Posts in Category "Adobe Photoshop"

September 12, 2017

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Six Easy Ways to Select Colors in Photoshop

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop! Six Easy Ways to Select Colors in Photoshop, you’ll discover how to select color in Photoshop using the eyedropper tool, foreground, background and heads-up-display color picker.

5:02 AM Comments (1) Permalink
August 29, 2017

3, 2, 1, Photoshop! 10 Tips for Working with the Layers Panel

Discover ten essential tips for working with layers in Photoshop  in this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop (10 Tips for Working with the Layers Panel ), including unlocking the Background, renaming, adding, deleting and duplicating layers, changing blend mode, opacity, visibility, color and customize Layer panel preview options.

5:45 AM Permalink
August 22, 2017

15 Layer Masks Tips for Photoshop CC

1) Adding Layer Masks

  • To add a layer mask to a layer, click on the “Add Layer Mask” icon in the Layers panel or, to create a custom keyboard shortcut for adding layer masks, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Set the “Shortcuts For” to Application Menus and toggle the disclosure triangle for the Layer menu. Scroll down to Layer Mask> and add your own shortcuts by clicking in the blank area to the right of the command. Note that there are separate options for adding layer masks while ignoring/respecting the current selection.

  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the layer mask icon to add a layer mask to automatically hide the content of the layer (or the active selection).
  • Command + I (Mac ) | Control + I (Win) will invert a layer mask (or, click the Invert button on the Properties panel).

2) Deleting Layer Masks

  • Target the mask on the Layers panel and click the Trash icon to delete a layer mask. Or, Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on the layer mask to choose between Delete Layer Mask or Apply Layer Mask from the context sensitive menu.
  • Or, on the Properties panel, target the Layer mask and click the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel.

3) Moving and Duplicating Layer Masks

  • Drag the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to move it from one layer to another.
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to create a copy of the mask.
  • Option + Shift -drag (Mac) | Alt + Shift -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail to create copy of a layer mask while simultaneously inverting the mask. Note: if the mask’s Density or Feather sliders has been changed using the Properties panel, this shortcut will not work. In this situation, (Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail to duplicate the mask, then use the shortcut Command + I (Mac) | Control + I (Win)  to invert the mask (or click the Invert button in the Properties panel).

4) Targeting the Layer Mask

  • Command + \ (Mac) | Control + \ (Win) targets a layer mask.
  • Command + 2 (Mac) | Control + 2 (Win) targets the layer.

5) Viewing Layer Masks

  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to target and view the mask.
  • Or, tap  “\”(backslash) to display the layer mask as an overlay (tap “\” again to hide the overlay).

6) Temporarily Disabling / Enabling Masks

  • Shift-click in the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to temporarily disable a layer mask. Click  the layer mask thumbnail again to enable it.
  • Or, Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on a mask in the Layers panel and choose Enable/Disable Layer Mask.

7) Unlinking Masks from Layers

  • Click the link icon (between the layer icon and layer mask icons) to unlink the mask from the layer (allowing either to move independently of the other).

8) Pasting Content into a Layer Mask

  • To paste content from the clipboard into a layer mask, Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the Layer mask icon on the Layers panel to make it visible. Then, select Edit > Paste.
  • Or, on the Channels panel, click on the Layer mask to target it AND click in the empty well to toggle the visibility of the layer mask (the mask will be displayed as a red overlay), and choose Edit > Paste. To hide the red overlay, click the eye icon.

  • In this Quick Tip, Julieanne reveals a simple technique to paste content directly into a layer mask in Photoshop.

9) Delicate Mask Clean-Up

  • After adding a layer mask, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if there are any small bits of the layer that have been accidentally left unselected. In this case, it might be helpful to temporarily add a layer effect such as a bright red stroke (Layer > Layer Style > Stroke, and click the color swatch to choose a vibrant color). The stroke will appear around any small areas of the mask that you may need to clean up. When finished, simply delete the layer effect.

10) Create Layer Mask from Transparency

  • In order to automatically convert the transparent areas of a layer into a mask, select Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency.
  • To create a mask on a layer based on the transparency of another layer, in the Layers panel, select the layer that you want the mask to be added to. Then, drag the layer that you want to become the contents for the mask to the Add Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Important: don’t click and release the mouse on the layer that you want to become the contents of the mask – clicking will select the layer, you need to drag that layer instead.

11) Non-destructive Edge Softening of Layer Masks

  • When working with layer masks, instead of trying to guess the feather value needed to soften the edges of a mask (because the feather amount will vary depending on the resolution of the image and the desired softness of the edge that is being feathered), use the non-destructive Feather slider on the Properties panel. If the image is resized or other adjustments are made at a later time, the feather can be appropriately adjusted.

12) Changing the Density of a Layer Mask Non-destructivly

  • Use the Density slider in the Properties panel to reduce the opacity (density) of the mask non-destructively.

13) Painting in a Layer Mask

  • Changing the blend mode of a painting tool can be very helpful when painting in a layer mask. For example, 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. 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.

14) Blending two Images Together using Layer Masks

15)  Swapping Heads in a Family Portrait

5:06 AM Permalink
August 17, 2017

Shortcuts for Working with Layer Groups in Photoshop CC

Here are some tips and  shortcuts for working more effectively with Layer Groups:

  • To create an empty Layer Group, click the Create Layer Group (the folder) icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. The Group will be added above the currently targeted layer. If no layers are targeted, Photoshop will add the group to the top of the layer stack.
  • Command + G (Mac) | Control + G (Win) creates a new Layer Group while simultaneously placing selected layers into that group. The group will be added above the topmost currently targeted layer.
  • Command + Shift + G (Mac) | Control + Shift + G (Win) will ungroup layers.

Adding Layers to Layer Groups

  • When adding a layer to a Layer Group, Photoshop positions the layer at the top of the layer stack (with in the group).
  • Adding the shift key when releasing the mouse will position the layer at the bottom of the stack (within the group).

Repositing Layers

  • 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.

2014_10_14Layers

  • 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 “paper” layer would be added within the “texture” Layer Group.

2014_10LayerGroup

  • Instead, if I position the curser a bit lower (below the baseline of the Layer Group), and release the mouse (as it’s positioned in the next illustration), the layer will be repositioned above the “walnuts” layer but not within the “texture” Layer Group.

  • 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.

Duplicating Layer Groups

  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) will duplicate the selected Layer Group(s).
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the Layer Group (in the Layers panel) to simultaneously duplicating and repositioning a Layer Group.
  • Control -click (Mac) | right mouse -click (Win) on the Layer Group and select Duplicate Group.

Deleting Layer Groups in Photoshop

  • With the Layer Group selected, tap the Delete key or Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the trash can icon.
  • To delete a Layer Group but keep the layers, choose Layer > Delete > Group or click the trash can icon. Either method displays a dialog with an option to delete “Group Only” (which ungroups the layers within the group and removes the Layer Group while leaving the Layers in tack).
  • Command -drag (Mac) | Control -drag (Win) a Layer Group to the trash can icon to delete a Layer Group without deleting it’s contents.

Selecting Layer Groups

  • To automatically select Layer Groups using the Move tool, enable the Auto-Select box in the Options bar and choose Group from the pull-down menu.

Nesting Layer Groups

  • You can nest layer Layer Groups up to 10 groups deep. That should help organize even the most complex documents!

Displaying the Contents of Layer Groups in Photoshop

  • Command (Mac) | Control (Win) -click the disclosure triangle next to a Layer Group to expand/collapse all Layer Groups in the document.
  • Option (Mac) | Alt (Win)  -click the disclosure triangle to expand/collapse all groups nested within the current Layer 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”.

And, if you’re looking for eight reasons to use Layer Groups, be sure to watch this short video that I recently posted:

5:20 AM Permalink
August 15, 2017

3, 2, 1, Photoshop – Eight Reasons to use Layer Groups in Photoshop

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop, Julieanne demonstrates eight reasons to use Layer Groups in Photoshop in Photoshop CC.

The reasons are also listed below for those of you who prefer to read a list instead of watching a video!

  1. Layer Groups can help you to organize the Layers panel but putting similar layers in a group which can be collapsed/expanded as needed.
  2. Layer Groups can help when you want to effect multiple layers at once. For example, select the Layer Group and choose Free Transform to transform all of the contents of the group at once. Or, select a Layer Group and use Command + D (Mac) | Control + D (Win) to duplicate a Layer Group.
  3. Change the opacity of a Layer Group to effect the opacity of all layers within the group.
  4. Layer Effects/Layer Styles can be applied to a Layer Group. Note: when you add an Effect/Style to a group, Photoshop treats the contents of the group as if they are merged/flattened before adding the Effect/Style. As long as nothing on the layers overlaps, then the effet will be visually identicle to applying Layer Effects/Styles to individual layers (and if you only have one Layer style to update if you need to make changes). If you do have multiple layers that overlap (and don’t want the effect to appear as if the layers are merged), then you can apply the Effect/Style to one layer and copy/paste it to others.
  5. Blend modes can be applied to Layer Groups. (Similar to Layer Effects/Styles, if the contents of the layers within the Layer Group overlap, the Blend mode behaves differently than when applied to individual layers.)
  6. The effects of Blend Modes applied to individual layers within Layer Groups can be restricted to only effect those layers within the group by changing the Layer Groups Blend Mode to Normal.
  7. Layer Groups can be used as the base layer to apply Clipping Masks in order to “clip” or restrict the contents of a layer(s) to appear only where there is content within the Layer Group.
  8. Adding a layer Mask to a Layer Group enables masking of all layers within that group simultaneously.
5:09 AM Permalink
August 8, 2017

3, 2, 1… Photoshop! Three Tips for Photoshop’s Crop Tool

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop, Julieanne demonstrates three tips for working with the crop tool, including quickly defining the crop area, maintaining flexibility while cropping to a specific aspect ratio, and cropping two images to the same size.

5:06 AM Permalink
August 1, 2017

Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies on Lynda.com

I’m excited to announce that my new “Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies” course is now live on Lynda.com!

 

Learn Lightroom and Photoshop workflow and image editing techniques by watching a pro. In this project-oriented course, Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost takes five images from start to finish, beginning in Lightroom and ending in Photoshop. As Julieanne walks through each workflow, she helps you understand which image editing techniques you’d apply to your photos in Lightroom, and when you’d want to switch to Photoshop to make further changes. She demonstrates how to adjust tone and enhance images in Lightroom using more traditional tools and techniques, and then proceed to Photoshop for more elaborate manipulations. Plus, she explains how to use retouching tools to remove distracting elements, and unify the color and tone of multiple images.

Topics include:

  • Selecting Lightroom or Photoshop to edit images
  • Optimizing in Lightroom, and then proceeding to Photoshop
  • Retouching to remove distracting elements
  • Using multiple photographs to quickly replace unwanted elements
  • Unifying multiple images using color and tone
5:09 AM Permalink
July 25, 2017

Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I’m excited to announce that my new Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques course is now live on Lynda.com!If you’re like most creative pros, you probably spend a lot of time in Photoshop. And if you’re like a lot of Photoshop users, you probably spend an undue amount of time performing the same tasks. In this course, learn how to automate repetitive tasks in Photoshop, so that you can accomplish more in less time. Join Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost as she discusses a variety of productivity-boosting techniques for Photoshop automation. She shares tips for working with actions, using the Batch command, scripting, and more.

Topics include:

  • Quickly saving images as different file types
  • Creating single and multi-step actions
  • Saving and loading actions
  • Inserting stops, menu items, and conditionals
  • Tips for working with layers
  • Using the Batch command
  • Creating droplets
  • Automatically creating graphics from layers using generators
  • Working with variables and scripts
5:12 AM Permalink
July 11, 2017

Five Reasons to use Smart Filters in Photoshop

In order to apply Smart Filters in Photoshop, first turn the layer(s) into a Smart Object using one of the following methods:

  • Select the layer(s) and choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object.
  • Select the layer(s) and choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters.
  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on the layer (s) in the Layers panel and choose Convert to Smart Object.

1) Smart Filters are non-destructive and re-editable

  • Double click the name of the Smart Filter (on the Layers panel) to change the Smart Filter parameters.
  • Double click the Filter Blending icon to change Opacity and/or Blend mode of the Smart Filter.

Double click the Smart Filter name or Filter Blending icon to edit.

2) Multiple Smart Filters can be added to a Smart Object

  • You can apply multiple Smart Filters to a Smart Object. If needed, drag the filter name (in the Layers panel) to change the order in which the filters are applied.

3) Smart Filters can be selectively applied using the Smart Filter Mask

  • Painting with black in the Smart filter mask will hide the filter. Painting with white will reveal the filter. This is an excellent way to apply selective sharpening to an image.

4) Each Smart Filter can have it’s own mask

  • To use a different filter mask for each Smart Filter, nest the Smart Objects/Filters:
    • Apply the first Smart Filter and paint in the mask as desired.
    • Then, choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object (essentially “nesting” the smart filter and the mask).
    • Apply another Smart Filter and paint in the mask as needed.

This video demonstrates this technique:

5) Smart Filter can easily be moved or duplicated to other Smart Objects

  • Drag the name of the Smart Filter to move it from one layer to another.
  • Option -dragging (Mac) | Alt  -dragging (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
    •  Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter and it’s layer mask.

2014_10_29SOmask

    • Dragging the name of the Smart Filter (Blur Gallery in this example) duplicates the Smart filter without copying the mask.

2014_10_29SOnomask

5:16 AM Permalink
June 27, 2017

The Fill Command in Photoshop CC

While I expect that many of you already know the shortcuts to fill with the Foreground and background colors, did you also know that your can fill with History, fill non-transparent areas, and a combination of both?

01) Fill with the Foreground/Background Color

  • Option + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Backspace (Win) fills with the foreground color.
  • Command + Delete (Mac) | Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the background color.
  • Note: these shortcuts work with several types of layers including Type and Shape layers.

02) The Fill Dialog Box

  • Shift + Delete (Mac) | Shift + Backspace (Win) displays the fill dialog.

03) Fill with History

  • Option + Command + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the currently selected history state. (This can be really useful when retouching and you need to “revert” only a portion of an image.)

04) Fill Content Only

  • Option + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt +Shift +Backspace (Win)  will fill with the foreground color and temporarily turn on the Lock Transparency option (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

05) Fill Content with History

  • Option + Command + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift +Backspace (Win) will fill with the currently selected history state and preserve transparency (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

 

5:02 AM Permalink
June 22, 2017

Photography, the Best Kind of Project Creep

Project creep gets me every time.

1) I broke a pot that had a succulent in it.

2) I went to the nursery to replace the pot.

3) I ended up buying 12 more succulents (I mean seriously, how do you decide on just one, when they’re all so unique!)

4) I decided that they were so beautiful that I had to photograph them before I planted them.

5) So I did.

See what I did there? I took a 30 minute project and turned it into an all day event. But it was worth it. Ha!

I used my Canon 5Ds with a 45mm tilt-shift lens with a closeup filter on it. Because I wanted a very shallow depth of filed, I shot tethered, directly into Lightroom CC in order to quickly check focus. It was fun to use my tripod/lights etc. and shoot in the studio – well, ok, in the enclosed porch, I don’t have a studio — we do what we can with what we have, right?

I pulled one of the images into Photoshop and added a texture.

If you want to know how to add a texture like this, here is a free video (Adding a texture to a photo) from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.

I hope to do more with the individual photos at some point, but with all of my other project creep, well, I don’t know when that might happen. : )

5:02 AM Permalink
June 20, 2017

Fundamental Layers Panel Tips and Techniques

The Background Layer

  • Clicking the lock icon next to the Background layer on the Layers panel converts the Background to a layer enabling transparency, repositioning  in the image area and changing the stacking order.
  • Double click the Background layer to display the New Layer dialog for additional options (renaming, color coding etc.).

Renaming Layers

  • To rename a single layer, double click the layer’s name in the Layers panel.
  • To rename multiple layers, rename one and then, without pressing the enter key to apply the new name, press the Tab key to move to the layer below. Shift + Tab moves to the layer (above).

Adding New Layers to a Document in Photoshop

  • Command + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Shift + N (Win) will add a new layer and display the New Layer dialog for additional options (layer name, blend mode etc.).
  • Command + Option + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + N (Win) adds a new layer bypassing the New Layer dialog.
  • By default, new layers are added above the currently selected layer. Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the New Layer icon (on the Layers panel) to create a new layer below the currently selected layer. This shortcut is helpful for example, when adding a layer that you don’t want to be included in a Clipping Group.

Deleting Layers

  • To delete a layer(s), select it in the Layers panel and tap the delete key.
  • To delete hidden layers from the Layers panel, use the fly-out and select Delete Hidden Layers.

Duplicating Layers

  • With the Move tool selected, Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) a layer in the image area to duplicate (copy) the selected  layer(s).
  • To duplicate a layer using the Layers panel, select the layer(s) and Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer until a solid line between the layers appears and release.
  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) duplicates the selected layer(s). Note: this shortcut works for Layer Groups as well.
  • To prevent Photoshop from adding “copy” and a sequence number to a duplicated file name, use the Layers panel fly-out menu to select Panel Options and uncheck Add “copy” to Copied Layers and Groups.

Drag and Drop Between Open Documents

  • To duplicate layers from one document to another, select the layers in the Layers panel and drag from one document window to another. When the “destination” document becomes highlighted, release to “drop” the layers.
  • Holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping a layer(s) between two documents will place the “dropped” layer(s) into the center of the destination document. If there is a selection in the destination document, holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping an image will drop it into the center of the selection.
  • When working with tabbed documents, use the Move tool to drag layers from the image area or the Layers panel, on top of the “destination” document’s tab. When the “destination” document pops forward, position the cursor over the image area and release to “drop” the layers.

Changing the Blend mode of a Layer

  • To quickly cycle through a the Blend Modes select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Blend Mode options), hold the Shift key and press “+” (plus) or “-” (minus) to move forward or backwards through the list.
  • In addition, each blend mode has a unique keyboard shortcut.  They all begin with Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt + Shift (Win) then a single letter.
    • Normal + N
    • Dissolve + I
    • Behind + Q
    • Clear + R
    • Darken + K
    • Multiply + M
    • Color Burn + B
    • Linear Burn + A,
    • Lighten + G
    • Screen + S
    • Color Dodge + D
    • Linear Dodge + W
    • Overlay + O
    • Soft Light + F
    • Hard Light + H
    • Vivid Light + V
    • Linear Light + J
    • Pin Light + Z
    • Hard Mix + L
    • Difference + E
    • Exclusion + X
    • Hue+ U
    • Saturation+ T
    • Color  + C,
    • Luminosity + Y

Changing the Opacity of a Layer(s)

  • To change the Opacity of a layer(s), select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Opacity options), and press a numeric key to add the percentage of the pressed number. (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%).
  • Pressing two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%).
  • Pressing 00 (zero-zero) decreases the opacity to 0%.
  • Adding the Shift key will change the Fill amount.

Toggling Layer Visibility in Photoshop

  • Clicking the eye icon next to any layer on the Layers panel will hide/show the layer.
  • Option -click (Mac) |  Alt -click  (Win) the eye icon in the Layers panel to toggle visibility of all other layers.
  • Command + “,” (comma) (Mac) | Control + “,” (comma) (Win) toggles the visibility of the currently selected layer(s).
  • Command + Option +  “,” (comma)  (Mac) | Control + Alt +  “,” (comma)  (Win) shows all layers (regardless of which layers are selected).
  • Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) the eye icon and select “Show/Hide all other layers” to make all layers visible (regardless of which layers  were previously visible).

Merging Layers

  • Command + E (Mac) | Control + E (Win) will merge selected layers.
The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

  • Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Control + Shift + E (Win) will merge all visible layers (hidden layers will remain untouched).
The top two Layers aren't merged because they are not visible.

The top two Layers aren’t merged because they are hidden.

  • Command + Option + E (Mac) | Control + Alt + E (Win) creates a new layer and pastes a “flattened” version of the selected layers on it (the key to this shortcut is that you have to have multiple layers selected)!
The information from the two selected layers are copied to an new layer and merged.

A flattened copy of the two selected layers are merged onto a new layer.

  • Command + Option + Shift + E  (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + E  (Win) does one of two things:
    •  If the top most layer in the Layers panel is an empty (blank) layer, Photoshop will create a flattened copy of all visible layers and place the merged/flattened information onto the top layer. 
    • If the top layer  in the Layers panel has content (is not empty/blank), then Photoshop will create a new layer and merge a copy of all visible layers onto the newly created layer. 
A flattened copy of all visible layers is pasted onto a new layer.

A flattened copy of all visible layers is merged onto a new layer (regardless of what layer(s) is selected).

  • When Merging layers, if any of the layers that are going to be merged have been manually renamed (i.e. you renamed them), Photoshop will keep that custom layer name and use it as the new merged layer name. If you have created custom names for multiple layers that are all being merged together, then Photoshop will take the top-most custom named layer.

Copying Merged Layers (and Groups)

  • Command + Shift + C (Mac) | Control + Shift + C (Win) with an active selection in the image, copies a merged view of all visible layers onto the clipboard.

Color Coding Layers

  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on a selected layer(s) and choose a highlight color from the context sensitive menu. Note: the Background must be converted to a layer to color-code.

Layer Thumbnail Preview Options

  • To change Layer thumbnail size, from the Layers panel fly-out choose Panel Options. Choose a large size to more easily see the contents of the layer. Choose a small size to see more layers in a complicated document. Note: if your image is wider than it is high, selecting the smaller thumbnail sizes might display the generic icon for Adjustment layers).
  • Change Thumbnail Contents – select  “Layer Bounds” to display a preview image of only the area in the layer that contains content – this option typically provides a larger preview of layers containing minimal content, Select “Entire Document” to display the layer content in relationship to the entire document (this option typically provides a smaller preview of layers containing significant areas of content.

Thumbnail Content set to Entire Document.

Thumbnail Content set to Layer Bounds.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

  • Several layer attributes can be locked including Transparent Pixels, Image Pixels, and/or Position
    • Locking Transparency enables editing of image information but not transparent areas. 
    • Locking the Image Pixels prohibits any pixel editing (painting etc.).
    • Locking Position prevents the layer from being moved.
  • Command + / (Mac) | Control + / (Win) toggles between locking and unlocking all selected layers.
  • Command + Option +/ (Mac) | Control + Alt +  / (Win) unlocks all layers (except the Background layer), regardless of which layers are selected.
  • If a layer has locked attributes, pressing the “/” key will toggle the lock for those attributes (instead of toggling the lock for all attributes). If the layer was unlocked to begin with, then all attributes will be locked.

Linking Layers

  • When layers are linked together, commands applied to one layer will also be applied to linked layers (when possible). Linking can be helpful when working with complex documents in eliminating the need to have to reselect layers again and again when multiple layers require identical changes.
  • To link two or more layers, select them in the Layer’s panel and click the Link icon.
  • For increased efficiency,  assign a custom keyboard shortcut to Link/Unlink Layers (Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. In Shortcuts For, select Panels, Menus. Then under Layers, scroll down to Link/Unlink Layers.)
  • Shift-click on the link icon to temporarily disable linking of a given layer.
  • The rules for linking layers are a bit complex because Layers can only belong to one link set at a time. They are as follows:
    • Selecting a layer that is linked will show the link icon on all the other layers to which it is linked. 
    • To unlink a single layer from a link set, simply select the layer and click the link icon. If there were other linked layers, they remain linked. 
    • If none of the layers selected contain linked and you click the link icon, all layers become linked – creating a new link set.
    • If the layers selected contain only linked layers, regardless of whether they’re all in the same link sets, clicking the link icon unlinks everything selected. 
    • If the layers selected contain at least some linked layers within the selection, plus any number of unlinked layers, clicking the link icon extends the link set to include the unlinked layers in the selection.
    • If the layers selected contains linked layers from two or more link sets plus at least one unlinked layer, everything in the selection gets put into a “new” linked set.
5:16 AM Permalink
June 13, 2017

Tips for Working with Blur Gallery in Photoshop CC

The Blur Gallery filters (Field Blur, Iris, Tilt-Shift, Path, and Spin) are incredibly powerful features that can help selectively blur a photograph in order to remove distracting elements, help direct the viewers eye through an image, or just add creative effects! To apply these filters in a nondestructive manner, I would recommend that you first convert the layer(s) to Smart Objects before applying the filter so that you can:

  • Re-edit the parameters of the filter at any time (by double clicking the name of the filter in the Layers panel).
  • Paint in the Smart Filter mask to selectively hide and show the filter.
  • Apply a Smart Filter to an entire video clip (not just the first frame).

01) Common shortcuts across Blur Gallery filters

  • Press and hold “H” to temporarily hide the Blur interface (pins etc.).
  • Press “P” to toggle the preview on and off.
  • Press and hold “M” to display the mask.

02) The Tilt-Shift Blur

Discover how to create a Tilt-Shift effect using Blur Gallery in this free video (Creating a Tilt-Shift Effect in Photoshop CC 2017), from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.

Additional features of the Tilt-Shift Blur filter (not covered in the video) include:

  • Option -drag  (Mac) | Alt -drag  (Win) the dotted line causes the opposite side to mirror the change by repositioning it by the same number of pixels.  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.
  • When rotating the filter, press the Shift key to constrain the rotation to 15 degree increments.
  • Rotate the blur to add distortion to the foreground or background of the image. Or, select Distort Symmetrically to apply distortion to both sides of the blur.

03) The Effects Panel in Blur Gallery

The Effects Panel can apply a bokeh to Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift blurs.

  • Light Bokeh controls the amount of highlights in the blur.
  • Bokeh Color increases/decreases saturation.
  • Light Range controls the range of light where the bokeh appears.

The original image, Tilt-Shift filter applied (blurring the flower on the left), and bokeh added to create circles from highlight areas.

04) The Path Blur Filter

Discover how to add motion blur to images in this free video (Creative Blurring Along a Path in Photoshop CC 2017), from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.   

Additional features of the Path Blur filter (not covered in the video) include:.

  • Increase the Taper amount to allow the blur to gradually trail off.
  • Enable the Center Blur option to produce a more “stable” looking motion blur (the blur is created using pixels on both sides of the blur).  Uncheck to create a more fluid blur (the blur is created from the pixels on one side of the blur).
  • Use the End point slider to change the amount of blur independently on each end of the path
  • Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the end of a path to set the End Point blur to 0.
  • Add more than one path in an image to selectively blur areas.
  • Click on the path to add a point. Click on a point to select it and tap the delete key to delete it.
  • Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) on the path (or points) to reposition.
  • Option + Command -drag (Mac) | Alt + Control -drag (Win)  to copy the path.
  • Shift -drag on the Blur Shape path to simultaneously change the direction of both Blur Shapes.
  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) an anchor point (on the path) to convert it to a corner point (and vise versa). Pressing “C” also toggles an anchor point between corner and non-corner. (Corner points can be useful for blocking off parts of an image and for creating a sharp motion blur transition: make a path that is straight then add corner point and curve the second line.)
  • Select from Basic Blur or Rear Sync Flash (Rear Sync Flash sets the Path Blur settings to: Speed = 100%, Taper = 20% and Centered Blur = Off and the Motion Effects to: Strobe strength = 25%, Strobe flashes = 1).

Below is an additional video demonstrating how to use the Path Blur to create motion effects in an image. Note: the video was recorded before the Noise Panel was added to path Blur – in the current version of Photoshop CC, it would be easier to apply noise in the Blur Gallery.

05) Restoring Noise in Blur Gallery

When applying the blur gallery filters, you have the option to add Uniform, Gaussian, or Grain noise back into the blurred areas in order to closely match the restored noise with the original image.

  • Noise – this checkbox turns the Noise on/off. It’s not just a preview, if you turn it off, the noise will not be applied to the result.
  • Type – select between Uniform, Gaussian, and Grain (this is the same Grain that is found in Camera Raw).
  • Amount – the amount of contrast added to the noise.
  • Size –  controls particle size for Grain (this is the same control as found in Camera Raw and is not available for Gaussian or Uniform).
  • Roughness –  controls the regularity of the grain. A negative value makes the grain more uniform, a positive value makes the noise more uneven (this is the same control as found in Camera Raw and is not available for Gaussian or Uniform).
  • Color – controls how much color appears in the grain (from monochromatic to highly saturated).
  • Highlight – suppresses the application of noise in the highlight areas (for better highlight/shadow matching).

06) Spin Blur

The new Spin Blur filter creates non-destructive, realistic, motion effects including the ability to spin an object at variable angles, as well emulate traditional strobe effects. This video will show you how:

Shortcuts for the Spin Blur filter:

  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the center pin to reposition the Rotation point (the center of the spin).
  • Command + Option -drag (Mac) | Control + Alt -drag (Win) the pin to duplicate the pin.

07) The Motion Effects Panel in Blur Gallery

Use the Motion Effects panel to emulate traditional strobe effects (including the ability to define the strength, number of flashes and duration)on Path and Spin Blur filters.

  • Strobe Strength: determine how much blur will show between flash exposures. (0% Strength = no strobe effect. 100% Strength = high strobe effect, little blur shown between exposures). This simulates the control of balance between strobe light and ambient light.
  • Strobe Flashes: Set the number of exposures.
  • Strobe Flash Duration: Measured in degrees (º), this allows the user to set the “length” of the flash by setting how much distance on the circumference the blur.

Strobe strength is set to 100% in all three illustrations.

08) Field Blur

Unfortunately, Field blur is one of the least used of the Blur Gallery filters because once a pin is added, it blurs the entire image and at that point, most people dismiss it’s value. However, you can set down additional pins and set each pin’s blur value independently to create differing levels of blur throughout an image.

Original image (left), and multiple Field Blur pins set to varying blur amounts (right).

09) Iris Blur  

  • From the center pin to the “free-floating” solid white dots, no blur is applied. Between the solid dots and the solid white circle is the “transitional” area where the blur is applied over the length of the transition. Beyond the solid white circle, the blur is fully applied.
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win)  the free-floating dots to move independently (thus making the transitional area asymmetrical).
  • Drag the large square on the solid circle outwards to create a rectangular shape Iris blur.
  • Drag the small white dots on the outer circle to rotate and/or to distort the circle to an oval.

Original image (left), Iris Blur added to soften background and emphasize hand (right).

10) Additional Blur Gallery features

  • When working with selections, use the Vary the Selection Bleed to expand the blur into the selection (This feature is disabled when using Smart Objects/Filters and, the selection must be created before selecting the filter).
  • Decrease the Focus amount to blur the center of the Iris and Tilt-Shift blurs if you want the image to start slightly out of focus.
  • Enable Save Mask to Channel in the Options bar to create an alpha channel when applying the filter. (If the blurs are the same type, or a combination of Tilt-Shift, Iris and Field blurs, Photoshop will create a single unified, intersecting mask.)
  • Enable High Quality for smoother rendering when applying bokeh (this feature might decrease performance).
  • If you use the Blur Gallery filters often, assign a custom keyboard shortcut (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts) to the one you use most (this give easy access to the others as well).
  • Neither the Blend Mode nor Opacity settings for Blur Gallery can be changed (like you can for other Smart Filters), but you can duplicate the Smart Object before applying the filter and then use the Blend Mode and Opacity settings to blend the filtered / non-filtered layers together.
  • When applying Blur Gallery on a multi-layered document, you can see other layers while applying the filter. In addition, you can choose to show your Layers panel while in the Blur Gallery (Window > Layers) to change Opacity, Fill and Blend modes on layer that is being filtered. When finished interacting with your layers, you can choose to hide the Layers panel by selecting “Reset Workspace” from the Blur Gallery workspace (in the upper right of the interface).
5:15 AM Permalink
June 8, 2017

Joshua Tree – An Afternoon in Solitude

I have finally embraced the fact that I’m an introvert. Not only do I like spending time alone, I need to spend time alone. If you surround me with people day after day, eventually, I will run out of “nice”.

I enjoy nature. And silence. Put the two together and that’s when I do my best creative work. So, when I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon driving through a national park by myself, I packed my camera gear, jumped in the car, and off I went.

I used Adobe Spark Page to assemble my favorite images from the afternoon and limited my editing to the “more traditional” photographic editing/toning workflow in Lightroom. (I find that setting limitations (as well as deadlines) enables me to actually publish the work in a timely manner!)

“I believe loneliness is a door you have to go through—a passage leading you to solitude. Solitude is what I’m after. The kind of tranquility that allows you access to your own imagination. Solitude helps you differentiate, define the borders of the self. Solitude helps you figure out where everybody else stops and you begin. Solitude is quite different from being alone. Solitude is the state of being alone without losing your mind.” ­­—Jeanne Marie Laskas

 

Below are some images from the project. The original, raw captures are on the left and the toned images are on the right. I used the Basic panel to set white balance, black and white points, increase shadows, decrease highlights, and increase Clarity. I used the Targeted Adjustment tool (in the HSL panel) to desaturate and darken the luminance of the sky.

In the next set of images, I used the Adjustment Brush to selectively dodge and burn the tips of the cacti and the pink flowers, and the Radial Filter to lighten the edges in the image of the cacti and darken the edges of the flower image.

For this last group of images (top images are original captures, bottom images are edited), working in Reference View (in the Develop module) made it much easier to compare images while adjusting HSL to unify the sky across the images. I really appreciate that I can create a collection in Lightroom CC, sync it to the cloud, and then access those files to quickly assemble my Spark Page.  Click here for a video that demonstrates how to create your own Adobe Spark Page.

5:20 AM Permalink
June 6, 2017

10 Tips for Working with Filters in Photoshop CC

Here are 10 of my favorite tips, techniques and shortcuts  for working with filters in Photoshop CC.

01) Apply the Last Used Filter

  • Command  + Control + F (Mac) | Command + Alt  + F (Win) executes the last used filter.

02) Display the Last Used Filter

  • Command + Option + F (Mac) displays the dialog box for the last used filter. (Note: there is no default keyboard shortcut for Windows, however you can make your own by customizing the shortcut for Filter > Last Filter and then adding the alt key when using that custom shortcut!)

03) Filter Gallery

  • Filter Gallery can only be applied to 8 bit images.
  • While in the Filter Galley dialog:
    • Option -click  (Mac) | Alt  -click (Win) a filter’s preview icon to add it as a new filter (instead of replacing the current filter).
    • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the disclosure triangle to the left of a Filter Category to expand/collapse all categories.
  • If you prefer to view the artistic filters listed under Filter Gallery in the filter menu, select Preferences > Plug-ins > Show All Filter Gallery Groups and Names.

04) Quickly Find and Apply a Filter

  • If you know the name of the filter that you are trying to run, but don’t want to waste time finding it in the menus, use Command + F and type the filter name into the search dialog.
  • If you often use the same filters, assign a keyboard shortcut to them using the Keyboard shortcut editor (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts)

05) PDF with Examples of Photoshop Filters

I created this PDF (JKost_ArtisticFilters) for my Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training course on Lynda.com | LinkedIn Learning.  The examples are pretty straight forward, (meaning that I didn’t combine any filters to make “complicated” effects), but I think it’s a good resource especially for anyone that is teaching Photoshop.

06) Non-destructive Filtering of Layer(s)

  • Any filter applied to a Smart Object automatically becomes a “Smart Filter”. (Choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object to convert the selected layer(s) into a Smart Object before adding the filter).
  • Change the filter parameters of a Smart Filter at any time by double clicking on the name of the filter in the Layers panel (that’s what makes them smart, they’re nondestructive and re-editable at any time).
  • Change the Opacity and Blend Mode of the Smart Filter by double clicking the Filter Blending Option (two small lines with triangles under then to the right of the filter name in the Layers panel.)
  • Paint in the Smart Filter mask just as you would any layer mask (black to hide the filter, white to show).
  • When working with video in Photoshop, converting a layer into a Smart Object and then adding a filter applies the filter to all frames in a video layer (not just the first frame).

07) Moving Smart Filters

  • In the Layers panel, drag the name of the Smart Filter to copy it from one layer to another.

08) Duplicating Smart Filters

  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt  -drag (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
    • Dragging the name of the Smart Filter duplicates without copying the mask.
    • Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter including the layer mask.

09) Making a Selection on a Layer with a Smart Filter
If you use a Smart Filter’s mask to hide the effects of a Smart Filter, Photoshop will still make selections based on the filtered content – even though it is hidden.

Here is the original photo of an Iceberg, converted to a Smart Object ignorer to add the Path Blur filter as a Smart Filter.

10_16_01_so

The illustration below shows after adding the Path Blur (listed as Blur Gallery on the Layers panel) as a Smart Filter. Notice that the entire layer is blurred.

10_16_01_blur

Drawing a linear gradient in the Smart Filters mask reveals the Path Blur in the water, but hides it from the iceberg.

10_16_01_filtermask

Using the Quick Select tool, I expected Photoshop to easily select only the sky, but it selected the iceberg as well (because Photoshop applies the Path Blur to the entire layer – the mask is only  hiding the filter).

10_16_01_selection

Hiding the Path Blur (by toggling off the eye icon next to Blur Gallery), enabled the Quick Select tool to easily select the sky.

10_16_01_hideblur

In the final image below, I added the new sky layer (adding a mask based on the selection so that they sky wouldn’t overlap the iceberg), and toggled on the visibility of the Blur Gallery Smart Filter (to display the Path Blur filter in the water).

10_16_01_sky

10) Fading Filters

Command + Shift + F (Mac) | Control + Shift + F (Win) displays the Fade options to change Opacity and Blend Mode of the fade last filter applied. Note: the Fade command can only be applied directly after running the filter and can not be used on a Smart Object (because Smart Objects are non-distructive and can be changed at any time using the Layers panel).

4:48 AM Permalink