Twitter Facebook Flickr Buzz
Social Networks


Forgot Password? Go Join Now
Sign Up for Starter's Pack (Free)
Call (800) 223-8720
Need Web Solutions? Get Free Sample Issue

Join Our Newsletter!

Receive exclusive offers, coupons,
tips, and weekly updates.

Adobe PDF IconAdobe Acrobat Reader
(required to view PDFs)

Library: Inside Photoshop

Browse through Inside Photoshop library to enhance your creativity

  Search Library:  
2014 |  2013 |  2012 |  2011 |  2010 |  2009 |  2008 |  2007 |  2006 |  2005 | 

a) Browse the Current issue

Inside Photoshop, April 2014
 Inside Photoshop, April 2014 Issue


Transform your image into an oil painting with the Smudge tool

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 05:04 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Photoshop has several filters that produce a painted effect, but these stock filters can often create an unnatural patterned look to your images. We’ll show you a technique that creates the look of an oil painting but leaves you in control of the brush strokes.

To create your own masterpiece, we’ll:

  • Supply you with a quick overview of traditional oil painting so you understand the look we’re after.
  • Set up the layers in preparation of our painting technique.
  • Apply brush strokes with the Smudge tool and offer suggestions for experimentation.
  • Fine tune the impasto effect with highlights and shadows to create a more realistic look.

While the techniques and materials are limitless, the customary method of oil painting involves the application of oil paints onto a primed, stretched linen canvas. We’ll show you how you can achieve the look of an oil painting in Photoshop with just five layers, one tool, and a few added effects. Best of all, there’s no drying time!

Art: Can go anywhere in article.

Basic oil techniques

Oil paints are opaque, and the pigments can be mixed on the artist’s panel or directly on the canvas. Dark areas of color are applied first, building up to the lighter areas, and the highlights are added last. Using different brushes or panel knives, you can apply the paint in a variety of ways:

  1. Glazing. This method is characterized by a gradual buildup of thin layers of paint, often gaining the artist greater depth and brilliance of color.
  2. Impasto. This is an expressive form in which the paint is applied thickly, resulting in a painting with strong textural quality and interesting blends of color.
  3. Alla Prima. This method is characterized by simplicity of color and tones without too much complicated brushwork.

Open your image
To follow along with our example, you’ll first need an image that you want to convert into a painting. We’ll use a modified photo for our example, as shown in Figure A. We took an image of the orange juice glass and created our own shadow and gradient background. You can follow along with us by downloading and extracting the file OrangeJuice.psd from the URL given at the beginning of this article (Image courtesy of PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes). To begin:

  1. Launch Photoshop.
  2. Choose File > Open and navigate to the file OrangeJuice.psd. If you choose to use your own image, make sure it’s an RGB file so you can access all


Harness the power of CS6’s new vector tools: Part 2

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 05:23 am EST

by Amy Palermo

The vector tools in Photoshop CS6 offer you a powerhouse of customization once you get the hang of them. We’ll show you how to maximize these tools and get you on your way to creating advanced vector drawings.

To maximize your potential with Photoshop’s new vector tools, we’ll:

  1. Explain how to use the different alignment options for precision control with your vector shapes.
  2. Walk you through some complex vector shape editing so you can learn hands on.
  3. Show you how to incorporate compound shapes and clipping masks in your vector designs.

In last month’s installment of this feature on CS6’s vector tool upgrades, we gave you an introduction to some of the new vector shape improvements in CS6. Now we’ll explore different alignment and layering options as well as how stacking order affects your designs, so you can be on your way to complex image editing with these great vector tools.

Get an alignment
To start off, let’s take a look at how to align vector shapes. To better explore these options, follow along with our example. Simply download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, extract the file egg.psd, and open the file shown in Figure A.
At first glance, our egg design can use a little help! We’ll show you how to use the different alignment options to clean up the vector shape design elements so they are more evenly spaced. We’ll start with the blue drops.




To align the blue drops:
Select the blue drops layer in the Layers panel to make it active.
Choose the Path Selection tool from the Tools panel.
Click on the top left blue drop, press [shift] and then click on the bottom left blue drop to select them both.
Click on the Path Alignment options button on the tool Options bar, and select Align to Selection (if it’s not already selected). Then, select Left Edges f



Add realism to your shadows with a displacement map

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 05:56 am EST

by Amy Gebhardt and Amy Palermo

Creating drop shadows that look like they belong in the image can be difficult. By combining a Drop Shadow effect with a displacement map, we’ll show you how to produce natural looking shadows that blend perfectly with your image.

To produce more realistic shadow effects, we’ll:

  1. Evaluate our image to better plan our shadow effect.
  2. Apply the Drop Shadow layer style and adjust it to meet the needs of our image.
  3. Create a displacement map to make our shadow conform to the textures in our image.
  4. Fine-tune our shadow effect to better blend it with the existing colors and lighting.

Basically, shadows made using a layer style (such as the Drop Shadow effect) are flat, semitransparent images that are feathered. So, if you want a shadow to actually take the form of the surface it’s falling on, you can’t rely on the Drop Shadow layer style alone. Instead, you have to use the layer style in conjunction with a displacement map.

Quick collage
For maximum results, you’ll need an image with interesting form and texture. Open an RGB image in Photoshop that you want to place another image or text onto. For our example, we’ll use the brick wall in Figure A. You can follow along using the same image by downloading and extracting the file brickwall.psd from the URL given at the beginning of this article. Now you have to add an image to your document to apply a drop shadow to it. We used a custom shape for our example.

To add a custom shape:

  1. Click the Create A New Layer button at the base of the Layers panel to make a new layer.
  2. Select the Custom Shape tool from the Tools panel.
  3. Click on the Shape pop-up menu on the tool options bar to open the Custom Shape Picker.
  4. Select Animals from the Custom Shape Picker’s pop-up menu.
  5. In the resulting message box, click Append to load the additional shapes.
  6. Select the Bird 2 shape.
  7. Change the Set Foreground Color swatch to whatever color you want your shape to be. We chose a bright green so the bird would be easy to see against the brick wall.
  8. Click the Fill Pixels button on the tool options bar, and draw a bird on your image, as shown in


Photo flops: 5 Photoshop fixes for common image problems

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:01 am EST

By Stephen Farnow

The digital age has created a revolution in photography with instant-gratification LCD screens on cameras. And even when those images don’t meet our ever-increasing standards, we have tools like Adobe Photoshop to post process those images and bring them up to snuff. While there are a limitless number of digital enhancements you might consider, the following five will address your most common image problems.

Problem 1: Ho-hum composition
The well-known rule of thirds suggests visualizing your scene as divided into horizontal and vertical thirds and positioning the most interesting element (the subject) at an intersection of the imaginary lines that define those thirds. This creates dynamic tension in the scene and makes it more interesting. It’s harder to do than you might think, however, especially when you’re snapping away.

Photoshop’s Crop tool will come to the rescue. With it, you can create a frame that zooms in on your subject, eliminating uninteresting background, and better locating your subject per the rule of thirds, as demonstrated in Figure A. Consider zooming out a bit when you take your photos; this will give you more flexibility later when recomposing your image within Photoshop.




Problem 2: What’s that doing in there?
Unwanted detail at the edge of an image, so-called edge intrusions, can deflect a viewer’s attention from your main subject. These intrusions can be tree branches, people cut in half, or anything that competes with your subject. The result is an image that can feel overly busy, maybe even confused. Your goal should be



Quickly add a professional studio backdrop in Photoshop

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:03 am EST

by Amy Gebhardt

I have a handful of family photographs that I took recently. I shot most of them against a white backdrop. Is there a way that I can create a nice studio backdrop for these images without having to take all new photos?

Yes, using Photoshop you can create a traditional studio backdrop, similar to that shown in Figure A, in no time at all. Then, once you save the backdrop, you can drag and drop any image you want right into it.


Access filters that aren’t available in CMYK mode

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:20 am EST

by Amy Courtright

I have a bunch of CMYK images that I need to apply filters to. The problem is that the filters I need are not available in CMYK. I was wondering if there is a workaround to be able to apply these fil


Know when to use adjustment layers (and when not to)

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:41 am EST

by Amy Palermo

I see a lot of the techniques within Inside Photoshop use adjustment layers. How do you decide when to use an adjustment layer and when you don’t need to? Is there a set rule for this?

The general rule of thumb is to use an adjustment layer whenever possible. Adjustment layers are non-destructive to your original image. Anytime you make a color or tonal change using the Curves or Levels command, for example, the pixel information in your existing image is altered, and you lose some of the original data. Using


Remain flexible by blending from behind (CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6)

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:44 am EST

Quick Tip
by Amy Palermo

When you paint or draw with a painting or drawing tool in Photoshop, there’s a blending mode option you may have overlooked. The Behind Blend mode paints on transparent pixels only. So if you have an image with a transpar


Save time when color correcting multiple images (CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6)

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:45 am EST

Quick Tip

by Amy Palermo

Most digital photographs will need some level of color correcting. If you’re an avid photographer, this can translate into a lot of hours in your digital darkroom. Rather than start from scratch for each image, why not copy your color corrections over from an im


Save time with Photoshop’s customizable workspaces (CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6)

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:47 am EST

Quick Tip

by Amy Palermo

If you spend a lot of time opening and closing panels while you work, chances are you’re not maximizing one of Photoshop’s timesaving resources: customizable workspaces. To access the workspace options, choose Window > Workspace, as shown in Figure A. While the pre-co


Expand your selection for better results with Photoshop CS6’s Content Aware tools

Added on Monday 7th of April 2014 06:56 am EST

Quick Tip
by Amy Palermo

In the article “Harness the power of Content Aware image editing in CS6” in the July 2013 issue of Inside Photoshop, we gave you great insight on how to use CS6’s C