Sep 27, 2004

Photoshop Workflow

A workflow specifies the steps you take from opening an image in Photoshop to exporting the image for the web or printer. The following steps are recommended:

  • Correct for lens pincushion/barrel distortion.
  • Reduce noise in areas of low contrast.
  • Reduce chromatic aberrations.
  • Rough crop and correct for parallax distortion.
  • Use Levels and Curves to adjust density and color balance.
  • Retouch the image with the Rubber Stamp or Healing Brush tools.
  • Archive a copy of the corrected image.
  • Final crop and resize the image as needed.
  • Sharpen the image with the Unsharp Mask.
  • Save as a JPEG for the web, or print on your printer.

Not all steps are required for every image. For example, you typically don't need to correct for lens distortion when working on a portrait, or remove noise for low ISO images. The rough crop removes extraneous and distracting detail. Not only does this make it easier to edit, but extraneous detail can skew results for commands such as Auto Levels.

Use Levels and Curves to bring out blemishes and artifacts before retouching with the Rubber Stamp or Healing Brush. Resizing after retouching helps smooth out retouching imperfections. Sharpening should be the last step, as sharpening parameters depend on target resolution.
After retouching, and before the final crop, archive a copy of the image. Be sure not to over-write the original. This is your digital 'negative', and you may want to redo things later. "