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The Art of the Blend by Nicole S. Young

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Blending your photos with a texture can breathe a whole new kind of life into your images. Textures add interesting structure to an image and they turn them into pieces of art that are somewhere between a painting and a photograph. In fact, texturing, when done right, can turn photos into beautiful art that would otherwise have ended up in your trash bin.

But as Nicole S. Young explains at the beginning of her book, not all photos lend themselves for being combined with a texture, and not all textures work with a given photo. Moreover, texturing a photo requires more work than just adding two images on top of each other and setting the blending mode in Photoshop.

This is a fascinating area of photographic post-processing, and with this book Nicole provides a great guide to anybody who would like to try their hand at these techniques.

Quick Facts

TypeLengthSkill levelRetail Price
eBook + Video lessons124 pages + 1:15h videoBeginner – Intermediate$50

Special note: This product is launched exclusively with the 5DayDeal bundle.

The Instructor

5DayDeal - Amazing Deals For A Limited Time! - Google Chrome_2015-09-08_16-44-59Nicole S. Young is a world-class food and landscape photographer. She has launched a successful career as a stock photographer. Since then, she has moved on to become an author of a number of popular photography books about different types of photography.

Detailed Review

There are several things to note about this product. First of all, it’s multi-media. Nicole provides a regular full-grown eBook, and in addition to that, you will get free access to a series of online video tutorials that actually show you the techniques taught in the book. This is a remarkable format and offers great value, no matter whether you prefer to read or to watch to be educated.

The videos are provided online, and you will get to them with a single click on a link at the beginning of the eBook.

The second remarkable thing is that the product is multi-platform. You will learn how to use Lightroom for organizing and preparing your textures, as well as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and on1’s Perfect Photo Suite for applying the textures. So, if you have any of these products, Nicole has you covered. Note however, the Photoshop Elements users may find some restrictions in what they’re able to do, but Nicole marks those clearly in the book.

And finally, you will get 50 of Nicole’s own full-res textures with the ebook. These will get you started with your texturing adventures in no time.

The book starts by discussing how to select textures and how to create your own textures by photographing all kind of interesting surfaces. In Chapter 2, Nicole tells you how to use Lightroom for organizing and preparing your textures. You will learn how to quickly import your textures into Lightroom, how to use collections to never lose track, and about the basic adjustments you need to apply to really get the best effect out of the textures when you apply them to an image later. You will also learn how to prepare the base image (the image you want to apply the texture to).

Chapter 3 is all about applying the textures to your photographs in Photoshop. Even if you’re a Photoshop beginner, you will be able to follow along easily. Nicole explains all the important concepts briefly to bring you up to speed. You will learn how to use blending modes, layers and layer masks to combine a photo and a texture. And you will also learn how to use more advanced concepts like clipping masks, blend-if, gradient masks, smart objects and channels. So, no matter which skill level you have, Nicole has the right methods for you to enable you to get the most out of textures.

In Chapter 4, you will learn how to use on1’s Perfect Photo Suite for your texturing adventures

Other Things You’ll Learn

This book is actually mini guide to Lightroom and Photoshop apart from being about textures. It’s great for you if you’re a complete beginner, as you will learn all the important stuff you need for blending images. But you will also get a lot out of it if you are an advanced user, as Nicole goes into more complex techniques quickly.

Teaching Style

When you watch the video tutorial you really feel that Nicole has rock-solid knowledge about what she’s doing. Now, you should assume that anyone who puts a video or ebook up for sale should have that. But quite often, you see people do their thing in a video and you get a feeling that they’re actually in a trial and error mode. Nicole is the opposite. Even while she is being creative, it appears as if every step is well-planned. That creates a very pleasing atmosphere for learning.

The eBook has clear and simple step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. And the rich illustrations contribute to the ease with which you can consume the instructions.

Summary and Verdict

This is the ultimate guide to texturing. It is concise, easy to follow, and with the complimentary video series you will find it very easy to learn the techniques. If you have never worked with textures, this eBook/video bundle will open a door to a new type of photography for you.

ProsCons
  • This product is a book and a video course at the same time. That almost doubles the value.
  • It has clear step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and learn.
  • It incorporates all the major photo editing software so that it has you covered whichever software you use.
  • You’ll need Internet connectivity to access the videos. This is not a real problem, but you need to be aware of this before you load the bundle onto your tablet an drive into the wilderness. You can also download the videos, but that’s a manual process.
  • While you can jump to the video site online from within the book, I would have loved to have an individual link to the associated video directly in each section. This could speed up the work with this product even more.
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