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Photoshop Tip of the Day

#23. Today’s (05/10/2010) Photoshop Tip of the day, is long over due, but we have been busy at the studio teaching classes, shooting banquets, and the hard work of shooting the H2Outdoors Bikini Contest at Pockets Pool in Tallahassee.  We have also been busy diving into the new version of Photoshop CS5 and OMG this is an incredible release.  I have a laptop computer which has the original Photoshop no version and of all the upgrades this has been the most exciting.  The best new feature is the content aware healing brush which allows you to paint over an object like a power line and CS5 makes it disappear and fills in the area with the surrounding background colors even if they change like on a brick background.  The noise reduction filter has been enhanced to work better and provide you with better results.

So what is the tip of the day?  GET YOUR CS5 UPGRADE AS SOON AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

Go to my online store and purchase your upgrade now:

#22. Today’s (03/15/2010) Photoshop Tip of the day, is actually a “Bridge Tip of the Day”.  When opening a raw file or even a “jpg” file in Camera Raw the options are infinite for the kinds of adjustments which can be made and all of which are non destructive as I have pointed out before.  Many of the improvements made in CS4 were made in Bridge.  For example, if you open the “Lens Correction” tab, you can create a subtle vignette which is smoother and easier to create than in previous versions of Photoshop.

Start by opening Bridge, select a file and  and open it in Camera Raw,  make your usual adjustments in the basic panel, which looks like the aperture opening on a lens.  Then including the Basic tab count six icons over and choose the “Lens Correction” tab which looks like a series of blue parenthesis, if all else fails hover over a tab and CS4 will tell you what the tab is.  Click on the the tab then scroll down to the middle of the window on the “Lens Vignette” area.  If you wish to make a white vignette move the “amount” slider to the right.  If you want to create a dark vignette, move the “amount” slider to the left and watch the photos as you create the vignette.  The farther to the outside you go, the more the vignette either gets lighter or darker.

If you want to maximize the vignette  move the “midpoint” slider to the left and you’ll have an almost spotlight looking effect.  If you want to minimize the vignette affect move the “midpoint” slider to right, at the extreme right the vignette will only affect the very corners of the photo.

Original with basic adjustments only

Dark Vignette with "Amount" & "Midpoint" sliders all the way to the left.

"Amount" extreme left & "Midpoint" to extreme right minimal vignette.

Subtle Vignette "Amount"= -50 and the "Midpoint"= 50

Now the great part about this is the it takes only seconds and if you don’t like it, go back to the “Basic” tab and click on the “Default” link and you are back to your original capture.

Hope this has been helpful, now don’t forget to go to the online store at my web page:

Thank you for your patronage, it is appreciated.

Frank & Chad


#21. Today’s (03/04/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day, will guide on finding the contact sheet function which used to be in CS3 and isn’t apparent in CS4 because it has been relocated.  The contact sheet function and web gallery function are now located in Bridge.  Open Bridge then click on the Output tab in the upper right hand corner next to the “Essentials”, “Filmstrip” and “Metadata” tabs.  This will give you the option of either choosing a contact sheet which will be created in a “PDF” format or a photo gallery.  Then all you have to do is pick the files you want to include in either the contact sheet or the web gallery and fill in the information for your creation.  The photo gallery has a huge number of applications, one of the best is creating a gallery for your friends to view your latest photo collection.


#20. Today’s (03/02/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day, will save you lots of time when you are working on a file with many layers.  Have you ever had to go down the layers palette and turn off the eyes for a bunch of layers so that only the layer you want to work on is visible.  Currently you click on each eye individually to turn them off or on.  Well here is the way to turn off all the layers except the one you are on.  Simply press the “Alt” key and click on the eye of the layer you want to remain active, all the other eyes will be turned off.  To turn all the eyes back on again, do the same thing, press the “Alt” key and click on the active layer’s eye and all the other eyes will be turned back on again.

Hope this was helpful, now don’t forget to get yourself or your friends and family who are looking to learn about their new cameras signed up for tomorrow night’s class at STUDIO 715 it starts at about 6:00pm and runs until about 9:00pm.  Hope to see you or them there.  We have lots of stuff to cover.  Check out the main page of this blog and scroll down for more class information.


#19.  Today’s (02/19/2010)  Photoshop Tip of the Day, is a very important one dealing with several aspects of your photography starting within your camera and ending in your post production software preparations for posting to the internet.  The topic is metadata which is the information embedded in captures starting from the moment you click on the shutter.  What happens is the camera saves information which includes your camera settings, ie. the ISO, White Balance, shutter speed, f/stop, camera brand, lens information, flash information, the date and time of capture, etc.  This data is useful for a number of reasons down the line.  But were you aware that you can, in most prosumer and professional level camera add more information to each capture including your name, address, telephone number, email, web page and your copyright information?  This is essential because if your captures don’t have this information and you post them anywhere on the web, anyone can claim your work as their own and you will have no recourse.  The copyright law merely requires that the user/thief make a reasonable effort to find the creator of the capture.  Which means if they open the file, click on the “file info” or “file property” link and there is no information there, this photo now becomes their property and all they have to do is fill in the blanks with their information.

If you enter your camera’s menu option and root around in there, you will find where you can enter the information into your camera so that all your captures’ metadata will be populated with your information.  It takes just a few minutes of your time and the fastest way to figure out how to do it, is to read the user’s manual for your camera.

Now if you are using Bridge you can add all kinds of information to all your captures including who commissioned you to the session, their information besides all the information I’ve already addressed.  You can even included location information including latitude and longitude of where the photo was captured, if your camera is GPS enabled, it automatically includes this information otherwise you have to type it in.

Now you have to be aware that if in Photoshop you save for web and devices, if you are not careful and in other programs such as Aperture, all your metadata can be stripped from your files.  So before putting you works out on the internet be sure to check and be certain your metadata has not been removed inadvertently.  If it has been stripped, just go back into the metadata and re-populate the information manually, it is worth the time and effort to protect your works.


#18. Today’s (02/10/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day, is actually worth my weight in gold and trust me if you have seen me lately, that’s a lot of money (well I’m not so big, but the price of gold is up).  If you are putting text on a file and you are not sure if a particular text will look good for your idea but finding text and changing it out is tedious and time consuming at best.  Here is the solution to your despair:  Start with the same old font you always use and type whatever it is you planned on typing in this particular file, then highlight what you just typed.  Then go up to the top in options bar and click on the font name to highlight it.  Now this is worth the price of admission, to see what the font would look like in the next font down from your current font and to change your text to the next font on the list, simply press your down arrow.  Your next font appears in the box and your type face on your text is changed to this font.  You can continue to scroll down to your heart’s content and if you want to go back up the list, yep, you guessed it, click on the up arrow to change direction and go back up the list.  How much time and aggravation did this tip just save you?  Don’t forget to check the class schedule Wayne is teaching another class just go to the main pain for details.


#17.  Today’s (02/02/2010) Photoshop Tip of The Day, can you believe it is already February?  Anyway today’s tip is a very basic tip, but I have heard that not all of us remember being told about this and it will really consist of multiple tips.  We will start by creating a new file of whatever size you want or need, we are going to make it white background.  Then we are going to create a rectangular stroke inside the document with rounded edges.  As always there are at least one hundred ways of doing this, but the fastest and the easiest is to use the Marquee tool then choose the rectangle tool, then go to the top of the tool bar and put a feather number, smaller numbers for smaller rounded edges and larger numbers for larger rounded corners.  In the tool bar just to the right of “Feather” option is the “Style” option, set that to “Normal”.  Once you have the area and size selected you go to Edit>Stroke and decide what size stroke you want and what kind of effect you want to put on it and Viola, your done.  Now if you want to create a square rather than a rectangle, press and hold the “Shift” key and drag the marquee tool in the steps above.  This also works with the Circle/Oval tool.  Press and hold the “Shift” key then drag the marquee tool to the size perfect circle you need, then add the stroke.  Now another way to change the rectangle to a square is to set the “Style” option to “Fixed Ratio” then enter the same numbers in the boxes that appear for example 4 x 4 for width and height.  This also works with the Oval/Circle tool.

The various Strokes were modified for visual effect, they can be as simple as a thin line by choosing the number of pixels you want, 3 is a nice thin line.


#16.  Today’s (01/28/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day is long overdue, sorry for the delay, Wayne and I have been busy getting ready for the STUDIO 715 Workshops and Classes which start this Saturday with a Studio Workshop presented by Wayne Denmark Founder of STUDIO 715.  It promises to be an exciting look at the workings and setup of a studio and I’m sure Wayne is going to cover the cost of renting the studio for professional photographers visiting the area or locals who need a large multi-setting studio for a day, a week, or a month.  And on Feb 6th and 7th I’ll be teaching how to set up your Bridge and Photoshop to work more efficiently for you.  Okay enough advertising for our classes and workshops. Now let’s get on to the business at hand.

The Photoshop Tip of the day is going to be a simple short cut key stroke to save you some time while you edit photos.  You are working in Bridge and you want to know what an image would look like if you rotated it 90 degrees in one direction or another.  This works great for backgrounds, textures, and patterns, etc.  Press the “Ctrl” + the “[” that is the square bracket key to rotate the image counter clockwise and the “Ctrl” + the “]” to rotate the image in a clock wise direction.  I know this is an obscure tip but it came in handy for me the other day when I was working with a bunch of backgrounds and wasn’t really thrilled with what I had available until I rotated one and it work for what I was trying to accomplish.  Stay tuned more tips to follow hopefully on a more regular basis.


#15. Today’s (01/15/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day is to get onboard with our workshop January 30, 2010, no, not really, the tip of the day deals with placing an image from bridge onto a photoshop document and automatically making it a smart object.  To accomplish this set up a document in Photoshop the way you want it whether it is a photo or a background.  Then go to Bridge and if you are in CS4 all you have to do is click on the square button at the top of the applications bar which has the initials “BR” in it.  Once Bridge opens you then selection the file you want to place in the open Photoshop document; click on “File>Place”, then from the fly out menu click on ” In Photoshop” and your file will be placed in the center of you previously opened document in Photoshop.  You can now adjust the size of the smart object up or down  to your needs. Don’t forget to make adjustments to the smart object it has to be done from the “Layers>New Adjustment Layer” not from the “Image>Adjustments”.

Don’t forget January 30, 2010 we start our classes at STUDIO 715, space is limited you can get additional information on the main page of this blog, or you can call me at 850.251.4912.

Click "BR Button to start Bridge in CS4

Bridge is now open

To Place the new document of your choosing click on File>Place>In Photoshop


#14. Today’s (01/12/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day deals with Actions.  Actions are files created to automate various  repetitive steps on multiple files.  For example if you want to resize a group of files from their original size to a different size either larger or smaller, you would use an action to automate the process.  Now in CS3 as well as CS4 you can change the way this is done to save a few steps in the process by changing the Action’s Plalette to Button Mode so you start the action by using one click on the button rather than the somewhat normal cumbersome way.  Here’s how you set you actions to button mode.

In the upper right hand corner of your Action’s Palette, click on the down facing arrow which will open a pop up menu.  From the pop up menu click on the Button Mode at the top of the menu and your Actions will now be in Button Mode.

Click on the down pointing arrow for pop up menu

When you click on "Button Mode" your Action Palette looks like this.


#12. Today’s (01/06/2010) Photoshop Tip of the Day deals with resizing text on the fly.

Press the "Ctrl" & "Shift" keys and either the "<" or ">" to make your text either smaller or larger.


#11.  Today’s Photoshop Tip of the Day (January 4, 2010) will make creating multiple text layers with layer styles which look alike quick and easy.  Start by opening a foto file then put some horizontal text on the file.  Next go to “Layer”>”Layer Styles” and create whatever effect you’d like.  Such as this text layer:

The original Text Layer "Florida State University"

Next create a second layer of text somewhere else on the document.  When finished press and hold the “Alt” key and click on the word “Effects” below the first text layer, then drag it up to the second text layer and let it go.  This will duplicate the effects from the first layer to the second layer like this.

The effects copied are from the text layer shown above, but the text looks different because of the placement in the foto of the second layer of text.

This technique can be copied onto multiple layers by press the “Shift” key and highlighting numerous text layers so they are all highlighted the pressing and holding the “Alt” key over the first text layer and dragging it up to the highlighted layers. DON’T FORGET IF YOU DOUBLE CLICK ON THE FOTOS ON THIS BLOG PAGE THEY WILL APPEAR ON A SEPARATE PAGE IN A LARGER FORMAT SO YOU CAN VIEW THEM MORE EASILY.


#10. Today’s tip is going to have a couple of embedded tips to make up for yesterday and probably the next couple of days. Now let’s say we want to put some text on a page. “Let’s put some text on a page.” (a little bit of humor, okay a very little bit of humor). We also want to line the text up on items on the background and we want to put a gradient on just the text. First start by opening the file you want to put text over then decide where the text will go and what it will line up onto. Because I’m proud of this creation, I’m going to use the Littlest Seminole, cool effects aren’t they.

The Littlest Seminole with a reflection

Now we are going to put text on either side of the box so we want the text to line up on both sides and we want it to be the same distances away from the box on both sides. With your file open Click on “Ctrl” + “R” key to make the rulers visible at the top and the left margin. Then you are going to place the cursor in the top ruler and click and drag a guide down to the corner of the box. Then you will click on the vertical ruler on the left side and click and drag a guide all the across to the right side of the photo about a half inch from the right margin and then click on the left ruler again and drag out another guide about one half inch from the left margin. It should look like this.

The blue lines are your guide lines

Now you can place your text within the guide lines and you’ll know that they are evenly spaced and on the same level.

Now to get rid of the guides if you are through with them simply go to the top menu bar click on “View”>”Clear Guides” and away they go.

Next we are going to put a gradient on the text layers, but first you have to select the text itself.  To do this hightlight one of the text layers then, Press and hold the “Ctrl” + “Shift” keys and click on the Layers thumbnail this will put the marching ants around the text.

To select the text and put marching ants around it press "Ctrl" + "Shift" key hold them and click on the layer's thumbnail.

Now you have the text with the Marching Ants around ” For Details Call Ada At: 850.545.3870 and it looks like this:

Hard to see, but trust me the marching ants are there.

Next you have to rasterize the layer by clicking on Layer>Rasterize>Layer. You’ll get a clear looking layer on top of you text layer. Then press the “G” key to get your gradient tool to come up and I chose a gradient which goes from yellow to red to yellow and placed it on a diagonal from upper left to lower right.  Once you are done press “Ctrl” + “D” to get rid of the selection.  Now repeat the same process for the “For Sale” layer and it will look like this.

I picked the colors for the gradient from the doll's pom-poms.

Yeah, I noticed after I finished that I didn’t remove the guides from the foto as I instructed you to, but I wasn’t about to go back and recreate the whole image, so you’ll just have to live with the knowledge that I am not perfect, disappointing, I know but get over it.  Hope you all have a very Happy and safe New Year celebration and a prosperous New Year. Speaking of the New Year as soon as we get back from the Holiday, we are going to announce our first group of classes which will be held at STUDIO 715. So keep your eyes peeled for the announcement.  We are going to have basic photography classes for those of you who have just purchased a camera or had Santa bring you one, all the way to advanced studio techniques including lighting, posing and Photoshop Classes from how to set up the program to work best for you to advanced techniques like creating the capture of the Littlest Seminole.  By the way the photo was taken on a black background with a black cloth under the box, there was no reflective material under the doll and box…


#9.  Have you ever been working in Photoshop and suddenly you’ve lost your panels and tool bar for no apparent reason?  This is scary until you figure out that all you did was hit the “Tab” by accident.  Clicking the “Tab” key will turn the panels to the right and the tool bar to the left off and on.  It is a short cut to allow you to view a file without the clutter of the panels and tool bar.

To remove the panels and tool bar hit the "Tab" key

To replace the panels and tool bar hit the "Tab" key again


#8.  Okay one quick tip while I wait to go off for last minute Christmas Gifts.  So here’s my gift to all of you:

To pop up a layer’s blending options menu simply double click on the layers thumbnail in the layers palette.  Then you can choose from layer styles, drop shadows, etc.  This also works in CS3.

To Bring up the Layer’s Blending Menu Double Click the Thumbnail

This menu will pop up and now you can choose the blending mode of your choice.


I hope Santa brings you a new Wacom Tablet.


#7.  Today we are going to talk about inserting smart objects into a document.  So what are the advantages of smart objects, you might ask.  Well the most important thing about smart objects is that they are smart.  Meaning that the smart object has code embedded into it which remembers all of the details of the original file and then allows you, the PS professional to edit the smart object in non-destructive ways.  For example you can convert a smart object to a desaturated layer save the file as a psd or png and come back to it later and restore the colors.  Have you ever had a file that you had to reduce in size and save it in the smaller size or received it in a small size, but you want to use it in a larger format?  When you enlarged that small file, it became pixelated and unusable.  By making that file into a smart object it allows you to manipulate it even make it bigger without loosing quality and come back again and make any other changes.

The key to making this technique work is that instead of dragging one file onto a background layer, you once again use the “Place” command from the file drop down menu which once again places the file in the center of the background both top to bottom and left to right and automatically make the file placed on a new smart object layer.  Another difference is that you have to use the “layer” adjustment drop down menu instead of the “Image>Adjustments” to make any changes.  All the options in the “Image>Adjustment” drop down menu are greyed out.  And that is why you want to create the watermark as a big file so that you can start with a big file use it as a smart object and adjust to your hearts content.

Hot Air Balloon originally 2 x 3 @ 7a dpi-the bigger I make it the more pixelated it becomes.

Notice the difference in the quality of these two images, the one below was a smart object while the one about was not. No other changes were made to the one below yet look at the sky’s tonality, how much richer it is in the smart object foto.

Hot Air Balloon Smart Object 16 X 10 @ 72 DPI

I will be putting up new tips on an irregular basis during the next week or so.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

God Bless you all and God Bless America.


#6.  Creating a transparent background for things such as a copyright watermarks is as simple as creating a new file.  Set the size to 8000 pixels by 4000 pixels with a white background color, yes, it is a large file but there is a reason for that which you will understand later.  Then create your watermark in subsequent layers.  When finished click on the background layer to highlight it.  Then click on the background layer’s lock and drag it to the garbage can.  Now the background layer becomes “Layer 0”.  Now delete layer zero and save the remaining layers as a “png” file extension.  This will leave your background invisible.  Now Your file is ready to place on top of any of your artwork.

This is my watermark on a transparent background as you will see.

Now here is the same watermark same color placed on a flyer I created for a customer and changed the blending mode on the layer to “vivid light” which blends the watermark color with the background color of the layer below.

Same watermark blend mode “Vivid Light”

Naturally, if I was doing this for the customer this would be a much smaller size for the watermark and I would reduce the opacity so that the watermark would be barely visible.


#5. While in CS3 this works a little differently than is does in CS4, but it basically will do the same thing.  With either one or more files open press the “F” key to scroll through the various views of you CS interface, from full file view, to reduced size view so you can see multilple files in CS3, to full screen view without the tool bars or pallettes on the right or left sides of the interface.  Great for getting a different perspective of your work.  Continue to press the “F” key until you get to the view you would rather see while working on your file.


#4. Creating an easy black and white photo without having to adjust the all the sliders.  With a photo open click on Image>Adjustments>Black and White. Now rather than trying to adjust the sliders from the box that pops open, instead click on an area within the photo that you want to adjust either darker or light.  To make the area lighter drag the cursor to the left, to make the area darker, drag the cursor to the right.  You will see the corresponding color slider move in the box.

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall


#3. If you are wanting to affect only a certain tonal range in a capture without affecting other colors, such as the sky, you can create a duplicate layer “Ctrl +J”, of your image, go to blending mode and at the bottom of the menu box that opens up look at the “Blend if”  sliders.  The top scale adjustments affect the active layer and the bottom scale adjustments affect the underlying layer.  Now notice the white verticle bar in the slider triangle.  If you click on the triangle and slide it, this action will adjust the entire layer.  By pressing the “Alt” key and clicking on the left or right side of the slider triangle you will split the triangle causing the only tonal range between the two halfs to be the only colors affected in the layer.

Press the “Alt” key and click on one side of the sliders to split for tonal range adjustments.


#2.  To cycle through the layer’s blending modes and see what affect each blending mode will have on your photo press “V” then “Shift and the “+ (plus sign)”” and to scroll through them in reverse  order press “V” then “Shift and the “- (minus sign)””.


#1.  In CS4 the new interface has a tab for each opened document/foto.  This, in my view, is much easier than the way it was in CS3, but takes some getting used to.  Particularly if you want to transfer a part of one image into another or if you want to insert an entire image onto a background created in another file or template. The easy way to do it is “select all” from the menu, press “Ctrl + A” which selects the entire file also or select the part you want to move with one of the various selection tools.

Highlighted tab is open background document

Once you have the selection highlighted with marching ants, press “Ctrl + C”, click on the tab of the target file and once the target file opens press “Ctrl V” to open the selection on a new layer in the target document.

Make your Selection then open your target file
Adjust for size and placement within the frame as desired.

Watch for new CS4 tips of the day, I will be posting on a regular basis.  Remember there are  a thousand ways to accomplish anything in photoshop, you just have to pick what works for you and keep an open mind to new ideas.

2 Responses to “Photoshop Tip of the Day”

  1. Frank,
    The tips are so helpful! Looking forward to the class.
    Happy New Year. Love your Christmas photos. Looks like your family really had a beautiful time.

    Happy New Year!

    • We did have a great time thank you and may you and your family have a Happy New Year. I am finishing up some lesson plans and hope to get started with the classes soon after the start of the new year. Spread the word…

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