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The Power of Photoshop

I opened Photoshop for the first time three years ago while searching for the best way to resize an image. In the span of three years, I have spent more time in Ps than any other Adobe application. I have practically lived with the app open for the past two months, because I am a light painter and the use of Photoshop is essential to light painting. Many times, Kyle and I have spoken about the importance and usefulness of Photoshop for editing purposes, and today I hope to show you why.

On January 16, Kyle and I went downtown and took a series of pictures outside Horton Plaza. The first featured image is the best of those images. The second featured image is that same picture after being taken through Photoshop. Many, many times. The difference is remarkable.

When we first saw that image on the camera screen after waiting 43 seconds for a few cars and a bus to drive by, we were ecstatic. We knew we had a masterpiece, but we were wrong. That image is not a masterpiece. This one is (or very close to it). And I can say that without a shadow of doubt. It is the best light painting we have ever made.  It blows everything else away.

I know you all are sick and tired of hearing about the 5 Stages of the Creative Process, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention how they apply to this image. First Insight: Mr. Skocko presented the class with the “Paint the World with Light” project early in the year. Saturation: I browsed light painting artwork from all corners of the internet, from YouTube to The Best of Ben Willmore. Incubation: Basically the car ride to downtown and our time taking pictures in the heart of Horton Plaza (which the security guards did not particularly like). Ah-Ha!: Out of options, we decided to turn towards the street and see what our cameras could do. The resulting awe stopped us in our tracks. We had discovered a whole new world of possibilities. Verification: After a month and a half, I can finally say that I have taken it the extra 10% and truly made this image a marvel. Yesterday, I took the previous version through Camera Raw one more time, at the advice of Fadi, and the power of Photoshop in all its glory blazed forth. Today, I improved upon what I did yesterday.

If I had not asked Fadi for his advice about the “final” version of the image, this would never have happened. I never would have experienced that final stage. I would have printed this picture, for the second time, without ever knowing its true potential. And so I thank you Fadi, for saying that it needed more color. And oh how you were right.

Also, if Mr. Skocko had not pressured me to wait a while before printing and see if anything more could be done, I would have had the last version in my hands without ever talking to Fadi.

So I leave you with this: never think you are done, because you will be proven wrong. When you think you are at the end, have worked your hardest, or are ready to call it done, push yourself even further, and you (and your work) will be better for it.

P.S.: While writing this post, I played with it in Photoshop a little more and made it even better. The total time spent in Ps on this image is probably around twelve hours. For those with lightning fast internet connections, here is the full version.

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