Lenscraft in Focus Newsletter June 2019
Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus June 2019 newsletter.
This month there’s a little less content than usual, but I hope you will appreciate why when you read the newsletter. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month refreshing old tutorials, most of which I’ve completely rewritten and lengthened. These are in effect, new tutorials. I’ve also invested significant time in redeveloping the Lenscraft website as, part of a longer-term plan to improve its performance and content.
As for the rest of my time, it’s gone into finishing “The Photographers Guide to Using Luminosity Masks” course, which is now available on Lenscraft Training. I’ll have more to share about that later in this newsletter.
I hope you enjoy this month’s articles.
Photoshop Content Aware Scaling
Content Aware Scaling is Adobe’s attempt to help us produce more realistic edits. In fact, you’ll find the Content Aware technology cropping up in all sorts of Photoshop tools and I’m sure Adobe will add it to more in the future.
The idea is a simple one. When you want to stretch or scale part of an image, Photoshop will analyse the selected area for detail. It then avoids those details when resizing the image, scaling instead of the areas without detail. The theory is great and some of the results look very impressive on first inspection. But there can be problems that may not be obvious at first.
This tutorial looks at how to use the tool and what problems you might encounter.
New Old Content
Over the past month I’ve republished older Lenscraft tutorials. Some of the articles were starting to show their age as well as being quite short. So, in rewriting them, I’ve taken the opportunity to add much more information as well as update the detail.
Here’s a list of the updated tutorials this month with links:
You can also view the new articles by visiting the All Tutorials page on Lenscraft.
More Website Changes
As well as publishing tutorials, this past month has seen further changes to the Lenscraft website. Probably the most significant of these is that I’ve closed the Members Area. Most of the restricted content is now available elsewhere on the site. I haven’t moved everything across at this time but have prioritised the most popular pages.
This was a difficult decision but it’s part of my longer-term plans for the Lenscraft site. Next on the list is to change the website hosts.
The company I currently use for hosting was recently purchased by a much larger company. Since then I’ve seen the quality of the support dive together with the speed of the website. Pages that used to load in 1.1 seconds or less now take around 4.6 seconds despite my spending more time and money trying to fix this.
If all goes to plan, Lenscraft will be hosted by a new (and hopefully faster) company for the next newsletter. Do be aware though that there may be a few teething problems during the month as I make the switch.
Camera Club Presentations
My next club presentation is on the 6th June at Photofold Camera Club in Billericay, Essex. I will be delivering my “Landscape Photography: Lightweight Tools & Techniques” presentation and revealing why I owe a debt of thanks to a club so far from home.
If you are in the area and want to come along, please get in touch with the club through their website.
After my presentation at the Photofold Camera Club, I’m taking the summer off. Presentations will start again in September and I’ll publish details in future newsletters.
From Around the Web
Some of the interesting sites and photographers I’ve found this month.
Photographers You May Not Know – George Digalakis
George Digalakis is an award-winning, fine art photographer, based in Athens, Greece. I would encourage you to visit his website for two reasons.
First, his portfolio of work is superb. If you like ethereal long exposure black and white, you will love his work and portfolios. Whilst this style has been a little overdone in recent years, I doubt you will tire of these images. The thought and composition that’s gone into the creation of his work just ooze quality.
The second reason I recommend visiting his site is his blog. Unlike a lot of blogs that ramble along without contributing anything, George shares some gems. He gives a real insight into how he creates his work and you can learn a lot from these articles.
Well worth a visit.
Book, Course & Video News
Learn about the courses and books I’m currently developing.
Latest Course Launch
After months in development, video recording and editing, my latest video course is now available. You will find “The Photographers Guide to Using Luminosity Masks” on my Lenscraft Teachable site. It has over 4.5 house of HD video together with high-resolution image files you can use to follow the lessons.
This is an intermediary level course that assumes you have some understanding of Photoshop masks and layers. The course focusses heavily on using Luminosity Masks rather than how to create them. In fact, a lot of the Luminosity Masks in the lessons use a free (and very good) plugin for Photoshop to speed things up. And whilst the Luminosity Masking plugin we use is free to download, you can also apply the course to premium tools like Raya Pro and Lumenzia.
You can purchase the course from my Lenscraft Training website for just £30 (plus any local taxes in your country). I’ve also created a discounted course bundle if you want to buy the latest course together with my introductory level “Mastering Photoshop Luminosity Mask”. The course bundle is just £40 (plus any local taxes).
You can learn more about the new course and see lesson previews here.
If you previously purchased “Mastering Photoshop Luminosity Masks” course, you should have received an email from me offering the new course at a 30% discount. This reduces the price to match the price of the course bundle.
Launch Offer from Greg Benz
In my opinion, the best Luminosity Masking plugin available for Photoshop is Lumenzia from Greg Benz. I personally use this and include a bonus lesson in the course explaining some of the features and how they relate to the course lessons.
I’ve been in touch with Greg and he’s very kindly offered a 25% discount for members of the course. You can use this discount when purchasing Lumenzia and Greg’s Exposure Blending course, but you need to be quick. The code (given in the final Lumenzia Bonus Lesson) is only valid until Sunday 9th June 2019.
Having launched my Luminosity Masking course, I’m returning to rewriting “Essential Photoshop”. The book sets out the essential tools and techniques you should master if you want to learn Photoshop. When I wrote this book, I was careful to make it timeless and version independent. Whilst I developed the book before Adobe launched the Photoshop Creative Cloud, the tools and techniques still apply to the latest software.
My aim in rewriting the book is threefold:
- Improve the illustration quality to produce a print version of the book.
- Cover some of the enhancements in the CC version of Photoshop.
- Add more content.
I don’t yet have a timeframe for the revised book but will share more information in future newsletters.