Tuesday , May 21 2024
The Portrait Magic will have you producing digital works of art in no time.

Video Training Review: Portrait Magic with Susi Lawson

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 this, her first video, Portrait Magic, Susi Lawson shares more of her techniques and insights with working in Photoshop, but also show you how to work with Corel Painter as well.

Portrait Magic contains 16 videos. These videos show how to work in concert between Photoshop and Corel Painter. They cover techniques of working with brushes, creating portraits using photos to begin your creation, and using Photoshop and Painter skills to enhance with drawing and painting over the image. Portrait Magic comes with the videos and the necessary images so you can follow along.

Background is a set of two videos that will show you how to work with replacing the background in an image. In this lesson you will see how to create different backgrounds that can be used to enhance a portrait. The first video begins with Photoshop to modify the background and set a border. Then you see how to do the same type of thing using Painter. You will also see how to incorporate the colors in the image to match to the background.

Beginning Enhancement shows you how, in Photoshop, to crop an image to better frame it. Then you will see how to use curves to enhance your image. Next, working with an airbrush you will clean up skin, use the dodge tool to lighten the eyes, as well as dodging to bring out highlights in the hair.

Charcoal Effect uses the same portrait from the background lesson that was done in Painter and turns it into a charcoal portrait. Here you will learn about using charcoal techniques to convert and enhance an image and see what it takes to create a charcoal sketch using Painter.

Cover Girl (two videos) begins in Photoshop to work with masking layers to set up a portrait by darkening out the background, cleaning up the imperfections, adjusting the skin, and adding highlights to hair. Then the switch is made to Painter to add more creative effects to the image. Here you will add stars, pixie dust, and other techniques to make a creative image.

Dragonizer is an action that has become popular online that adds use automation to perform image enhancements and add a lot of impact to your image. In this video, after blacking out the background, you essentially run the action and it walks you through the steps of the dragonizer. There are times that you can make adjustments to your liking but all-in-all this lesson shows you how to create a unique group image.

Girl (two videos) takes what would be a very ordinary snapshot and converts it into a portrait-like image. Here you will see how to recreate even the most ordinary background into a very convincing scene in Painter. Next you will learn how to fix skin tones. You will see how to correct faces when they are in shadows. You will also see how to fix portraits by adding hair strands to cover up edges.

John is another Painter video where once again you work with fixing the skin, eyes, and teeth in Painter. Next you will blur out the background to give a painted look. Then you will clean up the design logo from on a shirt, and finish touching up the image.

Studio To Scenic now recreates the front cover image. In this lesson you will work with three separate images. First you will work with color corrections via curves in Photoshop. Next you will create selections to insert other images into it. After inserting the third image, you will then see how to proportion the images and get them to fit in the image as a whole. Then you will learn how to add items to make the scene more realistic, in this case, grass. Using the smudge tool you can cut down the sharp edges. Finally you will do some of the regular things like brighten eyes, and adding highlights to the hair.

Winter Wish (four videos) is a significant collection of training in Photoshop. In this series you will see how to create the image on this page. You start by cropping the image. Next you will clean up the skin and perform other fixes to get it just right. You will create snow using brushes; you will also see how to experiment with different brushes. Finally you will add additional effects via the dodge and burn tool to add highlights and other enhancements.

I found Portrait Magic incredibly easy to follow and the techniques are rather easy to use. You will find yourself amazed that these simple techniques are all that are needed to get such superior results.

Portrait Magic is available from Susi Lawson Photography for $80.00 plus shipping and handling. Better yet, Susi also has two other videos, Photoshop Magic and The Fine Art Of Photoshop which 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 highly recommend Portrait Magic.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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