As Photoshop Proving Ground rolls toward its sixth year in Photoshop User Magazine, it feels like a good time to spiffy it up a bit with a broader approach to mastering digital tools. I’ll be working with my editor, Chris, in the next couple of weeks to define a new vision and a new title. The idea is actually his, so I’m only taking credit for writing the new stuff. He pays close attention to reader feedback and response, and so this new direction should be a welcome change for KelbyOne members.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
So what’s new? Well, I plan to move away from a specific focus on deconstructing Photoshop tools and into discussing advanced techniques. For the past five years, I’ve written about how various tools work, and how to exploit them in unique ways. My goal has always been to help people see possibilities, which can be difficult with software that continues to grow and evolve. Doing so requires lots of investment in experimenting and tinkering to find unusual approaches and to build compelling images that use those approaches. This sometimes leads to oddly narrow results that fall more into the “huh?” category rather than “That’s totally freaking awesome!”
With the new approach, I’ll still continue experimenting and tinkering, but the column will put much more emphasis on results and problem solving than on looking under the hood. Of course I will still take apart tools as it fits the theme. However, this new path will let me fold in many more tools and techniques for broader appeal.
I’m still working out this year’s calendar of topics, but look for techniques like selective sharpening, complex masking, and compositing tricks. I also hope to include some more discussion of art, philosophy, and communication, as they relate to digital art.
This is pretty exciting for me, as I was starting to feel challenged to find tools with enough depth to write about. While Photoshop continues to advance in amazing ways, that doesn’t always translate into a spiffy new tool that can be torn apart and scrutinized. I’ve already written about the new Content Aware Fill, Blur Gallery, several adjustment layers and blending modes, 3D tools, and even the enigmatic “Custom” filter, which is helpfully included in the “Other” collection.
Having a new direction has also inspired me to do more new stuff, too. With any luck, I’ll be able to announce a new project in a couple of months, so be on the lookout for vague marketing posts with what may or may not be hints 🙂
If you’re a member, please let me know what you think of this change. As new material rolls out, I hope you’ll give me your opinions and suggestions.
As always, never let your tools get in the way of your art!