Posts in Category "Adobe Photoshop"

April 24, 2018

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! The Quickest Way to Custom Brush in Photoshop CC

In this week’s episode, Julieanne Kost, Photoshop and Lightroom Evangelist, shares the quickest way to create a custom brush in Photoshop.

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April 9, 2018

Adobe Camera Raw Essential Training Now Available on | LinkedIn Learning

I’m happy to announce that my new Adobe Camera Raw Essential Training is now available on  and LinkedIn Learning!

In this course, you’ll discover how to use Adobe Camera Raw to quickly take your photographs from ordinary to extraordinary using nondestructive tools and techniques to help define the essence of your image and reinforce your personal style. You’ll understand why capturing the image is only half of the photographic equation as Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost takes you through all of Camera Raw’s capabilities, from fixing common but vexing problems to finding more creative uses for the rich and nondestructive editing tools. Learn how to correct color, fix perspective problems, and enhance detail and contrast to make images come alive. Then find out how to make localized color corrections, custom black-and-white images, and even panoramas and HDR composites. If you’re interested in becoming more efficient in Camera Raw, Julieanne also includes a chapter on saving and applying presets, synchronizing multiple images, and batch processing to automate your enhancements.


Topics Include:

Comparing raw and JPEG files

Correcting lens distortion and perspective problems

Cropping and straightening a tilted horizon

Fixing color casts and making creative color adjustments

Revealing shadow and highlight detail

Sharpening and reducing noise

Making localized adjustments

Converting to black and white

Retouching portraits: skin, eyes, and teeth

Automating your workflow

Merging images for panoramas or HDR images

Duration: 3h 45m

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April 3, 2018

Adobe Camera Raw April Update – Raw and Creative Profiles

I’m excited to announce several updates to Camera Raw starting with the new and enhanced Raw and Creative Profiles. While the concept of Profiles isn’t new to Camera Raw, in this release, their power has been greatly enhanced. This video demonstrates how:

If you’re not familiar with raw profiles, here is a overview of the key concepts covered in the video above:


A profile is a set of instructions that is used to render a photograph, converting it from raw camera information into the colors and tones that we see. 

  • Every raw image must have a profile applied (and can only have one profile at a time).  
  • Profiles are nondestructive and can be changed  at any time without any loss of quality.

Previous to this release, Adobe applied the Adobe Standard profile (v2) to all raw files by default. While a few customers changed their default profile (to a camera matching profile for example), the majority of customers, the application of a profile just happened magically. 

  • In this release, profiles have been moved from the Camera Calibration tab to the Basic tab, making them easier to access.

  • There are no “right” or wrong” profiles: they’re like filling in a pie – some people will choose cherry and others prefer peach.

Adobe Raw Profiles

There are six new Adobe Raw profiles which can be applied to raw files. The new default profile for raw files in Camera Raw is Adobe Color for color images and Adobe Monochrome for Black & White images.  

Adobe Color — was designed to be a great starting point for any image. The goal of this profile is to render a relatively neutral, baseline image that closely matches the original colors and tones in the original scene. It assumes that you want the ultimate control over refining and adjusting images in order to achieve the exact look that you want. In comparison to the previous default profile, Adobe Color is a bit warmer in the reds, yellow and oranges, has a very small increase in contrast, and, it does a better job of moving highlights between color spaces.  

Adobe Monochrome — ­was carefully tuned to be the best starting point for any black and white image. This profile slightly shifts colors as they are converted to grayscale – brightening the warmer colors and darkening the cooler colors. It also adds a small amount of contrast but allows lots of headroom for editing.  

The additional four Adobe Raw profiles that were created as starting points for specific types of images:

Top row left to right: Landscape, Neutral. Bottom Row left to right: Portrait, Vivid.

Adobe Landscape — ­adds a bit more saturation to all of the colors in an image and renders more vibrant blues and greens. While this profile adds a slight amount of contrast to the overall image, it also helps to maintain details by slightly compressing the  highlight and shadow values in scenes with significant contrast.

Adobe Neutral — ­reduces color saturation as well as contrast , rendering a flatter, low contrast version of the image. It‘s designed to give you the most headroom for post processing. This a great profile to start with if you have an image with delicate colors and gradients. 

Adobe Portrait — ­is tailored especially for portrait images. It has a slightly more gentle tone curve and is optimized for skin tones.  

Adobe Vivid — ­adds vibrance and contrast while still rendering natural skin tones and is a great place to start for images of people in a landscape.

Note: Standard V2 was the default profile in previous versions of Camera Raw.

If the image that you’re working with isn’t set to Adobe Color by default, most likely one of three things is happening:

You’re working on a non-raw photograph (like a JPEG or TIFF) – in which case the profile will just say Color because all of the rendering was done already (either in another raw processor or within the camera itself) and you can’t apply a raw profile to a non-raw file.

You’re working on an image captured as DNG via Lightroom on a mobile device and the default profile is Camera Default because images are be optimized differently for images captured on mobile devices. 

You’re working with a legacy file – in which case you will see the previously embedded profile which you can choose to change at any time (Camera Raw won’t automatically update legacy files using the new profiles as doing so would change the look of the image.)

Adobe Camera Matching Raw Profiles 

In addition, Adobe created and ships Adobe Camera Matching profiles. These profiles are designed to match the preset “styles” that can be set using the menus on a camera. Because the style options differ among camera manufacturers, this list of profiles will change depending on your camera.

Adobe Camera Matching Profiles for the Canon 5Ds. Top row left to right: Faithful, Landscape, Neutral. Bottom Row left to right: Portrait, Standard, Monochrome. 

The Camera Matching monochrome profiles behave differently from other Black and White profiles (Adobe Monochrome, Legacy, and the Creative Profiles), by discarding the color information in the file. Therefore, the Black and White Mix sliders, are not available. You can however add color tints to these images using the Tone Curve, Split Tone, and color swatch with Local Adjustment tools.

Legacy Raw Profiles 

Legacy Raw profiles are also included in order to maintain backwards compatibility when working with legacy files. 

Creative Profiles

In addition to Raw profiles, are several groups of  Creative profiles. These profiles are designed to apply more creative, stylistic effects to an image and can be applied to non-raw photographs (like JPEG’s and TIFFs). Creative Profiles can (but aren’t required to) use color lookup tables (LUTs) to remap color and tones enabling new and unique ways of processing images. Camera Raw ships with several different Creative profiles including:

Artistic Profiles these profiles were designed to be more edgy, and typically have stronger color shifts. 

Lightroom’s eight different Artistic profiles.

B & W Profilesthese profiles were designed to create a more dramatic interpretation of the original image, some of these profiles increase/decrease contrast, others limit the dynamic range, and several emulate the effects of using color filters with film.  

An assortment of different Black and White profiles (01, 03, 06, 07, 08, 11, red, blue).

Modern Profiles these profiles were designed to create unique effects that fit in with current photography styles.

An assortment of different Modern profiles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10).

Vintage Profiles these profiles were designed to replicate the effects of analogue imagery.

An assortment of different Vintage profiles (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

Creative profiles have an Amount slider which can be used to decrease/increase the intensity of the profile.  Note:  it is up to the creator of the profile to define exactly how far the “intensity” can be changed. In other words, you might see subtle or more aggressive changes on a per-profile basis.


Previewing and Applying Profiles

You can hover the cursor above a profile to preview the effect in the preview area, however you need to click the profile to apply it.

Double click a profile to simultaneously apply it as well as close the Profile Browser.

Once a profile has been applied, use any of the other slider controls in any of the other panels to make additional modifications to your images – profiles don’t change slider values. 

Quickly Accessing Favorite Profiles

Click the star icon to add a profile to the Favorites group. Click again to remove it.

Quickly access Favorites from the Profile drop-down menu (without having to use the Profile Browser).

Including Profiles in a preset

When saving a preset, you can choose to include Treatment & Profile to save the profile as a part of a preset (just as you would any other attribute or setting in Lightroom). 

Presets are now saved as XMP files, making them compatible and accessible across Camera Raw, Camera Raw as a filter in Photoshop, and all of the Lightroom products. 

In previous versions of Adobe Bridge, choosing Edit > Develop Settings enabled the application of Camera Raw presets to raw and JPEG files. Now, to make presets available in this menu, first mark them as Favorites in Camera Raw. 

The Dehaze slider has moved from the Effects to Basic Panel.

This release also contains big fixes and added support for new cameras and lenses. 

The SDK info for creating custom profiles can be downloaded from this link:

8:30 AM Permalink
March 20, 2018

Select and Filter Layer Options in Photoshop CC

There are several different ways to select and filter layers in Photoshop – any of which can help us to increase our productivity when working with complex documents.

From the Layers panel: Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) to the right of the layer thumbnail to select multiple, non-contiguous, layers on the Layers panel. Shift -click to select a range of contiguous layers in the Layers panel.

With the Move Tool: To quickly select multiple layers from the image area, with the Move tool selected, enable Auto-Select (in the Options bar) and choose Layer or Group from the pull-down menu. Then, click in the image area over the desired layer to select it. Press the Shift key to select additional layers.

If you prefer to leave the Auto-Select feature disabled, pressing Command (Mac) | Control (Win) will temporarily activate Auto-Select with the Move tool selected.

Note: you can also drag-select multiple layers, using the Move tool, which works well if you have multiple layers and a Background. Otherwise, with the Auto Select feature enabled, clicking in the image area will select the first layer that you click on and begin to move it instead of selecting additional layers (because the Background is locked by default, it can’t be selected and is skipped by the Auto Select Feature). If you have layers that you do not want to be automatically selected, lock them.

Using Context Sensitive Menus: With the Move tool selected, Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) in the image area over the desired layer and select it from the list.

From the Select Menu: Command + Option + A (Mac) / Control + Alt + A (Win) will select all layers. Note: hidden layers are included in this selection, however the Background is not selected with this shortcut.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts (Layer > Arrange):

  • Option + “[“ or “]” (Mac) | Alt + “[“ or “]” (Win) targets the layer above or below the currently targeted layer.
  • Option + Shift + “] “or + “[“ (Mac) | Alt + Shift + “] “or + “[“ (Win) adds the next layer up or down to the targeted layer(s) (note when you get to the top or bottom of the layer stack, Photoshop will “wrap around” to continue adding/subtracting layers).
  • Option  + “,“ or “.”  (Mac) | Alt  + “,“ or “.” (Win) targets the bottom/top -most layer.
  •  Option + Shift + “,“ or “.”  (Mac) | Alt + Shift + “,“ or “.”  (Win) targets all layers that fall between the currently targeted layer to the top or bottom of the layer stack.

Using the Layer name: Option + Command + Shift + F (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift + F (Win) will toggle on “Layer Search” (in the Layers panel), and automatically select “Filter By Name”. Just type in the name of the layer to quickly find it. This is very convenient if you have named your layers and know the name of the layer that you are looking for.  : )

Filtering by Type of layer: Choose a “Filter Type” by clicking the drop down menu at the top left of the Layers panel and choose from Kind, Name, Effect, Mode, Attribute, Color, Smart Object, Selected, or Artboard. Then, use the corresponding options that appear to the right of the Filter Type to narrow down the search.

The “light switch” to the right of the Filter options toggles the filtering on and off. Note: when filtering by Kind and Smart Object, you can click on more than one icon at a time in order to narrow down the search. Click an icon again to toggle if off.

Isolate Layers (or the “Selected” filter option): The Isolate Layers feature helps reduce the complexity of the layers panel by toggling the visibility of unselected layers on the Layers panel. To enable the feature, select the desired layers in the Layers panel, and choose Select > Isolate Layers. Only the layers that are selected will be displayed in the Layers panel.

In the screenshot on the left, the Steam layers are selected in the Layers panel. After selecting Select > Isolate Layers, the screenshot on the right shows the Layers panel with only the Steam layers visible.

Choose Select > Isolate Layers again to toggle it off. Note: you might want to add a custom keyboard shortcut to Select > Isolate Layers to make toggling the feature easier. To temporarily disable Isolate layers (in order to change which layers are selected for example), toggle the Filter switch to the right of the filter criteria on the layers panel.

Another method of enabling Isolate Layers is to use the Layer panel. Choose “Selected” from the Filter pull-down menu. To turn off Isolation mode, choose Kind (or another filter option) from the filter menu.

Note: Isolation Mode is inactive when using the Direct/Path Selection tools in Active Layers mode.

So, which way is the “right” way to select Layers? Easy – the way that you prefer for your workflow! : )

5:11 AM Permalink
March 13, 2018

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Three Ways to Help Navigate Documents in Photoshop CC

This week’s episode gives three tips for navigating documents in Photoshop.

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March 6, 2018

The Eyedropper, Color Samplers, and Info Panel in Photoshop CC

The Eyedropper Tool

• Tap I to access the Eyedropper tool.

• Click in the image area with the Eyedropper tool to select the foreground color. Option -click  (Mac) | Alt  -click (Win) in the image area to select the background color.

• By default, clicking in the image area with the Eyedropper tool displays a sample ring . The “new” color (the one being sampled) is displayed in the upper half of the ring while the current (or foreground color before sampling) is displayed in the bottom half. The ring is surrounded by gray to help neutralize surrounding colors that may influence color choices. The sample ring can be toggled off/on by unchecking/checking Show Sampling Ring in the Options bar.

• Choose a sample size from the list in the Options bar from Point Sample to 101 by 101 Average. Because the Eyedropper tool samples color based on a specific number of pixels on-screen, zooming in or out on an image will (most likely) change the sampled color. In the illustration below, the Eyedropper tool’s sample size is set to 51 by 51 Average. The black rectangle in the image is 60 by 60 pixels. When the image is zoomed 1:1,  and a sample is taken from the middle of the black rectangle, the sampled color is black. When the image is zoomed to 50%, the sampled color is a lighter blue as now some of the sky is included. When the zoom percentage is set to 25%, the sampled color is even lighter as more of the clouds are included.

• Use the pull-down menu in the Options bar to choose to sample from different combinations of layers including: Current Layer, Current & Below, All Layers, All Layers No Adjustments, and Current and Below No Adjustments.

• The Eyedropper tool’s Sample Size affects the Magic Wand, Magic Eraser, and Background Eraser.

• The Eyedropper tool can sample colors from outside of Photoshop. Make the color visible (on the desktop, in another application etc.). Then, begin by clicking to sample a color with the Eyedropper within the image area in Photoshop and (without releasing the mouse), drag over the desired color to sample it from the desktop/other application.

Note: with a Painting tool selected, holding Option (Mac)  |  Alt (Win) temporarily enables the Eyedropper tool in order to quickly sample a color from the image area.

The Color Sampler Tool

• To keep track of multiple color readouts, click in the image area to set up to ten color samplers. Use the Info panel (see below) to access the Color Sampler’s color readouts.

• Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the Color Sampler to delete it, (the icon will change to a pair of scissors)

Note: with the Eyedropper tool selected, Shift-click in the image area to set a Color Sampler.  Option + Shift  (Mac) | Alt  + Shift  (Win) -click on the Color Sampler to delete a Color Sampler (With the Eyedropper tool selected).

The Info Panel

• Choose Window > Info to display the Info panel and access information about the open document. To customize the Info panel, use the fly-out menu to access Panel Options…


Color Readouts — choose the desired ColorReadout settings from the drop down list (Actual/Proof Color, Color Mode, Total Ink/Opacity and Bit Depth). 

Mouse Coordinates — choose the desired Ruler Units of measurement

Status Information — check to enable additional status information. Note: while most of the status information can be viewed using the Status bar (located at the bottom of the document window), I find it helpful to display them here when using Full Screen mode(s) as the document status bar is hidden. The Status bar can display two options that are not available in the Info Panel 32-bit Exposure and Save Progress.

In Photoshop’s default state, the Info panel displays two sets of values for tracking changes made to an image. To display only the composite values, use the fly-out menu to access Panel Options and enable “Always Show Composite Color Values”.

Choose to show/hide Tool Hints (brief suggestions for using the currently selected tool). 

• To quickly change Color Readout settings (without using the panel options), click-hold the eyedropper icon in the Info Panel and select from the list. Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the eyedropper in the Info panel to change all Color Readout settings all at once. Click-hold the cross-hairs icon to quickly change the units of measurement used to track cursor coordinates.

5:08 AM Permalink
February 27, 2018

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Three Ways to Rotate or Straighten Images in Photoshop CC

In this episode of “3, 2, 1, Photoshop!”, Julieanne demonstrates three ways to rotate or straighten images in Photoshop CC.

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February 15, 2018

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Radial Paint Symmetry in Photoshop CC

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, photoshop, Julieanne demonstrates how to unlock the Radial Paint Symmetry’s hidden features in Photoshop CC.

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January 30, 2018

Radial Symmetry in Photoshop CC

Did you know that you can unlock additional features of Photoshop’s Paint Symmetry technology preview to quickly create illustrations with variable radial symmetry (and mirrored radial symmetry) simply by renaming any Symmetry Path in the Path panel? Here’s how:

  1. Choose Preferences > Technology and check Enable Paint Symmetry.

  1. Select the Paint Brush, Pencil, or Eraser tool. Note: Paint Symmetry doesn’t support Live Brush Tips (airbrush, bristle tips, erodible).
  2. Click the butterfly icon in the Options bar and select any type of symmetry from the menu. I find that selecting New Dual Axis enables me to use the horizontal and vertical lines as guides however it doesn’t really matter which option you choose because the next step actually determines the type of symmetry (radial or mandala (mirrored)) as well as the number of axis.

  1. Tap Enter (Mac) | Return (win) to accept the default Path Symmetry transformation.
  2. In the Paths panel, rename the path one of the following:

Radial Symmetry x (where x is the number of segments desired with 12 segments being the maximum).

Mandala Symmetry x (where x is the number of segments desired with 10 segments being the maximum).

The examples below show Radial Symmetry set to 10 (resulting in a single paint stroke being repeated 10 times around a 360° axis).

The examples below show Mandala Symmetry set to 10 (resulting in a single paint stroke first being mirrored, then repeated 10 times around a 360° axis).

For a closer look at the difference between  the Radial and Mandala Symmetry options, the illustration below shows the results of a single brush stroke with Radial Symmetry set to 8.The next illustration is the result of adding a second brush stroke.

The next illustration shows Mandala Symmetry set to 8 with a single brush stroke. The Mandala symmetry first mirrors the brush stroke, then repeats it around the radial axis.

Next is the result of adding a second brush stroke.

Here are some additional examples of Radial Symmetry (10, 8, and 10). In the first example,  I clicked once with a pressure sensitive brush, then shift-clicked to draw straight lines between the points. In the second drawing, I started in the center, drew a “swoosh” (crossing over the axis creates the center swirl) and ended the stroke in the center. In the third example, I held the shift key to draw straight lines along the horizontal and vertical axis.

Here are some additional examples of Mandala Symmetry (set to 6, 10, and 8).

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg – you can always change colors, brush attributes, reposition or rotate the symmetry path, use blend modes to combine multiple drawings, add color overlays – the list goes on and on! Enjoy.

Mike Shaw created this time-lapse video to show you his unique technique for sketching and then creating a mandala. Below are two beautiful examples of Paint Symmetry in Photoshop from Mike. In the first example Mike created custom symmetry path(s), the second uses the paint symmetry feature set to mandala mentioned above.

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January 23, 2018

Adobe Adds New Features to Photoshop CC (19.1)

Adobe announced the following new features to Photoshop CC 19.1 including:

  • Support for Microsoft high-density monitors and improved Dial support
  • Better SVG compatibility with Adobe XD
  • Select Subject
  • Select and Mask improvements

Windows High Density Monitor Support

With this release, Photoshop on Windows 10 Creator’s Edition now offers a full range of choices for UI scale factors from 100% through 400%, in 25% increments. This means that the Photoshop interface will look crisp, beautiful, and the right size no matter the density of your monitor. This is one of the top most requested features from Photoshop customers on Windows devices and will allow us to take advantage of every pixel on high-density screens. For more information on high-density pixels on HiDPI displays, please see Jeff Trannberry’s blog.

Improved Microsoft Dial support

For customers using the Microsoft Dial, you can now use the Brush Setting panel to dynamically change settings as you paint. Controlled settings include size, roundness, angle, scatter, texture depth, foreground and background color, opacity, flow, wetness, and mix (previously, settings could only be changed between paint strokes).

Better SVG compatibility with Adobe XD

Copy and Pasting text as SVG now supports multiple text styles and effects from Photoshop to Adobe XD.

Select Subject

Photoshop is using Adobe Sensei to help make selections of prominent subjects faster than ever before.  With an image open, select the Quick Selection or Magic Wand tool and, in the Options bar, click the Select Subject button (or choose Select > Subject).

This new feature can help create an initial selection of a person or object  in an image. In the example below,  Select Subject selected almost all of the kitsune statue with a single click of the Select Subject button (even as the subject consisted of multiple tones and colors).

It was easy to then refine the selection (to include the missing areas) using the Lasso tool.

On more difficult selections, try using Select Subject to help with the initial selection, then use additional tools or the Select & Mask workspace to refine it. Note: Select Subject is also available in the Select & Mask workspace while using the Quick Selection tool.

Select and Mask Improvements

A slider has been added to the Decontaminate Colors option in the Select and Mask workspace allowing additional control over the removal of  unwanted colors along the edges of selections.  Note: this feature is also available in Refine Edge.


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January 16, 2018

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Four Ways to Select Layers in Photoshop CC

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop, you’ll discover four ways to quickly select layers in Photoshop CC.

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January 9, 2018

3, 2, 1 Photoshop! Ten Custom Keyboard Shortcuts You Might Not Be Aware Of

Discover how these 10 custom keyboard shortcuts can help increase your productivity in Photoshop CC.

5:25 AM Permalink
December 27, 2017

15 Tips for Working with Smart Objects in Photoshop CC

I recently posted the oh-so-short 3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Five Reasons to Use Smart Objects in Photoshop video (below), but I use Smart Objects so heavily in my workflow that I thought I would gather all of my posts on Smart Objects to make them easier to find. If you’ve never used Smart Objects, they offer a non-destructive, flexible way to work with layers in Photoshop (especially when resizing, transforming, compositing, filtering, working with templates and more). Here is the short overview video and below that is more in-depth information about Smart Objects.

1) The Power of Smart Objects

This next video is quite old, but I’m including it here because it walks through a number of scenarios in which you might want to use Smart Objects. It’s a looooong video, but fortunately you can view it 2x on YouTube.  : )

2) Opening/Placing Files as Smart Objects

There are several ways to add an image as a Smart Object in Photoshop:

  • From Lightroom Classic select Photos > Edit In > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop (this will place an embedded Smart Object).
  • From Bridge use File > Place > In Photoshop (this will place an embedded Smart Object).
  • From Photoshop use File > Place Embedded or File > Place Linked.
  • Drag-and-drop a document from Bridge or Lightroom on to an open document in Photoshop (this will place an embedded Smart Object).
  • Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) drag-and-drop a document from Bridge to an open document in Photoshop and create a linked Smart Object.
  • Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) drag-and-drop a document from  Lightroom on Mac to an open document in Photoshop and create a linked Smart Object.
  • Open an image in Camera Raw. Then, hold the shift key to toggle the Open Image button to Open Object and click to open the image as an embedded Smart Object into Photoshop. Note: to set Camera Raw to open as Smart objects by default, click the link at the bottom of the Camera Raw dialog to display the Workflow Options. Under Photoshop, enable the Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects option. Close the dialog. In Bridge, you can then choose to bypass the Camera Raw dialog, by Shift -double clicking the file in Bridge to open it directly into Photoshop as a Smart Object.

Navigate to Photoshop’s Preferences >  General for additional control when placing files as Smart Objects:

  • Always Create Smart Objects when Placing —converts the file to be placed into a Smart Object. If you have reason to place an image as a regular, pixel based layer, uncheck this option.
  • Resize Image During Place —automatically resizes files to fit in the open document and displays the free transformation handles. Because Photoshop converts the placed file into a Smart Object before resizing, the original data is there if you need to transform it larger.
  • Skip Transform when Placing —automatically resizes files to  fit in the open document and automatically confirms (applies) the transformation

Note: To help with the placement/alignment/scale of an object that is being placed the placed layer’s Opacity, Fill, and Blend Mode can be modified using the Layers panel before committing to the transformation.

3) Convert the Background to a Smart Object

Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) the Background layer (in the Layers panel) to convert the Background to a Smart Object in a single click.

4) Editing the Contents of a Smart Object

Double click the Smart Object’s thumbnail in the Layer’s panel to Edit the Contents of a Smart Object or, use the shortcut Command + Option + Shift + E (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + E (Win).

5) Replacing the Contents of a Smart Object

Discover how replace the contents of a Smart Object in this free video (Replacing the Contents of a Smart Object)  from Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: Design on

6) The Difference Between Duplicating a Smart Object and Creating New Smart Object via Copy

If you select a Smart Object in the Layers panel and duplicate it using one of the three methods below, editing the contents of ANY of the instances of the Smart Object will update ALL instances of that Smart Object.

  1. Layer > Duplicate Layer
  2. Layer > New > Layer Via Copy  or Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win)
  3. Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the Smart Object in the Layers panel

On the other hand, if you select a Smart Object in the Layers panel and choose Layer > Smart Objects > New Smart Object via Copy, a new copy of the smart object is created. Editing the contents of the new copy will only edit that Smart Object.

This video demonstrates the difference between duplicating a Smart Object and creating a new Smart Object via Copy

7) Linked Smart Objects in Photoshop CC

In the video below, you’ll learn how to embed and link Smart Objects, update modified content using the Properties and Layers panel, resolve missing files, and filter layers based on Smart Object attributes.

Note: at 7:21 I say that you can’t change an embedded Smart Object to a linked Smart Object (because this video was recorded before the 2014 release of Photoshop). In more recent versions, right -click on the Smart Object layer and use the context sensitive menus to convert from Linked to Embedded (or vice versa).


8) Converting Embedded Smart Objects and Packaging Linked Files in Photoshop CC

In the video below, you’ll discover how to convert an Embedded Smart Object to a Linked Smart Object as well as package Linked files when collaborating with others.

9) Updating “Modified” Linked Smart Objects

In the illustration below, I have placed an illustration created in Adobe Illustrator into my Photoshop document (this also works with other file types including PSD, TIF, raw, etc.). Let’s imagine that the illustration is still being refined by another artist on the team.


If the linked document (the illustration) is updated, Photoshop will display a warning icon in both the Layers and Properties panel the next time you open the file. Note: Photoshop doesn’t automatically update the master document with the updated linked file as you may not want the updated version.


To update the link, click the warning icon in the Properties panel and choose Update Modified Content.


The Smart Object (in the master document) will be updated with the new artwork.


10) What Happens if a Linked Smart Object is Missing?

If you loose the link to a Smart Object (perhaps you’ve moved the image on disk or the linked smart object is off-line), Photoshop will display a dialog when the file is opened that will enable you to relink the asset. Click Relink to locate and relink the asset, or click OK if you don’t have access to the asset or want to relink it at another time using the Properties panel (or, by right-clicking on the linked asset’s thumbnail in the Layers panel).

If the option to “Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility” (in the File Handling Preferences) was enabled when the file was saved, Photoshop can still print a document with a missing linked Smart Object (at the same size as it was saved or smaller) because Photoshop will have included a flattened version of the entire document within the PSD or TIFF file. Note: you can not modify the contents of a missing linked Smart Object.

11) Using Linked Creative Cloud Smart Objects

This video demonstrates how to add a graphic to the Libraries panel and how to make change to the Linked Creative Cloud Smart Object.  If you’re already familiar with saving different types of assets to the Libraries panel, jump to 2:34 (and stop at 5:11 when I switch to talking about brushes).

12) Copying and Pasting Illustrator Artwork s as a Linked Creative Cloud Smart Object

When copying and pasting artwork from Illustrator to Photoshop, you can choose to Paste the artwork as a Smart Object and “Add to your current library” which automatically converts the artwork to a Linked Creative Cloud Smart Object.

13) How to Extract a Raw File with Settings from a Smart Object in Photoshop

To extract a raw file with it’s settings from a Smart Object, double click on the Smart Object’s thumbnail in the Layers panel (or choose Layer > Smart Object > Edit Contents) and, in the Camera Raw dialog, click the Save Image button in the lower left corner. (My first thought was to select the Smart Object in the Layers panel in Photoshop and choose Layer > Smart Objects > Export Contents. But surprisingly that method doesn’t export any edits made to the Smart Object.)

14) Adding Smart Filters to Smart Layers

The video below (3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Five Reasons to use Smart Filters), demonstrates how to edit, mask, stack, move, duplicate, and change the blend mode and opacity of Smart Filters.

Or, click this link (Five Reasons to use Smart Filters in Photoshop) to view the 5 reasons as text.

15) Transforming a Regular Layer or Smart Object

When you’re transforming a smart object, the transformation’s anchor points are solid gray but when transforming a regular pixel based layer, the transformation’s anchor points are hollow? How’s that for nerdy Photoshop trivia!

: )

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December 19, 2017

 3, 2, 1, Photoshop !  Five Reasons to Use Smart Objects in Photoshop CC

This next installment of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop! demonstrates five great reasons to use Smart objects in Photoshop CC.

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December 14, 2017

The Ruler, Note, and Count Tools in Photoshop CC

Here are some helpful tips for using the Ruler, Note, and Count tools – all of which are nested with the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop CC.

The Ruler Tool

  • If the horizon line (or anything else for that matter) is crooked in a layer, click-drag the Ruler tool along the current (angled) horizon. Then, click the Straighten Layer button in the Options bar to automatically straighten the layer (based on the angle specified by dragging). This is an fast way to straighten a layer to a precise numeric value, without affecting the entire the document.
  • After using the Ruler tool to take a measurement in a document, selecting Image > Image Rotation> Arbitrary will automatically enter the ruler measurement in the Rotate Canvas dialog box (and allow you to choose between rotating CW or CCW).
  • The Ruler tool can be used to measure an angle like a protractor. Drag the first line and then Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) on the either endpoint and drag out the second line.  The angle can be viewed in either the Options bar or the Info panel.
  • The Ruler tool can also be used to make measurements using custom measurement scales and record these measurements in the Measurement panel (or output to a file). In fact, Photoshop can record measurements for several tools and can then calculate measurements such as area, perimeter and more. Click here to find out more information about the Ruler tool and recording measurements.

The Notes Panel

  • I often see customers create a new type layer and use it to add comments to a Photoshop document (perhaps a reminder to themselves or a question for the art director). However Photoshop has a (little known) dedicated Note tool specifically designed to add annotations to an image without cluttering up the Layers panel with additional type layers. Select the Note tool, and click in the image area (or beyond the canvas) to add a Note “marker”. Photoshop automatically displays the Note panel to add comments in a single, organized location.

  • If multiple people need to comment in a single document, use the Options bar to change the author name and note color for each person.
  • Command + H (Mac) | Control + H (Win) will hide Notes in a document (View > Show > Notes).

The Count Tool

  • With the Count tool selected, click in the image area to add a number. Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) on a number to delete.
  • Based on the content of the image, it can be useful to change the color and size of the marker and labels using the Options bar.
  • You can create as many groups of counts as needed and use the pull down menu in the Options bar to rename them.

And Photoshop trivia to impress your friends…  Photoshop CC (v14.1) increased the limit for the number of measurements from 700 to 10,000!  : P

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