Review Chromasia - Post Processing Tutorials

Matt

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#1
Chromasia
We photographers usually have a set way of processing our photos that we are comfortable with, and we often don't know how to take it that bit further.
Guides and tutorials on forums such as Talk Photography are great for teaching us the simplest of tasks to make our photos stand out, but what if we want to really make them sing? What if we want to get really in-depth and process them even more?

I often look to the websites of other photographers for inspiration, and it was while doing this that I came across the work of Blackpool photographer David J Nightingale. David set up his photoblog some years ago, which eventually grew and developed into the site you see today,www.Chromasia.com. David and his wife Libby run a successful Photography business under the Chromasia banner and his work has become well known in the photography community largely due the quality of the images. These images are made to stand out even more thanks to the quality of the post-processing.

Browsing through the website, all the images have questions about how the look or effect was achieved, which David answers where possible. In 2006 David was answering these questions on his blog every time he posted a new photo, so having tutorials to show people how he achieved the look he did was a natural step, but rather than just writing the tutorials, David and Libby set up a forum to find out what people wanted to learn, what format they wanted it in, how much was a viable fee etc etc. This research led to the launch of the tutorials section in summer 2007. 2 years on and they have almost 1800 members, have published 20 tutorials and have run several competitions, and now they are celebrating the second birthday of their tutorials.

Tutorials
Chromasia is a subscription site, but also offers a free tutorial to get you on the way, this tutorial is called ‘Tonal Range and the Curves Tool’, which covers tonal range, curves, setting white and black points, S Curves, mid-tone control, basic colour adjustment and more. These basic techniques underpin the subscription tutorials, giving you a solid foundation to build upon when you tackle their other tutorials. The aim of the tutorial is to get the reader to understand the concept of tonal range, be able to use the curve tool to manipulate that range, and how to use curves to manipulate colour and saturation. The tutorial covers these areas in a clear, concise way, with examples of pictures showing histograms and the various tools and settings used as well as - for the subscription tutorials - psd files to show the settings of the finished images. David even offers email support for people who are unclear or confused by any of the sections.
Using the tutorial here is something I whipped up, a plain old beach shot that just lacked a little something,


a little play in curves and contrast as suggested in the tutorial and I made something with much more visual impact


Subscription Tutorials
As a subscriber you can access all 20 of the current tutorials, and any further tutorials that are published during the lifetime of your membership, and access to new tutorials means that more techniques can be learnt. Each new tutorial is available on the site on or around the 3rd Friday of each month.
£25 buys a year’s subscription, and at the moment this works out at just over £1 per tutorial, which is fantastic value for money. The tutorials are written clearly and are easy to follow for anyone who has worked through the first free unit, but even if you did get stuck, David gives advice and help to anyone who needs it, either by email or through the member’s forum.
The range of tutorials is balanced, covering many aspects of post-production, and gives you the tools you require to produce various different effects, and combine them together to create more and varied processing effects.

Conclusion
After working through a few of the tutorials, I feel more confident processing my images, its always been my weakest area, but now I feel that what I’ve picked up from the tutorials has given me more creative options, and gives me the ability to make images that really stand out and have that little something more. The range of images on Chromasia showing the different results that are possible gives me both the inspiration and the desire to have a go at producing similar things, while the tutorials give me the knowledge to try it myself. Well worth the money!

Here are just 2 examples of Davids work..

 

KayJay

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#2
Interesting. I always see twitter messages about these tutorials. Might give them a try some time. The before and after images are certainly impressive.
 
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Matt

Matt

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#3
im suitably impressed, im just working on a couple of shots i took yesterday...
 
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Matt

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#6
you shouldnt have too much trouble with elements, does it have level and curve adjustment?
 
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Matt

Matt

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#8
which version of elements do you have? there is a colour curves tool, enhance>enhance colours>colour curve?
 
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Ben
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#12
You can also download freebie add ons to Elements that augment it. I use "Grant's Tools" (Google them) on my copy of Element 6 [Mac] and it makes the curve function about as powerful as full-blown PS.
 
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Alexey Danilchenko
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#16
Having read a few of them I must say that they are brilliant.

The "Introduction to the Digital Workflow series" part 1 tutorial has an exceedingly good chapter called "8 reasons you should shoot RAW" (link to member area) - I'd advise anyone saying that JPEG only shooting is enough to have a read of that one...
 
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KayJay

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#17
I'm thinking about joining for an annual membership. Does anyone know if theses turorials are downloadable in pdf format or any other format?
 
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Matt

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#18
To be honest, I don't know. I'm guessing no as it stops people ripping them off, but I for one would prefer a PDF to print and work from
 

KayJay

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#19
So basically you're paying a subscription and if you don't renew you loose access? I think I'm going to leave it. I don't have net access all the time.
 
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#20
So basically you're paying a subscription and if you don't renew you loose access? I think I'm going to leave it. I don't have net access all the time.
But what is the use of a permanent copy then. The point of a tutorial is for you to learn how to do things not to read and forget it. They are therefore more like articles in online magazine - annual subscription gives you a year access to all existing and newly published one (and they do publish their plans for upcoming tutorials).

Besides all of the tutorials have dynamic images (i.e. that changes into something when you hover over them or some description with a mouse) - you won't be able to print that. And quite a few of the tutorials have video clips with extended explanations - those are also hardly printable.

If you so want to get it offline I suppose once you subscribed to it, nothing stops you from getting the tutorial pages saved locally with all the images.
 

KayJay

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#21
I think they'd be good to have locally for reference. Of course you're learning from them, but I like having material on my computer. It's personal preference. I might give it a go anyway because I do like the sound of 'em.
 
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#22
I think they'd be good to have locally for reference. Of course you're learning from them, but I like having material on my computer. It's personal preference. I might give it a go anyway because I do like the sound of 'em.
I have just tried to save one of their tutorials page in Firefox - it saves it nearly complete. The saved page can be seen locally, but with the following exceptions:
1) none of the videos working
2) none of the dynamic image overlays are working (i.e. where in tutorial you hover over link and it changes the image with say histogram etc).

Otherwise it seems fine.

I guess the (2) can be addressed by some special downloader (may be Firefox plugin) that will scan all dynamic content and download it as well but I'll leave it for others to find out...
 
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Chris Marsh
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#24
Been to the site before but for some reason never paid attention to the tutorials link. Thanks to your review I headed over to the site yesterday, read through the free tutorial and I'm now signed up for a year.
 
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#25
Once your subscription ends, access also ends unless of course you have a life-time subscription. If you subscribe for a year via PayPal, double-check your subscriptions via your PayPal account - I didn't so I was auto-subscribed again for the following year as it was an annual subscription rather than a one-off yearly payment i.e. no different from a rolling magazine subscription.
 
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