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Creative Transformations in Photoshop

June 18 – 22, 2012 • $625
Madeline Island School of the Arts • Madeline Island, Wisconsin

University of Minnesota Duluth graduate credit option offered with this course

Register for this class

Join the co-author of The Creative Digital Darkroom, Real World Digital Photography and Photoshop Artistry for an inspiring week that combines digital photography with presentation, artistic discovery, and exploring the creative possibilities for improving and enhancing your photographs using Adobe Photoshop. You will learn creative enhancements for both the straight photographic image, as well as using the initial photograph as a point of departure for creative visual transformations that lead to personal images that are interpretive rather than literal. In our photographic explorations, both with our cameras and with Photoshop, we will search for the extraordinary in the ordinary.


Sunset on Madeline Island, looking towards Bayfield.

This workshop is all about discovering what is possible when working with your photographs in Adobe Photoshop. Sean will combine structured presentations and demos with guided exploration sessions to reveal the hidden possibilities that lie within any image. We will dive deep into Photoshop to explore techniques for creative transformations that include getting the most from your raw files, color and tonal manipulations, black and white conversions, toning, color tinting, masking techniques, layering, using textures, High Dynamic Range (HDR), creating multiple image collages, adding digital “lighting”, and preparing your files for presentation, either on the web or as fine prints.


Gathering Storm on Lake Superior: An HDR blend of three exposures.


During the week we will also venture out on Madeline Island to explore the camera side of creative photography, making images to work on back in the classroom and reviewing essential camera techniques such as composition, understanding how the existing light will affect the image, mastering the camera’s light meter, exposing two or more shots to extend dynamic range, and other methods for technical and creative control in the camera.


Some of the Key Topics to be Covered:

• Suggested Image-Editing Workflow

• Non-Destructive Image Editing

• Raw Processing with Adobe Camera Raw (or Lightroom)

• Color and Tonal Correction: Global & Local

• Working with Layers, Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks

• Creating & Modifying Selections and Mask Channels

• Converting Color to Black & White

• Toning Techniques for B&W images

• Understanding the Blend Modes

• Combining Multiple Exposures to Control Contrast

• High Dynamic Range (HDR) Processing

• Creating a Multiple Image Collage

• Retouching Basics and Object Removal

• Sharpening & Soft Proofing

• Preparing to Print

Minimum Requirements: This class requires that participants bring a laptop computer with Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop CS4 installed. If you do not have Photoshop and are not sure if it is software you want to invest in it, you can always download and install a free 30-day trial version just before the workshop. Participants should also bring a digital camera that can shoot in Raw, a USB card reader for downloading photos to their laptops. A small external hard drive (USB or Firewire connections) for photo storage is also a good idea if there is not much free space on your laptop.


Red umbrella at the Madeline Island School of the Arts



Forest road with a black & white infra-red treatment.



The farmhouse on the Madeline Island School campus.



Shuffleboard at the lake shore.



A "mirrored" image.




The lagoon at Big Bay State Park



A church on the island



Big Bay State Park



Autumn Road: a collage from 4 source images.

With the exception of "Autumn Road (lower right), all images on this page were photographed on Madeline Island



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© Copyright Seán Duggan, 2011