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Gear & Apps

Review “Bakster” by Phlearn PRO Tutorials

By Reynaldo Vento on December 26th 2012


Hello everyone! I am back this week reviewing another Photoshop tutorial, “Bakster” a compositing workflow walkthough by the good folks at Phlearn.

Click Here for more information on “Bakster” ($24.99).

If you are not familiar with Phlearn, please do yourself a favor and head on over to check it out. They are packed with both free and paid videos that cover topics such as Photoshop, lighting, BTS, business and more.


The size of this download is going to take up a mere 551 MB. Within the .zip file you are going to find several folders:

  1. Action
  2. Brushes
  3. Support
  4. Tutorial Images
  5. Video Tutorial

The tutorial includes one versatile and very useful Photoshop action that is worth the $24.99.
sale price in and of itself. The action, called “Full Check,” helps match separate images with different hue, saturation and luminosity. It also contains 3 powerful brushes. The video tutorial folder contains two .mp4 videos that clock in at about 2 hours and 45 minutes worth of instructional time.

Production Quality

The encoding information for the videos is listed below:

Video: 1280 x 720 @ 47/fps
Audio: 44 kHz (Stereo) @ 144 kbps

There were no audio or video interruptions when I played both files and I found the overall production quality to be great. His voice was clearly audible throughout and I was able to see what he was doing in Photoshop.

The image he is working on can look a bit pixelated if you enlarge the video beyond its native resolution. However, this is quite understandable with the limitations on file sizes via digital download.


The only program used was Adobe Photoshop CS6, making this tutorial really accessible to everyone. There are no plugins or other software required.


Difficulty – Their site denotes it as being for advanced users and I am going to agree with them on this. You will be working with a lot of layers and masks and may have to “rewind” the video at certain points to keep up or get a better understanding of what is being said. I wouldn’t say that it is because instruction is lacking, but rather because you need to understand what is being done before you go forward. “It is easier done than said” would be the best way to describe these sections.

For example, the provided action named “Full Check” creates a channel mixer layer, a layer set to hue and another set to luminosity. While that doesn’t sound terribly confusing, the way in which Aaron Nace uses them to match the hue, saturation and luminosity between two images is amazing and not exactly simple. Using curves and levels adjustment layers in conjunction with masks, he utilizes the previous layers to carry out the daunting task of matching two images seamlessly.

Tone and Instruction – I particularly liked the tone of voice in the videos. He does not come off as condescending or as an elitist in any way. He sounds like he is genuinely having fun explaining to you what he is doing and the “why.” The “why” is the most important aspect, because after all, that is the purpose behind any instructional video: to be able to apply your new knowledge to your own work.

Suggestions – There is one thing that I want to nitpick about the videos. I don’t believe that I saw any of the layers or groups with descriptive names. While this isn’t a huge inconvenience when viewing the video start to finish, it can cause complications when revisiting certain sections. Jumping in at a random point in the video and seeing him work on levels 11 with a layer 9 above and a layer 11 below was quite confusing. A minor inconvenience, but something that is worth mentioning.


Aaron Nace and his crew at Phlearn are on to something great. They teach topic-specific, detailed Photoshop instruction for a small price, $24.99.

Without a doubt this deserves 5 stars, as the information, presentation and production are top notch. When I went looking at the user reviews on Phlearn, I was somewhat skeptical/doubting that they could get such high praise from their customers. I was definitely wrong as I’ve seen what the whole fuss is about.

Need further proof? I found this from Jeremy Cowart on Google Plus “My friend Aaron Nace is one of the most talented Photoshop artists I know. I mean, super legit. And lucky for you, he also has some super legit Photoshop tutorials available.”

is a on location portrait photographer based out of deep South Texas. His style can be described as being strobe driven with an emphasis on interesting lighting. Follow me on FB @

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