Photoshop - Quick Tips 3

Part three of this tutorial includes how to:

Open JPEG in RAW

  • Drag, Black and White
  • Add canvas using Crop
  • Duplicate/Delete layers simultaneously
  • Make sepia tones quickly
  • and more...

More tips on the use of other quick keystrokes are also covered.

Open JPEG in RAW

I’m sure that all the cool new options in Adobe Camera Raw haven’t gone unnoticed by you. Don’t you wish that these options were available to all images? Good news; they are. You can now open JPEG and TIFF formats inside Camera Raw and make use of the tools. Choose File>Open and select your image, but don’t open it just yet. Change the Format (at the bottom left of the Open dialogue) to Camera Raw and then click Open. The JPEG or TIFF is now open in the Camera Raw dialogue ready for all the cool tools.

Flashy Bridge

Have you noticed how cool Bridge is now? I’m a Flash (as well as Photoshop) fanatic and (I have to say it) the coolest thing in Bridge is that you can now preview SWF files. The SWF files can run inside Bridge and not have to guess which file does what anymore.

Drag, Black and White

Those of us in the know have always used the Channel Mixer to get a good greyscale conversion. Don’t just throw away two-thirds of your image data.

Instead, make the conversion by using the channels-hence the name, Channel Mixer. The Photoshop CS3 Beta has taken this a step further. We now have the Black & White adjustment available as an adjustment layer (by clicking on the Create New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette) or as a menu adjustment (Image>Adjustments>Black & White). So what’s cool about that? For a start, we now have more than just the RGB channels. The CMY (Cyans, Magentas and Yellows) colours are thrown in too for a really fine controlled conversion.

Okay, so which slider do you use to brighten or darken a portion of your greyscale image? Just move your mouse outside the Black and White Filter dialogue, drag your mouse on the tone of the image that you want to adjust, and presto! Photoshop moves the sliders for you - that’s nice!

Add canvas using Crop

You can add canvas painlessly to your image by using the Crop tool (thanks to Katrin Eismann for this insight). Sometimes it's hard to know exactly how much canvas you want to add to an image. That’s when the Crop tool is useful. First, zoom out until you can see the entire image and still have room to enlarge the window enough to show the grey pasteboard. Select the Crop tool (C) then drag until it encloses all the canvas area you want. Release the mouse, press Return (PC: Enter) to commit the crop, and presto! A perfectly sized canvas.

Duplicate/Delete layers simultaneously

Photoshop CS2 makes duplicating or deleting multiple layers a breeze. Just select all of the layers (Shift-click) you want to process, then you can drag-and-drop them into an open file. Control-click (PC: Right-click) to choose Duplicate Layers or click the Trash icon on the Layers palette to delete. You can also use Edit>Transform to scale, rotate, flip or reconfigure the image on each selected layer at the same time.

Change fonts on multiple

Did you ever need to alter the font or font size on multiple type layers in the same image? Then press Command-click (PC: Control-click) each Text Layer in the Layers palette to select it. Choose the Type Tool from the Toolbox and without selecting any text, change the font, font size or colour in the Options Bar.

Processing scanned images

Here’s a fast way to process scanned faded images. Creating the following action got me in the colour ballpark-at least enough to see if anything in the image was worth salvaging. Open your image and duplicate the Background layer (Command-J [PC: Control-J]). Under the Image menu, choose Adjustments>Match Colour, and in the dialogue click the Neutralize checkbox on, then click OK. Duplicate that layer, then choose Image>Adjustments >Shadow/Highlight and click OK. By accepting the default settings, you can create an Action that will process an entire folder of images without your help.

Both the Match Colour and Shadow/Highlight commands are “destructive” but by using them in layers, you won’t lose any data and can start over if the correction isn’t helpful. This worked amazingly well on about 80% of the images I tried.

Adjust Colour with Levels

If you’ve tried the previous tip and your image still needs help, add a Levels Adjustment layer (click on the Create New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Levels from the drop-down menu). In the dialog, click on the Red, then the Green and Blue channels and adjust them individually so that the white and black points of each channel start where the values in the channel begin. That should pull your image almost perfectly into range, you can tweak the gamma points of each channel for further control.

Quick Keystrokes:

Below are some examples of the power of using Shift-Command-Option (PC: Shift-Control-Alt):

1. K:  Press-and-hold Shift-Command-Option (PC: Shift-Command-Alt) to edit and set keyboard shortcuts. (Of course there needs to be a shortcut for that)

2. M: Shift-Command-Option-M (PC: Shift-Control-Alt-M) allows you to show and hide menu commands.

3. O: Shift-Command-Option-O (PC: Shift-Control-Alt-O) brings up the Open As dialogue, enabling you to specify the format for a file to be opened.

Have you met the Scrubbies yet?

New to Photoshop is Scrubby Sliders which provide a faster way of selecting a value for almost every slider in the program. Instead of clicking to see the slider control, place your cursor over the field name (such as Opacity as in our example). If Scrubbies are enabled for that field, the cursor turns into a hand with a double-headed arrow. Click-and-hold your mouse button, then move the hand icon left or right, as needed. The numeric value in the field changes as you move your hand. No need to type or open the slider.

Make sepia tones quickly

It can be frustrating to use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to colourize an image when you’re trying to match a specific colour; however, this trick makes it simple. Just click on your Foreground colour, pick the colour that you want from the Colour Picker, and click OK. Then click on the Create New Adjustment Layer palette and choose Hue/Saturation. In the dialogue, click the Colourize checkbox and the Hue slider automatically jumps to your Foreground colour. Now you can adjust the Lightness and Saturation sliders, if necessary. This is a fast way to make a sepia or monotone image.

Arrange command in layer groups

When you create a layer group, the Arrange command (Layer>Arrange) no longer works as you might expect. The Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward and Send to Back commands only work within the group for layers that are neither the top nor the bottom layers in the group. Sending the lowest layer in the group backwards or to the back will remove it from the group; bringing the top layer forward or to the front removes it from the group as well. However, if you send the lowest layer to the front, or the top layer to the back, the layer still remains within the layer group.

Preview adjustment layers

Have you ever applied a Gradient Fill (Layer>Fill>Gradient) or Colour Fill layer and forgot to set the blend mode in the New Layer dialogue? Or you discovered that the blend mode you wanted didn’t look right so you cancelled the command and tried again? You can preview a blend mode while you’re in the middle of applying any adjustment layer but this trick only works in Windows (the Mac won’t let you do it).

Click on the blend mode drop-down menu in the Layers palette to scroll through the blend modes. You can even reduce the Opacity if you type the number in the field in the Layer palette. It’s a convenient way to decide on the effect that you’re trying to get when you’re not sure. You can then set the same values again when you’ve added your layer.

Quick Keystrokes:

What can you do with a double-click?
If you double-click on:

1. A ruler, it opens the Units and Rulers Preferences.

2. The Hand tool, your image fills the monitor area.

3. The Type layer thumbnail in the Layers palette, it selects the Type tool and the type on that layer.

4. The Quick Mask icon in the Toolbox, the Quick Mask Options dialogue opens.

5. A layer name, you can rename the layer.

6. A normal layer thumbnail (not the Background layer) in the Layers palette, the Layer Style dialogue opens.

Accurate Extractions

If you have difficulty figuring out where an object ends and the background beings, so will the Extract filter (Filter>Extract). There’s a neat option in the dialogue, however, that lets Extract do a significantly better job of finding the edges – The Textured Image checkbox in the Extraction section – and it really works. When it’s enabled, Photoshop also considers the surface texture embedded in the image to determine foreground and background areas. For me, the Extract filter is usually just a shortcut to get me to partway there when I remove something from its background; however, with the Textured Image option selected, I was really amazed at the difference.

Painlessly trash preferences

At the start of my online classes, I typically have students trash their Photoshop Preferences and then listen to the screams of anguish as they try to play “Beat the clock” trying to press the Shift-Option-Command (PC: Shift-Alt-Control) keys before Photoshop starts to launch.

To do this painlessly, simply press the appropriate keys before you launch Photoshop and hold the keys down until you see the message asking if you want to delete the Preferences. When you hold the keys, the “sticky” menus won’t work so you need to keep the mouse button down until you’ve launched Photoshop from the Windows Start menu. Of course, on a Mac, all you need to do is click the application on the dock.

It's a warp!

Faux styles are convenient and let you fake typefaces you don’t own; however, their letterforms never look as good as the real thing.

They can also be bad news if you want to add a type warp to your live type. You’ll get a warning dialogue (as shown) because once you’ve applied a faux style, you can no longer warp the type. If possible, purchase the alternate styles (bold, italics) that go with your fonts to avoid any problems with using them.

Article courtesy of Adobe Photoshop Magazine

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