Paula Sanders Report - Gnomon Workshop's Adobe Photoshop for Digital Production

deemarie · September 5, 2005 8:00 am

Message2391667.jpgThis DVD set is presented by Dave Pasciuto of Gnomon Workshop. The sub-title of the set is Essential Techniques for Film, Broadcast, and Games. I would have titled it Tips and Tricks in Photoshop. The set of two DVDs present ways to speed up your workflow in Photoshop, as well as tips and tricks on performing various tasks in Photoshop, or achieving various effects. The contents of the first DVD are: Basics and Actions, Brushes and Presets, Adjusting Layers and Styles, Selections, Raster and Vectors, Creating Graphics, and Digital Painting. The contents of the second DVD are: Render Pass Compositing, Sky Replacement 1 and 2, and Texture Collage 1 and 2. In addition to the lectures are also brief lecture notes, which deal with various sub areas of his topics, such as: some aspects of color correction, different types of filters, layer styles, etc. The first part of DVD 1 was on basics. The level here, I would say, was elementary to intermediate. However, in the beginning of DVD 2, when he talks about Render Pass Compositing, he jumps to another whole area in which a basic 2D artist would probably be lost. While, I actually like the breadth of these two DVDs, I think his topics need to be spelled out more clearly to the consumer before they purchase the DVDs. Some of the material he presents is not normally easy to understand, and he does a very good job of explaining it. His pictures of bitmap verses vector circles, are well thought out because they do demonstrate the differences. Notice the fuzzy edges on the raster images and the cleaner edges on the vector images.
He presented a lot of good material, although he often spent too much time on one topic, while not enough on another. On DVD 2 he spent almost an entire lecture selecting areas around palm trees. He could have just selected one area around one tree "on camera" as an example. I, also, tended to feel that the DVDs were not scripted and planned carefully. For example, in the brush preset lecture, he couldn't find a non grainy picture to use. While this might sound petty, it is an example of how he proceeded. During presentations, he would change his mind and look for something else. This can be confusing especially to new Photoshop users. Two tools that he uses throughout all aspects of the DVDs are layer masks and the blending of layers. He brings it altogether when he describes Digital Painting and Render Pass Compositing.
The few criticisms I had were basically that the material he chose for the DVDs seemed somewhat arbitrary. I kept asking myself, "Why did he choose this and not that?" At times it seemed as if he was "winging it, as I stated previously. Also, sometimes he went over the same topic again and again, while at other times he left out steps assuming that the audience knew them. Every Photoshop user, who uses it regularly and has for sometime, has their own methods of working with it. There are many ways to accomplish the same goal or effect in Photophop. While my style is very different than Pasciuto's, I found I picked up ideas from these DVDs. No matter how experienced the user, I believe that one can definitely learn new techniques from these DVDs.
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  • The Paula Sander's Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.
September 5, 2005

Article Comments

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 05 September 2005

Hi Paula, I am really enjoying your reviews of the Gnomon Workshop DVDs, and look forward to the next review. As a Photoshop expert, if you could pick one level of expertise, what level of Photoshop artist would you recommend this DVD to? Dee-Marie

Paula Sanders ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 05 September 2005

There is really no one level in the DVD set. Beginners could relate to the first part while experienced users could pick up different methods of using tools as well as methods such as Render Pass Compositing which is more 3D oriented.

nemirc ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 08 September 2005

Interesting review. I rarely use 2D apps for this. I preffer to use compositing soft instead. However the photoshop fans will surely dig this one.

LillianH ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 10 September 2005

Hi Paula, I use Paintshop Pro. But, I am about to forge ahead into the land of Photoshop and thought these DVDs could be helpful in picking up some tips and tricks. I really appreciate your insight into the DVD set. Now, I won't freak out when I get to the second DVD ;-) Thanks, Lillian