Creative Photoshop with John Reuter
Photoshop tutorials for fine art photographers.







June 2024
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International Center of Photography

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John Reuter: The Mask Panel in PS CS4 In this episode we continue to explore the new features and interface in Photoshop CS4. As with the Adjustment Pane, while there are some new tools it really is a re-configuration of previously existing tools. Everything is right there for you, and in conjunction with the Adjustments Panel, you will find yourself more wiling and able to take advantage of these powerful tools.
Direct download: Mask_Panel_CS4.m4v
Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 5:33pm EDT

Photoshop CS4 Adjustment Panel It has been over a year since I last produced an episode of Creative Photoshop.  While many things made it difficult to continue for a long period, the release of Photoshop CS4 has given me ample reason to start up again.  I appreciate the many messages of support, in fact the podcast is more popular than when I suspended episodes.  In this episode we explore the new Adjustment Panel in Photoshop CS4.  While Adjustment layers have long been part of Photoshop, this new configuration is certain to make users take advantage of them more often.  We explore some creative ways to make use of this interface and I hope it becomes an integral part of your image creation process.
Direct download: Reuter_CS4_Adj_Panel.mp4
Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 8:16pm EDT

Analog Input/Digital Output, Part 2 In this episode we continue our look at Analog Input/Digital Output. Taking one of our images from the last episode, we explore ways to integrate it into some other images and create a composite. We explore some techniques from past episodes and use them in different ways. We look at the CS3 Refine Edge Tool and how it helps to integrate an image into a new setting. We also explore the CS3 print dialog and how to choose settings for an Epson printer. With our last episode we have passed the 350,000 mark in total downloads. Thanks to all of you listeners, I look forward to more episodes.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 7:31pm EDT

Polaroid Materials: Analog Input/Digital Output In this episode of Creative Photoshop we go into a different direction. For several years I have taught a class called Polaroid Creativity: Analog Input/Digital Output. Most recently I offered this class at Grossmont College in El Cajon, CA in conjunction with the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. It begins by making Polaroid Image Transfers and Emulsion Lifts with DayLab Printers and Copy System units. Students experiment with a variety of images and test the process. In classes in bygone years that would be the extent of our experiments. But now with scanners, printers, and most of all Photoshop these Polaroid materials can be enhanced, retouched, and enlarged, greatly expanding the artist’s expression. In this podcast we explore the Epson driver for scanning, discuss scanner settings and bring an Image transfer and Emulsion Lift into Photoshop for enhancement. We cover techniques for retouching; cleaning up borders, adding noise to enhance enlargement and adjustment layers to fine tune and correct our input. In our next episode we will explore some creative techniques combining these images with other sources and discuss output options. I hope you enjoy this episode. Creative Photoshop has now passed the 300,000 download plateau. I thank all of you who have been listeners. As always, I would love to hear from you with comments or suggestions.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT

Composite Project, Part Three I’m back after a rather long absence. Many things have been going on, work, teaching and actually making my own art, which I am very excited about. But turning our attention to our Composite Project, we finally get to Part Three which finishes off some details and I hope shows you what goes through my mind as I complete an image. We delve once again into Smart Objects, Layer Groups and Layer Masks, all essential tools in creating composite images. I hope you enjoy this episode.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 6:29pm EDT

Project Composite, Part Two: Background Blending In this episode we continue with our project on image composite. Last week we added color to an antique portrait in preparation to bringing it into a new composition. This week we blend two backgrounds together with the Blend If sliders in Layer Styles. This is a strategy I often use when beginning a composite. We will then bring the portrait into this blended background and make adjustments based on this new context. I always wait to refine a hand colored image until I know where it is going to reside. Finally we will use Layer Styles Blending to integrate the portrait into the new background.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 9:13pm EDT

Project Composite, Part One: Hand Coloring I am back after a one-month hiatus. I received many e-mails asking if I was going to continue producing Creative Photoshop and the answer is definitely “yes?. Life sometimes intervenes and my day job as Director of the Polaroid 20x24 Studio has required quite a bit of my attention lately. We are trying to insure that it survives further into the digital age. Even though I am completely digital in my own work, I feel a responsibility to make sure this superbly analog technology continues. These episodes often take four to six hours to produce and I won’t put one up unless I feel it meets the standards of the previous ones. So I really appreciate the e-mails but I want you to know that it is great to get feedback all of the time, not just when I disappear. These labors of love are best supported with the knowledge that you are indeed listening and enjoying the work. That said let us turn our attention to this weeks episode, “Project Composite, Part One, Hand Coloring?. We are going to re-create my current signature image for the Podcast, and Image titled “Highlights?. We will begin by hand coloring the figure, using Paths, Selections, Layers, Adjustment Layers, and Blend Modes. It is many of the topics covered in previous episodes but now with specific image goals employed. I hope you enjoy it.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

Quick Selection in CS3 with John Reuter I am very proud to say that with our last episode we exceeded 100,000 downloads for the Creative Photoshop Podcast. To me, this level of response to a longer, more measured approach to on-line Photoshop education is very gratifying. I thank all of you who have become subscribers to this podcast. This week we continue our look into Selections with a move into Photoshop CS3 and the Quick Selection Tool. The Quick Selection Tool is a relative of the Magic Wand but with impressive capabilities and editing options. It will certainly become a favorite of many Photoshop users. I am grateful to Russell Brown from Adobe and his earlier podcast for giving me the Adobe Insider description of the Refine Edge tool options. Since the CS3 Beta did not have a help file, it was a challenge to figure out Adobe’s intentions with some tools. Russell’s podcasts are my favorites and I always turn to them when I really want to learn about new techniques in Photoshop. I look forward to his return from his hiatus. I hope you enjoy this episode and look forward to breaking that 200,000-download level.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Selections, Part Three: The Extract Filter with John Reuter Our look at selections continues with a comparative look at the Extract filter and a selection created with the Pen Tool and Channel conversion. Students often ask me why do I prefer to use the traditional methods utilizing channels when newer tools such as Extract are available. My feeling is that once you master the traditional tools, they don’t take any longer to execute a refined selection than the Extract filter does. As you will see, the Extract filter does have some limitations such as inability to work on 16 bit files and the fact that it eliminates the pixels outside of the selection. Some artists do favor it however and I encourage you to see for yourself which works better for you.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 9:56pm EDT

Selections, Part Two: The Pen Tool with John Reuter This week we continue with our look at Selections with an emphasis on the Pen Tool. Our subject matter presents a very different tonal situation from last week, a portrait on a white background. These differences prompt us to use a different selection tool, the venerable Pen Tool. In low contrast situations with soft detail edges, nothing is better at making a selection. Its accuracy combined with its ability to be edited with great precision make it a tool you really should master. After creating our selection we will continue to refine the image selection it is new background and cover some techniques to make its presence more realistic.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 7:46pm EDT

Selections, Selections, Selections....with John Reuter I have always said that mastery of Selections is the most important skill you can learn in Photoshop. They are the doorway to amazing control over tonality, color, and emphasis as well as the vehicle to create believable and unbelievable composite images. It is a deep topic and I will devote three consecutive episodes to Selections in both Photoshop CS2 and the CS3 Beta. Our first episode focuses on a selection of a figure with fine detail, that is hair and we will approach it with three tools, the Magic Wand, Color Range, and converting an existing color channel, altering it and turning it into a selection. Along the way we will as always revisit some techniques from previous episodes, as they are a part of building and manipulating our selections.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

Class Project: Image Composite with John Reuter In this episode we explore image composite as I presented it to my Creative Photoshop class at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in Florida. The idea was to explore many concepts in one exercise, from working in camera raw, to placing an image from the Bridge, creating a selection with the pen tool, working with Smart Objects and masks and finally with Smart Filters. We also managed to get a Blend Mode in there as well. I hope to do more of these project based podcasts that start with a concept and utilize the tools necessary in Photoshop to execute that concept. Along the way we will revisit many of the Photoshop features and tools we have examined in isolation but this time within the context of building an actual image. I hope you enjoy it.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 3:44pm EDT

Black and White Conversions in CS2, Lightroom, and CS3 In this episode we explore converting color images to grayscale. In Photoshop CS2 we use an adjustment layer technique to create not only a grayscale effect but an infrared effect as well. I first learned of this technique on Kent Conklin's Two Minute Photoshop Tricks and have found it a great way to mimic an infrared look. We then explore how Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 allow the same conversions. Adobe is making it easier and easier to make beautiful black and white images form your raw files or existing color scans. My feeling is that more and more artists will take advantage of this and choose to work in black and white.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 8:57pm EDT

Blend Modes, Part Two with John Reuter Part Two of Blend Modes focuses more on creative effects. The first effect is one I learned of on Russell Brown's excellent podcast and shows ways to paint with Blend Modes through the History brush and offers extremely flexible ways to change the tone, contrast and color of your image in a very intuitive way without layers. Next we explore hand coloring or rather mouse coloring to take an old photo and add color to it before it is added to an image composite. Finally we explore figure and background blending through use of the new Darker Color Blend mode in CS3 and the use of the blending sliders. There are many blend modes still to cover and no doubt there will be a Part Three. Stay tuned.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 6:14pm EDT

John Reuter: Photoshop Imagery In this episode I want to go in a slightly different direction. Rather than another how-to tutorial I want to present my work from a more creative perspective, how I evolved as an artist and a Photoshop practitioner. So we will look back at early work that predated my Photoshop involvement as well as the evolution of the imagery as I began working digitally. I hope this gives you a perspective on the role that Photoshop as a software program plays in my thought process as I work through the building of various images. I also hope in the future to feature other Photoshop artists and explore their working methodology and how Photoshop influences their working process and relationships with their images. My goal is to provide a balance between technique and the thought process that creates the final images.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 10:58pm EDT

Photoshop Blend Modes Part One The Photoshop Blend Modes offer the artist a great deal of creative and practical possibilities. At first glance they can seem a little overwhelming and confusing. But if you approach them by their groupings and understand what each group does they begin to make more sense. This podcast explores the historical origins of the blend modes and how they have evolved in Photoshop. We then explore some of the uses of blend modes to create borders, add noise, enhance a portrait, burn and dodge, remove dust and apply adjustment layers. In part two of blend modes we will explore some more creative effects.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Photoshop CS3: Smart Objects and Smart Filters Photoshop CS3 has taken the concept of Smart Objects to a new level, adding the capability of working with Smart Filters. Smart filters are non-destructive filters associated with Smart Objects that give Photoshop capabilities that programs such as Adobe After Effects have had for years. They come at a price, however. In larger files you may find that they will tax your system resources to the maximum and you have to be more careful in laying out your workflow. Some of my experience with them in this tutorial may be due to the fact that we are working with a beta version of CS3 and hopefully the final version will have faster performance. This tutorial was created on a G5 Dual 2.0 gz with 2.5 megs of ram. I since tried the same files on my Mac Book Pro with 2 gigs of ram and performance was noticeably faster but the Lens Blur and re-rendering of Smart Objects still took over a minute or so. I still think waiting for this is worth the flexibility and is a superior alternative to adding extra layers to run filters on. In any event Smart Filters are a powerful addition to Photoshop and offer new freedom and capabilities in creating images.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 11:32am EDT

Fotofusion 2007 I will be appearing at Fotofusion 2007 at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre from January 16-21. It is an amazing Photo Festival with seminars in Photoshop, digital cameras, photo shoots and panel discussions as well as many social events where you can meet many of today's most important photographers, Photoshop gurus, and educators. Contact the Palm Beach Photographic Centre at the link below right for more information. Fotofusion includes: Photography Seminars & Panels, One-on-One Portfolio Reviews, Hands-on Photoshop® Workshops, World Class Photography Exhibitions, FOTOshoots, Book Signings & Gallery Walks, Technology Centre, Multimedia Presentations, and Fusion-Schmooze Parties. I will be teaching seminars in: Creative Photoshop, Fun with the History Palette, and The Top Ten Ways to Use Blending Modes. Hope to see you there!
Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

Sneak Peek, Photoshop 2.5: A Look Back With all of the excitement of the release of the Photoshop CS3 beta I too have been tempted to begin offering some tutorials on the new version. But rather than put up some quick me too tutorials I would rather wait and work with the program and complete some meaningful images for me before I want to offer opinions about CS3. Right off the bat it looks amazing and I thank the other podcasters who have offered some looks at the new features. I was inspired to make a tutorial on my first version of Photoshop. It was version 2.5, released in 1993. I had just switched from Aldus Photostyler and my first version was for Windows. My first computer was a cheap IBM clone, a 486 with 4 megs of ram and a 135 meg hard drive. So much focus then was on hardware resources or lack thereof and ways to work to maximize your system's resources. But Photoshop back then was still amazing and many of its core elements are still the basis for what I do with it today. I feel that looking back to the program in a somewhat simpler form is a great way to think about image selection fundamentals and working with channels, whether you use Photoshop as a digital darkroom or as a composite generator or both. So I hope you enjoy this look back and use it as a way to look forward with your Photoshop creative technique. Happy New Year!
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 8:36pm EDT

Smart Objects in CS2 I'm glad to be back after two weeks off for shoulder surgery. My right arm is still in an ultra sling for three more weeks so this podcast is a left hand creation. I'm not bad but not great with the mouse left handed so pardon the erratic movements at times. This episode’s topic is Smart Objects, an underused and rather misunderstood feature in Photoshop. They offer some real benefits now, particularly in layer transformations but I’m hoping I will encourage you to take a closer look at what they offer in PS CS2 because what I have seen only briefly in my look at PS CS3 will really make them part of your daily workflow. So take a look at Smart Objects.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

Creative Photoshop Audiocast They say necessity is the mother of invention..... I am recovering from shoulder reconstruction last Friday and am unable to create this week's videocast, a coherent one anyway. Photoshop's logic and menu commands take on a new reality under prescription painkillers. So this week's offering is an audiocast, which I am thinking of offering occassionally. Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to let you get to know me a little better and my approach to Photoshop. I would love to hear back from you with positive or negative comments (be kind, I am still medicated). Take care. John
Direct download: Creative_Photoshop_Audiocast.m4a
Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 5:35pm EDT

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who have downloaded my podcasts in the last few weeks. From the back of the pack we have risen at times to number 11 in the iTunes directory of Photoshop podcasts. I am not sure what exactly goes into these rankings but I am proud to be among such esteemed company. I have just undergone reconstructive surgery of my right shoulder and will be rather challenged to create new episodes in the immediate future. If you have any requests in the meantime I would love to hear them and thanks again for listening. John
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

Edge Effects Part Two: Image Transfer with John Reuter Edge Effects Two continues our explorations of our previous episode in using a grayscale scan of a transfer image to create a border for another image. But we take it a step further in more closely replicating Image Transfer characteristics from color transitions in the edges themselves but also aspects of Image Transfers such as surface texture. We also explore replicating lift off or peeling away of dyes in the shadow areas of a transfer but in ways that offer control not possible in the original process.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 10:58pm EDT

Creating Edge Effects Part One with John Reuter Creative Edge Effects explores ways to add your own borders and edges to your digital and scanned images. From a simple blurred transition edge we progress through a filtered edge and finally to an edge created from a scanned image. This allows the artist to create original and personalized edge effects, even mimicking non-silver processes such as Van Dyke Brown and Cyanotype.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 9:46pm EDT

History Palette Part Two with John Reuter
The History Palette Part Two takes us in a very different direction than Part One.  Here we will explore ways to use Photoshop's filters and paint them into our image from history snapshots as well as the Fill Command.  We will also explore Fade opacity and the Blend Modes to achieve creative but subtle effects with filters.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

History Palette Part One with John Reuter The History Palette has always been a great way to track your movements in Photoshop and return to previous versions of your image when you have taken a direction that is no longer working for you. It can also be a very practical and creative tool for retouching, emphasizing certain details in your image or altering your focus and apparent depth of field. In this podcast we explore using blurred and sharpened history snapshots to emphasize the eyes in a portrait and to change the focus in our image, mimicking a focus effect of a view camera.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 12:01pm EDT

Layer Styles Blending with John Reuter Layer Styles Blending has been an integral technique in my workflow for many years. It is a great way to composite images and has many other practical uses as well. This podcast explores Layer Blend Modes as well as the "Blend If" sliders to blend image pixels.
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Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Welcome to my new site for Creative Photoshop. I have been teaching Photoshop at workshops around the country since 1995. I have always wanted a way to bring information to prospective and current students. My existing website was able to list workshops and offer some PDF downloads but the new technology of video podcasts really makes it convenient to reach an audience with content quickly and efficiently. Creative Photoshop is a book in progress and much of the content I will offer in abbreviated form here will find its way in expanded form in the book. Suggestions are certainly welcome as I go forward. The idea for doing a site such as this came while I was teaching a one week Photoshop workshop for the Art Department faculty at Cornell University. It was an interesting experience for me as I have mostly taught Photoshop to photographers in my workshops. The Art Department faculty consisted of not only photographers but also printmakers and sculptors. It was refreshing to get their perspective on Photoshop and how they reacted to the various techniques presented. Near the end of the week I was reviewing resources and showing some of the Podcasts available in iTunes. One of the faculty said to me" why don't you make some podcasts?" And so here we are, my first one. I have chosen one of my favorite techniques, "Layer Styles Blending". My first effort can probably be improved but it gets to a point where it is time to put it out and see what happens. I am sure (at least I hope so) that my later tutorials will be more polished. I hope you enjoy this first effort. John Reuter
Category:Photoshop -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT