The Easy Path

5 06 2007

I’m sure most designers hate pulling an object out of it’s background, it’s tedious and never feels perfect. Some of you lazy bastards even use Magic Wand instead of Paths, for shame. Now Magic Wand is no-brainer automated tools, but it sucks for fine edges and is liable to leave a chunk of background sticking to your object or worse eat into the image you are trying to extract. Paths are the best choice, but it can be time consuming because most designers treat it like a neutered Illustrator Pen Tool, actually I find the Photoshop Pen tool easier to use than Illustrator’s. Lets see how to make a path super quick and more accurate. Most of you trying to shape the curve as you go along the edge of the object, jumping from pen tool to corner tool and that’s far too time-consuming.

Just do a sloppy trace of the object, put points in corners or areas where a curvature starts, just keep going around the whole object don’t worry about accuracy, we’ll clean it up on the second round.


Now still using the Pen Tool, go to two point holding CMD (CTRL on WIN) to jump to the Direct Select Tool and get them right where they should be.

Now release the CMD key and move the cursor to the midpoint between the two points and the cursor will change automatically to the Add Anchor Point Tool, click to add a point. That point will automatically be a Curve Point (bends) not a Corner Point (straight), holding the CMD key again to jump to the Direct Select Tool, drag the point to fit the curve.


Now go around the object snapping the path to the edges, you can even delete some of the old points to make the curves even smaller as your first round is always corner points. You can adjust the curve by holding down the OPT (ALT on WIN) to jump to the Convert Point Tool.


Pushing Buttons

8 05 2007


Deziner Folio has created an excellent collection of ‘2.0-esque’ web styles for Photoshop, great for making small elements such as buttons and headers. It’s an excellent compliment to the previously released Ultimate Web 2.0 Gradients 3.0.

Thing is, most people have never played with Layer Styles, because at first glance the palette is too weird. It’s kinda odd looking in Photoshop and there is something Illustrator-ish about it, or like a Style Sheet for images. Also I have the feeling a lot of heavy Photoshop users scoff features that seem to ‘hand hold’ the user, like Auto Color, we want control over the image not some gimmick that works half the time. What Layer Styles is for is to help a Web Production art pump out a lot of similar elements for using in website. Let’s take a look at how simple and useful this feature is.


First what is a Layer Style? It’s a one or more layer effects saved together as a preset. And the easiest way to use Layer Styles is with shape layers. Now just chose one of the Layer Styles to alter this shape layer



Fixing Your Lousy Photos with Fine Art

8 05 2007


Unfocusedbrain has a lovely tutorial on using colorful fine art as a proxy in Photoshop’s Match Color for enhancing your shitty photos. Using fine art isn’t necessary, you could actually be better served by using a well-taken picture of similar subject, but it’s nice to think Rembrandt saved your art.

Fixing Your Lousy Photos

26 04 2007


So the picture you took of the sunset with your $100 digital camera is under developed, I’m shocked. We’ll we need to fix it before we upload it so it doesn’t look like all the other millions of sunset photos on flickr.

We can fix it in two steps. First dupe the layer. Second set the overlying layer to Screen. If it’s too bright, reduce the opacity of the top layer; too dark, dupe yet another layer and set it to Screen.


Ars Technica Review PS CS3

25 04 2007


Ars Technica does a comprehensive review of Photoshop CS3 new features, and faults. Photoshop has inhaled ImageReady wholly, but managed to burp back up a few features that will be sorely missed. Oh and for Mac users it’s universal, but no surprise there.

High praise for the new interface features and Smart Filters. Also new Clone Tool features rise to the top of “Why didn’t they have this before?” Nice touch being able to select sampling from “Current Layer; Current and Below; All Layers”, but I already think they should have taken that farther with “All Selected Layers”. No?

Well looks like a lot of new toys in PS3, can’t wait to pirate it.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 [Ars Technica]

101 Photoshop Tips

13 04 2007

11amDesign Tutorials posts 101 Hidden Tips & Secrets For Photoshop. I think secret and hidden is a bit much, and some of these tips are bit well-known.

12. Hold Space bar, it will make any tool into “Hand Tool” until you release Space bar.

ORLY? To think I’ve been using the Navigator Palette all this time. But I digress, there are a few good gems in here.

4. Double click the gray background will bring up open file option, Hold Shift+double click will open up the browser.

Oh.. didn’t know that one. However when you throw together 101 keyboard shortcuts and tips together you eyes kinda glaze over. Go ahead and browse through, you just might find that keyboard shortcut that’s been haunting your dreams.

101 Hidden Tips & Secrets For Photoshop
[11amDesign Tutorials]

Combining Vector Art in Photoshop

12 04 2007


Fabio Sasso of Abduzeedo writes up a nifty tutorial on combining vector elements in Photoshop. Personally I think the end result is uber-busy student work, but the techniques in the article are more important than the final result.

Vector Effects [Abduzeedo]