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Library: Inside Photoshop

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Inside Photoshop, July 2014
 Inside Photoshop, July 2014 Issue


Accurately color correct images in 3 simple steps

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 06:14 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Every image deserves individualized attention when it comes to color correction. Whether an image has a color cast, uneven tones, or low contrast—just to name a few problems—this three step technique is sure to bring your images color back into balance as shown in Figure A.

Please label A1 Before color correcting and A2 After color correcting

Choose your image
First youll need an image to color correct. Any image that needs a color adjustment will do. If you want to follow along with our example, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article. Then, extract the file boat.psd, launch Photoshop, and open the file shown in Figure B.


Identify the strongest shadow and highlight
The first step in color correcting is to identify the area of your image that has the darkest shadow and the brightest highlight. Frequent color correcting will train your eye and youll get better at this over time.
Once you identify the darkest shadow and strongest highlight, mark them with



Dynamic Duo: 2 Smart Object updates you dont want to miss!

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 06:26 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Smart Objects have been around since Photoshop CS2. While that seems like eons ago, its given Adobe plenty of time to advance the technology. CS3 saw the addition of Smart Filters, and the second update of CC (14.2) brought linked Smart Objects. The recent Photoshop CC 2014 upgrade offers even more Smart Object improvements, including the ability to package Smart Objects with your Photoshop file. Well go over the Creative Cloud Smart Object updates, including exploring the difference between linked and embedded Smart Objects as well as how to package Smart Objects.

Why youre smart to use Smart Objects
Whether youre new to Smart Objects or just new to Creative Cloud, you may be wondering whats so smart about Smart Objects. For starters, when you edit a layer by scaling or applying filters, you inevitably lose pixel data. Smart Objects change that because they allow you to scale and transform a layer to your hearts content but never lose a single pixel of data from that layer.
How? A Smart Object works as a layer thats actually an embedded copy of a native Illustrator, Photoshop, or RAW file (whichever you import). Because Photoshop embeds a copy of the original source file, every time you scale or transform the Smart Object layer, Photoshop revisits the original embedded image data. The layer transformation is regenerated with the new specs as if it were transformed for the first time, so you wont get any ugly distortion or loss of detail as illustrated in the sign shown in Figure A.

Please label A1: Without Smart Objects, and A2: With Smart Objects

Embedded Smart Objects
Smart Objects have frustrated many users who, upon editing a Smart Object layer, expected to see those changes update in the original source file when that file was opened independently in its corresponding application. Were here to tell you that editing the Smart Object doesnt alter the original source file. Nor does it even open the original source file.
When you double-click on the Smart Object layer thumbnail (characterized by a Smart Object icon), the embedded copy of the original source file opens. This creates a t



Take your photos to the next dimension with this outside-the-box technique

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 06:32 am EST

by Amy Palermo

As you scan through your archive looking for a fantastic image for your next assignment, dont pass over images just because they have boring backgrounds or unbalanced compositions. Instead, use this technique and give your image a dynamic boost.


Not only will this technique save your blasé prints, itll add even more life to your action shots, like the one shown in Figure A. Well use this image to demonstrate the technique. If you want to follow along, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, and extract the file jump.psd. Then, launch Photoshop and open the file. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)

Target your selections
The first thing to do is examine your image, decide which elements you want to jump out of the frame, and then isolate those elements on an alpha channel. For our example, we only have one primary subject—the young, enthusiastic lad.
We created a selection around the boy, and then converted that selection into an alpha channel. With the channel selected, we were then able to paint on the alpha channel to refine the selection, as shown in Figure B. Then, we turned the alpha chan



Quickly convert traditional prints into digital images

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 06:34 am EST

by Ken A. Huth

You can get so much more use out of your collection of prints if theyre digitized and on your computer than if they are sitting in a shoebox or album. Quickly copying your prints opens up creative uses like computer-designed scrapbooks, web galleries, and restoration techniques. Maybe a special occasion is coming up and youd love to retouch a batch of images for your family. It might seem like a daunting task when you look at all those piles of prints, but well show you how to get great copies of your prints without all the fuss.

Evaluate your options
The best way to get from a pile of prints to a collection of useful image files is by doing quick, efficient digital copying of the photos. There are several ways to copy prints including using a scanner or digital camera. But first, youll need to examine your collection.
To begin, look at the images you need copied. To decide on the most efficient way to get your photos copied, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a few images or piles of prints?
  • Are they fairly similar in size, or do they range from wallet size to 8 x 10?
  • Are there many tiny images or a few extremely large ones?

A quick review of your raw materials will give you ideas on what system to use to copy them, by scanner or by digital camera.

If you have access to a scanner, you might think of using it first. Scanning images is useful when you have smaller images, or a variety of print sizes. Its also good for doing ongoing projects where you can do a little now and a little later. Your scanner is limited, though, by its size and how large a print you can copy.

Digital camera
Copying the prints using your digital camera may be an option you haven't considered. Any digital camera can do a good job of copying fairly large prints (5 x 7 and above), but with many cameras having a macro setting, you can often easily copy much smaller images. With the pixel count of cameras climbing, even if you cant fill the frame with your print, you have enough resolution to crop in to the image area and still print a good quality image.

Decide which system to use
Now that youve evaluated your stack of snapshots and know a bit about the advantages of each copying method, its time to make the big decision:

  • If you have a fairly normal variety of snapshots to copy, mostly 4 x 6 prints with a few other sizes thrown in, either method could work for you, so the deciding factor may be based on time.
  • If you have a short period of time to work or perhaps are borrowing the images from a friend, using your digital camera may be the most efficient way to go.
  • If youre not in a rush and would like to work a bit now and then on your project, a scanner may allow you the most flexible way to work. Set a few prints in the scanner, push a


Image a little off? Correct near-miss exposures with blending modes

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 06:38 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Digital cameras provide the fantastic ability to review the image you just captured using your LCD. You can quickly check composition, focus, and exposure. If anything is wrong, you can usually take another shot before the moment disappears. But when some aspect of an image is only slightly askew, such as the exposure, it may not be noticeable on the LCD until youve had a chance to review it on your computer monitor. By then, it may be too late to attempt to reshoot the photo, but you can use Photoshops blending modes to save your image, as we did in Figure A.


Understand your LCD
The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) found on your digital camera enables you to preview an image just a moment after youve captured it. You can check your image to see if youre happy with the results or if you need to take another shot. But what you think you see with your LCD isnt exactly what youll see on your computer monitor. Grossly overexposed or underexposed images are obvious when viewed with your LCD—they appear near white or near black, as shown in Figure B.



Enhance your photos with water droplets using layer styles

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:36 am EST

by Amy Palermo

My client wants an image of a flower with raindrops on it—so I tried spraying it with water and then photographing it. Unfortunately, this didnt work out too well because it made the whole plant wet. Can you explain how to make just a few water droplets in Photoshop?

Ah yes, getting nature to cooperate with you when you need a specific photo is sometimes challenging. Thank goodness for Photoshop! Well show you an easy way to add raindrops to a photo. First, lets look at an image with a few drops on it, like the one shown in Figure A. If you study the drops, youll notice that they are little more than beveled ovals with a slight shadow and highlight. To generate this look, well use layer styles.


To follow along with our example, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, and extract the file raindrops.psd. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.) Then, launch Photoshop and open the file.



Form your images into text with clipping masks

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:38 am EST

by Amy Palermo

To form images in the shape of text with a clipping mask:

  • Open an image you wish to form into the shape of text. If its a locked background layer, double-click on the layer and press OK in the New Layer dialog box.
  • Select the


Reduce negative dust spots with careful scan preparation

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:39 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Dust on negatives, and prints as well, are often anirritating aspect of traditional photography. Negative film is coated with agelatin emulsion, which becomes wet during processing. Wet gelatin swells and becomes the perfect catch-all for free floating dust. When it dries, the dustcan 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 arent all that much better. Because of the materials film is madeof, 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, lets look at each issue individually.


  • Because dust is a part of the environmen


Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 is here and it's more than an update!

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:39 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Adobe recently released the new 2014 upgrade to the Creative Cloud apps. And if you assumed Creative Cloud would be just one update after another, this is indeed a new version. In fact, if you already have Photoshop CC installed on your computer and click the update button next to the Adobe



Don't forget, you can always crop out unwanted subject matter (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC)

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:40 am EST

by Jim Whitcomb

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you compose a shot, some unwanted person, item, or area of the subject manages to end up in an otherwise good image, as shown in Figur



Easy on-the-spot blemish removal with the Spot Healing Brush (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC)

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:42 am EST

By Amy Palermo

If you’re looking for a way to quickly eliminate dust, speckles, or blemishes from an image, look no further than Photoshop’s Spot Healing Brush tool. Introduced in Photoshop Elements, it was a popular tool that eventually found its way into Photoshop’s’ arsenal.
The Spot Healing Brush works similar to the Healing Brush. It works to preserve the texture, tone, and color of a



Place guides in precise locations with this trick (CS4/CS5/CS6/CC)

Added on Friday 18th of July 2014 07:42 am EST

by Amy Palermo

Guides are a great resource when you need to position design elements in your Photoshop documents. But it’s sometimes tricky placing the guides exactly where you want them.
To position guides in precise locations, don’t cli