Monday, October 01, 2012

The Picture Postcard Workflow Panel

Dan Margulis is internationally regarded as the leading authority on color correction. He is the author of Professional Photoshop, which, since its first edition in 1994, has become the unofficial bible of the prepress and printing industry. His groundbreaking book Photoshop LAB Color changed the face of professional retouching.
Formerly a professional prepress manager with over 20 years experience heading electronics departments at high-end trade shops, he offered small-group, hands-on color correction classes in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, in four different languages. Now semi-retired, he continues to speak and teach occasionally.
In September 2001, Dan was one of the first three persons named to the Photoshop Hall of Fame of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
In 2007, he introduced a radical approach to color correction called the Picture Postcard Workflow (PPW). Instead of the traditional method of using one set of curves to adjust both color on contrast, the PPW has three main steps: one to eliminate color problems, a second to add contrast, and a third to incorporate pleasing color.
The original idea of the workflow was speed. There was need for a method of reaching high-quality results in five minutes or less. It was understood that there would have to be certain compromises in achieving this, as traditional professional color correction spends much more time on an image.
As it turned out, the PPW generally exceeded the quality of traditional methods. Something that's both faster and better attracts attention. The workflow has therefore been widely adopted by professionals.
Since 2007, the PPW basics have remained the same but there have been constant changes in specific implementations. Many steps were reduced to actions, some easy, some complex. We have always shared these without cost. However, because these actions were constantly changing, distribution was difficult. We originally made each one available separately, updated as necessary it being up to the downloader to know what the current version is.
In September 2011, we released a major boost to productivity: a fully scripted Configurator panel that accesses all the actions and commands used in the workflow in a logical order. Each action can be played with a single click. The panel includes extensive documentation in PDF format for each of the 18 actions, as well as an overview of the entire PPW. Also, even though some of these actions involve fifty or more steps and would therefore completely fill the image history buffer, they have all been scripted to be considered a single history state, so that they can be cancelled with a Command-Z. 
The panel enables curves adjustment layers that use the traditional Photoshop curves dialog and not the one introduced in Photoshop CS4. It also allows addition of a composite (mer ged) layer at any time without losing the original layers underneath.
In March, 2012, version 2.0 was released. It updates certain actions for better quality and also makes several new options for preferences available. Particularly important changes are found in the Bigger Hammer, H-K, and Sharpening actions. All documentation has been updated to reflect the changes.
The download includes an installer that loads the entire action set, full documentation, and the Configurator panel. We believe that the actions work in any language version of Photoshop from CS1 on. The Configurator panel, however, requires a specific version of Photoshop. It is available below for either CS5.x or CS6.
Concept by Dan Margulis. Scripting by Giuliana Abbiati. Documentation by Giuliana Abbiati, Alessandro Bernardi, Dan Margulis, and Marco Olivotto.
Click here to download for Macintosh (requires Photoshop CS5 or 5.5; does not work in CS6)*
Click here to download for Windows (requires Photoshop CS5 or 5.5; does not work in CS6)*
Click here to download for Macintosh (requires Photoshop CS6)*
Click here to download for Windows (requires Photoshop CS6)*

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