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Library: Inside Photoshop

Browse through Inside Photoshop library to enhance your creativity

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Inside Photoshop, August 2015
 Inside Photoshop, August 2015 Issue


Harness the power of layer masks for effortless-but impressive-montages

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:45 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Layer masks are one of Photoshop’s most powerful features; they’re nondestructive, extremely versatile, and they won’t drain your CPUs’ resources. Not only are they powerful, they’re essential when you want to create digital montages such as the one shown in Figure A. Come along for the ride and let’s explore the wonderful world of layer masking.

Article figure image

Prepare for the montage

For the purpose of this article, we’ll explore layer-masking techniques as we compile a montage. You can use any images, but to follow along with our example, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, and extract the file montage.psd. Then, launch Photoshop and open the file.

We’ve already placed multiple images into one document. If you’re using your own images, you’ll need to bring them all over to one file. To do this, open your images in Photoshop, choose the Move tool from the Tools panel, and click and drag an image from its own image window to your montage image window.

More than one way to mask

No doubt one of the reasons some folks find layer masking confusing is because layer masks are so versatile. You can use layer masks to create selections, to hide pixels, and to fade images into each other-just to name a few uses. There’s also more than one way to create a layer mask. For example, you can quickly add a gradate



Give your photos an illustrated look with this technique

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:48 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Reality is terrific, and there’s no better way to capture it for a publication than with a photograph. But what if you want a more illustrative look, as shown in Figure A? You could use the Pen tool to create paths using the photo as a reference and then fill in all the paths. That would be fine for a simple photo. However, unless you’re willing to spend hours and hours drawing, filling, and painting, it’s impractical—especially if you’re up against a tight deadline. So, why not let a few of Photoshop’s filters give you a hand? By using the Find Edges filter and a few other handy commands and filters, you can fast-forward your production time and stay on schedule.

Article figure image

Select the right image

As you’re trying to select just the right image for this technique, think back to Illustration 101. The cardinal rules of illustration class were focus and simplicity—focus in on the point you want to illustrate and keep it simple! These rules still apply. Although you can use any photo, apply the focus and simplicity rules when choosing a photo for this technique. Your selected photo’s visual focus should be obvious and its lines should be simple.

To follow along using our example, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article. Then, extract the file tiger_lily.jpg, launch Photoshop and open the file shown in Figure B.

Article figure image

Limit image colors




Streamline your creative workflow with Adobe Stock

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:50 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Considering Adobe has catered to designers for so long, it’s not surprising that they finally entered the stock art marketplace. With the release of Creative Cloud 2015, Adobe has launched its first stock art service. Whether you’re looking for raster or vector royalty-free images, you can access, purchase, and manage them from within Photoshop or your other Creative Cloud apps.

Start a search

You can access Adobe Stock right from Photoshop! This makes searching for and purchasing images for your designs an easy, integrated process.

To access Adobe Stock from Photoshop:

  1. Choose Window > Libraries to display the Libraries panel.
  2. Click on the Search Adobe Stock icon at the base of the panel, as shown in Figure A, to launch your default browser and take you to the Adobe Stock website, shown in Figure B.
  3. Enter a search term in the search field, and select the options for the image type you’d like, as shown in Figure C.
  4. Click Go or press [Enter] to submit your search.

Article figure image

Article figure image

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Smooth out blemished skin fast with the History panel

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:52 am EST

by Amy Palermo

When you’re retouching a portrait, you don’t want to over-do it. Not all wrinkles are bad and not every blemish needs removal. Admittedly, the common look of a great portrait includes soft, smooth skin. Blurring the skin area is an option, but it can make the rest of the image look fuzzy, as demonstrated in Figure A. We’ll show you how to utilize the History panel and the History Brush tool to selectively soften the skin tones and leave the rest of the image in focus.

Article figure image
Article figure image

Gather an image

To get started you’ll need an image to work with. For our example, we’ll use the same model shown in Figure A. To follow along with us, download the file from the URL given at the b



Create 3 dynamic backdrops from scratch with Lighting effects

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:52 am EST

by Amy Gebhardt

The Lighting Effects filter can create an endless number of backdrops for your imagery. Whether you need a traditional studio background, a lighted stage, or an underwater utopia, you can set the scene in Photoshop without a lot of work. We’ll show you how to create a series of funky backdrops from scratch, so the next time you have a product or image that needs a proper backdrop, you won’t have to worry about finding the right image. You can simply make it yourself!

A studio background

To begin, we’ll create a backlit studio scene, like the one shown in Figure A. Backgrounds such as this have been used for numerous advertisements over the years, as well as for portrait and product shots. First, we’ll create the background, and then we’ll add the flat surface.

Article figure image

To create a studio background:

  1. Create a new 4.5" x 6" 200 ppi RGB document.
  2. Fill the Background with a dark color of your choice. We used a dark blue with R-G-B coordinates of 32-45-99, respectively.
  3. Choose Filter > Render > Lighting Effects to display the Lighting Effects dialog box.
  4. Select Soft Omni from the Style pop-up menu.
  5. Change the Intensity slider to approximately 35 and select a color for your light by clicking on the color swatch in the Light Type area. We used white for our exam


Need a quick perspective reference? Try this easy Vanishing Point trick

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:53 am EST

by Amy Palermo

It is possible! First you’ll need to create a new layer, though. Your reference grid won’t be editable in the layers panel like it is in the Va



Discover the embossing method that suits your needs

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:55 am EST

by Amy Palermo

You must be getting confused between the Bevel and Emboss Layer style and the Emboss filter. It sounds like you are applying the Bevel and Emboss layer style. Even though you can ch



Save your curve settings and reuse them later (CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015)

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:55 am EST

by Amy Palermo

If you spend a lot of time editing images, then you’ve probably run into a situation where you need to apply the same curve adjustment to more than one image. Photoshop comes with a host of curve presets-but you can a



Understanding the airbrush process will help you paint better in Photoshop

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:56 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Because the Brush tool stroke, used with the Airbrush option, looks and reacts exactly like an airbrush, let’s take a moment to study how an airbrush works and how the spray stroke behaves. An airbrush, as shown in Figure A, is essentially a tube connected by a hose to a source of compressed air. Located either on the bottom, or



Deactivate that text box so you can use keyboard shortcuts (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015)

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:58 am EST

by Amy Palermo

In Photoshop, when you have the Text tool selected, pressing v on the keyboard switches to the Move tool. However, if you have an active text box (bounding box showing), you’ll f



Disable the pixel grid for a more natural preview (Photoshop CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015)

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:58 am EST

by Amy Palermo

If you’ve never noticed the pixel grid in Photoshop, maybe you haven’t zoomed in close eno



Have fun hunting for a hidden Easter egg (Photoshop CC/CC 2014/CC 2015)

Added on Friday 21st of August 2015 04:59 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Easter may only come once a year, but there’s never a wrong time to hunt for a Photoshop Easter egg! Tucked away in obscure places, software engineers have fun planting these little anomalies-which usually appear with help from a key command-and we enjoy uncovering them. This one is especially delicious, a