every image has had brightness or shadows and horizon type levels adjusted. I have books on layers, seen it demonstrated in the classroom, attempted it . Still don't get it!Grin But I have worked out a few neat tricks to get around some of it!
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
26 Jul 2020 8:33PM
Layers are indispensible.

I don't use them on every image, in the same way I won't use a polarising filter on eery image, it's not appropriate.

Affinity automatically puts adjustments on their own layer, which is very helpful. Combined with Layer Masks and Blend Modes, there's a lot to explore.

Nik Control points aren't Layers but the effect of a local adjustment is, essentially the same end result. Do you take the train or the bus, you'll get to the same destination.

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