Now this was a tough one ! This assignment was packed with technical jargon, best practices, workflows, tutorials you name it. I've lost count of the amount of times I read through the notes, not to mention the re-visits to specific sections as I was completing the assignment.
One thing this course has taught me is that "no matter how much you think you know about something - you are way off the mark and know absolutely nothing" ! (well you know what I mean)
Every time I come across another topic, whether its sharpening or bit depth, in reality these subjects are huge in their own right. In fact, there are books written just about sharpening and you could spend hours researching the pro's and con's of 8 or 16 bit depth. Did you know that different applications use different sharpening algorithms to calculate which pixels should be altered and by how much ?
The images you spend so much time working on are going to end up somewhere. Whether it's the digital cupboard, an on-line sharing site or as a print above your fireplace the medium used to display your image is a key factor. All of the processing techniques you can apply in photoshop are either going to make or kill your image. You need to know where the image is intended for before you start manipulating it. An image displayed as a 6"x4" in a photo frame on your desk at work will need different processing to the image that is going to be printed as an A1 poster. In fact, not only the size of the reproduction but the distance it will be viewed from will be a factor to consider.
When you are processing images it is important to know from the outset where the image is going to end up. You then need to create an efficient workflow so that you don't spend all night processing images. For example, if you have a bunch of photos from a shoot and you apply some global changes in Camera Raw, chances are those edits will work across most of the pictures taken in that shoot. So, apply the changes to a whole batch of images and save yourself hours.
You can always make it even more interesting by printing your own images. So, why is that such an issue ? Well the colour scheme used to display an image on your screen is different to the one used to print it on your printer. There are tools you can use to test your printer to find out how good it is at reproducing your images so that they look like the one on the screen. Again, this is another topic filling books in its own right. That said, it is another fascinating aspect to photography.