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Posted on 26/08/04 09:32:48 AM
Steve Caplin
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Onwards and upwards
OK everyone, I need your help here. I'm starting to think about the third edition (no, don't panic, it won't be out until next Spring) and I'd like to ask you all a favour.

1. If you're aware of any errors in the book, please let me know so I can correct them. I really want to get the bugs out this time around.

2. Are there any places where the writing or illustrations are less than clear? If anything needs more explanation, please let me know. I'm aware, for example, that many of you have found the Philosopher's Stone tutorial to be very tricky, so I'll definitely be expanding that.

3. Are there any other techniques you'd like to read about? I realise this is a tricky question, since if there's something you don't know about then you probably don't know about it, as it were. But there may be some filters or menu items you've noticed and don't understand, for example.

4. Any other business. What more would you like?

Posted on 26/08/04 12:08:33 PM
tabitha 1
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Re: Onwards and upwards
Not sure if this is applicable as I know your book is about montage work, but why not something on photo-restoration/cropping etc? A couple of the threads on this forum have revolved around this recently, whether it be a straight restoration in the case of Raymardo's mother, or Ryan L's horse picture that needed touching up in order to make a successful source image.
Alot of people start using photoshop solely for this purpose, I indeed started that way, touching up and cropping my dads pictures (he's a freelance photographer) and I would have loved a book such as yours to help me get started, rather than a hotch potch self teaching method (just think of the extra sales ). Its how you get an idea of composition, depth and perspective etc. and unless you understand these things then your never going to make montages work.
I know that I am not a techy in the artistic sense of the word, and I have no idea on how to start an animated Gif etc. But I feel sure there must be thousands of people out there like me .... God help us!


Posted on 26/08/04 12:23:44 PM
maiden
Golden Gif Gagster
Posts: 471

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Digital Photography tips for those who wish to create some of their own photographs for montaging. I'm also very intrested now in the Displacement Filter and how to get most from it, I've only really just started to see the benefits of this filter - just messing about with it helped me compile this image

Nothing to do with patronism, mind you, just an experiment in trying to convert a simple graphic image of the Union Jack into something genuinely photorealistic - not sure if I've fully realised that in this image.

I'd like to see more animated gif work in the book and on these forums - of which I could help out if any hints and tips of using Image Ready are required.

I will post more ideas as and when I can think of them





Posted on 26/08/04 12:26:41 PM
trinityofone
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Re: Onwards and upwards
Looks pretty realistic to me. Nice work!

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Posted on 26/08/04 12:45:16 PM
maiden
Golden Gif Gagster
Posts: 471

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Thanks for that, Trinity I respect your opinion - When I stare at my own work for so long I tend to think that it's never complete, and I often wonder "How can it be improved without ruining it?"


Posted on 26/08/04 3:19:56 PM
trinityofone
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Onwards and upwards
At 09:32:48 AM 26/08/04, Steve Caplin wrote:
OK everyone, I need your help here. I'm starting to think about the third edition (no, don't panic, it won't be out until next Spring) and I'd like to ask you all a favour.

1. If you're aware of any errors in the book, please let me know so I can correct them. I really want to get the bugs out this time around.

2. Are there any places where the writing or illustrations are less than clear? If anything needs more explanation, please let me know. I'm aware, for example, that many of you have found the Philosopher's Stone tutorial to be very tricky, so I'll definitely be expanding that.

3. Are there any other techniques you'd like to read about? I realise this is a tricky question, since if there's something you don't know about then you probably don't know about it, as it were. But there may be some filters or menu items you've noticed and don't understand, for example.

4. Any other business. What more would you like?


OK, seeing as this a formal invitation (it won't look quite as petty now), one thing that has bugged me since the 1st edition, is the reference in the 'All in the eyes' section, you refer to the pupils, it should be irises - I'll shut up now

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Posted on 26/08/04 4:50:54 PM
Steve Caplin
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Posts: 6542

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Onwards and upwards
OK, seeing as this a formal invitation (it won't look quite as petty now), one thing that has bugged me since the 1st edition, is the reference in the 'All in the eyes' section, you refer to the pupils, it should be irises - I'll shut up now


Thanks, point taken. I've been referring to them as pupils for years now, I'll correct it.

Doesn't stop you being a petty, nitpicking trainspotter, though.

Posted on 26/08/04 4:57:43 PM
trinityofone
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Onwards and upwards
At 4:50:54 PM 26/08/04, Steve Caplin wrote:
> OK, seeing as this a formal invitation (it won't look quite as petty now), one thing that has bugged me since the 1st edition, is the reference in the 'All in the eyes' section, you refer to the pupils, it should be irises - I'll shut up now


Thanks, point taken. I've been referring to them as pupils for years now, I'll correct it.

Doesn't stop you being a petty, nitpicking trainspotter, though.


Hahaha - usually euphemised in applications as 'good attention to detail'

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Posted on 27/08/04 10:31:23 AM
Ian
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Re: Onwards and upwards
Hello Steve,

Not sure if its suitable for every reader of your book, but there is a topic I think is important for people who work at low resolutions (ie; Web Designers). There are many techniques in Photoshop for creating images purely for screen viewers (such as how to make your images stand out on screen, using the Unsharp Mask filter @ 72dpi to sharpen up resized photographs, using the Save For Web command to optimise images for websites, duplicating layers with fine linework to increase anti-aliasing and make lines look stronger...)

I know this is not your speciality, but I thought it might be worth mentioning - mainly because I am fed up with looking at websites and forum images (not so much in this forum I might add) where no effort of screen presentation preparation has been made.

i

Posted on 27/08/04 2:25:40 PM
Atomicfog
Virtual Visualizer
Posts: 238

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Re: Onwards and upwards
I would really like to see more on the aging process. I always have a very hard time trying to age someone in photoshop.

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Posted on 27/08/04 2:43:56 PM
Steve Caplin
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Posts: 6542

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Re: Onwards and upwards
At 10:31:23 AM 27/08/04, Ian wrote:
Hello Steve,

Not sure if its suitable for every reader of your book, but there is a topic I think is important for people who work at low resolutions (ie; Web Designers). There are many techniques in Photoshop for creating images purely for screen viewers (such as how to make your images stand out on screen, using the Unsharp Mask filter @ 72dpi to sharpen up resized photographs, using the Save For Web command to optimise images for websites, duplicating layers with fine linework to increase anti-aliasing and make lines look stronger...)

I know this is not your speciality, but I thought it might be worth mentioning - mainly because I am fed up with looking at websites and forum images (not so much in this forum I might add) where no effort of screen presentation preparation has been made.

i


Good idea. Maybe in the Animation chapter, which could then turn into more of a web chapter. Hmm. I'll give it some thought.

Posted on 29/08/04 6:49:37 PM
raymardo
*
Posts: 44

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Steve,

I think Actions" could be covered a little deeper. Most people don't use them. Since your book is about "cheating" in Photoshop, Actions tie right into the theme. Actually, Actions are the very definition of your cheating theme.

You define cheating in your book as:

"...finding shortcuts to help you work more quickly and more economically."

That is what Actions are designed for. I understand what they are for, but I haven't created any useful ones yet. That is probably because of the same reasons that most people don't learn the pen tool. (I got lucky. The pen was one of the first things I learned how to use. I have no idea why.) The pen is awkward, and complicated. But, we all know that it is powerful. With some dedication, practice, and guidance, it becomes a Photosop user's greatest asset.

Actions appear to be the same. They are difficult to create because of certain variables. For example, if your desired Action is one that will allow you to add stages of effects to text that needs to be input during the middle of the Action, you need to stop the Action to allow for the entering of the desired font, text, and it's size before continuing the Action.

You mention the Action you recorded for making eyeballs move. I believe a tutorial and video file on the DVD showing how you created that Action would be very beneficial and it would tie right in to your book's theme and title.

Also, your other definition of cheating deals with making montages appear photorealistic. Most montages fail due to mistakes in perspective. Many aspiring montage artists would be well served to have a tutorial or two on achieving proper perspective from an expert who also shows them the "Why."

Drawing in the lines to show the horizon line and vanishing point would at least be an eye opener that would give the reader enough basic information to research deeper.

Just my 2 cents. Well maybe that was actually 5 or 6 cents...



raymardo


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Posted on 31/08/04 10:57:30 AM
Steve Caplin
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Posts: 6542

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Raymardo,

Extending the Actions section is something I'd planned on doing anyway, as part of a larger chapter on speeding things up generally. I agree, it's worth going into in much more detail.

The perspective lines thing is also a great idea, there's a lot to talk about here. And you're right, it doesn need explaining!

Thanks for the input.

Posted on 01/09/04 08:47:21 AM
Paul McFadden
Dream Decryptor
Posts: 138

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Re: Onwards and upwards
A 3rd Edition??? Steve, cant you just write a whole new book, like other Photoshop authors !!

Seriously, until ebooks become viable (with LCDS that mimic paper), when I can envisage paying for a book upgrade, much like we do with software today, then its a little unfair to keep re-hashing the same (admittedly excellent) book.

But OK, if its got to happen, then Id like to offer the following suggestions:

HTCIP is such a great book because it focuses on just one area - photomontage. As you all know, there are a plethora of books that tediously cover the whole gamut of tools and techniques– without giving any real depth in any one area -so suggestions for photo restoration, and animated GIFS, which are done to death in other books, would, I feel, be incongruous to the rest of this book's material.

HTCIP's strengths are the real-world (i.e. commissioned artwork) examples that it features alongside explanations of how features were created. Also, Steve’s expertise exceeds the 'other books' - by usually going a step further - Im thinking of a couple of tutorials Steve did for TDP magazine - Extract filter on a dog's fur and an excellent one on photographing a framed picture and correcting the perspective. Now, every PS book deals with Extract filter and perspective crop - but Steve's final few steps are what sets the his tutorials apart (in my opinion) Any chance of including all the TDP tuts, or do copyright issues prevent this?

Maiden's suggestion re. photography for photomontage objects is spot-on, as is Raymondo's request for Perspective tutorials.

For photography, when you are snapping objects from around your house, do you use special lighting, reflectors etc? Or just photograph in natural light? What about camera settings? To a photographer this stuff is basic, but to hobbyists like us, not so. I note you have replaced your Nikon with the Canon 300D - which, being an SLR, lacks the flip out screen I thought was essential for your work as a part-time model ?!

On perspective, do you draw grids - perhaps to help you scale and distort objects to fit in naturally, or do you just rely on your artistic judgement?

Since you often refer to Adobe Dimensions, and use it frequently, how about updating this now to Illustrator CS, which I believe has incorporated the Dimensions 3D functionality - perhaps a couple of pages in using this non-intuitive interface. For instance, how you created that lamppost in the 2nd edition - Id love to see that in a tutorial

Oh heck, any chance of a How To Cheat In Illustrator book??? That would rock !

Steve, I only just found this forum, and cant believe how accessible you are, how open and forthright and how willing to dispense your knowledge - so a big thank you for that

As for bugs, I did find a few small mistakes - particularly in the 1st edition. Nothing major, but things like the wrong keyboard shortcuts for PC, a sample image missing from CD or other ones in states already half-way into the tutorial, and as for "Pupils".......oh, someone already covered that

Anyway, sorry to go on and on.

Hope it was of some use


Posted on 01/09/04 09:10:38 AM
Steve Caplin
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Posts: 6542

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Paul,

Many thanks for your comments, and for taking the time to write so fully.

The reason I'm writing a new edition is because Adobe will, presumably, be bringing out a new version of Photoshop at some point (don't know when). If I didn't update the book it would be out of date too quickly, and I'd hate to just see it die. But yes, I realise how tricky it is for readers to shell out for what is largely the same book again. It's for this reason that I try to include as much value as possible: apart from having another 64 pages yet again, I'll be putting a whole new set of royalty-free images on the CD with the third edition. In effect, this means readers will be compensated by getting 100 images free - and since CDs of photographs usually cost around $400 each, I think that's a pretty good deal. Sure, a trade-in on the old edition would be a cool idea, but my publishers won't go for it. (I have asked!)

Your suggestions are very good ones. I'd already decided to ditch Dimensions in favour of the Illustrator CS approach, although in many ways this isn't nearly such a good 3D application. Perhaps they'll have fixed that by the time the next version appears. I have, by the way, talked to my publishers about a Cheat in Illustrator book but, apparently, no-one buys Illustrator books. Anyway, it would be a lot less fun to write.

I'll definitely include some stuff about photography - while I photograph many things in my house in situ, I tend to move stuff into better lighting conditions or, if it's small enough, onto a mini-studio I've built using a couple of desk lamps. And while I agree about the main theme of the book, I think a chapter on animation would be of benefit, given that so much photomontage work is being done for animated delivery these days. If you haven't already seen it, you should check out maiden's site for some truly outstanding examples. How could I possibly ignore a trend such as this?

If I've made mistakes in PC keyboard shortcuts - and it's quite likely as I don't use a PC - please, please, give me page references! I really want to get these bugs out!

Steve

Posted on 01/09/04 09:15:40 AM
maiden
Golden Gif Gagster
Posts: 471

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Re: Onwards and upwards
Paul, while I agree with you on most of what you are saying I would like to say that there is relevance to including animated gifs and photo restoration in the 3rd edition. Photomontaging isn't something that is totally seperate from other graphic disciplines, many photomontaging techniques can be carried over into gif animation and more so thesedays in Flash animation. Plus techniques used in creating gif animations in Image Ready could prove benficial to understanding your photomontaging better - I'm thinking in particular of layers and masking, which are important in creating a succesful animation but are also crucial in photomontaging. Photo Restoration does seem a bigger leap from Photomontaging but I suppose the better you understand how to restore an image the better you are at matching colours and creating seamless photomontages.

Becky

Posted on 01/09/04 10:30:42 AM
tabitha 1
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Re: Onwards and upwards
In defence of the photo-restoration argument. I do feel that this is relevant to Montage work.
The source images have to come from somewhere, and unfortunatly not all subjects/items are around in this day of digital images, therfore either an old 35mm photo is used or even slides, (I have even taken some images from Victorian Magic Lantern slides, and thats no joke!). These are not of the same quality (See Raymardo's Mum), and therefore some work needs to be done to get them up to scratch.
An example of this -
Mr nan died 15yrs ago, and for the anniversary of her death this year I did a family "portrait" as if everyone were in it together. Ok this sounds rather macabre, but my Mum loved it, as many of the younger generation were not alive when my Nan was, incl. my own children. To see my daughter sitting on my Nans lap, certainly bought tears to the eye. The photograph I had of my Nan was grainy and scatchy, as all photographs from the 1970's were, and I had to put alot of work into it before I could even begin to add anything extra, so that the resolution and lighting fitted together.
This is what I meant by Photo-Restoration.

And to quote Paul McFadden

"...so suggestions for photo restoration, and animated GIFS, which are done to death in other books, would, I feel, be incongruous to the rest of this book's material."

I have read the other books that he is refering to, and they are certainly not as User-Friendly as your book Steve, and I find them elitest (assuming that all readers have advance knowledge of Photoshop) and to be honest ... boring! These two subjects are relevant to HTCIP, and it would be a shame not to include them in some form in the 3rd edition.

Ok Soap Box is now removed!

Posted on 01/09/04 11:05:18 AM
trinityofone
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Re: Onwards and upwards
I would definitely say that montage applies to animation techniques, in fact, more so sometimes than static images. The ability to cut objects cleanly and have them lit properly is of optimum importance when creating something, which is composed of individual elements.

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Posted on 01/09/04 11:19:32 AM
maiden
Golden Gif Gagster
Posts: 471

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Re: Onwards and upwards
That's very true Trinity, in all the animations I have created attention to detail such as lighting is pretty much crucial otherwise it ends up looking shabby and the whole purpose is for people to believe in the realism of your animation even when that animation is a wild caricature.

Becky


Posted on 02/09/04 9:50:22 PM
russ davey
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Re: Onwards and upwards
I think the book is excellent so its hard to see how to make it 'better' other than building on the already good parts -

- More of the clever yet relatively easy to master techniques that make the book so cool

- More quicktime videos (just a personal preference)

- Interludes - these are great and make some nice reading for people who would like an insight into the practicalities of being an illustrator

Great comp idea - winner gets an image featured in the book!! Heh, that would be an interesting week at the friday challenge thread!!!


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