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1.2 Setting Up Photoshop and Choosing the Right Resources

So before we can get into the nitty gritty of photo manipulation, I want to walk you through how I choose my stock images and resources. As well as going through my workspace and setup as it is quite unique. If you have a fair amount of Photoshop knowledge already, then you should be just fine using your own workspace. If you are beginning, you may want to replicate my workspace even if it's only temporarily to make a following along a bit easier. However, I have been using this work set up for almost ten years. So you may just end up liking it in the end. My workspace is optimized for photo compositing. And in photo compositing, layers are king. So I have them completely vertical, giving us as much room as possible and placing them over to the left, right next to the tools toolbar. See, I figured the Layers panel and our tools here are the two panels I will be interacting with the most. So I put them right next to each other. Now if you are working with the default Photoshop workspace, go ahead and right click and close all the panels over there on the right. We are only going to open up the panels that we use the most. First go to a window and navigator, and place the navigator over to the right to where it is a free floating and collapse. As you can see here, we will be attaching each window to each other to create a row of a shortcuts almost, so we have everything within mouse's reach. Our row in total will consist of Window, Properties, Adjustments, Brush Settings, Color, Swatches, and finally, Character, Paragraph, and Actions. Though we will not be needing them today, I do like to have them nearby normally, so I figured I'd throw them in there. If you'd ever like to save this or any workspace, you can go to Window > Workspace > New Workspace. And if you ever want the default workspace again, you can go to Window > Workspace > Essentials, and then Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials. Now let's cover how to go about picking your stock images and any other resources you might need. So when searching for an image to use in a photo manipulation, I like to go with high fashion and fine art, photos. Images, and those genres tend to already lend themselves well to world building. They also tend to be very high resolution, which is very important, as well as having high amounts of detail, also very important. You do want to be wary of images that are already highly processed. Things like very retouched skin, artificially increased contrast, or a heavy color grade. Not to say these images are bad or won't work, but the more details that are removed the less you have to work with. So let's take a look at our contenders for this image. All of the same model from the same shoot, which is always ideal as it gives you plenty of variations. We have a portrait, two front facing full body shots, and two back facing. Right away, I know I don't wanna do a portrait, so as lovely as it is, this isn't the one. Now when comparing these four images, the big difference is the dress. And I like the white cloth dresses as they have a more subtle silhouette. So we can rule this one out. And finally, we are down to these three. This one here stands out as it not only has the most amount of details, the flower and the ribbon, but it also has the most interesting pose with her facing away and looking off into the distance. And you can see here, the shadows are also much nicer in this photo and not as washed out like the other one here. So with our subjects chosen, we can start thinking of our environment. Choosing your supporting images is more a matter of finding images that best fit the vision you have in your head. I know I want her in a field, and I know I want there to be a sunflower of some sort because of the model's red hair. I think it'll tie in quite nicely. You want to look at the color, lightings, and shadows of your subject and find similar traits in the images you will be using for her surroundings and environment. Also keep in mind a lot of images will be chosen using trial and error. I tried out a few different skies before I landed on the one I chose, a few different landscapes too. And then along the way, you refine your vision more and more. So however you go about figuring out what specific subjects you need, and then searching for them. The main points are to make sure your stock images are nice and big, minimally edited, and nice and detailed. With that out of the way, in the next video, we can start things off by creating and compositing a sky. This is "Introduction to Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop".

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