Archive for May, 2014

#CreativeFriday – Photoshop and working with the Heads Up Colour Picker

Photoshop has a colour panel (available under Window/Colour), but when working quickly and in context a faster and more immediate way is useful. This colour picker is available by holding the CMD+ALT+CTRL (Mac) or SHIFT+ALT+Right Mouse Click on Windows. This keyboard combination will show the following colour palette.

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This colour picker can also be changed, by selecting Preferences / General.

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The option for the HUD Colour Picker (marked Red) can be changed from Hue Strip to Hue Wheel (as well as the desired size for your working conditions).

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The Hue Wheel Medium is represented as the following (the size will depend on what has been chosen).

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Using the Hue strip or Colour wheel is preferential to a lot of people, as it’s more in context of the artwork, but also faster and available when working quickly.

But what do the different dials mean.

Firstly you can select and choose the foreground and background colour by selecting the eye dropper tool (marked Blue),then by clicking on the image (without any modifier keys selected), will set the foreground colour, if the ALT key is held during the click, the background colour will be set.  If the “show sample ring” is turned on (marked in Yellow), then the sample ring will be shown (marked Red). The sample ring is showing two colours, the top half represents the colour at the eye dropper position and the lower half is the last colour used. This is a great way to compare the new colour with the previous colour, it’s particularly useful in many disciplines including digital painting techniques, for colour blending.

You may need to set up the eye dropper tool by modifying the how the colours are selected using :-

  • the sample size (marked in Pink), will choose the size of the sample area.
  • the sample selector (marked in Green), which will determine which layers the colours are sampled from


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Once the foreground is set the Heads up colour picker when invoked will use this as a starting point, which will make selection of similar and matching colours much faster.

Once the Hue Strip is shown (screen shot below), the :-

  • area marked in green is the same as the sample ring, although the top half of the ring does not change when moving around the pallet.
  • middle area marked in pink defines the whole range of hue’s available
  • left and right of the middle area marked in pink is the selected tone (shade and tint), relative for each hue in this strip based on the location of the sample ring on the pallet.
  • small area marked in yellow is the current selected hue
  • moving the eye dropper over the area marked in Yellow will change the colour range of the large square (also marked in Yellow). When moving back and forth between the hue selector and the large square (to select the tone or shade), the small hue selector (small Yellow box) might move, holding the space bar will lock it in position as you move to the larger colour picker.
  • When moving the sample ring in the larger Yellow square, the foreground colour of Photoshop will change dynamically, but the sample ring won’t show the current colour tone that it is positioned over, this will make it easy to compare the colour from the original eye dropper tool and the colour that is under the sample ring. Letting go of the keyboard / pen will commit the colour of the foreground.

Within the bigger yellow box, the :-

  • area at the bottom is the amount of black in the colour (controls the shade)
  • area at the top left is the amount of white in the colour (controls the tint)
  • range of white to black from top to bottom on the left is the grey scale value
  • range of white to full saturation from left to right on the top of the square is the amount of white in the colour which controls the tint.
  • moving down the left hand side of the square will increase the amount of grey that will be introduced into the colour,until black is reached, this will affect the tones (shade and tint) of the final colour.


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Some creatives prefer to use the colour wheel, as it spreads out the hue’s.

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Photoshop Live Flash Sale – Friday 30th May

For today only (Friday 30 May) you can save 50% on your ticket.

Photoshop Live is a brand new conference for photographers and designers. Taking place at the Brighton Dome from 18-19 July (19 July is Photography Day); Photoshop Live will arm you with all the techniques you need to develop your Photoshop skills.

By visiting Photoshop Live you will get face-to-face tuition and inside tips from some incredible Photoshop artists. The fantastic line-up includes; Miss Aniela, David Clapp, Glyn Dewis, Matt Kloskowski, Tigz Rice and more.

With an opening keynote from Adobe, retouch masterclasses, Lightroom for landscape, surreal fashion and much more, Photoshop Live is a must-attend for photographers keen to improve their photo editing.

Your ticket will also include the opportunity to enjoy a stunning photowalk around Brighton with fellow photographers and the Photoshop artists on Sunday 20 July.


You won’t want to miss out on this amazing saving. Book your ticket today.



Adobe Revel Free accounts are upgraded to 2GB of storage.

All Free Adobe Revel accounts now have 2GB of storage allowance. This means that the limit of uploading 50 pictures a month has gone away and now you can upload a lot more, potentially a couple of thousand (depending on the file size).

I use Adobe Revel to store all of my pictures that i want to show my friends and family. Adobe Revel is a great service which allows me to  upload my pictures from anywhere (inlcuding my smart phone (iPhone and Android), as well as my desktop (windows/Mac) computer).

It’s free to join and get a free account and take advantage of the 2GB limit here.

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Collaborate on Creative Assets with Private Folders in Creative Cloud

Preview – Collaborate on Creative Assets Creative Cloud

Today is an exciting landmark with Creative Cloud,  you can now share any folder that is synced from your desktop with the Creative Cloud service, privately with another member of the Creative Cloud. This can be performed from two places, either from your desktop Creative Cloud folder, or from within the Creative Cloud web site.

On the Creative Cloud desktop from your computer (either on Finder on the Mac or Explorer on Windows), you can now right click at the folder level, and choose “Add Collaborators” to people to share this folder privately with other members.


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Once this has been chosen, you will be sent to the Creative Cloud web view for this folder, where you can add a user by their Adobe ID.

To add people in to the folder collaboration, just add their Adobe ID email address and click “Invite”

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Once this has been completed, the user will be sent an invitation (vie email, the Creative Cloud Desktop app and within the Creative Cloud web view), where they will need to accept the invitation to join the folder. Once the invitation has been accepted, the folder and is contents will become part of their folders and will be sync to their desktop via the Creative Cloud app (if it is running and file sync is turned on).

You will see a screen similar to the following, allowing you to add members to the collaboratoration.

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Removal of the collaborator is easy, clicking the “X” by the side of their name and clicking the red button. In this case “Remove invitation” is shown, but may change based upon where the invitation is in the system (i.e. if the person has or has not accepted the invitation).

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Folders that are part of the collaboration mechanism will have a different look on the folder system (marked in Red).

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On the Creative Cloud web site, it will look similar (marked in Red below), clicking on this icon will open up who is collaborating on this folder, also the owner is able to remove people and add other people to collaborate.

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There is no locking and access control system with creative assets. If two people open the same file and save at the same time, then the last change will be the one that is recorded. Once a change has been made, applied to the shared folder, the contents will be synced and replaced on the web, the other collaborators will get the new version , both on the web view as well as synced to the desktop via the Creative Cloud desktop application.

The Creative Cloud will store the changes within a single file at the Creative Cloud web level, and at any point can be rolled back with a 10 day rolling window.

Once the asset is opened on the Creative cloud web view (as shown below), there is an activity tab, along with the activity stream on the right hand side of the screen (marked Blue below).

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By clicking on the version that the asset needs to be rolled back to (Marked Brown), then choosing Restore (marked Red), will update the web view, as well as the assets within the collaborators folders (for each collaborating individual). The desktop assets will also be changed to the new version as well. All versions will stay associated to the file and can be moved backwards and forwards within the time window (10 days).

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Also, to get access to this feature or to share assets with people that are not a subscribers to the Creative Cloud, a free Creative Cloud account with a 2GB storage allowance is available, and has access to collaborate on shared folders as well, and is available to sign up to here.

As you can see this will enable collaboration on assets within the Creative Cloud, including Layers on  Photoshop PSD , TIFF files, Illustrator files etc etc. We believe this is the next chapter in collaboration on creative assets in the modern world.

If you are not a member of Creative Cloud and are thinking about it and would like to give it a go, or want to sign up, then head over here to set up your plan type.




#CreativeFriday – Simplifying difficult selections in Photoshop CC

Sometimes you get an image that needs work in specific areas, or part of an image need cutting out. There are some great tools inside Photoshop to do this, i.e. Magic Wand, The Pen Tool and the Quick Selection Tool, as well as many other methods. These tool have been designed to provide a fast way of selecting objects based on an algorithm and the actual image data. Even though these tools are amazing and do a fantastic job, there can be tricky images, where alternatives methods are needed.

In the following example i’d like to work on the two people in the scene. Ideally i’d just like to select them with one of the tools. However, the issue is that whilst there are areas of contrast that the tools can use to find an edge, there are a lot of areas that are going to be challenging (especially around the head of the person in the background). There are lots of ways in Photoshop to solve this problem, this post is just a different way to make this type of selection much simpler.

This method will employ the new Photoshop CC new Camera Raw Filter to increase exposure / contrast / shadows etc in the image , and provide a temporary edge so that the Quick Selection Tool can be used to select the people very quickly.

1The image adjustment will be temporary, so the first thing to do is create a way to apply a radical adjustment, which can be undone later. The image layer is converted to a Smart Object (marked in Red below),  this option can be found in multiple places in Photoshop, one of these is the Filter menu / Convert for Smart Filters, the other is via the fly out menu on the Layers panel.

Once the layer has been converted to a Smart Object, the Camera Raw Filter command needs to be applied to the Smart Object. This filter is marked in Yellow and available from the Filter / Camera Raw Filter menu option.

2 copyThe Camera Raw Filter provides most but not all of the tools in the usual Camera Raw filter (used when opening a traditional RAW file). In the following example you can see that the sliders for the exposure, contrast and clarity have been used to radically adjust the image, to create the temporary edge required for the quick selection tool. Once finished, click OK.

N.B. You may need to adjust these sliders differently in your image to create the same effect.

3 copyThe beauty of using the Smart Object is that the effect is only temporary and can be reset once the selection has been made. You can see in the following screen shot, the Camera Raw Filter is now a child of the layer and has been placed on the Smart Object Filter (marked Yellow). The selection in this example is made using the Quick Selection Tool (marked in Red). The edge selection is now pretty quick and accurate using the new edge from the Camera Raw Filter adjustments.

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Once the selection has been made, it can be refined by using the Refine Edge command (marked Red above).  You can see the refine edge dialog below. The brush (marked red below), is used to paint on the edge of the selection, in combination with the control sliders to make the selection much smoother and more precise. The refine edge is particularly good when it comes to selecting hair and other complex selections. The brush when first used will make a positive selection. However, by pressing the ALT key the cursor will show a negative sign and remove the selected areas.

On this example, a mask will be created to cut the faces out, but there are other options as well, depending on what result you want out of the Refine Edge command to create (options are marked Yellow below).

5.1 copyOnce the mask has been created, it can be refined further by selecting it (marked Red below), then choosing the Refine Edge command (show in red below). This will effectively modify the created mask. Working with the refine edge command takes practice, so if the results are perfect the first time, keep working with it until you have the selection that is required.

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Once the mask has been created to your satisfaction, you can either re-open the Camera Raw adjustments by double clicking on the Camera Raw Filter in the layers panel, then reset and adjustments that were made. Or the effect can be turn off by using the eye icon next to the Smart Object Mask (marked in red below).


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This is one example of using this technique and i am sure there are many others to experiment with. Good luck with your selections and hopefully this post will give you new ideas.

Stay sharp with Typekit Practice

Stay sharp with Typekit Practice

We’ve introduced a new resource to help people learn about typography. We call it Typekit Practice. We’ve just gotten started with a couple of lessons, but we’re excited to add to it and see how people use it. Have a look, and let us know what you’d like to learn about next.



We’ve have also added Mozilla’s Fira Sans and TypeTogether’s Alverata PE to our collection of fonts that are available for desktop sync. Make sure to check them out.

New Digital Publishing app on the iPad for Canon EOS Photographers

There is a new free iPad app in the Apple App Store based on the Adobe Digital Publishing platform. This great app has been created by Canon and goes in the whole Canon camera eco-system. It’s got a wealth of content and interactivity, including which lenses to use for what style of photography (Macro, Wedding, Portrait, Food and many more), tips and techniques when using the Canon EOS system, but also interviews with leading Canon Ambassadors and Explorers. The app is available here in the Apple App store, and is available in EMEA only. If you would like to search for it then type Canon Brochures”  in the iPad app store.










#CreativeFriday – Organising/Filtering and selecting your photos/videos in Lightroom

Filtering your photos in Lightroom

Lightroom was initially designed for professional photographers with input from professional photographers, and this ethos is still the way Lightroom is developed today. The original idea of Lightroom was to help and assist the photographers workflow in this digital world and to smooth out what can be a complex digital world. As we know and have probably experienced, when we are shooting digitally we tend to be collecting a lot more images than we ever did with film, we are also creating artwork and video which is additional to the images that we are storing. Once element of the workflow within Lightroom is focused on managing this problem and providing a way for photographers to find their images extremely quickly. Lightroom includes the Library module to enable achieve this, as well as some other tools to allow you to organise and find your pictures quickly. However,  there is some manual effort required to allow the organisation to be even better!

The core data that Lightroom holds and gives the photographer access to, is the data which is brought in from your camera. When you import assets into Lightroom, Lightroom automatically extracts this data(metadata) and adds it to the internal indexing system (a database). This core metadata then allows images to be found based on items like the Camera body, Lens, F-stop, Flash fired?, GPS coordinates etc, which are all important to photographers. But also, when you are importing the images you  have an additional option to apply keyword(s) in bulk to these assets and can important additional contextual information about the image, i.e. Keywords that describe where a photo was taken, who is in it, what’s going on in the scene etc. This extra information is really valuable for helping the images to be found at a later time.

Working example.

I was on a Photography trip recently covering the Holi colour festival. Before the trip I had started to think about what the images would be used for and and ideas for a story, this type of planning helps ams think about how will organise my images in Lightroom later . During then trip and when I am importing these images back home, I tend to think about how I might want to find them in the future, along with how I can remember the pictures.

Depending how regular you shoot and what you are shooting, can result in collections of thousands of images, and some of them can get lost. Over a good few years of continuous shooting, it’s not uncommon to have have 10’s of thousands, or even 100’s of thousands of images, then finding images can become a real issue, taking huge amounts of time to find the ones that you need. For example, I was asked recently to be part of an exhibition with my Chernobyl work on Behance , Wow I thought, what an amazing opportunity. These pictures were only taken 18 months ago, but I have still taken over 20,000 images since then, and I already had 110,000 in my Lightroom catalog before the Chernobyl shoot. Also, the chap that asked me for the images needed them within 24hours, and I still have a day job to do!

When I imported the images initially I had created them with the some keywords (Chernobyl, Abandoned City, Pripyat, Ukraine). Most of these make some kind of logical link to the images, the only keyword that may not make a logical choice was the “Abandoned City”. Using this type of world allows me to group other places that are Abandoned (i.e. if I ever get to Fukushima, Abandoned villages or other places), already gives me a good start to start and logically group images based on a theme. Ultimately, over many years i’ll have a collection, that may allow me to make a book on Chernobyl, or on Ukraine or on Abandoned places. So using this type of word keywords gives different ways to select for a future use. Also, I used to use Colour ratings for where an images ends up (i.e. Flickr, Blurb Books, 500PX, Behance etc), but I found that I kept getting lost with which colour meant what, especially when you move between different computers and catalogs. So, now I tend to use keywords to store the end location, i.e. 500PX, Behance and other locations are added to the keywords.

This approach to key wording isn’t a time consuming or onerous and doesn’t need to be done all at once, just as and when the images become relevant. Now If I or you get asked to show work, the images can be found quickly using different combinations of keywords and meta data, and it doesn’t get in the way of the image making process.

To enable this, you will need to start to implement adding Keywords into your workflow.

There are effectively two ways to find the data using metadata and keywords in Lightroom. These are using Keyword selections directly or by using the Filter system in Lightroom.


There are two areas that will be focused on in this blog. The Library Filter (Marked Red) and the Keyword selector (Marked in Yellow).  The Keyword selector is great for a quick selection of images that contain a certain keyword, and the Library Filter is great for more complex and combinations of selections.

Keyword Selector

The keyword selector (marked Yellow), has a search area at the top of the panel, which is used to narrow the number of keywords that are shown in  the list. The list of keywords has multiple areas of interactivity, one is the arrow on the left of the keyword, which can be opened to show hierarchy , i.e. if you wanted to categorise all of the Indian towns and cities that you have visited, you can make a keyword called India, then under this define Varanasi, Delhi, Agra etc. The number on the right hand side of the keyword is the number of items in the library that contain that keyword.

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Once you start to type into the keyword search the list will start to reduce. In the example below, the words “Kol” have been entered and it finds words starting with the same characters, however, typing “kata” would also find the same word. The search is applying a contains filter to the list. As you can see, there are only 6 images shown in the grid, that’s because there are only 6 images that have the word Kolkata in the list, clicking on the small arrow (marked blue), will show these six images.


Next to the search icon there is a small drop down arrow, this will show any sub folders that exist under the folders that are selected as part of the search. In the following example, India has been placed in the search bar and you can see that the “Blurb India Book” and “India” (under the Places folder) have been selected, but in this view,what’s under the India folder is not shown.

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If the fly out menu is opened (marked in red), there is an option to select “Show all Keywords inside Matches”. This option will show the folders under India as shown below. There are 39 images under Varanasi and the rest are under the India folder (i’ve not yet finished moving things into the correct places).  You may also notice the small tick box next to each keyword, clicking this check box will allow you to add the keyword to the images that are selected, un-checking this box will remove the keyword from the image(s).

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Library Filter

The library filter is available to show and hide by pressing the ‘\’ key in the Library module, or from the menu bar item View / Show Filter Bar. Once the filter bar is shown there are many options to choose from.


The text option will allow you to select images where the text value that is entered into the search box will be found in the meta data fields described in the yellow box that match the rule in the green box.

I use this option a lot to find an image by file name. Typically when I upload an image to the web I keep the file name in the metadata. If there is a need to access the file, then it will have the same name, regardless of the extension used (PNG/JPG/PSD etc).  I just type the file name in to the search box and Lightroom will look across the folder(s), Collection(s) that have been selected.

The same selection selection options are available within the search box (marked blue), this is available by clicking the arrow next to the magnifying glass.



The Attribute filter enables selection of images using a variety or ways, or a combination of them. Images can be selected by the “Flag” status (i.e. Picked for selection, Flagged or Rejected), marked in yellow. Images can also be selected by using the star rating system (marked blue),  (managing your pictures is covered in this post). If you are more of a colours person, then images can be filtered by using colours (marked pink).

The “Kind” option (marker green) allows users to view images by Master / Virtual copies and Videos.



The meta data filter option allows you to filter the images based upon any metadata fields that exists inside Lightroom. I.e. on the screen below there are options to select by Keyword, Camera, Lens and ISO, however, these can be changed by selecting the drop down next to the heading (marked in Yellow). Also, columns can be added and removed by selecting the fly out menu on each column (marked green). This will provide you flexibility to select the right pictures based upon metadata settings in Lightroom that have been captured by the camera, or been entered in using the keywords.

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It is also possible use a combination of the Attributes selectors as part of the metadata searches as well, just by clicking the attributes/both buttons.

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Selecting multiple options in the metadata search

When in the metadata filter screen, multiple options can be selection (marked in red below). To do this, select the first one by clicking it, then for subsequent ones (across different columns), hold the CMD (Mac)/ Ctrl(Pc) key down and then click on the ones that are also required.  This selection will apply ‘AND’ logic, i.e. Canon 5D Mark II and EF50 F1.5 and ISO 200 and ISO 250. So this is another way to refine the searches and start to use the metadata to plan the story that you might want to tell.

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I had a project running a long time ago, which was pictures that were taken out of a moving car with a 50mm lens using F4. This would have been easy to select using the method described above.

It’s also possible to use the filters across many collections or folders at the same time (as shown below, marked in red). To do this, select the first collection, then using the CMD(Mac) / CTRL(Pc) key click the additional ones to be used. The selected ones are shown at the bottom (marked in yellow), along with the number of pictures filtered (3) and the total number (105) in this example. The multiple metadata items are shown in blue and you can see that the images that are selected over the chosen collections, are images that were taken with the Canon 5D mark II and a TS/E 90mm lens.

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Saving filters as part for future use

The “filters off” combo box is a way to save the filters by creating a preset. The saved presets are available in the top half of the list, saving is easy, just clicking on the “Save current settings as a new Preset” will save to the list. There are other management options available as well.



I hope you find this post useful for organising, selecting and filtering your images.



Photoshop Live 2014 – July 18-19 at Brighton Dome

PS Live

Photoshop Live is the UK’s brand new event dedicated to all things Photoshop. Taking place in Britain’s creative hub, the event will take place in the Brighton Dome from 18-19 July. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what’s happening in the world of Photoshop and a place to learn, be inspired and inspire others.

Friday 18th July is a dedicated day for professional designers and Saturday 19th is a day for photographers.  Featuring some of the best artists in the UK, Photoshop Live is a great day out for anyone wanting to take their photographic art to the next level.

There will be lots of talks and interactivity on both days and Adobe will be there to answer any questions that you have around the Creative Cloud, Photoshop/Lightroom and the plans that are available. Of course you might just want to ask questions about the tools themselves, and we will be more than happy to speak with you on this as well.

Both days will start off with a keynote from Adobe. Tony Harmer will be opening the Friday and I’ll be opening the Saturday, we very much look forward to meeting you there.

If you would like to go, then you can get a discounted ticket from reading this on my blog, all you need to do is to use the code “speaker20” on the registration page.


Richard Curtis

Creative Cloud file view refreshed, and ability to share a Public link to a Creative Cloud Folder is now available

If you navigate to your files page on you will see a refreshed look and feel, as well as having the ability to share a link to a folder by making it public.

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You will also find that you can now share a link to a folder. The Send link is available by clicking the black arrow on each folder. A flyout window (marked in Red) will appear and you can share a link to the folder from here.

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A dialog box will appear (similar to the one marked in red below). By default the folder is private, to make it public and share the link, click the “Create Public Link” button.

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Once the make public button is clicked. You are able to revert this change (marked in red), as well as seeing the short URL for the folder marked green), the URL can also be copied to the clipboard as well. The recipients email address can be entered into the box marked in pink, if you choose this option, then creative cloud will send an email on your behalf once you click the “Send link” button. The download files within the folder can be disabled point, you you would like people to view only.

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When the recipient access the public URL they will see a screen similar to the following. The screen will show the contents of the folder, including other folders. Clicking on the other folder(s) will drill down into those folder(s) as well.

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By clicking on an image will show the one image per page

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When using a Photoshop file, the layers panel can be selected (marked in red below), each layer can then be turned off/on individually to show the build up of the asset.

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The file can be downloaded as well (as long as the download check box was enabled), by clicking on the download link. The viewer will be given options on how to download the file (don’t forgot if you want to share/allow a viewer to view and/or download a Raw Photograph, you can do that as well).

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The download will not be shown when the folders download option is turned off on the send folder link configuration panel.

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Note the download option is now not available to the viewer when this option is disabled.

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If an Illustrator file is viewed, each art board will be shown as a separate page

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Layers in Illustrator files are turned on and off in the same way as Photoshop layers are in the Creative Cloud web viewer.

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This means now that you can share a link to your files in a folder with people that are not in the Creative Cloud.

 But wait there’s more

Content within the folder for the owner has also been refreshed

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We hope that you find this additional feature useful within the Creative Cloud web interface.