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Review: Phlearn PRO Pinup Cola Photoshop Tutorial

By Jules Ebe on March 3rd 2013


In one of Phlearn’s recent Photoshop tutorials, Aaron Nace takes on the classic pinup. In this two-part tutorial, the differences between traditional portrait and stylized pinup are used to explain everything from dodging and burning to full body touch up. The overall effects result in a highly stylized image that appears to be painted on paper. The 2-hours worth of tutorials are designed for individuals that have a cursory knowledge of Photoshop and focuses on the specifics of pinup art and editing techniques.


Basic Information


Website: Phlearn
Title: PRO Pinup Cola
Run Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Advanced
Price: $24.99


The size of this download is going to take up 416.5 MB and will be in a .zip file. You are going to find 4 main folders:

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

Along with tutorials, the download contains 2 new brushes, tutorial images, help files, and 5 high quality textures. The video tutorial folder contains two .mp4 videos that total just under 2 hours of instruction.


The mp4 format works well with most players and the video/audio quality was clean, even though it had been compressed in the .zip format.


As a photographer I have found that I am continually honing my craft through tutorials, books, and pretty much any educational material I can find. And let me tell you, some of what is out there is very informative, and also very dry and boring. Not the case here. Aaron is great and makes the 2 hour-long tutorials fly by. You can tell he is having fun and the jovial banter makes the instructional portion hardly feel like work at all. I really appreciate his style and playful manner. It’s like learning something new from an old friend. His casual style keeps you relaxed and entertained throughout the videos. I definitely found myself laughing at times – which is always a good sign.

Use of CS6 accommodates individuals with a solid foundational understanding of post-processing in Photoshop.

Though Aaron’s style is conversational and he explains the “what” and “why” of everything he is doing clearly, this tutorial is still geared towards individuals with an established background in post-processing and Photoshop. Thankfully, you have videos, so stop and rewind is always an option. With that said, if you are just beginning with Photoshop, this tutorial can easily become overwhelming. It is rated as “Advanced” on the website, so prepare a little before tackling if you are just starting out.

Favorite Features:
In 2 hours, a lot of editing material was covered. However, a few points stood out that could easily be applied to several different types of post-processing scenarios.

I enjoyed how Aaron discussed painting techniques for a full body touch up, from the perfect face, to smooth legs and kickin’ heels. These techniques worked wonders in mimicking the painterly feel used on the original pinups. He also covered a few ways to handle transparencies such as lacy skirts and hair when masking a subject. Another great point during one of the videos was how to choose the right background and texture for your image. When working on vintage pinup imagery, you’ll use some of these skills to make your image look like it was painted on paper. The tutorial also covered dodging and burning to accomplish several goals. For any image, it is important to work with the highlights and shadows in different tones to enhance the “feel” of your image. And last, but not least, Aaron looked at ways to create focus within your image without feeling “forced” or too “Photoshopped”.


Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Each of Phlearn’s tutorials are specific in content and subject. The concise and playful way in which the material is taught is key to their success. If I’m gonna fall asleep during a video, I’m not going to learn much. Simply put, Aaron’s teaching style kept me engaged and intrigued throughout the 2 videos. It was also nice to break the tutorial into two defined and logical sessions.

Another great thing about the PRO Pinup Cola tutorial is that many of the techniques discussed in the videos can be translated into your own style. Whether it is adding a little drama and punch to a styled shoot or playing with textures, there is a lot to keep you inspired.

For more inspiration from Phlearn’s Pinup shoot, check out the Newfangled Pinup.

Until next time . . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.


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  1. Harry

    Looks great. Do you need CS6 for this, or can I still do it with CS5?

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  2. mj hernandez


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