Glyn Dewis is a Photoshop guru and artist and a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. He has recently taught alongside Scott Kelby at the worlds’ largest Photoshop event, Photoshop World in Washington DC.
He talks to us about his career using Photoshop, what inspires his work, and his favourite Photoshop tools.
What is the inspiration behind your images?
I find I get a lot of ideas by spending time watching movie trailers, looking at DVD covers and through magazines, but as for inspiration I guess it all boils down to the fact that to me it’s important that the end photo/image tells a story, provokes a reaction and makes the viewer wonder what was happening or what the subject was thinking. I try to make pictures that promote more than just an ‘oh that’s nice’ reaction and be something that makes the viewer study them. I might not achieve that, but by setting myself that kind of standard it helps to push me.
So you are a photographer and you also must spend a lot of time editing your shots in Photoshop. What takes up the most of your time; the photography itself, or editing your photographs? Which do you enjoy more?
I guess I spend more time editing my images as opposed to initially shooting them but one thing that really helps to keep the editing time down is to know well in advance, even before the shoot, what you want the final image to look like. Having a clear picture in your head beforehand helps everything come together so much better; you know exactly what lighting is needed, the posing and the look, which is a lot of fun in itself. Putting it all together in Photoshop is something I love doing. A big skill in editing comes from knowing when to stop – I find that taking regular breaks and coming back to an image plays a big part in this. If you slog away at the editing for hours you become what I call ‘Pixel Blind’ which is where you start not being able to see exactly what you’ve done. By leaving and coming back to an edit later on, or maybe even the next day, helps you to see what, if anything, else needs doing to finish it off.
You run Photoshop workshops. Do you find that people are generally able to pick up Photoshop techniques relatively easily? Is image editing in Photoshop something that you think anyone could do well?
One thing I love about teaching my workshops is seeing the results of the attendees. For the majority when they turn up it’s the very first time they’ve done anything like it before, so to see someone getting excited about what they’ve learned is the best! Photoshop is such a huge program and I always say to people that because it’s so big there’s no right or wrong way to do something, however there are good and bad results. So long as you arrive at the result you wanted it doesn’t matter how you get there. We’re all different and all have our own preferred ways of working and Photoshop allows us to express that.
So, yeah I do find that people pick up the techniques relatively easily. I’m always available for calls or emails from anyone if there’s something they didn’t quite grasp, and I’ll record videos covering techniques that folks can watch afterwards to go over the techniques in their own time if they like. One thing I also do is to give my full .psd file containing every single layer to each attendee; that way they can see absolutely everything I did layer by layer which I find really does help the learning process.
Do you have a favourite Photoshop tool or technique?
Now you’re asking. Photoshop is such a huge piece of kit and it seems almost every day I’m finding new things out, but I guess if I had to pin it down I would say… Blend Modes. There’s so much you can do with them from compositing to adding texture and much, much more. As for favourite blend modes, that would have to be Overlay and Soft Light because I use them so much. A lot of my compositing work is shot on a grey seamless and this is where the Overlay and Soft Light work their magic. Now I know this is speeded up, but check out this retouch I put together where compositing the subject and the background together took literally seconds using these two magic blend modes:
What is your proudest achievement in your career?
Without hesitation I would say that it was teaching my very first class at the world’s largest Photoshop and Photography related event, Photoshop World in Washington DC in March 2012. This had been on my wish list from day 1 of opening Photoshop and joining the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) so to be asked to teach by Scott Kelby – someone I have a heck of a lot of admiration and respect for and am proud to call a friend – was a huge honour and especially being amongst other instructors who have been and continue to make a such a big impact on my career.
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to add?
Photoshop is fun… a heck of a lot of fun, but it can also be quite frustrating at times. I’m constantly studying Photoshop. I set myself aside 30 minutes each and every day to do something with it where I’m learning. That might be watching a video tutorial or checking out online forums, but I’m always doing something with it every day because I know that if I want to improve then that is what I need to do. I can’t expect to improve if I use Photoshop every now and again.
Also, Plug Ins: I love plug ins, but I used to hate them. You see, when I first started using Photoshop I studied and studied and got to the stage where my knowledge became quite good, but then more work came in meaning less time to edit. So, I started using plug ins more and more but then doing so I found my skill level and knowledge of Photoshop dropped considerably. People would ask how I did a certain thing and I just couldn’t answer them. So I made the drastic move of getting rid of all my plug ins and starting from scratch, studying Photoshop from the ground up and increasing my knowledge again. Nowadays I do make use of plug ins but only at the end of editing to create the final look but even so I still like to know how to create the same result using just Photoshop; I just use the plug ins at the end for speed.
Visit Glyn’s site to find out about his Photoshop workshops and view more of his art.