(b)Maximum Exposure: Photographic Effects
This chapter is a nice change because you generally get to start each project with a photograph, and then you'll just add cool effects to it. This is a bigger advantage than it might first seem. I mean think about it—if you don't start with a photo, you're starting off with a blank canvas. There's nothing more terrifying than staring at a blank page and trying to come up with an awesome effect entirely from scratch. So, in essence, this chapter is kind of like cheating, and that's good. Unless of course, you live in Vegas where apparently cheating is frowned upon. In fact, if you're caught cheating in a Vegas casino, I've heard they make you use Corel PhotoPaint or PaintShop Pro as punishment, so if you live out that way, you don't want to chance it. In fact, in the interest of personal safety, I'd recommend that all Nevada residents skip this chapter entirely, and always start each Photoshop project with a blank page. Hey, the last thing you want is some angry pit boss chasing you around threatening you with lesser products. It's just not worth it.
(c)Visual Color Change
If there's one thing clients love to do, it's change the color of the product in their product shots, but luckily for you (a) it's easy, and (b) it creates billable work. Here's one of the easiest ways to change the color of just about anything.
Step One: Open a color image that contains an object or part of an object whose color you want to change.
Step TWO: Select the object you want to apply a quick color change to (in this example, we used the Lasso tool to select the woman's blouse).
Step THREE: Go under the Image menu, under Adjustment, and choose Hue/Saturation. When the Hue and Saturation dialog box appears, check the Colorize box in the lower-right corner.
Step Four: Now, simply grab the Hue slider (the top one) and drag it until your image has changed to a color you like (of course, make sure the Preview box is checked in this dialog box, or you'll be doing this blind). When it looks good, click OK.
Getting better results from the Eyedropper tool
There's one setting you should change immediately that will give you better results from your Eyedropper tool. Click on the Eyedropper, and in the Options Bar, change the Sample Size from Point Sample to 3 by 3 Average. This helps
keep you from getting erroneous readings when using the Eyedropper, because when it's set to Point Sample, you get the reading from one single pixel, which may not be representative of the colors in the area where you're clicking. Set to 3 by 3 Average, it averages the color of the pixels surrounding the area that you clicked, which
is considered by many to provide a much more usable reading when doing color correction.
Better-looking color-to-grayscale conversions
If you have a color image that you want to convert to a grayscale image, you can choose Grayscale from the Mode menu, but Photoshop just throws away the color, and you generally end up with a pretty bland-looking grayscale image. Here's a tip for getting a better color-to-grayscale conversion: Rather than choosing Grayscale, go to the Channels palette and click on each individual color channel (the Red, Blue, and Green). These channels appear in grayscale mode by default, and more often than not, one of those channels (by itself) makes a pretty good-looking grayscale image. Keep that one, and drag the other two to the trash. Now, when you go under the Image menu, under Mode, and choose Grayscale (it doesn't have any color to throw away, you already did that), you wind up with a great-looking grayscale conversion.
(c)Depth of Field Effect
This effect imitates a shot taken with a camera very close to the subject. This causes the area closest to the lens to be in very sharp focus, but the image immediately starts to go out of focus as the depth of field changes.
Step One: Open the image you want to apply the effect to. Switch to Quick Mask mode by pressing the letter "q." Press the letter "d" to set your Foreground color to black. Click on the Gradient tool and in the Options Bar, make sure the gradient chosen is Foreground to Background.
Step TWO: Using the Gradient tool, start approximately at the area that you want to be in focus and click-and-drag about 2" toward the area that you want out of focus. (In the example shown here, I started at the bottom right side of the man's face and dragged diagonally up to the left). When you do this, a red-to-transparent gradient will appear across your image.
Step THREE: The red portion of your gradient should appear over the area you want to remain in focus. Switch back to normal mode by pressing the letter "q" again. Go under the Select menu and choose Feather. Enter a value of 20 and click OK (use a higher number for high-res images). Don't Deselect yet.
Step Four: Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. As you drag the Radius slider to the right, you'll see your selected area start to blur. Choose the amount of blur that looks good to you and click OK. Deselect by pressing
Command-D (PC: Control-D)
to complete the effect.
Getting around your image, one button at a time
There are a dozen or so keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out of your image: switching to the Zoom tool, zooming to Fit on Screen, and a bunch more. But there are some lesser-known navigation shortcuts that can be helpful when you're working on large, high-res images. These are mostly one-button wonders that are available to anyone with an extended keyboard (which is just about everybody not using
a laptop). Here goes:
To jump up one full screen in your image, press the
Page Up key.
To jump down one full screen, press the Page Down key.
To move to the left one full screen, press Command-Page
Up (PC: Control-Page Up).
To move right one full screen, press Command-Page Down
(PC: Control-Page Down).
To jump to the upper-left corner of your image, press
the Home key.
To jump to the lower-right corner of your image, press
the End key.
Navigating with the Navigator palette
Yet another option you have for getting around your document is the Navigator palette. It's kind of a one-stop-shop for navigating your document. It shows you a little thumbnail version of your image in which you can drag a view box to display the part of the image you want to work on. To create your own view box (at the size you want), hold the Command key (PC: Control key) to change your pointer into a magnifying glass. Now, you can click-and-drag within the thumbnail preview window and when you release the key, you have a new view box.
Other ways to navigate inside this palette include dragging the slider to zoom in and out, typing in the exact percentage of zoom you want, or clicking on the tiny mountain icons to zoom either in or out. I don't
use the Navigator palette myself; I prefer to use just keyboard shortcuts, but I know some people who use the Navigator palette exclusively, and they seem to be perfectly nice and well-adjusted.
(c)Blending Images for Instant Collages
This is one of the fastest and most fun ways to blend (or collage) two images together. It uses Photoshop's Layer Mask command. This is so easy to do, yet so effective, that it opens up a whole new way for many people to collage multiple images.
Step One: Open a background image (either RGB or Grayscale). Press the letter "d" to set your Foreground color to black.
Step TWO: Open a second image that you want to use in your collage. Press the letter "v" to switch to the Move tool and drag this image on top of the background image in your original document. Make sure this dragged layer covers (or at least significantly overlaps) the background layer.
Step THREE: Go to the Layers palette, and at the bottom of the palette, click on the Layer Mask icon (it's the second one from the left). The image doesn't change, but if you look in the Layers palette, you'll see another thumbnail icon added to the right of your top layer's thumbnail icon. This represents your Layer Mask.
Step Four: Click on the Gradient tool and in the Options Bar, click on the down-facing triangle and the flyout Gradient Picker will appear. Make sure the selected gradient is Foreground to Background, then take the Gradient tool and drag it through the image on the top layer, stopping before you reach the edge of that image. You'll notice that the images blend together.
Step FIVE: You can continue to drag the Gradient tool over and over again, until the blend looks just the way you want. If you see the edge of your image, you've dragged too close to the edge or past it. Try re-dragging the Gradient tool, stopping about 1" before the edge of your image.
Step SIX: If you want more control over how your images blend, you can paint directly on the mask by pressing the letter "b" to switch to the Brush tool, choosing a large, soft-edged brush, and painting. When you paint with black as your Foreground color, the background image paints in. When you paint with white, the top image paints over the background. That's all there is to it.
Layer Masks tips
The tutorial on the right uses my favorite layers feature—Layer Masks. Here are a few tips for working with Layer Masks that you'll enjoy (okay, I don't know if you'll actually "enjoy" them, but they might come in handy).
[lb] To delete your Layer Mask, drag just the Layer Mask thumbnail into the Trash icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
[lb] You can view the Layer Mask as a red rubylith. Hold Shift-Option (PC: Shift-Alt) and click on the Layer Mask thumbnail
(if you don't already know what a rubylith is, then you probably won't care about this feature).
[lb] You can disable the Layer Mask by holding the Shift key and clicking on the thumbnail.
[lb] You can move the image independently of the mask by clicking directly on the Link icon between the layer thumbnail and the mask thumbnail.
If you don't like your Layer Mask, start over
If you applied a Layer Mask to your image and you can't get it to look quite right, sometimes the best thing to do is just start over. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can click directly on the Layer Mask thumbnail and drag it into the Trash icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, but there's another way that may be quicker because you don't have to create a new mask in the Layers palette. Hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Layer Mask icon (this displays the mask), then press Option-Delete (PC: Control-Backspace), which fills your Layer Mask with white; and you're "reset" and ready to start over. Option-click (PC: Alt-click) on your Layer Mask thumbnail again, then drag a gradient through your image, or start painting directly on your image (of course, you're really painting on the mask).
(c)Adding Motion Effects
If you've ever tried to add a sense of motion to an image using Photoshop's Motion Blur filter, you've probably already noticed that the effect is often too intense and tends to overwhelm the image. Here's how to apply a Motion Blur and then selectively decide how much blur and where you want it to appear.
Step One: Open the image that you want to apply a Motion Blur effect to. Make a copy of the Background layer by dragging it to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Step TWo: Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Motion Blur. Enter an Angle for your blur matching the direction of the object (in this case, it's around –11°). Choose between 40 and 50 pixels for your Distance. Click OK.
Step THREE: Press the letter "d" on your keyboard to reset your Foreground color to black (the default). Click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (the first icon from the left). This will not affect your image but it will add a second icon next to your Background copy layer in the Layers palette. Switch to the Brush tool and make sure that your Foreground color is still set to black.
Step Four: Choose a large, soft brush, and paint over the areas where you DON'T want the Motion Blur effect to appear. (We painted over the cyclist's face, over parts of the handlebars, wheels, and legs). If the effect is too intense, lower the Background copy layer's Opacity. The lower you go, the less effect is applied. Also, if you erased too much motion and need to add some back in, switch your Foreground color to white and paint the motion back in.
Merging your visible layers in one shot
In many of the effects in this book, you wind up with three or more separate layers. If you merge these layers one-by-one, the effect may wind up changing or disappearing altogether, because as you merge down, the order of your layers changes (as they're combined) and that changes the blending. Instead, there's a keyboard shortcut you can use that will get around this problem. It's Command-Shift-E (PC: Control-Shift-E). This is the keyboard shortcut for Merge Visible, and it takes all the currently visible layers and flattens them into one layer (it's like having
a keyboard shortcut for Flatten Image).
Erasing back your original image
If you're working on an image and things start to look bad, you have a few choices. You can go under the File menu and choose Revert, which reverts your image to how it looked when you opened it. But what if you like some of the things you've done thus far and don't want to revert the whole image back to the original? What you can do is switch to the Eraser tool, hold the Option key (PC: Alt key), and start erasing over the areas that you don't want to keep. Usually, the Eraser tool erases your image, but when you hold the Option key (PC: Alt key), it erases back to how the image looked when you originally opened it. Kind of a revert in a brush. This is called the History Eraser, and it works much like the History Brush, but for some reason, many people seem to be more comfortable using the Eraser tool in this capacity rather than using the History Brush.
This is a popular effect in print and multimedia, and it's used when the background image is very busy or very dark (or both) and you want to place ad type over your image that can easily be read. Although we're using the technique with a white-screened effect here, it's just as popular using a dark-screened effect.
Step One: Open a background image that you want to put type over.
Step TWO: Using the Rectangular Marquee tool, make a selection of the area where you want your type to appear.
Step THREE: While this area is still selected, create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Step Four: Press the letter "d," then the letter "x" to set your Foreground color to white. Then fill your selection with white by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace). Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).
Step FIVE: Lower the Opacity of this layer to create the amount of backscreen effect you'd like. A 20% screen is a very popular choice for backscreening, and to achieve a 20% screen you'd lower the Opacity to 80% on this layer. In this example, I actually lowered the Opacity to 60%. This lets a bit more of the background show through, but because the black text is so large, it's still very readable.
Step SIX: To add more depth to your backscreen effect you can add a drop shadow behind it. Just click on Layer 1 (the backscreened layer) in the Layers palette to make it active, click on the little ƒ icon at the bottom of the Layers palette for a pop-up menu of Layer Effects, and choose Drop Shadow. Click OK in the Drop Shadow dialog to complete the effect.
The express lane to backscreening
If you're not too fussy about the exact percentage of backscreening, there's a faster way to backscreen an image. Make your selection and then press Command-L (PC: Control-L) to bring up the Levels dialog box. Drag the left bottom Output Levels slider to the right to instantly backscreen your selected area.
Backscreens aren't just white
Depending on the image, sometimes when you attempt a backscreen effect, a light backscreen won't work. If the image is already of a lighter nature, a light backscreen can get lost, so instead, try a dark backscreen. You can do this in the Levels dialog. Press Command-L (PC: Control-L) to bring up the Levels dialog box, and drag the right Output Levels slider to the left. This will darken your selected area. If you prefer to use Curves, you can add a light backscreen by dragging the bottom point of the curve straight upward. To add a dark backscreen, drag the top-right point straight downward.
(c)Studio Tarp Technique
This is an ideal way to create a quick background image for portraits, and works especially well for executive portraits. I've used this technique numerous times when someone's given me a snapshot taken in their kitchen, backyard (insert your own unfortunate location for a photo shoot) and I remove them from that background (using Extract) and put them on a new one.
Step One: Open a new document in RGB mode. Press "d" to make black your Foreground color, and then click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette to create a new layer. Fill this new layer with black by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace).
Step TWO: Create another new blank layer above your black-filled layer. Go under the Filter menu, under Render, and choose Clouds. Go under the Edit menu and choose Fade Clouds. When the Fade dialog box appears, lower the Opacity to 40%, and click OK to lessen the effect of the Clouds filter.
Step THREE: Press Command-E (PC: Control-E) to merge your clouds layer with the black layer below it. Go under the Filter menu, under Render, and choose Lighting Effects. When the Lighting Effects dialog box appears, choose Crossing from the Style menu, and click OK to apply a soft lighting effect to your layer.
Step FOUR: Go under the Filter menu, under Brush Strokes, and choose Spatter. When the dialog box appears, set the Spray Radius to10 and the Smoothness to 5. Click OK. Go under the Edit menu and choose Fade Spatter. When the Fade dialog box appears, lower the Opacity to 50%, and click OK to lessen the effect of the Spatter filter by half.
Step FIVE: Go under the Filter menu, under Brush Strokes, and choose Sprayed Strokes. When the dialog box appears, set the Stroke Length to 12, the Spray Radius to 7, and the Stroke Dir to Right Diagonal. Click OK. Go under the Edit menu and choose Fade Sprayed Strokes. When the Fade dialog box appears, lower the Opacity to 50%, and click OK to lessen the effect of the Sprayed Strokes filter to half.
Step SIX: To complete the effect, open the image containing a person that you want to put on the new background that you just created. Select them with the tool of your choice (Lasso tool, Extract filter, etc.) and use the Move tool to drag-and-drop them into the new background.
Color correction for dummies
I know, I know, there should be a book with
that title, but until one comes out, Photoshop
has the next best thing. It's called Variations. You can find it under the Image menu, under Adjust, and what it does is display your original image and half a dozen different color variations of that image. All you have to do is decide which variation looks better than the original. It also shows you a lighter and darker version of your image, and if one or the other looks better than your original, pick it. Every time you click on one of these thumbnails, it updates your current pick. Your original is always displayed at the top of the dialog, along with your current pick right alongside, so you can easily compare the two. This is a very basic correction tool, and frankly, it's not the greatest, but if you have no color correction experience, this is the place to start. The best part is, when you open the dialog box, you'll realize that it's so easy, that you really need no instructions to use it (even though I just gave them to you).
How to get an undo, three days after you closed your document
You're probably already familiar with Photoshop's History feature, which by default lets you undo your last 20 steps. Unfortunately, when you quit Photoshop, those undos go away. But there is a way to undo color or tonal corrections days, weeks, or months later. Here's how: The next time you're going to apply a tonal change of some sort (using either Levels, Brightness/Contrast, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, or a few others), don't just choose them from the menus. Instead, go to the bottom of the Layers palette and click on the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon. It's the little circle that is half black and half white. A pop-up menu will appear and you can choose which tonal change (or fill) you want to apply. A special layer will appear in your Layers palette with the name of your tonal change (e.g., Color Balance). After you save your layered document, when you reopen it, the Color Balance layer will still be there. To edit your original Color balance adjustment, double-click on it. To undo your color balance change, drag the Color Balance layer into the Trash.
(c)Mapping a Texture to a Person
You may have heard of this technique as a Displacement Map technique because it uses Photoshop's Displace filter to map a texture from one object onto another object. This has become particularly popular in the past couple of years and fortunately it's quite easy to do, yet it looks as if you worked on the image for hours.
Step One: Open the image that you want to apply texture to. (In this example, we're using a photograph of a woman, and we're going to apply the texture to her skin.)
Step TWO: Make a duplicate of your image by going under the Image menu and choosing Duplicate. Then, go under the Image menu, under Mode, and choose Grayscale to convert this duplicate image into a Grayscale image.
Step THREE: Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. Apply a 2-pixel blur to your grayscale image and click OK. (Note: 2 pixels is okay for low-res, 72-ppi images; for high-res, 300-ppi images, try 4 or 5 pixels.) Now, go under the File menu and save this blurry grayscale image. Name this file "Map" and save it in Photoshop's native format (making it a .psd file). This is the file we'll need when we apply the Displace filter in Step Six.
Step FOUR: Open the image you want to use as a texture. Use the Move tool to drag this texture image on top of your original image.
Step FIVE: Press Command-A (PC: Control-A) to put a selection around the entire image area. Then, go under the Filter menu, under Distort, and choose Displace. When the Displace dialog box appears, enter 10% for Horizontal Scale, and for Vertical Scale. Under Displacement Map, choose Stretch To Fit, and for Undefined Areas, choose Repeat Edge Pixels. Click OK.
Step SIX: When you click OK, the standard "Open File" dialog box appears, prompting you to "choose a displacement map." Locate the grayscale file you saved earlier (in Step Three), click the Open button, and the Displace filter will use this map file to "map out" the texture to fit your image. You'll see your image area warp a bit when you apply this filter, but to see the full effect, there's still a little more work to do.
Step SEVEN: Press Command-D (PC-Control-D) to deselect. In the Layers palette, click on the Eye icon in the first column beside the texture layer to hide it. Return to your original image layer (the woman) and select the background area behind her. (Note: Since the background behind the woman is a solid color and easy to select, we used the Magic Wand tool.)
Step EIGHT: In the Layers palette, click on the texture layer to make it the active layer (your selection should still be in place). Press Delete (PC: Backspace) to leave a silhouette of the texture in the shape of the woman's head. Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).
Step NINE: At the top left of the Layers palette, change the Blend mode of this texture layer to Soft Light to make it look as if it has been painted onto her skin. Notice how the texture follows the contours of her face as if it were tattooed on. If the Soft Light Blend mode seems too soft, try Overlay or even Multiply for a darker effect. Lower the layer's Opacity if the effect seems too intense (we lowered it to 60%). To complete the effect, on the texture layer use the Eraser tool with a small, hard-edged brush to erase over her eyes, lips, eyebrows, and her blouse so that the effect just appears on her skin.
Making precise-sized selections, method #1
If you know the exact size you want to make a selection, there are a couple of things you can do to get there. The quickest and easiest is to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool, open the Info palette (shortcut: press F8), and as you start dragging your selection, glance in the bottom right-hand corner of the Info palette and you'll see a W (for Width) and an H (for Height) reading. As you drag, you'll see (in real time) the size of your selection, displayed in your current unit of measurement (inches, pixels, or whatever you have it set to).
Precise-sized selections—method #2
Another way to make a selection in the exact size that you need is to click on the Rectangular Marquee tool and change the style in the Options Bar Style pop-up menu. By default it's set to Normal, but if you choose Fixed Size, you can type in your desired size in the Width and Height fields just to the right of the pop-up menu in the Options Bar.
Now, when you click the Rectangular Marquee tool anywhere within your image, a selection in that fixed size (and only that size) will appear.
What to check if you can't save your file in the format you want
If you try to save your Photoshop document and you get a warning in the dialog saying that "Some of the document's data will not be saved using the chosen format," here's what to check for:
(1) Layers: If you have layers in your document, you can only save in Photoshop or TIFF format without losing data.
(2) Check for extra channels: If you have an extra channel (perhaps a saved selection), you cannot save in the EPS format without losing data. Go to the Channels palette, drag the channel to the Trash, and then you can save as an EPS.
(3) You need a Background layer: If your only layer is named Layer 1 or Layer 0, Photoshop treats it as a layered document. You first have to go under the Layers palette's pop-down menu and choose Flatten Image.
(4) Check your color mode: Some file formats aren't available for certain color modes; for example, BMP doesn't show up as a choice when you're in CMYK mode.
(c)Montage from One Image
This is a technique I saw years ago, and not since then, until I saw it pop up recently in a print ad in Entertainment Weekly for the VH1® original movie, The Way She Moves, and I remembered how slick it was, because it lets you create a montage effect by using only one image. It's a great way to add some quick visual interest to an otherwise static photo.
Step One: Open an image that you want to apply this effect to. In the Layers palette, double-click ona the Background layer your image layer) to bring up the New Layer dialog box. Name this layer "Image Layer" and click OK to convert your Background layer into a regular Photoshop layer.
Step TWO: Next, create a new blank layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Then, go under the Layer menu, under New, and choose Background From Layer (which converts your new layer into a Background layer).
Step THREE: Press the letter "d" then the letter "x" to make your Background color black. Go under the Image menu and choose Canvas Size. When the Canvas Size dialog box appears, enter a dimension that is about 25% larger than your current image size, and click OK to put a black canvas area around your image.
Step FOUR: In the Layers palette, click on your "Image Layer." Press the letter "m" to get the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw a small rectangular selection in one part of your image (as shown), but don't select the main focus of the image—choose outer areas for the most part. Cut this selected area from your "Image Layer" and put it on its own layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J).
Step FIVE: Press "v" to switch to the Move tool, and move this new layer either slightly up, down, to the left or to the right (your choice) about 1/2".
Step SIX: At the bottom of the Layers palette, click on the Add a Layer Style icon (the black circle with an "ƒ" in it), and choose Outer Glow. When the Outer Glow Layer Style dialog box appears, click on the tiny beige Color Swatch and change the Glow color to black. Change the Blend Mode to Normal, and adjust the Size upward until your black glow is visible onscreen. Click OK.
Step SEVEN: In the Layers palette, click on your "Image Layer" again, draw a rectangular selection in a different area, and put it on its own layer again by using the Command-J (PC: Control-J) shortcut. You're going to use the same concept of slightly moving the rectangle for each selection.
Step EIGHT: Once you make a selection into a layer, you'll need to apply the glow you made to your first layer to all subsequent layers. To do that, just click on the Outer Glow effect and drag-and-drop it (within the Layers palette) on the layer you want the effect applied to.
Step NINE: Once you've applied the glows to all your layers, you can use the Move tool to position your rectangular layers into a pleasing layout, and then add any type to complete the effect.
Tips for Tablet Users
If you use a Wacom tablet with Photoshop 7 (and well you should), there are all kinds of controls expressly for you in the new Brushes palette. The problem is they used "Adobe speak" to name the controls. For example, when you want to have the size of your brush change as you press harder with your Pen, you don't look under Size. No, that would be too easy. Instead, you have to look under the options for Shape Dynamics. So here's my tip for remembering which controls are found where: When you click on one of these sets of options (on the left side of the Brushes dialog), look at the first slider for a hint. If you click on Shape Dynamics, the first slider is for Size Jitter. Ah ha! These are the options for controlling size. If you click on Other Dynamics, the first slider is named Opacity Jitter. Again, use the first word to tip you off. Lastly, click on Color Dynamics, and the first slider is Foreground/Background Jitter, where you can set the Pen to fade from your Foreground to Background color using pressure.
Getting rid of blemishes and scratches on your image
If you have an image with blemishes, spots, or scratches (generally called "artifacts"), here's a little trick that will help. Click on the Blur tool. In the Options Bar, lower the tool's Opacity setting to 20%, change the blend Mode to Lighten, and start painting over your scratches. In just a few strokes you'll see your scratches start to disappear.
Resizing by the numbers
Instead of using Free Transform, holding the Shift key (to constrain its proportions), and dragging a corner handle, there's a much more precise way to resize objects on a layer, and this way lets you input a variety of measurement values to get the exact size you want. Here's how:
Press Command-T (PC: Control-T) to bring up the Free Transform function. Now, look up in the Options Bar and you'll see fields where you can increase/decrease the Width and Height. By default, these fields are set up to increase/decrease by percentages (200%, 300%, etc.), so you can type in any percentage resize you'd like. However, you can also type in other measurement units. For example, if you wanted your image to be 3" x 3", in the Width field type "3 in" (for inches), and in the Height field type "3 in." If you want your resize to be in pixels, type "px" after your value (i.e., "468 px").
I saw this technique used very effectively on a menu cover for the Olive Garden® restaurant. It's a take-off on the classic vignette effect, but rather than just softening the edges, it also focuses the attention on the subjects of the image, while adding a soft border technique at the same time.
Step One: Open the image you want to apply the effect to (in this case it's a 72-ppi color image in RGB mode). Make a selection around the area you want as the focal point of your effect using the selection tool of your choice (in this case I used the Rectangular Marquee tool).
Step TWO: Go under the Select menu and choose Feather. Enter 5 for the Radius and click OK. (Note: For high-res images, use 15 instead.)
Step THREE: While your selection is still in place, press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to put the selected area on its own separate layer, above your Background layer.
Step FOUR: In the Layers palette, click on the Background layer to make it the active layer. Then, go under the Image menu, under Adjustment, and choose Levels. When the Levels dialog appears, click on the bottom-left Output Levels slider and drag it to the right, about two-thirds of the way to the opposite end to lighten the background image. (The Output field should read somewhere around 175.)
Step FIVE: To complete the effect, click on Layer 1, then press Command-E (PC: Control-E) to merge this layer with the Background layer. Now you can add type to finish off the design. (The typeface I used here was Apple Garamond Light Italic, with the Tracking set at 600, and the type was set using all lowercase letters.)
Put that new layer underneath
By default when you click the New Layer icon (in the Layers palette, it creates a new blank layer directly above your current layer. But if you want the new layer to appear directly below your current layer, all you have to do is hold the Command-key (PC: Control-key) while pressing the New Layer icon and the new layer will appear below your current layer.
Make that guide jump!
If you have a horizontal guide visible in your Photoshop document, you can instantly make that guide become a vertical guide by simply holding the Option key (PC: Alt key) and clicking on the guide. It will immediately jump to a vertical guide (and vice versa).
(c)Soft-edged Portrait Background
This is a technique that I started showing in my live seminars as a 30-second portrait or product shot background. Basically, it adds a quick "burned in" effect around the edges of your image, and although the background looks pretty bland when complete, as soon as you put an object or person on it, it instantly "makes sense."
Step One: Open a new document in RGB mode. Choose a light Foreground color that you want to appear in the center of your background. Press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill your Background with this color.
Step TWO: In the Layers palette, create a new blank layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the palette. Set your Foreground color to a darker shade of the color you used earlier (in other words, if you started with a light blue, now pick a dark blue). Then press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill your layer with this color.
Step THREE: Press "m" to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and draw a rectangular selection about 1/2" to 1" inside the edges of your image (as shown).
Step FOUR: Go under the Select menu and choose Feather. When the Feather dialog box appears, enter 25 pixels (for low-res images) or 60 pixels for 300-ppi, high-res images. Click OK, and the feathering will soften the edges of your selection (you'll see the edges of your selection round on screen).
Step FIVE: Press Delete (PC: Backspace) to knock out a soft-edged hole in your top (darker) layer.
Step SIX: Open the head shot of the person you want to place on this background. Select just the person (leaving their old background behind) and drag it on top of your original document to give a studio backdrop look to your head shot.
Setting paragraph attributes
By now you probably know that you can create text that will flow within its own "text box" by clicking-and-dragging the Type tool to create a text box in the size you'd like, before you actually enter text. But a lesser-known tip is that if you hold the Option key (PC: Alt-key) while you drag, it will bring up the Paragraph Text Size dialog where you can enter a specified Width and Height for your text box. Pretty slick!
Not sure what size view you need? Try this tip.
You probably know that you can view your Photoshop document at almost any percentage view (96%, 115%, 120%, 135%, etc.) by typing in the View field at the bottom left-hand corner of your document window, but here's a cool tip to speed things up. If you don't know exactly which size you want, you can keep that field highlighted and ready as you enter another view size. Here's how: instead of just pressing the Enter key to see your new size, press Shift-Enter, and your new view will be displayed, but the view field is still highlighted, enabling you to immediately type in a new view percentage.
This is a slick technique for adding tattoos to people without having to get your client drunk and dragging them to an unsavory part of town after midnight. Although this version of adding a tattoo is relatively painless for the client, you should definitely charge as though it was a real tattoo. Maybe more.
Step One: Open the RGB image where you want to apply the tattoo.
Step TWO: Open the image of the tattoo you want to use for the effect. My Creative Director Felix Nelson designed the tattoo shown here (which you can download from the book's companion Web site), and his "tattoo design tip" is to use the Airbrush tool with a small soft-edged brush, and don't use 100% fills—leave the area patchy and don't completely fill it in for a more realistic tattoo.
Step THREE: Drag the tattoo image onto the photo where you'll be adding the effect. Then press Command-T (PC: Control-T) to bring up Free Transform. Control-click (PC: Right-click) and choose Rotate 90° CW from the pop-up menu of transformations. We do this to set up the image for the filter we'll run in the next step.
Step FOUR: Press "m" to get the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw a selection around your tattoo. Make sure it's a bit wider and taller than the tattoo image (as shown).
Step FIVE: Go under the Filter menu, under Distort, and choose Shear. When the Shear dialog box appears, click in the middle of the grid to add an adjustment point. Click-and-drag this point to the left (as shown) to put a slight bend in your tattoo (see why we had to rotate the image before applying the bend?). Click OK to apply the Shear.
Step SIX: Press Command-T (PC: Control-T) to bring up Free Transform. We're going to Scale the tattoo down to the size of her arm and rotate it slightly to fit the angle of her arm. Grab the top-right corner point, hold the Shift key, and drag inward to scale the image down in size. When the size looks right, move your pointer outside the bounding box and click-and-drag to rotate it into position. Press Return (PC: Enter) to apply the transformation.
Step SEVEN: Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. Apply a 0.5-pixel blur to soften the appearance of the tattoo and to make it look more realistic.
Step EIGHT: In the Layers palette, change the Layer Blend Mode of the tattoo layer from Normal to Multiply to make the tattoo appear as if it's been burned into the skin.
Step NINE: Lastly, to complete the effect, go to the Layers palette and lower the Opacity setting of the tattoo layer to 75%, which further helps the tattoo look more natural.
Drawing straight lines
If you've ever had a problem drawing a straight line with a Photoshop tool, here's a little tip that will help. Instead of dragging the tool, just click once at the point where you want to start, then move to the point where you want your straight line to end, hold the Shift key, click, and Photoshop will automatically draw a straight line between the two points.
How to make your small type for the Web look sharp
Without much fanfare, Adobe introduced a new level of Anti-aliasing in Photoshop 7 that's very handy for creating small type for the Web. The level is called "Sharp" and it's accessed from the Anti-aliasing menu in the Options Bar, any time you have the Type tool selected.
Bring up the Brush Picker fast
Need to pick a brush in a hurry? While you have one of the Brush tools selected, just press the Return key (PC: Enter) and the Brush Tip Picker will appear within your image right at the spot your pointer appears. Choose your brush and hit Return (PC: Enter) again to close the picker.
My creative director Felix Nelson came up with this technique for making a transparent part of your photo maintain that transparency when placed on another background. It's the best technique I've seen for this type of photo trickery and my hat's off to Felix for not only coming up with it, but making it so easy that anyone can do it. Felix rocks!
Step One: Open the image that contains transparent areas. In the example shown here, the base of the monitor is transparent and that will present a problem when we put this monitor on a different background. (You can download the same image from our Web site.)
Step TWO: Select the object using Photoshop's selection tools (or you can use the Path we included in the monitor file. Go to the Paths palette and Command-click [PC: Control-click] on Path 1 to load it as a selection). When the monitor is selected, drag it onto the background image as shown.
Step THREE: Select just the bottom of the monitor (the areas that you'll want to look transparent). As you can see, the brownish color from the original photo shows through the transparent areas and is a dead giveaway that it was pasted from a different background onto this image.
Step FOUR: Once you have the bottom of the monitor selected, press Shift-Command-J (PC: Shift-Control-J) to cut the stand off the layer and put it on its own separate layer. Now press Shift-Command-U (PC: Shift-Control-U) to remove the color from the base. Now press Command-J (PC: Control-J) two times to make two duplicate layers of your base, as shown at right.
Step FIVE: On the Top Layer (Layer 2 Copy 2) change the Layer Blend Mode to Screen, and then press Command-L (PC: Control-L) to bring up Levels. Type in 128 in the first Input Levels field to darken the shadows on this layer. Then, click on the layer just below it (Layer 2 copy) and change the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay.
Step SIX: Now, click on Layer 2 (your original base layer) and change the Layer Blend Mode to Multiply. Press Command-L (PC: Control-L) to bring up Levels. Type in 128 in the third from the left Input Levels field to blow out the highlights in this layer and complete the transparent effect (as shown). We also added a new image in the computer monitor window, just for looks.
Resetting Photoshop's defaults
Ever wished things would just go back to the way Adobe originally had set up Photoshop—using all the original default settings? You can do it easily—just hold Shift-Option-Control (PC: Shift-Alt-Control) then launch Photoshop. You'll get a dialog box asking if you want to reset Photoshop to its default settings.
The hidden Fill Dialog shortcut
Although there doesn't seem to be a keyboard shortcut for bringing up the Fill dialog box, there actually is; it's just kind of buried in Photoshop folklore (whatever that is). To open the Fill dialog box, just press Shift-Delete (PC: Shift-Backspace). Freaky.
(c)From Snapshot to Car Ad
Next time you're thinking of selling your car through AutoTrader®, you might try this effect on the photo and ask at least $800–$900 more. You've seen this technique numerous times in print ads for the big carmakers, and we blow the cover off how it's done.
Step One: Take a photo of your car (okay, this isn't my
car; I stole it, but I did take the photo on a street near our office). To make the shot look a bit more like a car ad, I took it from a low angle (I got down on one knee in the street, mind you) and I used a Nikon Coolpix 990.
Step TWO: Use the Selection tool of your choice to put a selection around the car. (You can download the car from the book's companion Web site, and I saved the selection for you. To load it, go under the Select menu and choose Load Selection. Choose Alpha 1 from the Channel pop-up menu, and click OK to load the selection.)
Step THREE: Once the Selection is in place around your car, press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to put a duplicate of the car on its own layer
Step FOUR: In the Layers palette, click on the Background layer. Then go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Motion Blur. When the dialog box appears, set the Angle to 0° and the Distance to 214, and then click OK to apply a motion blur to the Background layer (as shown).
Step FIVE: In the Layers palette, click on Layer 1 (the copy of the car). Press Shift-M to get the Elliptical (round) Marquee tool. Draw an Elliptical selection around the front wheel. (Tip: Hold the Spacebar to reposition the ellipse as you're drawing it.) Then, go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Radial Blur. For Blur Method, choose Spin, enter 24 for Amount, and click OK to put a "spin" on the wheels.
Step SIX: Repeat the process on the back tire. (You can't select both tires at the same time and apply the Radial Blur filter because the center of the blur won't fall in the right place.)
Step SEVEN: Lastly, we'll darken the windows to hide the fact that if you look through the back windows, the background doesn't appear motion blurred. Make
a selection of the window areas of the car, then press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to put the windows on their own separate layer.
Step EIGHT: The windows in this particular picture look very green, so we'll remove the saturation from the windows before we darken them. Press Command-U (PC: Control-U) to bring up the Hue/Saturation dialog. Lower the Saturation to –60 and click OK to reduce the green in the windows.
Step NINE: To complete the effect, press Command-L (PC: Control-L) and when the Levels dialog box appears, drag the lower-right Output Levels slider to around 170 to create a tinted windows effect.
Make that Curves dialog HUGE!
Since everybody's using these huge monitors set at large resolutions (like 1280 x 1024), it can make the Curves dialog box really tiny, which makes working with curves sometimes a bit frustrating. That's probably why Adobe added a little button in Photoshop 7 that, well…makes the Curves dialog box much bigger. It's in the bottom right-hand corner of the Curves dialog, just below the Preview checkbox. Click on it, and the size will "jump up."
The Layer Styles trap
This is more of just a "heads-up" than a tip, but if you create a custom Layer Style (a combination of different Layer Effects) and save it to the Styles palette, the settings saved will only give the desired effect if you apply the style to images that have the same resolution as the image you created the style within. In other words, if you create a custom Layer Style, while working in a 72-ppi document, and then later apply that style to a 300-ppi image, the effect will look different—in many cases much less intense, and in some cases it might not look right at all. The tip here is: if you find a combination of styles you like, create that style in both low-res, and high-res versions, so you always get the same effect, no matter what the resolution of your image.
Moving shapes as you draw
While you're using one of Photoshop's Shape tools, you can reposition the shape as you're dragging it out by holding down the Space bar.
(c)From Snapshot to Movie Poster
This technique lets you take a few snapshots and use a popular Hollywood technique employed in countless movie posters. The technique is actually very simple; the hard part may be making selections of the people in your snapshots—so make your job easy—shoot them on easy-to-mask backgrounds (in other words, don't do what I did).
Step One: Open the images you want to collage into your movie poster. In this instance, I'm using three shots taken with my Nikon Coolpix 990 in front of our offices. The photos are (left to right): Ted LoCascio our Associate Designer; Chris Main our Managing Editor; and Felix Nelson, our Cabana Boy.
Step TWO: Open an image that's large enough to accommodate the three images collaged together, and make sure it's the same resolution and color mode as your original images. In this case, I used an image that was 7.833" x 9.042". Why that particular size? I have no idea, that's just what I used. Go figure.
Step THREE: Return to one of your snapshots and make a selection of the person
(I used Photoshop's Extract filter, under the Filter menu, to remove the person from the background). To make things easier, I've already selected each person for you and saved Alpha Channels for you to load—just go to the book's companion Web site to download these images.
Step FOUR: After your selection is in place, drag the person on top of your large background image (as shown). Press Shift-Command-U (PC: Shift-Control-U) to remove the color from the image. (We do this for effect as we'll add a blue tint to all three images, but it also makes it easier because matching the skin tones is no longer really an issue. There's a technical term for this—cheating).
Step FIVE: Next, go under the Image menu, under Adjustment, and choose Hue/Saturation. Click the Colorize button, and then move the Hue slider to 216 to add a blue hue to the black-and-white image. Go under the Filter menu, under Noise, and choose Add Noise. For Amount enter 3, for Distribution choose Gaussian, and turn on Monochromatic. Click OK to apply some noise to the person.
Step SIX: Repeat Steps Three, Four, and Five for the other two persons (select each one, drag it into the other image, remove the color, tint them blue, and Add Noise). In the Layers palette, position the second person behind the first one, and the third person behind the second (as shown). Also, to hide the edges of each person, go under the Layer menu, under Matting, and choose Defringe.
Step SEVEN: Now it's time to add some dramatic shadows to the images, to…well, add some drama. Hold the Command key (PC: Control key) and in the Layers palette, click on the layer of the first person you added to your background image to put a selection around that person. Next, press the letter "L" to switch to the Lasso. Press "d" to set your Foreground color to black.
Step EIGHT: While you have the Lasso tool, hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and drag over the center of your subject's face, following the contours of the face. This will be the dividing line for your shadow area. By holding the Option (PC: Alt) key, you're subtracting from your existing selection. When you're done, what you should have is half the person selected (as shown). Create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Step NINE: Go under the Select menu and choose Feather. When the Feather dialog appears, enter 5 to soften the edges. Press "g" to switch to the Gradient tool. Up in the Options Bar, click on the down-facing arrow next to the Gradient Thumbnail to bring up the Gradient Picker. Choose the second gradient (Foreground to Transparent). Take the Gradient tool and drag from the right side of your selection to the left to create the shadow.
Step TEN: If your shadow doesn't look right, you have to press Delete (PC: Backspace) and try again—don't just drag a new gradient over the old gradient. When it looks right, press Command-D (PC: Control-D). You'll have to repeat Steps Seven through Nine on the other two persons in your poster. Because the third person is facing the opposite direction, you'll have to deselect the other side (as shown).
Step ELEVEN: Once all your shadows are in place, we're going to merge all the persons and their shadow layers together into one layer. In the Layers palette, hide the Background layer by clicking on the Eye icon next to it. Then, go under the palette's pop-down menu and choose "Merge Visible" to merge the layers you have left visible into one single layer. Now you can make the Background layer visible again.
Step TWELVE: Click on the New Layer icon to create a
new blank layer and drag it beneath the layer with your heads. Press "m" to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw a selection from just below their shoulders to the bottom of the image.
Step THIRTEEN: Press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill the selected area with black. Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D). Press "g" to switch to the Gradient tool.
Step FOURTEEN: Go up to the Options Bar and click on the down-facing arrow next to the Gradient Thumbnail to reveal the Gradient Picker. Click on the first gradient (Foreground to Background). In the Layers palette, click on your people layer. Click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, then drag the Gradient tool from near the top of the black up toward the faces to blend them with the black area below them.
Step FIFTEEN: The final step is to add type to help give the "movie-poster" effect. In this case, the type at the top is Minion (kind of like Times) set in all caps with +1000 tracking to add lots of space between the letters. The movie title is the same font, but for the line of credits just below it, I needed a tall thin typeface, so I used Bodega Serif (it was the only tall thin face I had on hand). The very bottom line is Minion, again in all caps.
Can't remember the abbreviations for measurement units? Try this!
You probably already know that most of Photoshop's fields that accept any kind of measurement (inches, pixels, etc.) allow you to switch back and forth among different units of measure by following the number with the abbreviation for the unit. For example, if your ruler units are set to Inches, but you want to create a selection that is 128 pixels wide, you can enter "128 px" in the Option Bar's Width field, and Photoshop will do the unit translation for you. But what if you know which unit you want to use, but don't know exactly the right abbreviation (unless its pixels or inches, I never do) believe it or not, Photoshop will allow you to type in the full name of the unit of measure. For example, if you need something to be 90 centimeters, just type exactly that in the field and Photoshop will grant your wish (so to speak).
Stop worrying about Smart Quotes
If you've been using Photoshop for a while, and you're concerned with professional-looking typography in your Photoshop images, then you already know the keyboard shortcuts (which are different for Mac and PC) for creating Curly Quotes (also called Smart Quotes) for your punctuation marks. However, you don't have to worry about that anymore because in Photoshop 7, there's a new Preference setting (which is on by default) that automatically converts your straight "dumb quotes" into curly "Smart Quotes." However, if for some reason you need this turned off (for example, if you need to make a proper foot or inch sign), you can access it under Photoshop's General Preferences panel.
Unlinking layers the fast way
If you have a number of layers linked together and you want to quickly unlink them, you'll love this tip—just hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click directly on the tiny Brush icon in the 2nd column beside your current layer. This will immediately unlink all layers linked to your current layer.
Hide that path!
If you've been tromping over to the Paths palette every time you want to hide a path from view, there's actually a quicker way—just press Shift-Command-H (PC: Shift-Control-H) and your path will be temporarily hidden. To make it visible again, just press the same shortcut.
Change the size of your palette thumbnails in
You can quickly change the size of the thumbnail previews in any of Photoshop's palettes that display thumbnails by Control-clicking (PC: Right-clicking) outside the thumbnail in a non-used area. For example, if you drag downward on the Layers palette, with only one or two layers you'll see the gray open area I'm talking about. Control-click (PC: Right-click) there and a pop-up menu with thumbnail sizes will appear.
(c)Colorizing Black & White Images
This is a technique for colorizing grayscale images that's great for getting that hand-tinted effect. This particular version uses Photoshop's Hue/Saturation command to add color to selected areas.
Step One: Open a grayscale image that you want to colorize. You have to be in a color mode to colorize a grayscale image, so go under the image menu, under Mode, and choose RGB to put your image into a color mode.
Step TWO: Using one of Photoshop's selection tools, select the first area that you'd like to colorize (in this example, I used the Lasso tool to select an area).
Step THREE: Go under the Image menu, under Adjustment, and choose Hue/Saturation, or press Command-U (PC: Control-U). When the dialog box appears, check the Colorize box. Now you can move the Hue slider to choose the color you'd like. If the color seems too intense, lower the Saturation slider.
Step four: Continue this process of selecting areas, going to Hue/Saturation, checking the Colorize box, and moving the Hue slider to add color to your image.
When to use Colorize
The only time you really need to check (turn on) the Colorize box in the Hue/Saturation dialog is when the image or selected area you're working on doesn't already contain color. Turning this checkbox on adds color to the image. If your image is already in color, and you want to change the color, you don't need to click Colorize, just move the Hue slider to pick a new color.
Getting realistic colors
One trick you can use to get more realistic colors for critical areas like flesh tones, grass, hair, sky, etc., is to open a full-color image at the same time that you're trying to colorize your grayscale image. That way, when you're in the Color Picker, you can move your cursor outside the dialog to sample real colors right from the color image, and then return to your image and paint with those colors.