Michael Collins was our Workshop instructor for our march 10th workshop. Lasting from 10am-4pm, he was able to asses the group's skill level and adjust his instruction to suit the group.
He began with his philosophy of Keyboard shortcuts, and demonstrated throughout the class the wisdom of their efficient workflow. He went so far as to furnish printed index cards with the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts (Both sides of the card!).
He then walked us through the selection and cutout tools that photoshop is famous for, however he covered new features. For instance Quick selection has been round since CS 3 but now features a "Select Subject" option for medium to coarse selection; way faster and less tedious than Magic Wand. For the medium to fine selection of the same subject, he had us switch to Quick Mask for a more intuitive approach to isolating the subject. Of course this was all done using his constant use of keyboard shortcuts, sharing some precious tidbits. For instance, hitting a tools keyboard shortcut and then hitting option lets you cycle nested tool options. Collective gasps heard everywhere!
For our more beginner students, he went over setting and saving your photoshop workspace. The differences of using the legacy and new "New Document" menu selection available in preferences. Also how to disable the "Start" workspace when no documents are open... which even fooled some of the more experienced users!
Continuing on with creating more detailed selections, he utilized them to mask adjustment layer corrections. Then he graduated the selection to a Clipping mask for added flexibility.
This evolution from defining basic toolsets to using them in a goal oriented exercise helped show the tool's use in context rather than abstract.
Of course no lesson in selections and cutout end without creating your own custom brush!
Other areas covered were like extensive use of Adobe Bridge and Michael's experience of using Photoshop and Bridge in lieu of Lightroom. How disabling the scrubby zoom feature can save your vision! The importance of Color Depth resolution (8bit vs 16 bit) when editing an image. Of course a Michael Collins workshop doesn't end without a giveaway from his sponsor Millers Professional Imaging! Walter Wright was the winner!
The workshop format allowed more in-depth coverage of the App and allowed participants to help each other out. This helped users of varying skill sets to not feel lost while allowing the more advanced users to help out other students. As many found out from this workshop, even our experienced users picked up tidbits that only come from being around an instructor, like Michael Collins, who have years of experience of not just using the app, but also teaching. Whether its our past workshop instructor in macro photography, Fine Art photographer Monica Royal showing us indoor constant-light macro photography (So you can immediately see what you get). Or our recent Nick Seth Smith's Focus Stacking workshop which exposed us to the different applications from food photography to landscape photography, and also how software has allowed for a seamless composite of the stacked images.
These workshops allow for some added camaraderie as well as a more in-depth look at the subject matter that our monthly meetings can only touch on. Visit Michael Collins Website to see his galleries and what he's up to. While on the subject or workshops, for more in-depth 5 day workshops visit PPC's West Coast School site.