Path Selection and Direct Selection Tools in Photoshop

To select an entire path, use the Path Selection tool. To select segments of a path (including anchor points, direction lines etc.), use the Direct Selection tool. Instead of switching tools, you can add the Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -click on a path/anchor point with the Direct Selection tool to select the entire path.

5:12 AM Permalink

Customizing the Default Setting for ACR and Lightroom

I have customized my default processing settings for Lightroom in order to apply both Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration on import. To do this, I selected a raw image, moved to the Develop module, and clicked the Reset button to remove any previous edits made to the file. Then, I checked both the Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration options.

02_08_Lens Correction1

To save the settings, choose Develop > Set Default Settings > Update to Current Settings.

Note: Although the dialog says that the changes are not undoable, it only means that the shortcut Command + Z (Mac) | Control + Z (Win) won’t undo the settings. Don’t worry, you can return to the dialog at any time and choose Restore Adobe Default Settings if needed.

Note: Although the dialog says that the changes are not undoable, it only means that the shortcut Command + Z (Mac) | Control + Z (Win) won’t undo the settings. Don’t worry, you can return to the dialog at any time and choose Restore Adobe Default Settings if needed.

Once the defaults are changed, any images taken with that camera model will automatically have the Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration settings applied when they are imported into Lightroom (any images that are already in the catalog remain as they were). Because you are simply enabling Profile Corrections, if you change lenses, Lightroom will automatically look for and apply the appropriate lens correction profile based on the EXIF data in the photo.

If you are using multiple camera models, you will need to customize the default settings for each one (by taking a raw file from each camera model into the Develop module and changing and saving the settings). You can even save out different settings for each camera based on ISO settings and serial number using Preferences > Presets > Make defaults specific to camera serial number and/or Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting.  This can be very useful when using custom camera profiles and/or changing Noise Reduction options for example.


Personally, I like automating the application of Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration to my images. However, there are some drawbacks. First, because I have told Lightroom to render Lens Corrections on every image I import, if I import 1,000 images but end up using only 100 of them,  adding the Lens Correction to all of the “unused” files may add additional rendering time for previews (how much time depends on your system, file size etc.). If you notice a slowdown in your workflow, you may prefer to create a Lens Correction preset and apply it just to your best images. In addition, if you have lenses that you don’t want corrected, you would have to remove the settings. It’s really up to you and how you prefer to work.

Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) changes the Reset button to Set Default and displays the Set Default Settings dialog.

Finally, you should know that when you choose to customize the default settings  in either Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, those settings are saved for both products.

5:34 AM Permalink

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

One of the lesser understood features in Photoshop is the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. This is unfortunate because it is really useful for creating richly colored, yet subtly toned image effects including mimicking traditional cross processed looks. In the following examples, I converted the original image to black and white using Lightroom’s Develop module, then opened the file into Photoshop and added a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer from the bottom of the Layers panel. Instead of using the default gradients, I clicked on the downward pointing triangle to the right of the gradient swatch in the Properties panel, and then clicked the gear icon and selected Photographic Toning. Although most of the presets appeared overly saturated when applied at 100%, that was easily solved by lowering the opacity of the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. In the final example, I decided not to convert the image to black and white and instead use a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer to shift the colors in an RGB image.

Original black and white conversion.

Original black and white conversion.


Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Blue applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Blue applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 30%.


Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Copper applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Copper applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 50%.


Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Sepia applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Sepia applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 45%.


Original image in RGB with Photographic Toning sepia selinium 3 Gradient Adjustment Layer applied.

Original RGB image with Photographic Toning Preset – Sepia Selenium 3 Gradient Map Adjustment Layer applied at 75%.

Note: although you may achieve similar results for some effects using the Split Tone or Tone Curve panels in Lightroom’s Develop module or ACR, I prefer the level of control over both color and tone achieved using Photoshop’s gradients.

5:08 AM Permalink

Adobe Bridge CC Version 6.2 Available

The update to Adobe Bridge CC includes improved performance for metadata and thumbnail generation, along with automated cache management for faster display and search of assets. Thumbnail generation will be on-demand, allowing you to start viewing thumbnails sooner (instead of waiting for all thumbnails to be generated before any are available for viewing), and thumbnails and metadata generation/search are performed only when needed. Select Preferences > General to self-manage the cache for faster display of thumbnail previews and quicker metadata search of assets.


You can save time by automatically organizing sets of images into stacks for processing high dynamic range (HDR) images and panoramas (Stacks > Auto Stack Panorama/HDR).


Bridge understands how to organize images based on an image’s capture time, exposure settings, and image alignment. If exposure times vary and content overlaps, Bridge CC interprets the photo as HDR, if not, then it is recognized as panoramic. Stacked images are identified by the number of images in the stack, displayed at the top left of the thumbnail.


• Command + right/left arrow (Mac) | Control + right/left arrow (Win) expands/collapses a stack

•Command + Option + right/left arrow (Mac) | Control + Alt + right/left arrow (Win) expands/collapses all stacks

You can now import media directly from your mobile phone and digital cameras that use PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) and MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) by selecting File > Import from Device. (This is a fix for OSX 10.11x (El Capitan) customers.)


This release also includes stability and performance updates, modernized code, and technology components for a stable platform for the next generation of Bridge.

5:22 AM Permalink

The Advantages to using Libraries to Store Layer Styles

If you’ve been using Photoshop for any length of time, then you’re probably used to saving and applying custom Layer Effects/Styles using the Layers Styles panel. However, there are distinct advantages to saving Layer Effects/Styles to the Libraries panel. For example, you can group different types of styles into different Libraries (which are easily accessible using the drop down menu instead of having to save and load sets). Plus, you can add additional elements such as logos, text styles, colors, photos, and other assets (within the same Library) for a specific project or client.

Another advantage to using the Libraries panel is that the stored content will automatically be synchronized  between multiple installs of Photoshop using the same Adobe Profile via Creative Cloud (for example, your work and home computers). And, you can easily share Libraries with others by using the flyout menu and selecting the Collaborate or Share link.

For more information about working with CC Libraries, check out the video below:

5:16 AM Permalink

Introducing Adobe Post

Recently I’ve been playing with Adobe Post – a new, free, Adobe app that provides a wide range of customizable templates for adding text to photos. It’s a great app for someone like me who would much rather start with a template and then modify it – rather than staring with a blank page! After selecting a template, you can easily “remix it”,  changing the text, photo, fonts, color palette, spacing, alignment, opacity, and shape. Here are a few examples that I created.



When you are happy with your stunning, professional-looking, design, you can save the image or quickly share it to your favorite social media channel!

And here is a quick teaser video:

For more information check out the Creative Cloud blog.

Have fun! : )

5:13 AM Permalink

Adding Images from the Libraries Panel in Photoshop

When dragging and dropping images from the Libraries panel into an open document in Photoshop, the images are placed by default as Linked Smart Objects and are automatically resized to fit within the canvas. (Note: there is no loss of image quality as a result of resizing because the images are Smart Objects).

If you do not want Photoshop to resize the image when dropping it into the document, uncheck Resize Image During Place in Preferences > General.

Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) will drop the image as a raster layer (pixels instead of a Linked Smart Object).

5:03 AM Permalink

Calling all Students: Passport to Creativity!

The Adobe Student Marketing team is very excited to launch Passport to Creativity! Passion Passport will give six students from around the world the chance to travel to the world’s most protected natural environments, capture them, and showcase their work. Students can simply tag their Instagram photos, videos or Behance portfolios with #MadeThis and #PassportToCreativity.

Q: Who is eligible to participate?
A: Students who are currently enrolled in a college or university, from all majors and backgrounds, are eligible. You must be 18 years of age, or older.

Q: I don’t live in the US. Can I participate?
A: Yes. The opportunity is available globally.

Q: Will I be paid for my work?
A: No. However Adobe will be providing room and board, food and travel.

Q: Can I tag multiple posts?
A: Yes, you can tag as much of your work as you’d like with #MadeThis #PassportToCreativity.

Q: Do I need Creative Cloud to participate?
A: Not at all, but it can’t hurt your chances to be familiar with it. We encourage everyone to apply if they have a passion for creativity and exploration. Get started by downloading a free trial of Creative Cloud here: http://adobe.ly/1NctzEp

Click here for more information and application deadlines.

5:15 AM Permalink

Adjusting the Length of the Tilt Shift Blur in Photoshop

Dragging the dotted lines within the Tilt Shift Blur Gallery filter changes the length (also known as the fade range) of the blur independently of one another.

Option  (Mac | Alt  (Win) -dragging the dotted line causes the opposite side to mirror the change by repositioning it by the same number of pixels.

Note: this means that if the two dotted lined were symmetric before dragging with the keyboard modifier, they will remain symmetric, but if they were previously repositioned (one line was moved 20 pixels and the other was moved 50), then using the modifier will change them both by the same number of  pixels.


5:06 AM Permalink

Unifying Images Through Color in Photoshop

When creating composite images, I am often trying to unify multiple elements that were photographed at different times, in different locations, under different light conditions. One of the techniques that I use to establish consistency throughout the disparate elements is to use one of the source images as a color overlay for the entire canvas. In this example, I wanted to use the color from the wings layer to unite the other elements (such as the overly saturated table).



First, I selected the wings layer, duplicated it, and repositioned it at the top of the layer stack.

First, I selected the wing layer, duplicated it and positioned it at the top of the layer stack.
To resize the layer, I selected Edit > Free Transform > Scale (so that it would cover the entire canvas).

To resize the layer, I selected Edit > Free Transform > Scale so that it would cover the entire canvas.
On the Layers panel, I changed the Layer’s blend mode to Color.



I selected Filter > Blur > Gaussian to remove detail, while still maintaining the color.



Then, I chose Edit > Free Transform, to flip the layer and reposition and resize the layer as needed.



Finally, I added a Layer Mask and used the Brush tool to paint with black to hide the color from areas such as the figure.


Note: If you want to use more than one layer as the source for your “color”, select the desired area (using the marquee tool or whatever tool works) and choose Edit > Copy Merged to copy the information to the clipboard. Then, choose Edit > Paste. Photoshop will create a new layer that you can reposition, resize, etc. as needed.

Before and after unifying eh composite using color.

Before and after unifying the composite using color.

For more information about compositing images in Photoshop, be sure to check out my two training courses on Lynda.com:

Introduction to Compositing

The Art of Photoshop Compositing

5:26 AM Permalink

Boundary Warp Now Available in Adobe Camera Raw 9.4 and Lightroom CC 6.4!

When stitching together multiple images of a scene to create a panorama, I often find that the edges end up being irregular (especially when shooting without a tripod). In the past, I typically had to either crop the the image (to avoid transparent areas) or take the panorama into Photoshop to use Content-Aware Fill, Liquify, Adaptive Wide Angle, or other techniques to fill in the missing areas. With the new Boundary Warp feature in Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Lightroom  you can  adaptively stretch or reshape the edges of a stitched panorama to fill the rectangle boundary.

In this example, the original stitching results in irregular edges.



Using Auto Crop removes the transparent edges, but has to also remove some of the foreground which I would prefer to keep.



Applying the new Boundary Warp feature reshapes the image to fill in the missing areas.



Here are some additional (animated) examples of the effects of setting Boundary Warp’s slider at 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%.



This image was stitched from different exposure taken from a moving car (in case you were wondering why the bus was truncated and two of the the bicyclist appear multiple times.

This image was stitched from multiple exposures taken from a moving car (in case you were wondering why the yellow bus was truncated and two of the the bicyclist appear multiple times).

Boundary Warp may not work well on images with straight lines or architectural features as the process of warping the image to fill the surrounding canvas may bend the lines. In the example below (and in the general case of buildings with possibly many straight lines), it’s not possible to stretch the image to fit the canvas AND preserve the lines at the same time. In other words, something has to give (the windows in the upper right and light on the left look a bit distorted) .


And a video from the famous Dr. Brown!


For more information about new camera and lens profile support, how to install the updates, as well as bug fixes and other changes, please see this post from the Adobe Lightroom Journal.

9:01 AM Permalink

Masking Multiple Layers using Layer Groups

Not only are Layer Groups great for organizing your layers, they can also be used to mask the contents of multiple layers at one time. With the Layer Group targeted in the Layers panel, click the Add Layer Mask icon from the bottom of the Layers panel. Paint in the mask to control the visibility of all layers within the Layer Group.


This shortcut also works with vector masks (and a combination of both vector and raster) as shown below.


5:00 AM Permalink

Copying Merged Layers (and Groups)

Command + Shift + C (Mac) | Control + Shift + C (Win) copies a merged version of all visible layers within the selection onto the clipboard.

Option + Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift + E (Win) , pastes a merged copy (of all visible layers) on a new layer above the topmost currently selected layer.

5:35 AM Permalink

Displaying the Contents of a Layer Group in Photoshop

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) -click the disclosure triangle next to a Layer Group to expand or collapse all layer Groups in the document.

Option (Mac) / Alt (Win)  -click the disclosure triangle to expand collapse all groups nested within the current group.

Option-Command (Mac) / Alt-Control (Win) -click the disclosure triangle to expand and collapse all groups (nested or not).

Control (Mac)/ right mouse (Win) -click the Group’s disclosure triangle and choose “Close/Open this Group” or “Close/Open all Other Groups”.

5:19 AM Permalink

Selecting Layer Groups with the Move Tool in Photoshop

To automatically select Layer Groups (instead of individual layers), with the Move tool selected, check the Auto-Select box in the Options bar and choose Group from the pull-down menu.

4:18 PM Permalink