Posted by: David Vernon | March 3, 2010

How Do You Do That? Cheaply?

Jobst Bethard CompanyI was working on a project yesterday that required me to take a photograph shot on a bright white background and drop that background out and replace it with a gradient background in Photoshop. Not a very demanding task but there’s always one gotcha when you do this: flyaway hair. Masking off that hair just so proves to be challenging and if you’ve ever tried it you might agree. Then today, while reading the guest entry over on Scott Kelby’s blog, I had an aha moment on how to do this better. Calvin Hollywood, a German retoucher with a distinctly American name, was writing on Scott’s blog about retouching in general and highlighting some of his techniques. I followed a link over to a series of English language tutorials on YouTube and came across this one that shows how simple it is to drop in a background without mussing anyone’s hair up.

From there you can view other tutorials on post-processing in Photoshop (I did) but it got me thinking about competent online training. You can get a lot of clever individual techniques from online tutorials like Calvin’s, but what if you want some more in-depth training? Then I can think of two places I’ve got personal experience with – and I wanted to pass them – and their frankly bargain pricing – on to you.

The best thing about both of these sites? They both allow you to pay by the month so if you can knock out an entire class in one month (very doable) then you get that class for $25. Imaging doing two top notch classes for $25. Yeah – powerful.

First on the list is Kelby’s own site at For just $25/mo. or $199/yr. you get exclusive training from the best authors, instructors, and creative minds on the planet (their words but I agree). All content on Kelby site (and the next one) is done in short videos that walk you through everything step-by-step. With literally hundreds of classes – on both post-processing and different camera techniques – there is an awful lot to learn from top notch teachers.

The other site is I’ve taken a number of classes from this site and it runs just like Kelby’s site – lots of short movies that go very in-depth on a subject. Aimed almost entirely at the post-processing world, offers training on lots more the Adobe products. They are truly a software training house – but their Adobe stuff is outstanding.

Both let you see a little content for free to determine if you want to go further. Also both do offer the monthly subscription – but fair warning – it is self-renewing on your credit card and you have to contact them to turn it off. But both sites offer outstanding customer service (they do “get it”) and make it easy.

If you want to take your post-processing a step (or five) further – then you can find no better solution then Kelby Training and

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