Applied Color Theory classes in 2017

by Dan Margulis on January 4, 2017

For those wishing to take color skills to the ultimate level, here are the two dates for Applied Color Theory classes in 2017.

• ATLANTA, Wednesday, March 22 through Saturday, March 25, 2017.
• SAN DIEGO, Wednesday, August 9, through Saturday, August 12, 2017.

These classes—four long days, limited to eight persons—have changed the lives of many a photographer, many a retoucher, and many a Photoshop authority. This will be the 23d year I’ve been teaching them, in a dozen different countries, in four different languages. And never the same way twice. Every group has its own character, faces its own challenge, exults in its own successes. I never got tired of it, because I never found it repetitious.

Of course, the class has changed drastically over time, adding new techniques and interesting imaging problems. In 2011 we switched from three to four days, in view of the increased complexity in our field. But the format is the same. I teach what I can, then the group works independently on a set of images, and then the results are compared. This routine is repeated seven more times over the three days. By the time the class is over, we’ll have compared our results on 28 different images. The first 12 are the ones that every class works on. The last 16 are customized to and chosen by the class. Often they include images that class members themselves have provided as representative of their own work.

All of us who are serious about the topic have developed our own methods which seem to work well for us. Unfortunately, we have nothing to compare the results to. Many methods, some quite crude, still can make original photographs look a lot better. The question always is, how much better could it have been?

Nothing can answer that question better than seeing what others can do with them. In principle, you ought to be able to get what you think is the best result, because nobody else can read your mind to know what you’d like to do with the picture. In practice, especially during the first two days, there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from students whose work did not measure up to their own expectations, in comparison to that of others.

Four days, 40 hours. It remains the fastest way that a professional—or someone who wishes to produce professional quality work—can upgrade color correction skills. If you’d like to consider signing up, click here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }


I find that the tool of highlight and shadow in Camera Raw filter seems to be good. Could it replace big hammer?

Dan Margulis

Optimo, the hammer actions work channel by channel. which makes them more flexible than any of the Adobe implementations. If the area of concern is neutral or nearly so it won’t make much difference which you use; if it is colored or if you need a *drastic* increase in detail, the hammers are preferable.

Robert S Baldassano

Happy New Year! Are there any plans to make any more additions to the CS6 Extended PPW panel, or will it just remain as is? I continue to use PPW as my main workflow and still find it to be better than any other post processing tool I have.

Dan Margulis


And a happy new year to you, too. Work continues on a new version of the panel but we have no time frame for a release or for what versions it will cover. I have worked with a beta version and it has some interesting new features. Stay tuned!


I am using the PPW with Photoshop 2017, on Windows 10. I’m using version 4.1.1, the latest version.
I am using an HP laptop, windows 10 64bit. Pressing Alt and left clicking, doesn’t bring up the options for the bigger hammer, as it used to in windows 7, 64bit. I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced the same problems. Or, if this is a bug. When are you going to release a new version? I use the PPW a lot. It has become an important part of my work.

Thank you, Dan, for the PPW Panel and all your dedication and hard work. You give so much to all of us.

Dan Margulis

Renee, Thanks for the kind words about the panel. I am glad you are finding it useful. We are working on a new release but there is no timetable.

You should go to our troubleshooting page, which has a fairly comprehensive listing of issues and solutions. In principle you need to reinstall as an administrator, but there may be other causes. If you still cannot solve the problem we will need a complete list of answers to the questions listed there under “If you have what appears to be a successful installation and can open the panel, but certain features aren’t working properly.”

Leave a Comment

Previous post: