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Jim Harvey reviews Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry by Jayse Hansen

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Jim Harvey reviews Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry by Jayse Hansen
A Creative COW Training Product Review


Jim Harvey reviews Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry by Jayse Hansen

Jim Harvey Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

© 2004 Jim Harvey and CreativeCOW.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
Jim Harvey takes a look at Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry -- a 2 CD set by Jayse Hansen published by Virtual Training Company (VTC). Read why Jim says, "...at last the more advanced Photoshop users can get solid information and instruction without having to wade through the same old hacks." But don't think it's just for advanced users, read on to find out why.


A while back, I reviewed Jayse Hansen’s Adobe After Effects 5.5 Essentials. I was completely impressed with his command of the program and recommended it highly.

Well, Jayse has done it again, this time with Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry training set. With his casual teaching style, Jayse takes the viewer through advanced techniques in Photoshop that are nothing short of amazing. His grasp of the program is so thorough and so complete, that he makes complex technique seem simple.

If you have not taken his AE course, the beginning of the training may seem at first to be a bit wordy. Don't be fooled, however, there is a method to his presentation that will stand you in good stead if you just follow along. The old chestnut about a house only being as good as its foundation holds true here. By beginning with a UTILITIES section, Jayse takes us through the optimal way to set up Photoshop to make it perform at a higher level than just installing it and starting to work. If you ground yourself in the nuts and bolts of setting up the program, you will be far less likely to suffer from mystery issues down the road. I have been using Photoshop for a good number of years and I went back over my settings based on his recommendations and found a number of areas that I was able to improve upon based on his methods. That won't make you a better artist, just a more efficient one.

In the same vein, he covers virtually all the important and essential keyboard shortcuts that will make you faster and sharper in addition to looking like the Photoshop wizard that you know you are.

The title is “Advanced Techniques” and it is just that. Once we progress from an explanation of his teaching style (which is a very comfortable “sitting next to you” feel) and the basics of setup, he gets down to business. Topics included are Advanced Retouching (he makes a point to let you know that there will be no “fixing and old photo” tutorial, which, as he points out, can be found in numerous places and books. Skin Techniques – some excellent information and procedures to make your portraits stand head and shoulders (pun intended) above all the run of the mill work that you'll find. Duotones/Selenium tinting get a good explanation and a simplified way to produce them, along with the reasoning behind each step in the process.

The disks are totally non linear in that you can jump around and explore without too much trouble. I'm a mix of explorer and Luddite. I'll put in the program, jump from here to there, watch 2 minutes of this clip and 4 minutes of that, in order to get a flavor of what is in store for me. Then I go back and take the program from A to Z in order. With Jayse’s course, that's an exercise in discipline because you just know that there is some really great technique just a few megabytes down the disk.

The course is from a Designer/Artist’s perspective. If you work with Photoshop in Print or Advertising or Film, this set will arm you with an arsenal of solid tools to produce memorable work. Your clients will be amazed at the bang they get for their buck when they hire you. Jayse seamlessly integrates Illustrator techniques into the course in some of the lessons that add to the flexibility of your Photoshop experience. You don't NEED to have Illustrator, but if you are doing this for a living, you're most likely using Illustrator in conjunction with Photoshop anyway, and isn't it nice that you can get some extra insight into merging both programs.

There are again, numerous QT movies in the course, and this time, the resolution is better than the first effort. While he cautions that resolution will probably suffer in the movies due to the compression techniques used to produce the set, I found them to be of very nice quality while going through the chapters.

In the retouching section, Jayse takes us through some real world examples that we have all run up against. His explanation of levels is better than anything I've ever seen. IN a few simple clicks, he shows us how to manipulate them to our advantage. The histogram is explained and de-mystified, and even if you are an old hand, you are sure to come away with a fresh outlook on this important tool.

His method of sharpening an out of focus image is clever and quick and more important, delivers stunning results. Non-destructive Dodging and Burning will have you digging up your old “second drawer down” shots and breathing new life into them.

As a quick aside, if you are a beginner, this may be a little over the top for you, but if you take your time, you are sure to come away with knowledge that would have otherwise taken you months if not years to discover. The setup and shortcuts alone are worth the price of admission for the novice Photoshop user.


Jayse shows us how to go from a picture like this.




To a completed work like this.




The first AE set from VTC had a couple of small issues in continuity and a couple of glitches in the QT movies. I am happy to report that they were not in attendance in this volume.

The set comes with two CDs and disk 2 holds a treasure trove of additional subjects that explore and exploit the tools contained in Photoshop. Natural Media Art Techniques delves into the History/Art History brush, Vector Illustration, hand tinting (presented in a fresh new way) and Drawn and watercolor looks. Grain and Noise are fully developed and explained. Fine Art, Special effects, Fine Art Typography (a particularly interesting section that will make you look at type in a different way) are in themselves a good week's worth of examining.

As an added bonus, Jayse includes a special section of other people’s work. People who impress him. If you are familiar with Jayse’s work (and you will be by the time you get to disk 2) then you know that anyone who can impress him is worth a close look. Richard Glasband and Brando Murry guest star and bring two distinctly different styles to the set.

Glasband’s work is surreal and complex and the examples presented will give you weeks worth of fodder for your imagination.


Richard Glasband’s work is surreal and complex, with a wealth of technique to study.


Brando Murry’s faux flash look is clean and creative and definitely a cut above. His ability to take a regular photograph and convert it to a vector graphic look adds advanced skills to any designer’s portfolio.


Brando Murry’s simulated vector art adds advanced skills to any designer’s portfolio.


All of the additional examples are complete so that you can dissect them and understand their construction.




COW Rating: 5 Cows. If you are using Photoshop in your work, or if you are just tired of doing the same old layer masks, then get yourself in line to purchase this course. At last the more advanced Photoshop users can get solid information and instruction without having to wade through the same old hacks. At the price of this set, you would be cheating yourself by not buying it. Great return on your dollar.



You can purchase the course at http://www.vtc.com/

Jim Harvey

JHV Digital



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