Wow!! What a great week for Photoshop images!! Normally we know that there has been some Photoshop manipulation with various images, heck, this is NAPP for goodness sake! We HOPE there’s at least some Photoshop with portfolio images. That doesn’t mean beautiful photographs aren’t appreciated. Far from it. It’s just that we love it when talented Photoshop users share their images and we know what had to go into the piece. It seems even more pronounced this week though because there’s a side-by-side comparison in one case, and because of the artist captions in other cases. Again, this doesn’t mean pure photographic skill isn’t appreciated. It is, and there’s one image featured this week on photographic technique alone. It’s just really cool when there’s great quality Photoshop work and the artist reveals his or her post-processing efforts.

This week’s winner is a beautiful model retouch (and self portrait) by Crixx called CriXx-before-and-After. You really need to enlarge the image so you can see the craftsmanship in the retouch. Some things are subtle while other aspects are especially apparent, but in the end, there’s a fantastic retouch as a result. With images like this there’s a temptation to over smooth the skin and the model often ends up looking like a wax figure. The skin texture was left in tack but perfected. And the application of subtle makeup during post processing is also especially impressive. The eye retouching is first rate and then the richness and texture of the hair is even impressive. Seeing a before/after like this really highlights the expert hand!

Bradley Miles delivered a tremendous car show image called Great White Fairlane Cut Out.jpg, simply because he took the time to cut it out of the background and reestablish a great shadow. So often people capture car show images and just “sorta” cut out the car and leave some of the ground in place. Or they leave big, ugly reflections there that give away the real location of the car. Another problem with car show images is the over dark tires and plugged shadows in the wheel wells. All of these typical problems aren’t apparent here.

When it comes to photographic technique and mastery of lighting, Zach Ancell really shows his stuff with the piece TRAJECTORY. The way Zach captured motion, depth, and color is especially incredible. The partially lit motion blur isn’t just in the standard “wave.” This shows specific change of direction and then the frozen, perfectly lit subject at the end of the motion trails shows expert technique. Capturing athletes in motion is challenging. Making it into art and capturing that part of the motion shows vision and technical prowess.

Last year NAPP member Mike Campau impressed quite a few of us here at NAPP HQ with his series Motion in Air. He took beautiful images of dancers in the air and built CGI image swirls around them which interacted beautifully. By adding a darker theme and much more reflective and detailed CGI swirls he has updated his theme with some fresh and even more dramatic images. Red is just one of several posted to his portfolio and they’re all quite impressive and worth studying. When you’re looking at these images, consider the light and shadow of the dancer on the swirl and vice versa. He had to make the dancer appear to really be in the same space as the CG swirl and that’s not easy.

Chad Branton brings us a commercial image designed to promote cheer leading competitions and a convention center called Cheer for Sevierville. On it’s own, this is a nice image, but then read his caption about his challenges getting everyone in a group this large to pose, look at the camera, and smile and then light the models and letters as well as minimize the bright backlight. Both quality photographic skill and compositing come into the mix. A solid accomplishment and good use of Photoshop!

Great work and beautiful images everyone. Photography or Photoshop, all these images are the work of skilled experts! Comment here and let them know and be sure to visit their portfolios too.

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