Photoshop and Digital Photography Stuff, DIY Projects, and sometimes Ponderings and Rants.

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Thanks for stopping by. Have you seen my latest book?:) Really, it's quite good.
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I recently recorded a short video using Wacom‘s Art Brush with my Intuos Pro. This one takes you through the initial effect and finishes with some painting that takes advantage of brush rotation in Photoshop CC.

Whatcha think?


ADIMLanternsI’m still processing a bit, but I just had to get some thoughts down on my recent trip to Boulder, Co for ADIM14. Lead by Russell Brown, this event is “off the hook”, if I may quote Wacom’s Wes Maggio. I had no idea what to expect going in, and now I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to actually attend one.

ADIM is a design masterclass. That means they presume you are already proficient in the tools and techniques, but want a creative and inspirational kick to bring various elements together. And I’m telling you now – this is one power-packed event. You should certainly show up with your A game, this is by no means competitive. In fact, imagine around a hundred of the best creative digital artists in the business getting together to collaborate, compare notes, and generally just revel in sharing knowledge. There is some optional stress to get your project completed on time, but that’s nothing new for many of us. And there’s no penalty for not finishing (except you don’t get to take home your lantern).

BetterThanEllenThe session that completely blew me away was Lisa Carney‘s sit-down on retouching. I’m now a fan. She burned through a lot of Photoshop information very quickly and kicked my ass. I’m going to be begging for her to contribute to my next book (if I’m lucky enough to write another).

When I showed up, I have to admit I was very intimidated. Some real rock stars attend this thing. But then you notice they’re all hanging out with everybody, setting up rooms, swapping stories, and mostly just being relaxed. After an hour or so, I got the picture; this is actually a creative retreat. This is a conference to get out of the rut of client demands and be set free on a project (or projects) to explore your own vision. There are just enough boundaries to keep you from spinning out of control, though.

OMGItsKostMost of the time, I sat at the back of the room and watched the screens come to life. Every person had a work station, and every person was doing their own thing. That’s not to say it was like a junior college class where everyone’s checking Facebook. Far from it. This is the kind of event where people don’t take notes; they fold in what they’re hearing into what they’re doing. They’re learning by taking the bits they didn’t know (or forgot about), and carving new neural pathways right then and there. Imagine session musicians who are already seasoned pros just swapping riffs and picking up new material live on stage. It’s that fast.

And people… when they say this is a master class, believe it. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Typekit, printing, typography, Japanese calligraphy, video, laser cutting, manual assembly, and half a dozen other elements all crammed into three days. Wow. Even the down time is usually spent trading ideas and being creative.

SoSeriousThe social aspect is not to be ignored, either. Walk around and say hi – it’s likely you will start chatting with people whose work you’ve admired or purchased, from movies to magazines to automobiles and scientific discoveries. And everybody’s nice. Really. When you have Mylar Geisha and walking nigiri, exactly how uptight do you think people can be? LunchTiniDateMoustache

Want some craziness on your Tuesday? Wacom is hosting a webinar with me on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014. This completely free event takes material from my latest book, The Hidden Power of Adjustment Layers and wraps it in experimental methods. Grab your goggles and stylus, and join me! Just register using the link below.

More details here:

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Recently, the reviews on my last book have been a little disappointing. The chief criticism is that it’s too technical in nature. While I do not want to alienate any potential readers, I do feel it’s an author’s obligation to appropriate define a target audience and meet the needs of that audience. I specifically chose to write for people who want to extend themselves and use knowledge as a springboard. That’s not the biggest market, I know, but I feel it’s one that I can best connect with. Let’s hope that pays off as my career unfolds.

In response to this criticism, I’ve posted the following text on the Amazon page. It’s meant to help clarify expectations I have of the reader, and to give the reader realistic expectations of my book. In summary, I believe I have targeted an audience based on willingness to learn. This is very different that defining a target as some level of skill. Post on Facebook and share your thoughts.

Wondering whether this is the book for you? It’s not an easy question, to be sure. Let me start off by saying I wrote with the intent of doing something new, not just in the material presented, but how that material is structured. This book takes work, and that’s not something everyone wants to do. You’ll have to put aside what you’re used to in a Photoshop book and roll up your sleeves.

Think about it this way – if you drive a car, you’re probably reasonably good at everyday traffic, right? Let’s say you’re the average driver and you understand the dashboard lights, can change the oil, and navigate freeways as well as anybody.

Now let’s put you on a racetrack, or maybe crawling over rocks in the desert. You need a whole new set of skills just to keep it together – and not just behind the wheel. All of a sudden, knowledge of internal combustion engines, brakes, and electrical systems becomes vital. Understanding the vehicle from top to bottom is no longer an option, but a requirement. You aren’t just looking at the fuel gauge, but knowing the fuel-air mix, spray droplet size, and compression ratio. And you’re using that to push yourself to perform.

What I present in this book takes you from driving to performing. And you’ll have to put in the effort for that to happen. I’m not talking about competing with others, but winning by having mastery over your tools.

So, it’s not really about what you know coming in, it’s about how you approach Photoshop and how hard you want to work for excellence. Cookbooks and ready-made solutions are great when you have the luxury of always looking things up. But my goal is to get you away from the manuals, to embed the fundamentals inside you so you are never held back by manuals and road signs.

This book is not for you if you’re content making a run to the corner store for milk. But it is for you if you want to sip champagne in the winner’s circle.

Which will it be, then? Milk or Champagne?

So what do you think? Is this a better way to introduce the expectations of the series? Will it help readers make a more informed decision about purchasing?

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