Monday, January 18, 2010

Free Download - Example .PSD file

Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek, Sierra National Forest, California  2009

Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek,
Sierra National Forest, California 2009

0.3 sec at f/5.6, focal length: 200mm, ISO 400, Aperture Priority, -2/3 EV
- May 31, 2009 8:32am PDT. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D MarkII, EF 70-200mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted

*If you're in a hurry, the download is at the bottom of this post!

I've tossed around the idea of putting together some online photoshop/lightroom tutorials and ultimately, have decided against it. There is just too much time and effort involved given how much content is already available on the net. But, I do believe in sharing knowledge and, obviously, with just how much instructional content is available there seems to be a high demand for it. The problem was finding a good way to contribute to the learning machine without saying what's been said and becoming redundant. Enter David Nightingale, aka Chromasia. He's published his "tutorial schedule" for the year and has included "mini-PSDs" as a new feature. I thought this was a great idea and the perfect way for me to contribute.

The basic concept is to provide a low-res layered .psd file with no further write up or tutorial. You can download the file, poke around through the layers and hopefully learn some new techniques to apply to your own files.

Although I won't be writing an accompanying tutorial for these example .psd's, I do, however, welcome any questions you may have. I'll try to name each layer as a sort of note as to what each layer is doing.

Some tips on exploring .psd files:

  • option(alt) + click on the eye next to a layer in the layers palette to "turn off" all other layers

  • option(alt) + click on a layer mask to show that mask

  • shift + click on a layer mask to disable that mask and reveal the adjustment layer's effect on all pixels

  • double click on a layer to the right of the layer's name to display the "Layer Style" window. Be sure to check the "Blend If" sliders found under "Blending Options". I use this fairly often.

Now, with that said, "Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek..." will be the first example PSD available. This file was chosen for it's relatively simple processing but at the same time not so common processing. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments so that everyone will be able to see them, and the answer.

Click on the download link below to get started, and just in case it needs to be said, you will need Adobe Photoshop to view this file. You can download a free trial here.

download psd file
Download "Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek, Sierra National Forest, California 2009" example file (approx 5MB)


  1. Hey John, what a cool idea. I shared this on fb as I know a number of photo buffs will appreciate the knowledge-share.

  2. Thanks Amy! I'm hoping people will really take advantage of this. Thanks for sharing on facebook too!

  3. It is a very neat idea- you are still doing tutorial, but in very original way. I am looking forward seeing more!

  4. John,

    What did you do to get the Water Color Temp layer? Is it another iteration from Camera Raw pasted on top or something else?

    Many Thanks

  5. Hi J,

    You're right about the water color temp layer being another iteration of the Raw file. I processed the file twice, once for cooler shadows and again for warmer highlights. I then used the "blend if" options in the Layer Style window (double click on the layer in the layers palette) of the water color temp layer to restrict the visibility of that layer to only the brighter tones. There are numerous approaches in photoshop to achieve this same result. With this particular image, the method used gave me the best results for what I was trying to achieve with the least amount of effort.

    Thanks for your question. Did you find the download to be helpful?



  6. Thanks Suselek! Depending on the feedback, I may try to get one up a week. We'll see though.

  7. Very helpful, thank you John. Using two iterations from Raw is not something I have done a lot but I shall certainly look into it in the future.

    A humble suggestion: perhaps you could use the Notes tool in Photoshop to add short notes to briefly explain what the less common / "less obvious" layers are doing – a little explanation without the full tutorial (as I know this is what you are trying to avoid!)

    Thanks for sharing a little of your knowledge,