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Video Training Review: Adobe Photoshop CS3: Channels With Cory Barker From NAPP

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Released in June 2007, Adobe Photoshop CS3: Channels with Cory Barker is the new video training DVD for those who have experience with a recent version of Photoshop and want to learn how to unlock the power of Channels in CS3. It is hosted by Cory Barker, one of the education and curriculum developers for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, or NAPP. If you are not familiar with NAPP, please read my review on Photoshop User magazine to gain more insight on what NAPP is all about and why you might want to join.

Adobe Photoshop CS3: Channels is contained on a single DVD that runs 152 minutes and can only be used on a computer-based system. It is aimed at users new to Photoshop as well as those who have basic intermediate skills and want to move to the next level. The author goes over the material in 24 lessons which are divided into three sessions that will have you unlocking the world of Channels within Photoshop like a pro.

Session 1:

Lesson 1 explains what Channels are and how they work within Photoshop. For this video, the RGB color space is used and it is from this perspective that this introduction proceeds.

Lessons 2-3 cover Selections and how they relate to Channels. You will learn how, when you make a selection and save it to a Channel, Photoshop views it and why you should think in grayscale. Then you will learn how to use the new Quick Selection tool and how it works almost like a Magic Wand on a brush.

Lessons 4-7 cover Masking and the use of Layer Masks. First you will learn about using the Quick Mask Mode that allows you to paint on your selection. You will also learn the concepts of "White Reveals" and "Black Conceals" as well as what happens with gray. From there you will learn to mask complex things like hair as well as masking multiple channels at once.

Your bonus video focuses on a less used type of mask called a Vector Mask. These are great when you are working with clean edges and they are also resizable as well as re-editable.

Image courtesy NAPPSession 2:

Lessons 8-11 explores techniques for image correction beginning with the use of Adjustment Layers. These work to allow you to make adjustments to a layer without affecting the image itself. You will learn tricks to make changes not only a breeze, but quite flexible. Then Apply Image is used show you how you can bring back detail to an image by using a channel. Blending Channels are used to show an alternate mode for blending with more control by using the Blend-If sliders. You will also learn about Spot Color Channels to assign Pantone Colors Channels within Photoshop

Lesson 12 shows you how to work within the LAB color space and explains the difference between LAB and RGB. It then shows you how you can switch to LAB, make some changes and convert back with out the loss of data.

Lessons 13-14 explain Black and White Conversion and how B&W conversions are made. Here you will work with Channel Mixer to make a much more dynamic image and the Black and White Mixer to have even more control. You will also learn how to work the Calculations command to create Black and White images.

Your bonus lesson is about how to use Placement Maps to distort the pixels of any particular layer you assign it to, and then use it to create a reflection on water.

Session 3:

Lesson 15 examines Noise Reduction through channels to remove noise by color selection. This is done using Surface blur on the individual channels.

Lessons 16-18 dive into Special Effects explaining filters such as Lighting Effects and Alpha Channels to create raised lettering that looks embossed in a texture. You will also use channels to enhance an image as well as creating a sidelight effect by using Calculations Command

Lessons 19-20, cover Sharpening techniques that are a little more involved by way of sharpening specific areas of an image using color channels. You will also use an Edge Mask to increase the contrast of an image.

Lesson 21 looks at Weighted Optimization for creating web images. You will be using an alpha channel to isolate the optimization of an image's lossy setting which results in a smaller file size. The final bonus lesson is on how to use a High Pass Sharpening to sharpen an image.

Once again there is a lot of quality content in this highly focused video! Cory Barker has put together a lot of powerful information within Adobe Photoshop CS3: Channels that will take your skills to the next level and have you really working like a pro.

The retail price of Adobe Photoshop CS3: Channels is $69.99 USD. You can get it from PhotoshopTraining for $62.99 USD, an 11% discount, but for NAPP members it is only $54.99 a savings of 22%. There is an online version as well available from PhotoshopVideos, again $69.95 USD Retail and $49.95 USD for NAPP members.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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