Spent yesterday with Bert Monroy and the folks at NAPP here in Vancouver – a one day Photoshop Creativity tour. Bert is an amazing guy, as is Dave Cross who did a similar tour last year. But I’m unconvinced on attending another of these one-day events. If you’re a beginner, you should absolutely go. If you’ve never been, you should without hesitation go. If you’ve never met any of these fine NAPP folks, you too – go! But if you’ve done it a couple times and you’ve spent some quality time in Photoshop already then you may find, like I did, that there is so much breadth of content and not enough depth. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. This allows you to see possibilities and then go home and discover more for yourself. But for someone with a busy schedule and not lacking in the foundations or even much of the intermediate photoshop geekery, then what you long for is not more ideas but deeper ones – and a one day seminar is just too short for that.
Now, having said that – let me say this; those folks at NAPP do a darn fine job. The people are top-quality, so are the materials. If you don’t belong to NAPP already, you should.
I came home yesterday with:
1. A headache – so much content covered so quickly I have conceptual whiplash.
2. New respect for the artistry of Bert Monroy who creates huge photo-realistic images or paintings using Photoshop. They’re actually better than photo-realistic – they have more detail and no distortion. Remarkable. Here is a man with talent to spare and way too much sparetime. He spent 11 months doing a painting of a train station in Chicago. I would just look for Filter > Render > Train Station filter and be done with it in minutes or I would give up.
3. New insight into the Blend If dialogue in layer styles. Amazing. I’ve been meaning to dig under the hood of this one and never got the kick I needed until now.
4. New insights into channels. Different channels contain different information. Reducing noise in the blue channel alone is better than doing it in all three. Sharpening is better in the green channel. Contrast changes are better in the red. Huge oversimplification, but if you’ve ever thought, "man, I don’t need no stinking channels" – then you’re wrong…man.
5. A Hoodman Professional LCD Screen Loupe ordered from the fine folks at B&H Photo. Because Scott Kelby made me. Actually I had never seen this, but it’s a fantastic idea and compared to a new piece of L glass or a Gitzo tripod, they’re cheap. Additionally, if your photo vest and assorted gear doesn’t already make you feel like the king of the geek’s homecoming prom, then you can wear it around your neck for that "I wanna be Francis Ford Coppolla" look. Very dashing. Seriously, ever had a problem seeing the LCD screen in bright lighting situations? Like Africa? No more. These rock.
On Inspiration. On rethinking it I wanted to make a comment about my last post. I wrote that I was uninspired and unmotivated. And while that’s true, it sounds a little like whining. I’m not. Creativity, as most writers will tell you, has little to do with the feeling of inspiration or motivation. It’s a little like love that way. It’s just hard work at times. You have to put in the time. Most writers sit and write until the thoughts and words begin to gel. So too with people who work with the visual language. If you wait until you "feel inspired" you will produce sporadic work of questionable genius. And you’re clients aren’t bound to be happy. Feelings have nothing to do with it.