The Darkroom Techniques Behind the Tools We All Know and Love in Photoshop

This week Adobe celebrated 25 years to the birth of Photoshop, the most successful photo editing software in history. No other editing software was ever able to compete with Adobe in that market — other than Paintshop in the early 90s maybe — and Photoshop became a must-have tool for all photographers and creatives out there. Many of Photoshop's users never really experienced the art of developing film, but many of the tools we use and love came directly from the darkroom. Check out the video to see what dodging and burning looked like before Photoshop.

Other than the dodge and burn techniques, photographer Konrad Eek shows us how to use masks and feather "selections," and how to achieve maximum sharpness in the prints; All done in real-life. 

Seeing the darkroom techniques explain a lot about the weird Photoshop icons for some of the tools (same as the way the "Save" icon makes no sense to anyone who was born in the 90s), and about the way they work. This is also a great video to show to all those purists who hate Photoshop and believe film photos were never edited.

[via PetaPixel]

Noam Galai's picture

Noam Galai is a Senior Fstoppers Staff Writer and NYC Celebrity / Entertainment photographer. Noam's work appears on publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Vogue and Us Weekly on a daily basis.

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Just WOW! Awesome! Awesome!

Boom. I just loaded my first roll of Ilford 400 35mm BW film in an old Praktica MTL5 camera. Looking forward to exploring the old school dark room. That is if any of my photos turn out.

I used to do pre-press photo-compositional work in both darkrooms and large track cameras before the digital age, Ektachrome transparency diplicating stock and Ektachrome tungsten balanced film being the media of choice for comp work. Multi-element composites were usually scheduled for a week or more to complete sometimes!

We would also do what was know as "cutting ruby" to make pin-registered masks to accurately mask off selective areas, something not shown in the above video. Although I never worked in print much, prints were also masked with large pin-registered masks right on prints as large as 30x40 inches!

Different times. :-)