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How to "Age" Your Photos—with Robert Lawson

Oftentimes during a video production, you will need to mix photos from different decades. You may need to take a modern photo and mix with historical images. By aging a photo, you can use it as part of your narrative without jarring the viewer.

If you want to make a photo look much older, then explore this tutorial. This quick technique can significantly age any modern photo. No third-party plug-ins are needed, as everything is done with Photoshop's built-in tools. Additionally, these steps can easily be recorded as an Action so you can batch process several images.

You'll find Exercise 08 on the DVD-ROM.

PRO file Liane G. Rozzell

After freelancing as an editor for four years, Rozzell accepted a staff job editing for a company that specializes in producing programs for museum exhibits. While she's worked in many genres, she's most well known for her documentary work. Because documentaries rely heavily on photos, Rozzell frequently turns to Photoshop. She finds it gives her the necessary creative leverage to solve her production problems.

"How do I use Photoshop? Let me count the ways. My most basic use is in preparing a still image for import: cropping it, sizing it, adjusting the levels, and adjusting the color. Scans almost always need this sort of work. With archival photos, I'll often have to do some retouching," said Rozzell. "Sometimes I use it to prepare images that will then be animated in After Effects or using the Moving Picture plug-in inside the NLE. Every now and then, I've used Photoshop to fix a frame of an image that comes from video."

Why does she rely so much on Photoshop?

"Most of the things I do in Photoshop can't be done in the NLE itself, at least not as powerfully. For example, I can't create backgrounds as well in an NLE. I can make titles, but if I want to rotate them or create a better gradient effect, I have to do it in Photoshop," said Rozzell. "Right now, I have more control over color and levels in Photoshop, but that is changing as NLEs gain more color correction tools."

Rozzell equates mastering Photoshop to learning another language. She says a power user is one who is fluent in Photoshop: "Just as you'll never learn every word of another language (who even knows every word in their native language?), you don't have to know everything about Photoshop."

"You start learning another language by building practical knowledge, learning how to say "please" and "thank you," and learning a few idioms or expressions. You can consider yourself pretty fluent when you can do the equivalent of ordering off the menu or reading a book or newspaper without having to think hard about it," said Rozzell. "Translating this to Photoshop, it means learning the basics about how the application works. How to use layers, selections, alpha channels and paths, learning what the filters do, learning how and when to use the various tools. Add 'idioms' - keyboard shortcuts and plug-ins - for efficiency. And, as with a language, there is no substitute for practice, repetition and interaction with graphic artists and other Photoshop speakers!"

To get you on your way, Rozzell offers two speed tips for Photoshop users:

• "My favorite shortcut is the simple ability to set the crop tool to the dimensions I need to create a static image. Boring, but so often necessary."

• "The tool I've gotten most excited about when it came out was the one I call "The Magic Transform Tool:" MX + Q/ L + Q). I just love the fact that with one tool I can resize, re-position and rotate all at the same time."

Her final advice is also important: she warns about losing track of why we use all of these great tools.

"For editors, as much as we use computers, I always get back to the fact that our work is about telling stories. Learn to use your tools to tell stories well. When you do that, your work will be good, and you'll be able to get more work!"

Half of 16- and 17-Year-0lds Are at Risk

(percent with number of risk factors) Three or more (13%)^

US. Department of Commerce; BUREAU OF THE CENSUS

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