Software for photographers continues to evolve, we’re told.
Yet, the current releases of the mainstream apps stubbornly refuse to get better at doing the critical things, in much the same way camera manufacturers still don’t ship their products with on-board GPS, despite the marketplace endlessly asking to be able to automate this otherwise important, yet awkward and error prone routine.
If you’ve tried to use the clone/spot healing tool in Lightroom, or transfer GPS data from a flaky phone app, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
For me and many other photographers, the unpredictable and iffy tools available from these apps has made it necessary to either accept less than optimal editing, or to consider roundtripping images into/out of Photoshop.
That’s not free of issues either. In addition to the birthing of a .PSD file of usually more megabytes than the original RAW image, we still have a ridiculous(?) sidecar file that pops up. And the option of creating an even bigger Smart Object file. FFS guys – couldn’t you make this harder to at least justify the effort?
All this even before Photoshop opens up its wonders to you, to attempt some kind of simple editing that Lightroom ought to deliver as a function so basic, it should be taken for granted.
It’s still winter in London and while the weather has been mild, its been pissing with rain for days, keeping me off my bike and the streets in general. The bat soup virus is threatening to keep me indoors for even longer and my need for some kind of mental stimulation (and a genuine need to learn more for a new project), pushed me to open a YouTube page and seek some Photoshop tutorial assistance.
Any of you tried this?
When Motorhead’s Lemmy died recently, I wondered long and hard how the world’s amphetamine makers would continue to make ends meet. So, it pleases me to reveal that their future is assured by a few creators of YouTube’s so-called Photoshop tutorials. I only looked at a few – I couldn’t take any more…
The power of the mighty amphetamine is all there in greater or lesser measure; bad skin, bad teeth, dog’s balls eyes and talking at a thousand miles an hour into a microphone that’s seemingly attached to my tutor’s top lip.
“Aight” says one babbler, jiggling the mouse to encourage it’s on-screen avatar to emphasise a button, layer, or action. All that is achieved is to make my own chemically un-enhanced eyeballs pop, as I try to follow the pointer skating around the screen, mirroring the crazed pulse and shaky hands of my tutor.
And, when it does get underway, the instruction comes at you in an unbroken stream of keyboard commands, new layers, duplicating layers, masks, brush sizes, blend options and a thousand menus and boxes that appear and vanish even if there isn’t even any actual editing going on. Meantimes, in desperation mine host has resorted to the keyboard as his/her mouse is sliding around in a pool of drool and going nowhere on screen.
Needing some calm, our tutor sneaks off to take a downer during what passes for a self-promotional selling break.
At some point when the dead air and blank screen has been edited out and when the ‘ludes seem to have kicked-in, the teaching finally starts. It’s still impossible to follow. Why did you make three duplicates of that layer? Where did that mask come from? Why don’t these edits affect the other layers. Why are you using HSL colours, why LAB mode and so on.
I’ve tried downloading sample files and following the exercise step-by-step, stopping the action (babble) at each stage and I still can’t make sense of what to do. Instead of a perfect, multi-layered image, I seem to end up with an inverted black and white picture that usually looks like a puckered anus.
It’s that or a crack in my screen where my fist ended-up out of nothing more than animal frustration.
Shame. The tutors aren’t all to blame – dealing with Adobe and its endless and illogical changes to the fundamentals of the app would make me turn to drugs too. I can manage to quit Photoshop without causing any unsalvageable mayhem on screen – I think that’s about the only command Adobe has still to change. How did the interface wonks at Apple (and to a lesser extent) the PC community let Adobe change Cmd + H (hide) to Shift + Cmd + H?
I’m determined to learn some Photoshop skills, but if you’re waiting for the Damascene revelation(s) in my work, don’t hold your breath, it could be a while.
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