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Inside Photoshop, October 2014 Issue
by Amy Palermo
Everybody loves a great watercolor painting, and why not! It's a timeless art form, where layers of pigment can make plain white paper illuminate with a story of a café scene or glow with sun drenched highlights. But watercolors are difficult to master and an unforgiving medium at best. We'll show you how to use Photoshop to quickly create the look of watercolor, such as the one shown in Figure A, using one very versatile tool.
Just like there are many different techniques to watercolor paintings, there are also a number of different materials crucial to the success of a watercolor painting.
Characteristics of watercolors
Watercolors are a transparent painting medium in which light reflects through the pigment from the paper. They're most recognizable by their transparency, luminance, and clarity of color. Usually the only white in the painting is the paper itself, hence all highlights and light areas are masked out so the artist is sure not to paint over them. Paint is applied in a variety of techniques including but not limited to:
Gather an image
In preparation for this technique, you'll need an image to paint. We'll use a simple subject such as the leaf in Figure B, to demonstrate the technique. To follow along with our example, download the file watercolor.zip from the URL given at the beginning of this article. Then, extract the file leaf.psd, launch Photoshop and open the file. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)
by Amy Palermo
If you've used manual guides in your digital illustrations, layouts, or Photoshop work, you know that you often wind up with numerous unnecessary guides on your page. The bottom line is your page would look a lot cleaner without them. Smart Guides make it possible for you to align elements from different layers without needing to pull manual guides onto your canvas. And while Smart Guides have been around since CS2, Adobe has added some noteworthy enhancements in the CC 2014 upgrade. Let's take a look at some of these new improvements!
Get smart with Smart Guides
Smart Guides appear on your screen as you move layer elements with the Move tool or the arrow keys, helping you align page elements and snap items into place. How are they smart? They instinctively know when a layer's top, right, left, bottom, or center point is aligned with another layer's, because that's when Photoshop displays the guide lines on those layer element positions. Not only are Smart Guides non-printing marks, but when you release the mouse, they go away! So if you're used to manual guides, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how Smart Guides allow you to keep a clean canvas. Plus, CC 2014's enhancements include precise measurement displays, letting you know exactly how far from the canvas edge or another layer your selected layer is, as well as the ability to set duplicate layer elements equidistant apart!
To follow along with our example while we explore Smart Guides, download the file smartguides.zip from the URL given at the beginning of this article, extract the file smartguides.psd, launch Photoshop, and open the file shown in Figure A. To show how versatile Smart Guides are, we've inc
by Jonathan Rabson
One of the most gratifying purposes a photograph can serve is to capture the emotion of a moment-the intersection of a certain place and time-so you can share it with others. But even a technically perfect photograph doesn't always convey the richness of an experience. Unless the viewer was there, she doesn't know what that special moment smelled like or felt like-whether it was cold, barren, warm, or nostalgic.
One way to capture this subjective aspect of a scene is to leave some things to the viewer's imagination, just as Romantic and Impressionist painters did to imbue a sense of mystery and wonder. Giving a viewer this opportunity to connect with a digital image can make it resonate more. Let's explore a sampling of these techniques for achieving similar effects in photographs.
It's not about being right
To start, we'll set one thing straight. While many things might be said about 'correct' composition, e.g., techniques to avoid blemishes in your pictures that might distract viewers, we aren't going to talk about that at all. Instead, we'll explore the opposite end of the spectrum. We'll start by presenting the idea of reducingcontext, depth, and color richness. Normally, increasing these things might seem the best way to produce good digital images, but we'll show how less context and depth can help convey a certain mood.
Then, we'll take a look at how back lighting and zooming in on distant objects can help evoke an impressionistic quality. Of course, if you apply these techniques to emphasize the subjective element in your photographs, you'll probably please some viewers and displease others; that's what subjectivity is all about. But for those who want more than just the perfect, sharp, technically correct photograph, these impressionistic, subjective-oriented techniques can help make viewing your photographs a much richer experience.
The flattening technique
We'll begin our journey with an idea we
by Amy Palermo
When you need to make the same transformations to content on multiple layers in Photoshop, don't waste time editing each layer separately. We'll show you how to transform multiple layers simultaneously to save you time.
To transform multiple layers at once:
by Jim Whitcomb
It's easy to duplicate an image and flip it, but that doesn't always yield a realistic reflection. Let's take a look at what a reflection is and explore ways to manipulate your images so you can fool your audience!
While it's true a reflection is a visual copy of an image that's flipped horizontally or vertically, there's a little more to it. By understanding a little more about reflections, you'll be able to create more convincing ones in your digital image manipulations.
When light hits an object, it bounces off in all directions. If part of it bounces directly to your eyes, you see an image. If part of it bounces off, hits a surface, and then bounces off that surface to your eyes, you see a reflection of the image. What the reflection looks like depends on the position of the surface relative to your position.
Get the correct position
If the surface is positioned behind the object, the reflection you
by Jim Whitcomb
Dust on negatives, and prints as well, are often an irritating aspect of traditional photography. Negative film is coated with a gelatin emulsion, which becomes wet during processing. Wet gelatin swells and becomes the perfect catch-all for free floating dust. When it dries, the dust can actually become embedded in the emulsion. As a result, even with careful dusting prior to printing and scanning, dust can be seen in a print. Dry negatives aren't all that much better. Because of the materials film is made of, it literally acts like a dust magnet. So with all that going against you, what can you do to reduce the effects of dust spots in your prints? The answer is plenty. Because there are a variety of issues to consider, let's look at each issue individually.
by Amy Palermo
The Photoshop Levels command creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety in many users. The reality is that you don't have to fully understand everything about it to reap its benefits.
For example, have you ever had to
by Amy Palermo
If you're looking for decorative text to enhance your designs, we have the perfect technique for you! Using Photoshop you can easily create text that sparkles, as shown in Figure A.
First you need to create a new document and set some type. A large bold font works best for this technique.
To set the type: