You can customize the preview settings for your Layer thumbnails by selecting Panel Options from the Layers panel fly-out. These settings can make it far easier to see the contents of a layer – especially when viewing on screens that have limited screen area.
• Select a desired Thumbnail Size. Note: if your image is significantly wider than it is high, selecting the smaller thumbnail sizes might display the generic icon for Adjustment layers.
• Under Change Thumbnail Contents, select “Layer Bounds” to display a preview image of only the area in the layer that contains content.
With the Thumbnail content set to Layer Bounds, we see the shells as large as possible within the thumbnail area.
Select “Entire Document” to display the layer content in relationship to the entire document.
With the Thumbnail Content set to Entire Document, we see the location of the shells in relationship to the entire canvas.
• Use Default Masks on Fill Layers will automatically add layer masks to Fill layers.
• Expand New Effects displays the contents of layer styles when applied.
• Add “copy” to Copied Layers and Groups will add the word copy to the layer name when duplicating layers in the Layers panel.
Because so many people ask me how I come up with the ideas for my digital illustrations, I put together a short slideshow to demonstrate how I layer different elements together.
The video below provides a more detailed Photoshop tutorial demonstrating how “Isostacy” was created.
The video below provides a more detailed Photoshop tutorial demonstrating how “Twilight” was created.
For more complete training on how I use Photoshop to create these composites, you can watch either of my two training series on Lynda.com: Introduction to Compositing The Art of Photoshop Compositing
When drawing with the default gradient in a mask, if the mask isn’t quite right, it’s easy to draw another gradient to replace the first one.
Dragging the default gradient from white to black hides the adjustment in the lower portion of the image.
By default, dragging a second gradient replaces the first one.
If, however, you want to draw a secondary gradient that will add to or subtract from the mask (instead of replacing it), change the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply (to add black) or Screen (to add white) and then drag the second gradient.
Setting the Gradient tool’s blend mode to screen (before dragging the second gradient) will add the lighter values to the mask. If you are hiding an area and want the darker values of the Gradient to show, then change the Gradient Tool’s blend mode to Multiply.
Note: in the example above, I selected Edit > Undo to undo the gradient that drew in the second illustration before changing the blend mode to Screen and redrawing the gradient.
Of course there are other ways to draw masks, but I find this to be straightforward. Plus if you use the radial gradient you can create a cool looking “bubble mask” by drawing multiple black to white radial gradients with the Gradient tool’s blend mode set to Darken – although I’ve never actually used a bubble mask like this for anything useful – but I’m sure that someone has!
When changing the stacking order layers in the Layers panel, I found it difficult to predict if the layer I was dragging was going to land within a Layer Group or outside of it. In the example below, I want to drag the “paper” layer above the “walnuts” layer, but I didn’t want to include it within the “texture” Layer Group.
If you look carefully at the next illustration you can see that the hand icon is positioned over the bottom layer in the Layer Group. If I release the mouse at that point, the layer would be added within the “texture” Layer Group. This was not what I wanted.
Instead, if I release the mouse as it’s positioned in the next illustration, the layer will be repositioned above the “walnut” layer but not within the “texture” Layer Group.
This subtle positioning behavior was lost on me for years. I thought I remembered someone telling me that the Eye icon also changed, but I wasn’t able to reproduce that. If you know the secret handshake, let us know! : )
Note: Another way to be sure that the paper layer wasn’t included in the texture Layer Group would have been to close the Layer Group before repositioning the layer.
I’m sorry, I completely forgot to blog about this! I was asked to make another guest appearance on the Photoshop Playbook series, so here’s a short tutorial on how to add textures to photographs (both locally as well as selectively) in Photoshop. I hope it’s helpful!
Even though I have spent the past 10 weeks talking about all of the new features and product enhancements that the Photoshop team has added since Photoshop CC launched, there are still great features that I wasn’t able to cover! So to make sure that I’ve covered all of the topics, I’ll extend the project through the end of the week.
Today we will start with four hidden gems including:
• When creating new documents, the Background Contents option can be included as part of a script and will also be saved as part of a New Document Preset.
• Clicking the lock icon next to the Background layer on the Layers panel converts the Background to a layer.
• The Swatches panel now displays the recently used swatches across the top of the panel.
• The Color sampler tool can now add up to ten different samples. You can click on the eyedropper in the Info panel to change the color readout values for each sampler individually, or Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) click the eyedropper to change them all at once.
Discover the powerful new abilities of Layer Comps in Photoshop CC including the new icons for options being saved, syncing changes across multiple Layer Comps, and accessing layer comps within Smart Objects.
Layer masks in Photoshop are white by default, they are not transparent—even though they control the opacity/transparency of the contents of the layer.
If you Option + (Mac) | Alt + (Win) -click on the layer mask thumbnail in the layers panel, you can view the contents of the mask. You will not see the checkerboard which, in Photoshop, represents transparency. Instead you will see white, black, or any shade of gray.
Where it might seem confusing is that the result of the mask is to show or hide the contents of the layer – in essence, hiding/revealing varying levels of transparency. But this is achieved by painting with shades of gray in the mask, not transparency.
Click here (2014 Favorite Layer Shortcuts) to download a compilation of some of the Layer shortcuts that I am going to share today in my compositing course at ADIM. Of course this isn’t a complete list, so feel free to search the blog for more in-depth tutorials, training, techniques and shortcuts for working with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
Join me today, Wednesday February 26th, from 9:00 am – 10:30 am on creativeLIVE for 90 minutes of “Advanced Photoshop Layer Tips” during Photoshop Week. Then, stay tuned because from 10:45 am – 12:15 pm, I’ll be covering all sorts of tips and techniques to help speed up your workflow “Automating Camera Raw” in Photoshop. The best news, is that all of the courses are free during the live broadcast! And, if you’re in a different time zone, the sessions will be rebroadcast. See the complete schedule and RSVP here.