Author Archive for Michael Hoffman

Mike has been a photographer, artist, educator, and technophile for most of his life. Early in his career, he created technical illustrations and photographs for electronic equipment manufacturers, and taught classes in computer aided drafting and 3D modeling software. When digital cameras became widely available in the late 1990s, the move was a natural one, and has led to a happy combination of technology, software, photography and art. Mike is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Acrobat, and is well versed in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements, as well as Illustrator and InDesign. He has also contributed his time and efforts to the excellent work being done by Operation Photo Rescue, in restoring photographs damaged by natural disasters. As an active member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, he continues his quest for excellence in art, excellence in design, and excellence in education.

Lightroom Workflow : Good to Great

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I get questions all the time about my workflow, and in this tutorial I’m answering some specific questions I got related to some recent bird photos I posted on my Flickr photostream. Some other photographers had been with me and struggled to capture images in the same location and time. In addition to the workflow I present in this video, I’ll add some additional tips

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Lightroom 5 – Keyboard Shortcuts

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Everybody loves keyboard shortcuts, and today on TipSquirrel, we have Lightroom 5 Keyboard Shortcuts for you!

Learning keyboard shortcuts can help boost your productivity and can be the key to a smooth and consistent workflow. In addition, you’re taking some of the work away from your mouse, and that can be a benefit if you tend to suffer from repetitive motion stress.

There are a few Lightroom 5 keyboard shortcuts everyone should know – for example, the big three in my mind are “G, E, D” (for grid view, loupe view, and develop module view). And there’s “R” for the crop tool. But there are oh, so many more Lightroom 5 keyboard shortcuts.

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Lightroom Mobile Quick Setup Guide

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As you may have noticed, Adobe has just released Lightroom 5.4, along with the new Lightroom Mobile for iPad. Lightroom mobile extends your workflow beyond the desktop, and onto your iPad, where you can review, rate and even edit your images, and have the changes synchronized automatically back to your main catalog.

Lightroom uses the Creative Cloud storage services as the hub for this synchronization, and as a result, you must be a member of one of the subscription services for this to work, including any of the Creative Cloud plans, or the Photoshop Photography Program. The iPad app is completely free, so this is just another benefit of the Creative Cloud subscription.

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Abstract Photoshop Technique

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There are endless ways to create abstract images, but here’s one that’s just fun. This abstract Photoshop technique has you interacting with the image, pushing pixels around, and it can be as much fun as finger painting, but without all the mess.

The way this works is to start with an image that has vibrant colors and a bit of contrast and texture, then warp and manipulate layers, blending the results together using the Photoshop layer blend modes. You’ll never know where you’ll end up when you start, but the exploration is half the fun.

This abstract Photoshop technique is flexible and extensible, and you can add on to your heart’s content. In this video, I even go so far as to take a copy of the image and wrap it onto a 3D sphere to add some additional geometric surrealism.

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A Portable Lightroom Catalog

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Lightroom 5 brings with it a great new feature in Smart Previews. Combine the capabilities of Smart Previews (the ability to develop and export your images based on the relatively small file size of the Smart Preview) together with the convenience and decreasing cost of cloud storage systems (such as DropBox or Google Drive) and you have some interesting ways of creating a portable, no-hassle catalog solution.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop–Putting it all Together

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In this video, we step through the process of extracting an object from a busy background – one that doesn’t work well at all with the quick selection too, nor any of the pixel based selection tools. The Pen Tool is the right tool for this job, and we’ll step through the practical use of the Pen Tool for this

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Using Lightroom on Two Computers

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My main Lightroom catalog is on a desktop Windows machine in my home studio, but I travel with a MacBook Pro, and use the laptop computer for working with Lightroom on the road. In this video, I’ll discuss the way I merge photos from my remote shoots back into my main Lightroom catalog.

In order to do this, I use Lightroom’s “Export as Catalog” and “Import from another Catalog” features to transfer and merge my two separate catalogs into one.

Keep in mind that this is one of a number of possible strategies, but it is the one that works for me.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop – Converting Points

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We continue to progress through the tricks and details of using the Pen Tool in Photoshop, and today we look at ways of converting anchor points from corners, to smooth curves, to cusp points and back. This final skill, combined with what we’ve learned in the previous videos, will give you everything you need to manage creating and editing of virtually any complex path in any image.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop–Cusp Points

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In this, our 5th instalment of our series on using the Pen Tool in Photoshop, we explore the problem of cusp points. Cusps are formed when two curves meet, but not in a smooth point – rather in a corner or sharp angle, as you might see on a heart, or perhaps on the fin of a fish. The technique for drawing this type of shape in Photoshop is not obvious, but it is easy once you know how.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop – Smooth Curves

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We’ve been chipping away at the Pen Tool in Photoshop, and in this part 4 of our series, we finally begin to draw curved paths, freeform, with the Pen Tool. Learning to use control points and control handles requires some practice and some experience, but with the knowledge base from the first three segments in this series, we’re ready to tackle curved paths.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop–Straight Paths

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In part 2 of my series on using the Pen Tool within Photoshop, we finally do break out the Pen Tool, and start drawing straight line paths. Learn how to place and modify corner anchor points, and how to close a path. With the closed path, we’ll learn how to save the path, load the path as a selection and use it as a layer mask.

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Pen Tool in Photoshop – Path Fundamentals

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In this series of videos, we are going to work our way from the basics to pen tool mastery, but we need to start with the fundamentals. In fact, in this video, I’m not even going to use the pen tool. Instead, we’ll spend our time understanding how paths work in Photoshop, so that when we do start using the pen tool, we’ll be on familiar ground.

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The new Perspective Warp in Photoshop CC

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Adobe Photoshop CC now has a new Perspective Warp feature, just introduced, that will allow you to adjust the perspective of image elements in an automated and controlled way. This will help you to create more realistic composites from images that may not match in their original perspective.

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Photoshop’s Perspective Crop Tool

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Sometimes it is the simplest tools that get the job done most quickly and efficiently. Photoshop’s Perspective Crop Tool isn’t the most glamorous tool in the toolbox, but it does its job well and with a minimum of fuss. Fix perspective distortion quickly and easily with this simple tool.

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