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Advice for a Beginner
this seems to become a looooong thread
For my own part, I was bored! I became curious in photo retouching and had a really dull job: I was support engineer for a large print-company and while my colleagues in the day-shift were pretty busy with the european callers I had the US branch and 90% of my time was sitting there and waiting for a call. So there was a lot of time to read tutorials and practice
I guess my way was the one 99% of all the people in here took. Started with wannabe-glamour, extensive blur and stuff. Read a lot of tutorials and things about it whereever I could and learnt how to enhance eyes, make hair look better, adjust skin-tones and so on.
Well my images grew larger and the skills as well. My first employment was mere coincidence. A photographer found me on a model-website, it was a Friday afternoon and he had to deliver a cover-photo for a magazine. The retoucher-company he worked with was already gone for the weekend and so...
With this job, I learnt two major lessons:
First, a photographer is a pro and you can learn a ton of things from their critique
Second, don't do anything without a written contract. He still has'nt paid...
If you look at the bottom of each thread, there's a few links to posts that are usually similar, I don't know exactly how they work yet, but usually they are really close to what you need at the time, it's like magic!
Also there is a few links here that I am aware of that were recently a topic, maybe they'll help you some.
A month or so ago...
I hope this helps,
welcome to RP.
the best way to learn is to figure out what you really want to do. 'photoshop skills' is a pretty generic category. you need something more definite. one of the things i found is that there is a LOT to learn here and all sorts of different classes of 'photo manipulation'. you've got retouching, restoration, photo art, photo manipulation, fashion/glamour, pagentry, and even divisions within some of those areas and probably a few areas i didnt even mention. each has its own quirks and techniques and specialties. retouching is quite different, for example, than restoration. glamour is a real tricky one, with some of most fussy, finicky people in the business.
if retouching is your passion, find some images you want to work with and jump right in. there's no better way than to just start. do what you can and then find tutorials, books, forums and the like that can help take you further. RP is an excellent forum site. we've got folks from all the trades in varying skills and abilities who are quite willing to help and answer questions.
i'll also mention that photoshop isnt necessarily the best program to start out with. whereas it's easy to say it's the best graphic editor out there, it's not the easiest learning curve. but, because it's the best, you're also going to find the most help for it. so, it's a bit of a toss-up as to where to start re graphic editors.
one shld also be familiar with the 'frustration factor'. this can range from calming, soothing, relaxing painting to exploding heads, broken keyboards and bouts of drunkenness and deep depression i hit the high end of this fairly often and after banging my head on the wall for a half hour, i usually go back to before i got in trouble and figure out what it was that was perplexing me and start again from there after figuring it out. i'm currently working on a program that is quite complex and has little, good documentation. what docs there are spread out across many sites. so, half my time is spent just trying to find the tut i need and the other half in trying to understand it. (doc writers, in my experience, fall into one of two categories; either they are folks who already know everything about the program and forget that we dont, or, are folks that dont want to write things up and just throw some stuff in there to satisfy their bosses' orders to 'make some docs').
so, the last bit of advice i can give is, learn your tools and learn them so well that you could do this stuff in your sleep. if you know the tools, technique is secondary. you just KNOW what to do and do it because you KNOW what the tools can do. it's like the difference between a chef that has to read each recipe to get a good result and the chef that knows his tools so well that he just goes, ok, a pinch of this and a dash of that and voila'!
As craig mentioned Photoshop may not be your best bet to start out with. I would like to suggest Photoshop Elements 3.0. It is not the newest version but it is the best with the ability to add on tools like curves and channel mixer free using Grants Tools. You will get 75 percent of the functionality of CS2 for around 30 dollars. Sure beats the $675 of CS2.
Many of the tools and all the concepts are the same in both, although CS2 has many more options to customize. I have found there is very little you can do in CS2 that you can't do in Elements with a little more work.
Best of all if you like Elements and you want to upgrade there are often good deals. Just now Adobe is offering a $299 upgrade from Elements to the full version of CS2... heck that may be the way to buy CS2…. Elements then upgrade….. If you cannot get an education discounted price then that is the best deal around...
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