This weeks readings on images were set more on practical topics. While last weeks of focused around the ethics of altering images (either before the photo is taken or after), this weeks focused on the practical knowledge needed to alter images. Personally, I still haven’t answered the ethics in photo editing fully but that is something that probably comes with time and experience. As I work more with images, especially in a digital environment, I hopefully will be able to work through what I feel comfortable with in editing photos. Really its the historicity that weighs on me…anyways, this week moved beyond that discussion into various techniques that can diversify the impact and appearance of the images you use.
Chapter five in The Non-Designers Photoshop Book was both refreshing and new to me. Entitled “All-Powerful Layers,” I am well aware of the power and importance of using layers when dealing with a visual medium. In GIS, overlaying various data layers allows for better map design as well as deeper analysis of the problem in question. The set up is similar between photo editing or creating and cartography. What is the background on an image would be the baseman in cartography (whether it is a physical or political map). Then each layer is added to provide an additional aspect, item, variable to complete the wanted environment or image. Essentially, this reading provided me with the practical knowledge of how to use layers within photoshop. While I was able to read through it, I definitely need to spend time working through using layers in photoshop to be as comfortable with it as i am with using layers in a GIS work. I will say as and addendum: one of the great benefits of using layers is the “protection” it gives to your work. If all the editing and processes are done on one layer, if you make a mistake, that mistake affects everything. Whereas with layers, if you make a mistake on a certain piece, the other layers are held separate and aren’t affected by the error. This technique allows for better work (and error) management.
The two other topics from the lynda.com videos are ones that intrigue me but for different reasons. Photo restoration is something I would like to develop a skill set in. As a historian, being able to mitigate damaged/aged photos on your own rather than relying on another individual will save time and effort. It will also help to diversify you as a historian and bring satisfaction in the restoration you are able to manage. However, color restoration intrigues me as I struggle with its overall purpose. I can understand colorization for more hobby and “fun” purposes yet as a historian, I don’t fully see the venue in which I would want to use it. Overall, I feel that in order to “color” a BW photo, I would need to have researched the focus of the image enough to justify my color decisions. This goes back to my questions about the historicity of various photoshop techniques.
In total, this week provided practical information that will come in useful as I move forward with the image assignment.