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Library: Inside Photoshop

Browse through Inside Photoshop library to enhance your creativity

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Inside Photoshop, January 2015
 Inside Photoshop, January 2015 Issue


Add some fun and flair to your art with a colorful crayon creation

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 04:43 am EST

by Renee Dustman

If you’ve sprawled out on the living room floor with your big box of 64 crayons lately, you’re probably in the minority. But crayon art projects offer such an elusive, fun, free feeling that it’s a shame to let them fade from your portfolio permanently. Well, here’s a way you can bring back some of that whimsy into your work. We’ll show you how, with Photoshop’s Art History Brush tool, you can create a fun and impressionistic piece of art, as illustrated in Figure A.

Figure A:
Article figure image

Article figure image

Choose your subject

The first step for producing any type of artwork is choosing a subject. A suitable image for this technique is one with a simple subject that has well-defined lines and is full of color, such as the original image of the hot air balloon, shown in Figure A.

Create an outline

Once you select an image, you can begin to transform it into an outline drawing ready for coloring. You’ll start by rendering a sketch of the image. Luckily, you don’t have to really draw it. Instead, you’ll use the Find Edges filter in Photoshop to convert the image into outlines. Then, you’ll use Levels to refine them.

To convert a photo into a line drawing:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Choose Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. Photoshop creates a border around the dark and light transitions of color and removes all other data.
  3. >
  4. Select Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or press [command][shift]U ([Ctrl][Shift]U in Windows) to strip the remaining color from the outlines, as shown in Figure B.
  5. Choose Image > Adjustments > Levels or press [command]L ([Ctrl]L in Windows) to open the Levels dialog box.
  6. Drag the black input slider to the right


Photograph a reproduction of your reality with reflections

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 04:51 am EST

by Stephen Dow

While some reflections can certainly distract from your central subject, others are so interesting that they can become the subject themselves. Just as avoiding reflections in your digital photography takes some careful shooting, capturing a reflection in pixels also has its own set of techniques. In some ways, it becomes more difficult, as you must not only capture the reflection, but represent the reflective object as well. Photographing reflections can yield some very rewarding images, and digital cameras are perfectly suited to get the job done.

The physics of reflections

Simply put, a reflection is light thrown back from a surface. The quality of the reflection depends on the strength of the light source (called incident light), the smoothness of the reflective surface, and the strength of the reflected light. Essentially, b light sources that bounce off smooth surfaces produce good reflections, while rougher surfaces produce more diffuse reflections. Of course, a perfect mirror image isn’t always the goal, as the abstraction that a weaker light source or rough reflective surface adds to the reflection is often more interesting than the original scene.

Planning a reflective shot

When considering capturing a reflection, you should first think about what the central subject of your photograph is. Is it the reflection or the reflective object you’re after? As we’ll explain later, your choice not only affects how you frame your image and focus your camera, but it can be the difference between an everyday image and an exceptional one.

For example, consider the image in Figure A. While we usually avoid printing our less-than-successful images, this one offers a good lesson on shooting reflections. There were two ways to approach this shot, by focusing on the reflection of a carousel on the glass or on the people eating in the 50&



Don't destroy those pixels! Try these five non-destructive Photoshop techniques

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:02 am EST

by Stephen Farnow

Your pixels never did anything to hurt you, did they? You, on the other hand, are likely roughing them up every time you enhance an image. Directly adjusting color, contrast, or focus—all staples of image digital enhancement—physically alters your original data (i.e., munches your pixels). Now you may not really care all that much about your pixels now, but you will when you realize you’d like a “do over” and they shrug and say, “so sorry.” Fortunately, Photoshop has a whole host of techniques that fall under the category of non-destructive editing or NDE. These techniques allow you to make all the changes you want without ever touching your original data, and you can always go back and do touch-ups later.

1. Don’t slack! Make sure you back up your file

The simplest start, of course, is to make a backup of your file before the pixel plundering process begins. We highly recommend this practice, irrespective of whether you follow the remaining suggestions in this article. Next, always duplicate your background layer by dragging it onto the Create A New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel before doing anything else. By preserving that background layer, your Photoshop file will always contain the original pixels.

2. Love adjustment layers

You can find Photoshop’s image enhancing commands under Image > Adjustments from the main menu bar, as shown in Figure A. There are adjustments to fix contrast, color, exposure, convert to black and white, etc. This last adjustment, Black & White, is a great example of a problem with these adjustments. When you select the Black & White adjustment, Photoshop, with some settings from you, converts your image to black and white, throwing away all of the color information. Not only is the color information gone, but the conversion settings are also history.

Figure A:



Expand your color options with Lab mode

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:09 am EST

by Amy Gebhardt

Photoshop comes equipped with a variety of color modes. When working on an image, the most common color modes used, as you mentioned, are RGB and CMYK. However, working in Photoshop’s Lab Color mode can be a lot of fun, especially when you want to experiment with color changes within an image. At first, working in Lab mode may seem tricky, but after you read this article you’ll be able to take full advantage of this powerful image-editing feature.

Explaining Lab mode

The Lab Color mode consists of three separate color channels, as shown in Figure A. The first channel is Lightness (L). The Lightness component, otherwise known as luminance, can range from 0 to 100. A Lightness value of 0 equals black and a value of 100 equals white. The higher the value, the more vivid the color. The other two channels, a and b, represent color ranges. The a channel contains colors ranging from green to red, and the b channel contains colors ranging from blue to yellow. Figure B shows how our original image is broken down within each channel.

Figure A:
Article figure image

Figure B:
Article fig</em></i></b></font></div>
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Use food stylist techniques to add appeal to food shots

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:19 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Like fashion and sports photography, food photography is a specialty of its own. Those who concentrate on food shots typically have a customized studio designed specifically for food photography. Often the setup includes a food prep kitchen, a vast collection of tableware, flatware, accessories, and backgrounds. In addition, photographers many times use food stylists who manage the arrangement and look of the food in their setups.

That’s all well and good if that’s what you do full-time. But if not, you can still get a fabulous shot, as shown in Figure A, by using a number of the techniques stylists use to make the food in their shots so appealing. For our image, it involved some tricks for working with whipped toppings.

Figure A:

Article figure image




Give your photo a dreamy look with a diffuse glow

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:24 am EST

Nothing adds interest to a scene better than dramatic lighting. One great way to accomplish this is by adding a diffuse glow to your image, as shown in Figure A.


Article figure image


Article figure image



Create a multi-layered file from a folder of images super fast (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014)

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:26 am EST

by Amy Palermo

If you have a folder of images that you want to put into one Photoshop document, Photoshop comes with a preinstalled script that will make this job a snap! Simply choose File > Scripts > Load Fi



Create a spot channel from an alpha channel in a snap (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014)

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:29 am EST

by Amy Palermo

If you’re printing with spot colors along with or instead of 4-color inks, you’ll probably need to designate spot channels in one or more of your Photoshop files. You



Sweeten the New Year with this dazzling chocolate text effect

Added on Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:39 am EST

by Amy Palermo

As you ring in the New Year you’re probably anticipating a fresh surge of creativity in your designs. If so we’ve got just what you need—a super sweet chocolate text effect with a hint of dazzling foil, as shown in Figure A. Whether you follow our example to the T or customize it to make it your own, you’ll be well on your way to kicking off a creative new year!

Figure A:
Article figure image

Lay the foundation

To get started with this technique, you need to create a new canvas and add some text. A bold font works best for this technique, but you can experiment with different fonts to see what suits your design needs.

  1. Choose File > New to open the New dialog box.
  2. Enter settings for the new canvas. We made ours approximately 3” wide, 1.5” high, 300ppi, with a pink (R:238, G:119, B:209) background. To set the color, choose Other from the Background Contents pop-up menu, select a color from the Color Picker, and click OK.
  3. Set the Foreground color to white.
  4. Click on the Create New Fill Or Adjustment Layer button at the base of the Layers panel and choose Gradient from the pop-up menu.
  5. Select the Foreground to Transparent gradient, choose Radial from the Style pop-up menu, and click OK. Our results are shown in Figure B.
  6. Select the Horizontal Type tool from the Tools panel.
  7. Choose a bold font from the Font pop-up menu on the tool options bar and set the font. For our