June 02, 2009
Hidden power: Mirror your Clone Stamp
Adobe engineer Pat Wibbeler wrote me today with a good suggestion:
The idea is simple: Instead of cloning the region exactly, clone the mirror image of a region. I wanted to do this when repairing an ear in a recent photo. I’d like to have simply cloned the opposing ear in reverse. I accomplished this by copy, pasting, reflecting the “good” ear and then cloning from the mirrored copy. It seems like it would be pretty straightforward to do this automatically and that it would be useful for other applications as well.
What if, I replied, I told you the feature was already in Photoshop, as of CS3? You’re pretty much guaranteed never to find it, though.
Open up the Clone Source panel, then specify a negative number for the width value (e.g. just put a minus sign in front of the “100”). Now Photoshop will flip the source data so that you can clone a mirror image. You can also use the panel to scale & rotate source data without having to select/copy/paste/transform it. This all works with the Healing Brush as well.
For more info & to see the technique in action, check out this video tutorial from Russell Brown.
April 30, 2006
Scanning the past
Wired News reports on Kodak’s efforts to develop high-volume scanning technology for old prints. These machines analyze the images, then categorize them & assign metadata by recognizing faces, print size & shape, handwriting, and more. Sounds like a cool & fairly painless way to get shoeboxes full of snapshots into a computer.
This reminds me of a little-known but powerful feature in Photoshop. The Crop & Straighten Photos command (“Lift & Separate” to its friends) is found under File->Automate in Photoshop CS and above. The command takes a bunch of photos scanned at once (like this) and turn each into a separate cropped, rotated image (like this).
April 28, 2006
Insanely obscure scripting feature o’ the day
I considered calling this post “Most Obscure. Feature. Ever,” but then I remembered the tweaky labyrinths woven as Russell Brown bribed various engineers for little improvements. In any case, knowing this tip would qualify anyone as Photoshop Illuminati:
When accessing File->Scripts in Photoshop, first hold down the Opt/Alt key. Instead of running the selected script, Photoshop will open it in the ExtendScript Toolkit (Mac/Win)–itself quite a well-kept secret.
Hey, I said it was obscure, but it could be a useful way to inspect anything from layers to PNG to Flash gallery creation. Thanks to Tom Ruark, Photoshop engineer & Russell’s collaborator on the Image Processor script, for pointing this out.
November 30, 2005
Non-destructive raw editing with Smart Objects
Sometimes in the course of development, you find that a feature design can flex to accomodate things you didn’t plan at the start. We devised Smart Objects to enable a new level of Suite integration (letting Illustrator data stay live and editable inside Photoshop (see demo)), to allow non-destructive scaling/rotation/warping of layers, and to enable parent-child relationships (edit one, update many). We knew the design had legs, but we didn’t know if we’d have time to extend it to raw camera data in CS2.
Fortunately Chris Cox and Thomas Knoll were able to make it possible to place a raw file into Photoshop, and the technique is becoming a sleeper hit. When placed as a Smart Object, the raw file is embedded behind the scenes. The upshot is that you retain access to the full complement of raw data (and the Adobe Camera Raw feature set) even while applying adjustment layers, dodging and burning, adding masks, healing dust spots, etc.
Ben Long’s latest article on CreativePro.com covers the technique (“It’s a non-destructive dream!”–nice!). You can also see Russell Brown demonstrate it in this video, and you can download Russell’s scripts that facilitate integration here.
So, the next time you hear someone crowing about non-destructive editing, remember that not only have we been doing this for the last three years with Camera Raw; we’re now taking it to a new level, letting you keep data intact while leveraging the unique power of the Photoshop tool set.
August 19, 2005
Up From Obscurity: Adobe Proxy
Big company, big products–something’s bound to get lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, I’m going to try creating an “Up From Obscurity” category to shed light on features, resources, and techniques that deserve more prominence.
First up: Adobe Proxy. Anybody remember the late Adobe Magazine? Well, it’s born again (sort of) in Adobe Proxy, a glossy quarterly focused on All Things Design (profiles of design shops, links to actions on Adobe Exchange–another great/totally obscure resource–etc.). Check it out at http://www.adobeproxy.com/.
[Edited 3:15pm per comments below]