Blend modes can give some really cool effects, but it can be a pain to scroll through them, especially on a Mac. With a PC it’s easy. Just click in the Blend Mode box so the mode is highlighted and use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard. But that doesn’t work on a Mac. So what do you do? With the layer active, select the Move tool and hold the shift key and press the + (plus) or – (minus) key to flip through the blend modes. And this works for PC too.
The Filmstrip view provided in Bridge uses a horizontal strip along the bottom which works great for horizontal images, but vertical images are rather small. To fix this, I like to have the Content panel on the side instead of the bottom allowing for a larger preview of the vertical images.
If you’re not using Bridge to find and open your images, you are wasting time (unless you are using Lightroom, but that’s for another blog). Don’t go to File > Open, click the Bridge icon or go to File > Browse in Bridge.
The problem is the default setup can use a little improvement, of course. So here it is. As stated in the video, there are two main workspaces I like to setup, Thumbnails, which is shown here, and Vertical Filmstrip, we’ll get that one up tomorrow.
Work efficiently in Photoshop by creating an organized workspace. By arranging and grouping you panels, you can work faster and figure out why something isn’t working. The basic idea is to have the most important panels opened, and the frequently used panels docked on the side, but minimized. Depending on the task, you can setup different workspaces as needed.
And for you Mac users, you really can’t dock your panels if there is no edge, so if you go to Window > Application Frame, it will put a gray background behind Photoshop and give you an edge to dock your panels. It also keeps Photoshop from disappearing into the dock if you accidentally click on the desktop instead of the image.
Here’s a little trick to help you align and evenly space out images on a composite that’s fast and easy. You probably saw it but didn’t know what it was. It’s been sitting on the option bar in Photoshop when you select the Move tool (V). It’s Align and Distribute. But you need to know the limitations. Distribute will only work on objects that are the same size. Align will work regardless.
Tip: In the Move tool’s option bar, check Auto-Select and then choose Layer in the drop down menu. And to select multiple layers in the Layers Panel, hold Shift and click for a range or Ctrl/Cmd and click to select random layers.
I use decorative brushes all the time, but sometimes, it’s just not in the proper orientation. Here’s a quick way to rotate your brush using the Brushes Panel. Of course this isn’t the only way, quite often I’ll stamp each brush on a seperate layer and Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and rotate them. Just depends on what I’m doing.
Last time we made a brush from line art, this time from an image. Just need to add one more step… Threshold to make the image black or white, no greys. This works best when the subject is clearly defined from the background.
Making brushes in Photoshop is easy if you know how. This short tutorial will show you how to make a brush from a simple or hand drawn graphic. If you go to Edit and Define Brush Preset is not available, your graphic may be too big. Through CS5, max brush size is 2500 pixels, but in CS6 it’s 5000 pixels. Go to Edit – Image Size and resize the image to fall within the acceptable range. And while you can make a brush from any shade of grey, you will only get 100 opacity if you use 0,0,0 black.
I know, we are all so busy, it’s hard to take the time to read a book, watch hours of video or attend a class, say like the ones we will be teaching, Image Explorations in Victoria, BC, July 15-19, 2012 or Georgia School August 26-31… but I digress. We are working on a video series for Photoshop, but it will take time, time to make and time to watch. So, we decided to also make a series of short videos, in the 1 to 2 minute range, to explain Photoshop, a little bit at a time. We will try and cover a full range of topics, some beginning, some advanced. We can not cover everything, but if you give us just a few minutes a week, you might learn a thing or two. And of course, if you have a request, just let us know. Our goal is to post 4 to 5 videos a week!