Photography / Hands-on Review

Conquering Adobe Software via Kelby Training DVDs


If you’re a professional photographer, you probably spend as much or more time in front of a computer as behind a camera.

And since such Adobe programs as Photoshop have proven the most popular, Kelby Training has created a series of DVDs to hone your Adobe software skills.

Whether you’re getting up to speed with Photoshop CS5 or Lightroom 3 or feel the need to sharpen your proficiency with particular digital tools, there’s a Kelby Training DVD or related Pearson Education book ready to help.

The newest arrivals on DVD include two programs hosted by Corey Barker, education and curriculum developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. His Adobe Photoshop CS5 Type Effects teaches you fun and creative ways to manipulate text. The DVD also shows you how to find free fonts; work with smart objects, color effects and layer styles; and create designs using the 3D tools in Photoshop CS5 Extended.

In Mastering Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with Corey Barker, you’ll learn why gaining mastery over blends is just as important as understanding layers. A variety of routines are covered including image restoration, sharpening, adjustments and special effects.

TACK SHARP! Sharpening in Adobe CS5 & Lightroom 3, presented by Scott Kelby collaborator Matt Kloskowski, teaches you how to exploit the programs’ most effective sharpening techniques. Kloskowski, co-host of the Web shows, Photoshop User TV and The Grid, is also the presenter on these Kelby Training titles: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 In-Depth, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Power Session and Adobe Photoshop CS5 Crash Course. The latter DVD is aimed at anyone getting started with RAW files, layers, tool selection and retouching.

On a deeper level, Down & Dirty Tricks, hosted by Corey Barker shows you how to manipulate Photoshop CS5 to create visibly intricate design effects—the sort that draw attention to magazine pages and website screens. You’ll learn how to produce classy layouts, create brush and texture effects, work with green-screen images and maximize the use of High Dynamic Range (HDR) mask effects.

Growing your artistic skills in Photoshop is the goal of the two-disc Fun with Digital Art: Painting in Photoshop. Artist Fay Sirkis leads you through CS5’s Brush Engine features, including selecting filters and brush palettes, and using scattering and texturing methods. You’ll learn to mimic traditional watercolor techniques, transform images through filters and unleash the power of HDR Toning control. Included are Fay’s Mixer Tool Preset Collection with more than 100 Presets and Fay’s Brush Presets with 50 Brush and Pattern Presets.

On a different DVD, Mastering Channels and Masks in Adobe Photoshop CS5, host Corey Barker helps you refine your masking techniques. The program explains channels, layer mask basics, quick masks and advanced masking. You’ll learn how to use masks for special effects, to blend images and more. Bonus sections include masking 3D Objects and using the Apply Image capability.

A similar-themed DVD trainer, Mastering Selections in Adobe Photoshop CS5, is intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your workflow. Illustrated through practical examples, trainer Dave Cross explains the difference between selections and masks, exploiting the Refine Edge command and how to use Channels to select challenging subjects like hair.

Those with a fascination for the amazing images produced through HDR enhancement will find Mastering HDR in Adobe Photoshop CS5 invaluable. Presented by Matt Kloskowski, the DVD runs the gamut from in-camera HDR photo capture to a detailed look at CS5’s new HDR Pro tool. You’ll learn to create high-impact fantasy and surreal photo styles that result in high viewership.

If you’re looking for a quick entry point into Photoshop, consider Scott Kelby’s CS5 7-Point System for Camera Raw. According to Kelby, you don’t have to learn the entire program to get what most photographers need done. Kelby reduces the process to seven simple steps for efficient workflow: camera profiles, white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity/vibrance, local adjustments and finishing effects.

Finally, if you prefer your support from a book rather than a DVD, consider The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers, by Scott Kelby. Beyond the glut of shortcuts, workarounds and tricks, Kelby provides in-depth techniques for sharpening images, mastering CS5’s Content-Aware Fill feature, using CS5’s new HDR merge feature and how to process RAW images, among others.

With so much professional help available, claiming ignorance about how to use an Adobe software product is no excuse. To read more about Kelby Training products, see the accompanying articles: General Photography and Wedding Help from Kelby Training and Teaching Photographers How to Make Pictures Perfect