Archive for December, 2015

#CreativeFriday – Using Adobe Stock and Smart Objects

Sometimes when working on composites, either for creative ideas during the creative process or for including in the final version, getting the right image can be challenging and also time consuming. Adobe Stock could be the answer, and I wanted to show how to use Adobe stock when inside Photoshop CC, or the other Desktop apps to save you lots of time and open up more creative ideas.

Access to Adobe Stock is available within the Libraries panel of the Desktop applications; however, i’ve just used Photoshop CC as an example here. Just to be clear, Adobe Stock is an additional subscription, which allows you to use watermarked assets for free or to buy the same high-resolution imagery, vectors and illustrations (watermarked images can be used ‘FPO’ Free for Placement Only). This can be beneficial, as it might help you visualise an idea for a shoot or composite.

Adobe Stock has been embedded into the applications within the Libraries panel, and it’s content can be searched using the Search box (marked in red). The search results are shown in purple within the same panel. Stock items have metadata associated with them, which is used for the search, this data also comes across once the image is downloaded (into a designated library), therefore the search can be used not only against the  Stock library, but also for the assets that have been downloaded (either licensed or watermarked) within the library or across any instance (Library and Stock).

Hovering over an image from the Stock search, will show the download watermarked image (marked in yellow), or license/buy option (the basket item (covered later within this blog)). Assets are downloaded into the library that has been selected (red), new libraries can be created on the fly (possibly due to a project or other focused content), and be shared/collaborated on with other Creative Cloud users. Clicking the icon within the yellow marked area, will download the low resolution version of the asset into the selected Library.

Once the asset has been downloaded, it will be available within your environment under the selected library, as well as within the other desktop apps, and available too any one else sharing/collaborating on the library with you. Once the assets have been downloaded into the library, they can be dragged into the canvas and added to the composite. Notice that when the content is brought into the layer panel, it’s set up as a Smart Object, which means you will be working with a copy, not the original, therefore if anyone else if using the content, then they will get a clean watermarked image. As an aside, the original image can be modified, by right clicking on it and choosing ‘edit’.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 05.51.52 copyOnce the asset has been loaded into the layer as a Smart object, this means that non-destructive adjustments can be applied without altering the original image and can be modified at any point into the future. Notice that in the example below, the Image Adjustments (as opposed to Layer Adjustments) have been used. Within Photoshop CC, these adjustments are now available for use on Smart Objects, and will be applied as non-destructive edits. Once the adjustment has been applied, you will see the adjustment below the layer to which it was applied (marked in yellow).

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 05.51.52 copy 4To finish this composite off, I’ll add a Santa hat. Searching Adobe Stock once more, I can easily find some ‘Christmas Decorations’ and add what I feel is needed to finish this image.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 06.54.14Then using masks and selections, the new addition can be cut out and placed into the original comp. The selection can be quickly converted into a mask, by clicking the create mask icon marked in red.

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Once a mask has been created (marked in green), it can be refined using the Mask edge (marked in yellow). Once the edge has been refined (in this case, just the hat and white edges), the Mask can then be updated (marked in red).

N.B. Only the hat has been refined using this method because there is some good contrast to pull all of the fur out from the background. The bracket holding the hat as limited contrast so a refined mask edge won’t work very well. To cut this element out, the mask can be edited using a standard black and white brush directly on the mask.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 06.59.09 copyPressing Shift +Alt +click on the mask with show the mask overlaying on the image, this can make it easier to mask in/out these areas.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.03.24 copyOnce finished, the object fits in quite nicely.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.08.30Of course, adjustments can be made to this layer, so that it fits in with the background size and colours.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.13.02Once the composite has been completed, it can either be created in the real world, or the Stock images can be purchased from your Stock plan.

To buy/license the images, it’s as simple as heading over to the Library panel, and then right clicking on the image and choose buy.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 08.06.45 copyBecause the images can be purchased inline of the composite and it’s adjustments, adding the high-resolution image does not need to be downloaded, re-imported or have the adjustments re-applied manually. This unique approach to using watermarked images, and buying from within the application can save vast amounts of time. Of course you are also able to contribute to Adobe Stock and get rewarded for your efforts.

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Photoshop Max release 2015.1 – New Features and enhancements

Hi everyone, I just wanted to make sure that you are all upto date with the new feaures in Photoshop CC from the Adobe Max update, so you can explore over the Christmas break.

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Major features

  • New Start Experience (includes recent file thumbnails, document presets, Libraries access, and personalized tutorial content. Can be disabled in the preferences)

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.11 Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.42 Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.47I quite like the recent files list, as it helps me open documents that i opened a few hours or a few days ago, but of course you can turn this off in the preferences (below)

To turn off the start workspace (files, presets and libraries) then uncheck the Show “Start” workspaces (marked in red). To turn off the “Recent files” panel, then uncheck the box within the area marked in yellow.

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  • Design Space (Preview) enhancements (I won’t be discussing this here, but as an action to all desginers, we would love to hear your thoughts on Design Space).
    • new 2-column User Interface
    • search across application and across-document
    • integration of Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud Libraries;
    • sampling unification and workflow simplification for all layer types + Sample All
    • swap layers,
    • Groups and Artboards support
    • create artboard or document specific guides
    • export single and batch with ability to add multiple settings and presets
    • other improvements to Select and Properties panels

Before “Design space”, can be used, you need to make sure that it’s turned on in the Technology Preview preferences setting (marked in Yellow) and the check box is checked (marked in Purple below). Design Space is turned on by default, but maybe turned off in your environment. Once turned on, Design Space can be accessed from the window menu, and selecting Design Space (marked in red below).

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  • Do more with Artboards
    • show only active Artboard layers
    • per-Artboard guides – Each Artboard, once selected, can have it’s own set of GuidesScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.29.34 copy
    • on-canvas “+” to add ArtboardsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.27.28
    • new Artboard preferences, marked in red below.Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.53.21 copy


  • Modern user interface and new touch capabilities on the Windows operating system
    • dark dialogs (except Camera RAW)
    • support for larger tabsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.58.09 copy
    • new gestures,
    • Modifier Keys panel on the Windows operating system


  • Customise your toolbarScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.05.17 copy
  • A new level of flexibility for your design work (3D character workflow from Fuse)


  • Do more with Creative Cloud Libraries
    • create Library from document
    • drag and drop between Layers panel and CC libraries panel (shown below)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.16.12 copy
    • brush support
    • keyword search across Libraries and Adobe Stock
      • Area marked in red is for the keyword(s)
      • Area marked in yellow is where to search
      • Area marked in Orange shows an already licensed Stock imageScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.20.24 copy
  • Find fonts faster
    • starring fonts as favorites (Stars now appear next to the fonts, click it to set as a favorite (shown in blue below)
    • filter by classification and similarity (Areas marked in light blue, orange and green are the filters to refine the font list)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.31.56 copy
    • most recently used fonts (shown in red below)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.41.02 copy
  • Faster Export with more control
    • improved performance especially JPG
    • applying settings to multiple assets in the Export dialog
    • convert to sRGB
    • export of multi-sized assets and metadata optionsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.44.25
    • Individual layers can also be selected and exported using the Export As dialog. Selecting the layers in the layers panel, then right clicking to bring up the fly out menu. The Export As will process the selected layes and give options for each (including the re-sizing for different screens)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.47.15 copy
  • Use more vector content with SVG import
    • Open and place native SVG files—which can rescale for any size device or any resolution—in your Photoshop designs. Just double-click the object to edit it in Adobe Illustrator.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.23.08 copyAlso export SVG image assets using the new export experience.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.23.08 copy v2

  • Find the right glyph faster
    • most recently used
    • sort by glyph ID or unicode value


  • Dehaze with local adjustment brush/radial/graduated filters in Adobe Camera RAWScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.04.20 copy
  • Re-introduced the Oil Paint filterScreen Shot 2015-10-01 at 22.49.30
  • Support sRGB export with new Export As options
  • Option to skip transform when placing Smart Objects on canvas (one of my favorite time saving aditions)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.10.13 copy
  • Added an option to save to Libraries when pasting a Smart Object from Illustrator
  • Better default shape stroke value (1 px instead of 3 pt)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.11.59 copy

Other feature improvements and JDI’s

  • New “Graphic and Web” workspace
  • Ability to resize the Export As dialog
  • Improved PNG interface in the Export As dialog (for exporting to PNG-32 or PNG-8)
  • Saved file type and quality settings between Exports
  • Improved stability of Device Preview connection, and added more troubleshooting options
  • Set type layer position on canvas (X/Y) in the Properties panel
  • Improvements to Copy/Paste/Drag between documents, clipboard and CC Libraries
  • Improve the display of artboard names, allow them to be turned off
  • Artboard and marquee snapping improvements
  • Added artboard preference for matte color and border type
  • Align command now works with single selected layer within artboard (artboard is implicitly selected)
  • Artboard custom presets now show up in the Artboard tool bar/property presets menu
  • Prevent Locked Layers from being auto-nested in artboards
  • Allow artboards to lock position
  • Added keyboard modifier (shift) to determine if layers get added to bottom of groups
  • Added 16pt as one of the preset values in the font size drop-down
  • Hyphenation now defaults to Off
  • Added several items to Designer Favorites in Glyph panel
  • Maintain selected glyph when switching fonts
  • Selecting a single glyph on canvas selects the glyph in Glyph panel
  • Added option for “diffusion” to Healing Brush, to reduce artifacts in some situations
  • Improved baseline alignment of many dialogs and widgets
  • Improved document presets with new iPad Pro, updated presets with DCI 4k, 8K, and moved HDTV up the list
  • Disabled the “no layers selected” error when clicking with Move tool outside the canvas
  • Dramatically reduced file sizes for 16- and 32-bit PSDs when “Max compatibility” is unchecked

Major bug fixes

  • Fixed issue GPU corruption issue where the corruption gets saved with the file and is irreversible, undoable
  • Fixed +/- keyboard shortcut issues for toggling shape addition/subtraction

Other changes

  • Removed Sync Settings capabilities from Photoshop CC 2015.1

More details for this release can be found by following this link

Max2015 – Animating Characters with Fuse (preview) and Photoshop CC

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.11.29

The announcement at Max 2015 revealed the new integration pipeline between Fuse (preview) CC and Photoshop, powered by the Creative Cloud Sync. The objective of this integration is to simplify the creation of a custom and unique character in Fuse, then use Photoshop CC to apply smooth animations to your character.

To make a new character, start out in Fuse and select a head.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.11.39

Wizard process will walk you through adding other components like arms, worse and legs.


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Each step enables customisation of that part, i.e. local definition of each part, in the case below, waist, stomach etc.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.14.25

Textile wizard allows adding other elements to the character, like hats, facial hair and other clothes.


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.15.38

With an ability to custom the colour and texture of each element.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.17.38

Once the character is ready, it can be saved as a .muse file, as well as sent to Creative Cloud for processing. Whilst the character is on it’s way to CC it will be automatically rigged for animation. As you can see below, the character will seamlessly be inserted into the Photoshop libraries panel, for each access within Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.17.43

There will be a notification from the Creative Cloud desktop application when the character has been rigged and ready in the library panel.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.22.03

It can then be dragged across into any active canvas, ready for applying the animations or blending into a 2D scene.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.28.58

Below show the new character in the scene, ready for placement. It can be moved around the ground plane, as a regular object. Also notice the black skeletal framework overlaid onto the character.



Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.30.06

Any available animation can be applied by just selecting it from the properties combo box, each selection will result in the application to the model on the screen. You can see below, that the character  is now sat on the floor. This animation sequence will take the model from a sitting position to a standing position.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.31.00

It’s also possible to apply facial expressions, by selecting the face icon and the correct expression required.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.35.15

To finish up, a back ground can be added (from below i’ve pulled it in from Adobe Stock and licensed it), then move the lights around to mimic the shadows which would be created by the sun.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.41.41

The whole process took less that 5 minutes from creation of a custom character, to rigg it and then apply animations and blend into the background.

We hope you have lots of fun with the Integration of Fuse and Photoshop for placement of characters in your 2D scenes.