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Modular Learning Idea

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  • Modular Learning Idea

    I have an idea - I learn the best when I can understand how each step in a technique is working, this also makes it possible to modify techniques to adapt to different solutions.

    I have noticed that most retouching techniques are made up of groups of steps (a function), each function accomplishes a goal within the technique. For instance the sharpening technique I just read about had two functions; the first built contrast between objects without building contrast between the pixels, the second function reduced the flare in the light areas.

    I think this site is amazing and wonderful, thanks Doug. I am way new to this site, so the functionality I am imagining may already be incorporated - I just don't know it yet. This is what I imagine.

    What if there was a forum where each thread was a function or a technique. We common folk would each submit a different way to accomplish the function or the technique. A function thread would concentrate on one result, a technique thread would concentrate on stringing functions together. Being able to review the different ways of doing the same thing in order to choose the best one and to learn seems pretty cool.

    The down side of this is deciding what is a function and what is a technique, there will be lots of "grey" areas ... which could get confusing. But take the intent of this idea and maybe we can come up with something even cooler!

    I realize that this is a little cerebral - I am really trying to spark a system to help us as a community stay in the habit of active thinking rather than repeating recipes or formulas (I am not complaining! - I just know that the more I understand the better I do).

    What are your thoughts?


  • #2
    Welcome aboard Roger. I like your way of thinking. No doubt, the better we understand something, the easier it is to use it. But I'm not real clear how the threads would work. Why don't you post a couple of "test" threads?



    • #3
      Thanks Ed,

      The thing that makes this wierd is that it really works best in hindsight - which is the opposite of the normal thread logic of "I have a problem can anyone help" or "look at this new cool thing I discovered", etc.

      I called them "functions" in my first post. I am officially changing that to the word "method", I think it is a good one. A technique can be one or more seperate methods strung together. It is difficult to imagine all of the possible "methods" that one would want to use. Finding those "methods" comes from needing the result - discovering the method - breaking the technique into the series of steps that accomplish an interim result which I am calling a "method" (if there is a better word - I am open to ideas).

      The end result would be an effective database of methods - that one could choose a proceedure from each method (like the different ways of lightening an image) - string them together to accomplish the task - It is very close to what we allready have here only backward engineered. It leaves the door open for new ideas and solutions to problems that we haven't yet thought of.

      For example, in the sharpening tutorial, the High Pass filter is used in a layer to build contrast between objects - is there other ways to accomplish this? If there are and each way was listed under the heading "building contrast between objects", and a list of the techniques was cross-referenced that this function could be a part of - that would be a very strong learning tool.

      So - the question - can it work within the structure of this site?

      Maybe we allready have this - but it's not cross referenced without searching - or to put it another way - we can learn what we discover we don't know, it's harder to search for something that "we don't know that we don't know".

      If everyone were to list the techniques they use - as they find themselves using them - break the technique into the interim result "methods" in words that describe what is being accomplished. Then post a list of those phrases, we could consolidate the duplicates and start a thread for each phrase and each technique that the method is a part of - we would have two sets of threads that relate to each other;

      1) The "method" threads. The techniques they can be used in are referenced.

      2) The "technique" threads" (those are the ones we are most used to now) which can include 1 or more "methods" to accomplish. Each "method" would be referenced.

      I don't want to start randomly posting "test threads" - I really think the format is critical or it will get way to confusing to quickly.

      I know I am up there - is my head in clouds or am I seeing clearly from a distance?



      • #4
        Hi Roger,
        Welcome to Retouch Pro. I'm not sure how your suggestion in the forums would work efficiently but I understand what you're getting at. About all I can suggest is if you ever run accross a function in a technique that you're unsure of the steps in, inquire in that thread for a break down in procedure. Most members will gladly answer your question. Since there are so many ways in Photoshop to do things most of these functions can be different for each person who's discribing a technique.

        Since the expertise levels of the members is far ranging they may not make methods as clear to all levels so it's not a bad thing to ask questions and there's no dumb questions here. Hope that helps a bit. I know it's not a fun and your suggested method but it might be alot easier to implement.


        • #5
          Note that this can also be looked at on the macro level;

          In other words - the steps to restore an image - this is an example - I may not have the order right;

          Each step would have a link to the technique or method if appropriate.

          1) Evaluate the image - what channels in what color space / profile holds the best information for the different parts of the image.

          2) Optimize the image with this info and other adjustments (curves - levels, etc.)

          3) Retouch and / or restore.

          4) Sharpen as needed. I find that I see more damage after sharpening - so even though it goes against the common wisdom I sometimes do some sharpening before retouching.

          5) Output file.

          I realize that this is a free-form forum and I am giving it a relational database structure - might be inappropriate - but maybe there is a kernal of an idea that can be incorporated from this.



          • #6
            Thanks DJ, I will let this "simmer" as I become more familiar with this site - Roger


            • #7
              Roger, welcome to the forum! It's always good to hear from new people since you bring new eyes to the place.

              If I understand part of your point, you're wondering if we already have, or are interested in having, an organized list of methods (or procedures) involved in the retouching/restoring process. The list would include all procedures necessary to retouch/restore photos (separate lists for Retouching and for Restoring). Within each list, there would be posts explaining how to accomplish each procedure (correcting a faded photo).

              Let me know if I'm off base, or kinda close.

              My initial reaction would be that the forum probably contains posts that explain different ways to accomplish most of the steps necessary to restore the majority of photos (as in dealing with the most common problems found in old photos that would need restoration. As far as the organization of all that information, there is some structure already in place, but there is also a lot of information "hidden" in general threads. In this forum, there is the "Tips" thread as well as other threads which explain solutions to typical or special problems. If you haven't already, take a look at the Tips thread in it's entirety (68 threads) and tell us what you think about how that compares with what you have in mind. What works for you, and what could use improvement?


              • #8
                Hi CJ - YES - the Tips looks excellent

                The only thing that comes to mind might be a seperate search form for the tips section to take advantage of additional multiple choice categories that might be used in the Tips section - a way of suggesting to someone new what areas people tend to be intertested in ... and a way of nudgeing those who post into organizing the post so it is easily found in a search.

                Thanks for the Tips on the Tips - I will be reading for a while ...



                • #9
                  Hi Roger:

                  Though late to the party, let me extend a sincere welcome too.

                  Greatly appreciate and admire the fact that you lept into the pool with such good intentions and instead of whining, proposed ways to make this incredible site even more valuable. I know exactly where you're coming from and agree if it could be implemented, it would be a huge improvement.

                  I've been thinking about doing something of this nature for the Photo-based Forum that I moderate. So from my point of view, you're right in the ballgame. Thanks for the inspiration to stop thinking about it and actually start doing something, which I will -- but probably not until after the first of the year.

                  Sounds like you've got some system design and/or database development / support background. If so you realize that to make something like this work "well," it would require a considerable amount of standards development / definition, implementation and ongoing standards compliance monitoring to significantly improve the likelihood of successful forum searches. Along the way a fair amount of content editing would be warranted to distill lots of into tidbits into common chunks. That's a pretty tall order for a commercial endeavor where people are (in theory, anyway) held accountable. For the no standards, freeform, staffed by volunteers and where content usually comes from free-lance contributors, it's a REALLY tall order.

                  Perhaps another way of viewing this would be, "Within the human resources and search engine constraints, what might we do to better organize, consolidate and/or make it easier to find information on common topics of interest?" As CJ pointed out perhaps the Tips section might be a logical place to start beefing things up. New content could be distilled from "the best of RetouchPRO" threads on given subjects. I'm just spilling my nearly empty brain.

                  Anyway, a facinating point you raise. After you've poked around some more, I'd be interested in reading more of your observations.

                  Lastly if you have not yet discovered the RetouchPRO site map, click the link below my signature. It may (or may not) help find a few more nooks and crannies.



                  • #10
                    Thanks Danny,

                    You are right on the money, I have done a lot of database work for our studio, although strictly amatuer (I started on our studio database before there were any programs out there - now there are a couple of good ones and our database is done except for the occasional "I wish I could" tweaks) - I do realize how difficult this would be - you stated the reasons perfectly - realizing that I could be just dreaming this was really intended as a spark ... or more ...

                    I love the "Best of" idea - maybe a bunch of little forum categories within the "best of" umbrella would kind of work with-in this direction ... or does the "best of" already exist and I don't know were to look?

                    Tips section is great also - sounds like you are the one with the expierience to know what would feasible - or maybe - even practical ...

                    Hey Danny - what is the photo forum that you moderate?



                    • #11
                      Morning Roger...

                      I knew it: a DB kind of guy!

                      RE: "Best of"
                      It exists in our heads at the moment. The "PS Tips" is as close to it as there is. Where "Tips" is a summary / writeup by a single author, "Best Of" would be a consolidation or collection of the best, most useful technical / topical threads -- with a little moderator content weeding and editing -- that could include commentary from numerous thread participants.

                      RE: Forum I moderate
                      I moderate (or maybe it moderates me ) the Photo-based Art forum. Click the 'other' link below my signature!

                      This is where people take a photo and "arty it up," frequently with very favorable results. Come on over anytime and checkout the sandbox, especially the "Mini-challenge" subforum.

                      I see "Best of Photo Art" as being populated by topics such as "How to create line drawings," "Water color effects 101" or "BuzzPro, BuzzLight or just the Simplifiers?" -- stuff like that vs. general topics like "1,001 ways to sharpen," "Color correction nutz-n-boltz," etc. These would most likely be more appropriate for a general section like "Tips."

                      Here I go rambling again... must be time for coffee afterwhich I can turn it up a notch!



                      • #12
                        Danny - the ideas are beginning to gel (pick the color of the gel when you are done reading this ... )

                        What about a Forum
                        THe RetouchPro Sweater
                        "fighting the thread of ignorance"
                        "connecting the threads - knitting the knowledge"

                        ok - RetouchPro Contents

                        Each thread topic would be populated with a table of contents format - a short description with a link.

                        The thing that would make this work on it's own rather than being a constant house keeping chore would be the ability and option to attach the description and link at the time of the original posting. Or of course it could be added later. Kind of a system of self grouping - which is more the format of the forum - people all helping people and all.



                        • #13
                          And still - I continue to do the thinking thing

                          Maybe contents is to broad a concept - everyone would feel a responsibilty to enter info for each post - but that is what the search is for.

                          The "Best of" may not be off the ground yet because it is so moderator intensive - kind of like putting together a tutorial of links.

                          Maybe the answer might be "Tip Category" threads.

                          Option would exist to add to a Tip Category at the time of posting (this would enable people to do it "on the fly" as an after thought instead of remembering to do it later) - like this;

                          1) If you would like this post to be added to Tip Category thread please choose the category.

                          2) Please enter a short discription of your tip.

                          One could also post a link with a short description like normal.

                          From the concept to simpler solutions - feels good ...

                          Last edited by roger_ele; 11-09-2002, 02:07 PM.


                          • #14

                            Sorry I haven't responded to these last two posts; by default I don't subscribe to all the treads in which I participate because of the e-mail volume generated. Normally catch 'em via the "last 24 hr" option. Missed these completely.

                            As a result of your inspiration I asked Doug to add and I've been populating two new subforms within the Photo-art forum to (hopefully) make it easier to use / find things.

                            See the "Best of" and "User Mini-challenge" subforums here.

                            So far the feedback and response (based on view counts) have been positive. Thanks for the kick in the seat of the pants.



                            • #15
                              Hey Danny, I've been visiting your "Best Of", I think it is great!
                              Thanks, Roger


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