As I said in my review of her DVD training video The Fine Art of Photoshop, as soon as you see it, you can recognize a Susi Lawson work of art. There is something about it that jumps off the page and says look at me! In Photoshop Magic, Susi Lawson shares more of her techniques and insight, so you get a better feel on how to create these kinds of wonderful works of art.
Photoshop Magic contains 15 videos covering 13 lessons that detail how to work with Photoshop. They cover techniques of working with brushes, creating portraits by using photos to begin your creation and using Photoshop skill to enhance with drawing and painting over the image. Photoshop Magic comes on two disks, one with the videos and one with the necessary images so you can follow along.
Lesson 1, "Festive Cover Art" begins by showing you how to reproduce the cover artwork. You begin with an ordinary photograph and you will see how to create the festive look using Photoshop. This lesson covers setting the background, using selections and curves, showing you how to touch up a photo, filling in hair, and finally using vector shapes add the colorful shapes.
Lesson 2, "Air Brush Art" (two videos) now takes you on a journey to create what I consider one of the quintessential Susi Lawson styles. It has that Saturday Evening Post look to it. Here you will see how to replace the sky background and make the image look like it was shot that way. Again you will learn how to do portraiture retouching to get the best image you can.
Lesson 3, "Landscape Edit with a Punch" now diverges into the world of landscape image enhancement. Here you will learn how to add flair to your landscape by using various Photoshop tools. You start with levels and curves to do your initial adjustments. Next you work with hue and saturation, as well as the sponge tool to bring out the colors. Finally, you see how the gradient tool and high pass filter bring out the details.
Lesson 4, "Switching Backgrounds" shows you how to replace background on an image and make them more believable. Here you will see how to carefully replace an image onto a new background and see how to blend it in.
Lesson 5, "The Best Plug-in on the Net" is from optickVerve Labs' and called virtualPhotographer. VirtualPhotographer includes over 50 presets that let you automatically apply combinations of film grain, color modification, B/W, soft focus, high contrast and many artistic effects. In this video you will see how to apply some of these effects.
Lesson 6, "Fun with Filter Effects" continues in showing you how to use different effects, this time with some of the natural Photoshop filters. Here you use High Pass filter, Poster Edges, and working with the texture filter.
Lesson 7, "Fine Art Grunge" will show you more filters beginning with Find Edges to begin with a grunge feel, then working with Curve and Levels to punch things up. You work with some brushes to get that certain look, as well as using an adjustment layer to add more effects.
Lesson 8, "Draganizer Action" shows you how to work with an action that is included in the extras. This action will step you through a series of sequences that will allow you create spectacular portraitures by bringing out the subject and placing them on a dark background.
Lesson 9, "Creating Pages" (two videos) will show you how to create book pages that have that antique look and feel by creating bent, tattered, and aged pages. Then you will see how to transform it into looking like a book sitting on a table. Finally you will see how to then put an image on this book.
Lesson 10, "Slimming the Figure" will show you how to enhance an image. Here you will see how to slim the waist and arms of girl in a photo. Here you will use the clone tool, pinch tool, and the brush tools.
Lesson 11, "Album Page Composite" will examine how to prepare a page in an album for a senior or wedding photo composite. Here you will see how to place and adjust images, add drop shadows, and text.
Lesson 12, "Shadow Play" you will see how to add and adjust shadows behind a figure to give the image new life. Lesson 13, "Vector Art Simplified" will now take the image that you created in lesson 12 and convert it into a vector art line type drawing.
I found Photoshop Magic incredibly easy to follow along and the techniques are rather easy to use. You will find yourself amazed that these simplistic techniques are all that are needed to get such superior results. In no time, you will be able to create really great works of art. There is some unevenness between some of the videos' sound levels; that is you might need to adjust the volume on one or two of the videos, but it does not really distract from the quality of training that is given here.
Photoshop Magic is available from Susi Lawson Photography for $80.00 plus shipping and handling. Better yet, Susi also has two other videos, Portrait Magic, and The Fine Art Of Photoshop, and you can buy all three at a special bundled price.
If you are still not sure, what I suggest is that you check out Susi Lawson's gallery over at Susi Lawson Fine Art Photography to see some of her work. My guess is that before long you will find yourself wanting to see how she does it. I very highly recommend Photoshop Magic.