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Commercial Photoshop Retouching in the Studio

By John Virata

Commercial Photoshop Retouching in the Studio by Glenn Honnibal is a 257 page book that covers the use of Adobe Photoshop, and specifically retouching digital images with Photoshop in commercial settings. The application is used in virtually all aspects of professional digital media, ranging from digital video and film making, to print and advertising work. This book covers the use of Photoshop in print work in such fields as advertising, photography and graphic design. The book features nine chapters starting with Chapter 1: The Photo Retoucher's work environment. this chapter goes over some very basic aspects of the work environment, including ergonomic issues such as the use of desks and chairs, display placement and so forth.  It then delves into the author's history in the photo retouching field, describing what the author used pre-Adobe Photoshop. other issues touched on in this chapter include output choices, understanding colors by numbers, and a typical workflow used by the author for a retouching job.

Chapter 2; Shadows and Light covers shadows and light and how they affect an image. Lighting discussed includes studio lighting, outdoor lighting, multiple light sources and their effects on an image, creating a simple shadow, retaining an existing shadow, common shadow mistakes, and creating and keeping a library of shadows.

Chapter 3: Corrections: Improvements on Reality covers such topics as using layers to make corrections, making corrections with the history brush, adding texture to an image, changing texture using individual color channels, using the channel mixer tool to create shape, using a grayscale image to create shape, using the clone tool, using plugin filters, neutralizing images, changing image colors. Also, many of the chapters feature Studio Advice columns, essentially separate from the main text, these columns discuss a relevant topic, in chapter 4, it is a Note about RGB, in greater detail.

Chapter 4: Something From Nothing covers the use of Photoshop to add elements to an image that do not exist. This includes such tricks as creating smoke or steam, creating a smile, creating motion from stillness, adding motion to a car with motion blur, radial and zoom blur, extending backgrounds, using vanishing point to extend a background, shining things up, creating a flat finish, creating a very shiny finish, and reducing windshield shine.

Chapter 5: Special Color Requests discusses how to generate colors that don't exist in the CMYK color palette, a process that can get expensive when it comes to printing. Discussed in this chapter is how to create touch plates, which adds that special color, merging spot colors into CMYK, converting CMYK to special colors, changing a four color image to three colors, adding trap, changing the overall color, creating duotones, and creating fake duotones. the chapter also has tips pulled from the main body text. These tips include changing duotone to CMYK and adding trap with Photoshop's Trap function.

Chapter 6: Merging Images covers the task of seamlessly merging two images together to make one image. Topics discussed includes preparing the images for merging using the lasso tool and mask mode to isolate an image, selecting with the magic wand, isolating hair, removing hard edges with Gaussian blur, preparing the canvas, adjusting the canvas, and putting the pieces together, and making a simple composition.

Chapter 7: Resolution on a Grand Scale: Making Low Res look like High Res
For the most part, trying to make a low resolution image look like a high resolution is virtually impossible. Honnibal takes an approach that helps to make that low resolution image suitable for high resolution print work. First he looks at the image to determine what he can work with, then weighs his options for enlarging the image. Honnibal offers solutions that will improve the image file while mitigating the tell tale signs of a low res image going high res. This includes such techniques as changing the file to an RGB from CMYK, or build the image in two or more sections if possible and put back together in a design program such as Quark XPress or Adobe InDesign. once you have successfully made the image high resolution, Honnibal then advises to look over the image and make any adjustments (such as cloning and smoothing) where necessary. The next step discussed is dealing with specific image problems. He goes over sharpening image details, fixing jaggies, and fixing a grainy image, among other topics.

Chapter 8: Preparing Images for Newsprint
This chapter covers the specifications for color and black and white images intended to be print in a newspaper. The chapter starts with a section on understanding the process, beginning with a newspaper's spec sheet. This gives you an understanding with regard to the image specifications required by the newspaper for print, as well as a spec sheet on the ink parameters and ICC color profile for the newspaper. After you get an understanding of the specifications, the next topics discussed is the use of tools in Photoshop that simulate a newspaper press-color profile, adjusting total ink values in Photoshop, adjusting the color for the color of the paper, adjusting the highlights, shadow areas, and midtones, and putting it all together.

Chapter 9: Preparing Images for Use on Packaging Materials
This chapter helps you prep images for packaging, and discusses the different image preparation nuances between package printing and that of newsprint or newspapers. This chapter covers the aspects of prepping your images for printing on packaging materials, including topics on printing spec sheet that discusses the print parameters for a given job, understanding the dot gain curve, preparing a CMYK file, reading the minimum dot of an image, creating a special color, using fewer colors to get a better image, and trapping on special packaging.

First Impressions
If you are a Photoshop user working in the commercial printing industry, this book offers some good explanations on how to optimize your images for print on a variety of different print mediums. The book is four color throughout and offers lots of screenshots. What the book doesn't offer is an accompanying CD-ROM with sample images from the book that can help you when you follow along. While a lot of the coverage is devoted to preparing your images for commercial output, a lot of the tips and techniques involve working in Photoshop on images. the text suggests that if you have an image that might be suitable for a specific tip outlined in the book, use that image. Some folks have no problem with this while others like to follow with the identical image the author uses, hence the accompany CD-ROM in other books that cover Photoshop. With the exception of this, the book covers a lot of terminology used in the repress world that can be helpful to those who are already working in the industry as well as those who wish to get into it.

Commercial Photoshop Retouching in the Studio By Glenn Hannibal First Edition August 2005 ISBN: 0-596-00849-X 270 pages, $44.95 US, $62.95 CA, 31.95 UK 257 pages

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:Photoshop Retouching , Glenn Honnibal


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