It appears that it may not be a skill at all. The study looked at the skill of using different tools and applications. Participants selected four different tools (Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, InDesign CC and InDesign Express) and applied four different settings for color, brightness, contrast and hue. The results were divided into two groups (one group applied Photoshop to all four tools and the other group used them in their specific applications). Each group chose a different set of four images (with varying color values) and showed different levels of accuracy for selecting colors and adjusting brightness in each set of four images.
For comparison purposes the study divided the results among the two groups using two standard deviations to account for the difference in the degree of accuracy. It should be noted that the results are the difference between using Photoshop and applying the different programs in their specific applications, meaning there is no room for “accuracy” or “smoothness.” Therefore, the “accuracy” is the difference between choosing the right results in all four colors and choosing the correct results in either of the four colors.
To obtain a more accurate picture, the study used a technique called “grouped analysis” or grouping by images to eliminate the noise and to focus on differences. (These are not easy tasks).
According to the results, some of the results could be attributed to the way the groups of the four photos were presented. For example, the first group showed colors that were very close together (meaning that the Photoshop tool set was used in two photos) while the second group showed colors that were a lot farther apart (meaning that the InDesign tool set was used in two photos).
Another study of people performing various color correction tasks found the same findings. It found that the skill of Photoshop was not related to the amount of pixels used by the tool. It found that the amount of pixels in an image did not correlate with the effect of using the tool.
The study found that in a way they did a “cleaner filter” of what they called “high quality” color. Although the filters are not exactly the same, they tend to do a much better job at removing color irregularities than is allowed by the user.
The bottom line is that while Photoshop may be a more sophisticated tool than it is given credit for, it comes with the drawback of its limited selection of color settings available and therefore limited accuracy that might require a bit more effort at fine-tunes for correct results, or a ”
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