Praise for the Photoshop Bibles and Deke McClelland

Praise for the Photoshop Bibles and Deke McClelland
Praise for the Photoshop Bibles and
Deke McClelland
You’re probably thinking that if someone has the gall to call his book
a Bible, it had better be pretty good. If you’re not thinking that, it’s
probably because you’ve already experienced the Photoshop Bible
and you know it’s good.
— Los Angeles Times
Say goodbye to those dull and dusty step-by-step tutorials now that
Deke McClelland, the Digital Guru of computer graphics, has updated
his international bestseller, the Macworld Photoshop 5 Bible.
— Adobe.com
A great program deserves a great book. Photoshop has one in this
mammoth paperback (Photoshop Bible).
— Cincinnati Enquirer
I’ve been involved with Photoshop for over seven years, and for as
long as I can remember, I’ve had Deke looking over my shoulder.
Deke takes you through Photoshop and covers a lot of areas with
impressive depth.
— Mark Hamburg, Adobe Principal Scientist and Architect for Photoshop
It’s always nice to see something that was very good become great — bigger and better
than its predecessor (which was already quite good), the Macworld Photoshop 5 Bible
kicks some serious butt: it’s simply outstanding.
— PhotoBooks.com
The Photoshop Bible is a must have encyclopedia of Photoshop info. It’s a tribute to
Deke’s Photoshop knowledge that even the most veteran Photoshop users find the
“Bible” required reading.
— Jeff Schewe, Imaging Artist and Author
(Photoshop Bibles) show you the ins and outs of this fascinating program, with
step-by-step instructions for both everyday techniques and unusual but useful tricks.
— Houston Chronicle
This is an excellent book. I believe you will use it for years.
— Space Coast PC Journal
[In Photoshop Studio Secrets] McClelland takes you step by step through every stage
of the design, from concept to execution. This is the book you need if you’re more
interested in the artwork than in the tools.
— Los Angeles Times
With Photoshop expert Deke McClelland at the steering wheel, how can you go wrong!
— The Design & Publishing Center
The Photoshop 5 Bible by Deke McClelland sits proudly on my desk and is a constant
source of information and assistance as I confidently create with Adobe Photoshop 5.
McClelland’s complete understanding of Adobe’s suite of imaging software is only
surpassed by his ability to teach. He may be my favorite author!
— Susanne York, Houston, TX
I gotta tell you — the Photoshop Bible has saved me many times. There is nothing
more a designer needs (except for coffee) sitting beside his Mac than the Photoshop
Bible.
— Jason K. Jennings, Nashville, TN
While it may theoretically be possible to use Photoshop without the Photoshop Bible,
I can’t imagine why anyone would want to try.
— Tim Wilson, Keys Entertainment
McClelland offers tons of tips, tricks and procedures. There are more insights than any
one person will likely be able to digest, but even a few will prove invaluable for getting
more out of the program… . One advantage of such a large book is that complicated
subjects can be dealt with at length. McClelland takes full advantage of this in the
special effects section, detailing how the different filters work, what the effects of the
filters are, and how users can better control the results… Macworld Photoshop Bible
succeeds as a valuable tome for users of all levels. It will be helpful for beginners and
relevant to advanced users.
— Communication Arts
This was the best computer book I’ve ever read.
— SM, Boulder, CO
This Author’s style is inviting and comfortable. He explains complex concepts in a very
simple, familiar manner. Nothing else comes close.
— TG, North Hollywood, CA
I read this book on vacation — and still had a good time!
— DLG, Vanderbilt, Mississippi
This book has the most extensive coverage of Adobe Photoshop I’ve seen! Thanks for
helping me realize the limitless potential of Photoshop!
— DG, Big Sandy, Texas
…this encyclopedic effort ought to help both new and experienced users unleash the
power of this multidimensional program. Nearly every feature is explored in detail — in
McClelland’s conversational style…. One imaging topic of importance among Photoshop
disciples — Unsharp Making— gets no less than seven pages in the Bible. It’s as clear an
explanation of USM as has ever been published, backed up with examples showing the
effects achieved by varying the Amount, Radius, and Threshold settings. In fact, if you’re
looking for only one comprehensive Photoshop book, this may be the one.
— Photo District News
It’s a must have for every professional Photoshop user.
— RC, London, England
I teach Photoshop; there would be no way for me to survive my first class without this
book! Deke McClelland incorporates a funny way of explaining things, he’s very
thorough and tells you about “real-life” situations, not just what Adobe wants its
customers to know.
— CD, Addison, Texas
I thought I was an expert Photoshop user, but you should see how many pages I’ve
marked in this book. Deke’s presentation is one of the clearest and most accurate
I’ve seen.
— CS, Fullerton, California
This book puts the Photoshop user manual to shame!
— DB, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Deke is humorous, not a self-righteous “know everything” author. This book cuts
straight to the usable information, without the typical hype or fluff of the manufacturer
manuals.
— EV, Somerset, New Jersey
I’m able to do more than I thought possible with Photoshop using this guide.
— DH, Lincoln, Nebraska
I like the clear, concise, and practical application of each process in Photoshop.
Especially the use of layers! WOW!
— MRB, Langley, Washington
I have every Photoshop book and this one is the best. It is the one I go to when I need
an answer.
— EF, Boulder Colorado
What I really like about the book is that Deke McClelland starts at the basics and takes
you step by step as if you knew nothing about scanning or images. He takes nothing for
granted, explaining in the introduction such fundamentals as when to use Photoshop
and when to use a drawing program…So what does Photoshop do and how does this
book help you in doing it? Mr. McClelland will answer both questions and every other
question you can think of within the confines of the Macintosh and Photoshop.
— Work Place, University College, Dublin, Ireland
No other book about Photoshop is as good as this one. It’s the best!
— JO, Garsfontein, South Africa
A truly wonderful book, jam packed with useful hints, tricks and basic procedures in
Photoshop.
— TW, Dubuque, Iowa
I had tough deadlines and had never used Photoshop before. This book added years to
my life!
— RB, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Great job McClelland! Many books are dull, but this one made me laugh out loud. It
was easy to read the whole thing.
— PM, Vallejo, California
I am laughing all day thinking about and reading this book.
— SA, Barcelona, Spain
Given the technical nature of the topic and the depth of coverage, you might expect the
writing to be rather dry — somewhat less than inspiring. Fortunately, Deke McClelland
is as accomplished a writer as he is a Photoshop guru. He has managed to keep a
potentially heavy topic from becoming too great a burden on the reader, while
maintaining a strong flow of information. His wit and style show through repeatedly in
every chapter. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who uses Adobe Photoshop
on the Mac or PC.
— Flash
It has an answer waiting for every question I could possibly have about Photoshop.
— TL, Corona, California
This “Bible” brings all the comfort that the King James Version no longer does — it’s
my new “Linus Blanket!” I have yet to go find a topic that I can think of that isn’t
covered by the book, and it is stuffed full of topics that wouldn’t have occurred to me.
— NC, London, England
I learn something new every time I open it.
— SFJ, Billerica, Massachusetts
It’s a great book…definitely every Photoshop user’s dream.
— CT, Brisbane, Australia
I like Deke McClelland’s sense of humor! Plus I loved all the information he poured
forth about every feature of Photoshop. I just think this book is excellent!
— TC, Augusta, Georgia
I think I love you, Deke McClelland! Thank you for continuing my ongoing quest!
— KW, Ocoee, Florida
This is a great book. I know Photoshop but I never realized you could do so much with
it until I read this book.
— TLS, Whitestone, New York
It is easily understandable and very easy reading with as much information put
together as I thought possible. It has everything!
— GKP, Eugene, Oregon
This book helped me to understand the thought processes the developers went through
to build the program, which helps me to be a better user.
— JD, Arkansas City, Kansas
The best Photoshop book I’ve seen — I know: I’m a sixteen-year professional.
— CD, Hazelwood, Missouri
While reading this book, it felt like a good friend was sitting over my shoulder letting
me in on all the tips and tricks no one else would tell me about or knew about.
Thanks!
— JO, San Marcos, Texas
Anyone involved with design knows about this book.
— TS, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This book has information on all aspects of Photoshop in non-technical, everyday
language. It was enjoyable to read and I learned a lot.
— NI, Fairlawn, New Jersey
I selected Macworld Photoshop 4.0 Bible for my digital imaging course because I
was impressed with its thoroughness and with the fact that it’s very appropriate for
beginning through advanced-level students...a very comprehensive text!
— Thomas Shirley, Faculty member, Digital Imaging, Columbia College, IL
Photoshop 6 for
Windows Bible
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Photoshop 6 for
Windows Bible
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Deke McClelland
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Photoshop® 6 for Windows® Bible
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
McClelland, Deke, 1962–
Photoshop 6 for Windows Bible / Deke McClelland.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-7645-3491-2 (alk. paper)
1. Computer graphics. 2. Adobe Photoshop.
I. Title.
T385 .M3779964 2000
006.6'869--dc21
00-046186
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About the Author
In 1985, Deke McClelland oversaw the implementation of the first personal computer-based production department in Boulder, Colorado. He later graduated to be
artistic director for Publishing Resources, one of the earliest all-PostScript service
bureaus in the United States.
These days, Deke is the author of the award-winning titles Photoshop for Windows
Bible and Macworld Photoshop Bible (both published by IDG Books Worldwide), now
in their eighth year with more copies in print than any other guides on computer
graphics.
Other best-selling titles include Photoshop For Dummies, Photoshop Studio Secrets,
Web Design Studio Secrets (all IDG Books Worldwide), Real World Illustrator 9, and
Real World Digital Photography (both Peachpit Press). He also serves as host to several entertaining and educational video training series, including Total Photoshop,
Total InDesign, and Total Illustrator (all Total Training).
In 1989, Deke won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Computer Book. Since
then, he has received honors from the Society for Technical Communication (once
in 1994 and twice in 1999), the American Society of Business Press Editors (1995),
the Western Publications Association (1999), and the Computer Press Association
(1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, and twice in 1999). In 1999, Book Bytes named Deke
its Author of the Year.
Deke is presently working on his new visual learning series, Look & Learn, which
is slated to include Look & Learn Photoshop and Look & Learn Flash (IDG Books
Worldwide). He is a contributing editor for Macworld magazine.
To my mad little Max, and the woman who created him.
Two sweeter people you never did see.
To see these two people is sweetness indeed.
Foreword
I
f you are reading this foreword, it probably means that you’ve purchased a copy
of Adobe Photoshop 6.0, and for that I and the rest of the Photoshop team at
Adobe thank you.
If you own a previous edition of the Photoshop Bible, you probably know what to
expect. If not, then get ready for an interesting trip.
A lot of attention in various forums has been given to the fact that the year 2000
marks the ten-year anniversary of Adobe Photoshop. Unless you buy this book
almost immediately after it comes out, I will also have been working on Photoshop
for ten years, so this seems like a good time to do a little looking back.
When I joined the Photoshop team, my first task was to start adding vector drawing
capabilities to a program that even in 1.0 could lay claim to being the leading desktop raster editing program. In other words, I was to implement a Bézier pen tool
that as initially planned was little more than a glorified lasso tool. Ten years later,
Photoshop 6 is now taking vectors on in earnest. I trust that doesn’t mean that we
sat still for the 9+ years between Photoshop 2.0 and Photoshop 6.0. It certainly
doesn’t feel that way.
If we had done so, I suspect that we would have heard from Deke McClelland since
he’s been watching over our shoulders for almost as long as I can remember.
While Photoshop 6 probably provides more instant gratification features than any
previous version, at its core it offers a broad collection of basic and not so basic
tools for building and manipulating images. Becoming a skilled Photoshop user
involves getting to know those tools, how they interact, and when to use them. The
best way I’ve found to do that is through use, exploration, and play. On the other
hand, since Photoshop allows one to do so much, it can be difficult to know where
to begin. It’s like opening a watch maker’s tool chest: The screwdrivers are pretty
obvious, but what about all these other strange and mysterious instruments?
This is where Deke comes in. In Deke’s hands, Photoshop goes from being just a
toolbox to being a strange and wonderful land all its own. The Photoshop Bible is a
guided tour through that land with a guide who has been over the territory many
times.
Deke takes you through most of Photoshop and covers a lot of areas in impressive
depth. Not only does he show you the features in Photoshop — after all, you’ve got
xvi
Foreword
the manual to do that — he shows you how to use them to address issues that look
almost like real world problems. This is the Photoshop Bible not the Photoshop
Encyclopedia and hence it tells stories rather than just presenting information.
A second thing that you’ll get from this book is a lot of commentary. Deke isn’t shy
about letting you know how he feels about various features. I don’t always agree
with Deke’s opinions on these matters, but I think his openness about his opinions
makes the book much richer. If you become a routine user of Photoshop, you will
almost certainly develop your own opinions, some of which will probably match
Deke’s and some of which probably won’t. It’s valuable to get his opinions during
the tour, however, because, even if you end up disagreeing with them, they give you
more to think about.
Finally, the most invigorating aspect of this book is the enthusiasm Deke brings to
the tour. You’ll note that I included “play” in my list of strategies for coming to know
Photoshop, and I think just having fun with the program is really one of the best
things you can do when starting out. Deke almost relentlessly conveys that sense
of excitement and fun, and for that I thank him.
So, fasten your seat belts, put on your pith helmets, and get ready. It’s a fascinating
trip ahead.
Mark Hamburg
Principal Scientist and Architect for Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Systems Incorporated
September 2000
Preface
I
have no idea where you are as you read this. You might be sitting in front of your
computer, lounging on a beach in Martinique, or curled up under the covers with
a flashlight. But there’s a chance you’re standing in a bookstore with a clerk behind
you asking if you need any help. If so, you’re at what we in the book biz like to call
the “point of purchase” (POP). From my perspective, the POP is a dangerous place,
fraught with ambiguities and temptations. There’s a chance — however infinitesimal —
that you might put this book back where you found it and buy a competing title. I
shudder to think of it.
So for the benefit of you POPers, I’m about to lay it on a bit thick.
This book is not only the number-one selling guide to Adobe Photoshop, but one
of the two or three most successful books on any electronic publishing topic ever
printed. You can find dozens of localized translations throughout the world. The
Dutch translation has been known to come out before the English edition, and I
just received an e-mail from my German translator urging me to get her manuscript
ASAP. The Photoshop Bible is the most widely accepted textbook for college courses.
It is also the only third-party book that has been edited from cover to cover for technical accuracy by members of Photoshop’s programming team (for which I am duly
grateful).
Now, we all know “bestseller” doesn’t necessarily translate to “best” — I needn’t
remind you that pet rocks were once hotter than Pokémon. But the Photoshop Bible
seems to have touched a chord. Based on the letters I’ve received over the years,
most readers find the book informative, comprehensive, and entertaining. (Okay, one
woman summed it up as “violent, satanic, and blasphemous” — cross my heart, it’s
true — but now that we’ve removed all the backward lyrics, I think we’ve addressed
that problem.) Knowing that people not only buy the book, but actually read it and
find it pleasurable, gives me more satisfaction than I can say.
The driving philosophy behind Photoshop 6 for Windows Bible is a simple one: Even
the most intimidating topic can be made easy if it’s explained properly. This goes
double when the subject of the discussion is something as modest as a piece of
software. Photoshop isn’t some remarkable work of nature that defies our comprehension. It’s nothing more that a commercial product designed by a bunch of regular people like you for the express purpose of being understood and put to use by
a bunch of regular people like you. If I can’t explain something that’s inherently so
straightforward, then shame on me.
xviii
Preface
I’ve made it my mission to address every topic head-on — no cop-outs, no apologies. Everything’s here, from the practical benefits of creating accurate masks to
the theoretical wonders of designing your own custom layer styles. I wasn’t born
with this knowledge, and there are plenty of times when I’m learning with you. But
when I don’t know how something works, I do the research and figure it out, sometimes discussing features directly with the programmers, sometimes taking advantage of other sources. My job is to find out the answers, make sure those answers
make sense, and pass them along to you as clearly as I can.
I also provide background, opinions, and a few feeble attempts at humor. A dry listing of features followed by ponderous discussions of how they work doesn’t mean
squat unless I explain why the feature is there, where it fits into your workflow,
and — on occasion — whether or not it’s the best solution. I am alternatively cranky,
excited, and just plain giddy as I explain Photoshop, and I make no effort to contain
my criticisms or enthusiasm. This book is me walking you through the program as
subjectively as I would explain it to a friend.
But before I brag any more about the book, it’s possible you’re not even sure what
Photoshop is, much less why you’d need a book on the subject. Just so we’re all
clear, let’s take a peek at the program.
What Is Photoshop?
Photoshop 6 is a professional-level image editor that runs on a Power Macintosh
computer running OS 8.5 or later; or a Pentium-based PC equipped with any of several versions of Microsoft Windows. By image editor, I mean that Photoshop enables
you to edit photos and artwork scanned to disk. You can then post the resulting
images on the Internet or print them on paper.
Here’s an example: Your job is to take a picture of your company’s high-and-mighty
CEO, touch up the crow’s feet, fix the hair, and publish the Chief’s smiling face on
the cover of the annual report. No problem. Just shoot the photo, have it scanned
to disk, open Mr. or Mrs. CEO inside Photoshop, and away you go. Photoshop arms
you with all the digital wrinkle cream, toupee relaxer, jowl remover, and tooth polisher that you could ask for. The head honcho looks presentable no matter how
badly the company is doing.
Photoshop, then, is about changing reality. It follows in the footsteps of a rich procession of after-camera tools. Despite all the hand-wringing you may have heard
about the veracity of photographs in the digital age, image editing has been around
almost as long as photography itself. Witness the editorial image below, lifted from
the hallowed pages of a 1917 issue of The Geographic (predecessor to National
Geographic). The men on the left are authentic, but I’m a bit skeptical about that
fellow inside the van. Today’s editing techniques may be more sophisticated, but
they’re hardly anything new.
Preface
In 1917, The Geographic tendered this image as a genuine photograph,
and very likely many readers thought nothing of it. One day, future
generations will think the same of our work.
Photoshop goes beyond just reducing the distance between two Giza pyramids on
the cover of National Geographic or plopping a leaning Tom Cruise, photographed
in Hawaii, onto the supportive shoulder of Dustin Hoffman, photographed in New
York, for a Newsweek spread (both duller-than-fiction applications of image-editing
software). Photoshop brings you full-tilt creativity. Picture the head of an eagle on
the body of a lion with the legs of a spider and the wings of a dove. Picture yourself
in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Whether your inspirations are original or derivative, Photoshop lets you paint snapshots from your
dreams. If you can picture it in your head, you can paint it in Photoshop.
About This Book
If you’re familiar with previous editions of this book, this one represents your
everyday average exhaustive renovation. As is often the case, I am assisted by Julie
PhotoDeluxe For Dummies King and Amy InDesign For Dummies Thomas Buscaglia,
long-time contributors to the Bible. (Julie has been adding her touch since the very
first Bible; Amy has been on board for the last seven renditions.) With their help,
I’ve added detailed discussions on the subjects of layers, blending options, styles,
xix
xx
Preface
vector-based shapes, color management, object-oriented text, the expanded TIFF
and PDF file formats, free-form distortions, and the usual plethora of interface
enhancements. As always, we’ve reworked the structure of the book to suit the
newest version of Photoshop, creating new parts, rehashing every chapter without
exception, and rewriting several chapters from the ground up. In short, we’ve
deprived ourselves of sleep and sanity to make you happy.
If you’re new to the Bible, I urge you to take a brief moment and make sure you have
the right one before you pay the clerk and take it home. You are currently holding
the Photoshop 6 for Windows Bible, designed specifically for folks who own PCs
equipped with Microsoft Windows. If you use a Apple Macintosh or iMac instead,
put this book down and request a copy of the Macworld Photoshop 6 Bible, which
is far more likely to suit your needs.
That silver Frisbee on the back cover
In the back of this book, you’ll find a CD-ROM. It contains Photoshop plug-ins and
several high-resolution pieces of stock photography in full, natural color. I’ve
included many of the pivotal images from this book so that you can follow along
with my examples as you see fit.
The Bible is nothing if not comprehensive. To bolster this claim, I’ve included a few
additional chapters as PDF files on the CD-ROM. Assuming you have Adobe Acrobat
Reader (which you can download at www.adobe.com), you can open the chapters,
read them on screen, and print them at your leisure. Among these on-disk chapters
are two collections of Photoshop shortcuts — the most extensive of their kind —
one for Macintosh users (Chapter C) and one for Windows (Chapter D). This way,
even if you unknowingly purchased the wrong version of the book, you have all
the shortcuts you need. The CD also includes PDF copies of all the printed chapters
in this book, perfect for those times you want to print an additional copy of a chapter to highlight, underline, or paper the birdcage. Bear in mind, however, that I provide these PDFs for your personal use only. If you distribute them to friends and
family, you’re breaking all kinds of federal codes, interstate treaties, and Geneva
Convention ordinances. If you’re unlucky enough to get caught, the FBI will raid
your house and make you sit in the corner and write bad checks. Okay, I made that
up. All I can really do is tell you I’d rather you didn’t share the PDF chapters and
hope you don’t. I’m powerless; pity me.
As an extra special bonus, you’ll find several QuickTime movie tutorials that
explain how to use some of Photoshop’s most challenging features. These are
excerpted from my video training series, Total Photoshop, from Total Training
(www.totaltraining.com).
CrossReference
Perhaps best of all, the CD is cross-platform, so you can open it on a Mac or PC.
Read the appendix, “Using the CD-ROM,” for a complete listing of the contents of
the CD.
Preface
Conventions
Every computer book seems to conform to a logic all its own, and this one’s no
exception. Although I try to avoid pig latin — ellway, orfay hetay ostmay artpay — I
do subscribe to a handful of conventions that you may not immediately recognize.
Vocabulary
Call it computerese, call it technobabble, call it the synthetic jargon of propeller
heads. The fact is, I can’t explain Photoshop in graphic and gruesome detail without
reverting to the specialized language of the trade. However, to help you keep up, I
can and have italicized vocabulary words (as in random-access memory) with which
you may not be familiar or which I use in an unusual context. An italicized term is
followed by a definition.
If you come across a strange word that is not italicized (that bit of italics was for
emphasis), look it up in the index to find the first reference to the word in the book.
Commands and options
To distinguish the literal names of commands, dialog boxes, buttons, and so on, I
capitalize the first letter in each word (for example, click on the Cancel button). The
only exceptions are option names, which can be six or seven words long and filled
with prepositions like to and of. Traditionally, prepositions and articles (a, an, the)
don’t appear in initial caps, and this book follows that time-honored rule, too.
When discussing menus and commands, I use an arrow symbol to indicate hierarchy. For example, Choose File ➪ Open means to choose the Open command from
the File menu. If you have to display a submenu to reach a command, I list the
command used to display the submenu between the menu name and the final command. Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert means to choose the Adjust command from
the Image menu and then choose the Invert command from the Adjust submenu.
Version numbers
A new piece of software comes out every 15 minutes. That’s not a real statistic,
mind you, but I bet I’m not far off. As I write this, Photoshop has advanced to
Version 6.0. But by the time you read this, the version number may be seven hundredths of a percentage point higher. So know that when I write Photoshop 6, I mean
any version of Photoshop short of 7.
Similarly, when I write Photoshop 5, I mean Versions 5.0, 5.0.2, and 5.5; Photoshop 4
means Versions 4.0 and 4.0.1; Photoshop 3 means Versions 3.0, 3.0.1, 3.0.3, 3.0.4,
and 3.0.5; you get the idea.
xxi
xxii
Preface
Icons
Like just about every computer book currently available on your greengrocer’s
shelves, this one includes alluring icons that focus your eyeballs smack-dab on
important information. The icons make it easy for folks who just like to skim books
to figure out what the heck’s going on. Icons serve as little insurance policies
against short attention spans. On the whole, the icons are self-explanatory, but
I’ll explain them anyway.
The Caution icon warns you that a step you’re about to take may produce disastrous results. Well, perhaps “disastrous” is an exaggeration. Inconvenient, then.
Uncomfortable. For heaven’s sake, use caution.
Note
The Note icon highlights some little tidbit of information I’ve decided to share with
you that seemed at the time to be remotely related to the topic at hand. I might tell
you how an option came into existence, why a feature is implemented the way it is,
or how things used to be better back in the old days.
Photoshop
Caution
6
The Photoshop 6 icon explains an option, command, or other feature that is
brand-spanking new to this latest revision. If you’re already familiar with previous
versions of Photoshop, you might just want to plow through the book looking for
Photoshop 6 icons and see what new stuff is out there.
Tip
This book is bursting with tips and techniques. If I were to highlight every one of
them, whole pages would have light-bulbs popping out all over the place. The Tip
icon calls attention to shortcuts that are specifically applicable to the Photoshop
application. For the bigger, more useful power tips, I’m afraid you’ll have to actually
read the text.
CrossReference
The Cross-Reference icon tells you where to go for information related to the current topic. I included one a few pages back and you probably read it without thinking twice. That means you’re either sharp as a tack or an experienced computerbook user. Either way, you won’t have any trouble with this icon.
I thought of including one more icon that alerted you to every new bit of information — whether Photoshop 6–dependent or not — that’s included in this book. But I
found myself using it every other paragraph. Besides, that would have robbed you
of the fun of discovering the new stuff.
How to Bug Me
Even in its sixth edition, scanned by the eyes of hundreds of thousands of readers
and scrutinized intensely for months at a time by myself and my editors, I’ll bet
someone, somewhere will still manage to locate errors and oversights. If you notice
Preface
those kinds of things and you have a few spare moments, please let me know. I
always appreciate readers’ comments.
If you want to share your insights, comments, or corrections, please visit my Web
site, the infamous http://www.dekemc.com. There you’ll find news and excerpts
about my books, tips for various graphics products, and other goofy online stuff.
Let me know what you think. To e-mail me, click on the Contact Deke button. Don’t
fret if you don’t hear from me for a few days, or months, or ever. I read every letter
and try to implement nearly every constructive idea anyone bothers to send me.
But because I receive hundreds of reader letters a week, I can respond to only a
small percentage of them.
Note
Please, do not write to ask me why your copy of Photoshop is misbehaving on your
specific computer. I was not involved in developing Photoshop, I am not employed
by Adobe, and I am not trained in product support. Adobe can answer your technical support questions way better than I can, so I leave it to the experts.
Now, without further ado, I urge you to turn the page and advance forward into the
great untamed frontier of image editing. But remember, this book can be a dangerous tool if wielded unwisely. Don’t set it on any creaky card tables or let your children play with it without the assistance of a stalwart adult, preferably an All-Star
Wrestler or that guy who played the Incredible Hulk on TV. And no flower pressing.
The little suckers would be pummeled to dust by this monstrously powerful colossus of a book.
xxiii
Contents at a Glance
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii
Part I: Welcome to Photoshop 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 1: What’s Up with Photoshop 6? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Chapter 2: Inside Photoshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 3: Image Fundamentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Part II: Painting and Retouching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Chapter 4: Defining Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 5: Painting and Editing . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 6: Filling and Stroking . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 7: Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
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131
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Part III: Selections, Masks, and Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
Chapter 8: Selections and Paths .
Chapter 9: Masks and Extractions
Chapter 10: Corrective Filtering .
Chapter 11: Full-Court Filtering. .
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315
383
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Part IV: Layers, Objects, and Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 553
Chapter 12: Working with Layers. . . . . .
Chapter 13: The Wonders of Blend Modes
Chapter 14: Shapes and Styles . . . . . . .
Chapter 15: Fully Editable Text . . . . . . .
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555
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Part V: Color for Print and the Web . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 725
Chapter 16: Essential Color Management . .
Chapter 17: Mapping and Adjusting Colors .
Chapter 18: Printing Images. . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 19: Creating Graphics for the Web .
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727
755
807
841
Appendix: Using the CD-ROM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 893
Bonus Chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . On the CD-ROM
Chapter A: Constructing Homemade Effects
Chapter B: Actions and Other Automations
Chapter C: Macintosh Shortcuts
Chapter D: Windows Shortcuts
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 899
End-User License Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 940
CD-ROM Installation Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 946
Contents
Contents
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii
Part I: Welcome to Photoshop 6
1
Chapter 1: What’s Up with Photoshop 6? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
What Is Photoshop? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Image-Editing Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Bitmaps versus objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The ups and downs of painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The downs and ups of drawing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
When to use Photoshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
When to use a drawing program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Computer Design Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Photoshop Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Fast Track to Version 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Chapter 2: Inside Photoshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
A First Look at Photoshop 6 . . . . . . .
See Photoshop Run . . . . . . . . . . . .
Splash screen tricks . . . . . . . .
Online studios resource . . . . . .
The Photoshop Desktop . . . . . . . . .
The preview box . . . . . . . . . .
The tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The toolbox controls. . . . . . . .
The new Options bar. . . . . . . .
The floating palettes . . . . . . . .
Rearranging and docking palettes
Navigating in Photoshop . . . . . . . . .
The view size . . . . . . . . . . . .
The zoom tool . . . . . . . . . . .
The zoom commands . . . . . . .
The magnification box . . . . . . .
Creating a reference window . . .
Scrolling inside the window. . . .
The Navigator palette . . . . . . .
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15
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xxvii
xxviii
Contents
Customizing the Interface . .
The preference panels .
General preferences . .
Saving Files . . . . . . .
Display & Cursors . . .
Transparency & Gamut
Units & Rulers . . . . .
Guides & Grid . . . . . .
Plug-Ins & Scratch Disk
Image Cache. . . . . . .
Physical memory usage
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47
48
50
53
55
57
58
60
61
63
65
Chapter 3: Image Fundamentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
How Images Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Size versus resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Changing the printing resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Changing the page-layout resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
So what’s the perfect resolution?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
The Resolution of Screen Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
How to Open, Duplicate, and Save Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Creating a new image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Opening an existing image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Duplicating an image. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Saving an image to disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
File Format Roundup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
The native format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Special-purpose formats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Interapplication formats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
The mainstream formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
The oddball formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Still can’t get that file open? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Adding file information and annotations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Resampling and Cropping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Resizing versus resampling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Cropping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Part II: Painting and Retouching
129
Chapter 4: Defining Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Selecting and Editing Colors . . . . .
Specifying colors . . . . . . . .
Using the Color Picker . . . . .
Entering numeric color values
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131
132
133
136
Contents
Working in Different Color Modes . . . . . . . . . . .
RGB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HSB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CMYK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CIE’s Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Lab anatomy . . . . . . . . . .
Grayscale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Black and white (bitmap) . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using Photoshop’s Other Color Selection Methods .
Predefined colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Color palette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Swatches palette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Swatches presets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The eyedropper tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The color sampler tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introducing Color Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why you should care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How channels work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How to switch and view channels . . . . . . .
Trying Channels on for Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
RGB channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CMYK channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lab channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Other Channel Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Color Channel Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Improving the appearance of color scans . . .
Using multichannel techniques . . . . . . . . .
Replacing and swapping color channels . . . .
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138
139
141
141
144
144
146
146
151
151
154
156
157
158
159
161
162
162
163
165
165
167
168
169
174
174
176
177
Chapter 5: Painting and Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Paint and Edit Tool Basics . . . . . . . . . . .
Meet your tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Basic techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Brush Shape and Opacity. . . . . . . . . . . .
The Brushes palette . . . . . . . . . . .
Editing and creating brush shapes . . .
Opacity, pressure, and exposure . . . .
Brush Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Exploring the Brush Dynamics palette .
Fading the paint (and other effects) . .
Creating sparkles and comets . . . . . .
Creating tapered strokes . . . . . . . . .
Setting up pressure-sensitive tablets . .
Brush Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The 19 paint tool modes . . . . . . . . .
The three dodge and burn modes . . .
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179
180
185
196
197
198
207
208
209
210
211
214
214
217
218
221
xxix
xxx
Contents
Chapter 6: Filling and Stroking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Filling Portions of an Image . . . . . . . . . . .
Filling Selections with Color or Patterns . . . .
The paint bucket tool. . . . . . . . . . . .
The Fill command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Backspace-key techniques . . . . . . . . .
Using the paint bucket inside a selection
Applying Gradient Fills . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using the gradient tool . . . . . . . . . . .
Gradient options . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gradient styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating custom gradations . . . . . . . .
Editing solid gradients . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating noise gradients . . . . . . . . . .
Saving and managing gradients . . . . . .
Applying Strokes and Arrowheads . . . . . . .
Stroking a selection outline . . . . . . . .
Applying arrowheads. . . . . . . . . . . .
Appending arrowheads to curved lines .
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223
224
224
230
232
233
235
235
236
239
242
243
249
251
255
256
258
260
Chapter 7: Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Three of the Best . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cloning Image Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The cloning process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Touching up blemishes. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Restoring an old photograph . . . . . . . . . .
Eliminating distracting background elements.
Applying Repeating Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Aligning patterns (or not) . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating patterns and textures . . . . . . . . .
Building your own seamless pattern . . . . . .
Stepping Back through Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using the traditional undo functions . . . . . .
The History palette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Painting away the past . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Part III: Selections, Masks, and Filters
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263
264
266
269
271
276
281
282
284
287
293
294
295
299
313
Chapter 8: Selections and Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Selection Fundamentals . . . . . .
How selections work . . . . .
Geometric selection outlines
Free-form outlines . . . . . .
Magnetic selections. . . . . .
The world of the wand . . . .
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315
316
319
322
324
327
Contents
Ways to Change Selection Outlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Quick changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Manually adding and subtracting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using Shift and Alt like a pro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adding and subtracting by command . . . . . . . . . . . .
Softening selection outlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Moving and Duplicating Selections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The role of the move tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Making precise movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cloning a selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Moving a selection outline independently of its contents .
Scaling or rotating a selection outline . . . . . . . . . . . .
The untimely demise of floating selections . . . . . . . . .
How to Draw and Edit Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Paths overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Drawing paths with the pen tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Editing paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Filling paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Painting along a path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Converting and saving paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Importing and Exporting Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Swapping paths with Illustrator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Exporting to Illustrator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Retaining transparent areas in an image . . . . . . . . . . .
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330
331
331
333
334
338
344
344
345
346
349
350
353
353
354
357
363
370
371
374
377
377
378
378
Chapter 9: Masks and Extractions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383
Selecting Via Masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Masking defined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Painting and Editing Inside Selections . . . . . . .
Working in Quick Mask Mode . . . . . . . . . . . .
How the quick mask mode works . . . . . . .
Changing the red coating . . . . . . . . . . .
Gradations as masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating gradient arrows. . . . . . . . . . . .
Generating Masks Automatically . . . . . . . . . .
Extracting a subject from its surroundings .
Using the Color Range command . . . . . . .
A few helpful Color Range hints. . . . . . . .
Creating an Independent Mask Channel . . . . . .
Saving a selection outline to a mask channel
Converting a mask to a selection . . . . . . .
Viewing mask and image . . . . . . . . . . . .
Building a Mask from an Image . . . . . . . . . . .
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383
384
386
390
390
395
396
401
404
404
410
414
415
415
418
418
419
Chapter 10: Corrective Filtering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427
Filter Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427
A first look at filters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428
xxxi
xxxii
Contents
How filters work. . . . . . . . . . . .
Fading a filter . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Heightening Focus and Contrast. . . . . .
Using the Unsharp Mask filter . . . .
Using the preset sharpening filters .
Sharpening grainy photographs . .
Using the High Pass filter . . . . . .
Blurring an Image . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Applying the Gaussian Blur filter . .
The preset blurring filters . . . . . .
Antialiasing an image . . . . . . . . .
Directional blurring . . . . . . . . . .
Softening a selection outline. . . . .
Noise Factors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adding noise. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Removing noise with Despeckle . .
Averaging pixels with Median . . . .
Sharpening a compressed image . .
Cleaning up scanned halftones . . .
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431
435
438
438
446
446
451
455
455
458
458
460
469
472
472
478
479
479
482
Chapter 11: Full-Court Filtering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487
Destructive Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A million wacky effects . . . . . . . . .
What about the others? . . . . . . . .
Third-party filters . . . . . . . . . . . .
One final note about RAM . . . . . . .
The Pixelate Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Crystal Halo effect . . . . . . . . .
Creating a mezzotint . . . . . . . . . .
Edge-Enhancement Filters . . . . . . . . . .
Embossing an image . . . . . . . . . .
Tracing around edges . . . . . . . . .
Creating a metallic coating . . . . . .
Distortion Filters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reflecting an image in a spoon . . . .
Twirling spirals . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating concentric pond ripples . . .
Creating parallel ripples and waves .
Distorting an image along a curve . .
Changing to polar coordinates . . . .
Distorting an image inside out . . . .
Distorting with the Liquify command
Wrapping an Image around a 3D Shape . . .
Using the 3D Transform filter . . . . .
Layer before you apply. . . . . . . . .
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487
487
491
491
492
492
493
495
498
498
502
503
505
507
510
514
517
524
525
528
532
539
540
544
Contents
Adding Clouds and Spotlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 546
Creating clouds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 546
Lighting an image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547
Part IV: Layers, Objects, and Text
553
Chapter 12: Working with Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555
Layers, Layers Everywhere. . . . . . . . . . . .
Sending a Selection to a Layer . . . . . . . . . .
Other ways to make a layer . . . . . . . .
Duplicating a layer . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Working with Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Switching between layers . . . . . . . . .
Switching layers from the keyboard . . .
Understanding transparency . . . . . . .
Modifying the background layer . . . . .
Reordering layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Automated matting techniques . . . . . .
Blending layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fusing several layers . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dumping layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Saving a flattened version of an image . .
Selecting the Contents of Layers . . . . . . . .
Drop shadows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Halos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spotlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Moving, Linking, and Aligning Layers . . . . . .
Linking layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Uniting layers into sets . . . . . . . . . . .
Locking layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using guides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Automatic alignment and distribution . .
Setting up the grid . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using the measure tool. . . . . . . . . . .
Applying Transformations . . . . . . . . . . . .
Transforming the entire image . . . . . .
Transforming layers and selected pixels.
Numerical transformations . . . . . . . .
Masking and Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Preserving transparency . . . . . . . . . .
Creating layer-specific masks . . . . . . .
Pasting inside a selection outline . . . . .
Masking groups of layers . . . . . . . . .
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555
557
558
560
561
561
563
563
566
568
569
571
573
574
574
574
576
578
580
582
582
584
587
588
590
591
592
593
594
594
597
598
598
601
604
604
xxxiii
xxxiv
Contents
Chapter 13: The Wonders of Blend Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 609
Mixing Images Together . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using Opacity and Blend Modes . . . . . . . .
The Opacity setting . . . . . . . . . . . .
The blend modes . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Blend mode madness. . . . . . . . . . .
Applying Advanced Blending Options . . . .
Blending interior layer effects (or not).
Blending clipping groups . . . . . . . .
Blending individual color channels . . .
Knocking out layers. . . . . . . . . . . .
Knocking out by brightness value . . .
Using Channel Operation Commands . . . . .
The Apply Image command . . . . . . .
Add and Subtract . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Calculations command . . . . . . .
Combining masks . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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609
612
613
613
624
627
629
630
631
631
633
638
640
645
647
649
Chapter 14: Shapes and Styles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 653
Some Stuff We Never Ordered . . . . . . .
Drawing Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The pros and cons of shapes . . . .
The shape tools . . . . . . . . . . . .
The shape drawing process . . . . .
Combining and editing shapes . . .
Editing the stuff inside the shape . .
The Bold New Layer Styles . . . . . . . . .
The advantages of layer effects . . .
Inside the Layer Style dialog box . .
Modifying and Saving Effects. . . . . . . .
Disabling effects. . . . . . . . . . . .
Duplicating effects . . . . . . . . . .
Scattering effects to the four winds
Saving effects as styles . . . . . . . .
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653
655
655
657
659
662
664
667
673
673
680
681
681
682
682
Chapter 15: Fully Editable Text. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 685
The State of Type in Photoshop 6 . . . . . . . . .
The five flavors of text . . . . . . . . . . . .
Text as art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using the Type Tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating vertical type . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating and manipulating text in a frame .
Selecting text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Applying character formatting . . . . . . .
Applying paragraph formatting . . . . . . .
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685
686
687
689
693
694
695
696
706
Contents
Warping text . . . . . . . . . .
Editing text as shapes . . . .
Character Masks and Layer Effects
Creating a text mask . . . . .
Converting type to a path . .
Type masks on the march . .
Layer effects bonanza . . . .
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Part V: Color for Print and the Web
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712
714
715
715
716
717
722
725
Chapter 16: Essential Color Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 727
Plunging Headlong into Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Typical Color-Matching Scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Setting up the source monitor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Selecting the ideal working space. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Embedding the profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Setting up the destination space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Defining color management policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Converting the color space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Color Conversion Central. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Working spaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Color management policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Advanced mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Custom CMYK Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Loading CMYK settings from a previous version of Photoshop.
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727
728
729
732
734
735
736
737
738
739
739
742
746
748
752
Chapter 17: Mapping and Adjusting Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 755
What Is Color Mapping? . . . . . . . . . .
Color effects and adjustments . . .
The good, the bad, and the wacky .
Quick Color Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Invert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Equalize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Threshold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posterize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Quick Corrections . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sucking saturation . . . . . . . . . .
The Auto Levels commands . . . . .
The Auto Contrast command . . . .
Hue Shifting and Colorizing . . . . . . . .
Using the Hue/Saturation command
Adjusting hue and saturation . . . .
Colorizing images . . . . . . . . . . .
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755
755
756
757
757
759
761
764
765
765
766
767
768
768
773
776
xxxv
xxxvi
Contents
Shifting selected colors . . . . . . . . . . .
Shifting predefined colors . . . . . . . . . .
Using the Variations command . . . . . . .
Enhancing colors in a compressed image .
Making Custom Brightness Adjustments . . . . .
The Levels command . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Curves command . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gradient maps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Practical applications: continuous curves.
Practical applications: arbitrary curves . .
Adjustment Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The advantages of layer-based corrections
Correcting a flat image using layers . . . .
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777
778
780
782
784
785
791
796
797
799
801
803
805
Chapter 18: Printing Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 807
Welcome to Printing. . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Printing Terminology . .
Printing Composites. . . . . . . . . . . .
Choosing a printer . . . . . . . . .
Setting up the page . . . . . . . . .
Specifying a transfer function . . .
Printing pages . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating Color Separations . . . . . . . .
Outputting separations. . . . . . .
Color trapping . . . . . . . . . . . .
Printing Duotones . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a duotone . . . . . . . . .
Reproducing a duotone . . . . . .
Editing individual duotone plates.
Spot-Color Separations . . . . . . . . . .
Printing Contact Sheets . . . . . . . . . .
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807
808
811
813
814
826
828
830
830
832
832
833
835
836
837
838
Chapter 19: Creating Graphics for the Web . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 841
The World of Web Imagery . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Photoshop and ImageReady . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Rules of Web Imagery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The smaller, the speedier . . . . . . . . . . .
Mac and PC monitor brightness . . . . . . .
More rules of Web imagery . . . . . . . . . .
Saving JPEG Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Preparing and Saving GIF Images . . . . . . . . . .
Using the Indexed Color command . . . . . .
Specifying the palette . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Editing indexed colors . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Making colors transparent. . . . . . . . . . .
Saving (and opening) GIF with transparency
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841
842
842
843
843
845
846
849
850
851
857
859
859
Contents
Optimizing JPEG and GIF Images
GIF optimization settings .
JPEG optimization settings
The Optimization menu . .
The Preview menu . . . . .
Output settings . . . . . . .
Saving PNG Images . . . . . . . .
Slicing Images . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating slices . . . . . . . .
Editing slices . . . . . . . .
Setting slice options . . . .
Saving slices . . . . . . . . .
Doing More in ImageReady . . . .
Creating an image map . . .
JavaScript rollovers. . . . .
Creating Web animations .
Animations and rollovers .
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861
864
867
869
870
871
873
874
874
876
878
879
880
880
882
885
890
Appendix: Using the CD-ROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 893
Bonus Chapters
On the CD-ROM
Chapter A: Constructing Homemade Effects
Chapter B: Actions and Other Automations
Chapter C: Macintosh Shortcuts
Chapter D: Windows Shortcuts
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 899
End-User License Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 940
CD-ROM Installation Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 946
xxxvii
2
C H A P T E R
Inside
Photoshop
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
A First Look at Photoshop 6
These days, most computer applications speak a common
graphical language, and Photoshop is no exception. It subscribes to the basic structure of on-screen nouns and verbs
proposed and first spoken by the operating system. As a
result, Photoshop may seem tolerably comprehensible the
first time you meet it. Without any prior knowledge of its origins or behavior, you should be able to pick up a paintbrush
and specify a color in a matter of a few seconds, simply based
on the rudimentary vocabulary that you’ve picked up from
other programs. After years of staring into cathode ray tubes,
you can’t help but get the picture.
But Photoshop has its own special dialect, one that differs
from every other program out there. The dialect is so distinct
that it’s only peripherally understood by other applications,
including those from Adobe, the very siblings that Photoshop
grew up with. Photoshop has its own way of turning a phrase,
it speaks its words in a different order than you might expect,
and yes, it uses a lot of strange and sometimes unsettling jargon that it has picked up on the street. Photoshop is always
and will forever be a foreigner unnaturally introduced to your
hard drive. For all you may think you share in common, it
doesn’t know you and you don’t know it.
Even you experienced users — you hearty few who have carried on more conversations with Photoshop than you have
with most of your friends and family — may find yourselves
stumbling when negotiating with Version 6. The program
speaks differently every time it upgrades. In fact, it’s wrong to
think of Photoshop 6 as an older, wiser version of its former
self. This is a completely new beast, bearing about as much
resemblance to Photoshop 1.0 as you bear to a fellow human
located on the exact opposite end of the earth.
Getting comfortable
with a brand-new
Photoshop desktop
Finding your favorite
tools and meeting a
few new ones
Working with
the Photoshop 6
Options bar
Zooming in 0.01percent increments
Scrolling from
the keyboard
Using the Navigator
palette
Expanded coverage
of Photoshop’s
preference settings
✦
✦
✦
✦
16
Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
So in this chapter, I introduce to you the Sixth Beast, insubordinate child of its ancestors, spoiler of photographic traditions, and speaker of the new language that you now
have to learn. These pages represent a low-level primer you need to ingest before you
can utter so much as a coherent “gack!” Granted, it comes to you second hand — I am
a non-native myself, with my own peculiar dialect as you’ll discover — but given that
Photoshop 6 itself is the only native speaker on the planet, this foreigner’s perspective
will have to do.
See Photoshop Run
Shortly after you launch Photoshop, the splash screen appears. Shown at the top of
Figure 2-1, the splash screen explains the launching process by flashing the names
of plug-in modules as they load and listing the various initialization procedures.
Tip
You can access the splash screen by choosing Help ➪ About Photoshop. To make
the splash screen go away, just click it.
Splash screen tricks
In a typical program, there isn’t much reason to revisit the splash screen. But
Photoshop 6 offers a few splash screen–related tips and tricks:
✦ Press Alt while choosing the About Photoshop command to display Photoshop
team member Mike Shaw’s highly disciplined secret Venus In Furs screen, pictured at the bottom of Figure 2-1.
✦ After a few seconds, the list of programmers and copyright statements at the
bottom of the screen starts to scroll. Press the Alt key to make the list scroll
more quickly.
Tip
✦ Photoshop 3 introduced us to Adobe Transient Witticisms — a series of arbitrary gags invented by Photoshop’s sleep-deprived, espresso-swilling programmers — and they’ve been a staple ever since. To see the Witticisms, wait for the
credit messages to scroll by one complete cycle. Then Ctrl-click the eye in the
standard splash screen or the Venus In Furs screen.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Ctrl-click for
witticisms
Figure 2-1: Photoshop 6 splash screens feature genuine Adobe
Transient Witticisms and more.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Online studios resource
Click the icon at the top of the toolbox or choose Help ➪ Adobe Online to open yet
another variation on the splash screen titled Adobe Online. Pictured in Figure 2-2, this
screen provides access to Adobe’s Internet-based resources, which include technical
support, tips and tricks, and information about upgrades and related products. You
also can choose one of the other commands on the Help menu to link directly to a
few specific areas of the online resources.
Click to launch Adobe Online
Click to display links
Figure 2-2: Adobe offers a series of online support options for Photoshop 6.
To tell Photoshop how you want your online help delivered — including whether you
want Adobe to automatically download and install product updates — click the Preferences button to display the Preferences dialog box. If you’re unsure what each option
means, click the Setup button, which launches a wizard that spells the options out
more clearly. After setting your preferences, click OK and then click the Refresh button
to launch your Internet browser and hightail it to the Photoshop area of the Adobe
Web site. (If you have problems, connect to the Internet, start your browser as you
usually do, and then return to Photoshop and click Refresh again.)
Alternatively, click the links icon in the lower-right corner of the dialog box (see
Figure 2-2) to display a list of links that take you directly to pages related to specific
topics. If you have a cable modem or other setup that provides a sustained Internet
connection, click the Refresh button every now and then to keep the links current.
You can instruct Photoshop to update the links automatically in the Preferences
dialog box, but I for one am not crazy about Photoshop using my modem without
my permission.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
The Photoshop Desktop
After the launch process is complete, the Photoshop desktop consumes the foreground. Figure 2-3 shows the Photoshop 6 desktop as it appears when an image is
open and all palettes are visible.
Toolbox
Options bar
Menu bar
Title bar
Magnification box
Palettes
Image window
Preview box
Docking well
Status bar
Task bar
Image window controls Color controls
Mask controls
Figure 2-3: The Photoshop 6 desktop as it looks on a 17-inch screen.
Many of the elements that make up the Photoshop desktop are well known to folks
familiar with the Windows environment. For example, the menu bar provides access
to menus and commands. You can drag the title bar to move the image window. And
the scroll bars let you look at hidden portions of the image.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Other potentially less familiar elements of the Photoshop desktop work as follows:
✦ Image window: Like any halfway decent product, Photoshop lets you open
multiple images at a time. Each open image resides inside its own window.
✦ Status bar: Just above the Windows taskbar sits Photoshop’s status bar,
which provides running commentary on the active tool and image. (If the
Status bar doesn’t appear on your screen, choose Window ➪ Show Status Bar.)
The left end of the status bar features two special boxes. The magnification
box tells you the current view size, and the preview box lists how much room
the image takes up in memory.
CrossReference
For complete information on the magnification box, read the “Navigating in
Photoshop” section later in this chapter. The very next section explains the
preview box.
Photoshop
✦ Toolbox: The toolbox icons provide one-click access to the various
Photoshop tools. To select a tool, click its icon. Then use the tool by clicking
or dragging with it inside the image window.
6
Photoshop 6 not only offers several new tools, but new tool groupings. The
crop tool, for example, now has its own apartment instead of sharing quarters
with the marquee tools. For a summary of these changes, read “The tools,” later
in this chapter.
The bottom four rows of the toolbox contains controls for changing your paint
colors, entering and exiting the quick mask mode, changing the screen area
available for image display, and switching to Adobe ImageReady (which ships
with Photoshop).
Photoshop
✦ Floating palettes: Photoshop 6 offers a total of 12 palettes, one more than
Version 5. (This number excludes the toolbox and the new Options bar, which
are technically palettes as well.) Each palette is said to be “floating,” which
means that it’s independent of the image window and of other palettes.
Palettes can be grouped together or dragged apart to float separately according to your tastes.
6
Two palettes found in earlier versions of Photoshop, the Options palette and
Brushes palette, take on a new look in Version 6. Controls formerly contained
in the palettes now appear on the Options bar, labeled in Figure 2-3.
Photoshop
For more information on the Options bar and other palettes, see the upcoming section “The floating palettes.”
6
✦ Docking well: The gray bar at the end of the Options bar is the docking well,
another window item new to Photoshop 6. You can drag palettes to the well to
save screen space but still keep the palettes easily accessible. For more information, see “Rearranging and docking palettes” later in this chapter.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Note
Unfortunately, the docking well is only visible if you use a screen resolution
with a horizontal pixel display of more than 800 pixels.
The preview box
The preview box is Photoshop’s way of passing you a memo marked FYI. No biggie,
nothing to fret about, just a little bit of info you might want to know. As an unusually obliging piece of software, Photoshop likes to keep its human masters informed
on the latest developments.
Document size
By default, the preview box contains two numbers divided by a slash. The first
number is the size of the base image in memory. The second number takes into
account any additional layers in your image.
Photoshop calculates the first value by multiplying the height and width of the image
(both in pixels) by the bit depth of the image, which is the size of each pixel in memory. Consider a typical full-color, 640 × 480-pixel image. A full-color image takes up
24 bits of memory per pixel (which is why it’s called a 24-bit image). There are 8 bits
in a byte, so 24 bits translates to 3 bytes. Multiply that by the number of pixels and
you get 640 × 480 × 3 = 921,600 bytes. Because there are 1,024 bytes in a kilobyte,
921,600 bytes is exactly 900K. Try it yourself — open a 640 × 480-pixel RGB image and
you’ll see that the first number in the preview box reads 900K. Now you know why.
But it’s the second value, the one that factors in the layers, that represents the real
amount of memory that Photoshop needs. If the image contains one layer only, the
numbers before and after the slash are the same. Otherwise, Photoshop measures
the opaque pixels in each layer and adds approximately 1 byte of overhead per pixel
to calculate the transparency. The second number also grows to accommodate paths,
masks, spot-color channels, undoable operations, and miscellaneous data required
by the image cache.
Photoshop
Now obviously, it’s not necessary that you be able to predict these values (which is
lucky, because predicting the second value is virtually impossible). Photoshop asks
no help when calculating the values in the preview box and will summarily ignore any
help you might care to offer. But it’s a good idea to know what’s going on as you start
piling layers on top of an image. The larger the preview numbers grow, the more work
Photoshop has to do and the slower it’s likely to perform.
Image position
6
A welcome new print feature, called Print Options, enables you to position a picture
precisely on a page before printing. You can find Print Options on the File menu, near
the other printing commands; skip to Chapter 18 for details on using this tool.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
To get a rough idea of the current image position, however, click and hold on the
preview box. Photoshop displays a pop-up window showing the size and placement
of the image in relation to the paper. The preview also shows the approximate
placement of crop marks and other elements requested in the Page Setup dialog
box (File ➪ Page Setup).
Tip
Press Alt and mouse down on the preview box to view the size and resolution of the
image.
You can also Ctrl-click the preview box to see the tile sizes. Photoshop uses tiles to
calculate pixel manipulations. If you confine your work to a single tile, it will probably go faster than if you slop a little over into a second tile. But who cares? Unless
you’re some kind of tile-reading robot, this technical information is rarely of any
practical use.
Click the right-pointing arrowhead next to the preview box to display a pop-up
menu of six options. The first option — Document Sizes — is selected by default.
This option displays the image-size values described in the previous section. You
can find out what information the other choices provide in the next few sections.
Photoshop
Tip
The prefix displayed before the values in the preview box indicates which of the
options is active: Doc shows that Document Sizes is selected; Scr, Scratch Sizes; and
Eff, Efficiency. When the Timing option is active, an s appears after the numerical
value. If a tool name appears in the preview box, you know the final option, Current
Tool, is active. Similarly, if you see a color profile statement, such as “untagged
RBG,” the Document Profile setting, new to Version 6, has the floor.
Image color profile
6
If you work regularly with many different color profiles, you may find the new
Document Profile option handy. When you select this option, the name of the current color profile appears in the preview box.
Adobe changed several other features related to color profiles, too; Chapter 16 tells
you what you need to know.
Memory consumption and availability
When you select Scratch Sizes, Photoshop changes the values in the preview box
to represent memory consumption and availability. The first value is the amount
of room required to hold the currently open images in RAM. The second value indicates the total amount of RAM that Photoshop has to work with. For the program
to run at top efficiency, the first number must be smaller than the second.
In the old days, the number before the slash was generally equal to between three
and five times the size of all open images, including layers. But thanks to the advent
of multiple undos, this value can grow to more than one hundred times as big as
any one image. This is because Photoshop has to store each operation in memory
on the off chance that you may want to undo to a previous point in time. For each
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
and every action, Photoshop nudges the first value upward until you reach the ceiling of undoable operations.
The second value is simply equal to the amount of memory available to your
images after the Photoshop application itself has loaded. For example, suppose
you’ve assigned 100MB of RAM to Photoshop. The code that makes up the Photoshop application consumes about 15MB, so that leaves 85MB to hold and edit
images.
If the second value is bigger than the first, then all is happiness and Photoshop is
running as fast as your particular brand of computer permits. But if the first value is
larger, Photoshop has to dig into its supply of virtual memory, a disk-bound adjunct
to RAM. Virtual memory makes Photoshop run more slowly because the program
must swap portions of the image on and off your hard disk. The simple fact is, disks
have moving parts and RAM does not. That means disk-bound “virtual” memory is
slower than real memory.
To increase the size of the value after the slash, you have to get more RAM to your
images in one of the following ways:
✦ Purchase more RAM. Installing an adequate supply of memory is the single
best way to make Photoshop run more quickly.
✦ Quit other applications so that only Photoshop is running.
✦ Quit Photoshop and remove any filters that you don’t need from the Plug-Ins
folder (which resides in the same folder as the Photoshop 6 application).
Don’t throw the filters away, just move them to a location outside the Plug-Ins
folder so they won’t load into RAM when you launch Photoshop.
✦ Choose Edit ➪ Preferences ➪ Memory and Image Cache and increase the
Physical Memory Usage value as explained later in this chapter.
Operating efficiency
When you select the Efficiency option, Photoshop lists the amount of time it spends
running operations in RAM compared with swapping data back and forth between
the hard disk. A value of 100 percent is the best-case scenario. It means Photoshop
never has to rely on scratch files. Low values indicate higher reliance on the hard
disk and, as a result, slower operations. Adobe recommends that if the value falls
below 75 percent, you should either assign more memory to Photoshop or purchase more RAM for your computer.
The Efficiency option is a reality check. If it seems Photoshop is dragging its feet, and
you hear it writing a little too often, you can refer to the Efficiency rating to see if performance is as bad as you suspect. Keep in mind, hearing Photoshop occasionally
write to disk is not, in and of itself, cause for concern. All versions of Photoshop since
3.0 automatically copy open images to a disk buffer in case virtual memory is later
warranted. In fact, this is the reason Adobe added the Efficiency option to Version
3.0.1 — to quash fears that a few sparks from your hard drive indicated anything less
than peak performance.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Photoshop operations timing
If you select Timing, the preview box tells how long Photoshop took to perform the
last operation (including background tasks, such as transferring an image to the system Clipboard). Adobe may have added this option to help testing facilities run their
Photoshop tests. But built-in timing helps you as well.
For example, suppose you’re trying to decide whether to purchase a new computer.
You read a magazine article comparing the newest super-fast system. You can run
the same filters with the same settings on your computer and see how much slower
your results are, all without picking up a stopwatch.
At the risk of starting interoffice feuding, the Timing option also provides you with a
mechanism for testing your computer against those of coworkers and friends. The
Timing option serves as a neutral arbitrator, enabling you and an associate to test
identical operations over the phone. Like Efficiency, Timing is a reality check. If you
and your associate own similarly configured computers and your Timing values are
vastly different, something’s wrong.
The active tool
Choose Current Tool, and Photoshop displays the name of the active tool. Why do
you need such a condescending option? Surely you’re not so far gone that you need
Photoshop telling you what you already know. Adobe’s intention is not to drum you
over the head with redundant information, but to offer a helping hand if you find
the tool configuration confusing. Also, the tool name serves as a companion to the
tool description to the right of it in the status bar. Now you see not just what the
tool does, but what the tool is.
Photoshop
Still, my guess is that this option will prove as rarely useful to everyday image editing as Timing. Use it if you’re having problems when first using Photoshop 6 and
then set it back to Document Sizes, Scratch Sizes, or Efficiency. The original three
options continue to be the best.
The tools
6
Photoshop 6 brings with it many changes, including some significant revamping of
the toolbox. Here’s a quick summary:
✦ Adobe added a row of icons to the toolbox, and the new shape tools and
annotation tools quickly set up housekeeping therein.
✦ The crop tool left the digs that it shared with the marquee tools and took up
residence on its own nearby.
✦ The measure tool moved in with the eyedroppers, the paintbrush shacked up
with the pencil, and the line tool got kicked out on the street. Fortunately, the
new shape tools welcomed it as one of their own.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
✦ The magnetic pen, type mask, vertical type, and vertical type mask tools fled
the toolbox and hid away on the Options bar. You now access the magnetic pen
by selecting a check box on the Options bar when the freeform pen is active.
Similarly, you bring the type mask, vertical type, and vertical type mask tools
into the open by clicking Options bar icons when the type tool is selected.
✦ Clicking the gradient tool icon no longer displays a choice of gradient styles;
you now select those styles from the Options bar. The gradient tool rented out
the room formerly occupied by the gradient styles icons to the paint bucket.
Finally, when multiple tools share a single toolbox slot, you select the tool you want
from a menu-style list, as shown in Figure 2-4, rather than a horizontal pop-out row
of tool icons as in previous editions. A tiny, right-pointing triangle in the lower-right
corner of an icon indicates that more tools lurk beneath the surface. You can click
the triangle and then click the name of the tool you want to use. Or, to get the job
done with one less click, just drag from the icon onto the name of the tool and then
release the mouse button.
Tip
You can cycle between the tools in the pop-up menu by Alt-clicking a tool icon.
Pressing the key that appears to the right of the tool names also does the trick —
however, depending on a tool setting that you establish in the Preferences dialog
box, you may need to press Shift with the key. (See the upcoming section “General
preferences.”)
Drag from tool. . .
. . . to display pop-up menu
Figure 2-4: Drag from any tool icon with
a triangle to display a pop-up menu of
alternate tools.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Also, when you hover your cursor over a tool, Photoshop tells you the name of the
tool and how to select it from the keyboard. I explain more about keyboard shortcuts in Chapters D and E on the CD-ROM. If you find the tool tips irritating, turn to
“General preferences” to find out how to turn them off.
Note
I’ve catalogued each tool in the following lengthy list, with tool icons, pithy summaries, and the chapter to which you can refer for more information. No need to
read the list word for word; just use it as a reference to get acquainted with the new
program. The list presents the tools in the order that they appear in the toolbox.
Incidentally, unless otherwise noted, each of the following descriptions tells how to
use the tool inside the image window. For example, if an item says drag, you click
the tool’s icon to select the tool and then drag in the image window; you don’t drag
on the tool icon itself.
Rectangular marquee (Chapter 8): Drag with this tool to enclose a portion of the image in a rectangular marquee, which is a pattern of moving
dash marks indicating the boundary of a selection.
Photoshop
Shift-drag to add to a selection; Alt-drag to delete from a selection. The same
goes for the other marquee tools, as well as the lassos and magic wand.
6
As an alternative to using these time-honored shortcuts, you can click mode
icons on the Options bar to change the behavior of the selection tools.
Elliptical marquee (Chapter 8): Drag with the elliptical marquee tool
to enclose a portion of the window in an oval marquee.
Single-row marquee (Chapter 8): Click with the single-row marquee to
select an entire horizontal row of pixels that stretches all the way across
the image. You can also drag with the tool to position the selection. You rarely
need it, but when you do, here it is.
Single-column marquee (Chapter 8): Same as the single-row marquee,
except the single-column marquee selects an entire vertical column of
pixels. Again, not a particularly useful tool.
Move (Chapter 8): Drag to move a selection or layer. In fact, the move
tool is the exclusive means for moving and cloning portions of an image.
(You can also Ctrl-drag selections with any tools except the shape, path, and
slicing tools, but only because Ctrl temporarily accesses the move tool.)
Lasso (Chapter 8): Drag with the lasso tool to select a free-form portion
of the image. You can also Alt-click with the lasso to create a straightsided selection outline.
Polygonal lasso (Chapter 8): Click hither and yon with this tool to draw
a straight-sided selection outline (just like Alt-clicking with the standard
lasso). Each click sets a corner point in the selection.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Magnetic lasso (Chapter 8): As you drag with the magnetic lasso tool,
the selection outline automatically sticks to the edge of the foreground
image. Bear in mind, however, that Photoshop’s idea of an edge may not jibe
with yours. Like any automated tool, the magnetic lasso sometimes works
wonders, other times it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Tip
The magnetic lasso automatically lays down points as you drag. If you don’t
like a point and you want to get rid of it, press the Backspace or Delete key.
Photoshop
Magic wand (Chapter 8): Click with the magic wand tool to select a contiguous area of similarly colored pixels. To select discontiguous areas,
click in one area and then Shift-click in another. Deselect the Contiguous tool
option and click once to select similar colors throughout the image.
6
Crop (Chapter 3): Drag with the crop tool to enclose the portion of the
image you want to retain in a rectangular boundary. Photoshop now tints
areas outside the boundary to help you better see which image areas will go
and which will stay when you apply the crop. The crop boundary sports several square handles you can drag to resize the cropped area. Drag outside the
boundary to rotate it; drag inside to move it. Press Enter to apply the crop or
Escape to cancel.
Slice tool (Chapter 19): The slice tool and its companion, the slice select
tool, come into play when you’re creating Web graphics. You can cut
images into rectangular sections — known as slices — so that you can apply
Web effects, such as links, rollovers, and animations, to different areas of the
same image. Drag with the slice tool to define the area that you want to turn
into a slice.
Slice select tool (Chapter 19): If you don’t get the boundary of your slice
right the first time, click the slice with this tool and then drag one of the
side or corner handles that appear. Or drag inside the boundary to relocate it.
Press Ctrl when the slice tool is active to temporarily access the slice select
tool, and vice versa.
Airbrush (Chapter 5): Drag with the airbrush tool to spray diffused
strokes of color that blend into the image, just the thing for creating
shadows and highlights.
Paintbrush (Chapter 5): Drag with the paintbrush tool to paint soft lines,
which aren’t as jagged as those created with the pencil, but aren’t as
fluffy as those created with the airbrush.
Pencil (Chapter 5): Drag with the pencil tool to paint jagged, hard-edged
lines. It’s main purpose is to clean up individual pixels when you’re feeling fussy.
Rubber stamp (Chapter 7): The rubber stamp tool copies one portion
of the image onto another. Alt-click the part of your image you want to
clone, and then drag to clone that area to another portion of the image.
Pattern stamp (Chapter 7): The rubber stamp tool lets you paint with a
pattern. Define a pattern using Edit ➪ Define Pattern and then paint away.
27
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
History brush (Chapter 7): Remember how you used to be able to revert
an image to its saved or snapshot appearance using the rubber stamp?
Well, no more. Now you have a dedicated history brush that reverts the image
to any of a handful of previous states throughout the recent history of the
image. To specify the state that you want to revert to, click in the first column
of the History palette. It’s like an undo brush, except way, way better.
Art history brush (Chapter 7): Like the history brush, the art history
brush paints with pixels from a previous image state. But with this brush,
you get a variety of brush options that create different artistic effects.
Eraser (Chapter 7): Drag with the eraser tool to paint in the background
color or erase areas in a layer to reveal the layers below. Alt-drag to
switch to the Erase to History mode, which reverts the image to a previous
state just as if you were using the history brush. (In the old days, people
referred to this particular eraser mode as the “magic” eraser, which can be
confusing because Photoshop 5.5 introduced an official magic eraser – one
that deletes pixels rather than reverting them. For clarity’s sake, I reserve
the term magic eraser for the official tool.)
Background eraser (Chapter 7): Introduced in Version 5.5, the background eraser rubs away the background from an image as you drag
along the border between the background and foreground. If you don’t wield
this tool carefully, though, you wind up erasing both background and foreground.
Magic eraser (Chapter 7): Also new in Version 5.5, the magic eraser came
from the same gene pool that produced the magic wand. When you click
with the magic wand, Photoshop selects a range of similarly colored pixels;
click with the magic eraser, and you erase instead of select.
Photoshop
In case you nodded off a few paragraphs ago, this magic eraser works differently than the eraser that you get when you Alt-drag with the standard eraser,
which sometimes goes by the nickname magic eraser when used with the
Alt key.
6
Gradient (Chapter 6): Drag with this tool to fill a selection with a gradual
transition of colors, commonly called a gradient. In Photoshop 5, you
selected different gradient tools to create different styles of gradients; now
you click the single gradient icon in the toolbox and select a gradient style
from the Options bar.
Paint bucket (Chapter 6): Click with the paint bucket tool to fill a contiguous area of similarly colored pixels with the foreground color or a
predefined pattern.
Blur (Chapter 5): Drag with the blur tool to diffuse the contrast between
neighboring pixels, which blurs the focus of the image. You can
also Alt-drag to sharpen the image.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Sharpen (Chapter 5): Drag with this tool to increase the contrast
between pixels, which sharpens the focus. Alt-drag when this tool is
active to blur the image.
Smudge (Chapter 5): The smudge tool works just as its name implies;
drag with the tool to smear colors inside the image.
Dodge (Chapter 5): Drag with the dodge tool to lighten pixels in the
image. Alt-drag to darken the image.
Burn (Chapter 5): Drag with the burn tool to darken pixels. Press Alt to
temporarily access the dodge tool and lighten pixels.
Photoshop
Sponge (Chapter 5): Drag with the sponge tool to decrease the amount
of saturation in an image so the colors appear more drab, and eventually
gray. You can also increase color saturation by changing the setting in the
Sponge Options palette from Desaturate to Saturate.
6
Path component selection (Chapter 8): Click anywhere inside a path to
select the entire path. If you click inside a path that contains multiple
subpaths, Photoshop selects the subpath under the tool cursor. Shift-click
to select additional paths or subpaths. You also use this tool and the direct
selection tool, described next, to select and manipulate lines and shapes
drawn with the shape tools.
Direct selection (Chapter 8): To select and edit a segment in a selected
path or shape, click it or drag over it with this tool. Press Shift while using
the tool to select additional segments. Or Alt-click inside a path or shape to
select and edit the whole object.
Photoshop
Type (Chapter 15): Click with the type tool to add text to your image. In
Photoshop 6, you enter and edit text directly in the image window — no
more fooling around with the Type Tool dialog box. This change is one of many
to the type tool; explore Chapter 15 to discover all your new type options.
6
After selecting the type tool, you can create a type-based selection outline
by switching from regular type mode to mask type mode via a button on the
Options bar. You also can choose to enter either horizontal or vertical rows
of type. You no longer use separate tools for different type operations.
Pen (Chapter 8): Click and drag with the pen tool to set points in the
image window. Photoshop draws an editable path outline — much like
a path in Illustrator — that you can convert to a selection outline or stroke
with color.
Freeform pen (Chapter 8): Drag with this tool to draw freehand paths
or vector masks. Photoshop automatically adds points along the path
as it sees fit.
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Photoshop
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
6
If you select the Magnetic check box on the Options bar, the freeform pen
morphs into the magnetic pen introduced in Version 5.5. Deselect the check
box to return to the freeform pen.
Add anchor point (Chapter 8): To insert a point in a path, click a path
segment with this tool.
Delete anchor point (Chapter 8): Click a point to remove the point without interrupting the outline of the path. Photoshop automatically draws a
new segment between the neighboring points.
Photoshop
6
Rectangle (Chapter 14): One of the five new vector drawing tools
provided by Photoshop 6, this tool draws rectangles filled with the foreground color. Just drag to create a rectangle; Shift-drag to draw a square.
Photoshop
Convert point (Chapter 8): Points in a path come in different varieties,
some indicating corners and others indicating smooth arcs. The convert
point tool enables you to change one kind of point to another. Drag a point to
convert it from a corner to an arc. Click a point to convert it from an arc to a
sharp corner.
6
Rounded rectangle (Chapter 14): Prefer your boxes with nice, curved
corners instead of sharp, 90-degree angles? Drag or Shift-drag with the
rounded rectangle tool.
Photoshop
You can opt to create rasterized shapes and lines with the rectangle, rounded
rectangle, ellipse, polygon, line, and custom shape tools. See Chapter 14 for
details.
6
Ellipse (Chapter 14): You look pretty smart to me, so you probably
already figured out that you drag with this tool to draw an ellipse and
Shift-drag to draw a circle.
Photoshop
CrossReference
6
Polygon (Chapter 14): By default, dragging with this tool creates a 5sided polygon. Controls available on the Options bar enable you to
change the number of sides or set the tool to create star shapes.
Photoshop
Line (Chapter 14): Drag with the line tool to create a straight line. But
before you do, travel to the Options bar to set the line thickness and
specify whether you want arrowheads at the ends of the line.
6
Custom shape (Chapter 14): After you draw a shape with one of the
other drawing tools, you can save it as a custom shape. Thereafter, you
can recreate that shape by selecting it from the Options bar and then dragging
with the custom shape tool. You also can choose from a variety of predefined
shapes when working with the custom shape tool.
Photoshop
6
Notes (Chapter 3): This tool brings an annotation feature from Adobe
Acrobat to Photoshop. Use the tool to create a little sticky note on which
you can jot down thoughts, ideas, and other pertinent info that you want to share
with other people who work with the image – or that you simply want to remember the next time you open the image. After you create the note, Photoshop
displays a note icon in the image window; double-click the icon to see what you
had to say.
Photoshop
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
6
Audio annotation (Chapter 3): If you prefer the spoken word to the
written one, you can annotate your images with an audio clip, assuming
that you have a microphone and sound card for your computer. As with the
notes tool, an audio icon appears in the image window after you record your
message. Clicking the icon plays the audio clip.
Measure (Chapter 12): The measure tool lets you measure distances and
directions inside the image window. Just drag from one point to another
and note the measurement data in the Info palette or the Options bar. You can
also drag the endpoints or your line to take new measurements. And by Altdragging an endpoint, you can create a sort of virtual protractor that measures angles.
Eyedropper (Chapter 4): Click with the eyedropper tool on a color in the
image window to make that color the foreground color. Alt-click a color
to make that color the background color.
Color sampler (Chapter 4): Click as many as four locations in an image
to evaluate the colors of those pixels in the Info palette. After you set a
point, you can move it by dragging it to a different pixel.
Photoshop
Hand (Chapter 2): Drag inside the image window with the hand tool to
scroll the window so you can see a different portion of the image. Doubleclick the hand tool icon to magnify or reduce the image so it fits on the screen
in its entirety.
6
When the hand tool is active, you can click buttons on the Options bar to display the image at the actual-pixels, fit-on-screen, or print-size view sizes.
Photoshop
Zoom (Chapter 2): Click with the zoom tool to magnify the image so you
can see individual pixels more clearly. Alt-click to step back from the image
and take in a broader view. Drag to enclose the specific portion of the image
you want to magnify. And, finally, double-click the zoom tool icon inside the
toolbox to restore the image to 100-percent view size.
6
You can modify the performance of any tool but the measure tool by adjusting the
settings on the Options bar. To change the unit of measurement used by the measure tool, choose Edit ➪ Preferences ➪ Units and Rulers and select the unit from the
Rulers pop-up menu. Or, even quicker, right-click the ruler or click the plus sign in
the lower-left corner of the Info palette and select a measurement unit from the
resulting pop-up menu.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
The toolbox controls
Well, that pretty much wraps it up for the Photoshop 6 tools. It was a breathtakingly
dull tale, but one that had to be told. But the excitement isn’t over yet. Gather the
kittens and hold onto your mittens as we explore the ten controls that grace the
lower portion of the toolbox:
Foreground color: Click the foreground color icon to bring up the Color
Picker dialog box. Select a color and press Enter to change the foreground color, which is used by the pencil, paintbrush, airbrush, gradient,
and shape tools.
Note
I’m not sure why, but many users make the mistake of double-clicking the foreground or background color icons when they first start using Photoshop. A
single click is all that’s needed. Experienced users don’t even bother with the
Color Picker — they stick to the more convenient Color palette.
Background color: Click the background color icon to display the Color
Picker and change the background color, which is used by the eraser and
gradient tools. Photoshop also uses the background color to fill a selected area
on the background layer when you press the Backspace or Delete key.
Switch colors: Click the switch colors icon to exchange the foreground
and background colors.
Default colors: Click this icon to return to the default foreground and
background colors — black and white, respectively.
Tip
At any time, you can quickly make the foreground color white by clicking the
default colors icon and then clicking the switch colors icon. Or just press D
(for default colors) and then X (for switch colors).
Marching ants: Click this icon to exit Photoshop’s quick mask mode and
view selection outlines as animated dotted lines that look like marching
ants, hence the name. (Adobe calls this the “standard” mode, but I think marching ants mode better describes how it works.)
Quick mask: Click here to enter the quick mask mode, which enables you
to edit selection boundaries using painting tools. The marching ants vanish and the image appears half covered by a translucent layer of red, like a
rubylith in traditional paste-up. The red layer covers the deselected — or
masked — portions of the image. Paint with black to extend the masked areas,
thereby subtracting from the selection. Paint with white to erase the mask,
thereby adding to the selection.
CrossReference
The quick mask mode is too complex a topic to sum up in a few sentences. If
you can’t wait to find out what it’s all about, check out Chapter 9.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Standard window: Click this icon to display the foreground image in a
standard window, as shown earlier in Figure 2-3. Every image appears in
the standard window mode when you first open it.
Full screen with menu bar: If you can’t see enough of your image inside
a standard window, click this icon. The title bar and scroll bars disappear, as do all background windows and the Windows taskbar, but the menu
bar and palettes remain visible, as shown in Figure 2-5. (You can still access
other open images by choosing their names from the Window menu.) A light
gray background fills any empty area around the image.
Note
This is similar to the effect that you get when you click the maximize button in
the upper-right corner of the image window. However, you probably want to
avoid maximizing images; use the toolbox controls instead. Photoshop has
a habit of resizing a maximized window whenever you zoom with the commands under the View menu. If you use the toolbox controls, you don’t have
that problem.
Figure 2-5: Click the middle icon at the bottom of the toolbox to hide the title bar
and scroll bars.
Tip
When the image doesn’t consume the entire image window, the empty portion
of the window appears gray when you’re working in the standard window or
full screen with menu bar modes. To change it to a different color — such as
black — select a color and Shift-click in the gray area with the paint bucket tool.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Absolute full screen: If you still can’t see enough of your image, click the
rightmost of the image window controls to see the photo set against a neutral black background. (You can’t change the color of this backdrop — it’s always
black.) The menu bar disappears, limiting your access to commands, but you
can still access many commands using keyboard shortcuts. Only the toolbox
and palettes remain visible.
If you need access to a menu command when working in the absolute full
screen mode, press Shift+F to display the menu bar. Press Shift+F again to hide
it.
Photoshop
Tip
6
Photoshop
Tip
If Photoshop’s screen elements interfere with your view of an image, you can hide
all palettes — including the toolbox and Options bar — by pressing the Tab key. To
bring the hidden palettes back into view, press Tab again.
You can hide the palettes but leave the toolbox and Options bar on screen by pressing Shift+Tab. Press Shift+Tab again to bring the palettes back. (Pressing Tab while
the standard palettes are gone hides the toolbox and Options bar.) If the rulers are
turned on, they remain visible at all times. Press Ctrl+R to toggle the ruler display
off and on.
Here’s one more tip for good measure: Shift-click the icon for absolute full screen to
switch the display mode for all open images. Then press Ctrl+Tab to cycle through
the open images. This same trick works for the standard and full screen with menu
bar modes.
The new Options bar
6
Spanning the width of the Photoshop window, the new Options bar (labeled back
in Figure 2-3) contains the major tool controls formerly found in the Options and
Brushes palettes. The interface change enables you to keep all the vital tool settings displayed while using a minimum of screen space.
You establish tool settings by selecting check boxes, clicking icons, and choosing
options from pop-up menus on the bar. In other words, think of the Options bar as
just another floating palette, albeit a long, skinny one. However, you use different
tactics to hide, display, and relocate the Options bar than you do a regular palette:
✦ Choose View ➪ Show Options or double-click any tool icon in the toolbox to
display the Options bar. Choose View ➪ Hide Options to make the bar disappear. You also can press Tab to toggle the display of the Options bar and all
other palettes on and off.
✦ By default, the Options bar is docked at the top of the program window. Drag
the vertical handle at the left end of the bar to relocate it. If you drag the bar
to the top or bottom of the window, it becomes docked again.
✦ Unfortunately, you can’t change the size or shape of the Options bar.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
CrossReference
You can attach regular palettes to the Options bar by dragging them onto the docking well at the right end of the bar. The upcoming section “Rearranging and docking
palettes” tells all.
The floating palettes
In addition to the Options bar, Photoshop 6 sports two new text-related palettes,
the Character and Paragraph palettes. These two palettes don’t display automatically when you first launch Photoshop; you must choose Show Character or Show
Paragraph from the Window menu or click the Palettes button on the Options bar
while the type tool is active. Other than that, these new palettes look and behave
just like the other palettes, which look and behave much like they have since
Version 3. Each palette contains most or all of the elements labeled in Figure 2-6.
Some palettes lack scroll bars, others lack size boxes, but that’s just to keep you
from getting too stodgy.
Collapse box
Palette tab
Palette options
Untitled title bar
Close box
Palette menu
Size box
Figure 2-6: Most palettes include the same basic elements as the
Layers palette, shown here.
Many palette elements are miniature versions of the elements that accompany any
window. For example, the close button and title bar work identically to their imagewindow counterparts. The title bar lacks a title — I have a lobbyist in Washington
working on getting the name changed to “untitled bar” as we speak — but you can
still drag it to move the palette to a different location on screen.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Tip
Photoshop automatically snaps palettes into alignment with other palettes. To snap a
palette to the edge of the screen, Shift-click its title bar. You can also Shift-drag the title
bar to move the palette around the perimeter of the screen, or to snap the palette
from one edge of the screen to the other. (This tip also works with the toolbox.)
Four elements are unique to floating palettes:
✦ Palette options: Each floating palette offers its own collection of options.
These options may include icons, pop-up menus, slider bars, you name it.
✦ Palette menu: Click the right-pointing arrowhead to display a menu of commands specific to the palette. These commands enable you to manipulate the
palette options and adjust preference settings.
✦ Palette tabs: Click a palette tab to move it to the front of the palette group.
(You can also select the palette commands from the Window menu, but it’s
more convenient to click a tab.)
✦ Collapse button: Click the collapse button to decrease the amount of space
consumed by the palette. If you previously enlarged the palette by dragging the
size box, your first click reduces the palette back to its default size. After that,
clicking the collapse button hides all but the most essential palette options.
Tip
In most cases, collapsing a palette hides all options and leaves only the tabs visible.
But in the case of the Color and Layers palettes, clicking the collapse button leaves a
sliver of palette options intact, as demonstrated in the middle example of Figure 2-7.
To eliminate all options — as in the last example — Alt-click the collapse button. You
can also double-click one of the tabs or in the empty area to the right of the tabs.
These tricks work even if you’ve enlarged the palette by dragging the size box.
Click here
Alt-click here
or double-click here
Figure 2-7: The Color palette shown at full size (top), partially
collapsed (middle), and fully collapsed (bottom)
Photoshop
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Rearranging and docking palettes
6
In the past, you’ve been able to regroup palettes to suit the way you work. Now you
also can dock palettes to each other or to the Options bar. You’re king of the palette
hill, as it were.
To attach a floating palette to the Options bar, as shown in Figure 2-8, drag the palette
tab to the docking well. After you dock the palette, you see just the palette tab on the
Options bar. Click the tab to display the palette, as shown in the figure. When you
click outside the palette, the palette closes automatically.
Note
If you don’t see the docking well, you need to raise your monitor resolution. The
docking well isn’t accessible at monitor resolutions of less than 800 pixels wide.
Also, if you undock the Options bar, any palettes attached to it hide themselves.
To redisplay a hidden palette, choose its name from the Window menu.
Docking well
Photoshop
Figure 2-8: Attach palettes to the Options bar by dragging them to the docking well.
6
Tip
In addition to docking palettes in the Options bar, you can dock palettes to each
other. Drag a palette tab to the bottom of another palette and release the mouse button when the other palette appears highlighted, as shown in the left side of Figure 2-9.
The dragged palette grabs hold of the other palette’s tail and doesn’t let go. Now you
can keep both palettes visible but move, close, collapse, and resize the two as a single entity, as shown in the right half of the figure.
When you dock a resizable palette to another resizable palette, you can resize the
palettes like so:
✦ Place your cursor over the border between two stacked palettes until you see
the double-headed arrow cursor. Then drag down to enlarge the upper palette
and shrink the lower one. Drag up to enlarge the lower palette and shrink the
upper one. The overall size of the docked palettes doesn’t change.
✦ Alt-drag the border to resize the upper palette only.
Still not happy with your palette layout? You can shuffle palettes at will, moving a
single palette from one group to another or giving it complete independence from
any group. To separate a palette from the herd, drag its tab away from the palette
group, as demonstrated in the left column in Figure 2-10. To add the palette to a
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
palette group, drag its tab onto the palette group, as shown in the middle column.
The right column shows the results of the two maneuvers I made in the first two
columns.
Figure 2-9: Drag a palette tab to the bottom of another palette (left)
to dock the two palettes together (right).
Photoshop
Figure 2-10: Dragging a palette tab out of a palette group (left) separates the palette
from its original family (middle). Dragging a palette tab onto another palette group
(middle) adds that palette to the group (right).
6
If you ever completely muck up the palettes — or a palette somehow gets stuck
under the menu bar — choose Window ➪ Reset Palette Locations.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Tabbing through the options
I mentioned earlier that you can hide the palettes by pressing Shift+Tab and that
you can hide the palettes, toolbox, and Options bar by pressing Tab. But this keyboard trick doesn’t work if an option box is active.
For example, suppose you click inside the R option box in the Color palette. This
activates the option. Now press Tab. Rather than hiding the palettes, Photoshop
advances you to the next option box in the palette, G. To move backward through
the options, press Shift+Tab. This trick applies to the Options bar as well as to the
standard palettes.
Photoshop
To apply an option box value and return focus to the image window, press Enter.
This deactivates the palette options. If an option box remains active, certain keyboard tricks — such as pressing a key to select a tool — won’t work properly. Photoshop either ignores the shortcut or beeps at you for pressing a key the option box
doesn’t like. For more information on shortcuts, read Chapter D on the CD-ROM.
6
While you’re working in the image window, you can return focus to the Options bar
from the keyboard. When you press Enter, Photoshop displays the Options bar, if
it’s not already visible. If the Options bar offers an option box for the active tool,
Photoshop highlights the contents of the option box. You can then tab around to
reach the option you want to change, enter a new value, and press Enter to get out.
Navigating in Photoshop
All graphics and desktop publishing programs provide a variety of navigational tools
and functions that enable you to scoot around the screen, visit the heartlands and
nether regions, examine the fine details, and take in the big picture. And Photoshop
is no exception. In fact, Photoshop’s navigation tools would make Magellan drool
(were he inclined to edit an image or two).
The view size
You can change the view size — the size at which an image appears on screen — so
you can either see more of an image or concentrate on individual pixels. Each change
in view size is expressed as a zoom ratio, which is the ratio between screen pixels
and image pixels. Photoshop displays the zoom ratio as a percentage value in the title
bar as well as in the magnification box. The 100-percent zoom ratio shows one image
pixel for each screen pixel (and is therefore equivalent to the old 1:1 zoom ratio in
Photoshop 3 and earlier). A 200 percent zoom ratio doubles the size of the image pixels on screen, and so on.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Actual pixels
Photoshop calls the 100-percent zoom ratio the actual-pixels view. This is the most
accurate view size because you can see the image as it really is. Reduced view sizes
drop pixels; magnified view sizes stretch pixels. Only the actual-pixels view displays
each pixel without a trace of screen distortion.
You can switch to this most accurate of view sizes at any time using one of the following techniques:
✦ Choose View ➪ Actual Pixels.
✦ Press Ctrl+Alt+0. (That’s a zero, not the letter O.)
Photoshop
✦ Double-click the zoom tool icon in the toolbox.
6
✦ Click the Actual Pixels button, which appears on the Options bar when the
zoom tool is selected.
Fit on screen
When you first open an image, Photoshop displays it at the largest zoom ratio (up
to 100 percent) that permits the entire image to fit on screen. Assuming you don’t
change the size of the image, you can return to this “fit-on-screen” view size in one
of the following ways:
✦ Choose View ➪ Fit on Screen.
✦ Press Ctrl+0.
Photoshop
✦ Double-click the hand tool icon in the toolbox.
6
✦ Select the zoom tool and then click the Fit on Screen button on the
Options bar.
Strangely, any of these techniques may magnify the image beyond the 100-percent
view size. When working on a very small image, for example, Photoshop enlarges
the image to fill the screen, even if this means maxing out the zoom to 1,600 percent. Personally, I prefer to use the fit-on-screen view only when working on very
large images.
Well, actually, I almost never use the fit-on-screen view because it’s too arbitrary.
Photoshop does the best job of previewing an image when you can see all pixels —
that is, at 100-percent view size. Short of that, you want the screen pixels to divide
evenly into the image pixels. This means view sizes like 50 percent or 25 percent,
but not 75 percent or 66.7 percent. And you never know what it’s going to be with
the fit-on-screen view.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Print size
Photoshop
You can switch to yet another predefined view size by choosing View ➪ Print Size.
This command displays the image on screen at the size it will print. (You set the
print size using Image ➪ Image Size, as I explain in Chapter 3.)
6
When the zoom tool is active, you also can click the Print Size button on the
Options bar to turn on the print-size view.
In practice, “print-size” view isn’t particularly reliable. Photoshop assumes that your
monitor displays exactly 72 pixels per inch, even on the PC, where the accepted screen
resolution is 96 pixels per inch. But it’s all complete nonsense, whatever the assumption. Monitor resolutions vary all over the map. And high-end monitors let you change
screen resolutions without Photoshop even noticing.
The long and the short is this: Don’t expect to hold up your printed image and have
it exactly match the print-size view on screen. It’s a rough approximation, designed
to show you how the image will look when imported into QuarkXPress, PageMaker,
InDesign, or some other publishing program — nothing more.
The zoom tool
Obviously, the aforementioned zoom ratios aren’t the only ones available to you.
You can zoom in as close as 1,600 percent and zoom out to 0.2 percent.
The easiest way to zoom in and out of your image is to use the zoom tool:
✦ Click in the image window with the zoom tool to magnify the image in preset
increments — from 33.33 percent to 50 to 66.67 to 100 to 200 and so on.
Photoshop tries to center the zoomed view at the point where you clicked
(or come as close as possible).
✦ Alt-click with the zoom tool to reduce the image incrementally — 200 to 100 to
66.67 to 50 to 33.33 and so on. Again, Photoshop tries to center the new view
on the click point.
Photoshop
Tip
6
✦ Drag with the zoom tool to draw a rectangular marquee around the portion of
the image you want to magnify. Photoshop magnifies the image so the marqueed area fits just inside the image window. (If the horizontal and vertical
proportions of the marquee do not match those of your screen — for example,
if you draw a tall, thin marquee or a really short, wide one — Photoshop
favors the smaller of the two possible zoom ratios to avoid hiding any detail
inside the marquee.)
✦ If you want Photoshop to resize the window when you click with the zoom
tool, select the Resize Windows to Fit check box on the Options bar. The
check box appears only when the zoom tool is the active tool.
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Photoshop
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
6
Tip
✦ Turn off the Ignore Palettes check box on the Options bar if you want Photoshop to stop resizing the window when the window bumps up against a
palette that’s anchored against the side of the program window. Turn the
option on to resize the window regardless of the palettes. The palettes then
float over the resized window.
To access the zoom tool temporarily when some other tool is selected, press and
hold the Ctrl and spacebar keys. Release both keys to return control of the cursor
to the selected tool. To access the zoom out cursor, press Alt with the spacebar.
These keyboard equivalents work from inside many dialog boxes, enabling you to
modify the view of an image while applying a filter or color correction.
The zoom commands
You can also zoom in and out using the following commands and keyboard
shortcuts:
✦ Choose View ➪ Zoom In or press Ctrl+plus (+) to zoom in. This command
works exactly like clicking with the zoom tool except you can’t specify the
center of the new view size. Photoshop merely centers the zoom in keeping
with the previous view size.
Photoshop
✦ Choose View ➪ Zoom Out or press Ctrl+minus (–) to zoom out.
6
Tip
The General panel of the Photoshop 6 Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K) includes an
option called Keyboard Zoom Resizes Windows. If you select this option, Photoshop
resizes the image window when you use the Zoom commands. (Despite the setting’s
name, it applies when you choose the zoom commands from the menu as well as
when you use the keyboard shortcuts.) To override the setting temporarily, press Alt
as you press the keyboard shortcut or select the menu command. Similarly, if you
deselect the option in the Preferences dialog box, you can add the Alt to turn window-zooming on temporarily.
If Photoshop is unresponsive to these or any other keyboard shortcuts, it’s probably because the image window has somehow become inactive. (It can happen if you
so much as click the taskbar.) Just click the image-window title bar and try again.
The magnification box
Another way to zoom in and out without changing the window size is to enter a
value into the magnification box, located in the lower-left corner of the Photoshop
window. Select the magnification value, enter a new one, and press Enter. Photoshop
zooms the view without zooming the window. (Neither the Resize Windows to Fit
check box on the Options bar nor the Keyboard Zoom Resizes Windows option in
the Preferences dialog box affect the magnification box.)
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
In Figure 2-11, I started with a specially sized window at actual-pixels view. I then
entered two different zoom ratios into the magnification box — 156.7 percent and
60.4 percent — alternately enlarging and reducing the image within the confines of
a static window.
Magnification box
Figure 2-11: To zoom an image without changing the window
size, enter a zoom ratio into the magnification box and press
Enter. Alternatively, deselect the Resize Windows to Fit check
box on the Options bar when working with the zoom tool.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
You might like to know more about the magnification box:
Tip
✦ You can enter values in the magnification box as percentages, ratios, or
“times” values. To switch to a zoom value of 250 percent, for example, you
can enter 250%, 5:2, or 2.5x.
✦ You can specify a zoom value in increments as small as 0.01 percent. So if a zoom
value of 250.01 doesn’t quite suit your fancy, you can try 250.02. I seriously doubt
you’ll need this kind of precision, but isn’t it great to know it’s there?
Tip
When you press Enter after entering a magnification value, Photoshop changes the
view size and returns focus to the image window. If you aren’t exactly certain what
zoom ratio you want to use, press Shift+Enter instead. This changes the view size
while keeping the magnification value active; this way you can enter a new value
and try again.
Creating a reference window
In the ancient days, paint programs provided a cropped view of your image at the
actual-pixels view size to serve as a reference when you worked in a magnified view.
Because it’s so doggone modern, Photoshop does not, but you can easily create a
second view of your image by choosing View ➪ New View, as in Figure 2-12. Use one
window to maintain a 100-percent view of your image while you zoom and edit
inside the other window. Both windows track the changes to the image.
Figure 2-12: You can create multiple windows to track the changes made to a
single image by choosing the New View command from the View menu.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Scrolling inside the window
In the standard window mode, you have access to scroll bars, just as you do in just
about every other major application. But as you become more proficient with Photoshop, you’ll use the scroll bars less and less. One way to bypass the scroll bars is to
use the keyboard equivalents listed in Table 2-1.
Table 2-1
Scrolling from the Keyboard
Scrolling Action
Keystroke
Up one screen
Page Up
Up slightly
Shift+Page Up
Down one screen
Page Down
Down slightly
Shift+Page Down
Left one screen
Ctrl+Page Up
Left slightly
Ctrl+Shift+Page Up
Right one screen
Ctrl+Page Down
Right slightly
Ctrl+Shift+Page Down
To upper-left corner
Home
To lower-right corner
End
I’ve heard tales of artists who use the Page Up and Page Down shortcuts to comb
through very large images at 100-percent view size. This way, they can make sure
all their pixels are in order before going to print.
Personally, however, I don’t use the Page key tricks very often. I’m the kind of merry
lad who prefers to scroll by hand. Armed with the grabber hand — as old timers call
it — you can yank an image and pull it in any direction you choose. A good grabber
hand is better than a scroll bar any day.
Tip
To access the hand tool temporarily when some other tool is selected, press and
hold the spacebar. Releasing the spacebar returns the cursor to its original appearance. This keyboard equivalent even works from inside many dialog boxes.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
The Navigator palette
I saved the best for last. Shown in Figure 2-13, the Navigator palette is the best thing
to happen to zooming and scrolling since Photoshop was first introduced. If you
routinely work on large images that extend beyond the confines of your relatively
tiny screen, you’ll want to get up and running with this palette as soon as possible.
View box
Image thumbnail
Size box
Magnification box Zoom out
Zoom in
Zoom slider
Figure 2-13: The Navigator palette is the best thing to happen
to zooming and scrolling since Photoshop 1.0.
If the Navigator palette isn’t visible, choose Window ➪ Show Navigator. You can
then use the palette options as follows:
✦ View box: Drag the view box inside the image thumbnail to reveal some hidden portion of the photograph. Photoshop dynamically tracks your adjustments in the image window. Isn’t it great?
Tip
But wait, it gets better. Press Ctrl to get a zoom cursor in the Navigator
palette. Then Ctrl-drag to resize the view box and zoom the photo in the
image window.
You can also Shift-drag to constrain dragging the view box to only horizontal
or vertical movement.
✦ Box color: You can change the color of the view box by choosing the Palette
Options command from the palette menu. My favorite setting is yellow, but it
ultimately depends on the colors in your image. Ideally, you want something
that stands out. To lift a color from the image itself, move the cursor outside
the dialog box and click in the image window with the eyedropper.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
✦ Magnification box: This value works like the one in the lower-left corner of
the Photoshop window. Just enter a new zoom ratio and press Enter.
✦ Zoom out: Click the zoom out button to reduce the view size in the same predefined increments as the zoom tool. This button doesn’t alter the size of the
image window, regardless of any window resizing options you set for the other
zoom controls.
✦ Zoom slider: Give the slider triangle a yank and see where it takes you. Drag
to the left to zoom out; drag right to zoom in. Again, Photoshop dynamically
tracks your changes in the image window. Dang, it’s nice to zoom on the fly.
✦ Zoom in: Click the big mountains to incrementally magnify the view of the
image without altering the window size.
✦ Size box: If you have a large monitor, you don’t have to settle for that teeny
thumbnail of the image. Drag the size box to enlarge both palette and thumbnail to a more reasonable size.
Customizing the Interface
Every program gives you access to a few core settings so you can modify the program to suit your personal needs. These settings are known far and wide as preferences. Photoshop ships with certain recommended preference settings already in
force — known coast to coast as factory defaults — but just because these settings
are recommended doesn’t mean they’re right. In fact, I disagree with quite a few of
them. But why quibble when you can change the preferences according to your
merest whim?
Photoshop
You can modify preference settings in two ways: You can make environmental adjustments using File ➪ Preferences ➪ General, or you can change the operation of specific
tools by adjusting settings in the Options bar. Photoshop remembers environmental
preferences, tool settings, and even the file format under which you saved the last
image by storing this information to a file each time you exit the program.
6
To restore Photoshop’s factory default settings, delete the Adobe Photoshop 6
Prefs.psp file when the application is not running. The next time you launch Photoshop, it creates a new preferences file automatically. You can find the preferences file
in the Windows/Application Data/Adobe/Photoshop/6.0/Adobe Photoshop 6 Settings
folder. (Adobe relocated the preferences file to accommodate the multiple-user features of Windows 98. Depending on your system setup, the program may choose a
different storage folder. If you don’t see the file in the location I specified here, keep
reading for another way to trash your preferences file.)
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Tip
You also can dump the preferences file using this trick: Close the program and then
relaunch it. Immediately after you launch the program, press and hold Ctrl+Shift+Alt.
Photoshop displays a dialog box asking for your okay to delete the preferences file.
Click Yes. Continue to hold down Ctrl+Shift+Alt to display dialog boxes for changing the
plug-ins folder and scratch disk settings (I discuss both topics later in this chapter).
Photoshop
Deleting the preferences file is also a good idea if Photoshop starts acting funny.
Photoshop’s preferences file has always been highly susceptible to corruption, possibly because the application writes to it so often. Whatever the reason, if Photoshop starts behaving erratically, trash that preferences file. You’ll have to reset your
preferences, but a smooth-running program is worth the few minutes of extra effort.
6
Tip
Photoshop saves actions, color settings, custom shapes, contours, and the like separately from the Prefs file. This means that you can delete your Prefs file without any
worry about harming your scripts, color conversions, and other custom settings.
After you get your preferences set as you like them, you can prevent Photoshop
from altering them further by locking the file. In Windows Explorer, right-click the
Adobe Photoshop 6 Prefs.psp file and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.
Then select the Read Only check box in the Properties dialog box and press Enter.
From now on, Photoshop will start up with a consistent set of default settings.
Photoshop
That’s a good tip, and I include it in the name of comprehensive coverage. But personally, I don’t lock my Prefs file because I periodically modify settings and I want
Photoshop to remember the latest and greatest. Instead, I make a backup copy of
my favorite settings. After a few weeks of working in the program and customizing it
to a more or less acceptable level, copy the preferences file to a separate folder on
your hard disk (someplace you’ll remember!). Then if the preferences file becomes
corrupt, you can replace it quickly with your backup.
The preference panels
6
Adobe shuffled some menu commands when developing Photoshop 6, including the
all-important Preferences command, which now appears on the Edit menu. Choosing
the command displays a long submenu of commands, but you needn’t ever use them
if you remember a simple keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+K.
This shortcut brings up the Preferences dialog box, which provides access to eight
panels of options, representing every one of the Edit ➪ Preferences commands.
Select the desired panel from the pop-up menu in the upper-left corner of the dialog
box, as demonstrated in Figure 2-14. Or press the Ctrl key equivalent for the panel
as listed in the pop-up menu. You can also click the Prev and Next buttons (or press
Alt+P and Alt+N, respectively) to cycle from one panel to the next.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Figure 2-14: Select a panel of options from the pop-up menu,
or click the Prev and Next buttons to advance from one panel
to the next.
Tip
Photoshop always displays the first panel, General, when you press Ctrl+K. If you
prefer to go to the panel you were last using, press Ctrl+Alt+K.
To accept your settings and exit the Preferences dialog box, press Enter. Or press
Escape to cancel your settings. Okay, so you already knew that, but here’s one you
might not know: Press and hold the Alt key to change the Cancel button to Reset.
Then click the button to restore the settings that were in force before you entered
the dialog box.
Photoshop
The following sections examine all but two of the Preferences panels, in the order
they appear in the Figure 2-14 pop-up menu. I explain how each option works, and
include what I consider the optimal setting in parentheses. (The figures, however,
show the default settings.) Out of context like this, Photoshop’s preference settings
can be a bit confusing. In later chapters, I try to shed some additional light on the
settings you may find most useful.
6
The options on the Adobe Online panel are the same ones you get if you click the
Preferences button in the Adobe Online splash screen, shown in Figure 2-2. I discuss this toward the beginning of this chapter, so no need to travel that road again.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
General preferences
The General panel, shown in Figure 2-15, contains a miscellaneous supply of what
are arguably the most important Preferences options.
Figure 2-15: The General panel provides access to the most important
environmental preference settings. I agree with many, but not all, of
the default settings shown here.
✦ Color Picker (Adobe): When you click the foreground or background color control icon in the toolbox, Photoshop displays any color picker plug-ins that you
may have installed plus one of two standard color pickers: the Adobe color
picker or the one provided by the operating system. If you’re familiar with other
Windows graphics programs, the system’s color picker may at first seem more
familiar. But Photoshop’s color picker is substantially more versatile.
✦ Interpolation (Bicubic): When you resize an image using Image ➪ Image Size
or transform it using Layer ➪ Free Transform or one of the commands in the
Layer ➪ Transform submenu, Photoshop has to make up — or interpolate —
pixels to fill in the gaps. You can change how Photoshop calculates the interpolation by choosing one of three options from the Interpolation submenu.
If you select Nearest Neighbor, Photoshop simply copies the next-door pixel
when creating a new one. This is the fastest setting, but it invariably results in
jagged effects.
The second option, Bilinear, smoothes the transitions between pixels by creating intermediate shades. Photoshop averages the color of each pixel with four
neighbors — the pixel above, the one below, and the two to the left and right.
Bilinear takes more time but, typically, the softened effect is worth it.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Still more time intensive is the default setting, Bicubic, which averages the
color of a pixel with its eight closest neighbors — one up, one down, two on
the sides, and four in the corners. The Bicubic setting boosts the amount of
contrast between pixels to offset the blurring effect that generally accompanies interpolation.
Photoshop
Tip
6
The moral is this: Select Bicubic to turn Photoshop’s interpolation capabilities
on, and select Nearest Neighbor to turn them off. The Bilinear setting is a poor
compromise between the two — too slow for roughing out effects, but too
remedial to waste your time.
✦ Redo Key (Ctrl+Z): This option enables you to change the keyboard shortcuts
assigned to the Undo, Redo, Step Back, and Step Forward commands. It’s ultimately a personal preference, but I discourage you from changing this option
from its default. Selecting something other than Ctrl+Z makes Photoshop appear
to match other programs that feature multiple undos — such as Adobe Illustrator
and Macromedia FreeHand — but any resemblance is purely coincidental. The
wonders of the History palette notwithstanding, Photoshop relies on a singlelevel Undo command. Setting it to match other programs’ multilevel undos is
misleading. If you haven’t the vaguest idea of what I’m talking about, check out
Chapter 7, “Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring.”
✦ History States: This value controls how many steps you can undo via the
History palette. The right value depends on the amount of RAM you’re willing
to devote to Photoshop. If you’re working with limited memory — 32MB or
less — I suggest that you lower the value to 5 or 10. Otherwise, raise the value
as you see fit, remembering that the more states the program retains, the
more you strain your system.
✦ Export Clipboard (off): When selected, this option tells Photoshop to transfer
a copied image from the program’s internal clipboard to the operating system’s
clipboard whenever you switch applications. This enables you to paste the
image into another running program. Turn this option off if you plan to use
copied images only within Photoshop and you want to reduce the lag time that
occurs when you switch from Photoshop to another program. Even with this
option off, you can paste images copied from other programs into Photoshop.
✦ Short PANTONE Names (off): As most digital artists are already aware, Pantone
is a brand name assigned to a library of premixed spot-color printing inks. Photoshop supports the most recent Pantone naming conventions. Most modern publishing programs support these longer color names, but a few older versions
do not. If you run into problems separating spot-color Photoshop images when
printing from another program, turn this option on. Otherwise, leave it off, as by
default. (When you export straight grayscale, RGB, or CMYK images, this check
box is irrelevant.)
✦ Show Tool Tips (on): When on, this option displays little labels and keyboard
shortcuts when you hover your cursor over a tool or palette option. The tool
tips don’t impede Photoshop’s performance, so I see no reason to turn off this
option.
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Photoshop
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
6
✦ Keyboard Zoom Resizes Windows (on): Select this option to force Photoshop
to resize the image window when you zoom in or out on your image by selecting a Zoom command from the View menu or by using the keyboard shortcuts,
Ctrl+plus and Ctrl+minus. This one’s really a matter of personal choice — I
leave the option on, but you’ll do no harm to yourself or the planet if you turn
it off. Either way, you can temporarily choose the opposite setting by pressing
Alt as you choose the Zoom command.
✦ Auto-update Open Documents (on): This option creates and maintains a link
between an open image and the image file on disk. Any time the image on disk
updates, Photoshop updates the image on screen in kind. This feature is an
amazing help when you’re editing images with another artist over a network.
Imagine that you and a coworker each have the same server file open in separate copies of Photoshop. Your coworker makes a change and saves it. Seconds
later, your copy of Photoshop automatically updates the image on your screen.
Then you make a change and save it, and Photoshop relays your modifications
to your coworker’s screen.
So what happens if you’re both editing the image simultaneously? Whoever
saves first gets the glory. If your coworker saves the image before you do, any
changes that you haven’t saved are overwritten by the other person’s work.
Photoshop
Tip
6
However, you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat simply by pressing
Ctrl+Alt+Z, which undoes your coworker’s edits and retrieves yours. Quickly save
your image to lob your changes over the net. Ooh, psych! With any luck, your
coworker won’t understand Photoshop well enough to know that your changes can
be undone just as easily. But just to be safe, better hide this book from prying eyes.
✦ Show Asian Text Options (off): This option determines whether the Character and Paragraph palettes include options related to working with Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean type. My recommendation here assumes that you’re not
adding text in those languages to your images.
✦ Beep When Done (off): You can instruct Photoshop to beep at you whenever
it finishes an operation that displays a Progress window. This option may be
useful if you doze off during particularly time-consuming operations. But I’m
a firm believer that computers should be seen and not heard.
✦ Dynamic Color Sliders (on): When selected, this option instructs Photoshop
to preview color effects within the slider bars of the Color palette. When the
option is turned off, the slider bars show the same colors regardless of your
changes. Unless you’re working on a slow computer, leave this option on. On a
fast machine, Photoshop takes a billionth of a second longer to calculate the
color effects and it’s well worth it.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
✦ Save Palette Locations (on): When this option is selected, Photoshop remembers the location of the toolbox and floating palettes from one session to the
next. If you turn off this check box, Photoshop restores the default palette
positions the next time you restart the program.
Photoshop
✦ Show Font Names in English (on): Check this box, and Photoshop displays foreign fonts in intelligible names in the Font menu on the Options bar and in the
Character palette — well, assuming that English is intelligible to you, anyway.
6
Photoshop
In this book, I assume that you have this option turned off when I present tool
shortcuts.
6
✦ Reset All Warning Dialogs: Every now and then, Photoshop displays a warning
dialog box to let you know that the course you’re on may have consequences
you hadn’t considered. Some dialog boxes include a check box that you can
select to tell Photoshop that you don’t want to see the current warning any
more. If you click the Reset All Warning Dialogs button in the Preferences dialog
box, Photoshop clears all the “don’t show this warning again” check boxes so
that you once again get all available warnings. Photoshop responds to your
click of the reset button by displaying a warning dialog box that says that all
warning dialog boxes will be enabled if you go forward. Don’t ponder the irony
too long before you click OK.
Photoshop
Note
✦ Use Shift Key for Tool Switch (off): When two or more tools share the same
slot in the toolbox, you can press the keyboard shortcut associated with the
tools to cycle through the tools. This Preferences option determines whether
you must press Shift along with the shortcut. I recommend that you turn this
option off — one extra keystroke per function adds up over the course of a
day, you know.
6
✦ Reset All Tools: Click this button to reset all of Photoshop’s tools to their factory default settings. You also can click the tool’s icon on the Options bar and
choose Reset All Tools from the resulting pop-up menu. Choose Reset Tool to
restore the defaults for the current tool only.
Saving Files
When in the Preferences dialog box, press Ctrl+2 to advance to the Saving Files
panel, shown in Figure 2-16. Every one of these options affects how Photoshop
saves images to disk. The following list explains how the options work and the
recommended settings:
✦ Image Previews (Ask When Saving): When Always Save is active (as by
default), Photoshop saves a postage-stamp preview so that you can see what
an image looks like before opening or importing it. This preview appears when
you select the image in the Open dialog box.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Figure 2-16: I prefer to set the Image Previews option to Ask When
Saving. And by all means, turn that first File Compatibility check box off!
The problem with previews is that they slightly increase the size of the file.
This is fine when doing print work — a little thumbnail isn’t going to add that
much — but when creating Web graphics, every byte counts. That’s why I prefer to select Ask When Saving from the Image Previews pop-up menu. This
option makes the preview option available in the Save dialog box so that you
can specify whether you want previews on a case-by-case basis when you
save your images.
Tip
✦ File Extension (Use Lower Case): This option decides whether the threecharacter extensions at the end of file names are upper- or lowercase. Lower
is the better choice because it ensures compatibility with other platforms,
particularly Unix, the primary operating system for Web servers. (Unix is
case-sensitive, so a file called Image.psd is different than Image.PSD.
Lowercase extensions eliminate confusion.)
✦ Maximize backwards compatibility in Photoshop format (OFF!): This option
is pure evil. If you never change another preference setting, you should turn
this one off. I know, I know, if it was so awful, Adobe wouldn’t have it on by
default. But believe me, this option should be named Double My File Sizes
Because I’m an Absolute Fool, and even Adobe’s designers will tell you that
you probably want to go ahead and turn it off.
Okay, so here’s the long tragic story: The check box ensures backward compatibility between Photoshop 6 and programs that support the Photoshop file
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
format but don’t recognize layers. It’s a nice idea, but it comes at too steep a
price. In order to ensure compatibility, Photoshop has to insert an additional
flattened version of a layered image into every native Photoshop file. As you
can imagine, this takes up a considerable amount of disk space, doubling the
file size in the most extreme situations.
So turn this check box off. And when you want cross-application compatibility, save an extra TIFF version of your file (as explained in Chapter 3).
Photoshop
Actually, there is one instance when you might find this option useful. It permits After Effects 3 or Illustrator 9 to open files that contain layer effects that
were added to Photoshop after those products shipped.
6
✦ Enable advanced TIFF save options (on): When turned on, this check box
permits you to save all data, including layers and annotations, with a TIFF
image. It also lets you choose to apply JPEG or ZIP compression instead of
the usual LZW. No doubt about it, turn this option on.
Photoshop
Note
6
✦ Recent file list contains (4) Files (Your call): This option determines how many
file names appear when you choose the new Open Recent command, which displays a list of the images that you worked on most recently. You can simply
click an image name to open the image. The default number of file names is four,
but you can raise it to 30. Raising the value doesn’t use resources that would
otherwise be useful to Photoshop, so enter whatever value makes you happy.
Display & Cursors
Press Ctrl+3 to sidle up to the Display & Cursors options, which appear in Figure
2-17. These options affect the way colors and cursors appear on screen. Here’s how
the options work, along with recommended settings:
✦ Color Channels in Color (off): An individual color channel contains just 8 bits
of data per pixel, which makes it equivalent to a grayscale image. Photoshop
provides you with the option of colorizing the channel according to the primary color it represents. For example, when this option is turned on, the red
color channel looks like a grayscale image viewed through red acetate. Most
experts agree the effect isn’t helpful, though, and it does more to obscure
your image than make it easier for you to see what’s happening. Leave this
check box turned off and read Chapter 16 for more information.
✦ Use Diffusion Dither (on): Here’s an option for you folks working on 8-bit screens
that display no more than 256 colors at a time. To simulate the 16-million-color
spectrum on a 256-color screen, Photoshop automatically jumbles colored pixels
using a technique called dithering. This option controls the pattern of dithered
pixels. Photoshop offers a naturalistic “diffusion” dither that looks nice on screen.
But because the diffusion dither follows no specific pattern, you sometimes see
distinct edges between selected and deselected portions of your image after
applying a filter or some other effect. You can eliminate these edges and resort
to a more geometric dither pattern by turning off this check box.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Figure 2-17: The Display & Cursors options control the way images
and cursors look on screen. Shown here are the default settings,
but I turn on Use Diffusion Dither.
Photoshop
6
Photoshop
Tip
6
Turning off the Use Diffusion Dither check box is an awfully drastic (not to
mention ugly) solution, though. The better way to eliminate the occasional
visual disharmony is to force Photoshop to redraw the entire image. You can
press Ctrl+Alt+0 or perform some other zoom function.
Note that a related option found in earlier versions of Photoshop, Use System
Palette, is gone. When you set your monitor to display 256 colors or less, this
option let you specify whether you wanted Photoshop to use the default monitor palette or to adjust the palette constantly to best suit your image. The latter choice is no longer available.
✦ Use Pixel Doubling (off): This option can help speed up operations when
you’re editing huge images on a less-than-robust computer, but not by much.
When you select the option, Photoshop displays selected areas using a lowresolution proxy. Although the option previously was connected just to moving layers, it now affects selections, too.
✦ Painting Cursors (Brush Size): When you use a paint or edit tool, Photoshop
can display one of three cursors. The default Standard cursor looks like a paintbrush, airbrush, finger, or whatever tool you are using. These cursors are great
if you have problems keeping track of what tool you selected, but otherwise
they border on childish.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
The Precise and Brush Size options are more functional. The Precise option
displays a cross-shaped cursor — called a crosshair — regardless of which
tool is active. The crosshair is great because it prevents the cursor from
blocking your view as you edit. Meanwhile, the Brush Size option shows the
actual size and shape of the active brush in the Brushes palette. Most artists
prefer this final setting to the others because it comes the closest to showing
the cursor the way it really is.
Tip
When Standard or Brush Size is selected, you can access the crosshair cursor
by pressing the Caps Lock key. When Precise is selected from the Painting
Cursors options, pressing Caps Lock displays the brush size.
✦ Other Cursors (Standard): Again, you can select Standard to get the regular cursors or Precise to get crosshairs. I prefer to leave this option set to Standard
because you can easily access the crosshair cursor by pressing Caps Lock. The
Precise option locks you into the crosshair whether or not you like it.
Transparency & Gamut
Press Ctrl+4 to switch to the Transparency & Gamut panel shown in Figure 2-18. The
options in this panel change how Photoshop displays two conceptual items — transparent space behind layers and RGB colors that can’t be expressed in CMYK printing.
Figure 2-18: The options in this panel affect how Photoshop represents
transparency and out-of-gamut colors. For the most part, you just want
to select colors that you don’t often see inside your images.
The options are arranged into two groups — Transparency Settings and Gamut
Warning — as explained in the following sections.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Transparency Settings
Just as the Earth spins around in empty space, a Photoshop image rests on a layer
of absolute transparency. By default, Photoshop represents this transparency as a
gray checkerboard pattern. (What better way to demonstrate nothingness? I might
have preferred a few lines from a Jean-Paul Sartre play, but no matter.) You may get
a brief glimpse of this checkerboard when you first open an image or switch to
Photoshop from another application.
When you view a layer independently of others, Photoshop fills the see-through
portions of the layer with the checkerboard. So having the checkerboard stand out
from the layer itself is essential. You can customize the size of the checkers and the
color of the squares using the Grid Size and Grid Colors pop-up menus. You can
also click the color swatches to define your own colors.
Tip
To lift colors from the image window, move your cursor outside the Preferences
dialog box to get the eyedropper. Click a color to change the color of the white
checkers; Alt-click to change the gray ones.
If you own a TrueVision NuVista+ board or some other 32-bit device that enables
chroma keying, you can select the Use Video Alpha check box to view a television
signal in the transparent area behind a layer. Unless you work in video production,
you needn’t worry about this option.
Gamut Warning
If Photoshop can display a color on screen but can’t accurately print the color, the
color is said to be out of gamut. You can choose View ➪ Gamut Warning to coat all
out-of-gamut colors with gray. I’m not a big fan of this command — View ➪ Proof
Colors (Ctrl+Y) is much more useful — but if you use View ➪ Gamut Warning, you
don’t have to accept gray as the out-of-gamut coating. Change the color by clicking
the Gamut Warning Color swatch, and lower the Opacity value to request a translucent coating.
Units & Rulers
The Units & Rulers panel is the fifth panel in the Preferences dialog box; hence, you
reach the panel by pressing Ctrl+5. Shown in Figure 2-19, this panel offers options
that enable you to change the predominant system of measurement used throughout the program.
Tip
Whenever the rulers are visible, the Units & Rulers panel is only a double-click
away. Choose View ➪ Show Rulers (Ctrl+R) to see the rulers on screen and then
double-click either the horizontal or vertical ruler.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Photoshop
Figure 2-19: Go to the Units & Rulers panel to change the column
and pica settings; to set the unit of measurement, right-click the
ruler to display a pop-up menu of choices. I prefer to use Pixels
as opposed to Inches.
Rulers
6
You can set the unit of measurement via the Units option in the Preferences dialog
box. But in Version 6, there’s an easier way: Just right-click anywhere on the ruler to
display a pop-up menu of unit options and then click the unit you want to use. You
can display the same pop-up menu by clicking the plus sign in the lower-left corner
of the Info palette.
Photoshop
When you’re first learning Photoshop, going with inches or picas is tempting, but
experienced Photoshop artists use pixels. Because you can change the resolution
of an image at any time, the only constant is pixels. An image measures a fixed number of pixels high by a fixed number of pixels wide — you can print those pixels as
large or as small as you want. (To learn more about resolution, read Chapter 3.)
Type
6
Photoshop 6 enables you to set the unit of measure used for the type tool and
its palettes independently of the ruler units. You can work in points, pixels, and
millimeters; select your unit of choice from the Type pop-up menu. Check out
Chapter 15 for more good news about type in this version of Photoshop.
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Column Size
The Column Size options enable you to size images according to columns in a
newsletter or magazine. Enter the width of your columns and the size of the gutter
into the Width and Gutter option boxes. Then use File ➪ New or Image ➪ Image Size
to specify the number of columns assigned to the width of the image. I explain
these commands in more detail in Chapter 3.
Point/Pica Size
The last option in the Units & Rulers panel may be the most obscure of all Photoshop
options. In case you aren’t familiar with points and picas, exactly 12 points are in a
pica, and about 6.06 picas are in an inch.
Well, because picas are almost evenly divisible into inches, the folks who came up
with the PostScript printing language decided to bag the difference and to define a
pica as exactly 1⁄6 inch. This makes a point exactly 1⁄72 inch.
But a few purists didn’t take to it. They found their new electronic documents
weren’t quite matching their old paste-up documents and, well, I guess life pretty
much lost its meaning. So Adobe had to go back and add the Traditional (72.27
points/inch) option to keep everyone happy.
I prefer the nontraditional PostScript definition of points. This way, a pixel on
screen translates to a point on paper when you print an image at 72 ppi (the standard screen resolution). Call me a soulless technodweeb, but computer imaging
makes more sense when you can measure points and pixels without resorting to
a calculator. The old ways are dead; long live the 1⁄ 72-inch point!
Guides & Grid
Someone at Adobe said, “Let the preference settings continue.” And, lo, there is
Guides & Grid, which can be accessed by all who press Ctrl+6 and viewed by all
who cast an eye on Figure 2-20. This panel lets you modify the colors of the guides
and specify the size of the grid.
Tip
You can display the Preferences dialog box and go directly to the Guides & Grid panel
by double-clicking a guide with the move tool or Ctrl-double-clicking with another
tool. (To create a guide, drag from the horizontal or vertical ruler into the image.)
I explain these options in more detail in Chapter 12 but, for the moment, here are
some brief descriptions.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
Figure 2-20: Use these options to adjust the size of the grid and
change the way both the grid and ruler guides appear on screen.
Guides
Select a color for horizontal and vertical ruler guides from the Color pop-up menu.
To lift a color from the image, move your cursor outside the Preferences dialog box
and click in the image window with the eyedropper. You can also view guides as
solid lines or dashes by selecting an option from the Style pop-up menu.
Grid
Select a color for the grid from the Color menu, or Alt-click in the image window to
lift a color from the image. Then decide how the grid lines look by selecting a Style
option. The Dots setting is the least intrusive.
The “Gridline every” value determines the increments for the visible grid marks on
screen. But the Subdivisions value sets the real grid. For example, if you request a
grid mark every one inch with four subdivisions — as in Figure 2-20 — Photoshop
snaps selections and layers in quarter-inch increments (one inch divided by four).
Plug-Ins & Scratch Disk
Press Ctrl+7 to advance to the panel shown in Figure 2-21. Each time you launch
Photoshop, the program searches for plug-in modules and identifies one or more
scratch disks. You have to tell Photoshop where to find the plug-ins and where the
temporary scratch files should go.
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Photoshop
Figure 2-21: Tell Photoshop where to find plug-ins and where to
put scratch files using these options.
Additional Plug-Ins Directory
6
By default, the plug-ins are located in a folder called Plug-Ins, which resides in the
same folder as the Photoshop application. But you can tell Photoshop to also look for
plug-ins in some other folder — a handy option if you install all your third-party plugins to some central location outside the Photoshop folders. To specify the second
plug-ins location, select the check box and then click Choose to select the folder.
Scratch disks
By default, Photoshop assumes you have only one hard disk, so Photoshop stores
its temporary virtual memory documents — called scratch files — on the same disk
that contains your system software. If you have more than one drive available,
though, you might want to tell Photoshop to look elsewhere. In fact, Photoshop
can use up to four drives.
For example, one of my computers is equipped with two internal hard drives:
✦ A 2GB drive, C:, contains the system and most of the workaday documents I
create.
✦ The other drive is a 4GB device partitioned into two 2GB segments. These
are formatted as the D: and E: drives. D: contains all my applications while E:
remains largely empty except for a few large miscellaneous files — QuickTime
movies, digital camera snapshots, weird plug-ins — that I haven’t gotten
around to backing up yet.
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
E: has the most free space, so I set it as the First scratch disk. On the off chance
that my images get so huge that Photoshop fills up E: and has to look elsewhere for
scratch space, I select D: from the Second pop-up menu and my main system drive,
C:, from the Third. That’s the end of my drives, so Fourth remains set to None.
Caution
Adobe advises against using removable media — such as SyQuest, MO, and Zip
drives — as a scratch disk. Removable media is typically less reliable and slower
than a permanent drive. (A Jaz cartridge is more stable than Zip or the others, but
still not as reliable as a fixed hard drive.) Using a removable drive on an occasional
basis isn’t the end of the world, but if you use it regularly you may end up crashing
more often, in which case you’ll probably want to add a new hard drive.
Changes affect the next session
As the note at the bottom of the Plug-ins & Scratch Disks panel warns, the settings
in this panel don’t take effect until the next time you launch Photoshop. This means
you must quit Photoshop and restart the program.
There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing that the options in this dialog box
are set incorrectly before you’ve even started up Photoshop. It means you have to
launch Photoshop, change the settings, quit Photoshop, and launch the program
again. What a waste of time!
Tip
That is, it would be a waste of time if there wasn’t a workaround. Fortunately, you
can access the plug-ins and scratch disk settings during the launch cycle. After
double-clicking on the Photoshop application icon or choosing Photoshop from
the Start menu, press and hold the Ctrl and Alt keys. After a few seconds, a screen
of the scratch disk options appears. Specify the disks as desired and press Enter.
Your new settings now work for the current session — no restarting necessary.
Image Cache
Ever since Photoshop 3 came out, Adobe has received a fair amount of flack from
high-end users who demand faster image handling. Programs such as Live Picture
and xRes take seconds to apply complex operations to super-huge photographs,
while Photoshop putters along for a minute or more. Granted, Live Picture and xRes
aren’t nearly as capable as Photoshop, but they are faster.
The good news is that Photoshop sports a caching scheme that speeds operations at
reduced view sizes. You can adjust this feature by pressing Ctrl+8 in the Preferences
dialog box. This displays the Memory & Image Cache panel, shown in Figure 2-22.
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Figure 2-22: Photoshop’s new caching capabilities speed the
processing of very large images. This is also where you specify
how much memory goes to Photoshop.
Cache Levels
Photoshop has been criticized for its lack of a “pyramid-style” file format, such as
Live Picture’s IVUE or xRes’s LRG. Both IVUE and LRG store an image several times
over at progressively smaller and smaller image sizes, called downsamplings. For
example, the program would save a full view of the image, a 50 percent view, a 25
percent view, and so on. Live Picture or xRes can then load and edit only the portion of the image visible on screen, greatly accelerating functions.
Photoshop’s alternative is image caching. Rather than saving the downsamplings to
disk, Photoshop generates the reduced images in RAM. By default, the Cache Levels
value is set to 4, the medium value. This means Photoshop can cache up to four
downsamplings — at 100, 50, 25, and 12.5 percent — which permits the program to
apply operations more quickly at reduced view sizes. For example, if you choose a
color correction command at the 50 percent view size, it previews much faster than
normal because Photoshop has to modify a quarter as many pixels on screen.
However, Photoshop must cache downsamplings in RAM, which takes away memory that could be used to hold the image. If you have lots of RAM (128MB or more)
Chapter 2 ✦ Inside Photoshop
and you frequently work on large images (20MB or larger), you’ll probably want to
raise the value to the maximum, 8. The lost memory is worth the speed boost. If
you have little RAM (say, 16MB or less) and you usually work on small images or
Web graphics (4MB or smaller), you may want to reduce the Cache Levels value to
1 or 2. When files are small, RAM is better allocated to storing images rather than
caching them.
Use cache for histograms
The “Use cache for histograms” check box tells Photoshop whether to generate the
histograms that appear in the Levels and Threshold dialog boxes based on the cached
sampling or the original image. As I explain in Chapter 17, a histogram is a bar graph of
the colors in an image. When you choose a command such as Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Levels,
Photoshop must spend a few seconds graphing the colors. If you turn the Use Cache
for Histograms check box on, Photoshop graphs the colors in the reduced screen
view, which takes less time, but is also less accurate. Turn the check box off for
slower, more accurate histograms.
Generally speaking, I say leave the option on. A histogram is merely a visual indicator and most folks are unable to judge the difference between a downsampled histogram and a fully accurate one.
Again, if you’re working in very large images and you have the Cache Levels value
maxed out at 8, you should probably leave this check box selected. But if you have
to reduce the Cache Levels value, turn off the check box. Histograms are the first
thing that can go.
Note
This option is not responsible for the histogram irregularities that popped up in
Photoshop 4. The fact that the Threshold dialog box sometimes lifted its histogram
from the active layer only was a bug, not a function of Use cache for histograms.
Even so, this option has received a lot of flack it did not deserve. My opinion is that,
on balance, this is a positive feature that should be left on.
Physical memory usage
Windows 95, NT 4, and later offer dynamic memory allocation, which means that each
application gets the memory it needs as it needs it. But Photoshop is something of a
memory pig and has a habit of using every spare bit of RAM it can get its hands on. Left
to its own devices, it might gobble up all the RAM and bleed over into Windows’ virtual
memory space, which is less efficient than Photoshop’s own scratch disk scheme.
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The Physical Memory Usage option helps you place some limits on Photoshop’s
ravenous appetites. The option lists the amount of RAM available to all applications
after the operating system loads into memory. You can then decide how much of
that memory should go to Photoshop. If you like to run lots of applications at the
same time — your word processor, Web browser, spreadsheet, drawing program,
and Photoshop, for example — then set the Used by Photoshop value to 50 percent
or lower. But if Photoshop is the only program running — and if you have less than
32MB of RAM — raise the value to 70 to 80 percent.
Caution
I recommend against taking the Used by Photoshop value any higher than 80 percent, particularly on a low-capacity machine (32MB or less). Doing so permits
Photoshop to fill up RAM that the operating system might need, which makes for a
less stable working environment. As I’ve said before, if Photoshop is going too slow
for you and hitting scratch disk too often, buy more RAM — don’t play dangerous
games with the little RAM you do have.
✦
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1
C H A P T E R
What’s Up with
Photoshop 6?
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
What Is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop is the most popular image-editing application available for use on Macintosh and Windows-based computers. Despite hefty competition over the years from a diverse
variety of programs ranging in price from virtually free to a few
thousand dollars each, Adobe once reported that Photoshop’s
sales account for more than 80 percent of the image-editing
market, with the number still rising. This makes Photoshop
four times more popular than all its competitors combined.
Where professional image editing is concerned, Photoshop’s
not just the market leader, it’s the only game in town.
Photoshop’s historically lopsided sales advantage provides
Adobe with a clear incentive to reinvest in Photoshop and regularly enhance — even overhaul — its capabilities. Meanwhile,
other vendors have had to devote smaller resources to playing
catch-up. Although competitors have historically provided
some interesting and sometimes amazing capabilities, the sums
of their parts have typically fallen well short of Photoshop’s.
Photoshop
As a result, Photoshop rides a self-perpetuating wave of industry predominance. It hasn’t always been the best image editor,
nor was it the earliest. But its deceptively straightforward
interface combined with a few terrific core functions made it
a hit from the moment of its first release. More than a decade
later — thanks to substantial capital injections and highly creative programming on the part of Adobe’s staff and Photoshop
originator Thomas Knoll — it has evolved into the most popular program of its kind.
6
If you’re already familiar with Photoshop and you just want to
scope out its new capabilities, skip to the section “Fast Track
to Version 6.”
An introduction
to Photoshop
The difference
between painting
and drawing
programs
How Photoshop fits
into the bigger
design scheme
The many uses
of Photoshop
The new features
in Photoshop 6
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Image-Editing Theory
Like any image editor, Photoshop enables you to alter photographs and other
scanned artwork. You can retouch an image, apply special effects, swap details
between photos, introduce text and logos, adjust color balance, and even add color
to a grayscale scan. Photoshop also provides the tools you need to create images
from scratch. These tools are fully compatible with pressure-sensitive tablets, so you
can create naturalistic images that look for all the world like watercolors and oils.
Bitmaps versus objects
Image editors fall into the larger software category of painting programs. In a painting program, you draw a line, and the application converts it to tiny square dots
called pixels. The painting itself is called a bitmapped image, but bitmap and image
are equally acceptable terms.
Note
Photoshop uses the term bitmap exclusively to mean a black-and-white image, the
logic being that each pixel conforms to one bit of data, 0 or 1 (off or on). In order to
avoid awkward syllabic mergers such as pix-map — and because forcing a distinction between a painting with exactly two colors and one with anywhere from four to
16 million colors is entirely arbitrary — I use the term bitmap more broadly to mean
any image composed of a fixed number of pixels, regardless of the number of colors
involved.
Photoshop
What about other graphics applications, such as Adobe Illustrator? Illustrator,
Macromedia FreeHand, CorelDraw, and others fall into a different category of software called drawing programs. Drawings comprise objects, which are independent,
mathematically defined lines and shapes. For this reason, drawing programs are
sometimes said to be object-oriented. Some folks prefer the term vector-based, but I
shy away from it because vector implies the physical components direction and
magnitude, which generally are associated with straight lines. Besides, my preference suggests an air of romance, as in, “One day, I’m going to shake off the dust of
this three-horse town and pursue a life of romantic adventure in the Object Orient!”
6
Photoshop 6 introduces object-oriented layers, which permit you to add highresolution text and shapes to your photographic images, all inside a single piece
of artwork. In that regard, the program has become a kind of painting and drawing
hybrid. These features don’t altogether take the place of a drawing program, they
merely help to make Photoshop that much more flexible and capable.
The ups and downs of painting
Painting programs and drawing programs each have their strengths and weaknesses.
The strength of a painting program is that it offers an extremely straightforward
approach to creating images. For example, although many of Photoshop’s features
Chapter 1 ✦ What’s Up with Photoshop 6?
are complex — exceedingly complex on occasion — its core painting tools are as easy
to use as a pencil. You alternately draw and erase until you reach a desired effect,
just as you’ve been doing since grade school. (Of course, for all I know, you’ve been
using computers since grade school. If you’re pushing 20, you probably managed to
log in many happy hours on paint programs in your formative years. Then again, if
you’re under 20, you’re still in your formative years. Shucks, we’re all in our formative years. Wrinkles, expanding tummies, falling arches, longer nose hairs . . . if that’s
not a new form, I don’t know what is.)
In addition to being simple to use, each of Photoshop’s core painting tools is fully
customizable. It’s as if you have access to an infinite variety of crayons, colored pencils, pastels, airbrushes, watercolors, and so on, all of which are entirely erasable.
Doodling on the phone book was never so much fun.
The downside of a painting program is that it limits your resolution options. Because
bitmaps contain a fixed number of pixels, the resolution of an image — the number
of pixels per inch — is dependent upon the size at which the image is printed, as
demonstrated in Figure 1-1. Print the image small, and the pixels become tiny, which
increases resolution; print the image large, and the pixels grow, which decreases resolution. An image that fills up a low-resolution screen (640 × 480 pixels) prints with
smooth color transitions when reduced to, say, the size of a business card. But if you
print that same image so it fills an 81⁄2-by-11-inch page, you’ll probably be able to distinguish individual pixels, which means you can see jagged edges and blocky transitions. The only way to remedy this problem is to increase the number of pixels in
the image, which increases the size of the file on disk.
Figure 1-1: When printed small, a painting appears relatively smooth (left).
But when printed large, it appears jagged (right).
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
CrossReference
Bear in mind that this is a very simplified explanation of how images work. For a
more complete description that includes techniques for maximizing image performance, refer to “How Images Work” at the outset of Chapter 3.
The downs and ups of drawing
Painting programs provide tools reminiscent of traditional art tools. A drawing program, on the other hand, features tools that have no real-world counterparts. The
process of drawing might more aptly be termed constructing, because you actually
build lines and shapes point by point and stack them on top of each other to create
a finished image. Each object is independently editable — one of the few structural
advantages of an object-oriented approach — but you’re still faced with the task of
building your artwork one chunk at a time.
Nevertheless, because a drawing program defines lines, shapes, and text as mathematical equations, these objects automatically conform to the full resolution of the
output device, whether it’s a laser printer, imagesetter, or film recorder. The drawing
program sends the math to the printer and the printer renders the math to paper or
film. In other words, the printer converts the drawing program’s equations to printer
pixels. Your printer offers far more pixels than your screen — a 300-dots-per-inch
(dpi) laser printer, for example, offers 300 pixels per inch (dots equal pixels), whereas
most screens offer 72 pixels per inch. So the printed drawing appears smooth and
sharply focused regardless of the size at which you print it, as shown in Figure 1-2.
Figure 1-2: Small or large, a drawing prints smooth, but it’s a pain to
create. This one took more than an hour out of my day, and, as you can
see, I didn’t even bother with the letters around the perimeter of the design.
Another advantage of drawings is that they take up relatively little room on disk.
The file size of a drawing depends on the quantity and complexity of the objects the
Chapter 1 ✦ What’s Up with Photoshop 6?
drawing contains. Thus, the file size has almost nothing to do with the size of the
printed image, which is just the opposite of the way bitmapped images work. A
thumbnail drawing of a garden that contains hundreds of leaves and petals consumes several times more disk space than a poster-sized drawing that contains
three rectangles.
When to use Photoshop
Thanks to their specialized methods, painting programs and drawing programs
fulfill distinct and divergent purposes. Photoshop and other painting programs
are best suited to creating and editing the following kinds of artwork:
✦ Scanned photos, including photographic collages and embellishments that
originate from scans
✦ Images captured with any type of digital camera
✦ Still frames scanned from videotape or film
✦ Realistic artwork that relies on the play between naturalistic highlights,
midranges, and shadows
✦ Impressionistic-type artwork and other images created for purely personal
or aesthetic purposes
✦ Logos and other display type featuring soft edges, reflections, or tapering
shadows
✦ Special effects that require the use of filters and color enhancements you
simply can’t achieve in a drawing program
When to use a drawing program
You’re probably better off using Illustrator, CorelDraw, or some other drawing program if you’re interested in creating more stylized artwork, such as the following:
✦ Poster art and other high-contrast graphics that heighten the appearance of
reality
✦ Architectural plans, product designs, or other precise line drawings
✦ Business graphics, such as charts and other “infographics” that reflect data
or show how things work
✦ Traditional logos and text effects that require crisp, ultrasmooth edges
✦ Brochures, flyers, and other single-page documents that mingle artwork,
logos, and standard-sized text (such as the text you’re reading now)
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
If you’re serious about computer graphics, you should own at least one painting
program and one drawing program. If I had to rely exclusively on two graphics
applications, I would probably choose Photoshop and Illustrator. Adobe has done
a fine job of establishing symmetry between the two programs, so that they share
common interface elements and keyboard shortcuts. Learn one and the other
makes a lot more sense.
CrossReference
For those who are interested, I write a cradle-to-grave guide to Illustrator called
Real World Illustrator, published by Peachpit Press. (Occasionally a reader asks me
why I didn’t write IDG Books’ Illustrator Bible, perhaps hoping for a salacious insight
into the publishing world. Sadly, the reason is mundane: I already had a signed contract with Peachpit when IDG offered the Bible to me. Fortunately for IDG Books and
the industry at large, a talented first-time author named Ted Alspach stepped in.
Adobe has since snatched up Ted and made him the Illustrator 9 product manager.
As IDG likes to say, that’ll teach me to go writing books for other publishers.) I’m
also the host of a handful of video training series, including Total Photoshop and
Total Illustrator, both produced by Total Training (www.totaltraining.com).
The Computer Design Scheme
If your aspirations go beyond image editing into the larger world of computerassisted design, you’ll soon learn that Photoshop is just one cog in a mighty wheel
of programs used to create artwork, printed documents, and presentations.
The natural-media paint program Corel Painter emulates real-world tools such as
charcoal, chalk, felt-tip markers, calligraphic pen nibs, and camel-hair brushes as
deftly as a synthesizer mimics a thunderstorm. Three-dimensional drawing applications enable you to create hyper-realistic objects with depth, lighting, shadows, surface textures, reflections, refractions — you name it. These applications can import
images created in Photoshop as well as export images you can then enhance and
adjust with Photoshop.
Page-layout programs such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress let you integrate
images into newsletters, reports, books (such as this one), and just about any other
kind of document you can imagine. If you prefer to transfer your message to slides,
you can use Microsoft PowerPoint to add impact to your images through the use of
charts and diagrams. Or publish an electronic document to the Web using Adobe
Acrobat.
With Adobe Premiere and After Effects, you can merge images with video sequences
recorded in the QuickTime format. You even can edit individual frames in Premiere
movies with Photoshop. Macromedia’s Director Shockwave Studio makes it possible
to combine images with animation, QuickTime movies, and sound to create multimedia presentations you can show on screen or record on videotape.
Chapter 1 ✦ What’s Up with Photoshop 6?
Finally, you can publish your images over the World Wide Web. You can code HTML
and JavaScript in any word processor, or mock up pages in a page editor such as
Microsoft FrontPage or Macromedia Dreamweaver. You can even integrate images
into simple GIF animations using any number of shareware programs available over
the Internet. In fact, the Web is single-handedly breathing new life and respectability into low-resolution images, as I explore in Chapter 19.
Photoshop Scenarios
All the programs I mentioned previously are well-known industry standards. But
they also cost money — sometimes lots of money — and they take time to learn.
The number of programs you decide to purchase and how you use them is up to
you. The following list outlines a few specific ways to use Photoshop alone and in
tandem with other products:
✦ After scanning and adjusting an image inside Photoshop, use InDesign or
QuarkXPress to place the image into your monthly newsletter and then print
the document from the page-layout program.
✦ After putting the finishing touches on a lovely tropical vista inside Photoshop,
import the image for use as an eye-catching background inside PowerPoint.
Then save the document as a self-running screen presentation or print it to
overhead transparencies or slides from the presentation program.
✦ Capture an on-screen image by pressing the Print Screen key or using a screen
capture utility. Then create a new image in Photoshop and paste the screen
image from the Clipboard. That’s how the screens in this book were produced.
✦ If you want to annotate the image, import it into Illustrator or CorelDraw, add
arrows and labels as desired, and print it from the drawing program.
✦ Paint an original image inside Photoshop using a pressure-sensitive tablet.
Use the image as artwork in a document created in a page-layout program
or print it directly from Photoshop.
✦ Snap a photo with a digital photograph. As I write this, the best midrange
cameras come from Olympus, Nikon, and Kodak. Correct the focus and brightness in Photoshop (as explained in Chapters 10 and 17). Then add the photo
to your personal Web site or print it out from a color printer.
✦ Scan a surface texture such as wood or marble into Photoshop and edit it to
create a fluid repeating pattern (as explained in Chapter 7). Import the image
for use as a texture map in a three-dimensional drawing program. Render the
3D graphic to an image file, open the image inside Photoshop, and retouch as
needed.
✦ Create a repeating pattern, save it as a BMP file, and apply it to the Windows
desktop using the Display control panel.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
✦ Take a problematic drawing that keeps generating errors and save it as an
EPS file. Then open the file inside Photoshop to render it as a high-resolution
bitmap. Place the image in a document created in a page-layout program or
print it directly from Photoshop.
✦ Start an illustration in a drawing program and save it as an EPS file. Open the
file in Photoshop and use the program’s unique tools to add textures and
tones that are difficult or impossible to create in a vector-based drawing
program.
✦ Record a QuickTime movie in Premiere and export it to the FilmStrip format.
Open the file inside Photoshop and edit it one frame at a time by drawing on
the frame or applying filters. Finally, open the altered FilmStrip file in Premiere
and convert it back to the QuickTime format.
Obviously, few folks have the money to buy all these products and even fewer have
the energy or inclination to implement every one of these ideas. But quite honestly,
these are just a handful of projects I can list off the top of my head. There must be
hundreds of uses for Photoshop that involve no outside applications whatsoever. In
fact, so far as I’ve been able to figure, there’s no end to the number of design jobs
you can handle in whole or in part using Photoshop.
Photoshop is a versatile and essential product for any designer or artist who owns
a personal computer. Simply put, this is the software around which virtually every
other computer-graphics program revolves. I, for one, wouldn’t remove Photoshop
from my hard drive for a thousand bucks. (Of course, that’s not to say I’m not willing to consider higher offers. For $1,500, I’d gladly swap it to a Jaz cartridge.)
Photoshop
Fast Track to Version 6
6
If it seems like you’ve been using Photoshop for the better part of your professional
career and you’re itching to put a leash around the program’s neck and take it for a
walk, the following list explains all. Here I’ve compiled a few of the most prominent
features that are new to Photoshop 6, in rough order of importance. I also point you
to the chapter where you can sniff around for more information:
✦ Object-oriented type (Chapter 15): Every update to Photoshop features some
kind of improvement to type, but somehow it’s never quite perfect. Now it is.
In Photoshop 6, type is fully editable, it outputs at the full resolution of your
printer, and it wraps automatically from one line to the next. In other words,
type finally works the way you’d expect! You can even apply leading, tracking,
paragraph spacing, justification, and hyphenation, just as in QuarkXPress and
Illustrator. The only feature missing is support for tabs.
Chapter 1 ✦ What’s Up with Photoshop 6?
✦ High-resolution lines and shapes (Chapter 14): Can you name a graphics program that’s nearly 10 years old and can’t draw a rectangle? If you guessed Photoshop 5.5, stick a gold star on your forehead. But don’t guess Photoshop 6. It
can draw not only rectangles, but also ovals, polygons, and custom shapes. Like
text, Photoshop renders these vector shapes at the full resolution of the printer.
What’s more, you can fill them with gradients, patterns, and photographic
images.
✦ Revamped color management (Chapter 16): Photoshop 5 introduced profilebased color management; Photoshop 6 makes it better. For one thing, Adobe
has made a serious effort to standardize color management across both
Photoshop and Illustrator 9, so you can get the two programs to match more
easily. Second, you can work in multiple color environments at a time, so that
one RGB image is calibrated for the Web and another for your printer. CMS
remains highly complex, but its ability to deliver reliable color is downright
extraordinary.
✦ Layers sets (Chapter 12): This seemingly minor feature makes a big difference
in the way you work. Photoshop 6 lets you organize layers into folders called
sets, great for making sense of complex compositions. You can also assign colors to both layers and sets in the Layers palette, wonderful for identifying layers at a glance. Sets are also powerful grouping tools, permitting you to move,
transform, blend, and mask several layers at once.
✦ Custom layer styles (Chapter 14): Photoshop 6 has revamped layer effects
such as drop shadow, glow, and bevel; as well as added new ones such as satin
and stroke. As before, you can access all effects from a single dialog box, but
you can also hide, show, and edit individual effects from the Layers palette.
Best of all, you can save a combination of settings as a custom style available
from the Styles palette. From then on, it takes just one click to apply a bunch of
effects at once.
✦ Advanced blending (Chapter 13): Double-click a layer in the Layers palette to
bring up the revised and vastly more complicated Blend Options dialog box. In
addition to allowing you to blend and hide portions of a layer, you can blend a
layer’s pixels independently of drop shadows, glows, and other effects. You can
also hide the layer in one or more color channels and control how a layer interacts with one or several layers below.
✦ Preset manager (Chapter 5): Photoshop 6 introduces a whole new category of
preference settings called presets. These include predefined brushes, color
swatches, and gradients, all of which you could create in Photoshop 5.5 and
earlier. But they also include patterns (you used to be limited to one), layer
styles, and object-oriented shapes. While presets aren’t as easy to use as they
should be, they make it possible to organize a variety of image attributes at the
same time.
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✦ Options bar (Chapter 2): The old Options and Brushes palettes are gone,
replaced by the horizontal Options bar under the menu bar. The bar makes
many features more accessible than before, and even offers a few options that
were previously available only by choosing a command or pressing a key on
the keyboard. As you’d expect, the Options bar changes to accommodate the
active tool or operation.
✦ Liquify command (Chapter 11): Distortions have long been a weak spot in
Photoshop. You could tug an image by one of four corner points, but aside
from simple perspective effects, there was little you could do. Photoshop 6
adds the Liquify command, which permits you to paint and erase distortions
inside a separate window. While you can’t zoom or scroll the image — both
significant disadvantages — the command provides a wide variety of tools and
a lightning-fast preview.
✦ Text warping (Chapter 15): Artists have long requested that Photoshop add
text on a curve, a common function inside Illustrator and other object-oriented programs. Instead, we get something that is at once worse and better.
The Warp Text option lets you arc, wave, bulge, and twirl type, while keeping
it 100 percent editable. Unlike true text on a curve, you can’t draw custom
paths and position the type on the path. However, you can apply an array of
dazzling distortions that fall well outside the capabilities of Illustrator. My
biggest complaint: You can’t warp shapes or images. My one question: Why
the heck not?
✦ Image slicing (Chapter 19): Because Photoshop is a pixel-based program and
the World Wide Web is a pixel-based environment, most Web artists mock up
pages inside Photoshop. Before you can incorporate text, buttons, and other
links, you have to split up the page into lots of smaller images that you later
reassemble with HTML. Photoshop’s slicing tools automate this process, permitting you to break a composition into pieces and even generate the necessary HTML table automatically. You still have to adjust the code, but it’s a
heck of a time saver.
✦ Position printed images (Chapter 18): As I hasten to remind folks, I don’t work
for Adobe and I have nothing to do with the creation of Photoshop. In the interest of remaining a relatively unbiased outsider, I’m not even part of the Alpha
Team, a small cluster of five or six elite users who test each version of the program a year or more before it comes out. However, I do occasionally have a
direct impact on the program, and this, dear readers, is my big addition to
Photoshop 6. I remember the meeting like it was yesterday. I said something
like, “Gee, fellas, every time you print an image from Photoshop, it just gets
plopped onto the middle of the page.” One of the programmers asked, “Pardon
me, did you say something?” To which I rejoined, “Well, I’d like to have control
over positioning it. Like, maybe move it to the upper left corner or something.
You know, if it’s not, like, a big hassle or anything.” Then someone said, “Oh,
dry up, McClelland.” Someone else said, “I’ll have the salmon,” and everyone
ordered lunch. Now whenever you choose File ➪ Print Options, think of me and
that fateful day I breathed new life into a tired old program.
Chapter 1 ✦ What’s Up with Photoshop 6?
✦ Text and audio notations (Chapter 3): In the interest of facilitating communications between artists, art directors, bosses, and clients, Photoshop 6 lets
you add little sticky notes to your images. You can even record an audio annotation. Save the image as a PDF file, and you can open it in Adobe Acrobat or
the free Acrobat Reader.
✦ Save layers to TIFF and PDF formats (Chapter 3): Photoshop 6 supports more
than a dozen standardized file formats. However, prior to Version 6, the only
format that supported layers was the native Photoshop (PSD) format. Now you
can save layers with TIFF and PDF documents. As I write this, Photoshop is the
only program that can read layered TIFF and PDF files, but other programs will
likely follow suit in the years to come.
✦ Apply JPEG to layers (Chapter 3): When you save an image to the TIFF format, you can now have the option to apply three varieties of compression:
LZW, ZIP, or JPEG. This means, for the first time, you can apply JPEG compression to a layered file, resulting in smaller compositions than ever before.
✦ Improved Extract command (Chapter 9): The Extract command has been
improved since its introduction in Version 5.5. The Smart Highlighter check
box helps you trace around the exact outline of an image element. Two new
tools let you clean up the edges after Photoshop generates its automatic outline. Best of all, you can press Ctrl+Z to undo the last operation.
✦ Dockable palettes (Chapter 2): Photoshop 6 enables you to attach the top of
one palette to the bottom of another, an operation known as docking. You can
likewise drop palettes into a docking well at the far right side of the Options bar.
✦ Actions as droplets (Chapter B on the CD-ROM): ImageReady has long permitted you to save actions as independent files on disk called droplets. Now
Photoshop does too. If you drag an image file and drop it onto the droplet at
the desktop level, Photoshop automatically plays the saved action on the file.
Note that to save space — this book is getting too big! — actions are discussed
in Chapter B on the CD-ROM at the back of this book.
For those of you who hopped to the new version from Photoshop 5.0 or 5.0.2, you
also have all the new Internet and masking functions introduced in Version 5.5. You
can create better GIF images, preview the effects of JPEG compression, dial in hexadecimal color values, and optimize an image to a specific file size, all of which I
discuss in Chapter 19. The magic and background erasers make quick work of isolating a foreground element from an image (Chapter 7). Use the art history brush to
selectively revert an image and apply creative effects (Chapter 7). There are also
minor enhancements to the TIFF format (Chapter 3), color correction (Chapter 17),
and contact sheets (Chapter 18).
This is Photoshop’s second aggressive whole-number upgrade in a row, right on the
heels of the feature-rich Version 5. If you ask me, I’ll tell you Photoshop 5 was more
dramatic. After all, can you imagine working without multiple undos, layer effects,
editable text, and the revolutionary profile-based color management system that
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
made the entire industry sit up and take notice? Assuming your response is “No
way,” permit me to join in with a hardy “Me neither!” Still, Photoshop 6 is sufficiently impressive that I imagine some will argue that it’s the best upgrade of them
all. Of course, those people will be wrong — I mean, I just said Photoshop 5 was better — but their argument has some merit. Photoshop 6 is what we in the business
like to call Seriously Good Software.
A big upgrade means big work for me. Nevertheless, I’ve risen to the challenge,
making every effort to document the new features with clarity and in their proper
context. Just remember to keep an eye peeled for the Photoshop 6 icon and you’ll
be over the hump and back into the image-editing groove in no time.
✦
✦
✦
3
C H A P T E R
Image
Fundamentals
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
How Images Work
Think of a bitmapped image as a mosaic made from square
tiles of various colors. When you view the mosaic up close,
it looks like something you might use to decorate your bathroom. You see the individual tiles, not the image itself. But
if you back up a few feet, the tiles lose their definition and
merge to create a recognizable work of art, presumably
Medusa getting her head whacked off or some equally
appetizing thematic classic.
The colored pixels that make up an image work much like
the tiles in a mosaic. If you enlarge the pixels, they look like
an unrelated collection of colored squares. Reduce the size
of the pixels, and they blend together to form an image that
looks to all the world like a standard photograph. Photoshop
deceives the eye by borrowing from an artistic technique
older than Mycenae or Pompeii.
Of course, there are differences between pixels and ancient
mosaic tiles. Pixels come in 16 million distinct colors. Mosaic
tiles of antiquity came in your basic granite and sandstone
varieties, with an occasional chunk of lapis lazuli thrown in
for good measure. Also, you can resample, color separate,
and crop electronic images. We know from the timeworn
scribblings of Dionysius of Halicarnassus that these processes were beyond the means of classical artisans.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I won’t be discussing resampling, cropping, or Halicarnassus for several pages. First I
address the inverse relationship between image size and
resolution.
Scaling an image for
the printer and for the
screen
Opening and saving
images in Version 6
Exploring JPEG, GIF,
PDF, and dozens of
other file formats
Rendering objectoriented EPS images
Saving TIFF files with
layers and image
pyramids
Annotating images
with text and audio
comments
Changing the number
of pixels in an image
Using the updated
crop tool and Crop
command
✦
✦
✦
✦
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Size versus resolution
If you haven’t already guessed, the term image size describes the physical
dimensions of an image. Resolution is the number of pixels per linear inch in the
final printed image. I say linear because you measure pixels in a straight line. If
the resolution of an image is 72 ppi — that is, pixels per inch — you get 5,184
pixels per square inch (72 pixels wide × 72 pixels tall = 5,184).
Assuming the number of pixels in an image is fixed, increasing the size of an image
decreases its resolution and vice versa. An image that looks good when printed on
a postage stamp, therefore, probably looks jagged when printed as an 11 × 17-inch
poster.
Figure 3-1 shows a single image printed at three different sizes and resolutions.
The smallest image is printed at twice the resolution of the medium-sized image;
the medium-sized image is printed at twice the resolution of the largest image.
Figure 3-1: These three images contain the same number of pixels,
but are printed at different resolutions. Doubling the resolution of an
image reduces it to 25 percent of its original size.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
One inch in the smallest image includes twice as many pixels vertically and twice
as many pixels horizontally as an inch in the medium-sized image, for a total of
four times as many pixels per square inch. Therefore, the smallest image covers
one-fourth the area of the medium-sized image.
The same relationships exist between the medium-sized image and the largest
image. An inch in the medium-sized image comprises four times as many pixels
as an inch in the largest image. Consequently, the medium-sized image consumes
one-fourth the area of the largest image.
Changing the printing resolution
When printing an image, a higher resolution translates to a sharper image with
greater clarity. Photoshop lets you change the resolution of a printed image in
one of two ways:
✦ Choose Image ➪ Image Size to access the controls that enable you to change
the pixel dimensions and resolution of an image. Then enter a value into the
Resolution option box, either in pixels per inch or pixels per centimeter.
Photoshop
Caution
6
A good idea (although not essential) is to turn off the Resample Image check
box, as demonstrated in Figure 3-2. If you leave it on, Photoshop may add or
subtract pixels, as discussed in the “Resampling and Cropping” section later
in this chapter. By turning it off, you instruct Photoshop to leave the pixels
intact but merely change how many of them print per inch.
✦ Alternatively, you can ask Photoshop to scale an image during the print cycle.
In Version 6, you hand down this edict in the new Print Options dialog box.
Choose File ➪ Print Options or press Ctrl+Alt+P to open the dialog box. You
can enter specific Width and Height values or enter a percentage value into
the Scale option box. Lower values reduce the size of the printed image and
thereby increase the resolution; higher values lower the resolution. (Chapter
18 contains more information about scaling images as well as the other settings in the Print Options dialog box.)
Photoshop saves the Resolution setting with the image; the scale settings in the
Print Options box affect the current print job only. Together, the two determine the
printed resolution. Photoshop divides the Resolution value in the Image Size dialog
box by the Scale percentage from the Page Options dialog box. For example, if the
image resolution is set to 72 ppi and you reduce the image to 48 percent, the final
printed image has a resolution of 150 ppi (72 divided by 0.48).
Note
At the risk of boring some of you, I briefly remind the math haters in the audience
that whenever you use a percentage in an equation, you first convert it to a decimal.
For example, 100 percent is 1.0, 64 percent is 0.64, and 5 percent is 0.05.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Turn off
Figure 3-2: Turn off the Resample Image check box to
maintain a constant number of pixels in an image and to
change only the printed resolution.
Tip
To avoid confusion, most folks rely exclusively on the Resolution value and leave
the Page Options dialog box Scale value set to 100 percent. The only exception is
when printing tests and proofs. Because ink-jet and other consumer printers offer
lower-resolution output than high-end commercial devices, you may find it helpful
to proof images larger so you can see more pixels. Raising the Scale value lets you
accomplish this without upsetting the Resolution value. Just be sure to restore the
value to 100 percent after you make your test print.
Changing the page-layout resolution
The Scale value in the Print Options dialog box value has no effect on the size
and resolution of an image imported into an object-oriented application, such as
QuarkXPress or Illustrator. But these same applications do observe the Resolution
setting from the Image Size dialog box.
Specifying the resolution in Photoshop is a handy way to avoid resizing operations
and printing complications in your page-layout program. For example, I preset the
resolution of all the images in this book so the production team had only to import
the images and print away.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Tip
Always remember: Photoshop is as good or better at adjusting pixels than any
other program with which you work. So prepare an image as completely as possible
in Photoshop before importing the image into another program. Ideally, you should
never have to resize, rotate, or crop an image in any other program.
That tip is so important I’m going to repeat it: Never resize, rotate, or crop an image
in Illustrator, FreeHand, CorelDraw, PageMaker, InDesign, or QuarkXPress. Get your
image fully ready to go in Photoshop and then place it in the drawing or page-layout
program, position it on the page, and leave it alone.
So what’s the perfect resolution?
After all this explanation of pixels and resolution, you might be thinking, “Okay, this
is all very interesting, but what’s my bottom line? What Resolution value should I
use?” The answer is frustrating to some and freeing to others: Any darn resolution
you like. It’s true — there is no right answer, there is no wrong answer. The images
in this book vary from 100 ppi for screen shots to 300 ppi for color plates. I’ve seen
low-resolution art that looks great and high-resolution art that looks horrible. As
with all things, quality counts for more than quantity. You take the pixels you’re
dealt and make the best of them.
That said, I’ll share a few guidelines, but only if you promise to take them with a
grain of salt:
✦ Most experts recommend that you set the Resolution value to somewhere
between 150 percent and 200 percent of the screen frequency of the final
output device. The screen frequency is the number of halftone dots per linear
inch, measured in lpi (short for lines per inch). So ask your commercial printer
what screen frequency he uses — generally 120 lpi to 150 lpi — and multiply
that times 1.5 or 2.
✦ Want to be more specific? For high-end photographic print work, it’s hard
to go wrong with a Resolution value of 267 ppi. That’s 200 percent of 133 lpi,
arguably the most popular screen frequency. When in doubt, most professionals aim for 267 ppi.
✦ If you’re printing on a home or small-office printer, the rules change slightly.
Different manufacturers recommend different optimum resolutions for their
various models, but the average is 250 to 300 ppi. Experiment to see how low
you can go, though — sometimes you can get by with fewer pixels than the
manufacturer suggests. And don’t forget that the quality of the paper you
use may be more to blame than a lack of pixels for a lousy print.
✦ What if you don’t have enough pixels for 267 ppi? Say that you shoot a digital
snapshot that measures 768 × 1024 pixels and you want to print it at 6 × 8
inches. That works out to a relatively scant 128 ppi. Won’t that look grainy?
Probably. Should you add pixels with Image Size or some other command?
No, that typically won’t help. You have a finite number of pixels to work with,
so you can print the image large and a little grainy, or sharp and small. The
choice is yours.
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✦ What if you have a photograph or slide and you can scan it at any resolution
you want? Flat-bed scanners typically offer two maximum resolutions, a true
optical maximum and an interpolated digital enhancement. The lower of the
two values is invariably the true optical resolution. Scan at this lower maximum setting. Then use Image ➪ Image Size to resample the image down to the
desired size and resolution, as explained in the “Resampling and Cropping”
section near the end of this chapter.
Orson Welles claimed that he relied on his inexperience when creating Citizen
Kane. He didn’t know the rules of filmmaking, so they couldn’t hamper him.
When his assistants and technicians told him, “You can’t do that,” he ignored
them because he didn’t know any better.
I feel the same about resolution. Take the pixels you have and try to make them
look the best you can. Then print the image at the size you want it to appear. If
you focus on the function of your image first and fret about resolution and other
technical issues second, you’ll produce better art.
The Resolution of Screen Images
Regardless of the Resolution and Scale values, Photoshop displays each pixel on
screen according to the zoom ratio (covered in Chapter 2). If the zoom ratio is
100 percent, for example, each image pixel takes up a single screen pixel. Zoom
ratio and printer output are unrelated.
This same rule applies outside Photoshop as well. Other programs that display
screen images — including multimedia development applications, presentation
programs, and Web browsers — default to showing one image pixel for every screen
pixel. This means that when you’re creating an image for the screen, the Resolution
value has no effect whatsoever. I’ve seen some very bright people recommend that
screen images should be set to 72 ppi on the Mac or 96 ppi for Windows, and while
there’s nothing wrong with doing this, there’s no benefit either. When publishing
for the screen, the Resolution value is ignored.
So all that counts is the 100-percent view. That means you want the image to fit inside
the prospective monitor when you choose View ➪ Actual Pixels (Ctrl+Alt+zero) inside
Photoshop. I say prospective monitor because although you may use a 17-inch monitor when you create the image, you most likely need the final image to fit on a 13-inch
display. So even though your monitor probably displays as many as 1,024 × 768 pixels,
most Web and screen artists prepare for the worst-case scenario, 640 × 480 pixels.
This is the 13-inch VGA standard, shared by some of the first color Macs and PCs,
most laptops, an endless array of defunct computers, and even televisions.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Caution
Of course, a 640 × 480-pixel image would consume an entire 13-inch screen. If you
want the image to share the page with text and other elements, the image needs
to be smaller than that. A typical screen image varies from as small as 16 × 16 pixels
for icons and buttons to 320 × 240 pixels for a stand-alone photograph. Naturally,
these are merely guidelines. You can create images at any size you like.
For more information on creating images specifically for the World Wide Web,
read Chapter 19.
How to Open, Duplicate, and Save Images
Before you can work on an image in Photoshop — whether you’re creating a brandnew document or opening an image from disk — you must first load the image into
an image window. Here are the four basic ways to create an image window:
✦ File ➪ New: Create a new window by choosing File ➪ New (Ctrl+N). After you
fill out the desired size and resolution specifications in the New dialog box,
Photoshop confronts you with a stark, white, empty canvas. You then face
the ultimate test of your artistic abilities — painting from scratch. Feel free
to go nuts and cut off your ear.
Photoshop
✦ File ➪ Open: Choose File ➪ Open (Ctrl+O) to open images scanned in other
applications, images purchased from stock photo agencies, slides and transparencies digitized to a Kodak Photo CD, or an image you previously edited
in Photoshop.
6
A variation on the Open command, Open Recent, displays a list of the images
that you recently opened. Click an image name to crack open the image file
without taking that tedious trip to the Open dialog box.
✦ Edit ➪ Paste: Photoshop automatically adapts a new image window to the
contents of the Clipboard (provided those contents are bitmapped). So if you
copy an image inside a different application or in Photoshop and then choose
File ➪ New, Photoshop enters the dimensions and resolution of the image into
the New dialog box. You can just accept the settings and choose Edit ➪ Paste
(Ctrl+V) to introduce the image into a new window. Photoshop pastes the
Clipboard contents as a new layer. This technique is useful for editing screen
shots captured to the Clipboard or for testing effects on a sample of an image
without harming the original.
✦ File ➪ Import: If you own a scanner or a digital camera, it may include a
plug-in module that lets you transfer an image directly into Photoshop.
Just copy the module into Photoshop’s Plug-Ins folder and then run or
relaunch the Photoshop application. To initiate a scan or to load an image
into Photoshop, choose the plug-in module from the File ➪ Import submenu.
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After you choose the command, Photoshop launches the device’s download
software. If you’re scanning, select the scanner settings and initiate the
scan as usual; the scanned picture appears in a new image window inside
Photoshop. If you’re transferring images from a digital camera, the camera
software typically creates thumbnail previews of images in the camera’s
memory so that you can select the ones you want to transfer to Photoshop,
as I’m doing in Figure 3-3.
Figure 3-3: Most digital cameras ship with TWAIN plug-ins that enable
you to view images stored in the camera’s memory and open them up
directly inside Photoshop.
Tip
Save your images to disk immediately after you scan or download them; unlike
some other programs, Photoshop doesn’t automatically take this step for you.
Also, if your digital camera stores images on removable memory cards (Compact
Flash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, and the like), do yourself a favor and invest in a
card reader or adapter that enables your computer to see the memory card as just
another hard drive. Then you can just drag and drop images from the memory card
to your computer’s hard drive — a much faster and more convenient option than
transferring images via a cable connection. You’ll spend between $10 and $75,
depending on what type of reader or adapter you buy, but trust me, even if you
wind up at the high end of that price range, you’ll never regret the purchase.
Creating a new image
Whether you’re creating an image from scratch or transferring the contents of the
Clipboard to a new image window, choose File ➪ New or press Ctrl+N to bring up
the New dialog box shown in Figure 3-4. If the Clipboard contains an image, the
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Width, Height, and Resolution option boxes show the size and resolution of this
image. Otherwise, you can enter your own values in one of five units of measurement: pixels, inches, centimeters, picas, or points. If you’re uncertain exactly what
size image you want to create, enter a rough approximation. You can always change
your settings later.
Figure 3-4: Use the New dialog box to specify the size,
resolution, and color mode of your new image.
Tip
Although Photoshop matches the contents of the Clipboard by default, you can
also match the size and resolution of other images:
✦ Press Alt when choosing File ➪ New, or press Ctrl+Alt+N to override the
contents of the Clipboard. Photoshop displays the size and resolution of the
last image you created, whether or not it came from the Clipboard. Use this
technique when creating many same-sized images in a row.
✦ You can also match the size and resolution of the new image to any other
open image. While the New dialog box is open, choose the name of the
image you want to match from the Window menu. It’s that simple.
Units of measure
The Width and Height pop-up menus contain the five common units of measure
mentioned earlier: pixels, inches, centimeters, points, and picas. But the Width
pop-up menu offers one more, called Columns. If you want to create an image that
fits exactly within a certain number of columns when it’s imported into a desktop
publishing program, select this option. You can specify the width of a column and
the gutter between columns by pressing Ctrl+K and Ctrl+5 to display the Units &
Rulers preferences. Then enter values into the Column Size option boxes.
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The Gutter value affects multiple-column images. Suppose you accept the default
setting of a 15-pica column width and a 1-pica gutter. If you specify a one-column
image in the New dialog box, Photoshop makes it 15 picas wide. If you ask for
a two-column image, Photoshop adds the width of the gutter to the width of the
two columns and creates an image 31 picas wide.
The Height pop-up menu in the New dialog box lacks a Column option because
vertical columns have nothing to do with an image’s height.
Photoshop
Tip
6
You can set the default unit of measurement for the Width and Height pop-up menus
in the Units & Rulers panel of the Preferences dialog box. (Select the value from the
Rulers pop-up menu; the Type menu sets the measurement unit for text-related
controls.) But if the dialog box isn’t already open, here are two quicker options:
✦ Press Ctrl+R to display the rulers and then right-click anywhere in the rulers
to display a pop-up menu of units. Click the unit you want to use.
✦ Display the same pop-up menu by pressing F8 to display the Info palette and
then clicking or dragging on the cross icon (next to the X and Y coordinate
values) in the palette’s lower-left corner. Again, just click the unit you prefer.
New image size
In most cases, the on-screen dimensions of an image depend on your entries in the
Width, Height, and Resolution option boxes. If you set both the Width and Height
values to 10 inches and the Resolution to 72 ppi, the new image will measure 720 × 720
pixels. The exception occurs if you choose pixels as your unit of measurement. In this
case, the on-screen dimensions depend solely on the Width and Height options, and
the Resolution value determines the size at which the image prints.
Color mode
Use the Mode pop-up menu to specify the number of colors that can appear in your
image. Choose Bitmap to create a black-and-white image and choose Grayscale to
access only gray values. RGB Color, CMYK Color, and Lab Color all provide access
to the full range of 16 million colors, although their methods of doing so differ.
CrossReference
RGB stands for red-green-blue, CMYK for cyan-magenta-yellow-black, and Lab for
luminosity and two abstract color variables: a and b. To learn how each of these
color modes works, read the “Working in Different Color Modes” section of Chapter 4.
Background color
The New dialog box also provides three Contents radio buttons that enable you to
change the color of the background for the new image. You can fill the new image
with white, with the current background color (assuming, of course, that the background color is something other than white), or with no color at all. This last setting,
Transparent, results in a floating layer with no background image whatsoever, which
can be useful when editing one layer independently of the rest of an image or when
preparing a layer to be composited with an image. (For an in-depth examination of
the more nitty-gritty aspects of layering, see Chapter 12.)
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
If you do select a transparent background, you must later flatten the layer by
choosing Layer ➪ Flatten Image if you want to save the image to a format that
doesn’t support layers (see the upcoming discussion “Saving an image to disk”
for information about new options for retaining layers when saving). The advantage
of the Transparent setting, however, is that Photoshop doesn’t create a new layer
when you press Ctrl+V to paste the contents of the Clipboard. In the long run,
you don’t gain much — you still must flatten the image before you save it to
some formats — but at least you needn’t fuss with two layers, one of which
is completely empty.
CrossReference
Incidentally, just because you create an image with a transparent background doesn’t
mean that you can automatically import a free-form image with transparency intact
into an object-oriented program such as Illustrator or QuarkXPress. To carve a transparent area out of the naturally rectangular boundaries of an image, you have to use
the pen tool to create a clipping path. I explain how in the “Retaining transparent
areas in an image” section of Chapter 8.
Naming the new image
The New dialog box provides a Name option. If you know what you want to call
your new image, enter the name now. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Either way, when
you choose File ➪ Save, Photoshop asks you to specify the location of the file and
confirm the file’s name. So don’t feel compelled to name your image anything. The
only reason for this option is to help you keep your images organized on screen.
Lots of folks create temporary images they never save; Photoshop offers a way
to assign temporary images more meaningful names than Untitled-4, Untitled-5,
Untitled-6, and so on.
Photoshop
Caution
Unlike some traditionalists, I whole-heartedly endorse using long files names
under Windows 95, NT 4, and later. But naturally you should be aware of the
implications. If you send a file to someone using Windows 3.1, DOS, or some other
ancient operating system, the long file name gets truncated to eight characters with
a tilde symbol (~) and number. (You can view the truncated DOS-style name at the
desktop by right-clicking on the file and choosing Properties.) This can also happen
when exchanging files with Macintosh users, depending on how you do it. If you
give a Mac artist a PC-formatted floppy disk, Zip disk, or the like, the file names get
the ax when the disk is popped into the Mac. But if you network your PC to a Mac
using Miramar Systems’ (www.miramarsys.com) PC MACLAN or the like, the long file
names come through swimmingly. In fact, this is precisely how I exchange files over
my own cross-platform Ethernet LAN.
Opening an existing image
6
Photoshop 6 provides a new File menu command, Open Recent, which displays a
list of the images you worked on in recent Photoshop sessions. Click the name of
the image you want to open. You set the number of files that appear on the list by
entering a value in the Recent File List Contains option box, found on the Saving
Files panel of the Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K and then Ctrl+2). The maximum
value is 30.
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Of course, you can always open images the old-fashioned way, by choosing File ➪
Open or pressing its keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+O, to display the Open dialog box. You
also can double-click an empty spot in the Photoshop program window to open the
dialog box.
Photoshop
The Open dialog box behaves just like the ones in other Windows applications,
with a folder bar at top, a scrolling list of files, and the usual file management and
navigation options. You can also open multiple files at one time. To select a range
of files, click the first file name and Shift-click the last file in the range. Ctrl-click to
add a single file to the group you want to open. Ctrl-click again to deselect a file
from the group.
6
The Photoshop Open dialog box also includes a few controls that most other
programs lack. You can read about these options in the next sections. But first,
two other brief notes about opening files in Version 6:
✦ When you choose File ➪ Open, Photoshop displays the folder that contained
the last file you opened. Similarly, when you save a file, the folder to which
you saved last is selected automatically.
Photoshop
✦ When you open an image, Photoshop may display a dialog box telling you
that the color profile of the image doesn’t match the default color profile
you’ve established. You have the option of converting the image to the default
profile or leaving well enough alone. See Chapter 16 for help with this issue.
Viewing the thumbnail
6
To help you assess an image before you open it, Photoshop displays a thumbnail
preview of the selected file at the bottom of the Open dialog box, as shown in
Figure 3-5. In Version 6, Photoshop displays thumbnails for any files saved in the
native format (PSD). If you’re running Windows 98 or Windows 2000, the operating
system may generate thumbnails for files saved in other formats.
To generate thumbnails when saving images in Photoshop, press Ctrl+K, Ctrl+2
to display the Saving Files panel of the Preferences dialog box. Then set the Image
Previews pop-up menu to Always Save or Ask When Saving, as discussed in Chapter
2. If you select Ask When Saving, Photoshop gives you the option of adding a
thumbnail to the image inside the Save dialog box.
Note
If you’ve received images from Macintosh users in the past, you’ve probably
wondered why the heck they saved their files without previews. The truth is,
they couldn’t. See, Photoshop for the Mac saves thumbnails in the so-called
resource fork of the file, but Windows programs can’t even see the resource fork,
much less translate it. Fortunately for all, both versions of Photoshop can save
Windows thumbnails. On the Mac, the Saving Files panel of the Preferences dialog
box contains a check box called Windows Thumbnail. When turned on, a thumbnail
is added to the data fork of the file, which translates to Windows fully intact.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-5: You can see a preview of an image if you
previously saved it in Photoshop with the thumbnails
option enabled.
Sadly, thumbnails don’t work in the other direction. Because Windows doesn’t
recognize the resource fork, Photoshop for Windows can’t save a Macintosh-style
thumbnail. And because Photoshop on the Mac relies on Apple’s QuickTime to
interpret thumbnails, it can’t see data-fork thumbnails. Dang.
Previewing outside Photoshop
Tip
Under Windows 95 and later, the Open dialog box isn’t the only place you can
preview an image before you open it. In fact, provided you save the image in the
native Photoshop (.psd) format, you can peek at an image without even opening
the program.
Right-click a file with a .psd extension — either at the desktop, in a folder window,
or in Windows Explorer — and choose Properties from the pop-up menu. When the
Properties dialog box opens, click the Photoshop Image tab to look at your image,
as shown in Figure 3-6. Again, you must have saved a thumbnail preview along with
the image for this feature to work.
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Figure 3-6: Under Windows 95 and later, you can preview files
saved in the native .psd format from the Properties dialog box.
You can also see a tiny thumbnail in the General panel of the Properties dialog box.
This same thumbnail appears at the desktop level, assuming that the folder is set to
View ➪ Large Icons. Using the other tabs in the Properties dialog box, you can view
the caption, keywords, credits, and other information created using Photoshop’s
File ➪ File Info command (covered at the end of Chapter 2).
Unfortunately, this trick works only for images saved in the native Photoshop format.
TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and other images can be previewed only from inside Photoshop’s
Open dialog box. Even so, it’s a heck of a trick and — if you need some ammunition —
it’s something your friends on the Mac can’t do.
Opening elusive files
The scrolling list in the Open dialog box contains the names of just those documents
that Photoshop recognizes it can open. If you can’t find a desired document, it may
be because the Files of Type pop-up menu is set to the wrong file format. To view all
supported formats, either select All Formats from the Files of Type pop-up or enter
*.* into the File Name option box and press Enter.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
If a file lacks any form of extension whatsoever, the Open dialog box won’t be
able to identify it. This unusual situation may arise in one of two ways. On rare
occasions, a file transmitted electronically (via the Internet, for example) loses
its extension en route. But more likely, the file comes from a Macintosh computer.
The Mac doesn’t need file extensions — the file type identification resides in that
resource fork I was telling you about — therefore, many Mac users never give a
thought to three-character extensions.
You can solve this problem either by renaming the file and adding the proper extension, or by choosing File ➪ Open As (Ctrl+Alt+O). If you choose Open As, Photoshop
shows you all documents in a directory, whether it supports them or not. Just click
the extension-less file and select the correct file format from the Open As pop-up
menu. Provided that the image conforms to the selected format option, Photoshop
opens the image when you press Enter. If Photoshop gives you an error message
instead, you need to either select a different format or try to open the document
in a different application.
Duplicating an image
Have you ever wanted to try an effect without permanently damaging an image?
Photoshop offers multiple undos, and you’ll get a kick out of using the History
palette to see before and after views of your image (as I explain in Chapter 7).
But what if you want to apply a series of effects to an image independently and
compare them side by side? And save the variations as separate files? Or perhaps
even merge them? This is a job for image duplication.
To create a new window with an independent version of the foreground image,
choose Image ➪ Duplicate. A dialog box appears, requesting a name for the new
image. Just like the Name option in the New dialog box, the option is purely an
organizational tool you can use or ignore. If your image contains multiple layers,
Photoshop will, by default, retain all layers in the duplicate document. Or you can
merge all visible layers into a single layer by selecting the Merged Layers Only
check box. (Hidden layers remain independent.) Press Enter to create your new,
independent image. Bear in mind that this image is unsaved; you need to choose
File ➪ Save to save any changes to disk.
Tip
If you’re happy to let Photoshop automatically name your image and you don’t
care what it does with the layers, press and hold the Alt key and choose Image ➪
Duplicate. This bypasses the Duplicate Image dialog box and immediately creates
a new window.
Saving an image to disk
The first rule of image editing is to save the file to disk frequently. If your computer
or Photoshop crashes while you’re working on an image, all edits made during the
current editing session are lost.
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To save an image for the first time, choose File ➪ Save (Ctrl+S) to display the Save
dialog box. Name the image, select the drive and folder where you want to store the
image file, select a file format, and press Enter.
Photoshop
After you save the image once, choosing the Save command updates the file on disk
without bringing up the Save dialog box. To save the image with a different name,
location, or format, choose File ➪ Save As.
6
Photoshop
To speed the save process, I usually save an image in Photoshop’s native format
until I’ve finished working on it. Then, when the file is all ready to go, I choose
File ➪ Save As and save the image in the compressed TIFF or JPEG format. This
way, I compress each image only once during the time I work on it.
6
When you close an image after saving it, you may be startled by the appearance
of a dialog box asking whether you want to save the image again. Assuming that
you haven’t made any changes to your image since the last save, the dialog box
indicates that the image incorporates features that the format you saved in doesn’t
support — layers, alpha channels, and so forth. If you want to save a copy of the
image that retains all those features, click Yes. Photoshop displays a modified
version of the Save dialog box and selects the Photoshop native format for you.
Give your image a name and proceed as usual.
Photoshop
Tip
You also can issue the Save As command by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S. As for the
Save a Copy command found in earlier versions of Photoshop, that function is now
provided through the As a Copy check box in the Save As dialog box. By the way, if
your only reason for using Save As is to change the file format, it’s perfectly acceptable to overwrite (save over) the original document, assuming you no longer need
the previous copy of the image. Granted, your computer could crash during the
Save As operation, but because Photoshop actually creates a new file during any
save operation, your original document should survive the accident. Besides, the
chance of crashing during a Save As is extremely remote — no more likely than
crashing during any other save operation.
6
If you have multiple files open, you can close them in one step by choosing
Window ➪ Close All or pressing Ctrl+Shift+W. Photoshop prompts you to save
any images that haven’t yet been saved and closes the others automatically.
Saving previews
In Chapter 2, I recommended that you set the Image Previews option in the Saving
Files preferences panel (Ctrl+K, Ctrl+2) to Ask When Saving. If you followed this
sage advice, the Save dialog box offers a Thumbnail check box. For print work, I
generally select this option. The preview consumes extra disk space, but it’s well
worth it in exchange for being able to see the file before opening it.
The only reason not to save a thumbnail with an image is if you plan to post the
picture on the Web. In that case, the file has to be as streamlined as possible, and
that means shaving away the preview.
Photoshop
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Choosing other save options
6
Certain save options that once were available only via the Save a Copy command
now appear in the Save dialog box all the time. You also get access to these options
when you choose Save As or press its keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+S. Figure 3-7
shows the dialog box.
Figure 3-7: A look at the Version 6 Save dialog box,
which incorporates the former Save a Copy command
as a save option.
Some of these options, outlined in the upcoming list, are old friends with new
names. But a few controls make their first appearance in Version 6. Note that the
options you can select vary depending on the image file and the selected file format.
If an option is grayed out, it either doesn’t apply to your image or isn’t supported by
the file format you chose. And if your image includes features that won’t be saved if
you go forward with the current dialog box settings, Photoshop gives you the heads
up by displaying a warning message at the bottom of the dialog box, as shown in
Figure 3-7.
✦ As a Copy: Select this check box to save a copy of the image while leaving the
original open and unchanged — in other words, to do what the Save a Copy
command did in earlier versions of Photoshop. The result is the same as
duplicating an image, saving it, and closing the duplicate all in one step.
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The whole point of this option is to enable you to save a flattened version of
a layered image or to dump other extraneous data, such as masks. Just select
the file format you want to use and let Photoshop do the rest for you.
✦ Annotations: Select this check box to include any annotations that you
created using the Version 6 notes and audio annotation tools. You can find
out how to annotate your images in the section “Adding file information and
annotations,” later in this chapter.
✦ Alpha Channels: If your image contains an alpha channel — Photoshop’s
techy name for an extra channel, such as a mask (discussed in Chapter 9) —
select the Alpha check box to retain the channel. Only a few formats —
notably Photoshop, PDF, PICT, PICT Resource, TIFF, and DCS 2.0 — support
extra channels.
✦ Spot Colors: Did you create an image that incorporates spot colors? If so,
select this option to retain the spot color channels in the saved image file.
You must save the file in the native Photoshop, PDF, TIFF, or DCS 2.0 format
to use this option.
✦ Layers: In Version 6, TIFF and PDF can retain independent image layers, as can
the native Photoshop format. Select the check box to retain layers; deselect it
to flatten the image.
Caution
If you’re working with a layered image and select a file format that doesn’t
support layers, a cautionary message appears at the bottom of the dialog box.
However, Photoshop doesn’t prevent you from going through with the save
as in past editions of the program, so be careful. All layers are automatically
merged together when you save the file in a non-layer format. However, when
you close the file, Photoshop reminds you that you haven’t saved a version of
the image that retains all data and gives you the opportunity to do so.
✦ Use Proof Setup: This option relates to Photoshop’s color profile options.
If the current view’s proof setup is a “convert to” proof, Photoshop converts
the image to the selected proofing space when saving.
✦ ICC Profile: If you’re saving your image in a file format that supports embedded ICC profiles, selecting this option embeds the profile. The current profile
appears next to the option name. See Chapter 16 for advice about working
with color profiles.
File Format Roundup
Photoshop 6 supports more than 20 file formats from inside its Open and Save dialog boxes. It can support even more through the addition of plug-in modules, which
attach commands to the File ➪ Save As, File ➪ Import, and File ➪ Export submenus.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
File formats represent different ways to save a file to disk. Some formats provide
unique image-compression schemes, which save an image in a manner that consumes
less space on disk. Other formats enable Photoshop to trade images with different
applications running under Windows or some other platform.
The native format
Like most programs, Photoshop offers its own native format — that is, a format
optimized for Photoshop’s particular capabilities and functions. This .psd format
saves every attribute that you can apply in Photoshop — including layers, extra
channels, file info, and so on — and is compatible with Versions 3 and later of the
program. Of course, when you open files in earlier versions of Photoshop, you
lose file attributes related to Version 6 features, such as annotations, color proof
options, and so on.
Tip
Perhaps not surprisingly, Photoshop can open and save more quickly in its native
format than in any other format. The native format also offers image compression.
Like TIFF’s compression, the Photoshop compression scheme does not result in any
loss of data. But Photoshop can compress and decompress its native format much
more quickly than TIFF, and the compression scheme is better able to minimize the
size of mask channels (as explained in Chapter 9).
The downside of the Photoshop format is that relatively few applications other
than Photoshop support it, and those that do don’t always do a great job. Some
applications such as CorelPhoto-Paint and Adobe After Effects can open a layered
Photoshop image and interpret each layer independently. But most of the others
limit their support to flat Photoshop files. To accommodate these programs, you
can either (1) deselect the Layers check box in the Save dialog box to save a flattened version of the image or (2) activate the Maximize Backward Compatibility
check box in the Preferences dialog box.
However, I intensely dislike both of these options. (In fact, you should be sure
to turn off File Compatibility, for reasons explained in Chapter 2.) The native .psd
format was never intended to function as an interapplication standard; it was meant
for Photoshop alone. So use it that way. If you want to trade a flattened image with
some other program, use TIFF, JPEG, or one of the other universal formats
explained over the course of this chapter.
CrossReference
One exception: If you’re creating a grayscale image for use with Filter ➪ Distort ➪
Displace, you have to create a Photoshop 2.0–compatible file. The best bet is to
save the image in the Photoshop 2.0 format. Otherwise the Displace filter won’t
see the grayscale image. I tell you more about this filter in Chapter A on the
CD-ROM that accompanies this book.
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Special-purpose formats
With 20 file formats to choose from, you can imagine that most are not the kinds
you’ll be using on a regular basis. In fact, apart from the native Photoshop format,
you’ll probably want to stick with TIFF, JPEG, and GIF for Web images and EPS when
preparing images for placement into QuarkXPress, PageMaker, and others.
Many of the other formats are provided simply so you can open an image created
on another platform, saved from some antiquated paint program, or downloaded
from the Web. In the spirit of sweeping away the chaff so we can move on to the
good stuff, I cover these special-purpose formats first.
CrossReference
Notice that I lump Web standards GIF and PNG in with the special-purpose formats.
The reason is simple — if you don’t design for the Web, you rarely need them. On the
other hand, if you do design for the Web, the formats take on special significance,
which is why I cover them in depth in Chapter 19.
Microsoft Paint’s BMP
BMP (Windows Bitmap) is the native format for Microsoft Paint (included with
Windows) and is supported by a variety of Windows and DOS applications.
Photoshop supports BMP images with up to 16 million colors. You also can
use RLE (Run-Length Encoding), a lossless compression scheme specifically
applicable to the BMP format.
Note
The term lossless refers to compression schemes that conserve space on disk
without sacrificing any data in the image, such as BMP’s RLE and TIFF’s LZW
(Lempel-Ziv-Welch). The only reasons not to use lossless compression are that it
slows down the open and save operations and it may prevent less-sophisticated
applications from opening an image. (Lossy compression routines, such as JPEG,
sacrifice a user-defined amount of data to conserve even more disk space, as I
explain later.)
The most common use for BMP is to create images for use in help files and
Windows wallpaper. In fact, rolling your own wallpaper is a fun way to show off
your Photoshop skills, which is exactly what I did in Color Plate 3-1. For the best
results, make sure you set your image to exactly the same pixel dimensions as your
screen (which you can check from the Settings panel in the Display control panel).
To conserve memory, you may want to reduce the number of colors in your wallpaper image to 256 using Image ➪ Mode ➪ Indexed Color. Although Color Plate 3-1 may
look quite colorful, I did in fact reduce the palette to a bare-bones 256 colors. See
Chapter 19 for the complete lowdown on indexed color.
When you save the wallpaper image, Photoshop displays the options shown
in Figure 3-8. Generally, you’ll want to select the Windows and Compress (RLE)
options, but it really doesn’t matter when creating wallpaper. Don’t mess with the
Depth options. Either you reduced the bit depth using the Indexed Color command
as I directed previously or you didn’t. There’s no sense in changing the colors
during the save process.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-8: Select the options shown here when saving a BMP image for use
as a desktop background. Leave the Depth setting alone.
To load the wallpaper onto your desktop, right-click anywhere on the desktop and
choose the Properties command. This brings up the Display Properties dialog box
shown in Figure 3-9. Click the Browse button and locate your BMP image on disk.
Then click the apply button to see how it looks.
CompuServe’s GIF
In the old days, the CompuServe online service championed GIF (short for Graphics
Interchange Format) as a means of compressing files so you could quickly transfer
photographs over your modem. Like TIFF, GIF uses LZW compression, but unlike
TIFF, GIF is limited to just 256 colors.
With the advent of the World Wide Web, the GIF format has grown slightly more
sophisticated. Two varieties of GIF currently exist, known by the helpful codes 87a
and 89a. GIF87a supports strictly opaque pixels; GIF89a permits some pixels to be
transparent. To open either kind of image, choose File ➪ Open.
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Photoshop
Figure 3-9: You can load a BMP file as desktop wallpaper
using the Display Properties control panel provided with
Windows 95 and later.
6
You can save an image with or without transparency by choosing File ➪ Save and
selecting CompuServe GIF from the Format pop-up menu. When you index (reduce)
the image to 256 colors — which you can do either before or during the file save
process — select the Transparency check box in the Indexed Color dialog box if
you want any areas of the image that are transparent to remain transparent when
you view the image file in a Web browser. Chapter 19 explores this and other issues
related to GIF transparency in detail.
If you’re resistant to change and want to create GIFs with transparency via the old
Export ➪ GIF89A command, you can; Adobe includes the command as an optional
plug-in on the program CD just for old fogeys like you. But you’ll save yourself time
and trouble if you get acquainted with the new method: PC Paintbrush’s PCX
PCX doesn’t stand for anything. Rather, it’s the extension PC Paintbrush assigns to
images saved in its native file format. Although the format is losing favor, many PCX
images are still in use today, largely because PC Paintbrush is the oldest painting
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
program for DOS. Photoshop supports PCX images with up to 16 million colors. You
can find an enormous amount of art, usually clip art, in this format. However, don’t
save files to PCX unless a client specifically demands it. Other formats are better.
Adobe’s paperless PDF
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a variation on the PostScript printing
language that enables you to view electronically produced documents on screen.
This means you can create a publication in QuarkXPress or PageMaker, export it
to PDF, and distribute it without worrying about color separations, binding, and
other printing costs. Using a program called Adobe Acrobat, you can open PDF documents, zoom in and out of them, and follow hypertext links by clicking highlighted
words. Adobe distributes Mac, Windows, and UNIX versions of the Acrobat Reader
for free, so almost anyone with a computer can view your stuff in full, natural color.
PDF files come in two flavors: those that contain just a single image and those that
contain multiple pages and images. Photoshop can save only single-image PDF files,
but it can open multipage files. The program rasterizes both types of files when it
opens them.
You open PDF files in different ways depending on what elements of the file you
want to access:
✦ Use File ➪ Open to open a particular page in a multipage PDF file. After selecting the page you want to view, you can set the image size and resolution of the
rasterized file. You also can choose File ➪ Place to add a page as a new layer
to an open image; in this case, you can’t control size and resolution before
adding the page. However, you can scale the page after the fact as you can
any layer.
✦ Select Import ➪ PDF Image to bring up a dialog box that enables you to open
a particular image in the PDF file.
✦ Choose Automate ➪ Multi-Page PDF to PSD to turn each page in the PDF file
into a separate Photoshop image file.
The real question, however, is why would you want to open or place a PDF file in
Photoshop instead of viewing it in Acrobat, which provides you with a full range
of document viewing tools not found in Photoshop? Furthermore, because you can
save only single-page PDF files, why on earth would you save to PDF in Photoshop?
I can think of two scenarios where Photoshop’s PDF functions may come in handy:
✦ You want to see how images in a PDF document will look when printed on a
high-resolution printer. Open the PDF file using File ➪ Open, set the resolution
to match that of the output device, and eyeball those images on-screen. This
“soft-proofing” technique enables you to spot defects that may not be noticeable in draft proofs that you output on a low-res printer.
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✦ You need a convenient way to distribute images for approval or input. You can
save an image as a PDF file and send it to clients and colleagues, who can view
the image in Acrobat if they don’t have Photoshop. In Photoshop 6, you can
even add text or voice annotations to your PDF file. In addition to annotations,
Photoshop PDF supports layers, transparency, embedded color profiles, spot
colors, duotones, and more. This enables you to route an image for approval
without having to flatten the image or otherwise strip it of its Photoshop 6
features. Of course, features not supported by Acrobat aren’t accessible to
the viewer.
When you save to PDF in Photoshop, you have a choice of two encoding options.
Choose ZIP only for images that feature large expanses of a single color; otherwise,
opt for JPEG. Keep the Quality option set to Maximum to maintain the best print
quality, just as you do for regular JPEG files. Select the Include Vector Data and
Embed Fonts check boxes to retain any vector graphics and font data, respectively.
Alternatively, you can select the Use Outlines for Text to save text as character outlines that are editable in the PDF file. The final option, Image Interpolation, enables
other programs to interpolate the image when resampling to another size.
Note
If you select JPEG encoding, you need a PostScript Level 2 or later printer to
output your PDF file. Also be aware that separating files into individual plates
can be problematic.
Apple’s PICT
PICT (Macintosh Picture) is the Macintosh system software’s native graphics format.
Based on the QuickDraw display language that the system software uses to convey
images on screen, PICT handles object-oriented artwork and bitmapped images
with equal aplomb. It supports images in any bit depth, size, or resolution. PICT
even supports 32-bit images, so you can save a fourth masking channel when
working in the RGB mode.
PICT is obviously popular with the Macintosh crowd, especially folks who don’t
know much about graphics. So if you share a lot of files with Mac-type people, you
may occasionally be asked to supply images in the PICT format. If you’re trying to
save an image in a format that your mom can open on her Mac, for example, PICT
may be a better choice than JPEG. Heck, you can open PICT files inside a word
processor, including everything from SimpleText to Microsoft Word. Just be sure
mom has QuickTime loaded on her machine.
When you save a PICT image, Photoshop lets you set the bit depth. You should
always stick with the default option, which is the highest setting available for the
particular image. Don’t mess around with these options; they apply automatic
pattern dithering, which is a bad thing.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
On the flip side, you may need to open a PICT file a Mac friend sends you. Photoshop
can do this, but one problem may trip you up: On the Mac, you have the option of
saving PICT files with a variety of JPEG compressions supplied by Apple’s QuickTime.
Unless you have QuickTime installed on your PC — which you might if you do a lot
of surfing on the Web — you won’t be able to open compressed PICT images.
Pixar workstations
Pixar has created some of the most memorable computer-animated movies and
commercials in recent memory. Examples include the desk lamps playing with a
beach ball from Luxo, Jr., the run-amok toddler from the Oscar-winning Tin Toy,
and the commercial adventures of a Listerine bottle that boxes gingivitis one day
and swings Tarzan-like through a spearmint forest the next. But Pixar really made
the grade with the feature-length Toy Story, which provided Disney with enough
merchandising options to last a lifetime.
Pixar works its 3D magic using mondo-expensive workstations. Photoshop enables
you to open a still image created on a Pixar machine or to save an image to the Pixar
format so you can integrate it into a 3D rendering. The Pixar format supports grayscale and RGB images.
PNG for the Web
Pronounced ping, the PNG format enables you to save 16 million color images without compression for use on the Web. As I write this, neither Netscape Navigator nor
Microsoft Internet Explorer support PNG without the help of a special plug-in. But
for those folks who want full-color images without the pesky visual compression
artifacts you get with JPEG, PNG may well be a big player in the future. (Of course,
I wrote this same paragraph two years ago, so there’s always the chance PNG will
never gain acceptance.)
CrossReference
PNG was invented for the Web and I’ve never seen anyone use it for a purpose other
than the Web. Find more information about PNG in Chapter 19, which covers Web
issues in detail.
Scitex image-processors
Some high-end commercial printers use Scitex printing devices to generate color
separations of images and other documents. Photoshop can open images digitized
with Scitex scanners and save the edited images to the Scitex CT (Continuous Tone)
format. Because you need special hardware to transfer images from the PC to a
Scitex drive, you’ll probably want to consult with your local Scitex service bureau
technician before saving to the CT format. The technician may prefer that you
submit images in the native Photoshop, TIFF, or JPEG format. The Scitex CT
format supports grayscale, RGB, and CMYK images.
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TrueVision’s TGA
TrueVision’s Targa and NuVista video boards enable you to overlay computer
graphics and animation onto live video. The effect is called chroma keying because,
typically, a key color is set aside to let the live video show through. TrueVision
designed the TGA (Targa) format to support 32-bit images that include 8-bit alpha
channels capable of displaying the live video. Support for TGA is widely implemented among professional-level color and video applications on the PC.
Interapplication formats
In the name of interapplication harmony, Photoshop supports a few softwarespecific formats that permit you to trade files with popular object-oriented
programs such as Illustrator and QuarkXPress. Every one of these formats is
a variation on EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), which is based in turn on Adobe’s
industry-standard PostScript printing language. You can use Photoshop to edit
frames from a QuickTime movie created with Adobe Premiere.
Rasterizing an Illustrator or FreeHand file
Photoshop supports object-oriented files saved in the EPS format. EPS is specifically
designed to save object-oriented graphics that you intend to print to a PostScript
output device. Just about every drawing and page-layout program on the planet
(and a few on Mars) can save EPS documents.
Prior to Version 4, Photoshop could interpret only a small subset of EPS operations
supported by Illustrator (including the native .ai format). But then Photoshop 4 came
along and offered a full-blown EPS translation engine, capable of interpreting EPS
illustrations created in FreeHand, CorelDraw, Deneba’s Canvas, and more. You can
even open EPS drawings that contain imported images, something else Version 3
could not do.
When you open an EPS or native Illustrator document, Photoshop rasterizes
(or renders) the artwork — that is, it converts the artwork from a collection of
objects to a bitmapped image. During the open operation, Photoshop presents
the Rasterize Generic EPS Format dialog box (see Figure 3-10), which enables you
to specify the size and resolution of the image, just as you can in the New dialog
box. Assuming the illustration contains no imported images, you can render it as
large or as small as you want without any loss of image quality.
Tip
If the EPS illustration does contain an imported image or two, you need to know the
resolution of the images and factor this information into the Rasterize Generic EPS
Format dialog box. Select anything but Pixels from both the Width and Height popup menus, and leave the suggested values unchanged. Then enter the setting for
the highest-resolution imported image into the Resolution option box. (If all the
images are low-res, you may want to double or triple the Resolution value to
ensure that the objects render smoothly.)
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-10: You can specify the size and resolution at
which Photoshop renders an EPS illustration.
You should always select the Anti-aliased check box unless you’re rendering a very
large image — say, 300 ppi or higher. Antialiasing blurs pixels to soften the edges of
the objects so they don’t appear jagged. When you’re rendering a very large image,
the difference between image and printer resolution is less noticeable, so antialiasing is unwarranted.
Photoshop renders the illustration to a single layer against a transparent background. Before you can save the rasterized image to a format other than native
Photoshop, you must eliminate the transparency by choosing Layer ➪ Flatten
Image. Or save a flattened version of the image to a separate file by choosing
the As a Copy option in the Save dialog box.
Tip
Rendering an EPS illustration is an extremely useful technique for resolving printing problems. If you regularly work in Illustrator or FreeHand, you no doubt have
encountered limitcheck errors, which occur when an illustration is too complex for
an imagesetter or other high-end output device to print. If you’re frustrated with
the printer and tired of wasting your evening trying to figure out what’s wrong
(sound familiar?), use Photoshop to render the illustration at 300 ppi and print
it. Nine times out of ten, this technique works flawlessly.
If Photoshop can’t parse the EPS file — a techy way of saying Photoshop can’t break
down the individual objects — it attempts to open the PICT (Mac) or TIFF (Windows)
preview. This exercise is usually futile, but occasionally you may wish to take a quick
look at an illustration to, say, match the placement of elements in an image to those
in the drawing.
Placing an EPS illustration
If you want to introduce an EPS graphic into the foreground image rather than to
render it into a new image window of its own, choose File ➪ Place. Unlike other File
menu commands, Place supports only EPS illustrations and PDF files.
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After you import the EPS graphic, it appears inside a box — which Photoshop calls
a bounding box — with a great big X across it. You can move, scale, and rotate the
illustration into position before rasterizing it to pixels. Drag a corner handle to
resize the image; drag outside the image to rotate it. You can also nudge the graphic
into position by pressing the arrow keys. When everything is the way you want it,
press Enter or double-click inside the box to rasterize the illustration. If the placement isn’t perfect, not to worry. The graphic appears on a separate layer, so you
can move it with complete freedom. To cancel the Place operation, press Escape
instead of Enter.
Saving an EPS image
When preparing an image for placement inside a drawing or page-layout document
that will be printed to a PostScript output device, many artists prefer to save the
image in the EPS format. Converting the image to PostScript up front prevents the
drawing or page-layout program from doing the work. The result is an image that
prints more quickly and with less chance of problems. (Note that an image does
not look any different when saved in EPS. The idea that the EPS format somehow
blesses an image with better resolution is pure nonsense.)
A second point in the EPS format’s favor is clipping paths. As explained graphically
at the end of Chapter 8, a clipping path defines a free-form boundary around an
image. When you place the image into an object-oriented program, everything
outside the clipping path becomes transparent. While some programs — notably
InDesign and PageMaker — recognize clipping paths saved with a TIFF image,
many programs acknowledge a clipping path only when saved in the EPS format.
Third, although Illustrator has remedied the problems it had importing TIFF images,
it still likes EPS best, especially where screen display is concerned. Thanks to the
EPS file’s fixed preview, Illustrator can display an EPS image on screen very quickly
compared with other file formats. And Illustrator can display an EPS image both in
the preview mode and in the super-fast artwork mode.
So if you want to import an image into Illustrator, QuarkXPress, or another objectoriented program, your best bet is EPS. On the downside, EPS is an inefficient format for saving images thanks to the laborious way that it describes pixels. An EPS
image may be three to four times larger than the same image saved to the TIFF
format with LZW compression. But this is the price we pay for reliable printing.
Caution
Absolutely avoid the EPS format if you plan on printing your final pages to a
non-PostScript printer. This defeats the entire purpose of EPS, which is meant to
avoid printing problems, not cause them. When printing without PostScript, use
TIFF or JPEG.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
To save an image in the EPS format, choose Photoshop EPS from the Format pop-up
menu in the Save dialog box. After you press Enter, Photoshop displays the dialog
box shown in Figure 3-11. The options in this dialog box work as follows:
✦ Preview: Technically, an EPS document comprises two parts: a pure PostScriptlanguage description of the graphic for the printer and a bitmapped preview so
you can see the graphic on screen. Select the TIFF (8 bits/pixel) option from the
Preview pop-up menu to save a 256-color TIFF preview of the image. The 1-bit
option provides a black-and-white preview only, which is useful if you want to
save a little room on disk. Select None to include no preview and save even
more disk space.
Figure 3-11: When you save an image in the EPS
format, you can specify the type of preview and tack
on some printing attributes.
✦ Encoding: If you’re saving an image for import into Illustrator, QuarkXPress,
or some other established program, select the Binary encoding option (also
known as Huffman encoding), which compresses an EPS document by substituting shorter codes for frequently used characters. The letter a, for example,
receives the 3-bit code 010, rather than its standard 8-bit ASCII code, 01100001
(the binary equivalent of what we humans call 97).
Sadly, some programs and printers don’t recognize Huffman encoding, in
which case you must select the less efficient ASCII option. ASCII stands for
American Standard Code for Information Interchange, which is fancy jargon for
text-only. In other words, you can open and edit an ASCII EPS document in a
word processor, provided you know how to read and write PostScript.
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Tip
Caution
Actually, this can be a useful technique if you have a Mac file that won’t open,
especially if the file was sent to you electronically. Chances are that a Macspecific header got into the works. Open the file in a word processor and
look at the beginning. You should see the four characters %!PS. Anything
that comes before this line is the Macintosh header. Delete the garbage before
%!PS, save the file in text format, and try again to open the file in Photoshop.
The remaining Encoding options are JPEG settings. JPEG compression not
only results in smaller files on disk but also degrades the quality of the image.
Select JPEG (Maximum Quality) to invoke the least degradation. Better yet,
avoid the JPEG settings altogether. These options work only if you plan to
print your final artwork to a PostScript Level 2 or Level 3 device. Earlier
PostScript printers do not support EPS artwork with JPEG compression
and will choke on the code.
So to recap, ASCII results in really big files that work with virtually any printer
or application. Binary creates smaller files that work with most mainstream
applications but may choke some older-model printers. And the JPEG settings
are compatible exclusively with Level 2 and later PostScript printers.
✦ Include Halftone Screen: Another advantage of EPS over other formats is that
it can retain printing attributes. If you specified a custom halftone screen
using the Screens button inside the Page Setup dialog box, you can save this
setting with the EPS document by selecting the Include Halftone Screen check
box. But be careful — you can just as easily ruin your image as help it. Read
Chapter 18 before you select this check box.
✦ Include Transfer Function: As described in Chapter 18, you can change the
brightness and contrast of a printed image using the Transfer button inside
the Page Setup dialog box. To save these settings with the EPS document,
select the Include Transfer Function check box. Again, this option can be dangerous when used casually. See Chapter 18 for more details.
Photoshop
✦ PostScript Color Management: Like JPEG compression, this check box is compatible with Level 2 and 3 printers only. It embeds a color profile, which helps
the printer to massage the image during the printing cycle to generate more
accurate colors. Unless you plan on printing to a Level 2 or later device, leave
the option off. (For more information about color profiles, read Chapter 16.)
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✦ Include Vector Data: Select this option if your file contains vector objects,
including shapes, non-bitmap type, and layer clipping paths. Otherwise,
Photoshop rasterizes the objects during the save process. When you select
the option, Photoshop displays a warning in the dialog box to remind you
that if you reopen the file in Photoshop, you rasterize any vector objects
that you saved with the file.
✦ Transparent Whites: When saving black-and-white EPS images in Photoshop,
the four check boxes previously discussed drop away, replaced by Transparent
Whites. Select this option to make all white pixels in the image transparent.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Photoshop
Although Photoshop EPS is the only format that offers the Transparent Whites
option, many programs — including Illustrator and InDesign — treat white
pixels in black-and-white TIFF images as transparent as well.
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✦ Image Interpolation: Turn on this option if you want another program to be
able to interpolate the image when resampling it to another size. For example,
suppose you import an EPS image into InDesign and scale it to 400 percent. If
Image Interpolation is turned off, then InDesign just makes pixels in the image
four times larger, as if you had used the nearest neighbor interpolation inside
Photoshop. If you turn Image Interpolation on, however, InDesign applies
bicubic interpolation in order to generate new pixels. (For details on nearest
neighbor and bicubic interpolation, see the “General Preferences” section in
Chapter 2.) Unless you have a reason for doing otherwise, turn this option on.
QuarkXPress DCS
Quark developed a variation on the EPS format called Desktop Color Separation
(DCS). When you work in QuarkXPress, PageMaker, and other programs that
support the format, DCS facilitates the printing of color separations. Before you
can use DCS, you have to convert your image to the CMYK color space using
Image ➪ Mode ➪ CMYK Color. (DCS 2.0 also supports grayscale images with
spot-color channels.) Then bring up the Save dialog box and select Photoshop
DCS 1.0 or 2.0 from the Format pop-up menu.
Photoshop 5 introduced support for DCS 2.0 to accommodate images that contain
extra spot-color channels, as explained in Chapter 18. If you add a Pantone channel
to an image, DCS 2.0 is the only PostScript format you can use. If your image doesn’t
contain any extra channels beyond the basic four required for CMYK, DCS 1.0 is the
safer and simpler option.
After you press Enter, Photoshop displays an additional pop-up menu of DCS options,
which vary depending on whether you’ve selected DCS 1.0 or 2.0, as shown in Figure
3-12. The DCS 1.0 format invariably saves a total of five files: one master document
(which is the file that you import into QuarkXPress) plus one file each for the cyan,
magenta, yellow, and black color channels (which are the files that get printed). The
DCS 2.0 format can be expressed as a single file (tidier) or five separate files (better
compatibility).
Either way, the DCS pop-up menu gives you the option of saving a 72-ppi PostScript
composite of the image inside the master document. Independent from the bitmapped
preview — which you specify as usual by selecting a Preview option — the PostScript
composite makes it possible to print a low-resolution version of a DCS image to a consumer-quality printer. If you’re using a black-and-white printer, select the 72 pixel/inch
grayscale option; if you’re using a color printer, select the final option. Be forewarned,
however, that the composite image significantly increases the size of the master document on disk.
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Photoshop
Figure 3-12: The extra options for the DCS 1.0 format (top) and those
for the DCS 2.0 format (bottom).
6
Notice the two new options at the bottom of the options dialog boxes for DCS 1.0
and 2.0: Include Vector Data and Image Interpolation. These options work just as
described earlier for the Photoshop EPS format.
Premiere Filmstrip
Adobe Premiere is a popular QuickTime movie-editing application for both Macs
and PCs. The program is a wonder when it comes to fades, frame merges, and special effects, but it offers no frame-by-frame editing capabilities. For example, you
can neither draw a mustache on a person in the movie nor can you make brightly
colored brush strokes swirl about in the background — at least, not inside Premiere.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
You can export the movie to the Filmstrip format, though, which is a file-swapping
option exclusive to Photoshop and Premiere. A Filmstrip document organizes
frames in a long vertical strip, as shown on the left side of Figure 3-13. The right
side of the figure shows the movie after I edited each individual frame in ways not
permitted by Premiere. A boring movie of a cat stuck in a bag becomes an exciting
movie of a cat-stuck-in-a-bag flying. If that doesn’t sum up the miracle of digital
imaging, I don’t know what does.
Figure 3-13: Four frames from a QuickTime movie as they
appear in the Filmstrip format before (left) and after (right)
editing the frames in Photoshop.
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A gray bar separates each frame. The number of each frame appears on the right;
the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) time code appears
on the left. The structure of the three-number time code is minutes:seconds:frames,
with 30 frames per second.
Caution
Tip
If you change the size of a Filmstrip document inside Photoshop in any way, you
cannot save the image back to the Filmstrip format. Feel free to paint and apply
effects, but stay the heck away from the Image Size and Canvas Size commands.
I don’t really delve into the Filmstrip format anywhere else in this book, so I want
to pass along a few quick Filmstrip tips right here and now:
✦ First, you can scroll up and down exactly one frame at a time by pressing
Shift+Page Up or Shift+Page Down, respectively.
✦ Second, you can move a selection exactly one frame up or down by pressing
Ctrl+Shift+up arrow or Ctrl+Shift+down arrow.
✦ If you want to clone the selection as you move it, press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+up
arrow or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+down arrow.
And finally — here’s the great one — you can select several sequential frames and
edit them simultaneously by following these steps:
STEPS: Selecting Sequential Frames in a Movie
1. Select the first frame you want to edit. Select the rectangular marquee tool
by pressing the M key. Then drag around the area you want to edit in the
movie. (This is the only step that takes any degree of care or coordination
whatsoever.)
2. Switch to the quick mask mode by pressing the Q key. The areas around
the selected frame are overlaid with pink.
3. Set the magic wand Tolerance value to 0. Double-click the magic wand tool
icon in the Toolbox to display the Magic Wand Options palette. Enter 0 for
the Tolerance value and deselect the Anti-aliased check box.
4. Click inside the selected frame (the one that’s not pink) with the magic
wand tool. This selects the unmasked area inside the frame.
5. Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+down arrow to clone the unmasked area to the next
frame in the movie. When you exit the quick mask mode, both this frame
and the one above it will be selected.
6. Repeat several times. Keep Ctrl+Shift+Alt+down arrowing until you’re rid of
the pink stuff on all the frames you want to select.
7. Exit the quick mask mode by pressing the Q key again. All frames appear
selected.
8. Edit the frames to your heart’s content.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
CrossReference
If you’re new to Photoshop, half of these steps, if not all of them, probably sailed
over your head like so many low-flying cats stuck in bags. If you want to learn more
about selections and cloning, see Chapter 8. In Chapter 9, I explore the quick mask
mode and other masking techniques. After you finish reading those chapters,
return to this section to see if it doesn’t make a little more sense. Or don’t. It’s
entirely up to you.
The process of editing individual frames as just described is sometimes called
rotoscoping, named after the traditional technique of combining live-action film
with animated sequences. You also can try out some scratch-and-doodle techniques, which is where an artist scratches and draws directly on frames of film.
If this isn’t enough, you can emulate xerography, in which an animator makes
Xerox copies of photographs, enhances the copies using markers or whatever
else is convenient, and shoots the finished artwork, frame by frame, on film. In
a nutshell, Photoshop extends Premiere’s functionality by adding animation to
its standard supply of video-editing capabilities.
You can save an image in the Filmstrip format through the Save dialog box. But
remember, you can save in this format only if you opened the image as a Filmstrip
document and did not change the size of the image.
The mainstream formats
The formats discussed so far are mighty interesting and they all fulfill their own niche
purposes. But two formats — JPEG and TIFF — are the all-stars of digital imagery. You’ll
use these formats the most because of their outstanding compression capabilities and
almost universal support among graphics applications.
JPEG
The JPEG format is named after the folks who designed it, the Joint Photographic
Experts Group. JPEG is the most efficient and essential compression format currently
available and is likely to be the compression standard for years to come. JPEG is a
lossy compression scheme, which means it sacrifices image quality to conserve
space on disk. You can control how much data is lost during the save operation,
however.
When you save an image in the JPEG format, you’re greeted with the JPEG Options
dialog box (see Figure 3-14), which grew to include some new options in Version 5.5.
(Chapter 19 covers the various dialog box components in detail.) But the most vital
option is the Quality option, which determines how much compression Photoshop
applies to your image.
Select an option from the Quality pop-up menu or drag the slider triangle from 0 to
12 to specify the quality setting. Of the named options, Low takes the least space on
disk, but distorts the image rather severely; Maximum retains the highest amount
of image quality, but consumes more disk space. Of the numbered options, 0 is
the most severe compressor and 12 does the least damage.
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Figure 3-14: The JPEG Options
dialog box provides a total of 12
compression settings, ranging
from 0 (heaviest compression)
to 12 (best quality).
Note
JPEG evaluates an image in 8 × 8-pixel blocks, using a technique called Adaptive
Discrete Cosine Transform (or ADCT, as in “Yes, I’m an acronym ADCT”). It averages
the 24-bit value of every pixel in the block (or 8-bit value of every pixel in the case
of a grayscale image). ADCT then stores the average color in the upper-left pixel in
the block and assigns the remaining 63 pixels smaller values relative to the average.
Next, JPEG divides the block by an 8 × 8 block of its own called the quantization
matrix, which homogenizes the pixels’ values by changing as many as possible to
zero. This process saves the majority of disk space, but loses data. When Photoshop
opens a JPEG image, it can’t recover the original distinction between the zero pixels,
so the pixels become the same, or similar, colors. Finally, JPEG applies lossless
Huffman encoding to translate repeating values to a single symbol.
In most instances, I recommend you use JPEG only at the Maximum quality setting
(10 or higher), at least until you gain some experience with it. The smallest amount
of JPEG compression saves more space on disk than any non-JPEG compression format and still retains the most essential detail from the original image. Figure 3-15
shows a grayscale image saved at each of the four compression settings.
The samples are arranged in rows from highest image quality (upper left) to lowest
quality (lower right). Below each sample is the size of the compressed document on
disk. Saved in the only moderately compressed native Photoshop format, the image
consumes 116K on disk. From 116K to 28K — the result of the lowest-quality JPEG
setting — is a remarkable savings, but it comes at a price.
I’ve taken the liberty of sharpening the focus of strips in each image so you can see
more easily how JPEG averages neighboring pixels to achieve smaller file sizes. The
first strip in each image appears in normal focus, the second strip is sharpened
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
once by choosing Filter ➪ Sharpen ➪ Sharpen More, and the third strip is sharpened twice. I also adjusted the gray levels to make the differences even more pronounced. You can see that although the lower-image quality setting leads to a
dramatic saving in file size, it also excessively gums up the image. The effect,
incidentally, is more obvious on screen. Believe me, after you familiarize yourself
with JPEG compression, you can spot other people’s overly compressed JPEG
images a mile away. This isn’t something you want to exaggerate in your images.
Maximum
66K High
50K
Medium
33K Low
28K
Figure 3-15: Four JPEG settings applied to a single image, with the highest
image quality setting illustrated at the upper left and the lowest at the
bottom right.
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CrossReference
Caution
To see the impact of JPEG compression on a full-color image, check out Color Plate
3-2. The original image consumes 693K in the native Photoshop format, but 116K
when compressed at the JPEG module’s Maximum setting. To demonstrate the
differences between different settings better, I enlarged one portion of the image
and oversharpened another.
JPEG is a cumulative compression scheme, meaning that Photoshop recompresses
an image every time you save it in the JPEG format. No disadvantage exists to
saving an image to disk repeatedly during a single session, because JPEG always
works from the on-screen version. But if you close an image, reopen it, and save
it in the JPEG format, you inflict a small amount of damage. Use JPEG sparingly.
In the best of all possible worlds, you should save to the JPEG format only after
you finish all work on an image. Even in a pinch, you should apply all filtering
effects before saving to JPEG, because these have a habit of exacerbating
imperfections in image quality.
JPEG is best used when compressing continuous-tone images (images in which
the distinction between immediately neighboring pixels is slight). Any image that
includes gradual color transitions, as in a photograph, qualifies for JPEG compression. JPEG is not the best choice for saving screen shots, line drawings (especially
those converted from EPS graphics), and other high-contrast images. These are
better served by a lossless compression scheme such as TIFF with LZW. The JPEG
format is available when you are saving grayscale, RGB, and CMYK images.
Occupying the bottom half of the JPEG Options dialog box are three radio buttons,
designed primarily to optimize JPEG images for the Web. Progressive isn’t applicable to print images, and the Baseline options don’t affect print images enough to
make any difference. For now, just select the first option, Baseline (“Standard”),
and be done with it. If you want to learn more about the remaining options, read
the “Saving JPEG Images” section of Chapter 19.
TIFF
Developed by Aldus in the early days of the Mac to standardize an ever-growing
population of scanned images, TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is the most widely
supported image printing format across both the Macintosh and PC platforms.
Unlike EPS, it can’t handle object-oriented artwork, and it doesn’t support lossy
compression like JPEG. But, otherwise, it’s unrestricted. In fact, TIFF offers a few
tricks of its own that make it very special.
In Photoshop, the TIFF format supports up to 24 channels, the maximum number
permitted in any image. In fact, TIFF is the only format other than DCS 2.0, “raw,”
and the native Photoshop format that can save more than four channels. To save
a TIFF file without extra mask channels, deselect the Alpha check box in the Save
dialog box. (For an introduction to channels, read Chapter 16.)
Photoshop
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
6
Even more impressive, TIFF supports multiple layers in Photoshop 6. If you want
layers to remain independent when you save the file, select the Layers check box
in the Save dialog box. (See the earlier section “Choosing other save options” for
a look at all the new controls in the dialog box.)
Photoshop
When you save an image as a TIFF file, Photoshop displays the TIFF Options dialog
box (see Figure 3-16), which offers expanded controls in Version 6:
6
✦ Compression: Formerly, you could apply only one form of compression to
TIFF files — LZW (Lempel-Ziv-Welch) compression. You now can apply JPEG
and ZIP compression in addition to LZW.
• LZW: Like Huffman encoding (previously described in the “Saving an
EPS image” section), LZW digs into the computer code that describes
an image and substitutes frequently used codes with shorter equivalents.
But instead of substituting characters, as Huffman does, LZW substitutes
strings of data. Because LZW doesn’t so much as touch a pixel in your
image, it’s entirely lossless. Most image editors and desktop publishing
applications — including Illustrator, FreeHand, PageMaker, InDesign, and
QuarkXPress — import LZW-compressed TIFF images, but a few still have
yet to catch on.
• ZIP: The problem with LZW (from a programming perspective) is that
it’s regulated by a patent. And whenever a bit of technology costs money
to use, you can bet somebody out there is trying to come up with a free
equivalent. Hence ZIP, a competing lossless compression scheme used
in PDF documents. Why use it? Theoretically, it’s a bit smarter than
LZW and can on occasion deliver smaller image files. On the other hand,
Photoshop is currently one of the few programs to support ZIP compression in a TIFF file. So unless you discover big savings when using ZIP,
I’d stick with LZW until ZIP support becomes more widespread.
• JPEG: If two lossless compression schemes aren’t enough, the TIFF
format also permits you to apply lossy JPEG compression. Long-time
Photoshop users may balk at JPEG compression inside TIFF options.
After all, one of the major benefits of TIFF is that it ensures optimum
image quality; by applying JPEG compression, which results in loss of
image data, you defeat the purpose. But now that TIFF supports layers,
JPEG inside TIFF permits you a unique opportunity to cut the size of
your layered images files in half. My experience shows that JPEG in
TIFF results in only modest loss of data. And because the JPEG does
not affect the transparency mask — which defines the outlines of the
layers — the layers continue to exhibit nice, sharp edges.
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Figure 3-16: Photoshop 6 offers a choice of
compression schemes for a TIFF file as well as
the option to write the file as an image pyramid.
Note
If names such as Huffman, LZW, and ZIP ring a faint bell, it may be because
these are the same compression schemes used by PKzip, WinZIP, and other
file compression utilities. For this reason, using an additional utility to compress a TIFF image that you’ve already compressed using LZW, ZIP, or JPEG
makes no sense. Neither do you want to compress a standard JPEG image,
because JPEG takes advantage of Huffman encoding. You may shave off a few
K, but this isn’t enough space to make it worth your time and effort.
Caution
Also be aware that some programs may gag on compressed TIFF files, regardless of which compression scheme you apply. If an application balks at opening your Photoshop TIFF file, try resaving the file with no compression.
✦ Byte Order: Every once in a while, Photoshop chooses to name a straightforward option in the most confusing way possible. Byte Order is a prime example. No, this option doesn’t have anything to do with how you eat your food.
Instead, there are two variations of TIFF, one for the PC and the other for the
Mac. I’m sure this has something to do with the arrangement of 8-bit chunks
of data, but who cares? You want PC or you want Mac? It’s that simple.
✦ Save Image Pyramid: Choose this option to save tiled TIFF files. This variation of the standard TIFF file-saving algorithm divides your image into tiles
and then stacks the tiles in a pyramid. Each level of the pyramid represents
your image at a different resolution, with the highest-resolution version serving as the base of the pyramid. The idea is that an application can use the
low-resolution tiles to perform certain image-processing tasks and dig down
to the high-resolution version only when absolutely necessary. When you’re
working with very large image files, this approach not only speeds up certain
editing tasks but also puts less strain on your computer’s resources. (If you’re
familiar with the FlashPix format, the concept is the same.)
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Unless you’re saving your image for use in a program that you know supports
tiled TIFF images, however, turn this option off. Photoshop itself can’t take
advantage of the tiled technology, and many applications can’t open tiled
images at all.
Photoshop
✦ Save Transparency: If the image contains transparent areas, select this check
box to retain the transparency. Otherwise, transparent areas become white.
6
If you’ve been working with Photoshop for a few years, you may be wondering what
happened to the File ➪ Import ➪ QuickEdit command. This feature enabled you to
open and edit just a small portion of a large TIFF file. QuickEdit can’t deal with
compressed TIFF files or properly process edits that you make to a layered TIFF
file. So Adobe no longer provides QuickEdit on the Photoshop CD and strongly
advises against using it to edit Photoshop 6 TIFF files.
The oddball formats
Can you believe it? After plowing through a half-million formats, I still haven’t
covered them all. The last three are the odd men out. One format has a purpose
so specific that Photoshop can open files saved in the format but it can’t save to
the format. The second is a new format that, while moderately promising, is not
implemented thoroughly enough inside Photoshop to provide much benefit. And
the last is less a format than a manual can opener that may come in handy for
jimmying open a file from an unknown source.
Photo CD YCC images
Photoshop can open Eastman Kodak’s Photo CD and Pro Photo CD formats directly.
A Photo CD contains compressed versions of every image in each of the five scan
sizes provided on Photo CDs — from 128 × 192 pixels (72K) to 2,048 × 3,072 pixels
(18MB).
The Pro Photo CD format can accommodate each of the five sizes included in the
regular Photo CD format, plus one additional size — 4,096 × 6,144 pixels (72MB) —
that’s four times as large as the largest image on a regular Photo CD. As a result,
Pro Photo CDs hold only 25 scans; standard Photo CDs hold 100. Like their standard
Photo CD counterparts, Pro Photo CD scanners can accommodate 35mm film and
slides. But they can also handle 70mm film and 4 × 5-inch negatives and transparencies. The cost might knock you out, though. While scanning an image to a standard
Photo CD costs between $1 and $2, scanning it to a Pro Photo CD costs about $10.
This goes to show you, once you gravitate beyond consumerland, everyone expects
you to start coughing up the big bucks.
Both Photo CD and Pro Photo CD use the YCC color model, a variation on the CIE
(Commission Internationale de’Eclairage) color space, which I discuss in the next
chapter. YCC provides a broader range of color — theoretically, every color your
eye can see. By opening Photo CD files directly, you can translate the YCC images
directly to Photoshop’s Lab color mode, another variation on the CIE color space
that ensures no color loss. When you open a Photo CD image, Photoshop displays
the dialog box shown in Figure 3-17.
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Figure 3-17: Use these options to select a resolution and to calibrate the colors in
the Photo CD image.
Photoshop
Note
6
Finding your photos on a Photo CD is a little harder than it should be. Look inside
the Images folder in the Photo_CD folder. The files have friendly names such as
Img0017.pcd.
The newly redesigned Photo CD dialog box is divided into three main sections:
Image Info, Source, and Destination. The Image Info section simply tells you the
type of film on which the image was shot and the type of scanner used to scan the
image to CD. Selections that you make in the Source and Destination areas tell
Photoshop how you want it to open the image. Here’s what you need to know:
✦ Pixel Size: Select which of the available image sizes you want to use from this
pop-up menu.
✦ Profile: Use this pop-up menu to select the kind of film from which the original photographs were scanned. You can select from one of the variations on
Kodak’s film brands — E-6 for Ektachrome or K-14 for Kodachrome — or settle
for the generic Color Negative V3.0 Film option. Your selection determines
the method Photoshop uses to transform the colors in the image.
✦ Resolution: This setting determines the output resolution and size at which
Photoshop opens the image. You get the same number of image pixels no
matter what — that’s controlled by the Pixel Size option. In other words,
changing this value is no different than changing the Resolution value in
the Image Size dialog box with Resample Image turned off.
✦ Color Space: Select an option from this pop-up menu to specify the color
model you want to use. Select RGB to open the image in the RGB mode;
select LAB to open the image in the Lab mode. You can also select from 8
Bits/Channel to edit the image in 24-bit color or 16 Bits/Channel to open
the image in 48-bit color.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
✦ Orientation: The preview in the left side of the dialog box shows you the
original orientation of the image. If you want to change that orientation, click
the other Orientation radio button. The preview updates to show you the new
orientation.
Photoshop cannot save to the Photo CD format. And frankly, there’s little reason
you’d want to do so. Photo CD is strictly a means for transferring slides and film
negatives onto the world’s most ubiquitous and indestructible storage medium,
the CD-ROM.
Note
Kodak also offers a product called Picture CD, which is quite different from Photo
CD — don’t get the two confused. With Picture CD, consumers can drop off rolls of
undeveloped film and receive both traditional prints and a CD containing scanned
versions of their pictures. Picture CD images are provided in the JPEG format, so
none of the Photo CD file-opening features discussed here apply. You open Picture
CD images like any other JPEG file.
Opening raw documents
A raw document is a plain binary file stripped of all extraneous information. It
contains no compression scheme, specifies no bit depth or image size, and offers
no color mode. Each byte of data indicates a brightness value on a single color
channel, and that’s it. Photoshop offers this function specifically so you can open
images created in undocumented formats, such as those created on mainframe
computers.
To open an image of unknown origin, choose File ➪ Open As. Then select the
desired image from the scrolling list and choose Raw (*.raw) from the Open As
pop-up menu. After you press Enter, the dialog box shown in Figure 3-18 appears,
featuring these options:
✦ Width, Height: If you know the dimensions of the image in pixels, enter the
values in these option boxes.
✦ Swap: Click this button to swap the Width value with the Height value.
✦ Count: Enter the number of color channels in this option box. If the document
is an RGB image, enter 3; if it is a CMYK image, enter 4.
✦ Interleaved: Select this value if the color values are stored sequentially by
pixels. In an RGB image, the first byte represents the red value for the first
pixel, the second byte represents the green value for that pixel, the third the
blue value, and so on. If you turn this check box off, the first byte represents
the red value for the first pixel, the second value represents the red value
for the second pixel, and so on. When Photoshop finishes describing the
red channel, it describes the green channel and then the blue channel.
✦ Depth: Select the number of bits per color channel. Most images contain 8 bits
per channel, but scientific scans from mainframe computers may contain 16.
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Figure 3-18: Photoshop requires
you to specify the size of an image
and the number of color channels
when you open an image that does
not conform to a standardized file
format.
✦ Byte Order: If you specify 16 bits per channel, you must tell Photoshop
whether the image comes from a Mac or a PC.
✦ Header: This value tells Photoshop how many bytes of data at the beginning
of the file comprise header information it can ignore.
✦ Retain When Saving: If the Header value is greater than zero, you can instruct
Photoshop to retain this data when you save the image in a different format.
✦ Guess: If you know the Width and Height values, but you don’t know the
number of bytes in the header — or vice versa — you can ask Photoshop
for help. Fill in either the Dimensions or Header information and then click
the Guess button to ask Photoshop to take a stab at the unknown value.
Photoshop estimates all this information when the Raw Options dialog box
first appears. Generally speaking, if it doesn’t estimate correctly the first
time around, you’re on your own. But hey, the Guess button is worth a shot.
Tip
If a raw document is a CMYK image, it opens as an RGB image with an extra masking channel. To display the image correctly, choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Multichannel
to free the four channels from their incorrect relationship. Then recombine them
by choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪ CMYK Color.
Saving a raw document
Photoshop also enables you to save to the raw document format. This capability is
useful when you create files you want to transfer to mainframe systems or output to
devices that don’t support other formats, such as the Kodak XL7700.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Caution
Do not save 256-color indexed images to the raw format or you will lose the color
lookup table and, therefore, lose all color information. Be sure to convert such
images first to RGB or one of the other full-color modes before saving.
When you save an image in the raw document format, Photoshop presents the
dialog box shown in Figure 3-19. The dialog box options work as follows:
✦ File Type: This option is a carry-over from the Macintosh, where it defines
information for the resource fork. In Windows, the option is always dimmed.
Feel free to ignore.
Figure 3-19: When saving a raw document,
ignore the file type and creator codes and
specify the order of data in the file.
✦ File Creator: Ditto. The default code 8BIM is selected for you and the option is
dimmed.
✦ Header: Enter the size of the header in bytes. If you enter any value but zero,
you must fill in the header using a data editor such as Norton Disk Editor.
✦ Save Channels In: Select the Interleaved Order option to arrange data
sequentially by pixels, as described earlier. To group data by color channel,
select Non-interleaved Order.
Still can’t get that file open?
File format specs are continually evolving. As a result, programs that provide
support for a particular format may not support the specific version of the format
used to save the file you’re trying to open. For example, JPEG is notorious for causing problems because there were several private implementations in the early days.
As a result, some JPEG files can only be read by the originating application.
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If you can’t open a file in Photoshop, you may have another program that can read
and write the problem format. Try the problem file in every program you have —
and every program your friends have. After all, what are friends for?
You may also want to try a program such as HiJaak or TransverterPro. And Windows
has recently been blessed by DeBabelizer Pro from Equilibrium (www.equilibrium.
com). Absolutely the best format converter bar none, DeBabelizer handles every
format Photoshop handles, as well as Dr. Halo’s CUT, Fractal Design Painter’s RIFF,
the animation formats PICS, FLI, and ANM, as well as UNIX workstation formats for
Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and others.
Photoshop
Still out of it? Go online and check out such forums as ADOBEAPPS on CompuServe.
The Usenet newsgroups comp.graphics.apps.photoshop and rec.photo.digital are
other good resources. Post a question about your problem; chances are good
someone may have an answer for you.
Adding file information and annotations
6
On top of pixels, alpha channels, color profiles, and all the other image data you
can cram into your image files, you can add a variety of reference information —
where you shot the picture, who owns the image copyright, and so on. In Version 6,
this extra data can take the form of cataloging information that you enter in the File
Info dialog box or text and audio annotations that you can view and play right from
the image window. The next few sections explain these options.
Recording file information
If you work for a stock agency or distribute your work by some other means, you
may be interested in Photoshop’s File ➪ File Info command. Using this command,
you can record captions, credits, bylines, photo location and date, copyright, and
other information as prescribed by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA)
and the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC). We’re talking official worldwide guidelines here.
After you choose the File Info command, you see the six-paneled File Info dialog
box, shown in Figure 3-20. You switch from one panel to another by pressing Ctrl+1
through Ctrl+6 or choosing the panel name from the Section pop-up menu. Alt+N
and Alt+P also go to the next and previous panel, respectively. The first panel, the
Caption panel, appears in Figure 3-20.
Although sprawling with options, this dialog box is pretty straightforward. For
example, if you want to create a caption, travel to the Caption panel and enter your
caption into the Caption option box, which can hold up to 2,000 characters. If you
select Caption in the Page Setup dialog box, the caption appears underneath the
image when you print it from Photoshop.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-20: You can
document your image in
encyclopedic detail using
the wealth of options in
the File Info dialog box.
The Keywords panel enables you to enter a list of descriptive words that will help
folks find the image if it’s part of a large electronic library. Just enter the desired
word and press Enter (or click the Add button) to add the keyword to the list. Or
you can replace a word in the list by selecting it, entering a new word, and pressing
Enter (or clicking Replace). Likewise, you can delete a selected keyword by clicking
Delete. Browser utilities enable you to search images by keyword, as do some
dedicated image servers.
The Categories panel may seem foreign to anyone who hasn’t worked with a news
service. Many large news services use a system of three-character categories to
file and organize stories and photographs. If you’re familiar with this system, you
can enter the three-character code into the Category option box and even throw
in a few supplemental categories up to 32 characters long. Finally, use the Urgency
pop-up menu to specify the editorial timeliness of the photo. The High option tells
editors around the world to hold the presses and holler for their copy boys. The
Low option is for celebrity mug shots that can be tossed in the morgue to haul out
only if the subject of the photograph decides to do something diverting, like lead
police on a nail-biting tour of the Los Angeles freeway system.
The Copyright & URL panel enables you to add a copyright notice to your image. If
you check the Mark as Copyrighted check box, a copyright symbol (©) will appear
in the window title bar and in the preview box in the status bar along the bottom of
the screen. This symbol tells people viewing the image they can go to the Copyright
& URL panel to get more information about the owner of the image copyright.
You can also include the URL for your Web site, if you have one. Then, when folks
have your image open in Photoshop, they can come to this panel and click the Go
to URL button to launch their Web browsers and jump to the URL.
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Note
Because only people who open your image in Photoshop have access to the information in the File Info dialog box, you may want to embed a digital watermark
into your image as well. Many watermarking programs exist, ranging from simple
tools that merely imprint copyright data to those that build in protection features
designed to prevent illegal downloading and reproduction of images. Photoshop
provides a watermarking utility from Digimarc as a plug-in on the Filters menu;
before using the plug-in, visit the Digimarc Web site (www.digimarc.com) to find
out which, if any, of the Digimarc watermarking schemes best suits the type of
work you do.
Caution
File information is only saved in file formats that support saving extra data with
the file. This includes the native Photoshop (.psd) format, Encapsulated PostScript
(.eps), PDF (.pdf), JPEG (.jpg), and TIFF (.tif). Because you cannot format the text in
the File Info dialog box, it consumes little space on disk — 1 byte per character —
meaning that you can fill in every option box without adding 1K.
You can also save the information from the File Info dialog box by clicking the Save
button. Or open information saved to disk previously by clicking Load. To add the
information from a saved file to the information you’ve already entered into the
File Info dialog box, click the Append button.
Photoshop
Tip
Using the Actions palette, you can create an action that adds your specific copyright,
byline, and URL to an image. After recording the action, you can automatically add
the information to an entire folder of files using File ➪ Automate ➪ Batch. For more
information on the Actions palette and Batch command, read the last half of
Chapter B on this book’s CD-ROM.
Taping notes to your image
6
Photoshop 6 enables you to slap the digital equivalent of a sticky note onto your
image. The notes can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat (assuming that you save the
image in the PDF format) as well as in Photoshop 6. You can jot down ideas that
you want to remember later, for example. Or, if you’re routing an image for approval,
you can ask questions about a certain image element — or, more likely, explain why
a part of the picture looks the way it does and why changing it would be an absolute
travesty and total abdication of your artistic integrity.
The Photoshop notes tool works like its counterpart in Adobe Acrobat: Click in the
image window to display a blank note, as shown in Figure 3-21, or drag to create a
custom-sized note. If you don’t see your name in the Author box on the Options bar,
double-click the box and type your name. (By default, Photoshop displays the user
name you entered when you installed the program.) Type your comments — all the
standard text-editing techniques apply — and then click the close box in the upperleft corner of the note window. Your note shrinks to a little note icon, as shown in
the figure. Double-click the icon to redisplay the note text.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Note icon
Open note
Figure 3-21: After adding text-based notes or audio
comments to an image, save the file in the PDF format
so that others can access the annotations when viewing
the image in Adobe Acrobat.
Photoshop
When you save your image, be sure to save in the Photoshop native format or PDF
and select the Annotations check box in the Save dialog box. Otherwise, you lose all
your notes. For information on how to delete individual notes in an open image and
how to customize and import notes, skip to the section “Managing annotations.”
Voicing your opinions
6
If you like to speak your mind rather than put your thoughts in writing, check out
the audio annotation tool. This tool works like the notes tool except that it inserts
an audio recording of your voice rather than a text message into the file. Of course,
you need a microphone, speakers, and a sound card installed in your computer to
use this feature. Also, Photoshop retains audio annotations only when you save the
image file using the Photoshop native format or PDF, as with text notes. Be aware,
too, that audio files increase file size significantly.
The audio annotation tool shares quarters with the notes tool in the toolbox.
Press N to toggle between the two tools (or Shift+N, depending on the preference
you established in the General panel of the Preferences dialog box). Click in your
image at the spot where you want the icon representing your message to appear.
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When the Audio Annotation dialog box appears, click Start to begin your recording
and then talk into the microphone. Click Stop when you’ve said all you have to say.
Photoshop
Photoshop represents your audio message with a little speaker icon in the image
window. Double-click the icon to play the message.
Managing annotations
6
If you’re a solo artist and the only approval of your work you need is your own, you
may not have much reason to use the notes or audio annotation tools. Then again,
you may be an easily distracted sort and find annotations a terrific way to remind
yourself exactly what you’re trying to accomplish in an image. And who’s to say
that your friends won’t love being able to hear an audio clip of your dog Binky
yapping at the vacuum cleaner when they view his picture in Acrobat?
Whether you’re using annotations for fun or profit, use the following strategies to
manage audio and text annotations:
✦ Use the Font and Size controls on the Options bar to change the font and type
size in an open note.
✦ Click the Color icon to change the color of the icon and title bar for any new
note you create. This option comes in handy if several people will be reviewing the image and putting in their two cents’ worth. You can assign a different
color to each author. To change the color of an existing note, open the note
and click the Color icon. This time, you affect only the open note — other
notes by the same author don’t change.
✦ You can move and copy annotations between image windows. Just click the
icon and use the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands as you do to move and copy
any selection.
✦ If an icon blocks your view of the image, you can drag it out of the way.
However, when you open the note, its window appears in the icon’s original
location. Drag the size box in the lower-right corner of an open note to shrink
the window if necessary.
✦ Choose View ➪ Show ➪ Notes to toggle the display of annotation icons on
and off. Alternatively, choose View ➪ Hide All and View ➪ Show All to hide
and display icons and other interface elements such as selection marquees,
guides, and so on.
✦ To delete a single annotation, click its icon and press Delete. Or right-click
the icon and choose Delete Note. If you want to delete all annotations, choose
Delete All Notes or click the Clear All button on the Options bar.
Tip
If you send out several copies of the same image for approval, you don’t have
to open each copy individually to read the annotations. Instead, open just one
copy and then import the annotations from the other files. Choose File ➪ Import ➪
Annotations, select the files containing the annotations, and click Open. Photoshop
gathers up all the annotations and dumps them into your open image.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Caution
Remember to save your image in the PDF or Photoshop 6 file format to retain
annotations in a file. And if you’re sending an annotated file to other people for
viewing, tell them that they need to use Adobe Acrobat 4.0 or higher to access
the annotations.
Resampling and Cropping
After you bring up an image — whether you created it from scratch or opened an
existing image stored in one of the five billion formats discussed in the preceding
pages — its size and resolution are established. Neither size nor resolution is set in
stone, however. Photoshop provides two methods for changing the number of pixels
in an image: resampling and cropping.
Resizing versus resampling
Typically, when folks talk about resizing an image, they mean enlarging or reducing
it without changing the number of pixels in the image, as demonstrated back in
Figure 3-1. By contrast, resampling an image means scaling it so the image contains
a larger or smaller number of pixels. With resizing, an inverse relationship exists
between size and resolution — size increases when resolution decreases, and vice
versa. But resampling affects either size or resolution independently. Figure 3-22
shows an image resized and resampled to 50 percent of its original dimensions.
The resampled and original images have identical resolutions, but the resized
image has twice the resolution of its companions.
Resizing an image
To resize an image, use one of the techniques discussed in the “Changing the printing resolution” section near the beginning of this chapter. To recap briefly, the best
method is to choose Image ➪ Image Size, turn off the Resample Image check box,
and enter a value into the Resolution option box. See Figure 3-2 to refresh your
memory.
Resampling an image
You also use Image ➪ Image Size to resample an image. The difference is that you
leave the Resample Image check box turned on, as shown in Figure 3-23. As its
name implies, the Resample Image check box is the key to resampling.
When Resample Image is selected, the Resolution value is independent of both sets
of Width and Height values. (The only difference between the two sets of options is
that the top options work in pixels and the bottom options work in relative units of
measure such as percent and inches.) You can increase the number of pixels in an
image by increasing any of the five values in the dialog box; you can decrease the
number of pixels by decreasing any value. Photoshop stretches or shrinks the
image according to the new size specifications.
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Figure 3-22: An image
(top) resized (bottom left)
and resampled (bottom
right) down to 50 percent.
The resized image sports a
higher resolution; the
resampled one contains
fewer pixels.
Original
Resized
Resampled
At all times, you can see the new number of pixels Photoshop will assign to the
image, as well as the increased or decreased file size. In Figure 3-23, for example,
I’ve changed the first Width value to 56 percent. The Pixel Dimensions value at
the top of the dialog box reflects my change by reading 5.12M (was 16.3M),
which shows that the file size has decreased.
To calculate the pixels in the resampled image, Photoshop must use its powers
of interpolation, as explained in the “General preferences” section of Chapter 2. The
interpolation setting defaults to the one chosen in the Preferences dialog box. But
you can also change the setting right inside the Image Size dialog box. Simply select
the desired method from the Resample Image pop-up menu. Bicubic results in the
smoothest effects. Bilinear is faster. And Nearest Neighbor turns off interpolation
so Photoshop merely throws away the pixels it doesn’t need or duplicates pixels
to resample up.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-23: With the Resample Image check box turned
on, you can modify the number of pixels in your image.
Here are a few more random items you should know about resampling with the
Image Size dialog box:
✦ This may sound odd, but you generally want to avoid adding pixels. When you
resample up, you’re asking Photoshop to make up details from thin air, and
the program isn’t that smart. Simply put, an enlarged image almost never
looks better than the original; it merely takes up more disk space and prints
slower.
Tip
✦ Resampling down, on the other hand, is a useful technique. It enables you to
smooth away photo grain, halftone patterns, and other scanning artifacts.
One of the most tried-and-true rules is to scan at the maximum resolution
permitted by your scanner and then resample the scan down to, say, 72 or
46 percent (with the interpolation set to Bicubic, naturally). By selecting a
round value other than 50 percent, you force Photoshop to jumble the pixels
into a regular, homogenous soup. You’re left with fewer pixels, but these
remaining pixels are better. And you have the added benefit that the image
takes up less space on disk.
✦ To make an image tall and thin or short and fat, you must first turn off the
Constrain Proportions check box. This enables you to edit the two Width
values entirely independently of the two Height values.
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Tip
✦ You can resample an image to match precisely the size and resolution of any
other open image. While the Image Size dialog box is open, choose the name
of the image you want to match from the Window menu.
✦ If you need help resampling an image to the proper size for a print job,
choose Help ➪ Resize Image to bring up the Resize Image Wizard. The dialog
box walks you through the process of resampling step by step. It’s really for
rank beginners, but you might find it helpful when you want to turn the old
brain off and set Photoshop to autopilot. (Note that Adobe uses the word
“resize” simply because it’s friendlier than “resample.” Whatever it’s called,
this command does indeed resample.)
If you ever get confused inside the Image Size dialog box and you want to return
to the original size and resolution settings, press the Alt key to change the Cancel
button to Reset. Then click the Reset button to start from the beginning.
Caution
Photoshop remembers the setting of the Resample Image check box and uses this
same setting the next time you open the Image Size dialog box. This can trip you
up if you record an action for the Actions palette, as discussed in Chapter B on
this book’s CD-ROM. Suppose that you create an action to resize images, turning
Resample Image off. If you later resample an image — turning on Resample Image —
the check box stays selected when you close the dialog box. The next time you
run the action, you end up resampling instead of resizing. Always check the status
of the check box before you apply the Image Size command or run any actions
containing the command.
Cropping
Another way to change the number of pixels in an image is to crop it, which means
to clip away pixels around the edges of an image without harming the remaining
pixels. (The one exception occurs when you rotate a cropped image or use the
new perspective crop feature, in which case Photoshop has to interpolate pixels
to account for the rotation.)
Photoshop
Cropping enables you to focus on an element in your image. For example, Figure 3-24
shows a bit of urban graffiti from a Digital Stock CD. I like this fellow’s face — good
chiaroscuro — but I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with this guy. I mean, what’s
with the screw? And is that a clown hat or what? That’s the problem with graffiti —
no art direction. Luckily, I can crop around the guy’s head to delete the extraneous
image elements and hone in on his sleepy features, as shown in Figure 3-25.
6
Version 6 offers several new, cutting-edge cropping options — har har — including
the capability to crop nonrectangular selections, automatically trim away transparent
areas from the borders of an image, and correct perspective effects while cropping.
You can read about all these features in the upcoming sections.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-24: This image contains too much extraneous information. Where
should my eye go? I’m so confused.
Figure 3-25: Cropping enables you to clean
up the background junk and focus on the
essential foreground image.
Changing the canvas size
One way to crop an image is to choose Image ➪ Canvas Size, which displays the
Canvas Size dialog box shown in Figure 3-26. The options in this dialog box enable
you to scale the imaginary canvas on which the image rests separately from the
image itself.
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Figure 3-26: Choose Image ➪
Canvas Size to crop an image or
to add empty space around the
perimeter of an image.
If you enlarge the canvas, Photoshop surrounds the image with a white background
(assuming the background color is white). If you reduce the canvas, you crop the
image.
Photoshop
Click inside the Anchor grid to specify the placement of the image on the new
canvas. For example, if you want to add space to the bottom of an image, enlarge
the canvas size and then click inside the upper-middle square. If you want to crop
away the upper-left corner of an image, create a smaller canvas size and then click
the lower-right square. The Anchor grid offers little arrows to show how the canvas
will shrink or grow.
6
Tip
To shrink the canvas so that it exactly fits the image, don’t waste your time with
the Canvas Size dialog box. Using a nifty new command, Image ➪ Trim, you can
automatically clip away empty canvas areas on the outskirts of your image. When
you choose the command, the dialog box shown in Figure 3-27 appears. To snip
away empty canvas, select the Transparent Pixels radio button. Then specify which
edges of the canvas you want to slice off by using the four Trim Away check boxes.
Alternatively, you can tell Photoshop to trim the image based on the pixel color
in the top-left corner of the image or the bottom-right corner — just click the
appropriate Based On radio button. For example, if you have a blue stripe running
down the left edge of your image and you select the Top Left Pixel Color radio
button, Photoshop clips away the stripe. No trimming occurs unless the entire
edge of the image is bounded by the selected color.
When you want to enlarge the canvas but aren’t concerned with making it a specific
size, try this time-saving trick: Drag with the crop tool to create a crop marquee and
then enlarge the crop marquee beyond the boundaries of the image (see the next
section if you need help). When you press Enter to apply the crop, the canvas
grows to match the size of the crop marquee.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Figure 3-27: To quickly snip away
transparent areas from the edges
of an image, use the new Image ➪
Trim command.
Using the crop tool
Photoshop
Generally speaking, the Canvas Size command is most useful for enlarging the
canvas or shaving a few pixels off the edge of an image. If you want to crop away
a large portion of an image, using the crop tool is a better choice.
6
Press C or click the crop icon in the toolbox to activate the tool. The crop tool
regains its own slot in the toolbox in Version 6, which means that you no longer
have to slog through the marquee flyout menu to select the tool. And that’s just
the beginning of the changes to the crop tool. You still drag with the tool to create
a rectangular marquee that surrounds the portion of the image you want to retain.
But you can control what happens during and after you crop in two important ways:
✦ To help you distinguish the borders of the crop marquee, Photoshop displays
a colored, translucent overlay on the area outside the crop box — similar to
the way it indicates masked versus unmasked areas when you work in the
quick mask mode. Hate the overlay? Deselect the Shield Cropped Area check
box on the Options bar. You also can click the neighboring color box to
change the overlay and set the overlay opacity through the Opacity pop-up
menu. Note that these controls don’t appear on the Options bar until after
you create your initial crop marquee.
✦ You now have the option of permanently discarding the pixels you crop or
simply hiding them from view. Before you drag with the crop tool, click the
Delete or Hide radio button on the Options bar to signify your preference.
If you choose Hide, you can bring the hidden regions back into view by
enlarging the canvas or by using the new Image ➪ Reveal All command.
Tip
As you drag, you can press the spacebar to move the crop boundary temporarily
on the fly. To stop moving the boundary and return to resizing it, release the
spacebar.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
If you don’t get the crop marquee right the first time, you can move, scale, or rotate
it at will. Here’s what you do:
✦ Drag inside the crop marquee to move it.
✦ Drag one of the square handles to resize the marquee. You can Shift-drag a
handle to scale the marquee proportionally (the same percentage vertically
and horizontally).
✦ Drag outside the crop marquee to rotate it, as explained in the next section.
This may strike you as weird at first, but it works wonderfully.
✦ Drag the origin point (labeled in Figure 3-28) to change the center of a rotation.
Origin point
Crop marquee
Handles
Rotate cursor
Photoshop
Figure 3-28: Align the crop marquee with an obvious axis in your
image to determine the proper angle of rotation.
6
✦ Select the Perspective check box on the Options bar, and you can drag corner
handles to distort the image. What’s the point? Well, the primary reason to use
this option is to correct convergence problems that often occur when you take
pictures using a wide-angle lens. Vertical structures along the edges of the
image tend to lean one way or another due to the design of the lens.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
The problem is, you can’t preview the results of your drags or undo the
distortion, which makes correcting convergence with the crop tool a hit-ormiss proposition. So I suggest that you tackle convergence problems using
the Free Transform command, covered in Chapter 12, and do your cropping
afterwards.
When the marquee surrounds the exact portion of the image you want to keep,
apply the crop by pressing Enter or double-clicking inside the marquee. You also
can click the OK button on the Options bar, which is the giant check mark at the
right end of the bar.
If you change your mind about cropping, you can cancel the crop marquee by
pressing Escape or clicking the Cancel button, the big X next to the check mark
on the Options bar.
Rotating the crop marquee
As I said, you can rotate an image by dragging outside the crop marquee. Straightening
a crooked image, however, can be a little tricky. I wish I had a certified check for every
time I thought I had the marquee rotated properly, only to find the image was still
crooked after I pressed Enter. If this happens to you, choose Edit ➪ Undo (Ctrl+Z) and
try again. Do not try using the crop tool a second time to rotate the already rotated
image. If you do, Photoshop sets about interpolating between already interpolated
pixels, resulting in more lost data. Every rotation gets farther away from the original
image.
Tip
A better solution is to do it right the first time. Locate a line or general axis in your
image that should be straight up and down. Rotate the crop marquee so it aligns
exactly with this axis. In Figure 3-28, I rotated my crop marquee so one edge bisects
the graffiti guy’s egg-shaped head. Don’t worry, this isn’t how you want to crop the
image — you’re just using the line as a reference. After you arrive at the correct
angle for the marquee, drag the handles to size and position the boundary properly.
As long as you don’t drag outside the marquee, its angle remains fixed throughout.
Yet another solution is to use the measure tool. Just drag with the tool along the
axis you want to make vertical and note the angle (A:) value in the Info palette. I
don’t like this technique as much because it requires you to do some unnatural
math — depending on how you drag, you may have to subtract 90 degrees from the
A: value or subtract the A: value from 90 degrees. Then you keep an eye on the Info
palette and rotate until you get an A: value that matches the answer to the previous
equation. If you like math, great. If not, it’s much simpler to use the technique I
suggested in the preceding paragraph.
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Part I ✦ Welcome to Photoshop 6
Cropping an image to match another
There are two ways to crop an image so it matches the size and resolution of
another image:
✦ Bring the image you want to crop forward and choose Image ➪ Canvas Size.
Then, while inside the Canvas Size dialog box, select the name of the image
you want to match from the Window menu.
Photoshop
Tip
6
This method doesn’t give you much control when cropping an image, but
it’s a great way to enlarge the canvas and add empty space around an image.
✦ Better yet, use the crop tool in its fixed-size mode. This feature works
differently than in versions past, so pay attention: First, bring the image
you want to match to the front. Then select the crop tool and click the Front
Image button on the Options bar. (Don’t waste time looking for the old Fixed
Target Size option — it’s gone. The tool automatically shifts into fixed-size
mode when you click the Front Image button.) The Width, Height, and
Resolution options automatically update to show the size and resolution
of the front image.
Now bring the image you want to crop to the front and drag with the crop
tool as normal. Photoshop constrains the crop marquee to the proportions
of the targeted image. After you press Enter, Photoshop crops, resamples,
and rotates the image as necessary.
Photoshop
Note
The next time you select the crop tool, it starts out in fixed-size mode. To
return the tool to normal, click the Clear button on the Options bar.
Cropping a selection
6
Another way to crop an image is to create a selection and then choose Image ➪
Crop. As with the Version 6 crop tool, the Crop command gives you the option of
permanently eliminating cropped pixels or simply hiding them in the image file.
You can bring back hidden pixels at any time by choosing Image ➪ Reveal All or
simply enlarging the canvas. (If you save the image in a file format other than the
native Photoshop format, however, hidden pixels are abandoned forever.)
One advantage of the Crop command is that you needn’t switch back and forth
between the marquee and crop tools. One tool is all you need to select and crop.
(If you’re as lazy as I am, the mere act of selecting a tool can prove more effort than
it’s worth.) And, as with the crop tool, you can now press the spacebar while you
draw a marquee to move it on the fly. It’s no trick to get the placement and size
exactly right — the only thing you can’t do is rotate.
Chapter 3 ✦ Image Fundamentals
Another advantage of the Crop command is flexibility. With the Crop command, you
get all the following options:
Photoshop
✦ After drawing a selection, you can switch windows, apply commands, and
generally use any function you like prior to choosing Image ➪ Crop. The crop
tool, by contrast, is much more limiting. After drawing a cropping marquee,
you can’t do anything but adjust the marquee until you press Enter to accept
the crop or Escape to dismiss it.
6
✦ You can use the Crop command on selections of any shape, even feathered
selections and multiple discontiguous selections. Of course, your image canvas
remains rectangular no matter what the selection shape. Photoshop simply
crops the canvas to the smallest size that can hold all selected areas.
✦ Finally, Image ➪ Crop lets you crop the canvas to the boundaries of an image
pasted from the Clipboard or dragged and dropped from another image window. As long as the boundaries of the pasted image are rectangular, as in the
case of an image copied from a different application, you can choose Edit ➪
Paste, Ctrl-click the new layer in the Layers palette to regain the selection
outline, and then choose Image ➪ Crop. Photoshop replaces the former
image and crops the window to fit the new image.
✦
✦
✦
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4
C H A P T E R
Defining Colors
Selecting and Editing Colors
Occasionally, the state of computer graphics technology
reminds me of television in the early 1950s. Only the upper
echelon of Photoshop artists can afford to work exclusively
in the wonderful world of color. The rest of us have to be
prepared to print many or even most of our images in black
and white.
CrossReference
Some of you might be thinking, “Wait a second, what about
the equalizing force of the Internet? It brings color to all of
us!” Well, I concur wholeheartedly. Nearly everyone owns a
color monitor, so we can all share color images freely. If this
appeals to you, advance to Chapter 19 and learn how you can
reduce color palettes and otherwise prepare your images for
the bold new challenges of the Technicolor Web.
Regardless of who you are — print person or Web head — color
is a prime concern. Even gray values, after all, are colors. Many
folks have problems accepting this premise — I guess we’re all
so used to separating the worlds of grays and other colors in
our minds that never the two shall meet. But gray values are
only variations on what Noah Webster used to call “The sensation resulting from stimulation of the retina of the eye by light
waves of certain lengths.” (Give the guy a few drinks and he’d
spout off 19 more definitions, not including the meanings of
the transitive verb.) Just as black and white represent a subset
of gray, gray is a subset of color. In fact, you’ll find that using
Photoshop involves a lot of navigating through these and other
colorful subsets.
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Using the color controls
in the toolbox
Selecting and defining
colors in the Color
Picker dialog box
In-depth examinations
of the RGB, HSB,
CMYK, and Lab
Color Models
Creating grayscale and
black-and-white images
Introductions to the
Trumatch and Pantone
color standards
Using the Color palette
and eyedropper
Keeping an eye on
colors with the color
sampler tool
Understanding how
color channels work
Using channel editing
commands in the
Channels palette
Improving the
appearance of poorly
scanned images
Editing channels to
achieve special effects
✦
✦
✦
✦
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
Specifying colors
First off, Photoshop provides four color controls in the toolbox, as shown in
Figure 4-1. These icons work as follows:
Photoshop
✦ Foreground color: The foreground color icon indicates the color you apply
when you use the type, paint bucket, line, pencil, airbrush, or paintbrush tool,
or if you Alt-drag with the smudge tool. The foreground color also begins any
gradation created with the gradient tool (assuming that you create a custom
gradient, not one of the prefab gradients available through the gradient styles
pop-up menu).
6
Photoshop fills any shapes you create with the new shape tool with the foreground color. You can apply the foreground color to a standard selection by
choosing Edit ➪ Fill or Edit ➪ Stroke or by pressing Alt+Backspace.
To change the foreground color, click the foreground color icon to display the
Color Picker dialog box, select a new color in the Color palette, or click an
open image window with the eyedropper tool. You also can set the foreground
color by clicking a swatch in the Swatches palette (both explained later in this
chapter).
Switch colors (X)
Foreground color
Background color
Default colors (D)
Figure 4-1: The color controls provided with
Photoshop (along with keyboard shortcuts in
parentheses, where applicable).
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
✦ Background color: The active background color indicates the color you apply
with the eraser tool. The background color also ends any custom gradation created with the gradient tool. To change the background color, click the background color icon to display the Color Picker dialog box. Or define the color by
using the Color palette, clicking a swatch in the Swatches palette, or Alt-clicking
any open image window with the eyedropper tool.
You can apply the background color to a selection by pressing Backspace or
Delete. But if the selection is floating or exists on any layer except the background layer, Backspace actually deletes the selection instead of filling it. For
complete safety, avoid the Backspace key and use Ctrl+Backspace to fill a
selection with the background color instead.
✦ Switch colors: Click this icon (or press X) to exchange the foreground and
background colors.
✦ Default colors: Click this icon (or press D) to make the foreground color black
and the background color white, according to their factory default settings.
If you’re editing a layer mask or an adjustment layer, the default colors are
reversed, as explained in Chapter 12.
Using the Color Picker
When you click the foreground or background color icon in the toolbox or the Color
palette, Photoshop displays the Color Picker dialog box. (This assumes that Adobe is
the active option in the Color Picker pop-up menu in the General Preferences dialog
box. If you select the Windows option, the generic Windows Color Picker appears; see
Chapter 2 on why you shouldn’t select this option.) Figure 4-2 labels the wealth of elements and options in the Color Picker dialog box, which work as follows:
✦ Color slider: Use the color slider to home in on the color you want to select.
Drag up or down on either of the slider triangles to select a color from a particular 8-bit range. The colors represented inside the slider correspond to the
selected radio button. For example, if you select the H (Hue) radio button,
which is the default setting, the slider colors represent the full 8-bit range of
hues. If you select S (Saturation), the slider shows the current hue at full saturation at the top of the slider, down to no saturation — or gray — at the bottom of the slider. If you select B (Brightness), the slider shows the 8-bit range
of brightness values, from solid color at the top of the slider to absolute black
at the bottom. You also can select R (Red), G (Green), or B (Blue), in which
case the top of the slider shows you what the current color looks like when
subjected to full-intensity red, green, or blue (respectively), and the bottom
of the slider shows every bit of red, green, or blue subtracted.
CrossReference
For a proper introduction to the HSB and RGB color models, including definitions of specific terms such as hue, saturation, and brightness, read the
“Working in Different Color Modes” section later in this chapter.
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
Color selection marker Previous color
Color field
Color slider
Current color
Slider triangles
Alert triangle
Closest CMYK
Hexadecimal value
Closest Web-safe
Web-safe alert cube
Figure 4-2: Use the elements and options in the Color Picker dialog box to
specify a new foreground or background color from the 16-million-color range.
✦ Color field: The color field shows a 16-bit range of variations on the current
slider color. Click inside it to move the color selection marker and, thereby,
select a new color. The field graphs colors against the two remaining attributes
not represented by the color slider. For example, if you select the H (Hue)
radio button, the field graphs colors according to brightness vertically and
saturation horizontally, as demonstrated in the first example of Figure 4-3.
The other examples show what happens to the color field when you select
the S (Saturation) and B (Brightness) radio buttons.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
360°
Hue
Brightness
100%
0%
0°
0%
Saturation
100%
100%
Saturation
Brightness
100%
0%
0%
0°
Hue
360°
100%
100%
Saturation
Brightness
0%
0%
0°
Hue
360°
Figure 4-3: The color field graphs colors against the two attributes
not represented in the slider. Here you can see how color is laid out
when you select (top to bottom) the H (Hue), S (Saturation), and
B (Brightness) radio buttons.
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
Likewise, Figure 4-4 shows how the field graphs colors when you select the R
(Red), G (Green), and B (Blue) radio buttons. Obviously, it would help to see
these images in color, but you probably couldn’t afford this big, fat book if
we’d printed it in full color. So I recommend you experiment with the Color
Picker inside your version of Photoshop or refer to Color Plate 4-1 to see how
the dialog box looks when the H (Hue), S (Saturation), and B (Brightness)
options are selected.
Note
Slider and field always work together to represent the entire 16 million color
range. The slider displays 256 colors, and the field displays 65,000 variations
on the slider color; 256 times 65,000 is 16 million. No matter which radio button you select, you have access to the same colors; only your means of
accessing them changes.
✦ Current color: The color currently selected from the color field appears in the
top rectangle immediately to the right of the color slider. Click the OK button
or press Enter to make this the current foreground or background color
(depending on which color control icon in the Toolbox you originally clicked
to display the Color Picker dialog box).
✦ Previous color: The bottom rectangle to the right of the color slider shows
how the foreground or background color — whichever one you are in the
process of editing — looked before you displayed the Color Picker dialog
box. Click the Cancel button or press Escape to leave this color intact.
✦ Alert triangle: The alert triangle appears when you select a bright color that
Photoshop can’t print using standard process colors. The box below the triangle shows the closest CMYK equivalent, invariably a duller version of the color.
Click either the triangle or the box to bring the color into the printable range.
✦ Web-safe alert cube: Added in Version 5.5, the little cube appears if you select
a color that’s not included in the so-called Web-safe palette, a 216-color spectrum that’s supposedly ideal for creating Web graphics. You can get my take
on this palette in Chapter 19; for now, just know that if you click either the
cube or the swatch below, Photoshop selects the closest Web-safe equivalent
to the color you originally selected.
Entering numeric color values
In addition to selecting colors using the slider and color field, you can enter specific
color values in the option boxes in the lower-right region of the Color Picker dialog
box. Novices and intermediates may find these options less satisfying to use than
the slider and field. These options, however, enable artists and print professionals
to specify exact color values, whether to make controlled adjustments to a color
already in use or to match a color used in another document. The options fall into
one of four camps:
✦ HSB: These options stand for hue, saturation, and brightness. Hue is measured
on a 360-degree circle. Saturation and brightness are measured from 0 to 100
percent. These options permit access to more than 3 million color variations.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
255
Red
Green
255
0
0
0
Blue
255
255
255
Red
Green
0
0
0
Blue
255
255
Blue
Green
255
0
0
0
Red
255
Figure 4-4: The results of selecting (top to bottom)
the R (Red), G (Green), and B (Blue) radio buttons.
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
✦ RGB: You can change the amount of the primary colors red, green, and blue
by specifying the brightness value of each color from 0 to 255. These options
enable access to more than 16 million color variations.
✦ Lab: This acronym stands for luminosity, measured from 0 to 100 percent, and
two arbitrary color axes, a and b, whose brightness values range from –120 to
120. These options enable access to more than 6 million color variations.
✦ CMYK: These options display the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black
ink required to print the current color. When you click the alert triangle, these
are the only values that don’t change, because they make up the closest CMYK
equivalent.
At the bottom of the dialog box, the value next to the pound sign (#) shows you the
hexadecimal value for the chosen color (see Figure 4-2). This value comes into play
only if you’re creating Web graphics — and maybe not even then.
In Web-land, every color is assigned a numeric value based on the hexadecimal
numbering system. Each value includes a total of three pairs of numbers or letters,
one pair each for the R, G, and B values. When you create a color tag in HTML code,
you enter the hexadecimal value for the color you want to use. Fortunately, you can
now create a Web page without having to write your own HTML code; today’s pagecreation programs do the work for you. But if you prefer to do your own coding —
you lovable geek, you — make note of the hexadecimal value in the Color Picker
dialog box.
Tip
This option can also come in handy if you want to precisely match a color on
an existing Web page. Just look at the HTML coding for the page, note the hexadecimal value in the appropriate color tag, and enter that value in the Color
Picker dialog box.
In my opinion, the numerical range of these options is bewildering. For example,
numerically speaking, the CMYK options enable you to create 100 million unique
colors, whereas the RGB options enable the standard 16 million variations, and the
Lab options enable a scant 6 million. Yet Lab is the largest color space, theoretically
encompassing all colors from both CMYK and RGB. The printing standard CMYK
provides by far the fewest colors, the opposite of what you might expect. What
gives? Misleading numerical ranges. How do these weird color models work?
Keep reading and you’ll find out.
Working in Different Color Modes
The four sets of option boxes inside the Color Picker dialog box represent color
models — or, if you prefer, color modes (one less letter, no less meaning, perfect
for you folks who are trying to cut down in life). Color models are different ways
to define colors both on screen and on the printed page.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Outside the Color Picker dialog box, you can work inside any one of these color
models by choosing a command from the Image ➪ Mode submenu. In doing so, you
generally change the colors in your image by dumping a few hundred, or even thousand, colors with no equivalents in the new color model. The only exception is Lab,
which in theory encompasses every unique color your eyes can detect.
Rather than discuss the color models in the order in which they occur in the Mode
submenu, I cover them in logical order, starting with the most common and widely
accepted color model, RGB. Also, note that I don’t discuss the duotone or multichannel modes now. Image ➪ Mode ➪ Duotone represents an alternative method
for printing grayscale images, so it is discussed in Chapter 18. The multichannel
mode, meanwhile, is not even a color model. Rather, Image ➪ Mode ➪ Multichannel
enables you to separate an image into independent channels, which you then can
swap around and splice back together to create special effects. For more information, see the “Using multichannel techniques” section later in this chapter.
RGB
RGB is the color model of light. RGB comprises three primary colors — red, green,
and blue — each of which can vary between 256 levels of intensity (called brightness values, as discussed in previous chapters). The RGB model is also called the
additive primary model, because a color becomes lighter as you add higher levels
of red, green, and blue light. All monitors, projection devices, and other items that
transmit or filter light — including televisions, movie projectors, colored stage
lights, and even stained glass — rely on the additive primary model.
Red, green, and blue light mix as follows:
✦ Red and green: Full-intensity red and green mix to form yellow. Subtract some
red to make chartreuse; subtract some green to make orange. All these colors
assume a complete lack of blue.
✦ Green and blue: Full-intensity green and blue with no red mix to form cyan.
If you try hard enough, you can come up with 65,000 colors in the turquoise/
jade/sky blue/sea green range.
✦ Blue and red: Full-intensity blue and red mix to form magenta. Subtract some
blue to make rose; subtract some red to make purple. All these colors assume
a complete lack of green.
✦ Red, green, and blue: Full-intensity red, green, and blue mix to form white,
the absolute brightest color in the visible spectrum.
✦ No light: Low intensities of red, green, and blue plunge a color into blackness.
As far as image editing is concerned, the RGB color model is ideal for editing images
on screen because it provides access to the entire range of 24-bit screen colors.
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
Furthermore, you can save an RGB image in every file format supported by Photoshop except GIF and the two DCS formats. As shown in Table 4-1, grayscale is the
only other color mode compatible with a wider range of file formats.
Table 4-1
File-Format Support for Photoshop 6 Color Models
Note
Bitmap
Grayscale
Duotone
Indexed
RGB
Lab
CMYK
Photoshop
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
BMP
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
DCS 1.0
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
DCS 2.0
Yes
Yes
Yes*
No
No
No
Yes
EPS
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
GIF
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
JPEG
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
PCX
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
PDF
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
PICT
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
PNG
Yes**
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Scitex CT
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
TIFF
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Table 4-1 lists color models in the order they appear in the Image ➪ Mode submenu.
Again, I left out the multichannel mode because it is not a true color model. The one
exception is with duotones. Notice how I’ve included an asterisk (*) to DCS 2.0 support for duotones. This is because you can save a duotone in DCS 2.0 only after first
converting the image to the multichannel mode. For more information, consult
Chapter 18. As for the double asterisk with PNG in the Bitmap column: PNG supports Bitmap mode only on the Mac OS.
On the negative side, the RGB color model provides access to a wider range of colors than you can print. If you are designing an image for full-color printing, therefore, you can expect to lose many of the brightest and most vivid colors in your
image. The only way to avoid any color loss whatsoever is to have a professional
scan your image to CMYK and then edit it in the CMYK mode, but then you’re working inside a limited color range. Colors can get clipped when you apply special
effects, and the editing process can be exceptionally slow. The better solution is
to scan your images to RGB and edit them in the Lab mode, as explained in the
upcoming “CIE’s Lab” section.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
HSB
Back in Photoshop 2, the Modes menu provided access to the HSB — hue, saturation, brightness — color model, now relegated to the Color Picker dialog box and
the Color palette (discussed later in this chapter). Hue is pure color, the stuff rainbows are made of, measured on a 360-degree circle. Red is located at 0 degrees,
yellow at 60 degrees, green at 120 degrees, cyan at 180 degrees (midway around
the circle), blue at 240 degrees, and magenta at 300 degrees. This is basically a
pie-shaped version of the RGB model at full intensity.
Saturation represents the purity of the color. A zero saturation value equals gray.
White, black, and any other colors you can express in a grayscale image have no
saturation. Full saturation produces the purest version of a hue.
Brightness is the lightness or darkness of a color. A zero brightness value equals
black. Full brightness combined with full saturation results in the most vivid version of any hue.
CMYK
In nature, our eyes perceive pigments according to the subtractive color model. Sunlight contains every visible color found on Earth. When sunlight is projected on an
object, the object absorbs (subtracts) some of the light and reflects the rest. The
reflected light is the color you see. For example, a fire engine is bright red because it
absorbs all non-red — meaning all blue and green — from the white-light spectrum.
Pigments on a sheet of paper work the same way. You can even mix pigments to create other colors. Suppose you paint a red brush stroke, which absorbs green and
blue light, over a blue brush stroke, which absorbs green and red light. You get a
blackish mess with only a modicum of blue and red light left, along with a smidgen
of green because the colors weren’t absolutely pure.
But wait — every child knows red and blue mix to form purple. So what gives? What
gives is that what you learned in elementary school is only a rude approximation of
the truth. Did you ever try mixing a vivid red with a canary yellow only to produce
an ugly orange-brown glop? The reason you didn’t achieve the bright orange you
wanted is because red starts out darker than bright orange, which means you must
add a great deal of yellow before you arrive at orange. And even then, the yellow
had better be an incredibly bright lemon yellow, not some deep canary yellow with
a lot of red in it.
Commercial subtractive primaries
The subtractive primary colors used by commercial printers — cyan, magenta, and
yellow — are for the most part very light. Cyan absorbs only red light, magenta
absorbs only green light, and yellow absorbs only blue light. On their own, these
colors unfortunately don’t do a good job of producing dark colors. In fact, at full
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intensities, cyan, magenta, and yellow all mixed together don’t get much beyond a
muddy brown. That’s where black comes in. Black helps to accentuate shadows,
deepen dark colors, and, of course, print real blacks.
In case you’re wondering how colors mix in the CMYK model, it’s basically the
opposite of the RGB model. Because pigments are not as pure as primary colors
in the additive model, though, some differences exist:
✦ Cyan and magenta: Full-intensity cyan and magenta mix to form a deep blue
with a little violet. Subtract some cyan to make purple; subtract some magenta
to make a dull medium blue. All these colors assume a complete lack of yellow.
✦ Magenta and yellow: Full-intensity magenta and yellow mix to form a brilliant
red. Subtract some magenta to make vivid orange; subtract some yellow to
make rose. All these colors assume a complete lack of cyan.
✦ Yellow and cyan: Full-intensity yellow and cyan mix to form a bright green
with a hint of blue. Subtract some yellow to make a deep teal; subtract some
cyan to make chartreuse. All these colors assume a complete lack of magenta.
✦ Cyan, magenta, and yellow: Full-intensity cyan, magenta, and yellow mix to
form a muddy brown.
✦ Black: Black pigmentation added to any other pigment darkens the color.
✦ No pigment: No pigmentation results in white (assuming white is the paper
color).
Editing in CMYK
If you’re used to editing RGB images, editing in the CMYK mode can require some
new approaches, especially when editing individual color channels. When you view
a single color channel in the RGB mode (as discussed in the following chapter),
white indicates high-intensity color, and black indicates low-intensity color. It’s the
opposite in CMYK. When you view an individual color channel, black means highintensity color, and white means low-intensity color.
This doesn’t mean RGB and CMYK color channels look like inverted versions of
each other. In fact, because the color theory is inverted, they look much the same.
But if you’re trying to achieve the full-intensity colors mentioned in the preceding
section, you should apply black to the individual color channels, not white as you
would in the RGB mode.
Should I edit in CMYK?
RGB doesn’t accurately represent the colors you get when you print an image
because the RGB color space contains many colors — particularly very bright colors — that CMYK can’t touch. This is why when you switch from RGB to CMYK, the
colors appear duller. (If you’re familiar with painting, RGB is like oils and CMYK is
like acrylics. The latter lacks the depth of color provided by the former.)
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
For this reason, many folks advocate working exclusively in the CMYK mode, but
I do not. Although working in CMYK eliminates color disappointments, it is also
much slower because Photoshop has to convert CMYK values to your RGB screen
on the fly.
Furthermore, your scanner and monitor are RGB devices. No matter how you work,
a translation from RGB to CMYK color space must occur at some time. If you pay
the extra bucks to purchase a commercial drum scan, for example, you simply
make the translation at the beginning of the process — Scitex has no option but
to use RGB sensors internally — rather than at the end. Every color device on
Earth, in fact, is RGB except the printer.
You should wait to convert to the CMYK mode until right before you print. After
your artwork is finalized, choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ CMYK and make whatever edits
you deem necessary. For example, you might want to introduce a few color corrections, apply some sharpening, and even retouch a few details by hand. Photoshop
applies your changes more slowly in the CMYK mode, but at least you’re only
slowed down at the end of the job, not throughout the entire process.
Photoshop
CrossReference
Before converting an image to the CMYK color space, make certain Photoshop
is aware of the monitor you’re using and the printer you intend to use. These
two items can have a pronounced effect on how Photoshop generates a CMYK
image. I discuss how to set up your personal RGB and CMYK color spaces in the
“Creating Color Separations” section of Chapter 18.
Previewing the CMYK color space
6
While you’re editing in RGB mode, you can soft proof your image — display a rough
approximation of what the image will look like when converted to CMYK and
printed. Version 6 offers a few new options in this regard and changes the implementation of some old ones. To display colors in the CMYK color space, you now
choose View ➪ Proof Colors. You also can press the old CMYK preview keyboard
shortcut, Ctrl+Y.
But before you do either, select the output you want to preview from the View ➪ Proof
Colors submenu. Photoshop creates the proof display based on your selection. You
can preview the image using the current CMYK working space, choose Custom to
specify a particular outptut device, or preview the individual cyan, magenta, yellow,
and black plates. The plates appear as grayscale images unless you colorize them by
selecting the Color Channels in Color option in the Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K,
Ctrl+3). If you work with an older model color ink-jet printer that prints using just
cyan, magenta, and yellow, you can choose the working CMY Plates option to see
what your image will look like when printed without black ink.
View ➪ Gamut Warning (Ctrl+Shift+Y) is a companion to Photoshop’s CMYK preview
commands that covers so-called out-of-gamut colors — RGB colors with no CMYK
equivalents — with gray. I find this command less useful because it demonstrates
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a problem without suggesting a solution. You can desaturate the grayed colors
with the sponge tool (which I explain in Chapter 5), but this accomplishes little that
Photoshop won’t do automatically. A CMYK preview is much more serviceable and
representative of the final CMYK image.
CIE’s Lab
RGB isn’t the only mode that responds quickly and provides a bountiful range of
colors. Photoshop’s Lab color space comprises all the colors from RGB and CMYK
and is every bit as fast as RGB. Many high-end users prefer to work in this mode,
and I certainly advocate this if you’re brave enough.
Whereas the RGB mode is the color model of your luminescent computer screen
and the CMYK mode is the color model of the reflective page, Lab is independent of
light or pigment. Perhaps you’ve already heard the bit about how, in 1931, an international color organization called the Commission Internationale d’Eclairage (CIE)
developed a color model that, in theory, contains every single color the human eye
can see. (Gnats, iguanas, fruit bats, go find your own color models; humans, you
have CIE. Mutants and aliens — maybe CIE, maybe not, too early to tell.) Then, in
1976, the significant birthday of our nation, the CIE celebrated by coming up with
two additional color systems. One of those systems was Lab, and the other was
shrouded in secrecy. Well, at least I don’t know what the other one was. Probably
something that measures how, when using flash photography, the entire visible
spectrum of color can bounce off your retina and come out looking the exact shade
of red one normally associates with lab (not Lab) rabbits. But this is just a guess.
The beauty of the Lab color model is it fills in gaps in both the RGB and CMYK models. RGB, for example, provides an overabundance of colors in the blue-to-green
range but is stingy on yellows, oranges, and other colors in the green-to-red range.
Meanwhile, the colors missing from CMYK are enough to fill the holes in the Albert
Hall. Lab gets everything right.
Understanding Lab anatomy
The Lab mode features three color channels, one for luminosity and two others for
color ranges, known simply by the initials a and b. (The Greeks would have called
them alpha and beta, if that’s any help.) Upon hearing luminosity, you might think,
“Ah, just like HSL.” Well, to make things confusing, Lab’s luminosity is like HSB’s
brightness. White indicates full-intensity color.
Meanwhile, the a channel contains colors ranging from deep green (low-brightness
values) to gray (medium-brightness values) to vivid pink (high-brightness values).
The b channel ranges from bright blue (low-brightness values) to gray to burnt
yellow (high-brightness values). As in the RGB model, these colors mix together
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
to produce lighter colors. Only the brightness values in the luminosity channel
darken the colors. So you can think of Lab as a two-channel RGB with brightness
thrown on top.
To get a glimpse of how it works, try the following simple experiment.
STEPS: Testing Out the Lab Mode
1. Create a new image in the Lab mode — say, 300 × 300 pixels, setting the
Contents option to White.
2. Press D to return the default colors to the Toolbox. The foreground color
is now black and the background color is white.
3. Press Ctrl+2. This takes you to the a channel.
4. Click the gradient tool in the Toolbox. Or press Enter. In the Options
bar, select the Foreground to Background option from the gradient pop-up
menu, select the Linear gradient style, and select Normal from the Mode
pop-up menu. (See Chapter 6 if you need help using these controls on the
Options bar.)
5. Shift-drag with the gradient tool from the top to the bottom of the window.
This creates a vertical black-to-white gradation.
6. Press Ctrl+3. This takes you to the b channel.
7. Shift-drag from left to right with the gradient tool. Photoshop paints a horizontal gradation.
8. Press Ctrl+tilde (~) to return to the composite display. Now you can see all
channels at once. If you’re using a 24-bit monitor, you should be looking at a
window filled with an incredible array of super bright colors. In theory, these
are the brightest shades of all the colors you can see. In practice, however,
the colors are limited by the display capabilities of your RGB monitor.
Using Lab
Because it’s device independent, you can use the Lab mode to edit any image.
Editing in the Lab mode is as fast as editing in the RGB mode and several times
faster than editing in the CMYK mode. If you plan on printing your image to color
separations, you may want to experiment with using the Lab mode instead of RGB,
because Lab ensures no colors are altered when you convert the image to CMYK,
except to change colors that fall outside the CMYK range. In fact, any time you convert an image from RGB to CMYK, Photoshop automatically converts the image to
the Lab mode as an intermediate step.
Tip
If you work with Photo CDs often, open the scans directly from the Photo CD format
as Lab images. Kodak’s proprietary YCC color model is nearly identical to Lab, so
you can expect an absolute minimum of data loss; some people claim no loss whatsoever occurs.
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Grayscale
Grayscale is possibly my favorite color mode. Grayscale frees you from all the hassles
and expense of working with color and provides access to every bit of Photoshop’s
power and functionality. Anyone who says you can’t do as much with grayscale as
you can with color missed out on Citizen Kane, Grapes of Wrath, Manhattan, and
Raging Bull. You can print grayscale images to any laser printer, reproduce them in
any publication, and edit them on nearly any machine. Besides, they look great, they
remind you of old movies, and they make a hefty book such as this one affordable.
What could be better?
Other than extolling its virtues, however, there isn’t a whole lot to say about grayscale. You can convert an image to the grayscale mode regardless of its current
mode, and you can convert from grayscale to any other mode just as easily. In fact,
choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale is a necessary step in converting a color image
to a duotone or black-and-white bitmap.
Search your channels before converting
When you convert an image from one of the color modes to the grayscale mode,
Photoshop normally weights the values of each color channel in a way that retains
the apparent brightness of the overall image. For example, when you convert an
image from RGB, Photoshop weights red more heavily than blue when computing
dark values. This is because red is a darker-looking color than blue (much as that
might seem contrary to popular belief).
Tip
If you choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale while viewing a single color channel,
though, Photoshop retains all brightness values in that channel only and abandons
the data in the other channels. This can be an especially useful technique for rescuing a grayscale image from a bad RGB scan.
So before switching to the grayscale mode, be sure to look at the individual color
channels — particularly the red and green channels (the blue channel frequently
contains substandard detail) — to see how each channel might look on its own.
To browse the channels, press Ctrl+1 for red, Ctrl+2 for green, and Ctrl+3 for blue.
Or Ctrl+1 for cyan, Ctrl+2 for magenta, Ctrl+3 for yellow, and Ctrl+4 for black. Or
even Ctrl+1 for luminosity, Ctrl+2 for a, and Ctrl+3 for b. Chapter 16 describes
color channels in more detail.
Black and white (bitmap)
Choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Bitmap to convert a grayscale image to exclusively blackand-white pixels. This may sound like a boring option, but it can prove useful for
gaining complete control over the printing of grayscale images. After all, output
devices, such as laser printers and imagesetters, render grayscale images as a series
of tiny dots. Using the Bitmap command, you can specify the size, shape, and angle
of those dots.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
When you choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Bitmap, Photoshop displays the Bitmap dialog
box, shown in Figure 4-5. Here you specify the resolution of the black-and-white
image and select a conversion process. The options work as follows:
✦ Output: Specify the resolution of the black-and-white file. If you want control
over every single pixel available to your printer, raise this value to match your
printer’s resolution. As a rule of thumb, try setting the Output value somewhere between 200 to 250 percent of the Input value.
Figure 4-5: The Bitmap dialog box converts images
from grayscale to black and white.
✦ 50% Threshold: Select this option from the Use pop-up menu to change every
pixel that is darker than 50 percent gray to black and every pixel that is 50
percent gray or lighter to white. Unless you are working toward some special
effect — for example, overlaying a black-and-white version of an image over
the original grayscale image — this option most likely isn’t for you. (And if
you’re working toward a special effect, Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Threshold is the
better alternative.)
✦ Pattern Dither: To dither pixels is to mix them up to emulate different colors.
In this case, Photoshop mixes up black and white pixels to produce shades of
gray. The Pattern Dither option dithers an image using a geometric pattern.
Unfortunately, the results are pretty ugly, as demonstrated in the top example
in Figure 4-6. And the space between dots has a tendency to fill in, especially
when you output to a laser printer.
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✦ Diffusion Dither: Select this option from the Use pop-up menu to create a
mezzotint-like effect, as demonstrated in the second example in Figure 4-6.
Again, because this option converts an image into thousands of stray pixels,
you can expect your image to darken dramatically when output to a lowresolution laser printer and when reproduced. So be sure to lighten the
image with something like the Levels command (as described in Chapter 17)
before selecting this option.
Figure 4-6: The results of selecting the Pattern Dither option (top) and the much
more acceptable Diffusion Dither option (bottom).
✦ Halftone Screen: When you select this option from the Use pop-up menu and
press Enter, Photoshop displays the dialog box shown in Figure 4-7. These
options enable you to apply a dot pattern to the image, as demonstrated in
Figure 4-8. Enter the number of dots per inch in the Frequency option box and
the angle of the dots in the Angle option box. Then select a dot shape from the
Shape pop-up menu. Figure 4-8 shows examples of four shapes, each with a
frequency of 24 lines per inch.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Figure 4-7: This dialog box appears when you select the
Halftone Screen option in the Bitmap dialog box.
Round
Diamond
Line
Cross
Figure 4-8: Four random examples of halftone cell shapes. In all cases, the
Frequency value was set to 24.
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CrossReference
I cover screen patterns and frequency settings in more depth in the “Changing
the halftone screen” section of Chapter 18.
✦ Custom Pattern: If you’ve defined a repeating pattern using Edit ➪ Define
Pattern, you can use it as a custom dither pattern. Figure 4-9 shows two custom examples. I created the first pattern using the Twirl Pattern file, which is
stored in the Displacement Maps folder in the Plug-Ins folder. I created the
second pattern manually using the Add Noise, Emboss, and Ripple filters
(as discussed in the “Creating texture effects” section of Chapter A on the
CD-ROM for this book).
Figure 4-9: Two examples of employing repeating patterns (created with Edit ➪
Define Pattern) as custom halftoning patterns.
CrossReference
For a complete guide to creating and defining patterns in Photoshop, see the
“Applying Repeating Patterns” section of Chapter 7.
Photoshop
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
6
To use a custom pattern, open the Custom Pattern palette in the Bitmap dialog box, as shown in Figure 4-5. Click the icon for the pattern you want to use.
If you don’t feel like creating your own patterns, use one of the preset patterns
that ship with Photoshop 6. A number of these patterns appear by default in
the palette; to access additional patterns, choose Load from the palette menu
(click the right-pointing triangle in the upper-right corner of the palette to display the menu). You can find the patterns in the Patterns folder, which lives
inside the Presets folder. To delete a pattern from the palette, click its icon
and choose Delete from the palette menu.
Caution
Photoshop lets you edit individual pixels in the so-called bitmap mode, but that’s
about the extent of it. After you go to black-and-white, you can neither perform any
serious editing nor expect to return to the grayscale mode and restore your original
pixels. So be sure to finish your image editing before choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪
Bitmap. Even more important, make certain to save your image before converting
it to black-and-white. Frankly, saving is a good idea prior to performing any color
conversion.
Using Photoshop’s Other Color Selection
Methods
In addition to the Color Picker dialog box, Photoshop provides a handful of additional techniques for selecting colors. The sections that finish out this chapter
explain how to use the Custom Colors dialog box, the Colors palette, and the eyedropper tool. None of this information is terribly exciting, but it will enable you to
work more efficiently and conveniently.
Predefined colors
If you click the Custom button inside the Color Picker dialog box, Photoshop displays the Custom Colors dialog box shown in Figure 4-10. In this dialog box, you
can select from a variety of predefined colors by choosing the color family from
the Book pop-up menu, moving the slider triangles up and down the color slider
to specify a general range of colors, and ultimately, selecting a color from the color
list on the left. If you own the swatchbook for a color family, you can locate a specific color by entering its number on the keyboard.
The color families represented in the Book pop-up menu fall into seven brands:
ANPA (now NAA, as I explain shortly), DIC, Focoltone, HKS, Pantone, Toyo, and
Trumatch, all of which get a big kick out of capitalizing their names in dialog boxes.
I honestly think one of these companies would stand out better if its name weren’t
capitalized. Anyway, at the risk of offending a few of these companies, you’re likely
to find certain brands more useful than others. The following sections briefly introduce the brands in order of their impact on the American market — forgive me for
being ethnocentric in this regard — from smallest to greatest impact.
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Figure 4-10: The Custom Colors dialog box enables you to select predefined
colors from brand-name libraries.
The color families represented in the Book pop-up menu fall into seven brands:
ANPA (now NAA, as I explain shortly), DIC, Focoltone, HKS, Pantone, Toyo, and
Trumatch, all of which get a big kick out of capitalizing their names in dialog boxes.
I honestly think one of these companies would stand out better if its name weren’t
capitalized. Anyway, at the risk of offending a few of these companies, you’re likely
to find certain brands more useful than others. The following sections briefly introduce the brands in order of their impact on the American market — forgive me for
being ethnocentric in this regard — from smallest to greatest impact.
Tip
The number-one use for predefined colors in Photoshop is in the creation of duotones, tritones, and quadtones (described in Chapter 18). You can also use predefined colors to match the colors in a logo or some other important element in an
image to a commercial standard. And you can add an independent channel for a
predefined color and print it to a separate plate, as discussed later in this chapter.
Focoltone, DIC, Toyo, and HKS
Focoltone, Dianippon Ink and Chemical (DIC), Toyo, and HKS fall into the negligible
impact category. All are foreign color standards with followings abroad. Focoltone
is an English company; not English speaking (although they probably do), but
English living, as in commuting-to-France-through-the-Channel England. DIC and
Toyo are popular in the Japanese market, but have next to no subscribers outside
Japan. HKS formerly was provided only in the German and French versions of
Photoshop, but enough people asked for it to be included in other languages
that it now is available in all versions of the program.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Newspaper Association of America
American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) recently changed its name to
NAA, which stands for Newspaper Association of America, and updated its color catalog. NAA provides a small sampling of 45 process colors (mixes of cyan, magenta,
yellow, and black ink) plus 5 spot colors (colors produced by printing a single ink).
The idea behind the NAA colors is to isolate the color combinations that reproduce
most successfully on inexpensive newsprint and to provide advertisers with a solid
range of colors from which to choose, without allowing the color choices to get out
of hand. You can purchase a swatch book from NAA for $35. Members pay $25.
Trumatch
Trumatch remains my personal favorite process-color standard. Designed entirely
using a desktop system and created especially with desktop publishers in mind, the
Trumatch Colorfinder swatchbook features more than 2,000 process colors, organized according to hue, saturation, and brightness. Each hue is broken down into
40 tints and shades. Reducing the saturation in 15-percent increments creates tints;
adding black ink in 6-percent increments creates shades. The result is a guide that
shows you exactly which colors you can attain using a desktop system. If you’re
wondering what a CMYK blend will look like when printed, you need look no further
than the Trumatch Colorfinder.
As if the Colorfinder weren’t enough, Trumatch provides the ColorPrinter Software
utility, which automatically prints the entire 2,000-color library to any PostScriptcompatible output device. The utility integrates EfiColor and PostScript Level 2,
thereby enabling design firms and commercial printers to test the entire range of
capabilities available to their hardware. Companies can provide select clients with
swatches of colors created on their own printers, guaranteeing what you see is
darn well what you’ll get.
Pantone
On the heels of Trumatch, Pantone released a 3,006-color Process Color System
Guide (labeled Pantone Process in the Book pop-up menu) priced at $79. Pantone
also produces the foremost spot color swatchbook, the Color Formula Guide. Then
there’s the Solid to Process Guide, which enables you to figure out quickly if you
can closely match a Pantone spot color using a process-color blend or if you ought
to give it up and stick with the spot color.
Pantone spot colors are ideal for creating duotones and adding custom colors to an
image for logos and the like, both discussed in Chapter 18. Furthermore, Pantone is
supported by every computer application that aspires to the color prepress market. As long as the company retains the old competitive spirit, you can, most likely,
expect Pantone to remain the primary color printing standard for years to come.
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The Color palette
Another means of selecting colors in Photoshop is to use the Color palette, shown
in Figure 4-11. The Color palette is convenient, it’s always there, and it doesn’t hog
your screen like the Color Picker dialog box. Frankly, this is the tool I use most
often to select colors in Photoshop.
Color bar
Alert triangle
Foreground color
Background color
Option box
Slider
Alert cube
Palette menu
Default color swatches
Photoshop
Figure 4-11: The Color palette as it appears normally (top) and with
the Web Color Sliders option selected (bottom).
6
To display the palette, choose Window ➪ Show Color or press the F6 key. If you
want, you can dock the palette in the Options bar palette well. For details on that
intriguing offer, flip back to Chapter 2. Either way, you use the elements and options
inside the palette as follows:
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
✦ Foreground color/background color: Click the foreground or background color
icon in the Color palette to specify the color you want to edit. If you click the
foreground or background color icon when it’s already highlighted — as indicated by a double-line frame — Photoshop displays the Color Picker dialog box.
✦ Sliders: Drag the triangles in the slider controls to edit the highlighted color.
By default, the sliders represent the red, green, and blue primary colors when
a color image is open. You can change the slider bars by choosing a different
color model from the palette menu.
✦ Option boxes: Alternatively, you can enter numerical values into the option
boxes to the right of the sliders. Press Tab to advance from one option box to
the next; press Shift+Tab to go to the previous option.
✦ Alert triangle and cube: Photoshop displays the alert triangle when a color
falls outside the CMYK color gamut. The color swatch to the right of the triangle shows the closest CMYK equivalent. Click the triangle or the color swatch
to replace the current color with the CMYK equivalent.
If you select the Web Color Sliders option from the palette menu, the alert
cube appears to indicate colors that aren’t included in the Web-safe palette.
The palette also displays the hexadecimal values for the color, as shown in
Figure 4-11. And as you drag the sliders, they automatically snap to Web-safe
hues. To limit the palette so that it displays Web-safe colors only, choose
Make Ramp Web Safe from the palette menu.
Tip
After you define a Web color, choose Copy Color as HTML from the palette
menu to save the hexadecimal code for the color to the Clipboard. You can
then paste the code into an HTML file by choosing Edit ➪ Paste in the Web
application.
✦ Color bar: The bar along the bottom of the Color palette displays all colors contained in the CMYK spectrum. Click or drag inside the color bar to lift a color
and make it the current foreground or background color (depending on whether
the foreground or background icon is selected above). The sliders update as
you drag. Alt-click or drag to lift the background color if the foreground icon
is selected or the foreground color if the background color is selected.
Photoshop
You needn’t accept the CMYK spectrum in the color bar, however. To change
to a different spectrum, just choose the spectrum from the palette menu. Or
Shift-click the color bar to cycle through the available spectrums. You can opt
for the RGB spectrum, a black-to-white gradation (Grayscale Ramp), or a gradation from the current foreground color to the current background color
(Current Colors). The color bar continuously updates to represent the newest
foreground and background colors.
6
Notice the black and white squares at the right end of the color bar? You can
click ’em to set a color to absolute black or white. But if all you want to do is set
the foreground color to black, don’t bother with the Color palette — just press
D. For white, press D and then X. The first shortcut restores the foreground and
background colors to black and white, respectively; pressing X swaps the colors to make white the foreground color and black the background color.
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The Swatches palette
Shown in Figure 4-12, the Swatches palette enables you to collect colors for future
use, sort of like a favorite color reservoir. You can use the palette also to set the
foreground and background colors.
Figure 4-12: You can create custom swatch collections in the Swatches palette
or in the new Preset Manager dialog box.
Here’s how to take advantage of the Swatches palette:
✦ Click a color swatch to make that color the foreground color. Alt-click to set
the background color.
✦ To add the current foreground color to the reservoir, Shift-click an existing
color swatch to replace the old color or click an empty swatch to append the
new color. In either case, your cursor temporarily changes to a paint bucket.
After you click, you’re asked to give the swatch a name. Type the name and
click OK. If you later want to change the name, just double-click the swatch to
redisplay the name dialog box.
Tip
You can bypass the dialog box and add an unnamed color to the palette by
Ctrl+Alt-clicking an empty swatch.
✦ To insert a color anywhere in the palette, Shift+Ctrl-click a swatch. The other
colors scoot over to make room.
✦ To delete a color from the panel, Ctrl-click a color swatch. Your cursor
changes to a pair of scissors and cuts the color away.
Photoshop
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
6
✦ The Swatches palette in Photoshop 6 includes a new icon and trash icon, similar to those you find in the Layers palette. The icons provide alternative methods of adding and deleting colors: Click the new icon to add a new swatch in
the current foreground color; Alt-click to display the name dialog box and then
add the color. Drag a swatch to the trash icon to delete it from the palette.
Photoshop
You can also save and load color palettes on disk using options in the pop-up menu.
Load Swatches appends swatches stored in a swatches file to the current set of
swatches; Replace Swatches replaces the current swatches with the ones in the file.
Save Swatches lets you create a new swatch collection and save it to disk.
6
Photoshop
Tip
The Presets folder, located inside the main Photoshop folder, contains folders for
all the available preset items, color swatches being one of them. The Color Swatches
folder, found inside the Photoshop Only folder of the Presets folder, contains palettes
for the major color libraries from Pantone, Trumatch, and others. In Version 6, you
can load these palettes by simply selecting them from the palette pop-up menu.
You’re then given the choice of appending the swatches to the existing swatches or
replacing the current swatches altogether. Custom swatch sets that you create also
appear on the palette menu, but only after you close and restart Photoshop.
When a color library palette is loaded, positioning your cursor over a color swatch
displays a tool tip showing the name of that color. If you prefer to select colors by
using the color names, select Small List from the palette menu. Now you see a
scrolling list of colors instead of just the swatches.
Swatches presets
6
You can also create and manage swatch collections using the new Preset Manager.
Choose View ➪ Presets and then select Swatches from the Preset Type pop-up menu
(or press Ctrl+2) to display the Swatches presets panel, shown in Figure 4-13. The
presets panel shows the current swatch set.
Many functions in the Swatches panel duplicate those offered by the Swatches
palette. If you click the arrow to the left of the Done button (see the figure), you
display a pop-up menu that’s nearly identical to the Swatches palette menu. You
can choose the Replace Swatches command on the pop-up menu to replace the
current swatch collection with another or choose Reset Swatches to return to
the default swatch collection. To append a collection, click the Load button.
Alternatively, click a collection name in the pop-up menu, in which case you have
the choice of appending or replacing the current collection with the new one.
In addition, you can click a swatch and then click Delete to remove the swatch or
Rename to change the color’s name. If you want to dump or rename a bunch of
swatches, Shift-click them and then click Delete or Rename. To select all swatches,
press Ctrl+A. You can also display the scissors cursor and then click a swatch to
delete it — but for some reason, you press Alt to get the scissors cursor in the
Preset Manager, not Ctrl as you do in the Swatches palette.
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Click for palette menu
Figure 4-13: To easily create a new swatch collection using just some
colors from an existing collection, head for the Preset Manager.
Aside from being able to delete or rename a batch of swatches at one time, the
best reason for bothering with the Preset Manager — as opposed to working in
the Swatches palette — is to create a new swatch collection out of colors from an
existing set or sets. Load the collection(s) that you want to use as a basis for the
new set. Then Shift-click to select swatches for the new set — or press Ctrl+A to
select all swatches — and click Save Set. Give the collection a name and store it
in the Color Swatches folder.
Note that wherever you do your swatch set editing, you can’t overwrite any existing
preset files. Also, after you add a new swatch, you must save it as part of a swatch
collection, either via the palette pop-up menu or the Preset Manager. Otherwise,
Photoshop deletes the swatch if you replace the current swatch collection with
another.
The eyedropper tool
The eyedropper tool — which you can select by pressing I — provides the most
convenient and straightforward means of selecting colors in Photoshop. This is
so straightforward, in fact, it’s hardly worth explaining. But quickly, here’s how
the eyedropper tool works:
✦ Selecting a foreground color: To select a new foreground color, click the
desired color inside any open image window with the eyedropper tool. (This
assumes the foreground icon in the Color palette is selected. If the background
icon is selected, Alt-click with the eyedropper tool to lift the foreground color.)
You can even click inside a background window to lift a color without bringing
that window to the foreground.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
✦ Selecting a background color: To select a new background color, Alt-click the
desired color with the eyedropper tool. (Again, this assumes the foreground
icon is selected in the Color palette. If the background icon is selected, click
with the eyedropper to lift the background color.)
✦ Skating over the color spectrum: You can animate the foreground color control box by dragging with the eyedropper tool in an image window or along
the color bar in the Color palette. As soon as you achieve the desired color,
release your mouse button. To animate the background color icon, Alt-drag
with the eyedropper tool. The icon color changes as you move the eyedropper tool. Again, swap these procedures if the background color icon is
selected in the Color palette.
✦ Sampling multiple pixels: Normally, the eyedropper tool selects the color
from the single pixel on which you click. If you prefer to average the colors
of several neighboring pixels, however, choose either the 3 by 3 Average or
5 by 5 Average option from the Sample Size pop-up menu on the Options bar.
Or right-click with the eyedropper to display a pop-up menu of sampling
options near the cursor. In this case, you get one additional choice, Copy
Color as HTML, which works just as it does when you select it from the Color
palette pop-up menu. Photoshop determines the hexadecimal code for the
color and sends the code to the Clipboard so that you can use Edit ➪ Paste
to dump the code into an HTML file.
Tip
To access the eyedropper tool temporarily when using the type, paint bucket, gradient, line, pencil, airbrush, or paintbrush tool, press Alt. The eyedropper cursor
remains in force for as long as the Alt key is down. The eyedropper lifts whatever
color is active in the Color palette (foreground or background). To lift the other
color, switch to the eyedropper tool by pressing the I key and then Alt-click in an
image window.
The color sampler tool
Found in the same toolbox flyout as the eyedropper, the color sampler tool looks
like the eyedropper with a little crosshair target. But where the eyedropper lifts
foreground and background colors, the color sampler merely measures the colors
of pixels so that you can monitor how the pixels react to various color changes.
Select the color sampler and click somewhere inside the image window. Photoshop
adds a crosshair target to indicate the point you clicked. The program also brings up
the Info palette (if it isn’t up already) and adds a new color measurement item labeled
#1. This item corresponds to the target in the image, which is likewise labeled #1.
Click again and you add a second target and a corresponding item #2 in the Info
palette. You can add up to four targets to an image, as demonstrated in Figure 4-14.
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Figure 4-14: The color sampler tool lets you measure the colors of four points
in your image, as indicated by the black arrows. You can also measure a fifth point
by merely moving the cursor around, as indicated by the white arrow.
The color sampler is primarily intended for printers and technicians who want
to monitor the effects of color corrections on specific points in an image. If you
apply Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Levels, for example, Photoshop constantly updates the
items in the Info palette to reflect your changes (as I explain in more detail in
Chapter 17). But you can also sample points in an image to monitor the effects
of filters (Chapters 10 and 11, as well as Chapter A on the CD-ROM), blend modes
(Chapter 13), and edit tools such as dodge and burn (Chapter 5). The color
sampler is just another way to monitor changes to an image.
Here are a few more techniques of interest when color sampling:
✦ Photoshop limits you to four color targets. If you try to create a fifth one, the
program generates an error message. If you want to measure a different point
in the image, you can either hover your cursor over the point and note the
top set of color values in the Info palette (as in Figure 4-14) or move one of
the targets.
✦ To move a target inside the image window, drag it with the color sampler tool.
You can also move a target by Ctrl-dragging it with the eyedropper tool.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
✦ To delete a target, Alt-click it.
✦ The Info palette grows to more than twice its normal size when you start clicking with the color sampler. To hide the sampler information without deleting
targets, click the Info palette’s collapse box or choose Hide Color Samplers
from the palette menu. If you go the second route, you have to choose Show
Color Samplers to bring the samples back.
✦ By default, the sampler items in the Info palette measure colors in the active
color space. If you want to track a target in a different color space, click the
item’s eyedropper icon in the Info palette or right-click the target in the image
window. Either way, you get a pop-up menu of color space alternatives, including Grayscale, RGB, and several others that you may recall from previous
explanations in this chapter.
Tip
To select the color sampler, press Shift+I when the eyedropper is active or Alt-click
the eyedropper icon. Or press I repeatedly to cycle between the eyedropper, color
sampler, and measure tool (add Shift if you activated the Use Shift Key for Tool
Switch option in the Preferences dialog box). You can also temporarily access the
color sampler any time the eyedropper is active by pressing Shift. This little trick
also works when a color correction dialog box such as Levels or Curves is open, as
explained in Chapter 17. It’s just the ticket when you’re in the middle of an adjustment and you need to know how it’s affecting specific portions of the image.
Introducing Color Channels
After I’ve droned on for pages about color in Photoshop, it might surprise you when
I say that Photoshop is at its heart a grayscale editor. Oh sure, it offers an array of
color conversion features and it displays and prints spectacular full-color images.
But when it comes to editing the image, everything happens in grayscale.
This is because Photoshop approaches every full-color image not as a single collection of 24-bit pixels, but as three or four bands of 8-bit (grayscale) pixels. An RGB
file contains a band of red, a band of green, and a band of blue, each of which functions as a separate grayscale image. A Lab image likewise contains three bands,
one corresponding to luminosity and the others to the variables a and b. A CMYK
file contains four bands, one for each of the process-color inks. These bands are
known as channels.
Channels frequently correspond to the structure of an input or output device. Each
channel in a CMYK image, for example, corresponds to a different printer’s plate
when the document goes to press. The cyan plate is inked with cyan, the magenta
plate is inked with magenta, and so on. Each channel in an RGB image corresponds
to a pass of the red, green, or blue scanner sensor over the original photograph or
artwork. Only the Lab mode is device independent, so its channels don’t correspond to any piece of hardware.
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Why you should care
But so what, right? Who cares how many planes of color an image comprises? You
want to edit the photograph, not dissect it. “Dammit, Jim, I’m an artist, not a doctor!” Well, even if you don’t like to rebuild car engines or poke preserved frog
entrails with sharp knives, you’ll get a charge out of editing channels. The fact is,
channels provide you with yet another degree of selective control over an image.
Consider this example: Your client scanned a photograph of his gap-toothed daughter that he wants you to integrate into some goofy ad campaign for his car dealership. Unfortunately, the scan is downright rotten. You don’t want to offend the guy,
so you praise him on his fine offspring and say something to the effect of, “No problem, boss.” But after you take it back to your office and load it into Photoshop, you
break out in a cold sweat. You try swabbing at it with the edit tools, applying a few
filters, and even attempting some scary-looking color correction commands, but
the image continues to look like the inside of a garbage disposal. (Not that I’ve ever
seen the inside of a garbage disposal, but it can’t be attractive.)
Suddenly, it occurs to you to look at the channels. What the heck, it can’t hurt. With
very little effort, you discover that the red and green channels look okay, but the
blue channel looks like it’s melting. Her mouth is sort of mixed in with her teeth,
her eyes look like an experiment in expressionism, and her hair has taken on a
slightly geometric appearance. (If you think that this is a big exaggeration, take a
look at a few blue channels from a low-end scanner or digital camera. They’re frequently rife with tattered edges, random blocks of color, stray pixels, and other
so-called digital artifacts.)
The point is, you’ve located the cancer. You don’t have to waste your time trying to
perform surgery on the entire image; in fact, doing so may very well harm the channels that are in good shape. You merely have to fix this one channel. A wave of the
Gaussian Blur filter here, an application of the Levels command there, and some
selective rebuilding of missing detail borrowed from the other channels — all of
which I’ll get to in future sections and chapters — result in an image that resembles
a living, breathing human being. Granted, she still needs braces, but you’re an
artist, not an orthodontist.
How channels work
Photoshop devotes 8 bits of data to each pixel in each channel, thus permitting 256
brightness values, from 0 (black) to 255 (white). Therefore, each channel is actually
an independent grayscale image. At first, this may throw you off. If an RGB image is
made up of red, green, and blue channels, why do all the channels look gray?
Photoshop provides an option in the Display & Cursors panel of the Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K, Ctrl+3) called Color Channels in Color. When selected, this function
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
displays each channel in its corresponding primary color. But although this feature
can be reassuring — particularly to novices — it’s equally counterproductive.
When you view an 8-bit image composed exclusively of shades of red, for example,
it’s easy to miss subtle variations in detail that may appear obvious when you print
the image. You may have problems accurately gauging the impact of filters and
tonal adjustments. I mean, face it, red isn’t a friendly shade to stare at for a half
hour of intense editing. So leave the Color Channels in Color option off and temporarily suspend your biological urge for on-screen color. With a little experience,
you’ll be able to better monitor your adjustments and predict the outcome of your
edits in plain old grayscale.
Images that include 256 or fewer colors can be expressed in a single channel and
therefore do not include multiple channels that you can edit independently. A
grayscale image, for example, is just one channel. A black-and-white bitmap permits
only one bit of data per pixel, so a single channel is more than enough to express it.
CrossReference
You can add channels above and beyond those required to represent a color or
grayscale image for the purpose of storing masks, as described in Chapter 9. But
even then, each channel is typically limited to 8 bits of data per pixel — meaning
that it’s just another grayscale image. Mask channels do not affect the appearance
of the image on screen or when it is printed. Rather, they serve to save selection
outlines, as Chapter 9 explains.
How to switch and view channels
To access channels in Photoshop, display the Channels palette by choosing
Window ➪ Show Channels. Every channel in the image appears in the palette —
including any mask channels — as shown in Figure 4-15. Photoshop even shows
little thumbnail views of each channel so that you can see what it looks like.
To switch to a different channel, click a channel name in the Channels palette. The
channel name becomes gray — like the Blue channel in Figure 4-15 — showing that
you can now edit it independently of other channels in the image.
Tip
To edit more than one channel at a time, click one channel name and then Shiftclick another. You can also Shift-click an active channel to deactivate it independently of any others.
When you select a single channel, Photoshop displays just that one channel on
screen. However, you can view additional channels beyond those that you want to
edit. To specify which channels appear and which remain invisible, click in the farleft column of the Channels palette. Click an eyeball icon to make it disappear and
hence hide that channel. Click where there is no eyeball to create one and thus display the channel.
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Eyeball icon
Channel to selection
Selection to channel
Delete channel
Active channel
New channel
Figure 4-15: Photoshop displays tiny thumbnails of each color
channel in the Channels palette.
When only one channel is visible, that channel appears as a grayscale picture in the
image window (possibly colorized in accordance with the Color Channels in Color
check box in the Preferences dialog box). However, when more than one channel is
visible, you always see color. If both the blue and green channels are visible, for
example, the image appears blue-green. If the red and green channels are visible,
the image has a yellow cast, and so on.
In addition to the individual channels, Photoshop provides access to a composite
view that displays all colors in an RGB, CMYK, or Lab image at once. (The composite
view does not show mask channels; you have to specify their display separately.)
The composite view is listed first in the Channel palette and is displayed by default.
Notice that when you select the composite view, all the names of the individual color
channels in the Channels palette turn gray along with the composite channel. This
shows that all the channels are active. The composite view is the one in which you
will perform the majority of your image editing.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Press Ctrl plus a number key to switch between color channels. Depending on the
color mode you’re working in, Ctrl+1 takes you to the red (RGB), cyan (CMYK), or
luminosity (Lab) channel; Ctrl+2 takes you to the green, magenta, or a channel;
and Ctrl+3 takes you to the blue, yellow, or b channel. In the CMYK mode, Ctrl+4
displays the black channel. Other Ctrl+key equivalents — up to Ctrl+9 — take you
to mask or spot-color channels (if there are any). To go to the composite view,
press Ctrl+tilde (~). Tilde is typically the key to the left of 1, or on some keyboards,
to the right of the spacebar.
Tip
When editing a single channel, you may find it helpful to monitor the results in both
grayscale and full-color views. Choose View ➪ New View to create a new window for
the image, automatically set to the color composite view. Then return to the first
window and edit away on the individual channel. One of the amazing benefits to
creating multiple views in Photoshop is that the views may show entirely different
channels, layers, and other image elements.
The shortcuts are slightly different when you’re working on a grayscale image. You
access the image itself by pressing Ctrl+1. Ctrl+2 and higher take you to extra spotcolor and mask channels.
Trying Channels on for Size
Feeling a little mystified? Need some examples? Fair enough. Color Plate 4-2 shows
a woman in a bright yellow swimsuit on a bright red floatation device set against a
bright green ocean beneath a bright blue sky. These colors — yellow, red, green,
and blue — cover the four corners of the color spectrum. Therefore, you can expect
to see a lot of variation between the images in the independent color channels.
RGB channels
Suppose that the sunbathing woman is an RGB image. Figure 4-16 compares a
grayscale composite of this same image (created by choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪
Grayscale) compared with the contents of the red, green, and blue color channels
from the original color image. The green channel is quite similar to the grayscale
composite because green is an ingredient in all colors in the image, except for the
red of the raft. The red and blue channels differ more significantly. The pixels in
the red channel are lightest in the swimsuit and raft because they contain the highest concentrations of red. The pixels in the blue channel are lightest in the sky and
water because — you guessed it — the sky and water are rich with blue.
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Grayscale composite
Red
Green
Blue
Figure 4-16: A grayscale composite of the image from Color Plate 4-2
followed by the contents of the red, green, and blue color channels.
Notice how the channels in Figure 4-16 make interesting grayscale images in and of
themselves? The red channel, for example, looks like the sky is darkening above our
bather, even though the sun is blazing down.
Photoshop
I mentioned this as a tip in the previous chapter, but it bears a bit of casual drumming into the old noggin. When converting a color image to grayscale, you have the
option of calculating a grayscale composite or simply retaining the image exactly
as it appears in one of the channels. To create a grayscale composite, choose
Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale when viewing all colors in the image in the composite
view, as usual. To retain a single channel only, switch to that channel and then
choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale. Instead of the usual Discard color information?
message, Photoshop displays the message Discard other channels? If you click the
OK button, Photoshop chucks the other channels into the electronic abyss.
6
When the warning dialog box appears, select the Do not show again check box if
you don’t want Photoshop to ask for permission to dump color information or
channels when you convert to grayscale. If you miss the warning, click the Reset
All Warning Dialogs button on the General panel of the Preferences dialog box.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
CMYK channels
In the name of fair and unbiased coverage, Figures 4-17 and 4-18 show the channels
from the image after it was converted to other color modes. In Figure 4-17, I converted the image to the CMYK mode and examined its channels. Here, the predominant colors are cyan (sky and water) and yellow (in the swimsuit and raft). Because
this color mode relies on pigments rather than light, as explained in the “CMYK”
section earlier in this chapter, dark areas in the channels represent high color intensity. For that reason, the sky in the cyan channel is dark, whereas it’s light in the
blue channel back in Figure 4-16.
Cyan
Magenta
Yellow
Black
Figure 4-17: The contents of the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black
channels from the image shown in Color Plate 4-2.
Notice how similar the cyan channel in Figure 4-17 is to its red counterpart in Figure
4-16. Same with the magenta and green channels, and the yellow and blue channels.
The CMY channels have more contrast than their RGB pals, but the basic brightness distribution is the same. Here’s another graphic demonstration of color theory. In a perfect world, the CMY channels would be identical to the RGB channels —
one color model would simply be the other turned on its head. But because this
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is not a perfect world (you might have noticed that as you’ve traveled life’s bitter
highway), Photoshop has to boost the contrast of the CMY channels and throw in
black to punch up those shadows.
Lab channels
To create Figure 4-18, I converted the image in Color Plate 4-2 to the Lab mode.
The image in the luminosity channel looks very similar to the grayscale composite
because it contains the lightness and darkness values for the image. The a channel
maps the greens and magentas, while the b channel maps the yellows and blues, so
both channels are working hard to provide color information for this photograph.
Certainly there are differences — the a channel is hotter in the raft, while the b
channel offers more cloud detail — but the two channels carry roughly equivalent
amounts of color information.
Grayscale composite
Luminosity
a (black is green; white is magenta)
b (black is blue; white is yellow)
Figure 4-18: The grayscale composite followed by the contents of the
luminosity channel and the a and b color channels after converting
the image shown in Color Plate 4-2 to the Lab mode.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
You can achieve some entertaining effects by applying commands from the Image ➪
Adjust submenu to the a and b color channels. For example, if I go to the a channel
in Figure 4-18 and reverse the brightness values by choosing Image ➪ Adjust ➪
Invert (Ctrl+I), the water turns a sort of salmon red and the raft turns green, as
demonstrated in the first example of Color Plate 4-3. If I apply Image ➪ Adjust ➪
Auto Levels (Ctrl+Shift+L) to the b channel, the sky lights up with brilliant blue
without altering so much as a color in the woman or her raft, as in the second
example. The third example in Color Plate 4-3 shows what happens when I apply
both Invert and Auto Levels to both the a and b channels. Now there’s the way I
want to vacation — on a different planet!
Other Channel Functions
In addition to viewing and editing channels using any of the techniques discussed
in future chapters of this book, you can choose commands from the Channels
palette menu and select icons along the bottom of the palette (labeled back in
Figure 4-15). The following items explain how the commands and icons work.
CrossReference
You’ll notice that I say “see Chapter 9” every so often when explaining these
options, because many of them are specifically designed to accommodate masks.
This list is designed to introduce you to all the options in the Channels palette,
even if you’ll need more background to use a few of them. After I introduce the
options, we’ll revisit the ones that have a direct effect on managing the colors in
your image.
✦ Palette Options: Even though this is the last command in the menu, it’s the
easiest, so I’ll start with it. When you choose Palette Options, Photoshop displays four Thumbnail Size radio buttons, enabling you to change the size of
the thumbnail previews that appear along the left side of the Channels palette.
Figure 4-19 shows the four thumbnail settings — nonexistent, small, medium,
and large.
Tip
Have you ever wondered what those thumbnail icons in the Palette Options
dialog box are supposed to show? They’re silhouettes of tiny Merlins on a
painter’s palette. How do I know that? Switch to the Layers palette and choose
Palette Options and you’ll see them in color. But how do I know they’re specifically Merlins? Press Alt when choosing Palette Options to see the magician
up close. We’re talking vintage Easter egg, here — circa Photoshop 2.5.
✦ New Channel: Choose this command to add a mask channel to the current
image. The Channel Options dialog box appears, requesting that you name
the channel. You also can specify the color and translucency that Photoshop
applies to the channel when you view it with other channels. I explain how
these options work in the “Changing the red coating” section of Chapter 9.
An image can contain up to 24 total channels, regardless of color mode.
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Figure 4-19: The Palette Options command lets you select between four
thumbnail preview options and a Merlin.
Tip
You can also create a new channel by clicking on the new channel icon at
the bottom of the Channels palette. (It’s the one that looks like a little page.)
Photoshop creates the channel without displaying the dialog box. To force
the dialog box to appear on screen, Alt-click the page icon.
✦ Duplicate Channel: Choose this command to create a duplicate of the
selected channel, either inside the same document or as part of a new document. (If the composite view is active, the Duplicate Channel command is
dimmed, because you can only duplicate one channel at a time.) The most
common reason to use this command is to convert a channel into a mask.
Again, you can find real-life applications in Chapter 9.
Tip
You can also duplicate a channel by dragging the channel name onto the new
channel icon. No dialog box appears; Photoshop merely names the channel
automatically. To copy a channel to a different document, drag the channel
name and drop it into an open image window. Photoshop automatically creates a new channel for the duplicate.
✦ Delete Channel: To delete a channel from an image, click the channel name in
the palette and choose this command. You can delete only one channel at a
time. The Delete Channel command is dimmed when any essential color channel is active, or when more than one channel is selected.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Tip
If choosing a command is too much effort, just drag the channel onto the
delete channel icon (which is the little trash icon in the lower right corner
of the Channels palette). Or you can just click the trash icon, in which case
Photoshop asks you if you really want to delete the channel. To bypass this
warning, Alt-click the trash icon.
✦ New Spot Channel: Photoshop lets you add spot color channels to an image.
Each spot color channel prints to a separate plate, just like spot colors in
Illustrator or QuarkXPress. When you choose the New Spot Color command,
Photoshop asks you to specify a color and a Solidity. Click the color square to
bring up the Custom Colors dialog box, from which you can select a Pantone
or other spot color (see Figure 4-20). The Solidity option lets you increase the
opacity of the ink, perfect for Day-Glo fluorescents and metallic inks.
Tip
To create a spot color channel without choosing a command, Ctrl-click the
page icon at the bottom of the Channels palette. For more information on
spot-color channels, read the “Spot-Color Separations” section at the end
of Chapter 18.
Figure 4-20: When creating a spot-color channel, Photoshop asks you to
select a color and specify the degree to which the spot color will cover up
other inks in the printed image.
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✦ Merge Spot Channel: Select a spot-color channel and choose this command
to merge the spot color in with the RGB, Lab, or CMYK colors in the image.
Most spot colors don’t have precise RGB or CMYK equivalents, so you will
lose some color fidelity in the merge. Adobe includes this command to enable
you to proof an image to a typical midrange color printer.
✦ Channel Options: Choose this command or double-click the channel name
in the palette’s scrolling list to change the settings assigned to a spot-color
or mask channel. The Channel Options command is dimmed when a regular,
everyday color channel is active.
✦ Split Channels: When you choose this command, Photoshop splits off each
channel in an image to its own independent grayscale image window. As
demonstrated in Figure 4-21, Photoshop automatically appends the channel
color to the end of the window name. The Split Channels command is useful
as a first step in redistributing channels in an image prior to choosing Merge
Channels, as I will demonstrate later in this same chapter.
Figure 4-21: When you choose the Split Channels command, Photoshop
relocates each channel to an independent image window.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
✦ Merge Channels: Choose this command to merge several images into a single
multichannel image. The images you want to merge must be open, they must
be grayscale, and they must be absolutely equal in size — the same number of
pixels horizontally and vertically. When you choose Merge Channels, Photoshop displays the Merge Channels dialog box, shown in Figure 4-22. It then
assigns a color mode for the new image based on the number of open grayscale images that contain the same number of pixels as the foreground image.
Figure 4-22: The two dialog boxes that appear
after you choose Merge Channels enable you to
select a color mode for the merged image (top)
and to associate images with color channels
(bottom).
You can override Photoshop’s choice by selecting a different option from
the Mode pop-up menu. (Generally, you won’t want to change the value in the
Channels option box because doing so causes Photoshop to automatically
select Multichannel from the Mode pop-up menu. I explain multichannel
images in the upcoming “Using multichannel techniques” section.)
After you press Enter, Photoshop displays a second dialog box, which also
appears in Figure 4-22. In this dialog box, you can specify which grayscale
image goes with which channel by choosing options from pop-up menus.
When working from an image split with the Split Channels command, Photoshop automatically organizes each window into a pop-up menu according to
the color appended to the window’s name. For example, Photoshop associates the window Sunbat_C.jpg with the Cyan pop-up menu.
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Color Channel Effects
Now that you know how to navigate among channels and apply commands, permit
me to suggest a few reasons for doing so. The most pragmatic applications for
channel effects involve the restoration of bad color scans. If you use a color scanner, know someone who uses a color scanner, or just have a bunch of color scans
lying around, you can be sure that some of them look like dog meat. (Nothing
against dog meat, mind you. I’m sure that Purina has some very lovely dog meat
scans in their advertising archives.) With Photoshop’s help, you can turn those
scans into filet mignon — or at the very least, into an acceptable Sunday roast.
Improving the appearance of color scans
The following are a few channel-editing techniques you can use to improve the
appearance of poorly scanned full-color images. Keep in mind that these techniques
don’t work miracles, but they can retrieve an image from the brink of absolute ugliness into the realm of tolerability.
Note
Don’t forget that you can choose View ➪ New View to maintain a constant composite view. Or you can click the eyeball icon in front of the composite view in the
Channels palette to view the full-color image, even when editing a single channel.
✦ Aligning channels: Every so often, a scan may appear out of focus even after
you use Photoshop’s sharpening commands to try to correct the problem, as
discussed in Chapter 10. If, on closer inspection, you can see slight shadows
or halos around colored areas, one of the color channels probably is out of
alignment. To remedy the problem, switch to the color channel that corresponds to the color of the halos. Then select the move tool (by pressing V)
and use the arrow keys to nudge the contents of the channel into alignment.
Use the separate composite view (created by choosing View ➪ New View) or
click the eyeball in front of the composite channel to monitor your changes.
✦ Channel focusing: If all channels seem to be in alignment (or, at least, as
aligned as they’re going to get), one of your channels may be poorly focused.
Use the Ctrl+key equivalents to search for the responsible channel. When and
if you find it, use the Unsharp Mask filter to sharpen it as desired. You may
also find it helpful to blur a channel, as when trying to eliminate moiré patterns in a scanned halftone. (For a specific application of these techniques,
see the “Cleaning up Scanned Halftones” section in Chapter 10.)
✦ Bad channels: In your color channel tour, if you discover that a channel is not
so much poorly focused as simply rotten to the core — complete with harsh
transitions, jagged edges, and random brightness variations — you may be able
to improve the appearance of the channel by mixing other channels with it.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
Suppose that the blue channel is awful, but the red and green channels are
in fairly decent shape. The Channel Mixer command lets you mix channels
together, whether to repair a bad channel or achieve an interesting effect.
Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Channel Mixer and press Ctrl+3 to switch to the
blue channel. Then raise the Red and Green values and lower the Blue value
to mix the three channels together to create a better blue. To maintain consistent brightness levels, it’s generally a good idea to use a combination of Red,
Green, and Blue values that adds up to 100 percent, as in Figure 4-23. If you
can live with the inevitable color changes, the appearance of the image
should improve dramatically.
Figure 4-23: Here I use the Channel Mixer command
to repair the blue channel by mixing in 10 percent of
the red channel and 30 percent of the green channel.
The red and green channels remain unaffected.
Note that Channel Mixer is also a great command for creating custom grayscale
images. Rather than choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale and taking what Photoshop
gives you, you can choose the Channel Mixer command and select the Monochrome
check box. Then adjust the Red, Green, and Blue values to mix your own grayscale
variation.
Incidentally, the Constant slider simply brightens or darkens the image across the
board. Usually, you’ll want to leave it set to 0. But if you’re having problems getting
the color balance right, give it a tweak.
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
Although Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Channel Mixer didn’t arrive until Photoshop 5, I’ve been
including my own channel mixing filter with the Photoshop Bible for better than three
years now. Created in Photoshop’s Filter Factory (see Chapter A on the CD-ROM),
this filter coincidentally went by the name . . . Channel Mixer! I submit Figure 4-24 as
Exhibit A. “But Deke,” you say, “Your filter doesn’t look anything like Adobe’s Channel
Mixer, and your sliders don’t make nearly as much sense.” Yes, I imagine that’s precisely what they want you to think. Perhaps now you’re beginning to understand
how diabolically crafty these Photoshop programmers can be.
Figure 4-24: An early version of the Channel Mixer invented by yours truly.
Has Adobe gone and swiped my visionary idea? You be the judge.
Using multichannel techniques
The one channel function I’ve so far ignored is Image ➪ Mode ➪ Multichannel. When
you choose this command, Photoshop changes your image so that channels no
longer have a specific relationship to one another. They don’t mix to create a fullcolor image; instead, they exist independently within the confines of a single image.
The multichannel mode is generally an intermediary step for converting between
different color modes without recalculating the contents of the channels.
For example, normally when you convert between the RGB and CMYK modes,
Photoshop maps RGB colors to the CMYK color model, changing the contents of
each channel as demonstrated back in Figures 4-16 and 4-17. But suppose, just as
an experiment, that you want to bypass the color mapping and instead transfer the
exact contents of the red channel to the cyan channel, the contents of the green
channel to the magenta channel, and so on. You convert from RGB to the multichannel mode and then from multichannel to CMYK as described in the following steps.
Chapter 4 ✦ Defining Colors
STEPS: Using the Multichannel Mode as an Intermediary Step
1. Open an RGB image. If the image is already open, make sure that it is saved
to disk.
2. Choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ Multichannel. This eliminates any relationship
between the formerly red, green, and blue color channels.
3. Click the new channel icon at the bottom of the Channels palette. Or choose
the New Channel command from the palette menu and press Return to accept
the default settings. Either way, you add a mask channel to the image. This
empty channel will serve as the black channel in the CMYK image. (Photoshop won’t let you convert from the multichannel mode to CMYK with less
than four channels.)
4. Press Ctrl+I. Unfortunately, the new channel comes up black, which would
make the entire image black. To change it to white, press Ctrl+I or choose
Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert.
5. Choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ CMYK. The image looks washed out and a tad bit
dark compared to its original RGB counterpart, but the overall color scheme
of the image remains more or less intact. This is because the red, green, and
blue color channels each have a respective opposite in the cyan, magenta,
and yellow channels.
6. Press Ctrl+Shift+L. Or choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Auto Levels. This punches up
the color a bit by automatically correcting the brightness and contrast.
7. Convert the image to RGB, and then back to CMYK again. The problem with
the image is that it lacks any information in the black channel. So although it
may look okay on-screen, it will lose much of its definition when printed. To
fill in the black channel, choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ RGB Color, and then choose
Image ➪ Mode ➪ CMYK Color. Photoshop automatically generates an image
in the black channel in keeping with the standards of color separations (as
explained in Chapter 18).
Keep in mind that these steps are by no means a recommended procedure for converting an RGB image to a CMYK image. Rather, they are merely intended to suggest
one way to experiment with channel conversions to create a halfway decent image.
You can likewise experiment with converting between the Lab, multichannel, and
RGB modes, or Lab, multichannel, and CMYK.
Replacing and swapping color channels
If you truly want to abuse the colors in an RGB or CMYK image, there’s nothing like
replacing one color channel with another to produce spectacular effects. Color
Plate 4-4 shows a few examples applied to an RGB image.
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✦ In the first example, I used the Channel Mixer to replace the red channel with
the blue. I did this by setting the Output Channel to Red, changing the Red
value to 0 percent and the Blue value to 100 percent. The result is a green
woman floating in a green sea under a purple sky.
✦ To achieve the next example, I again started from the original RGB image and
used Channel Mixer to replace the green channel with the red. The result this
time is a yellow woman against a deep blue background.
✦ To create the purple woman in a green world on the right side of Color Plate
4-4, I replaced the blue channel with the red.
You can create more interesting effects by using Color Mixer to swap the contents of
color channels. For example, in the lower left example of Color Plate 4-4, I swapped
the contents of the red and blue channels to create a blue woman on a green sea
under an orange sky. To accomplish this, I set the Output Channel to Red, set the
Red value to 0 and the Blue to 100. Then I switched to the Blue channel (Ctrl+3) and
set the Red value to 100 and the Blue to 0.
The next two examples along the bottom of Color Plate 4-4 show the results of
swapping the red and green channels (for a bright green woman) and the green and
blue channels. Because the green and blue channels contain relatively similar data,
this produces the subtlest effect, chiefly switching the sea and sky colors and turning the swimsuit pink.
✦
✦
✦
5
C H A P T E R
Painting and
Editing
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Paint and Edit Tool Basics
Here it is, Chapter 5, and I’m finally getting around to explaining how to use Photoshop’s painting tools. You must feel like
you’re attending some kind of martial arts ritual where you
have to learn to run away, cry, beg, and attempt bribery
before you get to start karate-chopping bricks and kicking
your instructor. “The wise person journeys through the fundamentals of image editing before painting a single brushstroke,
Grasshoppa.” Wang, wang, wang. (That’s a musical embellishment, in case you didn’t recognize it. Man, I hate to have to
explain my jokes. Especially when they’re so measly.) Now
that you’ve earned your first belt or tassel or scouting patch
or whatever it is you’re supposed to receive for slogging this
far through the book, you’re as prepared as you’ll ever be to
dive into the world of painting and retouching images.
You might think these tools require artistic talent. In truth,
each tool provides options for almost any level of proficiency
or experience. Photoshop offers get-by measures for novices
who want to make a quick edit and put the tool down before
they make a mess of things. If you have a few hours of experience with other painting programs, you’ll find Photoshop’s
tools provide at least as much functionality and, in many cases,
more. (The one exception is Painter, which is several times
more capable than Photoshop in the painting department.)
And if you’re a professional artist — well, come on now — you’ll
have no problems learning how to make Photoshop sing. No
matter who you are, you’ll find electronic painting and editing
tools more flexible, less messy, and more forgiving than their
traditional counterparts.
Exploring Photoshop’s
paint and edit tools
Painting straight and
perpendicular lines
Smudging colors
Adjusting saturation
and contrast with
the sponge tool
Selecting brushes and
tool options from the
Options bar
Saving and editing
custom brush sets in
the Preset Manager
Creating lines that
fade away or taper
to a point
Working with
pressure-sensitive
drawing tablets
Selecting brush
modes from the
keyboard
✦
✦
✦
✦
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Part II ✦ Painting and Retouching
CrossReference
If you screw something up in the course of painting your image, stop and choose
Edit ➪ Undo (or press Ctrl+Z). If this doesn’t work, press Ctrl+Alt+Z to step back
through your paint strokes. (These shortcuts assume that you haven’t changed the
default Redo Key setting in the Preferences dialog box; see Chapter 2 for more information.) You also can select a previous state in the History palette, as explained in
Chapter 7. The History palette lists brushstrokes and other changes according to
the tool you used to create them.
Meet your tools
Photoshop provides three paint tools: pencil, paintbrush, and airbrush. You also get
six edit tools: smudge, blur, sharpen, burn, dodge, and sponge. Figure 5-1 shows all
the tools along with the keyboard shortcuts for selecting them.
Figure 5-1: The three paint tools and six edit tools;
note that the pencil and paintbrush now share a
toolbox slot and a keyboard shortcut.
Photoshop
6
When two or more tools share a slot in the toolbox, click or drag on the arrow in the
lower corner of the tool icon to display a flyout menu of all the tools, as shown in
Figure 5-1. Or you can just press the keyboard shortcut listed in the menu to cycle
through the tools. However, if you turn on the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch option
in the General panel of the Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K), you must press Shift
and the shortcut to switch tools.
Photoshop
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
6
You can vary the performance of the paint and edit tools by using the controls on
the new Options bar, which contains tool settings formerly accessed through the
Options palette and the Brushes palette. If you don’t see the Options bar, shown in
Figure 5-2, double-click any tool icon or just press Enter to display it. You also can
choose Windows ➪ Show Options. If you want to keep other palettes close by, you
can dock them in the Options bar, which appears if you set your monitor’s screen
resolution to display more than 800 pixels horizontally. Just drag the palette tab to
the docking well, labeled in Figure 5-2. Upcoming sections in this chapter explain
all the ways to adjust the paint and edit tools. Check out Chapter 2 for more details
about the Options bar.
If you want to return a tool to its default settings, click the tool’s icon at the left end
of the Options bar and choose Reset Tool from the pop-up menu. Click Reset All
Tools to return every tool back to its original state.
Reset tool(s)
Options bar
Docked palette
Docking well
Figure 5-2: Tool settings formerly contained in the Options and Brushes palettes
now hang out in the Options bar.
CrossReference
In addition to the paint and edit tools, Photoshop 6 provides a set of tools for drawing
vector objects. I cover these tools in Chapter 14.
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The paint tools
The paint tools apply paint in the foreground color. In this and other respects,
they work like their counterparts in other painting programs, but there are a few
exceptions:
Photoshop
✦ Pencil: Unlike pencil tools found in most other painting programs — which
paint lines 1 pixel thick — Photoshop’s pencil paints a hard-edged line of any
thickness you specify. Figure 5-3 compares the default 1-pixel pencil line with
a fatter pencil line, a paintbrush line, and an airbrush line.
6
If you’re used to selecting the pencil tool by pressing P (as in Photoshop 3),
Y (as in Version 4), or N (as in Version 5), prepare for yet another change.
The new pencil tool shortcut is B, same as for the paintbrush. Toggle back
and forth between the two tools by pressing B repeatedly (or Shift+B,
depending on your Preferences setting for keyboard tool switches).
Thin
Thick
Paintbrush
pencil line pencil line
line
Paintbrush
with wet
edges
Airbrush
line
Figure 5-3: Five lines painted in black with the pencil,
paintbrush, and airbrush tools. The Wet Edges option
(second from right) causes the line to appear translucent.
I held the airbrush tool in place for a few moments at the
end of the line located at the far right.
✦ Paintbrush: The paintbrush works like the pencil tool, except it paints an
antialiased (softened) line that blends in with its background.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
When you select the Wet Edges check box on the Options bar, the paintbrush
creates a translucent line with darkened edges, much as if you were painting
with watercolors. Soft brush shapes produce more naturalistic effects.
Figure 5-3 shows an example of this effect.
✦ Airbrush: Dismissing Photoshop’s airbrush tool as a softer version of the
paintbrush is tempting because it uses a softer brush shape by default.
Photoshop’s default airbrush settings also call for a lighter pressure, so
the airbrush paints a translucent line. But unlike the paintbrush, which
applies a continuous stream of color and stops applying paint when you
stop dragging, the airbrush applies a series of colored dollops and continues
to apply these dollops as long as you press the mouse button. Figure 5-3
shows the dark glob of paint that results from pressing the mouse button
while holding the mouse motionless at the end of the drag.
The edit tools
The edit tools don’t apply color; rather, they influence existing colors in an image.
Figure 5-4 shows each of the six edit tools applied to a randomized background.
Future sections cover the tools in more detail, but here’s a brief introduction:
✦ Blur: The first of the two focus tools, the blur tool blurs an image by lessening
the amount of color contrast between neighboring pixels.
✦ Sharpen: The second focus tool selectively sharpens by increasing the contrast
between neighboring pixels. Generally speaking, both the blur and sharpen
tools are less useful than their command counterparts in the Filters menu. They
provide less control and usually require scrubbing at an image. Maybe I’ve been
using a computer too long, but my wrist starts to ache when I use these tools. If,
unlike me, you like the basic principle behind the tools, but you want to avoid
carpal tunnel syndrome, you can achieve consistent, predictable results without scrubbing by using the tools in combination with the Shift key, as described
in the next section, “Basic techniques.”
✦ Smudge: The smudge tool smears colors in an image. The effect is much like
dragging your finger across wet paint.
✦ Dodge: The first of three toning tools, the dodge tool lets you lighten a portion
of an image by dragging across it. Named after a traditional film exposure technique, the dodge tool is supposed to look like a little paddle thingie — you
know, like one of those spoons you put over your eye at the optometrist’s —
that you wave over photographic paper to cast a shadow and thereby lighten
the exposure. Thank golly we no longer have to wave little paddle thingies in
our modern age.
✦ Burn: The burn tool lets you darken a portion of an image by dragging over it.
The effect is similar to burning a film negative, which you apparently do by
holding your hand in a kind of O shape in an effort to focus the light, kind of
like frying a worker ant using a magnifying glass (except not quite so smelly).
At least, that’s what they tell me. Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure of trying it.
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Blur
Sharpen
Smudge
Dodge
Burn
Sponge
Figure 5-4: Dragging with Photoshop’s edit tools creates these effects.
The boundaries of each line are highlighted so that you can clearly see
the distinctions between line and background.
Tip
If you’re like most folks, you have difficulty remembering which tool lightens
and which one darkens. So here’s a little tip: That little hand icon looks like it
could be holding a piece of toast, and when you burn toast, it gets darker.
Hand, toast, burn, darker. That other tool, the eye doctor paddle, is not holding toast, so it must lighten. You’ll never have problems again.
✦ Sponge: The final toning tool, the sponge tool, robs an image of both saturation
and contrast. Or you can set the tool so it boosts saturation and adds contrast.
For more information, stay tuned for the upcoming section “Mopping up with
the sponge tool.”
To access the sharpen tool temporarily when the blur tool is selected, press and
hold Alt while using the tool. The sharpen tool remains available only as long as
you press Alt. You also can press Alt to access the blur tool when the sharpen tool
is selected, to access the burn tool when the dodge tool is selected, and to access
the dodge tool when the burn tool is selected. (If the sponge tool is active, pressing
Alt has no effect, except maybe to give your finger a cramp.)
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Tip
You can replace the blur tool with the sharpen tool in the toolbox by Alt-clicking on
the tool’s icon. Alt-click again to select the smudge tool and yet again to cycle back
to the blur tool. Likewise, you can Alt-click the dodge tool icon to cycle between the
dodge, burn, and sponge tools.
Photoshop
As explained in Chapter 2, the keyboard shortcuts also toggle between the tools.
When the blur tool is selected, press R to switch to the sharpen tool. Repeated pressings of R take you to the smudge tool and back to the blur tool. When the dodge tool
is selected, press O to toggle to the burn tool; press O again to get the sponge.
6
If these shortcuts don’t work for you, head for the General panel of the Preferences
dialog box (Ctrl+K). Chances are, the Use Shift for Tool Switch check box is selected,
which means that you have to press Shift plus the keyboard shortcut to cycle through
tools. Turn the check box off to give your Shift finger a rest.
Basic techniques
I know several people who claim that they can’t paint, and yet they create beautiful
work in Photoshop. Even though they don’t have sufficient hand-eye coordination
to write their names on screen, they have unique and powerful artistic sensibilities,
and they know many tricks that enable them to make judicious use of the paint and
edit tools. I can’t help you in the sensibilities department, but I can show you a few
tricks to boost your ability and inclination to use the paint and edit tools.
Painting a straight line
Photoshop
You probably already know that you can draw a straight line with the line tool. And
you may be wondering why I don’t include the line tool in my discussion of painting
tools. Well, the reason is that as a painting tool, the line tool is pretty limited in its
usefulness.
6
In the line tool’s defense, it has evolved in Version 6. You now can draw either vector
lines or raster lines using the tool, and you also can set the tool to create a work path.
You set the tool’s function through the trio of icons on the left end of the Options bar.
Click the first button to create a vector shape on a new layer, as discussed in Chapter
14; click the middle button to create a work path, a topic I cover in Chapter 9; and
click the third button to paint a regular, pixel-based line.
About the only reason I ever use the line tool in painting mode is to create arrows.
(I explain how in the “Applying Strokes and Arrowheads” section of Chapter 8.) If
you don’t want arrows, you’re better off using Photoshop’s other means for creating straight lines: the Shift key. Using this method, you can paint with different
brushes and access other options not available when you work with the line tool.
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To paint a straight line with any of the paint tools, click at one point in the image
and then press Shift and click at another point. Photoshop connects the start and
end points with a straight stroke of paint. Use this same technique to apply an edit
tool in a straight line.
To create free-form polygons, continue to Shift-click with the tool. Figure 5-5 features a photograph and a tracing I made on a separate layer (covered in Chapter
12) exclusively by Shift-clicking with the paintbrush tool. As an academic exercise,
I never dragged with the tool, I never altered the brush size, and I used just two
colors: black and gray.
Figure 5-5: Starting from an image by photographer Barbara Penoyar (left),
I created a stylized tracing (right) by clicking and Shift-clicking with the paintbrush
tool on a separate layer.
Tip
The Shift key makes the blur and sharpen tools halfway useful. Suppose that you
want to edit the perimeter of the car shown in Figure 5-6. The arrows in the figure
illustrate the path your Shift-clicks should follow. Figure 5-7 shows the effect of
Shift-clicking with the blur tool; Figure 5-8 demonstrates the effect of Shift-clicking
with the sharpen tool.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Figure 5-6: It takes
one click and 24
Shift-clicks to soften
or accentuate the
edges around this
car using the blur
or sharpen tool.
Figure 5-7: These are the
results of blurring the car’s
perimeter with the pressure
set to 50 percent (top) and
100 percent (bottom). Set
the pressure by using the
Pressure pop-up menu in
the Options bar.
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Figure 5-8: The results of sharpening the car with the
pressure set to 50 percent (top) and 100 percent (bottom).
Painting a perpendicular line
To create a perpendicular line — either a vertical or a horizontal line — with any of
the paint tools, press and hold the mouse button, press Shift, and begin dragging in
a vertical or horizontal direction. Don’t release Shift until you finish dragging or until
you want to change the direction of the line, as shown in Figure 5-9. Press Shift in middrag to snap the line back into perpendicular alignment. Again, these techniques
work with the edit tools as well as the paint tools.
One way to exploit the Shift key’s penchant to snap to the perpendicular is to draw
“ribbed” structures. Being left-handed, I dragged from right to left with the paintbrush
to create both of the central outlines around the skeleton that appears at the top of
Figure 5-10. I painted each rib by pressing and releasing Shift as I dragged with the
paintbrush tool. Pressing Shift snapped the line to the horizontal axis, whose location
was established by the beginning of the drag.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Press mouse button, press Shift, begin drag
Release Shift
Press Shift again. . .
. . . to snap line back to perpendicular
Release mouse button, release Shift
Figure 5-9: Pressing Shift after you start to drag with a
paint or edit tool results in a perpendicular line for as
long as the key is pressed.
In the figure, I represented the axis for each line in gray. After establishing the basic
skeletal form, I added some free-form details with the paintbrush and pencil tools,
as shown in the middle image in Figure 5-10. I then selected a general area around
the image and chose Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Emboss to create the finished fossil image.
Nobody’s going to confuse my painting with a bona fide fossil, but it’s not bad for
a cartoon.
It’s no accident Figure 5-10 features a swordfish instead of your everyday roundnosed carp. To snap to the horizontal axis, I had to establish the direction of my
drag as being more horizontal than vertical. If I had instead dragged in a fish-faced
convex arc, Photoshop would have interpreted my drag as vertical and snapped to
the vertical axis.
Painting simple shapes with the drawing tools
As I alluded to a section or two ago, you can use the new shape tools to create
raster — that is, pixel-based — objects, as well as vector objects (see Chapter 3
if you need a refresher course on the difference). After selecting the rectangle,
rounded rectangle, ellipse, polygon, line, or custom shape tool, click the Fill Region
icon on the Options bar, labeled in Figure 5-11. Then use the tools as described in
Chapter 14 to create your shapes, which Photoshop fills with the foreground color.
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Figure 5-10: To create the basic structure for our bony pal,
I periodically pressed and released Shift while dragging with
the paintbrush (top). Then I embellished the fish using the
paintbrush and pencil (middle). Finally, I applied the Emboss
filter to transform fish into fossil (bottom).
Fill Region
Shape tool icons
Click for more options
Figure 5-11: Click the paint bucket icon to create rasterized shapes with the shape
tools (line, rectangle, ellipse, polygon, and custom shape).
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
When Fill Region is selected, you can adjust the opacity and blend mode of your
paint strokes through the Opacity and Mode menus on the Options bar. You also
can select the Anti-aliased check box to soften the transition between a shape and
its surroundings. I created the left star in the figure with Anti-aliased turned off; the
right star shows the same shape painted with the check box turned on. If you click
the down-pointing triangle at the end of the strip of tool icons, you display additional options for the selected tool.
Painting with the smudge tool
Photoshop
Many first-time Photoshop artists misuse the smudge tool to soften color transitions. In fact, softening is the purpose of the blur tool. The smudge tool smears
colors by shoving them into each other. The process bears more resemblance to
the finger painting you did in grade school than to any traditional photographicediting technique.
6
In Photoshop, the performance of the smudge tool depends in part on the settings
of the Pressure and Finger Painting controls on the Options bar, which you access
by pressing Enter when the smudge tool is active. Here’s what you need to know
about these options:
✦ Pressure: Measured as a percentage of the brush shape, this option determines
the distance the smudge tool drags a color. Higher percentages and larger brush
shapes drag colors farthest. A Pressure setting of 100 percent equates to infinity,
meaning the smudge tool drags a color from the beginning of your drag until the
end of your drag, regardless of how far you drag. Cosmic, Daddy-O.
✦ Finger Painting: The folks at Adobe used to call this effect dipping, which I think
more accurately expressed how the effect works. When you select this option,
the smudge tool begins by applying a smidgen of foreground color, which it
eventually blends in with the colors in the image. It’s as if you dipped your finger in a color and then dragged it through an oil painting. Use the Pressure
setting to specify the amount of foreground color applied. If you turn on Finger
Painting and set the Pressure to 100 percent, the smudge tool behaves exactly
like the paintbrush tool.
Tip
You can reverse the Finger Painting setting by Alt-dragging. If the option is off,
Alt-dragging dips the tool into the foreground color. If Finger Painting is turned
on, Alt-dragging smudges normally.
For some examples of the smudge tool in action, look at Figure 5-12. The figure shows
the effects of using the smudge tool set to four different Pressure percentages and
with the Finger Painting option both off and on. In each instance, the brush shape is
13 pixels in diameter and the foreground color is set to black.
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The Use All Layers option (previously called Sample Merged) instructs the smudge
tool to grab colors in all visible layers and smudge them into the current layer.
Whether the option is on or off, only the current layer is affected; the background
and other layers remain intact.
For example, suppose the inverted eyes of the woman at the top of Figure 5-13 are on
a different layer than the rest of the face. If I use the smudge tools on the eyes layer
with Use All Layers turned off, Photoshop ignores the face layer when smudging the
30%
50%
70%
90%
Finger Painting off
Finger Painting on
Figure 5-12: Eight drags with the smudge tool subject to different
Pressure and Finger Painting settings.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
eyes. As a result, details such as the nose and teeth remain unsmudged, as you can
see in the lower-left example. If I turn Use All Layers on, Photoshop lifts colors from
the face layer and mixes them in with the eyes layer, as shown in the lower-right
example.
Figure 5-13: The original image (top) features inverted eyes on a layer
above the rest of the face. I first smudged the eyes with Use All Layers
turned off (lower left) and then with the option turned on (lower right).
Note that all this activity occurs exclusively on the eyes layer. To give you a better
look, the two lower examples on the eyes layer are shown independently of those
on the face layer in Figure 5-14. You can now clearly see the proliferation of face
details mixed into the eyes in the right example. Meanwhile, the face layer remains
absolutely unaffected.
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Photoshop
Figure 5-14: The eyes layer from the previous figure shown by itself.
6
In Version 6, you can further vary the smudge tool effects through the Brush and
Brush Dynamics palettes. The upcoming section “Brush Shape and Opacity” explores
these options, so I won’t waste space repeating everything here. For now, just know
that you can set the smudge tool to create gradually tapering and/or fading strokes —
and you can now use your mouse as well as a pressure-sensitive tablet to generate
these effects.
Mopping up with the sponge tool
The sponge tool is actually a pretty simple tool, hardly worth expending valuable
space in a book as tiny as this one. But I’m a compulsive explainer, so here’s the deal:
Press Enter when the sponge tool is active or double-click the tool icon in the toolbox
to display the sponge tool controls on the Options bar. Then select either Desaturate
or Saturate from the Mode pop-up menu to create one of the following results:
✦ When set to Desaturate, the tool reduces the saturation of the colors over which
you drag. When you’re editing a grayscale image, the tool reduces contrast.
✦ If you select Saturate, the sponge tool increases the saturation of the colors
over which you drag or increases contrast in a grayscale image.
You can switch between the Desaturate and Saturate modes from the keyboard.
Press Shift+Alt+D to select the Desaturate option. Press Shift+Alt+S for Saturate.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
No matter which mode you choose, higher Pressure settings produce more dramatic
results. Your settings in the Brushes and Brush Dynamics palettes also affect the
sponge tool’s performance; see the next section, “Brush Shape and Opacity,” for
more information.
Tip
Color Plate 5-1 shows the sponge tool in action. The upper-left example shows the
original PhotoDisc image. The upper-right example shows the result of applying
the sponge tool set to Desaturate. I dragged with the tool inside the pepper and
around the corn area. The Pressure was set to 100 percent. Notice that the affected
colors are on the wane, sliding toward gray. In the lower-right example, the effect
is even more pronounced. I applied the sponge tools here with great vim and vigor
two additional times. Hardly any hint of color is left in these areas now.
To create the lower-left example in Color Plate 5-1, I applied the sponge tool set to
Saturate. This is where the process gets a little tricky. If you boost saturation levels
with the sponge tool in the RGB or Lab color modes, you can achieve colors of absolutely neon intensity. However, these high-saturation colors don’t stand a snowball’s
chance in a microwave of printing in CMYK. So, use View ➪ Proof Colors (Ctrl+Y) to
preview your image in CMYK before boosting saturation levels with the sponge tool.
This way, you can accurately view the results of your edits. (Adobe changed the
CMYK preview features in Version 6; Chapter 16 explains the new preview options
if you need help figuring them out.)
Figure 5-15 shows the yellow channel from each of the images in Color Plate 5-1.
Because yellow is the most prevalent primary color in the image, it is the most
sensitive to saturation adjustments. When I boosted the saturation in the lower-left
example, the yellow brightness values deepened, adding yellow ink to the CMYK
image. When I lessened the saturation in the two right examples, the amount of
ink diminished.
One of Adobe’s recommended uses of the sponge tool is to reduce the saturation
levels of out-of-gamut RGB colors before converting an image to the CMYK mode.
I’m not too crazy about this technique because it requires a lot of scrubbing.
Generally, selecting the out-of-gamut area and reducing the colors using more automated controls is easier (as discussed in Chapter 11). You might prefer to use the
sponge tool, however, when a more selective, personal touch is required, as when
curbing a distracting color that seems to leap a little too vigorously off the screen
or boosting the saturation of a detail in the CMYK mode.
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Figure 5-15: The yellow channel from Color Plate 5-1 shows the greatest a
mount of variation when reducing and boosting the saturation with the
sponge tool.
Brush Shape and Opacity
So far, I mentioned the words brush shape several times, and I have yet to explain
what the Sam Hill I’m talking about. Luckily, it’s simple. The brush shape is the size
and shape of the tip of your cursor when you use a paint or edit tool. A big, round
brush shape paints or edits in broad strokes. A small, elliptical brush shape is useful
for performing hairline adjustments.
By default, your cursor outline reflects the selected brush shape. If your cursor
instead looks like a crosshair or tool icon, press Ctrl+K to bring up the Preferences
dialog box and press Ctrl+3 for the Display & Cursors panel. Then select Brush Size
from the Painting Cursors radio buttons. Now you can create a brush as big as 999
pixels in diameter and have your cursor grow accordingly.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Photoshop
Tip
When you use a very small brush, four dots appear around the cursor perimeter,
making the cursor easier to locate. If you need a little more help, press the Caps
Lock key to access the more obvious crosshair cursor.
The Brushes palette
6
Unless you were completely asleep at the wheel when you launched Photoshop 6
for the first time, you no doubt noticed the Options bar stretching across the top
of the program window. In computer lingo, the Options bar is known as a contextsensitive toolbar, meaning that the options on the bar change depending on what
tool you’re using. When you work with the paint and edit tools, the Options bar
gives you access to a choice of brush shapes. To browse through the available
brushes, open the Brush palette by clicking the triangle next to the brush icon,
as shown in Figure 5-16.
Click to display Brush palette
Click for palette menu
Figure 5-16: The new Brush drop-down palette looks and acts like the
old Brushes palette in some regards, but can’t be freed from the confines
of the Options bar or grouped with other palettes.
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Note
Adobe refers to the Brush palette as the Brush menu, but I’m going to be contrary
and go with “drop-down palette.” For the most part, the Brush menu looks and
works like the old Brushes palette. You can resize it by dragging the size box. And
clicking the triangle in the upper-right corner displays a submenu, just as in a
palette. Because I can’t bring myself to refer to this submenu as the “Brush menu
menu,” I’m sticking with Brush drop-down palette. Sometimes I may even get really
bold and just use “palette.” I trust you will not be too distressed by the court’s
ruling on this matter.
That said, this Brush palette does differ from a regular palette in a few important
ways. You can’t tear it away from the Options bar or combine it with other palettes,
as you can with the “real” palettes (Layers, Channels, and other palettes listed on
the Window menu). Furthermore, the old shortcut for displaying the Brushes palette,
F5, has absolutely no effect on the new Brush palette. You have to press Enter with
a paint or edit tool active, double-click the tool’s icon in the toolbox, or choose
Window ➪ Show Options to display the Options bar and all its drop-down palettes.
Tip
You can switch brush shapes without opening the Brush palette by pressing the
left-bracket key and right-bracket key, as in previous editions of Photoshop. But
if you’re in the habit of using these shortcuts, listen up, because the bracket keys
work differently now: Each press of the left bracket decreases the diameter of the
active brush by 10 pixels. Pressing the right bracket increases the brush diameter
by 10 pixels. The brush icon on the Options bar shows the current diameter.
If all you want to do is move from one brush in the palette to another, use the arrow
keys. For example, press the up-arrow key to select the brush that’s immediately
above the current brush. You have to use this technique if you want to switch from
a hard brush to a soft one using the keyboard. Unfortunately, the old shortcut for
selecting the first brush and the last brush, Shift and the bracket keys, no longer
has any effect.
Photoshop
Tip
If you haven’t altered the current brush — changing its softness, for example — you
can also use these shortcuts: Press the comma key to toggle to the previously
selected brush. Press the period key to go the other direction. You also can press the
greater than key (Shift plus the period key) to select the last brush in the palette;
press the less than key (Shift plus the comma key) to select the first brush in the
palette.
Editing and creating brush shapes
6
To edit the shape of the currently selected brush, click the brush icon in the Options
bar to display the brush options shown in Figure 5-17. (Be sure to click the icon and
not the adjacent triangle; otherwise, you display the Brush palette.) After you select
your brush settings, press Enter, click an empty area of the program window, or just
begin working with the tool to close the dialog box. If you change your mind and
decide to leave the brush alone, press Esc or click the brush icon again to close
the dialog box.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Click to edit current brush
New brush icon
Figure 5-17: To change the size, shape, and hardness
of the current brush, click its icon in the Options bar.
Photoshop
If you want to create a new brush shape, choose New Brush from the palette menu
or click an empty brush slot in the palette. Photoshop displays the New Brush dialog box, which is just like the dialog box in Figure 5-17 except that it has a title bar.
Whether you’re editing an existing brush or creating a new one, you have the
following options at your disposal:
6
✦ Name: You now can give your custom brushes a name to help you keep track
of them. If you don’t enter a name, Photoshop labels the brushes Brush 1,
Brush 2, and so on. If you later want to rename a brush, just double-click its
icon in the Brush drop-down palette.
✦ Diameter: This option determines the width of the brush shape. If the brush
shape is elliptical instead of circular, the Diameter value determines the longest
dimension. You can enter any value from 1 to 999 pixels. Brush shapes with
diameters of 30 pixels or higher are too large to display accurately in the Brush
drop-down palette and instead appear as circles with inset Diameter values.
✦ Hardness: Except when you use the pencil tool, brushes are always antialiased.
You can further soften the edges of a brush, however, by dragging the Hardness
slider bar away from 100 percent. The softest setting, 0 percent, gradually
tapers the brush from a single solid color pixel at its center to a ring of transparent pixels around the brush’s perimeter. Figure 5-18 demonstrates how low
Hardness percentages expand the size of a 100-pixel brush beyond the Diameter
value (as demonstrated by the examples set against black). Even a 100-percent
hard brush shape expands slightly because it is antialiased. The Hardness setting is ignored when you use the pencil tool.
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100%
75%
Figure 5-18: A 100-pixel diameter
brush shown as it appears when set
to a variety of Hardness percentages.
I changed the background pixels below
from white to black so that you can
see the actual diameter of each brush
shape. The tick marks indicate 10-pixel
increments.
50%
25%
0%
102
pixels
120
pixels
132
pixels
150
pixels
166
pixels
✦ Spacing: The Spacing option controls how frequently a tool affects an image as
you drag, measured as a percentage of the brush shape. Suppose the Diameter
of a brush shape is 12 pixels and the Spacing is set to 25 percent (the setting
for all default brush shapes). For every 3 pixels (25 percent of 12 pixels) you
drag with the paintbrush tool, Photoshop lays down a 12-pixel wide spot of
color. A Spacing of 1 percent provides the most coverage but may also slow
down the performance of the tool. If you deselect the Spacing check box, the
effect of the tool is wholly dependent on the speed at which you drag; this can
be useful for creating splotchy or oscillating lines. Figure 5-19 shows examples.
✦ Angle: This option enables you to pivot a brush shape on its axes. Unless the
brush is elliptical, though, this won’t make a difference in the appearance of
the brush shape.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
1%
25%
50%
75%
Figure 5-19: Examples of
lines drawn with different
brush Spacing values. Gaps
or ridges generally begin
to appear when the
Spacing value exceeds 30
percent. The final line was
created by turning off the
Spacing option.
100%
150%
No spacing
✦ Roundness: Enter a value of less than 100 percent into the Roundness option
to create an elliptical brush shape. The value measures the width of the brush
as a percentage of its height, so a Roundness value of 5 percent results in a
long, skinny brush shape.
Tip
You can adjust the angle of the brush dynamically by dragging the gray arrow
inside the box to the left of the Angle and Roundness options. Drag the handles on either side of the black circle to make the brush shape elliptical, as
demonstrated in Figure 5-20. And try this trick: Click anywhere in the white
box to move the arrow to that point.
I heartily recommend that you take a few moments soon to experiment at length
with the available brush options. By combining paint and edit tools with one or
more specialized brush shapes, you can achieve artistic effects unlike anything
permitted by traditional techniques. Starting with a PhotoDisc image lightened and
filtered to serve as a template, I painted Figure 5-21 using the flat, 45-pixel brush
shape shown in the dialog box. No other brush shape or special effect was applied.
Think of what you can accomplish if you don’t limit yourself as ridiculously as I did.
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Figure 5-20: Drag the gray arrow or the
black handles to change the angle or
the roundness of a brush, respectively.
The Angle and Roundness values update
automatically, as does the preview of
the brush in the lower-right corner
of the dialog box.
Figure 5-21: Just to show off,
I painted over a scanned image
with the paintbrush tool, using
the brush shape shown in the
dialog box at the top.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Photoshop
After you edit a brush, you can click the new brush icon, labeled in Figure 5-17, to
save it as a new brush. Photoshop stores the brush as part of your program preferences so that it’s preserved between editing sessions. Note that if you delete the
preferences file (discussed in Chapter 2), you lose your custom brushes.
Creating and using custom brushes
6
Tip
In addition to creating ordinary custom brushes, as described in the preceding
section, “Editing and creating brush shapes,” you can turn an element in your image
into a brush. This process works a tad differently in Version 6 than in previous versions. After you select the area that you want to use as a brush, you now choose
Define Brush from the Edit menu instead of from the palette menu. You’re invited
to give your brush a name; if you’re not feeling inspired, just press Enter and accept
the default, Sampled Brush 1.
The size of your custom brush mirrors the size of the selection. That is, if you select
an area that’s 20 pixels wide by 10 pixels tall, you get a 20 × 10-pixel rectangular
brush. Because you can’t resize a custom brush as you can a regular brush, check the
pixel population of the selection and adjust the image accordingly before choosing
Define Brush.
You can modify your custom brush as follows:
Photoshop
✦ Brush options: After you press Enter, Photoshop displays a variation of the
New Brush dialog box. You can change the spacing of the brush shape and
specify whether Photoshop antialiases the edges or leaves them as is. If the
brush is sufficiently large, the Anti-aliased check box appears dimmed. All
custom brushes are hard-edged when you use the pencil tool.
6
When you display a drop-down dialog box like the one shown in Figure 5-22,
you close the dialog box by either pressing Enter or by clicking an empty area
in the program window. You also can simply start using the tool in the image
window. Press Escape to close the dialog box without making any changes.
Also remember that if you want your custom brush to take up permanent
residence in the Brush drop-down palette, you must save the brush as
outlined in the next section, “Saving, loading, and editing brush sets.”
Figure 5-22: After using Edit ➪ Define Brush to create a custom brush,
click the brush icon to display these additional brush options.
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✦ Brush color: The foreground color affects a custom brush just as it does a
standard brush shape. To find out more about setting the foreground color,
see Chapter 4.
✦ Opacity and brush modes: The settings of the Opacity slider bar and the Mode
pop-up menu, both now located on the Options bar, also affect the application
of custom brushes, as do the choices you make in the Brush Dynamics dropdown palette. For more information on these options, keep reading this chapter.
You can achieve some unusual and, sometimes, interesting effects by activating the smudge tool’s Finger Painting option and painting in the image window
with a custom brush. At high Pressure settings, say 80 to 90 percent, the
effect is rather like applying oil paint with a hairy paintbrush, as illustrated
in Figure 5-23.
Figure 5-23: I created this organic, expressive image
by combining the smudge tool’s dipping capability with
four custom brushes. I don’t know what those finger-like
growths are, but they’d probably feel right at home in
an aquarium.
Tip
In addition to giving you the flexibility to create a brush from some element in your
image, Photoshop ships with a file called Assorted Brushes, which contains all kinds
of little symbols and doodads you can use as brush shapes. The next section explains
how to load these brushes; Figure 5-24 shows an inspirational image I created using
brushes in the Assorted Brushes collection.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Figure 5-24: Yes, it’s Boris, the sleeping custom-brush guy. If you suspect this
image is meant to suggest custom brushes are more amusing than utilitarian,
you’re right. The brushes from the Assorted Brushes file appear on the right.
Saving, loading, and editing brush sets
Photoshop
After you define a custom brush, you must save it if you want it to last forever — or
at least until you decide that you can live without it. In Photoshop, you can preserve
a custom brush by clicking the new brush icon in the brush options dialog boxes
(shown in Figures 5-17 and 5-22) or by saving it as part of a brush set. The program
ships with a default brush set plus four additional sets, found in the Presets/Brushes
folder in the main Photoshop folder. Brush sets have the file extension .abr. You also
can create your own custom brush collections. This option comes in handy if you
need to share custom brushes with a fellow Photoshop user. Just create a new brush
set containing your custom brushes and then give your colleague the brush set file.
(Note that earlier versions of Photoshop can’t load Version 6 brush presets.) Also, if
you find that you never use certain brushes in a set, you can create a new set that
doesn’t contain those brushes. By limiting the number of brushes in the Brush dropdown palette, you make the job of hunting down the brush you want easier.
6
You can save brush sets — as well as load and edit them — either by choosing commands on the palette menu in the Brush drop-down palette (see Figure 5-16, earlier
in this chapter) or via the Brushes panel of the Preset Manager dialog box, new to
Photoshop 6. To check out the dialog box, choose Edit ➪ Preset Manager. Figure
5-25 gives you a look at the Preset Manager with the Brushes panel at the forefront.
If you’re already working in the Preset Manager, you can press Ctrl+1 to get to the
Brushes panel.
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Click for menu
Figure 5-25: You can load, save, and edit brush sets here or in the
Brush drop-down palette on the Options bar.
By default, the Brush drop-down palette displays the basic Photoshop brush set,
which features a selection of round and square brushes. You can’t delete this brush
set, but you can prevent brushes you don’t use from taking up space in the palette.
You also can load or create a different set, combine two or more sets, and add or
delete brushes from your custom brush sets. Here’s the drill:
✦ Save a brush set: To save all brushes currently displayed in the Brush palette,
choose Save Brushes from the palette menu. If you want to save only some of
the brushes as a set, however, open the Preset Manager dialog box. Shift-click
the icons of the brushes you want to save and then click Save Set. I suppose
you could also delete the brushes you don’t want to save from the Brush
palette and save the file through the palette menu, but the Preset Manager
provides a more convenient option.
Regardless of where you initiate the save, Photoshop takes you to the Save
dialog box, where you can name your brush set. By default, brushes are saved
in the Presets/Brushes folder, which is a darn good place for them. The next
time you start Photoshop, your new brush set appears on the Brush palette
menu along with other available sets.
✦ Use a different brush set: If you want to put the current brush set away and
use a different set, choose Replace Brushes from the Brush palette menu and
select the brush set you want to use. Alternatively, click the arrow at the top
of the scrolling list of icons in the Preset Manager dialog box (I labeled it in
Figure 5-25) to display a similar menu, and then choose Replace Brushes
from that menu.
✦ Load multiple brush sets: You can keep multiple brush sets active if you want.
After loading the first set, choose Load Brushes from the Brush palette menu
or click Load in the Preset Manager dialog box. Photoshop appends the second
brush set onto the first. If you want to keep using the two sets together, you
should save them as a new, custom brush set.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
✦ Delete a brush: To delete a brush from the current brush set, Ctrl-click its icon
in the Brush drop-down palette. When you press Ctrl, your cursor changes to a
little scissors icon, indicating that you’re about to snip away a brush. You also
can delete a brush by clicking its icon in the palette and choosing Delete Brush
from the palette menu.
Want to give a bunch of brushes the boot? Do the job in the Preset Manager
dialog box. Shift-click the brushes you no longer want and then click the
Delete button.
✦ Restore default brushes: To return to the default Photoshop brush set, choose
Reset Brushes from the menu in the palette or the dialog box. You then have
the option of either replacing the existing brushes with the default brushes or
simply adding the default brushes to the end of the palette.
✦ Rename a brush: If you ever want to rename a brush, select it in the Preset
Manager dialog box and click Rename. Or, even easier, click the brush icon on
the Options bar (as shown earlier, in Figure 5-22) or double-click the icon in
the Brush drop-down palette. Then enter the new brush moniker in the Name
option box and press Enter.
Caution
If you want your new brush names to live in perpetuity, resave the brush set.
Otherwise, the names revert to their original labels if you replace the brush
set, as is the case with all changes you make to brush characteristics.
Opacity, pressure, and exposure
Another way to change the performance of a paint or an edit tool is to adjust the
Pressure, Opacity, or Exposure value, depending on what tool you’re using. In Version
6, the controls appear on the Options bar, which replaces the former Options palette.
Regardless of which setting you want to change, you click the triangle to display a
slider bar, drag the slider to raise or lower the value, and then press Enter. Alternatively, you can double-click the option box, type a value, and press Enter.
Here’s a look at how these options work:
✦ Opacity: The Opacity value determines the translucency of colors applied
with the paint bucket, gradient, line, pencil, paintbrush, eraser, or rubber
stamp tools. At 100 percent, the applied colors appear opaque, completely
covering the image behind them. (The one exception is the paintbrush with
Wet Edges active, which is always translucent.) At lower settings, the applied
colors mix with the existing colors in the image.
Tip
You can change the opacity of pixels that you just altered by choosing Edit ➪
Fade (Ctrl+Shift+F) and dragging the Opacity slider in the Fade dialog box.
While you’re in the dialog box, you can apply one of Photoshop’s brush modes
to further change how the edited pixels blend with the originals. Chapter 10
discusses the Fade command in detail; you can get an introduction to brush
modes at the end of this chapter in the “Brush Modes” section.
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✦ Pressure: The Pressure value affects different tools in different ways. When
you use the airbrush tool, the Pressure value controls the opacity of each spot
of color the tool delivers. The effect appears unique because the airbrush lays
each spot of color onto the previous spot, mixing them together. This results in
a progressive effect. Meanwhile, the paintbrush and pencil tools are not progressive, so their spots blend to form smooth lines.
When you use the smudge tool, the Pressure value controls the distance the
tool drags colors in the image. And in the case of the blur, sharpen, or sponge
tool, the value determines the degree to which the tool changes the focus or
saturation of the image, 1 percent being the minimum and 100 percent being
the maximum.
✦ Exposure: Available when you select the dodge or burn tool, Exposure controls how much the tools lighten or darken the image, respectively. A setting
of 100 percent applies the maximum amount of lightening or darkening, which
is still far short of either absolute white or black.
The factory default setting for all Exposure and Pressure values is 50 percent; the
default setting for all Opacity values is 100 percent.
Tip
As long as one of the tools listed in this section is selected, you can change the
Opacity, Pressure, or Exposure setting in 10-percent increments by pressing a number key on the keyboard or keypad. Press 1 to change the setting to 10 percent,
press 2 for 20 percent, and so on, all the way up to 0 for 100 percent.
Want to change the Opacity, Pressure, or Exposure setting in 1-percent increments?
No problem — just press two keys in a row. Press 4 twice for 44 percent, 0 and 7
for 7 percent, and so on. This tip and the preceding one work whether or not the
Options bar is visible. Get in the habit of using the number keys and you’ll thank
yourself later.
Photoshop
Brush Dynamics
6
In previous versions of Photoshop, you’ve been able to apply paint and edit effects
in strokes that varied in size, opacity, pressure, or color along the length of your
drag. But to take advantage of some of these options, you needed a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet. Photoshop 6 enables mouse users to enjoy the same flexibility
as their stylus-wielding colleagues. Whether you use the mouse, a stylus, or even a
finger on a laptop trackpad, these options introduce an element of spontaneity into
what seems at times like an absolute world of computer graphics.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Photoshop
Exploring the Brush Dynamics palette
6
The Brush Dynamics drop-down palette, shown in Figure 5-26, holds the secret to
plying the paint and edit tools in strokes that vary from one end to the other. Click
the brush icon at the right end of the Options bar to display the palette.
Figure 5-26: Click the brush icon to display the Brush Dynamics palette, the key
to creating fading and tapered lines.
You get different options depending on the active tool; you can read about the
options for the paint and edit tools in the next few sections. (Also see Chapter 7,
which covers certain other tools affected by these settings.) But all the options
have the same purpose: to enable you alter the effect of a tool as you drag. And
in all cases, you can select one of three settings:
✦ Off: If you choose this option, the tools apply paint or edit effects consistently
throughout the entire length of your drag.
✦ Fade: Select Fade to change the effect of a paint or edit tool gradually over the
course of the drag. Enter a value in the option box to specify the distance over
which the fading should occur. (More about that topic in the next section.)
The tool attributes that you can fade depend on the tool. For the paintbrush
and pencil, you can vary brush size, opacity, and color. When working with the
airbrush, you can adjust pressure and opacity. For the edit tools discussed in
this chapter (dodge, burn, sponge, sharpen, blur, and smudge), you can alter
pressure and brush size. And for the eraser, rubber stamp, history brush, art
history brush, and pattern stamp, all covered in Chapter 7, you can adjust
size and opacity.
No matter what tool you’re using, Photoshop applies it initially at the setting
you established elsewhere on the Options bar and then gradually reduces
the value to the lowest possible value as you drag. For example, if you set the
Opacity slider on the Options bar to 70 and select Fade from the Opacity popup menu in the Brush Dynamics palette, dragging with the paintbrush gives
you a stroke that fades from 70 percent opacity to full transparency. And if
you select a 100-pixel brush and drag with the Size option set to Fade, your
paint stroke tapers from 100 pixels wide at the start to 1 pixel at the end.
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✦ Stylus: If you use a pressure-sensitive tablet with Photoshop, the paint and
edit tool effects vary according to the amount of pressure you apply as you
draw on the tablet. The upcoming section “Setting up pressure-sensitive
tablets” provides some additional information on working with a tablet.
The next sections explain how the Brush Dynamics settings affect the paint and edit
tools, and these sections also give you a real-life example to inspire your own investigation of these options.
Photoshop
Fading the paint (and other effects)
6
In earlier versions of Photoshop, you could create a fading paint stroke by selecting
the Fade check box in the Options palette and then specifying whether you wanted
the stroke to fade from the foreground color to the background color or to transparency. In Version 6, you have the same choices, but they’re handled a little
differently.
When you work with the paintbrush or pencil, setting the Color option in the Brush
Dynamics palette to Fade enables you to paint a line that fades from the foreground
color to the background color. Choosing Fade from the Opacity pop-up menu, on
the other hand, paints lines that fade to transparency. This option also enables
you to create gradually disappearing strokes with the rubber stamp, pattern stamp,
eraser, art history brush, and history brush.
If you’re using the airbrush, you fade paint to transparency by setting the Pressure
option in the Brush Dynamics palette to Fade. Similarly, you set the Pressure option
to Fade to apply less and less pressure as you drag with the burn, dodge, sponge,
blur, sharpen, and smudge tools.
To try your hand at fading lines, select the paintbrush or pencil and select Fade from
the Opacity pop-up menu in the Brush Dynamics palette. Then enter a value in the
corresponding option box to specify the distance over which you want the fading to
occur. The fading begins at the start of your drag and is measured in brush shapes.
For example, assume that the foreground color is black. If you enter 40 into the
Fade option box — as in Figure 5-27 — Photoshop paints 40 brush shapes, the first
in black and the remaining 39 in increasingly lighter shades of gray.
Note
The physical length of a fading line is dependent both on the Fade value you enter in
the Brush Dynamics palette and on the Spacing value entered in the Brush Options
dialog box, discussed in “Editing a brush shape,” earlier in this chapter. To recap,
the Spacing value determines the frequency with which Photoshop lays down
brush shapes, and the Fade value determines the number of brush shapes laid
down. Therefore, as demonstrated in Figure 5-28, a high Fade value combined
with a high Spacing value creates the longest line.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
211
Figure 5-27: The top and
middle strokes show examples
of fading strokes that you can
create by selecting Fade from
the Opacity pop-up menu in
the Brush Dynamics palette.
For the other two strokes, I set
the Opacity option to Off and
set the Color option to Fade.
1%
12%
Figure 5-28: Here are five fading lines
drawn with the paintbrush tool. In each
case, I set the Opacity option in the
Brush Dynamics palette to Fade and
entered 36 as the Fade value. I changed
the Spacing value incrementally from 1
to 50 percent, as labeled.
25%
37%
50%
Creating sparkles and comets
Fading lines may strike you as pretty ho-hum, but they enable you to create some
no-brainer, cool-mandoo effects, especially when combined with the Shift key
techniques discussed earlier, in the “Painting a straight line” section.
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Figures 5-29 and 5-30 demonstrate two of the most obvious uses for fading straight
lines: creating sparkles and comets. The top image in Figure 5-29 features two sets of
sparkles, each made up of 16 straight lines emanating from the sparkle’s center. I created these lines by setting the Opacity slider on the Options bar to 100 percent and
then selecting Fade from the Opacity pop-up menu in the Brush Dynamics palette.
For the smaller sparkle on the right, I set the Fade value to 60 and drew each of the
four perpendicular lines with the paintbrush tool. I changed the value to 36 before
drawing the four 45-degree diagonal lines. The eight very short lines that occur
between the perpendicular and diagonal lines were drawn with a Fade value of 20,
and I created the larger sparkle on the left by periodically adjusting the Fade value,
this time from 90 to 60 to 42.
Figure 5-29: I drew the sparkles in the top image using the
paintbrush tool. The second image features a reflection applied
with the Lens Flare filter (upper-left corner) and two dabs of a
custom brush shape (right edge of the bumper).
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
For comparison’s sake, I used different techniques to add a few more sparkles to
the bottom image in Figure 5-29. To achieve the reflection in the upper-left corner of
the image, I chose Filter ➪ Render ➪ Lens Flare and selected 50–300mm Zoom from
the Lens Type options. (Lens Flare works exclusively in the RGB mode, so I had to
switch to RGB to apply the filter, even though Figure 5-29 is a grayscale image.)
I created the two tiny sparkles on the right edge of the bumper using a custom
brush shape. I merely selected the custom brush, set the foreground color to white,
and clicked once with the paintbrush tool in each location. So many sparkles make
for a tremendously shiny image.
In Figure 5-30 — a nostalgic tribute to the days when gas was cheap and the whole
family would pile in the Plymouth for a Sunday drive through space — I copied the car
and pasted it on top of a NASA photograph of Jupiter. I then went nuts clicking and
Shift-clicking with the paintbrush tool to create the comets — well, if you must know,
they’re actually cosmic rays — you see shooting through and around the car. It’s so
real, you can practically hear the in-dash servo unit warning, “Duck and cover!”
Figure 5-30: To create the threatening cosmic rays, I set the Fade
value to 110 and then clicked and Shift-clicked on opposite sides
of the image with the paintbrush tool.
After masking portions of the image (a process described at length in Chapter 9),
I drew rays behind the car and even one ray that shoots up through the car and out
the spare tire. The three bright lights in the image — above the left fin, above the
roof, and next to the right-turn signal — are more products of the Lens Flare filter
in the RGB mode.
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Note
I drew all the fading lines in Figures 5-29 and 5-30 with the paintbrush tool, using a
variety of default brush shapes. Because I didn’t edit any brush shape, the Spacing
value for all lines was a constant 25 percent.
Creating tapered strokes
Available for any tool that uses a brush, the Size option in the Brush Dynamics
palette tapers your paint or edit strokes when set to Fade. As with the other palette
options, the Fade value that you enter determines how quickly the stroke tapers
to nothingness.
Figure 5-31 shows examples of four tapering strokes created by setting the Size
option to Fade and using different Fade values. In all cases, I used a 19-pixel hard
brush and left the brush Spacing value at its default, 25 percent. (See the previous
section for details about how the Spacing value comes into play when you create
fading or tapering strokes.)
25 steps
50 steps
75 steps
100 steps
Photoshop
Figure 5-31: Here you see four tapering lines created by setting
the Size option to Fade and using different Fade values. I used a
19-pixel hard brush and the default Spacing value for all four lines.
Setting up pressure-sensitive tablets
6
In Photoshop 6, you can use a mouse to create fading and tapering lines, but you
can go in only one direction. You can make a line fade or taper into nothingness,
but you can’t make a thin, faint line get fatter and more opaque as you drag. Nor
can you fade or taper a single stroke by varying amounts along the course of your
drag. But with a pressure-sensitive tablet, you can dynamically adjust the thickness
of lines and the opacity of colors by changing the amount of pressure you apply
to the stylus, the pen-like input device that takes the place of the mouse when you
work with a graphics tablet.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
If you’re an artist and you’ve never experimented with a pressure-sensitive tablet,
I recommend that you do so soon. You’ll be amazed at how much it increases your
range of artistic options, not only because you have access to options like the ones
I just mentioned, but also because drawing and editing with a stylus is much easier
than working with a clunky old mouse. Thirty minutes after I installed my first tablet
back in 1990, I had executed the cartoon you see in Figure 5-32. Whether you like the
image or not — I’ll admit there’s a certain troglodyte quality to the slope of his forehead, and that jaw could bust a coconut — it shows off the tablet’s capability to
paint tapering lines and accommodate artistic expression.
Figure 5-32: Although I painted this caricature years
ago, it still demonstrates the range of artistic freedom
provided by a pressure-sensitive tablet.
Pressure-sensitive options
As I mentioned a few pages ago, you control Photoshop’s reaction to stylus pressure using the options in the Brush Dynamics drop-down palette. When you select
Stylus from any of the palette pop-up menus, the program responds to changes in
stylus pressure by varying your paint or edit strokes as follows:
✦ Size: Select Stylus from the Size pop-up menu, as shown in Figure 5-33, if you
want Photoshop to change the thickness of the line according to stylus pressure. The more pressure you apply, the thicker the line. Figure 5-34 shows
three paintbrush lines drawn using this feature. I drew the first line using a
hard brush, the second with a soft brush, and the third with a hard brush
and with the Wet Edges check box selected.
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Figure 5-33: When you work with a
pressure-sensitive tablet, select Stylus
from any pop-up menu in the Brush
Dynamics palette to vary your paint and
edit strokes according to stylus pressure.
Size
Hard brush
Soft brush
Wet edges
Color
Opacity
Figure 5-34: The effects of the Size, Color, and Opacity options on lines drawn with
the paintbrush tool and a pressure-sensitive tablet
✦ Color: With Stylus selected for the Color option, the paintbrush, pencil, and
airbrush lay down the foreground color at full pressure, the background color
at slight pressure, and a mix of the two at medium pressure.
✦ Opacity: When you work with the pencil or the paintbrush, this option paints an
opaque coat of foreground color at full pressure that dwindles to transparency
at slight pressure. Similarly, varying stylus pressure adjusts the opacity of
strokes that you paint with the rubber stamp, pattern stamp, eraser, history
brush, and art history brush.
✦ Pressure: Here’s one that I think you could probably figure out for yourself,
but just in case: If you set the Pressure option to Stylus, changes in stylus
pressure alter the pressure setting of the airbrush, dodge, burn, sponge,
smudge, sharpen, and blur tools. Heavier stylus pressure increases the
tool pressure.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
Because Photoshop presents these options individually, you can select more than
one at a time. For example, you can select both Size and Color to instruct Photoshop
to change both the thickness and color of a line as you bear down or lift up on
the stylus.
Undoing pressure-sensitive lines
In the old days, pressure-sensitive lines were a pain to undo. Because a stylus is so
sensitive to gradual pressure, you can unwittingly let up and repress the stylus during what you perceive as a single drag. If, after doing so, you decide you don’t like
the line and press Ctrl+Z (Edit ➪ Undo), Photoshop deletes only the last portion of
the line because it detected a release midway.
This is why it’s a good idea to get in the habit of using Ctrl+Alt+Z, if you haven’t
already. Each time you press this shortcut, you take another step back in the history
of your image, permitting you to eliminate every bit of a line regardless of how many
times you let up on the stylus. (See Chapter 7 for more information on Photoshop’s
multiple undos.) Note that the shortcuts I mention here assume that you set the Redo
Key option on the General panel of the Preferences dialog box to its default setting,
Ctrl+Z. Check out Chapter 2 for more information on your other Redo Key options.
Tip
Better yet, create a new layer before you paint with or without a stylus. Then you can
refine your lines and erase them without harming the original appearance of your
image. (You can do this without layers using the history brush, again explained in
Chapter 7, but a relatively old-fashioned layer tends to be less hassle.)
Brush Modes
When certain painting or editing tools are active, the Options bar provides access
to Photoshop’s brush modes, which control how the colors applied by the tools
affect existing colors in the image. Figure 5-35 shows which brush modes are
available when you select various tools.
With the exception of the specialized modes available for the dodge, burn, and
sponge tools, these brush modes are merely variations on the blend modes
described in Chapter 13. Read this section to get a brief glimpse of brush modes;
read Chapter 13 for a more detailed account that should appeal to brush-mode
aficionados.
Tip
You can change brush modes from the keyboard by pressing Shift+plus (+) or
Shift+minus (–). Shift+plus takes you to the next brush mode listed in the pop-up
menu; Shift+minus selects the previous blend mode. It’s a great way to cycle
through the brush modes without losing your place in the image.
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Figure 5-35: The available brush
modes vary depending on which
tool is active.
The 19 paint tool modes
Photoshop offers 19 brush modes when you use the pencil, paintbrush, airbrush, or
any of the other tools shown along the left side of Figure 5-35. (An additional mode,
Threshold, is an alternative to Normal in certain color modes.) To show you what
these brush modes look like when applied to an image, Color Plates 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4
illustrate 18 modes, minus only Threshold. In each case, I used the paintbrush tool
to apply a bit of green graffiti to a work of fourteenth-century religious iconography.
Who among us hasn’t been tempted with the primal urge to paint “Kilroy” on something old and priceless? Now, thanks to the miracle of digital imagery, you need
resist this temptation no longer.
Just as you can cycle from one brush mode to the next from the keyboard, you
can jump directly to a specific brush mode as well. Just press Shift+Alt and a letter
key. For example, Shift+Alt+N selects the Normal mode, Shift+Alt+C selects the
Color mode. I list the letter key for each brush mode in parentheses along with
its description:
✦ Normal (N): Choose this mode to paint or edit an image normally. A paint tool
coats the image with the foreground color, and an edit tool manipulates the
existing colors in an image according to the Opacity or Pressure value.
✦ Threshold (L): Two color modes prevent Photoshop from rendering soft or
translucent edges. The black-and-white and indexed modes (Image ➪ Mode ➪
Bitmap and Image ➪ Mode ➪ Indexed Color) simply don’t have enough colors
to go around. When painting in such a low-color image, Photoshop replaces
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
the Normal brush mode with Threshold, which results in harsh, jagged edges,
just like a stroke painted with the pencil tool. You can alternatively dither the
soft edges by selecting the Dissolve mode, as described next.
✦ Dissolve ( I ): This mode and the six that follow are not applicable to the edit
tools (though I wonder why — the Dissolve mode would be especially useful
with the smudge tool). Dissolve scatters colors along the edge of a brushstroke
randomly throughout the course of your drag. The Dissolve mode produces the
most pronounced effects when used with soft brushes and the airbrush tool.
✦ Behind (Q): This one is applicable exclusively to layers with transparent backgrounds. When Behind is selected, the paint tool applies color behind the image
on the active layer, showing through only in the transparent and translucent
areas. In Color Plate 5-2, for example, I painted over the Madonna’s head, and
yet the brushstroke appears behind her head because she is positioned on an
independent layer. When you’re working on an image without layers or on the
background layer of a multilayered image, the Behind mode is dimmed.
✦ Multiply (M): The Multiply mode combines the foreground color with an existing color in an image to create a third color, darker than the other two. Using the
multiply analogy, red times white is red, red times yellow is orange, red times
green is brown, red times blue is violet, and so on. As discussed in Chapter 4,
this is subtractive (CMYK) color theory at work. The effect is almost exactly like
drawing with felt-tipped markers, except the colors don’t bleed. Check out the
first Kilroy in Color Plate 5-3 to see the Multiply mode in action.
Note
The multiply mode has no effect on the paintbrush when it’s set to Wet Edges;
the Wet Edges brush setting already multiplies.
✦ Screen (S): The inverse of the Multiply mode, Screen combines the foreground
color with each colored pixel you paint over to create a third color, lighter than
the other two. Red on white is white, red on yellow is off-white, red on green is
yellow, and red on blue is pink. The Screen mode uses additive (RGB) color
theory. If the effect has a traditional counterpart, it’s like some impossibly
bright, radioactive Uranium-238 highlighter, hitherto used only by G-men to
mark the pant cuffs of Communist sympathizers.
Caution
Because the Wet Edges option always multiplies, combining it with the Screen
mode must render the brush invisible. If the paintbrush tool isn’t working,
this could be your problem.
✦ Overlay (O): Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light are cousins. Each mode multiplies the dark pixels in an image and screens the light pixels as you lay down
color with a paint tool. But although related, the three modes are not variations
on an identical theme. In other words, you can’t emulate the Soft Light mode by
simply applying the Hard Light mode at 70 percent or some similar opacity.
Of the three modes, Overlay is the kindest. Overlay always enhances contrast
and boosts the saturation of colors in an image. In fact, Overlay works rather
like a colored version of the sponge tool set to Saturate. It mixes the colors
in the image with the foreground color to come up with a vivid blend that
is almost always visually pleasing. Overlay may be the most interesting and
downright useful brush mode of the bunch.
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✦ Soft Light (F): This mode applies a subtle glazing of color to an image. In
fact, Soft Light is remarkably similar to painting a diluted acrylic wash to a
canvas. Soft Light never completely covers the underlying detail — even black
or white applied at 100 percent Opacity does no more than darken or lighten
the image — but it does slightly diminish contrast.
✦ Hard Light (H): This mode might better be named Obfuscate. It’s as if you
were applying a thicker, more opaque wash to the image. You might think
of Hard Light as Normal with a whisper of underlying detail mixed in.
For examples of Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light, check out the middle
brushstrokes in Color Plate 5-3.
✦ Color Dodge (D): This brush mode lightens the pixels in an image according
to the lightness or darkness of the foreground color. Color Dodge produces
a harsher, chalkier effect than the Screen mode and is designed to act like a
dodge tool that also adds color. At 100 percent Opacity, even painting with
black has a lightening effect.
✦ Color Burn (B): If Color Dodge is like drawing with chalk, Color Burn is like
drawing with coal. It darkens pixels according to the lightness or darkness of
the foreground color and is designed to simulate a colored version of the burn
tool. For examples of Color Dodge and Color Burn, look to the last two Kilroys
in Color Plate 5-3.
✦ Darken (K): Ah, back to the old familiars. If you choose the Darken mode,
Photoshop applies a new color to a pixel only if that color is darker than the
present color of the pixel. Otherwise, the pixel is left unchanged. The mode
works on a channel-by-channel basis, so it might change a pixel in the green
channel, for example, without changing the pixel in the red or blue channel.
I used this mode to create the first brushstroke of Color Plate 5-4.
✦ Lighten (G): The opposite of the preceding mode, Lighten ensures that
Photoshop applies a new color to a pixel only if the color is lighter than
the present color of the pixel. Otherwise, the pixel is left unchanged. On
or off — either you see the color or you don’t.
✦ Difference (E): When a paint tool is set to the Difference mode, Photoshop
subtracts the brightness value of the foreground color from the brightness
value of the pixels in the image. If the result is a negative number, Photoshop
simply makes it positive. The result of this complex-sounding operation is an
inverted effect. Black has no effect on an image; white inverts it completely.
Colors in between create psychedelic effects. For instance, in the third example of Color Plate 5-4, the Difference mode inverts the green paint to create
a red brushstroke.
Tip
Because the Difference mode inverts an image, it results in an outline around
the brushstroke. You can make this outline thicker by using a softer brush
shape. For a really trippy effect, select the paintbrush tool, turn on Wet Edges,
and apply the Difference mode with a soft brush shape.
Chapter 5 ✦ Painting and Editing
✦ Exclusion (X): When I first asked Mark Hamburg, lead programmer for
Photoshop, for his definition of Exclusion, he kindly explained, “Exclusion
applies a probabilistic, fuzzy-set-theoretic, symmetric difference to each
channel.” Don’t think about it too long — your frontal lobe will turn to boiled
squash. After Mark remembered he was communicating with a lower life form,
he told me (very slowly) that Exclusion inverts an image in much the same
way as Difference, except colors in the middle of the spectrum mix to form
medium gray. Exclusion typically results in high-contrast effects with less
color saturation than Difference. My suggestion is to try the Difference mode
first. If you’re looking for something a little different, press Ctrl+Z and try
Exclusion instead. (Both Difference and Exclusion brushstrokes appear in
Color Plate 5-4.)
✦ Hue (U): Understanding this and the next few modes requires a color theory
recap. Remember how the HSL color model calls for three color channels?
One is for hue, the value that explains the colors in an image; the second is
for saturation, which represents the intensity of the colors; and the third
is for luminosity, which explains the lightness and darkness of colors. If you
choose the Hue brush mode, therefore, Photoshop applies the hue from the
foreground color without changing any saturation or luminosity values in
the existing image.
None of the HSL brush modes — Hue, Saturation, Color, or Luminosity — are
available when painting within grayscale images.
✦ Saturation (T): If you choose this mode, Photoshop changes the intensity of
the colors in an image without changing the colors themselves or the lightness and darkness of individual pixels. In Color Plate 5-4, Saturation has the
effect of breathing new life into those ancient egg-tempura colors.
✦ Color (C): This mode might be more appropriately titled Hue and Saturation.
Color enables you to change the colors in an image and the intensity of those
colors without changing the lightness and darkness of individual pixels.
Tip
The Color mode is most often used to colorize grayscale photographs. Open
a grayscale image and then choose Image ➪ Mode ➪ RGB Color to convert the
image to the RGB mode. Then select the colors you want to use and start painting. The Color mode ensures that details in the image remain completely intact.
✦ Luminosity (Y): The opposite of the Color mode, Luminosity changes the lightness and darkness of pixels, but leaves the hue and saturation values unaffected.
Frankly, this mode is rarely useful. But its counterpart — the Luminosity blend
mode — is exceptionally useful when applied to layers. Read Chapter 13 to find
out more.
The three dodge and burn modes
Phew, that takes care of the brush modes available to the paint tools, the smudge
tool, and the two focus tools. I already explained the Desaturate and Saturate modes
available to the sponge tool (in the “Mopping up with the sponge tool” section of this
chapter). That leaves the three brush modes available to the dodge and burn tools.
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6
You now access these modes from the Range pop-up menu on the Options bar. As
with other brush modes, you can select the dodge and burn modes from the keyboard. Just press Shift+Alt and the letter in parentheses as follows:
✦ Shadows (S): Along with the Midtones and Highlights modes (described next),
Shadows is unique to the dodge and burn tools. When you select this mode,
the dodge and burn tools affect dark pixels in an image more dramatically
than they affect light pixels and shades in between.
✦ Midtones (M): Select this mode to apply the dodge or burn tools equally to
all but the very lightest or darkest pixels in an image.
✦ Highlights (H): When you select this option, the dodge and burn tools affect
light pixels in an image more dramatically than they affect dark pixels and
shades in between.
Selecting Shadows when using the dodge tool or selecting Highlights when using the
burn tool has an equalizing effect on an image. Figure 5-36 shows how using either of
these functions and setting the Exposure slider bar to 100 percent lightens or darkens
pixels in an image to nearly identical brightness values.
Dodge
Burn
Shadows Highlights
Shadows Highlights
Midtones
Midtones
Figure 5-36: The dodge and burn tool applied at
100-percent Exposure settings subject to each of
the three applicable brush modes.
✦
✦
✦
6
C H A P T E R
Filling and
Stroking
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Filling Portions of an Image
No explanation of filling and stroking would be complete without a definition, so here goes: To fill a selection or a layer is to
put color inside it; to stroke a selection or a layer is to put color
around it. Some folks prefer the term outline to stroke, but I defer
to PostScript terminology because that’s where this whole desktop graphics thing started. Besides, when I think outline, I think
perimeter, boundary, enclosure, prison, let me out of here.
Stroke is more like brush, caress, pet, puppy, warm fire, glad
heart. I’m a joker, I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight stroker. I’d rather
be stroking. Stop me before I stroke again. And, that timeless
favorite, keep on strokin’. So you see, people who prefer the
word “outline” have no soul.
But whatever you call them, Photoshop’s fill and stroke functions
are so straightforward that you may have long since dismissed
them as wimpy little tools with remarkably limited potential. But
the truth is, you can do a world of stuff with them. In this chapter, for example, I show you how to fill selections using nifty keyboard shortcuts, how to create an antique framing effect, how to
make the most of Photoshop’s new gradient options, and how to
add an arrowhead to a curving line — all in addition to the really
basic stuff every Photoshop user needs to know.
As the poet said, “Teacher don’t you fill me up with your
rules, I know strokin’s not allowed in school.” I’d love to share
the entire transcript from “Strokin’ in the Boy’s Room,” but
this is, after all, a family book.
Applying color with
the paint bucket tool
and Fill command
Filling a selection
with custom patterns
Having fun with the
Backspace key
Creating an antique
framing effect with
the paint bucket
Using the new
gradient features
in Photoshop 6
Designing your own
multicolor gradation
Using the gradient
tool with the Dissolve
brush mode
Creating outlines
and borders
Attaching an
arrowhead to
any stroke
✦
✦
✦
✦
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Filling Selections with Color or Patterns
Photoshop
6
✦ The paint bucket tool: Also known as the fill tool, the paint bucket now
resides in the same flyout as the gradient tool in the toolbox. You can apply
the foreground color or a repeating pattern to areas of related color in an
image by clicking in the image window with the tool. For example, if you want
to turn all midnight blue pixels in an image into red pixels, set the foreground
color to red and then click one of the blue pixels. Note that you can’t use this
tool on images that you converted to Bitmap mode.
Photoshop
You can fill an area of an image in the following ways:
6
✦ The Fill command: Choose Edit ➪ Fill to fill a selection with the foreground
color or a repeating pattern. In Photoshop 6, you don’t need to select a portion of the image to access the Fill command. If you choose the command
while no selection is active, Photoshop fills the entire layer.
Tip
To choose the Fill command without so much as moving the mouse, press
Shift+Backspace.
✦ Backspace key techniques: After selecting part of a single-layer image — or
part of the background layer in a multi-layered image — you can fill the selection with the background color by pressing Backspace or Delete. On any other
layer, press Ctrl+Backspace. To fill the selection with the foreground color,
press Alt+Backspace.
Photoshop
6
You now choose a gradient style by clicking an icon on the Options bar. The
old shortcut for cycling through the styles, Shift+G, now toggles the gradient
and paint bucket tools, which occupy the same flyout menu in the Version 6
toolbox. If you turn off the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch check box in the
Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K), you need only press G to toggle the tools.
Photoshop
✦ The gradient tool: Drag across a selection with a gradient tool to fill it with a
multi-color gradation in one of five gradient styles.
6
✦ Layer fills: Photoshop 6 provides two additional ways to fill an entire layer.
You can use the Dynamic Fill and Layer Style features to fill a layer with a solid
color, gradient, or pattern.
The next sections explain the first four fill options. To find out more about dynamic
fills and layer styles, trek off to Chapters 13 and 14.
The paint bucket tool
Unlike remedial paint bucket tools in other painting programs, which apply paint
exclusively within outlined areas or areas of solid color, the Photoshop paint bucket
tool offers several useful adjustment options.
Photoshop
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
6
In Version 6, you access the paint bucket controls in the Options bar, as with all
tools. When you select the paint bucket, the Options bar automatically updates to
show the available controls. If you don’t see the Options bar, press Enter, doubleclick the paint bucket icon in the toolbox, or choose Window ➪ Show Options. Also
note that the old keyboard shortcut for selecting the paint bucket — the K key —
now selects the slice tool. The paint bucket and gradient tools share a flyout menu
in the toolbox; press G to toggle between the two tools (or Shift+G, depending on
your preferences setting for tool toggles).
Here’s a look at the paint bucket options:
Photoshop
✦ Fill: In this pop-up menu, choose whether you want to apply the foreground
color or a repeating pattern created using Edit ➪ Define Pattern. The Define
Pattern command is covered in the “Applying Repeating Patterns” section of
Chapter 7.
6
✦ Pattern: If you select Pattern from the Fill pop-up, click the Pattern icon (or
the adjacent triangle) to display the Pattern drop-down palette, as shown in
Figure 6-1. The palette contains icons representing the icons in the current
pattern preset — Photoshop 6 lingo for a collection of patterns. Click the pattern you want to use.
You load, replace, edit, and create pattern presets just as you do brush presets,
working either in the Preset Manager dialog box or the Pattern palette menu,
which you display by clicking the triangle labeled in Figure 6-1. Photoshop 6
enables you to create multiple patterns; you’re no longer limited to one custom
pattern.
The Chapter 5 discussion of custom brushes details presets fully, so I won’t
waste space repeating everything here. Be sure to also check out Chapter 7,
which explains ways of creating custom patterns.
Click to display palette menu
Figure 6-1: These options govern the performance of the paint bucket tool.
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✦ Tolerance: Raise or lower the Tolerance value to increase or decrease the
number of pixels affected by the paint bucket tool. The Tolerance value represents a range in brightness values, as measured from the pixel that you click
with the paint bucket.
Immediately after you click a pixel, Photoshop reads the brightness value of
that pixel from each color channel. Next, the program calculates a color range
based on the Tolerance value — which can vary from 0 to 255. The program
adds the Tolerance to the brightness value of the pixel you clicked to determine the top of the range and subtracts the Tolerance from the pixel’s brightness value to determine the bottom of the range. For example, if the pixel’s
brightness value is 100 and the Tolerance value is 32, the top of the range is
132 and the bottom is 68.
Figure 6-2 shows the result of clicking on the same pixel three separate times,
each time using a different Tolerance value. In Color Plate 6-1, I raised the
Tolerance to 120. But even with this high setting, I had to click several times
to recolor all the nooks and crannies of the oranges. The moral is, don’t get
too hung up on getting the Tolerance exactly right — no matter how you paint
it, the bucket is not a precise tool.
✦ Anti-aliased: Select this option to soften the effect of the paint bucket tool. As
demonstrated in the left example of Figure 6-3, Photoshop creates a border of
translucent color between the filled pixels and their unaffected neighbors. If
you don’t want to soften the transition, turn off the Anti-aliased check box.
Photoshop then fills only those pixels that fall inside the Tolerance range, as
demonstrated in the right example of the figure.
✦ Contiguous: When you select this check box, Photoshop fills only contiguous
pixels — that is, pixels that both fall inside the Tolerance range and touch
another affected pixel. If you instead want to select all pixels that fall within
the Tolerance Range, deselect the check box. I turned the option on when creating Figure 6-2 and Color Plate 6-1.
✦ All Layers: Select this option to make the paint bucket see beyond the current
layer. When the option is selected, the tool takes all visible layers into account
when calculating the area to fill. Mind you, it only fills the active layer, but the
way it fills an area is dictated by all layers.
✦ Mode: This menu offers a selection of blend modes, which determine how and
when color is applied. For example, if you select Darken (Shift+Alt+K), the
paint bucket tool affects a pixel in the image only if the foreground color is
darker than that pixel. If you select Color (Shift+Alt+C), the paint bucket colorizes the image without changing the brightness value of the pixels.
In Color Plate 6-1, for example, I used the Color mode to change a few oranges
to blue and the background to green, all by clicking at five different spots with
the paint bucket tool. I then touched up the stray pixels the paint bucket didn’t
catch with the paintbrush and airbrush tools.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Paint bucket cursor
Figure 6-2: The results of applying the paint bucket tool to the
exact pixel after setting the Tolerance value to 16 (top), 32
(middle), and 64 (bottom). In each case, the foreground color
is light gray.
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Figure 6-3: The results of turning on (left) and off (right) the Anti-aliased
check box before using the paint bucket tool. It all depends on whether
you want cottage cheese or little spiky coral edges.
CrossReference
For a thorough rundown of blend modes, see Chapter 13.
✦ Opacity: This option works just like when you paint with the paintbrush.
Enter a new value or press a number key to change the translucency of a color
applied with the paint bucket. (Press 0 for full opacity, 9 for 90 percent opacity, and so on.)
I feel the need at this point to expound a bit more on the All Layers option. For an
example of how this feature works, look no further than Figure 6-4. The dog sits on
one layer, and the fire hydrant rests on another layer directly below it. If I were to
click the fire hydrant when the dog layer is active and the All Layers check box is
turned off, I’d fill everything around the dog. The paint bucket can’t see the hydrant;
all the paint bucket can see is the transparent area of the dog layer, so it would try
to fill that area. To avoid this, I selected All Layers and then clicked on the hydrant.
With All Layers on, the paint bucket can see all layers, so it contains its fill within
the hydrant, as in the middle example of the figure.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Figure 6-4: Although dog and hydrant are on separate layers
(top), I can mix them together with Use All Layers. This option
enables me to fill an area of the hydrant (middle), even
though the dog layer is active. Then I paint in front of and
behind the fill without harming the hydrant (bottom).
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Because the fill and hydrant are on separate layers, I could edit the two independently.
I used the airbrush to paint inside and behind the fill (using the Behind brush mode,
discussed in the previous chapter). I painted the teeth and eyes with the paintbrush
and used the smudge tool to mix colors around the white fill. (Naturally, I had to turn
on the All Layers check box on the Options bar when working with the smudge tool as
well.) As a result, all the bizarre alterations you see in the bottom example of Figure
6-4 were applied to the dog layer. I didn’t change a single pixel in the hydrant layer
(which is a good thing — in light of my changes, I might like to get that hydrant back).
Tip
To limit the area affected by the paint bucket, select a portion of the image before
using the tool. As when using a paint or edit tool, the region outside the selection
outline is protected from the paint bucket. To see an interesting application of this,
skip ahead to the “Using the paint bucket inside a selection” section later in this
chapter.
When working on a layer, you can protect pixels by locking the layer’s transparency in
the Layers palette. Like all layering issues, I cover the locking options in Chapter 12.
Tip
Here’s one more paint bucket tip for good measure: You can use the paint bucket to
color the empty window area around your image. First, make your image window
larger than your image, so you can see some gray canvas area around the image.
Now Shift-click with the paint bucket to fill the canvas area with the foreground
color. This technique can come in handy if you’re creating a presentation or you
simply don’t care for the default shade of gray.
The Fill command
The one problem with the paint bucket tool is its lack of precision. Although the
tool is undeniably convenient, the effects of the Tolerance value are so difficult to
predict that you typically have to click with the tool, choose Edit ➪ Undo when you
don’t like the result, adjust the Tolerance value, and reclick several times more
before you fill the image as desired. For my part, I rarely use the paint bucket for
any purpose other than filling same-colored areas. On my machine, the Tolerance
option is nearly always set to 0 and Anti-alias is generally off, which puts me right
back in the all-the-subtlety-of-dumping-paint-out-of-a-bucket camp.
Photoshop
A better option is to choose Edit ➪ Fill or press Shift+Backspace. (If you prefer function keys, try Shift+F5.) In this way, you can define the exact area of the image you
want to color using the entire range of Photoshop’s selection tools. For example,
instead of putting your faith in the paint bucket tool’s Anti-aliased option, you can
draw a selection outline that features hard edges in one area, antialiased edges elsewhere, and downright blurry edges in between.
6
If you want to fill an entire layer, you don’t need to create a selection outline before
choosing Fill as you did in past versions of Photoshop. The program assumes that
you want to fill the whole layer if it doesn’t see a selection outline. (The Dynamic
Fill and Layer Style commands provide additional ways to fill a layer; see Chapter
12 for details on how these fills differ from those you create with the Fill command.)
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Selection outline or no, choosing the Fill command displays the dialog box shown
in Figure 6-5. In this dialog box, you can apply a translucent color or pattern by
entering a value in the Opacity option box. You can also choose a brush mode from
the Mode pop-up menu. In addition to its inherent precision, the Fill command provides all the functionality of the paint bucket tool — and then some.
Click for menu
Photoshop
Figure 6-5: The Fill dialog box combines the opacity and brush mode options
available for the paint bucket with an expanded collection of fill content options.
6
If you display the Use pop-up menu, you see a collection of fills that you can apply.
Foreground Color and Pattern behave the same as they do for the paint bucket tool.
When you select Pattern, the Custom Pattern option becomes available, as shown
in the bottom dialog box in Figure 6-5. Click the icon to display the Pattern dropdown palette, which also works just as described in the preceding section. Click an
icon to select a pattern; click the right-pointing arrow to display the palette menu
and load a different pattern preset.
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CrossReference
To find out how to load, save, edit, and create custom pattern presets, see the section in Chapter 5 that discusses the Brushes panel of the Preset Manager dialog
box. You use the same techniques for brush presets and pattern presets.
You can also fill a selection with the background color and such monochrome
options as Black, White, and 50% Gray. Black and White are useful if the foreground
and background colors have been changed from their defaults; 50% Gray fills the
selection with the absolute medium color without having to mess around with the
Color palette. History enables you to revert the selected area to a previous appearance, as I discuss at length in Chapter 7.
The Preserve Transparency option gives you the same result as locking the active
layer’s transparency in the Layers palette, which you can read about in Chapter 12.
If you select Preserve Transparency, you can’t fill transparent pixels in the active
layer. Turn Preserve Transparency off, and you can fill the selection outline uniformly. (The option is dimmed when you’re working on the background layer or if
you already locked the layer’s transparency in the Layers palette.)
Backspace-key techniques
Of all the fill techniques, the Backspace key is by far the most convenient and, in
most respects, every bit as capable as the others. The key’s only failing is that it
can neither fill a selection with a repeating pattern nor revert a selection to a previous state. But with the exception of those two items, you can rely on the Backspace
key for the overwhelming majority of your fill needs.
Here’s how to get a ton of functionality out of Backspace:
✦ Background color, method 1: To fill a selection on the background layer with
solid background color, press Backspace. The selection outline remains intact.
Caution
✦ Background color, method 2: The problem with pressing Backspace is that it’s
unreliable. If the selection is floating, as I explain in Chapter 8, the Backspace
key deletes it. The Backspace key also erases pixels on a layer. So there’s no time
like the present to get into a new habit — press Ctrl+Backspace instead. Ctrl+
Backspace fills the selection with the background color, no matter where it is.
✦ Foreground color: To fill a selection or a layer with solid foreground color, press
Alt+Backspace. This works when filling floating and nonfloating selections alike.
✦ Black or white: To fill an area with black, press D to get the default foreground
and background colors and then press Alt+Backspace. To fill an area with white,
press D for the defaults and then Ctrl+Backspace.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
✦ Preserve transparency: Add the Shift key and you get two more key tricks
that make more sense when you read Chapter 12. (Don’t worry, I’ll repeat
the tricks then.) You can fill only the opaque pixels in a layer — regardless
of whether you locked the layer’s transparency in the Layers palette — by
pressing Shift. Press Shift+Alt+Backspace to fill a selection with the foreground color while preserving transparency. Press Ctrl+Shift+Backspace
to fill the opaque pixels with the background color.
Using the paint bucket inside a selection
So far, I’ve come up with two astounding generalizations: The paint bucket tool is
mostly useless, and you can fill anything with the Backspace key. Well, just to prove
you shouldn’t believe everything I say — some might even suggest you dismiss
everything I say — the following steps explain an effect you can create only with the
paint bucket tool. Doubtless, it’s the only such example you’ll ever discover using
Photoshop — after all, the paint bucket is mostly useless and you can fill anything
with the Backspace key — but I’m man enough to eat my rules this once.
The following steps explain how to create an antique photographic frame effect,
such as the one shown in Figure 6-6.
STEPS: Creating an Antique Framing Effect
1. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select the portion of the image you
want to frame. Make certain the image extends at least 20 pixels outside the
boundaries of the selection outline; and be sure to use a photo — this effect
won’t look right against a plain white background.
2. Choose Select ➪ Feather (Ctrl+Alt+D). Then specify a Radius value somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 12 pixels. I’ve found these values work for
nearly any resolution of image. (If you enter too high a value, the color you’ll
add in a moment with the paint bucket will run out into the image.)
3. Choose Select ➪ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I). This exchanges the selected and deselected portions of the image.
4. Press D to make certain the background color is white. Then press
Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selected area with the background color.
5. Select the paint bucket tool. If the Options bar isn’t visible, press Enter to display it. Then enter 20 or 30 in the Tolerance option box and turn on the Antialiased check box. (You can also experiment with turning off this last option.)
6. Click inside the feathered selection to fill it with black. The result is an
image fading into white and then into black, like the edges of a worn slide
or photograph, as shown in Figure 6-6.
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Figure 6-6: I created this antique frame effect by filling
a feathered selection with the paint bucket tool.
Figure 6-7 shows a variation on this effect that you can produce using the Dissolve
brush mode. Rather than setting the Tolerance value to 20, raise it to around 60. Then
select the Dissolve option from the Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar. When you
click inside the feathered selection with the paint bucket tool, you create a frame of
random pixels, as illustrated in the figure.
Figure 6-7: Select Dissolve from the Mode pop-up menu
on the Options bar to achieve a speckled frame effect.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Applying Gradient Fills
Photoshop
The two previous versions of Photoshop made great strides in the gradation department. Version 4 introduced the Edit button into the Gradient Options palette. This
one button made it possible to create a gradient with as many as 32 colors, name gradients and save them to disk, and adjust the transparency of colors so that they fade
in and out over the course of the fill. Version 5 widened the range of gradient styles,
removed the limit on colors per gradient, and enabled you to reverse the foreground
and background colors from within the Gradient Options palette, a nice convenience
when applying radial and diamond fills.
6
Version 6 adds even more gradient features. You can create and save collections of
your favorite gradients as presets, just as you can patterns and brushes. In addition, you can create noise gradients, use the new Dynamic Fill feature to create a
gradient as an adjustment layer, and use the Layer Style command to add a gradient
overlay to a layer. (I explain the first layer option along with the other adjustment
layer options in Chapter 17; you can read about layer styles in Chapter 12.)
Note
If you’re accustomed to using gradients in a drawing program — such as Illustrator
or FreeHand — you’ll find that Photoshop is better. Because Photoshop is a pixel
editor, it lets you blur and mix colors in a gradation if they start banding — that is, if
you can see a hard edge between one color and the next when you print the image;
and Photoshop’s gradations never choke the printer or slow it down, no matter
how many colors you add. While each band of color in an object-oriented gradation
is expressed as a separate shape — so that one gradation can contain hundreds, or
even thousands, of objects — gradations in Photoshop are plain old colored pixels,
the kind we’ve been editing for five and a half chapters.
Using the gradient tool
Photoshop
First, the basics. A gradation (also called a gradient fill) is a progression of colors
that fade gradually into one another, as demonstrated in Figure 6-8. You specify a
few key colors in the gradation, and Photoshop automatically generates the hundred or so colors in between to create a smooth transition.
6
In Version 6, the gradient tool and paint bucket share a toolbox slot and keyboard
shortcut – press G to toggle between the two tools (or Shift+G, depending on whether
you selected the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch check box in the Preferences dialog
box, as discussed in Chapter 2). But unlike the paint bucket, which fills areas of similar color according to the Tolerance setting, the gradient tool affects all colors within
a selection. If you don’t select a portion of your image, Photoshop applies the gradation to the entire layer.
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Figure 6-8: Dragging with the gradient tool
within a single selection (left) and across
multiple selections (right).
Photoshop
To use the tool, drag inside the selection, as shown in the left example of Figure 6-8.
The point at which you begin dragging (the upper-left corner in the figure) defines
the location of the first color in the gradation. The point at which you release (the
lower-right corner) defines the location of the last color. If multiple portions of the
image are selected, the gradation fills all selections continuously, as demonstrated
by the right example of Figure 6-8.
Gradient options
6
As with other tools in Photoshop 6, the Options bar contains the gradient tool controls, which you can examine in Figure 6-9. If you don’t see the Options bar, press
Enter when a gradient tool is active or double-click the tool icon in the toolbox.
The following list explains how Options bar controls work. In all cases, you must
adjust the options before using the gradient tool. They do not affect existing
gradations.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
✦ Gradient preview: The selected gradient appears in the gradient preview,
labeled in Figure 6-9. Click the preview to open the Gradient Editor dialog box,
discussed in the upcoming section “Creating custom gradations.”
Gradient preview
Click to display palette
Gradient style icons
Click for menu
Figure 6-9: The Options bar gives you quick access to all the gradient tool options.
✦ Gradient drop-down palette: Click the triangle adjacent to the preview to display the Gradient palette, which contains icons representing gradients in the
current gradient presets. Click the icon for the gradient you want.
Note
In the default gradient preset, the first two gradations are dependent on the
current foreground and background colors. The others contain specific colors
bearing no relationship to the colors in the toolbox.
You load gradient presets using the same techniques that I describe in detail
in the brush preset discussion in Chapter 5. Here’s a brief recap:
• Click the triangle near the top of the drop-down palette to display the
palette menu. The Photoshop collection of presets and any presets that
you define appear at the bottom of the palette menu. Click a preset name
to use the preset instead of the current preset or append the new preset
to the current one.
• To append a preset from disk — such as when a coworker gives you a
preset file — choose Load Gradients from the palette menu or click Load
in the Preset Manager dialog box. If you want to replace the current preset instead, choose Replace Gradients from the palette menu or click
Replace in the dialog box. To return to the default gradients, choose
Reset Gradients from the palette menu, either from the Options bar
palette or the one in the Preset Manager dialog box.
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Tip
You can edit a gradient and perform the aforementioned preset juggling acts
from within the Gradient Editor dialog box, too. The upcoming section
“Creating custom gradations” covers this dialog box.
✦ Gradient style: Click an icon to select the gradient style — a function that you
formerly accomplished by choosing a specific gradient tool. The next section
explains these five styles.
✦ Mode and Opacity: These options work as they do for the paint and edit
tools, the Fill command, and every other tool or command that offers them
as options. Select a different brush mode to change how colors are applied;
lower the Opacity value to make a gradation translucent. Remember that you
can change the Opacity value by pressing number keys as well as by using
the Opacity control on the Options bar. Press 0 for 100 percent opacity, 9 for
90 percent, and so on.
✦ Reverse: When active, this simple check box begins the gradation with the
background color and ends it with the foreground color. Use this option when
you want to start a radial or other style of gradation with white, but you want
to keep the foreground and background colors set to their defaults.
✦ Dither: In the old days, Photoshop drew its gradients one band at a time. Each
band was filled with an incrementally different shade of color. The potential
result was banding, in which you could clearly distinguish the transition
between two or more bands of color. The Dither check box helps to eliminate
this problem by mixing up the pixels between bands (much as Photoshop
dithers pixels when converting a grayscale image to black and white). You
should leave this option turned on unless you want to use banding to create
a special effect.
✦ Transparency: You can specify different levels of opacity throughout a gradation. For example, the Transparent Stripes effect (available from the Gradient
palette when the Default Gradients preset is loaded) lays down a series of
alternately black and transparent stripes. But you needn’t use this transparency information. If you prefer to apply a series of black and white stripes
instead, you can make all portions of the gradation equally opaque by turning
off the Transparency check box.
For example, in Figure 6-10, I applied Transparent Stripes as a radial gradation
in two separate swipes, at top and bottom. Both times, I changed the Opacity
setting to 50 percent, so the dog and the hydrant would never be obscured.
(The Opacity setting works independently of the gradation’s built-in transparency, providing you with additional flexibility.) In the top gradation, the
Transparency check box is on, so the white stripes are completely transparent. In the bottom gradation, Transparency is turned off, so the white stripes
become 50 percent opaque (as prescribed by the Opacity setting).
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Transparency on
Transparency off
Photoshop
Figure 6-10: With the Opacity value set to 50 percent, I applied the
Transparent Stripes gradation with Transparency on (top) and off (bottom).
When Transparency is off, the white stripes obscure the view of the
underlying image.
Gradient styles
6
In Photoshop 5, you selected different gradient tools to create specific styles of gradations. Now the toolbox contains just one gradient tool, and you select the gradient style by clicking the gradient style icons on the Options bar (refer back to
Figure 6-9). Note that you can’t use the old Shift+G shortcut for switching styles.
Nor can you switch styles by Alt-clicking on the gradient tool icon in the toolbox.
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Illustrated in Figure 6-11, the five styles are as follows:
✦ Linear: A linear gradation progresses in bands of color in a straight line
between the beginning and end of your drag. The top two examples in Figure
6-11 show linear gradations created from black to white, and from white to
black. The point labeled B marks the beginning of the drag; E marks the end.
✦ Radial: A radial gradation progresses outward from a central point in concentric circles, as in the second row of examples in Figure 6-11. The point at which
you begin dragging defines the center of the gradation, and the point at which
you release defines the outermost circle. This means the first color in the gradation appears in the center of the fill. So to create the gradation on the right
side of Figure 6-11, you must set the foreground color to white and the background color to black (or select the Reverse check box on the Options bar).
✦ Angle: The angle gradient tool creates a fountain of colors flowing in a counterclockwise direction with respect to your drag, as demonstrated by the
middle two examples of Figure 6-11. This type of gradient is known more commonly as a conical gradation, because it looks like the bird’s eye view of the
top of a cone.
Of course, a real cone doesn’t have the sharp edge between black and white
that you see in Photoshop’s angle gradient. To eliminate this edge, create a
custom gradation from black to white to black again, as I explain in the
“Adjusting colors in a solid gradation” section later in this chapter. (Take a
peek at Figure 6-16 later in this chapter if you’re not sure what I’m talking
about.)
✦ Reflected: Drag with the fourth gradient tool to create a linear gradation that
reflects back on itself. Photoshop positions the foreground color at the beginning of your drag and the background color at the end, as when using the linear gradient tool. But it also repeats the gradient in the opposite direction of
your drag, as demonstrated in Figure 6-10. It’s great for creating natural shadows or highlights that fade in two directions.
✦ Diamond: The last gradient tool creates a series of concentric diamonds (if
you drag at a 90-degree angle) or squares (if you drag at a 45-degree angle, as
in Figure 6-11). Otherwise, it works exactly like the radial gradient tool.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Black to white
White to black
Linear
Radial
Angle
Reflected
Diamond
Figure 6-11: Examples of each of the five gradient styles created
using the default foreground and background colors (left column)
and with the foreground and background colors reversed (right
column). B marks the beginning of the drag; E marks the end.
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Photoshop
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Creating custom gradations
6
If you’re accustomed to editing gradients in earlier versions of Photoshop, you
probably searched high and low for the key to opening the Gradient Editor dialog
box, shown in Figure 6-12. Where’s the Edit button that you clicked to open the dialog box in Version 5? In the Gradient palette menu? On the Options bar? Nope, and
nope. The secret passageway to the dialog box — as you already know if you read
the “Gradient options” section earlier in this chapter — is the color preview that
appears at the left end of the Options bar. If you click the preview, you display the
Gradient Editor dialog box; if you click the neighboring triangle, you display the
Gradient palette, as shown earlier, in Figure 6-9.
Figure 6-12: Click the gradient preview on the Options bar to
display the Gradient Editor dialog box, which enables you to
design custom gradations.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
The Gradient Editor offers a new look as well as some new functions in Version 6.
Upcoming sections cover these functions in detail, but I want to highlight the following changes:
✦ The scrolling list at the top of the dialog box mirrors the Option bar’s Gradient
palette and the Gradients panel of the Preset Manager dialog box; if you click
the triangle at the top of the scrolling list, you display a virtual duplicate of the
palette menu.
Tip
If you want to see gradient names instead of icons in the list, choose Text Only
from the dialog box menu. Or choose Small List or Large List to see both icon
and gradient name.
✦ To create a new gradient, find an existing gradient that’s close to what you
have in mind. Then type a name for the gradient in the Name option box and
click the New button. The new gradient appears in the scrolling list, and you
can edit the gradient as you see fit.
Caution
Even though the gradient appears in the dialog box (as well as in the Gradient
palette and Preset Manager dialog box), it’s vulnerable until you save it as
part of a preset. If you make further edits to the gradient or replace the current gradient preset, the original gradient is a goner. Deleting your main
Photoshop preferences file also wipes out an unsaved gradient. See the
upcoming section “Saving and managing gradients” for more details.
✦ You now can create noise gradients as well as solid-color gradations. If you
select Noise from the Gradient Type pop-up menu, Photoshop introduces
random color information into the gradient, the result of which is a sort of
special-effect gradient that would be difficult to create manually.
✦ The options at the bottom of the dialog box change depending on whether
you select Solid or Noise from the Gradient Type pop-up. For solid gradients,
Photoshop now provides a Smoothness slider, which you can use to adjust
how abrupt you want to make the color transitions in the gradient.
Photoshop
✦ You can resize the dialog box by dragging the size box in the lower-right corner.
Editing solid gradients
6
If you select Solid from the Gradient Type pop-up menu, you use the options shown
in Figure 6-13 to adjust the gradient. (Note that this is a doctored screen shot — I
made all the options visible in the figure, but normally, only some of these options
are available at a time.)
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The fade bar (labeled in Figure 6-13) shows the active gradient. The starting color
appears as a house-shaped color stop on the left; the ending color appears on the
far right. The upside-down houses on the top of the fade bar are opacity stops.
These stops determine where colors are opaque and where they fade into translucency or even transparency.
Midpoint marker
Fade bar
Active opacity stop
Active color stop
Figure 6-13: Use these controls to adjust the colors and transparency
in a solid gradient.
To select either type of stop, click it. The triangle portion of the stop appears black
to show you which stop is active. After you select a stop, diamond-shaped midpoint
markers appear between the stop and its immediate neighbors. On the color-stop
side of the fade bar, the midpoint marker represents the spot where the two colors
mix in exactly equal amounts. On the transparency side, a marker indicates the
point where the opacity value is midway between the values that you set for the
stops on either side of the marker.
You can change the location of any stop or marker by dragging it. Or you can click a
stop or marker to select it and then enter a value in the Location option box below
the fade bar:
✦ When numerically positioning a stop, a value of 0 percent indicates the left end
of the fade bar; 100 percent indicates the right end. Even if you add more stops
to the gradation, the values represent absolute positions along the fade bar.
✦ When repositioning a midpoint marker, the initial setting of 50 percent is
smack dab between two stops; 0 percent is all the way over to the left stop,
and 100 percent is all the way over to the right. Midpoint values are, therefore,
measured relative to stop positions. In fact, when you move a stop, Photoshop moves the midpoint marker along with it to maintain the same relative
positioning.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Figure 6-14 shows four black-to-white radial gradations that I created by setting
the midpoint between the black and white color stops to four different positions. The midpoint settings range from the minimum to maximum allowable
Location values. If you enter a value below 13 percent or over 87, Photoshop
politely ignores you. In all cases, I set the opacity to 100 percent along the
entire gradient.
13% (minimum)
35%
60%
87% (maximum)
Figure 6-14: Four sets of white-to-black gradations — radial on top and linear at
bottom — subject to different midpoint settings.
Tip
Pressing Enter after you enter a value into the Location option box is tempting, but
don’t do it. If you do, Photoshop dumps you out of the Gradient Editor dialog box.
Adjusting colors in a solid gradation
Photoshop
When editing a solid gradation, you can add colors, delete colors, change the positioning of the colors within the gradient, and control how two colors blend together.
After clicking a color stop to select it, you can change its color in several ways:
6
To change the color to the current foreground color, open the Color pop-up menu,
as shown in Figure 6-15, and select Foreground. Select Background to use the background color instead.
✦ When you select Foreground or Background, the color stop becomes filled
with a grayscale pattern instead of a solid color. If you squint real hard and
put your nose to the screen, you can see that the pattern is actually a representation of the Foreground and Background color controls in the toolbox.
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The little black square appears in the upper-left corner when the foreground
color is active, as shown in the first stop on the fade bar in Figure 6-15; the
black square moves to the bottom-right corner when the background color
is active, as shown in the end stop in the figure.
✦ If you change the foreground or background color after closing the Gradient
Editor, the gradient changes to reflect the new color. When you next open the
Gradient Editor, you can revert the stop to the original foreground or background color by selecting User Color from the pop-up menu.
Foreground color stop
Color midpoint marker
Background color stop
Figure 6-15: A look at the new color stop options in Version 6
✦ To set the color stop to some other color, click the Color swatch or doubleclick the color stop to open the Color Picker and define the new color. Select
your color and press Enter.
Tip
✦ You may have noticed that when you opened the Gradient Editor dialog box,
Photoshop automatically selected the eyedropper tool for you and displayed
that tool’s controls on the Options bar. Here’s why: You can click with the eyedropper in an open image window to lift a color from the image and assign the
color to the selected color stop. You can also click the Color palette’s color
bar or a swatch in the Swatches palette. Or, if you see the color you want in
the fade bar in the dialog box, click it there.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
To change the point at which two colors meet, drag the midpoint marker between
the two stops. Or click the midpoint marker and enter a new value into the Location
box. As I mentioned earlier, a value of 0 puts the midpoint marker smack up against
the left color stop; a value of 100 scoots the stop all the way over to the right stop.
You add or delete stops as follows:
✦ To add a color stop, click anywhere along the bottom of the fade bar. A new
stop appears where you click. Photoshop also adds a midpoint marker between
the new color stop and its neighbors. You can add as many color stops as your
heart desires. (But if your goal is a gradient featuring tons of random colors,
you may be able to create the effect you want more easily by using the new
Noise gradient option, discussed shortly.)
✦ To duplicate a color stop, Alt-drag it to a new location along the fade bar. One
great use for this to create a reflecting gradation.
For example, select Foreground to Background from the scrolling list of gradients
and click New to duplicate the gradient. After naming your new gradient — something like Fore to Back to Fore — click the background color stop and change the
Location value to 50. Then Alt-drag the foreground color stop all the way to the
right. This new gradient is perfect for making true conical gradations with the
angle gradient tool, as demonstrated in Figure 6-16.
Foreground to Background
Fore to Back to Fore
Figure 6-16: Two gradations created with the angle gradient tool, one
using the standard Foreground to Background gradient (left) and the
other with my reflected Fore to Back to Fore style (right). Which looks
better to you?
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6
✦ To remove a color stop, drag the stop away from the fade bar. Or click the
stop and click the Delete button. The stop icon vanishes and the fade bar
automatically adjusts as defined by the remaining color stops.
Adjusting the transparency mask
Photoshop
If you like, you can include a transparency mask with each gradation. The mask
determines the opacity of different colors along the gradation. You create and edit
this mask independently of the colors in the gradation.
6
To create a transparency mask in Version 6, you play with the opacity stops across
the top of the fade bar. You don’t have to toggle between editing the opacity and
color stops as you did in earlier versions of Photoshop; both attributes are always
within reach. When you click a transparency stop, the transparency options become
available beneath the fade bar and the color options dim, as shown in Figure 6-17.
Opacity midpoints
Active opacity stop
Figure 6-17: Click a stop along the top of the fade bar to adjust
the opacity of the gradient at that location.
To add an opacity stop, click above the fade bar. By default, each new stop is 100
percent opaque. You can modify the transparency by selecting a stop and changing
the Opacity value. The fade bar updates to reflect your changes. To reposition a
stop, drag it or enter a value in the Location option box.
Midpoint markers represent the spot where the opacity value is half the difference
between the opacity values of a pair of opacity stops. In other words, if you set one
opacity stop to 30 percent and another to 90 percent, the midpoint marker shows
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
you where the gradient reaches 60 percent opacity. You can relocate the midpoint
marker, and thus change the spot where the gradient reaches that mid-range opacity value, by dragging the marker or entering a new value in the Location box.
Photoshop
Color Plate 6-2 demonstrates the effect of applying a three-color gradation to a photograph. The gradation fades from red to transparency to green to transparency
and, finally, to blue. In the first example in the color plate, I dragged over a standard
checkerboard pattern with the gradient tool, from the lower-left corner to the upperright corner. The second example shows the photograph before applying the gradation. In the last example, I applied the gradient — again from lower left to upper
right — using the Overlay brush mode.
Creating noise gradients
6
Adobe describes a noise gradient as a gradient that “contains random components
along with the deterministic ones that create the gradient.” Allow me to translate:
Photoshop adds random colors between the defined colors of the selected gradient. Did that help? No? Then take a look at Figure 6-18, which shows examples of
three noise gradients based on a simple black-to-white gradient. You could create
these same gradients using the regular Solid gradient controls, of course, but it
would take you forever to add all the color and midpoint stops required to produce the same effect.
Roughness, 100
Roughness, 50
Roughness, 100
Add Transparency on
Figure 6-18: Here you see three gradients created using the new Noise option
in the Gradient Editor dialog box. I created the first two using two different
Roughness values; for the bottom example, I used the same Roughness
value as in the middle example but selected the Add Transparency option.
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To create a noise gradient, select Noise from the Gradient Type menu in the Gradient
Editor dialog box, as shown in Figure 6-19. You can adjust the gradient as follows:
✦ Raise the Roughness value to create more distinct bands of color, as in the top
example in Figure 6-18. Lowering the Roughness value results in softer color
transitions, as you can see from the middle example, which I set at one half
the Roughness value of the top example.
✦ Use the color sliders at the bottom of the dialog box to define the range of
allowable colors in the gradient. You can work in one of three color modes:
RGB, HSB, or Lab. Select the mode you want from the pop-up menu above
the sliders.
Figure 6-19: Use the new Noise gradient option to create gradients
like the ones you see in Figure 6-18.
✦ The Restrict Colors option, when selected, adjusts the gradient so that you
don’t wind up with any oversaturated colors. Deselect the option for more
vibrant hues.
✦ If you select Add Transparency, Photoshop adds random transparency information to the gradient, as if you had added scads of opacity stops to a regular
gradient. In the bottom example of Figure 6-17, I started with the gradient from
the top example, selected the Add Transparency check box, and left the
Roughness value at 100.
✦ Click the Randomize button, and Photoshop shuffles all the gradient colors
and transparency values to create another gradient. If you don’t like what you
see, just keep clicking Randomize until you’re satisfied.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Tip
For some really cool effects, try applying special effects filters to a noise gradient.
Figure 6-20 shows the results of applying the Crystallize, Twirl, and Ripple filters on
the original noise gradient shown in the upper-left example.
Original
Crystallize
Twirl
Ripple
Photoshop
Figure 6-20: I applied three effects filters to the original noise gradient to create
some interesting random patterns.
Saving and managing gradients
6
When you define a new gradient, its icon appears in the palette, the Preset Manger
dialog box, and the Gradient Editor dialog box. But if you replace the current gradient set or edit the gradient, the original gradient gets trashed. You also lose the gradient if you delete your Photoshop 6 preferences file because that’s where the
temporary gradient information is stored.
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If you want to preserve a gradient, you must save it as part of a preset — which is
nothing more than a collection of gradients. As I mentioned earlier, Photoshop ships
with several gradient presets that are stored in the Gradients folder, which lives inside
the Presets folder in the main Photoshop program folder. You also can create as many
custom presets as you like. Gradient presets have the file extension .grd.
You can save all the gradients in the active preset – including any custom gradients
that you define – by clicking Save in the Gradient Editor dialog box or by choosing Save
Gradients from the Gradient palette pop-up menu. But if you want to save only some of
the current gradients as a preset, choose Edit ➪ Preset Manager and display the
Gradients panel, shown in Figure 6-21, by pressing Ctrl+3 or by choosing Gradients
from the Preset Type pop-up menu. Shift-click the gradients you want to save and then
click Save Set. If you want to dump the selected gradients into an existing preset,
select the preset file and press Enter. Alternatively, you can enter a new preset name
to create a brand new preset that contains only the selected gradients.
Figure 6-21: To select specific gradients and save them as a new
preset, use the Preset Manager.
To delete a gradient, Alt-click its icon in the palette, the Preset Manager, or the
Gradient Editor dialog box. To delete multiple gradients, Shift-click the gradients in
the Preset Manager and then click the Delete button. Save the preset immediately if
you want the deleted gradients gone for good; otherwise, it remains an official part
of the preset and reappears the next time you load the preset.
All the standard brush modes are available when you apply gradations, and they
make a tremendous impression on the performance of the gradient tool. This section examines yet another way to apply a brush mode in conjunction with the tool.
Naturally, it barely scrapes the surface of what’s possible, but it may inspire you to
experiment and discover additional effects on your own.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
The following steps tell you how to use the Dissolve mode with a radial gradation to
create a supernova explosion. (At least, it looks like a supernova to me — not that
I’ve ever seen one up close, mind you.) Figures 6-22 through 6-24 show the nova in
progress. The steps offer you the opportunity to experiment with a brush mode setting and some general insight into creating radial gradations.
CrossReference
These steps involve the use of the elliptical marquee tool. Generally speaking, it’s
an easy tool to use. But if you find you have problems making it work according to
my instructions, you may want to read the “Geometric selection outlines” section of
Chapter 8. It’s only a few pages long.
STEPS: Creating a Gradient Supernova
1. Create a new image window. Make it 500×500 pixels. A grayscale image is fine
for this exercise.
2. Click with the pencil tool at the apparent center of the image. Don’t worry if
it’s not the exact center. This point is merely intended to serve as a guide. If a
single point is not large enough for you to identify easily, draw a small cross.
3. Alt-drag from the point with the elliptical marquee tool to draw the marquee outward from the center. While dragging with the tool, press and hold
Shift to constrain the marquee to a circle. Release Shift after you release the
mouse button. Draw a marquee that fills about 3/4 of the window.
4. Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert (Ctrl+I). This fills the marquee with black
and makes the center point white.
5. Choose Select ➪ Deselect (Ctrl+D). As the command name suggests, this deselects the circle.
6. Again, Alt-drag from the center point with the elliptical marquee tool. And,
again, press Shift to constrain the shape to a circle. Create a marquee roughly
20 pixels larger than the black circle.
7. Alt-drag from the center point with the elliptical marquee tool. This subtracts
a hole from the selection. After you begin dragging, release Alt (but keep that
mouse button down). Then press and hold both Shift and Alt together and keep
them down. Draw a marquee roughly 20 pixels smaller than the black circle.
Release the mouse button and finally release the keys. The result is a doughnutshaped selection — a large circle with a smaller circular hole — as shown in
Figure 6-22.
8. Choose Select ➪ Feather (Ctrl+Alt+D) and enter 10 for the Radius value.
Then press Enter to feather the section outline.
9. Press D and then press X. This makes the foreground color white and the
background color black.
10. Select the gradient tool and click the radial gradient icon on the Options
bar. That’s the icon that has the white circle at its center. (Flip back to Figure
6-11 if you still don’t know what I mean.) If the Options bar is hidden, press
Enter to display it.
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Figure 6-22: The result of creating a black
circle and two circular marquees, all
centered about a single point
11. Open the Gradient palette and select the Foreground to Background gradient. Assuming that you have the default gradients preset loaded and haven’t
altered the preset, the icon is the first one in the palette.
12. Select Dissolve from the Mode menu on the Options bar.
13. Drag from the center point in the image window to anywhere along the
outer rim of the largest marquee. The result is the fuzzy gradation shown in
Figure 6-23.
Figure 6-23: The Dissolve brush mode option
randomizes the pixels around the feathered
edges of the selection outlines.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
14. Choose Select ➪ Deselect (Ctrl+D) to deselect the image.
15. Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert (Ctrl+I) to invert the entire image.
16. Press D to restore black and white as foreground and background colors,
respectively. Then use the eraser tool to erase the center point. The finished
supernova appears in Figure 6-24.
Figure 6-24: By inverting the image from the
previous figure and erasing the center point,
you create an expanding series of progressively
lighter rings dissolving into the black void of
space, an effect better known to its friends as
a supernova.
Applying Strokes and Arrowheads
Photoshop
Photoshop is nearly as adept at drawing lines and outlines as it is at filling selections. The following sections discuss how to apply a border around a selection outline — which is practical, if not terribly exciting — and how to create arrowheads —
which can yield more interesting results than you might think.
6
This chapter concentrates on raster lines — that is, lines made of pixels that you
create with the line tool set to the Fill Region mode. To find out how to use the tool
to produce vector lines and work paths, see Chapters 14 and 8, respectively. Some,
but not all, line tool techniques discussed here apply to the line tool also when it’s
set to vector or work path mode.
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Stroking a selection outline
Photoshop
Stroking is useful for creating frames and outlines. Generally speaking, you can
stroke an image in Photoshop in four ways:
6
✦ The Stroke command: Select the portion of the image you want to stroke and
choose Edit ➪ Stroke to display the Stroke dialog box shown in Figure 6-25. Or,
if you’re working on a multilayered image, you can choose the Stroke command without making a selection; Photoshop then applies the stroke to the
entire layer.
In the Stroke dialog box, enter the thickness of the stroke in the Width option
box. The default unit of measurement here is pixels, but you can now use
inches and centimeters as well. Just type the value and then the unit abbreviation (px for pixels, in for inches, or cm for centimeters).
Figure 6-25: Use the options in the Stroke
dialog box to specify the thickness of a
stroke and its location with respect to
the selection outline.
In its former life, the Stroke command always applied the foreground color,
which meant that you had to remember to set the color before choosing the
command. In Version 6, you can set the stroke color from within the dialog
box. Click the color swatch to select a color from the Color Picker — don’t forget that you can click inside an image window while the Color Picker is open
to pick up a color in the image. Press Enter to close the Color Picker and
return to the Stroke dialog box.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Tip
Select a Location radio button to specify the position of the stroke with
respect to the selection outline. When in doubt, select Inside from the
Location radio buttons. This setting ensures that the stroke is entirely inside
the selection outline in case you decide to move the selection. If you select
Center or Outside, Photoshop applies part or all of the stroke to the deselected area around the selection outline — unless, of course, your selection
extends to the edge of the canvas, in which case you wind up with no stroke
at all for Outside and half a stroke inside the selection outline for Center.
The Stroke dialog box also includes Opacity, Mode, and Preserve
Transparency options that work like those in the Fill dialog box.
Photoshop
✦ The Border command: Select a portion of the image and choose Select ➪
Modify ➪ Border to retain only the outline of the selection. Specify the size
of the border by entering a value in pixels in the Width option box and press
Enter. To fill the border with the background color, press Ctrl+Backspace.
To fill the border with the foreground color, press Alt+Backspace. To apply
a repeating pattern to the border, choose Edit ➪ Fill and select the Pattern
option from the Use pop-up menu. You can even apply a command under
the Filter menu or some other special effect.
6
CrossReference
✦ Layer Style effects: If you want to stroke an entire layer, also check out the
options provided by the new Layer Styles feature. Choose Layer ➪ Layer
Style ➪ Stroke to display the dialog box shown in Figure 6-26. At first glance,
the options here appear to mirror those you find in the regular Stroke dialog
box; and they do, as long as you select Color from the Fill pop-up menu. But if
you crack open that pop-up menu, you discover two goodies. First, you can fill
the stroke with a gradient or a pattern. Second, you can adjust the pattern and
gradient on the fly and preview the results inside the dialog box. For example,
you can scale the gradient and change its angle — two things you can’t do
inside the regular Gradient Editor dialog box, I might add. By using the settings shown in the figure, I adapted a plain old black-to-white gradient to produce the shadowed frame effect you see in the preview.
I cover Layers Styles in detail in Chapter 12, so if you have trouble figuring out
the stroke options, look there for help.
✦ The Canvas Size trick: Okay, so this one is a throwaway, but I use it all the
time. To create an outline around the entire image, change the background
color (yes, the background color) to the color you want to apply to the outline. Then choose Image ➪ Canvas Size and add twice the desired border
thickness to the Width and Height options in pixels.
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Figure 6-26: With the Stroke options in the Layer Style dialog box, you can stroke a
layer with a solid color, gradient, or pattern. You also can adjust the angle and scale
of gradients, as I did to create the effect shown in the preview.
For example, to create a 1-pixel border all the way around, add 2 pixels to the
Width value (1 for the left side and 1 for the right) and 2 pixels to the Height
value (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom). Leave the Anchor option set to the
center tile. When you press Enter, Photoshop enlarges the canvas size according to your specifications and fills the new pixels around the perimeter of the
image with the background color. Simplicity at its best.
Applying arrowheads
Photoshop
The one function missing from all the operations in the preceding list is applying
arrowheads. The fact is, in Photoshop, you can apply arrowheads only to straight
lines drawn with the line tool.
6
The line tool no longer shares a toolbox flyout with the pencil tool; in Version 6, the
line tool is grouped with the drawing tools. You can cycle between the tools by pressing U (or Shift+U, depending on whether you select the Use Shift for Tool Switch check
box in the Preferences dialog box). As I mentioned previously, the line tool can now
create three different kinds of shapes. You can paint raster lines — that is, lines made
up of pixels — as with the line tool of old. Or you can draw vector-based lines on a new
shape layer, as explained in Chapter 14. Finally, you can create a work path using the
line tool, as I discuss in Chapter 8.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
You specify which type of line you want to create by clicking one of the three icons
near the left end of the Options bar, which I labeled in Figure 6-27. (If you don’t see the
Options bar on screen, press Enter or double-click the line tool icon in the toolbox.)
Shape Layer
Work Path
Fill Region
Click to display line options
Figure 6-27: In Version 6, all the arrowhead options appear on this drop-down palette.
Regardless of which type of line you’re creating, you set the width of the line by
entering a value into the Weight box on the Options bar. Then you add arrowheads
via the drop-down options palette in the figure. To display the options, click the
triangle at the end of the strip of shape icons (again, see the figure). Use the
Arrowheads options as follows:
✦ Start: Select this check box to append an arrowhead to the beginning of a line
drawn with the line tool.
✦ End: Select this check box to append an arrowhead to the end of a line. (Like
you needed me to tell you this.)
✦ Width: Enter the width of the arrowhead in this option box. The width is measured as a percentage of the line weight, so if the Weight is set to 6 pixels and
the Width value is 500 percent, the width of the arrowhead will be 30 pixels.
Math in action.
✦ Length: Enter the length of the arrowhead, measured from the base of the
arrowhead to its tip, again as a percentage of the line weight.
✦ Concavity: You can specify the shape of the arrowhead by entering a value
between negative and positive 50 percent in the Concavity option box. Figure
6-28 shows examples of a few Concavity settings applied to an arrowhead
50 pixels wide and 100 pixels long.
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– 50%
– 25%
0%
25%
50%
Figure 6-28: Examples of a 50 × 100-pixel
arrowhead subject to five different
Concavity values.
Appending arrowheads to curved lines
Applying arrowheads to straight lines is a simple matter. Applying an arrowhead to
a stroked selection outline is a little trickier, but still possible. The following steps
explain the process.
Note
For the effect shown in this example, you need raster arrowheads, so click the Fill
Region icon on the Options bar (see Figure 6-28). Now your line tool creates raster
lines rather than vector lines or work paths.
STEPS: Adding an Arrowhead to a Free-form Stroke
1. Create a new layer. Display the Layers palette by pressing the F7 key. Then
click the little page icon at the bottom of the palette to create a new layer.
2. Draw and stroke a selection. Draw any selection outline you like. Stroke it
by choosing Edit ➪ Stroke and applying whatever settings strike your fancy.
Remember the value you enter in the Width option. In Figure 6-29, I drew
a wiggly line with the lasso tool and applied a 4-pixel black stroke set to
30 percent Opacity.
3. Press Ctrl+D. This deselects all portions of the image.
4. Erase the portions of the stroke you don’t need. Select the eraser tool by
pressing E. Then drag to erase through the stroke layer without harming the
layer below. Erase the areas of the stroke where you want to add arrowheads.
I wanted to add an arrowhead behind the fly, so I erased around the fly.
5. Select the line tool and click the Fill Region icon on the Options bar.
6. Specify the line weight and arrowhead settings. Enter the line weight you
used when stroking the selection outline into the Weight option box (in my
case, 4 pixels). Next, display the line options palette. Just click the triangle at
the end of the strip of shape icons, as shown previously in Figure 6-27. Select
the End check box and deselect the Start check box. Then specify the width,
length, and concavity of the arrowhead as desired.
Chapter 6 ✦ Filling and Stroking
Figure 6-29: Here I created a new layer, drew a free-form
shape with the lasso tool, and stroked it with a 4-pixel
black outline at 30 percent Opacity.
7. Set the foreground color as needed. I applied a black stroke at 30 percent
Opacity, so I set the foreground color to 30 percent gray. (Click the stroke
with the eyedropper to change the foreground color to the stroke color.)
8. Zoom in to the point in the image where you want to add the arrowhead.
You have to get in close enough to see what you’re doing, as in Figure 6-30.
9. At the tip of the stroke, draw a very short line exactly the length of the
arrowhead. Figure 6-30 illustrates what I mean. This may take some practice
to accomplish. Start the line a few pixels in from the end of the stroke to make
sure the base of the arrowhead fits snugly. If you mess up the first time,
choose Edit ➪ Undo (Ctrl+Z) and try again.
That’s all there is to it. From then on, you can continue to edit the stroke as you see
fit. In Figure 6-31, for example, I erased a series of scratches across the stroke to
create a dashed-line effect, all the rage for representing cartoon fly trails. I then set
the eraser brush size to the largest, fuzziest setting and erased the end of the stroke
(above the dog’s head) to create a gradual trailing off. That crazy fly is now officially distracting our hero from his appointed rounds.
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Figure 6-30: Use the line tool to draw a line no longer
than the arrowhead. This appends the arrow to the end
of the stroke. The view size of this image is magnified
to 300 percent.
Figure 6-31: I finished by erasing dashes into the line
and softening the end of the trail with a large, fuzzy eraser.
✦
✦
✦
7
C H A P T E R
Retouching,
Repeating, and
Restoring
Three of the Best
So far in Part II, we’ve looked at a host of editing disciplines —
smearing and sponging, filling and stroking, and plain old
painting. Although most of these tools perform as well as can
be expected, they don’t add up to a hill of beans compared
with Photoshop’s foremost retouchers — the rubber stamp,
eraser, and history brush. These remarkable three permit you
to repair damaged images, create and apply repeating patterns, erase away mistakes, and restore operations from your
recent past. And with the art history brush, magic eraser, and
background eraser, all added in Version 5.5, you get even more
ways to restore and erase.
Together, these tools permit you to perform the sorts of miracles that simply weren’t possible in the days before computer
imaging, all without the slightest fear of damaging your image.
Very briefly, here’s how each tool works:
✦ Rubber stamp and pattern stamp: Use the rubber stamp
to replicate pixels from one area in an image to another.
This one feature makes the rubber stamp the perfect tool
for removing dust and scratches, repairing defects, and
eliminating distracting background elements. Alt-click
the rubber stamp icon in the toolbox or press S to switch
to the pattern stamp tool, which paints with a repeating
image fragment defined using Edit ➪ Define Pattern. (If
you selected Use Shift for Key for Tool Switch in the
Preferences dialog box, press Shift+S.)
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
An overview of
Photoshop’s photo
restoration tools
Touching up dust, hair,
and other scanning
artifacts
Restoring a damaged
photograph
Eliminating
background elements
from an image
Painting a repeating
pattern with the
pattern stamp tool
A step-by-step guide
to creating seamless
patterns and textures
Using the Undo and
Revert commands
Traveling through time
with the History palette
Painting away
mistakes with the
erasers, history brush,
and art history brush
Creating and merging
alternate time lines
✦
✦
✦
✦
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✦ Erasers: When used in a single-layer image or on the background layer, the
eraser paints in the background color. When applied to a layer, it erases pixels
to reveal the layers below. The background eraser, as its name implies, erases
the background from an image and leaves the foreground intact — or at least,
that’s what happens if you use the tool correctly. Otherwise, it just erases
everything.
Note
The final tool in the eraser triad, the magic eraser, works like the fill tool but
in reverse. When you click the magic eraser, you delete a range of similarly
colored pixels. Don’t confuse this tool with the eraser you get when you Altdrag with the standard eraser tool. Formerly known as the magic eraser, that
tool now takes the name history eraser.
Tip
You can cycle through the erasers by Alt-clicking the eraser icon in the toolbox or by pressing E (or Shift+E).
✦ History brush and art history brush: The history brush selectively reverts
to any of several previous states listed in the History palette. With the art history brush, you can recreate a past state using various artistic brushes.
To select the “source state” that you want to paint with, click in the first column
of the History palette. A brush icon identifies the source state, as illustrated by
the Diffuse Glow item in Figure 7-1. If Photoshop displays a little “not-allowed”
cursor when you try to use the history brush, it means you can’t paint from the
selected state. Click another state in the History palette and try again.
Obviously, these are but the skimpiest of introductions, every bit as stingy with
information as a 19th-century headmaster might have been with his Christmas
gruel and treacle. But fear not, my hungry one. This chapter doles out so many
courses of meaty facts, fibrous techniques, and sweet, buttery insights that you’ll
need a whole box of toothpicks to dislodge the excess tips from your incisors.
Cloning Image Elements
One of the most useful tools in all of Photoshop is the rubber stamp. Personally,
I’ve always found the name “rubber stamp” misleading. First, no tree sap is
involved — let’s get that sticky issue resolved right off the bat. Second, you don’t
use the tool to stamp an image. When I think of rubber stamps, I think of those
things you see in stationery stores that plunk down smiley faces and Pooh bears.
Elementary school teachers and little girls use rubber stamps. I’ve never seen a
professional image editor walking around with a rubber stamp in my life.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-1: By using these tools and the History palette, you can erase pixels and restore
an image to an earlier state.
A better name for the rubber stamp is the clone tool, because that’s precisely what
it does — duplicates portions of an image. After selecting the tool, Alt-click in the
image window to specify the portion of the image you want to clone. Then paint
with the tool to clone from the area that you Alt-clicked.
If this is your first experience with a clone tool, it might sound peculiar. Sheep,
cows, dinosaurs, these are things you might want to clone. Pixels, never. But as any
dyed-in-the-wool Photoshop user will tell you, the rubber stamp is nothing short of
invaluable for touching up images. You can remove dust fragments, hairs, and other
impurities; rebuild creased or torn photographs, and even eliminate elements that
wandered into your picture when you weren’t looking. So get set for what is
undoubtedly the best retouching tool of them all.
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Note
You also can use the rubber stamp to duplicate specific elements in an image, such
as petals in a flower or umbrellas on a beach (actual suggestions from previous editions of Photoshop’s manual). But this is rarely an efficient use of the tool. If you
want to duplicate an element, you’ll have better luck if you select it and clone it, as
explained in Chapter 8. Selection tools let you specify the exact boundaries of the
element, the softness of the edges, and the precise location of the clone. Because
of its reliance on a brush metaphor — that is, you drag across the image window to
paint with it — the rubber stamp is better suited to buffing away defeats and filling
in missing details.
The cloning process
You can select the rubber stamp by pressing S — or, if the pattern stamp tool is visible in the toolbox, by pressing S twice (or Shift+S, depending on your tool-switch
setting in the Preferences dialog box).
To clone part of an image, Alt-click in the image window to specify a point of reference in the portion of the image you want to clone. Then click or drag with the tool
in some other region of the image to paint a cloned spot or line. In Figure 7-2, for
example, I Alt-clicked above and to the right of the bird’s head, as demonstrated by
the appearance of the stamp pickup cursor. I then painted the line shown inside the
white rectangle. The rubber stamp cursor shows the end of my drag; the clone reference crosshair shows the corresponding point in the original image.
The rubber stamp clones the image as it existed before you began using the tool.
Even when you drag over an area containing a clone, the tool references the original
appearance of the image. This prevents you from creating more than one clone during a single drag and produces the entirely predictable effect pictured in Figure 7-3.
Tip
Photoshop lets you clone not only from within the image you’re working on but also
from a separate image window. This technique makes it possible to merge two different images, as demonstrated in Figure 7-4. To achieve this effect, Alt-click in one image,
bring a second image to the foreground, and then drag with the rubber stamp tool to
clone from the first image. You can also clone between layers. Alt-click one layer and
then switch to a different layer and drag.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Clone reference crosshair
Stamp pickup cursor
Rubber stamp cursor
Figure 7-2: After Alt-clicking at the point indicated by the stamp pickup
cursor, I dragged with the rubber stamp tool to paint with the image.
(The only reason I painted inside the white rectangle was to set off the
line so you can see it better.)
Figure 7-3: As the result of my cloning, this memorialized
hero suffers twice the indignation of being used as a lofty
perch for loitering birds.
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Figure 7-4: I merged the area around
the horse and rider with a water image
from another open window (see the
upcoming Figure 7-6). The translucent
effects were created by periodically
adjusting the Opacity value to settings
ranging from 50 to 80 percent.
When the rubber stamp is active, the Options bar gives you access to the Brush
palette as well as the standard Mode, Opacity, and Use All Layers options that I
cover in Chapter 5. The only unique item is the Aligned check box. To understand
how this option works, think of the locations where you Alt-click and begin dragging with the rubber stamp as opposite ends of an imaginary straight line, as illustrated in the top half of Figure 7-5. When Aligned is turned on, the length and angle
of this imaginary line remains fixed until the next time you Alt-click. As you drag,
Photoshop moves the line, cloning pixels from one end of the line and laying them
down at the other. The upshot is that regardless of how many times you start and
stop dragging with the stamp tool, all brushstrokes match up as seamlessly as
pieces in a puzzle.
If you want to clone from a single portion of an image repeatedly, turn off the
Aligned check box. The second example in Figure 7-5 shows how Photoshop clones
from the same point every time you paint a new line with the rubber stamp tool. As
a result, each of the four brushstrokes features part of the bird and none line up
with each other.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Aligned
Not aligned
Figure 7-5: Turn on the Aligned check box to instruct Photoshop to clone
an image continuously, no matter how many lines you paint (top). If you
turn off the option, Photoshop clones each new line from the point at
which you Alt-click.
Touching up blemishes
One great use of the rubber stamp tool is to touch up a scanned photo. Figure 7-6
shows a Photo CD image desperately in need of the stamp tool’s attention. Normally,
Kodak’s Photo CD process delivers some of the best consumer-quality scans money
can buy. But this particular medium-resolution image looks like the folks at the lab
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got together and blew their respective noses on it. It’s too late to return to the service
bureau and demand they rescan the photo, so my only choice is to touch it up myself.
Figure 7-6: This appallingly bad Photo CD image is riddled with blotches
and big hulky wads of dust that didn’t exist on the original 35mm slide.
The best way to fix this image — or any image like it — is to use the rubber stamp
over and over again, repeatedly Alt-clicking at one location and then clicking at
another. Begin by selecting a brush shape slightly larger than the largest blotch. Of
the default brushes, the hard-edged varieties with diameters of 5 and 9 pixels generally work best. (The soft-edged brush shapes have a tendency to only partially hide
the blemishes and leave ghosted versions behind.)
Alt-click with the stamp tool at a location that features similarly colored pixels to
the blemished area. Be sure to Alt-click far enough away from the blemish that you
don’t run the risk of duplicating the blemish as you clone. Then click — do not
drag — directly on the blemish to clone over it. The idea is to change as few pixels
as possible.
If the retouched area doesn’t look quite right, press Ctrl+Z to undo it, Alt-click at a
different location, and try again. If your touchup appears seamless — absolutely
seamless, there’s no reason to settle for less — move on to the next blemish. Repeat
the Alt-click and click routine for every dust mark on the photo.
This process isn’t necessarily time-consuming, but it does require patience. For
example, although it took more than 40 Alt-click and click combinations (not counting 10 or so undos) to arrive at the image shown in Figure 7-7, the process itself
took less than 15 minutes. Boring, but fast.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-7: The result of Alt-clicking and clicking more than 40 times
on the photo shown in Figure 7-6. I also cropped the image and
added a border.
Retouching hairs is a little trickier than dust and other blobs because a hair,
although very thin, can be surprisingly long. The retouching process is the same,
though. Rather than dragging over the entire length of the hair, Alt-click and click
your way through it, bit by little bit. The one difference is brush shape. Because
you’ll be clicking so many times in succession, and because the hair is so thin,
you’ll probably achieve the least-conspicuous effects if you use a soft brush shape,
such as the default 9-pixel model in the second row of the Brush drop-down palette.
Caution
At this point you might wonder, “Why go to all this work to remove dust and
scratches when Photoshop provides the automated feature Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Dust
& Scratches?” The reason is — and I’m going to be painfully blunt here — the Dust &
Scratches filter stinks. No offense to the designers of this filter: They’re wonderful
people, every one of them, but the filter simply doesn’t produce the effect it advertises. It mucks up the detail in your image by averaging neighboring pixels, and this
simply isn’t an acceptable solution. Do your photograph a favor — fix its flaws manually (not to mention lovingly) with the rubber stamp tool.
Restoring an old photograph
Dust, hairs, gloops, and other blemishes are introduced during the scanning process. But what about more severe problems that trace back to the original image?
Figure 7-8 is a prime example. This photograph was shot sometime before 1910. It’s
a wonderful photo, but 90 years is a long time for something as fragile and transient
as a scrap of paper. It’s torn, faded, stained, creased, and flaking. The normally simple act of extracting it from its photo album took every bit as long as scanning it.
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Figure 7-8: This photo’s seen better days. Then again,
I hope to look as good when I’m 90 years old.
But despite the photo’s rough condition, I was able to restore it in Photoshop, as evidenced by Figure 7-9. (For a full-color view of the before and after images, see Color
Plate 7-1.) As in the case of the pool image (Figure 7-7), I used the rubber stamp to
do most of the work. And as before, the process was tedious but straightforward.
After about an hour and a few hundred brushstrokes, I had the image well in hand.
Note
If an hour sounds like a long time to fix a few rips and scrapes, wake up and smell the
coffee. This is not one-button editing. Photographic restoration is a labor-intensive
activity that relies heavily on your talents and your mastery of Photoshop. The rubber stamp tool goes a long way toward making your edits believable, but it does little
to automate the process. Retouching calls for a human touch, and that’s where you
come in.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-9: The same image after about an hour of work
with the rubber stamp tool.
I considered documenting every single one of my brushstrokes, but I value your
time (yes, and my own) too highly. Suffice it to say that the general approach was
the same as it was for the pool image. Alt-click in an area that looks like it’d do a
good job of covering up the blemish and then drag over the blemish. And repeat
about 250 times.
That said, I do have some advice that specifically addresses the art of photo
restoration:
✦ Most images in this kind of condition are black-and-white. Scan them in color
and then peruse the color channels to see which grayscale version of the image
looks best. As you can see in Color Plate 7-1, the original image had lots of yellow stains around the tears.
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So when I viewed the individual color channels (Figure 7-10), I was hardly surprised to see dark blotches in the blue channel. (Blue is the opposite of yellow,
so where yellow is prominent, the blue channel was dark.) In my case, the red
channel was in the best shape, so I switched to the red channel and disposed of
the other two by choosing Image ➪ Mode ➪ Grayscale. The simple act of trashing the green and blue channels went a long way toward getting rid of the
splotches.
Red
Green
Blue
Figure 7-10: A quick peek through the color channels shows the red channel to be
my best choice. The blotches are most evident in the girl’s blouse, enlarged along
the bottom.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
✦ Work at 100 percent view size (Ctrl+Alt+0) or larger. It’s impossible to judge
scratches and other defects accurately at smaller zoom ratios.
✦ Keep the original photo next to you as you work. What looks like a scratch on
screen may actually be a photographic element, and what looks like an element
may be a scratch. Only by referring to the original image can you be sure.
Tip
Don’t crop until you’re finished retouching the image. You’d be surprised how
useful that extra garbage around the perimeter is when it comes to covering
up really big tears.
✦ Use hard brush shapes against sharp edges. But when working in general
areas such as the shadow, the ground, and the wall, mix it up between hard
and soft brushes. Staying random is the best way to avoid harsh transitions,
repeating patterns, and other digital giveaways.
✦ Paint in short strokes. This helps keep things random, but it also means you
don’t have to redraw a big long brushstroke if you make a mistake.
Tip
When you do make a mistake, don’t press Ctrl+Z. Instead, use the history brush
to paint back the image as it appeared before the last rubber stamp operation.
(I explain more about the history brush later in this chapter.)
✦ Another way to stay random is to change the source of your clone frequently.
That means Alt-clicking after every second or third brushstroke. And keep the
Aligned check box turned off. An aligned clone is not a random one.
✦ Feel free to experiment with the brush modes and the Opacity setting. For
example, as shown magnified in Figure 7-11, the girl has a scratch on the left
eye (her right). I corrected this by cloning the right eye, but the cloned eye
was so much lighter that it gave the girl a possessed look. To fix this, I set the
brush mode to Multiply and changed the Opacity to 30 percent. Then I cloned
a bit of the shadowed flesh over the eye to get the finished effect.
Tip
You also can try applying Edit ➪ Fade to change the opacity and brush mode
of pixels you just cloned. Adobe expanded the Fade filter in Photoshop 5.5 so
that you can use the filter to fade tool effects as well as filters.
✦ Don’t attempt to smooth out the general appearance of grain in the image.
Grain is integral to an old photo and hiding it usually makes the image look
faked. If your image gets too smooth, or if your cloning results in irregular patterns, select the problem area and apply Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Add Noise. Enter
very small Amount values (4 to 8); if necessary, press Ctrl+F to reapply the
filter one or more times. Remember, grain is good.
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Figure 7-11: The left eye in the original image
is scratched (top). I clone the right eye
(middle), but it’s too bright. So I set the brush
mode to Multiply, lower the Opacity to 30
percent, and clone a little flesh over the eye
(bottom).
With Photoshop’s history brush at your side, there’s really no way to permanently
harm an image. You can even let four or five little mistakes go and then correct
them en masse with the history brush. Just click to the left of the state in the
History palette that directly precedes your first screw-up and then drag with the
history brush. It’s easy, satisfying, and incredibly freeing. To paint back to the original scanned image, click in front of the very top item in the History palette. For
more information, check out “Stepping Back through Time” later in this chapter.
Eliminating distracting background elements
The stamp tool’s cloning capabilities also come in handy for eliminating background action that competes with the central elements in an image. For example,
Figure 7-12 shows a nifty news photo shot by Michael Probst for the Reuters image
library. Although the image is well-photographed and historic and all that good
stuff, that rear workman doesn’t contribute anything to the scene; in fact, he draws
your attention away from the foreground drama. I mean, hail to the worker and
everything, but the image would be better off without him. The following steps
explain how I eradicated the offending workman from the scene.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-12: You have to love
that old Soviet state-endorsed art.
So bold, so angular, so politically
intolerant. But you also have to
lose that rear workman.
Note
Remember as you read the following steps that deleting an image element with
the rubber stamp tool is something of an inexact science; it requires considerable
patience and a dash of trial and error. So regard the following steps as an example
of how to approach the process of editing your image rather than as a specific
procedure that works for all images. You may need to adapt the process slightly
depending on your image.
On the other hand, any approach that eliminates an element as big as the workman
can also correct the most egregious of photographic flaws, including mold, holes,
and fire damage. You can even restore photos that have been ripped into pieces, a
particular problem for pictures of ex-boyfriends and the like. These steps qualify as
major reconstructive surgery.
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STEPS: Eliminating Distracting Elements from an Image
1. My first step was to clone the area around the neck of the statue with a soft
brush shape. Abandoning the controlled clicks I recommended in the last section, I allowed myself to drag with the tool because I needed to cover relatively large portions of the image. The apartment building (or whatever that
structure is) behind the floating head is magnificently out of focus, just the
thing for hiding any incongruous transitions I might create with the rubber
stamp. So I warmed up to the image by retouching this area first. Figure 7-13
shows my progress.
I covered the workman’s body by cloning pixels from both his left and right
sides. I also added a vertical bar where the workman’s right arm used to be to
maintain the rhythm of the building. Remember, variety is the key to using the
rubber stamp tool: If you consistently clone from one portion of the image,
you create an obvious repetition the viewer can’t help but notice.
Figure 7-13: Cloning over the background worker’s
upper torso was fairly easy because the background
building is so regular and out of focus, it provides a
wealth of material from which to clone.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
2. The next step was to eliminate the workman’s head. This was a little tricky
because it involved rubbing up against the focused perimeter of Lenin’s neck. I
had to clone some of the more intricate areas using a hard-edged brush. I also
ended up duplicating some of the neck edges to maintain continuity. In addition, I touched up the left side of the neck (your left, not Lenin’s) and removed
a few of the white spots from his face. You see my progress in Figure 7-14.
Figure 7-14: I eliminated the workman’s head and
touched up details around the perimeter of his neck.
3. Now for the hard part: eliminating the worker’s legs and lower torso. See
that fragment of metal that the foreground worker is holding? What a pain. Its
edges were so irregular, there was no way I could restore it with the rubber
stamp tool on the off chance that I messed up while trying to eradicate the
background worker’s limbs. So I lassoed around the fragment to select it and
chose Select ➪ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I) to protect it. I also chose Select ➪ Feather
(Ctrl+Alt+D) and gave it a Radius value of 1 to soften its edges slightly. This
prevented me from messing up the metal no matter what edits I made to the
background worker’s remaining body parts.
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4. From here on, it was just more cloning. Unfortunately, I barely had anything
from which to clone. See the little bit of black edging between the two “legs” of
the metal fragment? That’s it. This was all I had to draw the strip of edging to the
right of the fragment that eventually appears in Figure 7-15. To pull off this feat, I
made sure that the Aligned check box was turned off in Options bar. Then I Altclicked on the tiny bit of edging and click, click, clicked my way down the street.
Figure 7-15: After about 45 minutes of monkeying
around with the rubber stamp tool — a practice
declared illegal during Stalin’s reign — the rear
workman is gone, leaving us with an unfettered
view of the dubious V. I. Lenin himself.
5. Unfortunately, the strip I laid down in Step 4 appeared noticeably blobular —
it looked for all the world like I clicked a bunch of times. Darn. To fix this
problem, I clicked and Shift-clicked with the smudge tool set to about 30 percent pressure. This smeared the blobs into a continuous strip but, again, the
effect was noticeable. It looked as if I had smeared the strip. So I went back and
cloned some more, this time with the Opacity value set to 50 percent.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
6. To polish the image off, I chose Select ➪ Deselect (Ctrl+D) and ran the
sharpen tool along the edges of the metal fragment. This helped to hide my
retouching around it and further distinguished the fragment from the unfocused background. I also cropped away 20 or so pixels from the right side of
the image to correct the balance of the image.
What I hope I demonstrated in these steps is this: Cloning with the rubber stamp
tool requires you to alternate between patching and whittling away. There are no
rights and wrongs, no hard and fast rules. Anything you can find to clone is fair
game. As long as you avoid mucking up the foreground image, you can’t go wrong
(so I guess there is one hard and fast rule). If you’re careful and diligent, no one but
you will notice your alterations.
Caution
Any time you edit the contents of a photograph, you tread on sensitive ground.
Although some have convincingly argued that electronically retouching an image is,
theoretically, no different than cropping a photograph — a technique available and in
use since the first daguerreotype — photographers have certain rights under copyright law that cannot be ignored. A photographer may have a reason for including an
element you want to eliminate. So, before you edit any photograph, be sure to get permission either from the original photographer or from the copyright holder (as I did
for this photo).
Applying Repeating Patterns
Photoshop
6
The pattern stamp, unlike the rubber stamp, doesn’t require you to Alt-click to set a
source. Instead, you select a pattern from the Pattern drop-down palette, shown in
Figure 7-16. The palette displays icons representing the available patterns in the current pattern preset, just as when you apply patterns using the paint bucket. (To find
out how to change, load, and save presets, refer to Chapter 5.) If you pause your cursor over an icon and have tool tips turned on, Photoshop displays the pattern name.
Photoshop
The rubber stamp’s cousin, the pattern stamp tool, paints with a rectangular pattern tile. You can use the pattern stamp to create frames, paint wallpaper-type patterns, or retouch textured patches of grass, dirt, or sky. To switch from the rubber
stamp to the pattern stamp tool, Alt-click the stamp tool icon in the toolbox or
press S (or Shift+S, depending on your preferences setting for tool switches).
6
Here’s another pattern upgrade in Version 6: You now can define and save as many
custom patterns as you like. To create a pattern, select a portion of the image with the
rectangular marquee tool and choose Edit ➪ Define Pattern. Or, if you want to use the
entire image as a pattern, you can skip the selecting step (also a new option). Note
that if you do draw a selection, you must use the rectangular marquee tool — no other
selection tool will do. Also, the selection cannot be feathered, smoothed, expanded, or
in any other way altered. After you choose the command, you can change the name
that Photoshop assigns to the pattern — Pattern 1, Pattern 2, and so on — to a name
that will better help you identify the pattern later.
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Figure 7-16: Select a pattern from the drop-down palette and then click
or drag with the pattern stamp tool.
Figure 7-17 shows an example of how you can apply repeating patterns. I selected
the single apartment window (labeled in the figure) and chose Edit ➪ Define
Pattern. I then painted with the pattern stamp tool at 80 percent opacity over
the horse and rider statue.
Aligning patterns (or not)
As is the case with the rubber stamp, the Options bar for the pattern stamp tool
provides an Aligned check box. If you select the check box, Photoshop aligns all
patterns you apply with the stamp tool, regardless of how many times you start
and stop dragging. The two left examples in Figure 7-18 show the effects of selecting
this option. The elements in the pattern remain exactly aligned throughout all the
brushstrokes. I painted the top-left image with the Opacity value set to 50 percent,
which is why the strokes darken when they meet.
To allow patterns in different brushstrokes to start and end at different locations,
turn the Aligned option off. The point at which you begin dragging determines the
position of the pattern within each stroke. I dragged from right to left to paint the
horizontal strokes and from top to bottom to paint the vertical strokes. The two
right examples in Figure 7-18 show how nonaligned patterns overlap.
Note
As discussed in Chapter 6, you can also apply a pattern to a selected portion of an
image by choosing Edit ➪ Fill and selecting the Pattern option from the Use pop-up
menu. If you have an old grayscale image saved in the Photoshop 2 format sitting
around, you can alternatively choose Filter ➪ Render ➪ Texture Fill to open the
image and repeat it as many times as it takes to fill the selection. (Texture Fill is
intended primarily for preparing textures and bump maps for a three-dimensional
drawing program, so most folks never touch this filter.)
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Pattern tile
Figure 7-17: After marqueeing a single window (top)
and choosing Edit ➪ Define Pattern, I painted a translucent
coat of the pattern over the statue with the pattern stamp
tool (bottom).
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Photoshop
Figure 7-18: Select the Aligned check box to align the
patterns in all brushstrokes so that they match up
perfectly (left). If you turn the option off, Photoshop
starts each pattern with the beginning of the
brushstroke (right).
6
Also investigate the new Fill Layers and Layer Style options for filling layers with
patterns. You can explore both in Chapter 14.
Creating patterns and textures
Photoshop 6 provides a few sample patterns inside the Patterns folder, which lives
inside the Presets folder. But if none of those patterns float your boat, you can create your own patterns. Ideally, your pattern should repeat continuously, without
vertical and horizontal seams. Here are some ways to create repeating, continuous
patterns:
✦ Load a displacement map: Photoshop offers a Displacement Maps folder inside
the Plug-Ins folder. This folder contains several images, each of which represents a different repeating pattern, as illustrated in Figure 7-19. To use one of
these patterns, open the image, choose Select ➪ All (Ctrl+A), and choose Edit ➪
Define Pattern. (For more information on displacement maps, see Chapter A on
the CD-ROM accompanying this book.)
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
12-sided
Cees
Crumbles
Fragment layers
Honeycomb
Mezzo effect
Pentagons
Random strokes
Streaks pattern
Twirl pattern
Rectangular tiles Schnable effect
Figure 7-19: These 12 patterns are in the Displacement Maps folder
included with Photoshop.
✦ Illustrator patterns: If you open the Presets folder, then the Patterns folder,
and then the PostScript Patterns folder, you can find Illustrator EPS files that
contain repeating object patterns. The patterns, some of which appear in
Figure 7-20, are all seamless repeaters. You can open them and rasterize them
to any size you like. Then press Ctrl+A, choose Edit ➪ Define Pattern, and you
have your pattern.
✦ Using filters: As luck would have it, you can create your own custom textures
without painting a single line. In fact, you can create a nearly infinite variety of
textures by applying several filters to a blank document. To create the texture
shown in the top row of Figure 7-21, for example, I created a new 200 × 200-pixel
image. I then chose Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Add Noise, entered a value of 64, and
selected the Gaussian radio button. I pressed Ctrl+F twice to apply the noise
filter two more times. Finally, I chose Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Emboss and entered 45
in the Angle option box, 2 in the Height option box, and 100 in the Amount
option box. The result is a bumpy surface that looks like stucco.
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Deco
Drunkard's path
Intricate surface
Laguna
Pinwheel
Undulating
dot gradation
Herringbone 1
India
Mali primitive Optical checkboard
Weave-Y
Wrinkle
Figure 7-20: A random sampling of the illustrations in the PostScript
Patterns folder, found inside the Presets/Patterns folder.
To get the second row effects in Figure 7-21, I started with the noise pattern
and applied Filter ➪ Pixelate ➪ Crystallize with a Cell Size of 10 pixels. Then I
again applied the Emboss filter with the same settings as before. To create the
third row of textures, I started with a blank image and chose Filter ➪ Render ➪
Clouds. Then I applied the Emboss filter with an Amount value of 500. To
punch up the contrast, I choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Auto Levels (Ctrl+Shift+L).
CrossReference
I could go on like this for days. To learn more about filters so you can make up
your own textures, read Chapters 10 and 11. Chapter 10 covers Add Noise;
Chapter 11 explains Emboss, Crystallize, and Clouds.
✦ Marquee and clone: You can use the rectangular marquee and pattern stamp
tools to transform an image into a custom pattern. Because this technique is
more complicated as well as more rewarding than the others, I explain it in
the following section.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Noise x3
Emboss, 100%
Crystallize
Emboss, 100%
Clouds
Emboss, 500%
Figure 7-21: To create a stucco texture, apply
Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Add Noise three times in a row
(upper left, upper right, lower left). Then choose
Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Emboss and enter a Height value
of 1 (lower right).
Building your own seamless pattern
The following steps describe how to change a scanned image into a seamless,
repeating pattern. To illustrate how this process works, Figures 7-22 through 7-25
show various stages in a project I completed. You need only two tools to carry out
these steps: the rectangular marquee tool and the rubber stamp tool.
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CrossReference
Those of you reading sequentially may notice that these steps involve a few selection and layering techniques I haven’t yet discussed. If you become confused, you
can find out more about selecting, moving, and cloning images in Chapter 8.
STEPS: Building a Repeating Pattern from an Image
1. Open the image that you want to convert into a pattern. I started with an
image from the PhotoDisc image library.
2. Select the rectangular marquee tool and then press Enter to display the
Options bar, if it’s not already visible. Select Fixed Size from the Style pop-up
menu and enter specific values in the Width and Height option boxes. This
way, you can easily reselect a portion of the pattern in the steps that follow, as
well as use the fixed-size marquee to define the pattern when you finish. To
create the patterns shown in the figures, I set the marquee to 128 × 128 pixels.
3. Select the portion of the image you want to feature in the pattern. Because
you’ve specified an exact marquee size, Photoshop selects a fixed area whenever you click. You can drag to move the marquee around in the window.
4. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the selection to the Clipboard.
5. Choose File ➪ New (Ctrl+N) and triple the Width and Height values. In my
case, Photoshop suggested a new image size of 128 × 128 pixels, which
matches the size of the selection I copied to the Clipboard. By tripling these
values, I arrived at a new image size of 384 × 384 pixels.
6. Press Ctrl+V. Photoshop pastes the copied selection smack dab in the center
of the window, which is exactly where you want it. This image will serve as the
central tile of your repeating pattern.
7. Ctrl-click the item labeled Layer 1 in the Layers palette. Photoshop pasted
the image on a new layer. But to duplicate the image and convert it into a pattern, you need to flatten it, which you do in the next step. Before you flatten,
you want to Ctrl-click the layer name to select the pasted pixels.
8. Press Ctrl+E. This merges the layer with the background, thereby flattening it.
Or you can choose Layer ➪ Flatten Image. Either way, the selection outline
remains intact.
9. Choose Edit ➪ Define Pattern. This establishes the selected image as a pattern tile. Give the pattern a name when Photoshop prompts you.
10. Press Ctrl+D to deselect the image. You neither need nor want the selection
outline any more. You’ll need to be able to fill and clone freely without a selection outline getting in the way.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
11. Press Shift+Backspace or choose Edit ➪ Fill. Then select Pattern from the Use
pop-up menu, select the pattern from the Custom Pattern palette, and press
Enter. This fills the window with a 3 × 3-tile grid, as shown in Figure 7-22.
Figure 7-22: To build the repeating pattern shown
in Figure 7-25, I started by creating a grid of nine
image tiles. As you can see, the seams between
the tiles in this grid are harsh and unacceptable.
12. Drag the title bar of the new image window to position it so you can see the
portion of the image you copied in the original image window. If necessary,
drag the title bar of the original image window to reposition it, as well. After
you have your windows arranged, click the title bar of the new image to make
it the active window.
13. Select the rubber stamp. Press S. (Press S twice if the pattern stamp tool is
active; press Shift+S if you turned on the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch option
in the Preferences dialog box.)
14. Turn off the Aligned check box in the Options bar. Ironic as it may sound,
it’s easier to get the alignment between clone-from and clone-to points established with Aligned turned off.
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15. Specify the image you want to clone by Alt-clicking in the original image
window. No need to switch out of the new window. Alt-click an easily identifiable pixel that belongs to the portion of the image you copied. The exact pixel
you click is very important. If you press Caps Lock, you get the crosshair cursor, which makes it easier to narrow in on a pixel. In my case, I clicked the corner of the Buddha’s mouth. (At least, I assume that’s Buddha. Then again, I’m
a Western-bred ignoramus, so what do I know?)
16. Now click with the stamp tool on the matching pixel in the central tile of
the new window. If you clicked the correct pixel, the tile should not change
one iota. If it shifts at all, press Ctrl+Z and try again. Because Aligned is turned
off, you can keep undoing and clicking over and over again without resetting
the clone-from point in the original image.
17. Turn on the Aligned check box. Once you click in the image without seeing
any shift, select the Aligned option to lock in the alignment between the clonefrom and clone-to points.
18. Use the stamp tool to fill in portions of the central tile. For example, in
Figure 7-23, I extended the Buddha’s cheek and neck down into the lower row
of tiles. I also extended the central forehead to meet the Buddha on the left.
Figure 7-23: I used the rubber stamp’s cloning
capability to extend the features in the central
face toward the left and downward.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
19. Select a portion of the modified image. After you establish one continuous
transition between two tiles in any direction — up, down, left, or right — click
with the rectangular marquee tool to select an area that includes the transition. In my case, I managed to create a smooth transition between the central
and bottom tiles. Therefore, I selected a region that includes half the central
tile and half the tile below it.
20. Repeat Steps 9 through 11. That is, choose Edit ➪ Define Pattern, press
Ctrl+D, choose Edit ➪ Fill, select the pattern you just defined, and press Enter.
This fills the image with your new transition. Don’t worry if the tiles shift
around a bit — that’s to be expected.
Tip
If you plan on creating a lot of patterns, you may want to record Steps 9
through 11 as a script in the Actions palette. Then you can replay the script
after each time you clone away a seam.
21. If you started by creating a horizontal transition, use the rubber stamp tool
to create a vertical transition. Likewise, if you started vertically, now go horizontally. You may need to turn off the Aligned check box again to establish the
proper alignment between clone-from and clone-to points. In my case, I shifted
the clone-to point several times — alternatively building on the central Buddha,
the right-hand one, and the middle one in the bottom row. Each time you get
the clone-to point properly positioned, turn the Aligned check box back on to
lock in the alignment. Then clone away.
Note
As long as you get the clone-from and clone-to points properly aligned, you
can’t make a mistake. If you change your mind, realign the clone points and try
again. In my case, I cloned the long droopy earlobe down into the face of the
Buddha below. (I guess our young Buddha didn’t stop to think that once the
droopy-ear fad passed, he would be stuck with it for the rest of his life.) I also
cloned the god’s chin onto the forehead of the one to the right, ultimately
achieving the effect shown in Figure 7-24.
22. After you build up one set of both horizontal and vertical transitions, click
with the rectangular marquee tool to select the transitions. Figure 10-24
shows where I positioned my 128 × 128-pixel selection boundary. This includes
parts of each of four neighboring heads, including the all-important droopy ear.
Don’t worry if the image doesn’t appear centered inside the selection outline.
What counts is that the image flows seamlessly inside the selection outline.
23. Repeat Steps 9 through 11 again. Or play that script I suggested in Step 20 if
you bothered to record it. If the tiles blend together seamlessly, as in Figure
7-25, you’re finished. If not, clone some more with the rubber stamp tool and
try again.
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Figure 7-24: After completing a smooth transition
between the central tile and the tiles below and to
the right of it, I selected a portion of the image and
chose Edit ➪ Define Pattern.
Figure 7-25: This Eastern montage is the result of
applying the Buddha pattern. Buddha sure looks
serene and comfortable, especially considering
he’s resting on his own head.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Stepping Back through Time
Since roughly the dawn of recorded time, folks begged, pleaded, and screamed at the
top of their lungs for multiple undos in Photoshop. But it wasn’t until Photoshop 5
that Adobe delivered what the masses craved. The payoff for the long wait was huge:
Version 5 offered up the History palette, which provides the best implementation of
multiple undos I’ve ever seen.
Moving beyond simple backstepping, the History palette takes the whole reversion
metaphor into Slaughterhouse Five territory. If you’ve never read the novel (or you’ve
somehow forgotten), Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. suggested that humans live from one moment
to the next like a person strapped to a boxcar, unable to change the speed or direction
of the train as it hurtles through time. In most programs that offer multiple undos, you
can make the train stop and back up, but you’re still strapped to it. The History palette
is the first tool that lets you get off the train and transport to any point on the track —
instantaneously. In short, we now have a digital version of time travel.
Here are just a few of the marvelous innovations of the History palette:
Photoshop
✦ Undo-independent stepping: Step backward by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z; step forward by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Z. Every program with multiple undos does this,
but Photoshop’s default keyboard equivalents are different. Why? Because
you can backstep independently of the Undo command, so that even backstepping is undoable.
6
Just to sweeten the pot, Photoshop 6 enables you to change the keys assigned
to the step forward, step backward, and Undo/Redo actions. Open the
Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K) and look for the Redo Key pop-up menu.
Select Ctrl+Y from the menu, and step forward becomes Ctrl+Y, step backward
becomes Ctrl+Z, and the Undo/Redo key toggle becomes Ctrl+Alt+Z. To
instead use Ctrl+Shift+Z as forward and Ctrl+Z as backward, select
Ctrl+Shift+Z from the menu.
Note
The shortcuts that I mention in this book assume that you leave the Redo Key
option set to the default, which makes Ctrl+Z the shortcut to toggle between
the Undo and Redo commands. If you think you might have changed this setting, choose Edit ➪ Preferences ➪ General and inspect the condition of the
Redo Key pop-up menu.
✦ Before and after: Revert to a point in history to see a “before” view of your
image, and then fly forward to see the “after” view. From then on, Ctrl+Z
becomes a super-undo, toggling between the before and after views. The
opportunities for comparing states and changing your mind are truly colossal.
✦ Dynamic time travel: If before and after aren’t enough, how about animated
history? You can drag a control to slide dynamically forward and backward
through operations. It’s as if you recorded the operations to videotape, and
now you’re rewinding and fast-forwarding through them.
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✦ Sweeping away the mistakes: Select a point in the history of your image and
paint back to it using the history brush. You can let the mistakes pile up and
then brush them away. This brush isn’t a paintbrush; it’s a hand broom. Want
even more variety? Use the art history brush to paint back to the image using
various artistic styles.
✦ Take a picture, it’ll last longer: You can save any point in the History palette
as a snapshot. That way, even several hundred operations after that point in
history are long gone, you can revisit the snapshot.
✦ This is your life, Image A: Each and every image has its own history. So after
performing a few hundred operations on Image A, you can still go back to
Image B and backstep through operations you performed hours ago. The
caveat is that the history remains available only as long as an image is open.
Close the image, and its history goes away.
Photoshop
✦ Undo the Revert command: Before Photoshop 5.5, you couldn’t undo the
Revert command. Now, the History palette tracks Revert. So if you don’t like
the image that was last saved to disk, you can undo the reversion and get back
to where you were. Also notice that when you choose File ➪ Revert, Photoshop
no longer asks you to confirm the reversion. There’s no reason for that warning
dialog box any more because Revert is fully undoable.
6
In Photoshop 5.5, Photoshop asked whether you wanted to save the file if
you chose Revert and then closed the file. Previously, Photoshop knew the
reverted image and the saved image were identical — in Version 5.5, it got
a bit mixed up. This weirdness has been corrected in Version 6.
The only thing you can’t do through the History palette is travel forward into the
future — say, to about three days from now when you’ve finished your grueling project, submitted it to your client, and received your big fat paycheck. Believe it or
not, that’s actually good news. The day Adobe can figure out how to do your work
for you, your clients will hire Photoshop and stop hiring you.
So I ask you — Photoshop, Slaughterhouse Five, just a coincidence? Well, yes, I suppose it is. But the fact remains, you have the option of getting off the boxcar. How
you make use of your freedom is up to you.
Using the traditional undo functions
Photoshop
Before I dive into the History palette, I should take a moment to summarize
Photoshop’s more traditional reversion functions. (If you already know about
this stuff, skip to the next section.)
6
Again, remember that all the shortcuts I mention here assume that you choose
Ctrl+Z (Toggles Undo/Redo) from the Redo Key pop-up menu in the Preferences
dialog box (the default setting):
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
✦ Undo: To restore an image to the way it looked before the last operation,
choose Edit ➪ Undo (Ctrl+Z). You can undo the effect of a paint or edit tool, a
change made to a selection outline, or a special-effect or color-correction command. You can’t undo disk operations, such as opening or saving. Photoshop
does enable you to undo an edit after printing an image, though. You can test
an effect, print the image, and then undo the effect if you think it looks awful.
✦ Revert: Choose File ➪ Revert (or press the F12 key) to reload an image from
disk. This is generally the last-resort function, the command you choose after
everything else has failed.
Tip
To restore the image to the way it looked when you originally opened it —
which may precede the last-saved state — scroll to the top of the History
palette and click the topmost item. (This assumes that you haven’t turned
off the Automatically Create First Snapshot check box in the History Options
dialog box.)
✦ Selective reversion: To revert a selected area to the way it appeared when it
was first opened — or some other source state identified in the History
palette — choose Edit ➪ Fill (Shift+Backspace). Then select History from the
Use pop-up menu and press Enter.
Tip
Better yet, just press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. This one keystroke fills the selection with the source state in a jiffy. (You set the source state by clicking in the
left column of the History palette, as I explain in the very next section.)
✦ The erasers: Drag in the background layer with the eraser tool to paint in the
background color. You’re essentially erasing the image back to bare canvas.
Or apply the eraser to a layer to delete pixels and expose underlying layers.
For additional erasing flexibility, the magic eraser and background eraser
(introduced in Photoshop 5.5) rub away similarly colored pixels and background pixels, respectively.
Tip
You can also Alt-drag with the eraser to revert to the targeted state in the
History palette. Or select Erase to History in the Options bar and just drag.
But you’re better off using the history brush for this purpose. The history
brush offers more capabilities — notably, brush modes.
Where warranted, I explain these functions in greater detail in the following sections. But first, the next few paragraphs look at the central headquarters for reversion in Photoshop, the History palette.
The History palette
Choose Window ➪ Show History to view the History palette, annotated with the
palette menu in full view in Figure 7-26. The History palette records each significant
operation — everything other than settings and preferences (for example, selecting
a new foreground color) — and adds it to a list. The oldest operations appear at the
top of the list with the most recent operations at the bottom.
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Opened state
Snapshots
Palette menu
States
Undone States
Active state marker
Source state
Delete states
New snapshot
New image
Figure 7-26: The History palette records each significant
event as an independent state. To return to a state, just
click on it.
Each item in the list is called a state. That’s not my word, it’s Adobe’s, and several
have voiced the opinion that the term is too stiff and formal. But I think it’s dead
on. Each item in the palette represents a stepping stone in the progression of the
image, a condition at a moment in time — in other words, a state.
Photoshop automatically names each item according to the tool, command, or operation used to arrive at the state. The icon next to the name helps to identify the state
further. But the best way to find out what a state is like is to click it. Photoshop instantaneously undoes all operations performed after that state and returns you to the
state so that you can inspect it in detail. To redo all the operations you just did in
one fell swoop, press Ctrl+Z or choose Edit ➪ Undo State Change.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
That one action — clicking on a state — is the gist of what you need to know to travel
forward and backward through time in Photoshop. If that’s all you ever learn, you’ll
find yourself working with greater speed, freedom, and security than is possible in
virtually any other graphics application. But this represents only the first in a long list
of the History palette’s capabilities. Here’s the rest of what you might want to know:
Photoshop
✦ Changing the number of undos: By default, Photoshop records the last 20
operations in the History palette. When you perform the 21st operation, the
first state is shoved off the list.
6
In Photoshop 6, you set the number of operations that the History palette
tracks in the Preferences dialog box. Choose Edit ➪ Preferences ➪ General or
press Ctrl+K to open the dialog box and enter the value you want to use in the
History States box. If your computer is equipped with 32MB or less of RAM, you
might want to lower the value to 5 or 10 to maintain greater efficiency. On the
other hand, if you become a time-traveling freak (like me) and have plenty of
RAM, turn it up, baby, all the way up!
✦ Undone states: When you revert to a state by clicking on it, every subsequent
state turns gray to show that it’s been undone. You can redo a grayed state
simply by clicking on it. But if you perform a new operation, all grayed states
disappear. You have one opportunity to bring them back by pressing Ctrl+Z; if
you perform another new operation, the once-grayed states are gone for good.
✦ Working with non-sequential states: If you don’t like the idea of losing your
undone states — every state is sacred, after all — choose the History Options
command and select the Allow Non-Linear History check box (see Figure 7-27).
Undone states no longer drop off the list when you perform a new operation.
They remain available on the off chance that you might want to revisit them.
It’s like having multiple possible time trails.
Figure 7-27: Choose the History Options command to
permit Photoshop to record states out of order.
Note
The Allow Non-Linear History check box does not permit you to undo a single
state without affecting the subsequent states. For example, let’s say you paint
with the airbrush, smear with the smudge tool, and then clone with the rubber
stamp. You can revert back to the airbrush state and then apply other operations without losing the option of restoring the smudge and clone. But you can’t
undo the smudge and leave the clone intact. Operations can only occur in the
sequence they were applied.
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6
If you revert back to a state and then apply an edit, the reverted state and all
actions that fall between that state and the new edit are set off by horizontal
lines running across the palette. The lines show you which operations you’ll
lose if you undo the first state in the group.
✦ Stepping through states: As I mentioned earlier, you can press -Ctrl+Alt+Z to
undo the active step or Ctrl+Shift+Z to redo the next step in the list. Backstepping
goes up the list of states in the History palette; forward stepping goes down. Keep
in mind that if the Allow Non-Linear History check box is active, backstepping
may take you to a state that was previously inactive.
✦ Flying through states: Drag the right-pointing active state marker (labeled in
Figure 7-26) up and down the list to rewind and fast-forward, respectively,
through time. If the screen image doesn’t appear to change as you fly by certain states, it most likely means those states involve small brushstrokes or
changes to selection outlines. Otherwise, the changes are quite apparent.
Photoshop
✦ Taking a snapshot: Every once in a while, a state comes along that’s so great,
you don’t want it to fall by the wayside 20 operations from now. To set a state
aside, choose New Snapshot or click the little page icon at the bottom of the
History palette.
6
Tip
By default, Photoshop no longer displays the New Snapshot dialog box asking
you to name the snapshot. If you want to name a snapshot, Alt-click the New
Snapshot icon. Or choose History Options from the palette menu and select
the Show New Snapshot Dialog by Default option. Photoshop then presents
the dialog box. In the dialog box, you also can specify whether you want to
save all layers (as by default), flatten the image, or retain just the active layer.
The new snapshot — as it’s called — then appears in the top portion of the
palette.
If you turn on the Show New Snapshot Dialog by Default check box, you can
circumvent the dialog box by Alt-clicking the New Snapshot icon. (The state
has to be active to convert it to a snapshot, so you can’t drag a state and drop
it onto the page icon, as you can drag-and-drop elements in other palettes.)
Photoshop lets you store as many snapshots as your computer’s RAM permits.
Also worth noting, the program automatically creates a snapshot of the image as
it appears when it’s first opened. If you don’t like this opening snapshot, you can
turn it off inside the History Options dialog box.
✦ Creating a snapshot upon saving the image: Select the Automatically Create
New Snapshot When Saving box in the History Options dialog box to create a
new snapshot every time you save your image.
✦ Saving the state permanently: The problem with snapshots is that they last
only as long as the current session. If you quit Photoshop or the program
crashes, you lose the entire history list, snapshots included. To save a state so
you can refer to it several days from now, choose the New Document command
or click the leftmost icon at the bottom of the History palette. You can also drag
and drop a state onto the icon. Either way, Photoshop duplicates the state to a
new image window. Then you can save the state to the format of your choice.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
✦ Setting the source: Click to the left of a state to identify it as the source state.
The history brush icon appears where you click. The source state affects
the performance of the history brush, art history brush, Fill command, and
eraser, if you select Erase to History. The keystroke Ctrl+Alt+Backspace fills
the selection with the source state.
✦ Trashing states: To delete any state and those that follow, drag the state to
the trash icon at the bottom of the palette. Your image updates accordingly.
If the Allow Non-Linear History check box is on, clicking the trash can deletes
just the active state.
Tip
Caution
If your machine is equipped with little RAM or you’re working on a particularly large image, Photoshop may slow down as the states accumulate. If it
gets too slow, you may want to purge the History palette. You can clear every
state from the active state forward without affecting the image by Alt-clicking
Clear History in the palette menu. You can also choose Edit ➪ Purge ➪
Histories to purge the list of states for all open documents.
You can’t undo either purge command. So if you want to clear the states from
the palette but have the option of choosing Undo to bring them back, choose
Clear History without Alt-clicking.
Painting away the past
The History palette represents the regimental way to revert images inside Photoshop.
You can retreat, march forward, proceed in linear or non-linear formation, capture
states, and retire them. Every state plays backward in the same way it played forward. It’s precise, predictable, and positively by the book.
But what if you want to get free-form? What if you want to brush away the present
and paint in the past? In that case, a palette isn’t going to do you any good. What
you need is a pliable, emancipated, free-wheeling tool.
As luck would have it, Photoshop offers five candidates — the eraser, magic eraser,
background eraser, history brush, and art history brush. The eraser washes away
pixels to reveal underlying pixels or exposed canvas. The magic eraser and background eraser, both added in Version 5.5, erase a range of similarly colored pixels
and background pixels, respectively. The history brush takes you back to a kinder,
simpler state; the art history brush does the same but enables you to paint using
special artistic effects. Although the functions of these tools overlap slightly, they
each have a very specific purpose, as becomes clear in the following sections.
CrossReference
As you work with any of these tools, remember that you can use the Edit ➪ Fade command (formerly on the Filter menu) to blend the altered pixels with the originals, just
as you can when applying a filter. You can adjust both the opacity and blend mode of
the erased or painted pixels. Chapter 10 explores the Fade command in detail.
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The eraser tool
Photoshop
When you work with the eraser, you can select from four eraser styles: Paintbrush,
Airbrush, Pencil, and Block. Block is the old 16 × 16-pixel square eraser that’s great
for hard-edged touch-ups. The other options work exactly like the tools for which
they’re named.
6
In earlier versions of Photoshop, pressing E cycled you through the eraser styles. That
shortcut now cycles through the eraser, magic eraser, and background eraser, all of
which share a flyout menu and keyboard shortcut ( E) in Version 6. You now must
select the eraser style from the Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar, as shown in
Figure 7-28 (press Enter with the eraser selected in the toolbox to display the bar).
Figure 7-28: When the eraser is selected, the Mode pop-up menu
offers a choice of eraser styles rather than the brush modes
available for the painting tools.
In addition to four styles, the Options bar provides the Brush palette, the Opacity
control, and the Brush Dynamics palette, all of which work as described in Chapter 5. When the Paintbrush option is active, you even have access to the Wet Edges
check box, also covered in Chapter 5. The only thing you can’t do is choose a brush
mode (Normal, Overlay, Darken, Lighten, and so on) — although, as I mentioned a
little while ago, you can apply the Fade command after the fact to fade and blend
your eraser strokes.
Although the eraser is pretty straightforward, there’s no sense in leaving any stone
unturned. So here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the art of erasing:
✦ Erasing on a layer: When you’re working on the Background layer, the eraser
merely paints in the background color. Big whoop. What distinguishes the
eraser tool from the other brushes is layers. If you drag on a layer and deselect the Lock check boxes for transparency and image pixels in the Layers
palette, the eraser tool removes paint and exposes portions of the underlying
image. The eraser tool suddenly performs like a real eraser.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
CrossReference
If you select the transparency Lock check box in the Layers palette, Photoshop won’t let the eraser bore holes in the layer or alter areas that are already
transparent. Instead, the eraser can paint opaque pixels with the background
color. If you select the check box for locking image pixels, you can’t erase or
paint any part of the layer. For more information on the check boxes in the
Layers palette, read Chapter 12.
✦ Erasing lightly: Change the Opacity setting on the Options bar to make portions of a layer translucent in inverse proportion to the Opacity value. For
example, if you set the Opacity to 90 percent, you remove 90 percent of the
opacity from the layer and, therefore, leave 10 percent of the opacity behind.
The result is a nearly transparent stroke through the layer.
✦ Erasing versus using layer masks: As described in the “Creating layer-specific
masks” section of Chapter 12, you can also erase holes in a layer using a layer
mask. But unlike the eraser — which eliminates pixels for good — a layer mask
doesn’t do any permanent damage. On the other hand, using the eraser tool
doesn’t increase the size of your image as much as a layer mask does. (You can
argue that any operation — even a deletion — increases the size of the image in
RAM because the History palette has to track it. But the eraser is still more
memory-efficient than a layer mask.) So it’s a trade-off.
✦ Erasing with the pencil: When you work with the pencil tool and select the
Auto Erase check box on the Options bar, you draw in the background color
any time you click or drag a pixel colored in the foreground color. This technique can be useful when you’re drawing a line against a plain background.
Set the foreground color to the color of the line; set the background color to
the color of the background. Then use the pencil tool to draw and erase the
line until you get it just right. I use this feature all the time when preparing
screen shots. Adobe engineers call the Auto Erase check box their “ode to
Fatbits,” from the ancient MacPaint zoom function.
Note
Like the eraser, the pencil tool is affected by the Lock check boxes in the
Layers palette. Unlike the eraser, the pencil always draws either in the foreground or background color, even when used on a layer.
✦ Erasing to history: Press Alt as you drag with the eraser to paint with the
source state identified by the history brush icon in the History palette. (By
default, Photoshop sets the source state to the image as it appeared when
first opened.) It’s like scraping away the paint laid down by the operations following the source state, as demonstrated quite graphically in Figure 7-29.
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Figure 7-29: After making a dreadful mistake (left), I Alt-dragged
with the eraser tool to restore the image to the way it looked in
the source state (right).
Alternatively, you can select the Erase to History check box on the Options
bar. In this case, dragging with the eraser reverts and Alt-dragging paints in
the background color.
Note
Many people use the term “magic eraser” to refer to the eraser set in revert
mode. But Photoshop 5.5 introduced an official magic eraser, which erases
background pixels instead of erasing to history. So be careful not to get the
two confused.
The magic eraser
As I just mentioned, the magic eraser, found on the same flyout as the regular
eraser, erases background pixels. Or, at least, that’s the idea. When used incorrectly, the magic eraser wipes out any pixels that it touches.
If you’re familiar with the magic wand, which I cover in Chapter 8, using the magic
eraser is a cinch. The two tools operate virtually identically, except that the wand
selects and the magic eraser erases.
When you click a pixel with the magic eraser, Photoshop identifies a range of similarly colored pixels, just as it does with the magic wand. But instead of selecting the
pixels, the magic eraser makes them transparent, as demonstrated in Figure 7-30.
Bear in mind that in Photoshop, transparency requires a separate layer. So if the
image is flat (without layers), Photoshop automatically floats the image to a separate layer with nothing underneath. Hence the checkerboard pattern shown in the
second example in the figure — transparency with nothing underneath.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Photoshop
Figure 7-30: To delete a homogeneously colored background, such
as the sky in this picture, click inside it with the magic eraser (bottom).
6
The Lock check boxes in the Layers palette affect the magic eraser. When you have
no check boxes selected, the magic eraser works as I just described it. But if you
lock transparent pixels, the magic eraser paints opaque pixels in the background
color and leaves transparent areas untouched. You can’t use the magic eraser at
all on a layer for which you’ve locked image pixels.
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You can further alter the performance of the magic eraser through the controls on
the Options bar, as described in the following list. Except for the Opacity value,
these options work the same way for both the magic eraser and magic wand:
✦ Opacity: Lower this value to make the erased pixels translucent instead of
transparent. Low values result in more subtle effects than high ones.
✦ Use All Layers: When turned on, this check box tells Photoshop to factor in
all visible layers when erasing pixels. The tool continues to erase pixels on
the active layer only, but it erases them according to colors found across all
layers.
✦ Anti-aliased: To create a soft fringe around the outline of your transparent
area, leave this option turned on. If you’d prefer a hard edge — as when using
a very low Tolerance value, for example — turn this check box off.
✦ Contiguous: Select this final check box, and the magic eraser deletes contiguous colors only — that is, similar colors that touch each other. If you prefer to
delete all pixels of a certain color — such as the blue pixels in Figure 7-30 that
are divided from the rest of the sky by the lion — turn the Contiguous check
box off.
The more magical background eraser
The magic eraser is as simple to use as a hammer, and every bit as indelicate. It
pounds away pixels, but it leaves lots of color fringes and shredded edges in its
wake. You might as well select an area with the magic wand and press Backspace.
The effect is the same.
Photoshop
The more capable, more scrupulous tool is the background eraser. As demonstrated in Figure 7-31, the background eraser deletes background pixels as you drag
over them. (Again, if the image is flat, Photoshop floats the image to a new layer to
accommodate the transparency.) The tool is intelligent enough to erase background
pixels and retain foreground pixels provided that — and here’s the clincher — you
keep the cross in the center of the eraser cursor squarely centered on a background-color pixel. Move the cross over a foreground pixel, and the background
eraser deletes foreground pixels as well. As Figure 7-32 demonstrates, it’s the position of the cross that counts.
6
As is the case when you work with the magic eraser, the Lock check boxes in the
Layers palette affect the background eraser. In this case, locking image pixels prevents you from using the background eraser. Be aware that if you drag over a selection that’s already partially transparent, locking transparent pixels does not protect
the selection from the background eraser.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Photoshop
Figure 7-31: Drag around the edge of an image with the background
eraser to erase the background but leave the foreground intact.
6
You can select a brush for the background eraser in the Brush drop-down palette
on the Options bar. In Photoshop 6, you can press the arrow keys to move from one
brush icon to another in the palette. Pressing the bracket keys, [ and ], lowers and
raises the brush size — by 10 pixels for brushes smaller than 100 pixels in diameter,
by 25 pixels for brushes from 100 pixels to 199 pixels in diameter, and by 50 pixels
for brushes 200 pixels and larger. If you simply want to switch from a hard brush to
a soft one, press Shift-left bracket; press Shift-right bracket to go from a soft brush
to a hard one.
You can also modify the performance of the background eraser using the Options
bar controls, pictured in Figure 7-33. These options are a bit intimidating at first,
but they’re actually pretty easy to use:
✦ Limits: Choose Contiguous from this pop-up menu, and the background eraser
deletes colors inside the cursor as long as they are contiguous with the color
immediately under the cross. To erase all similarly colored pixels, whether
contiguous or not, select Discontiguous. One additional option, Find Edges,
searches for edges as you brush and emphasizes them. Although interesting,
Find Edges has a habit of producing halos and is rarely useful.
✦ Tolerance: Raise the Tolerance value to erase more colors at a time; lower
the value to erase fewer colors. Low Tolerance values are useful for erasing
around tight and delicate details, such as hair.
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Figure 7-32: Keep the cross of the background eraser cursor over
the background you want to erase (top). If you inadvertently move
the cross over the foreground, the foreground gets erased (bottom).
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-33: The seemingly intimidating background eraser options are actually
pretty intuitive.
✦ Protect Foreground Color: Select this check box to prevent the current foreground color (by default, black) from ever being erased. Stupid, really, but
there it is.
Photoshop
✦ Sampling: This pop-up menu determines how the background eraser determines what it should and should not erase. The default setting, Continuous,
tells the erasers to continuously reappraise which colors should be erased as
you drag. If the background is pretty homogenous, you might prefer to use the
Once option, which samples the background color when you first click and
erases only that color throughout the drag. Select Background Swatch to
erase only the current background color (by default, white).
6
CrossReference
Like other brush-oriented tools, the background eraser responds to the settings in
the Brush Dynamics palette, also shown in Figure 7-33. Select Fade from the pop-up
menus to taper your eraser strokes as you drag. If you set the Tolerance pop-up to
Fade, the tool becomes more and more sensitive as you drag. The values that you
enter in the adjacent options boxes control how quickly the Size or Tolerance values fade. If you own a pressure-sensitive tablet, such as the Pen Partner or Intuos
from Wacom, select Stylus to adjust the size or tolerance according to pen pressure.
Chapter 5 covers the Brush Dynamics palette, as well as all things brush-oriented,
including creating and managing brush presets.
The history brush
Painting with the history brush tool gives you results similar to Option-dragging
with the eraser (or selecting the eraser’s Erase to History option). Just drag with
the history brush to paint down to the source state targeted in the History palette.
You also can vary the opacity of your strokes with the Opacity setting on the
Options bar. But the history brush offers two advantages over the eraser.
First, you can take advantage of brush modes. By choosing a different brush mode
from the Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar, you can mix pixels from the
changed and saved images to achieve interesting, and sometimes surprising,
effects. Second, you don’t have to cycle through brush styles as with the eraser
tool. Just select the history brush and start painting.
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Note
If you fell in love with the history brush in Version 5, you may be wondering what happened to the Impressionist mode, which enabled you to retrieve the source state and
smear it around to create a gooey, unfocused effect. As of Version 5.5, that function, as
well as some other effects, come to you by way of the art history brush, discussed next.
The two brushes share a flyout menu in the toolbox, as well as a keyboard shortcut, the
Y key. If you selected the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch option in the Preferences dialog
box, you toggle between the two tools by pressing Shift+Y. Otherwise, pressing Y alone
toggles the tools.
I advise you to get in the habit of using the history brush instead of using the
eraser’s Erase to History function. Granted, the eraser offers you four brush styles
(paintbrush, pencil, airbrush, and block). But when weighed against brush modes,
the brush styles aren’t much of an advantage. All things considered, the history
brush is superior, and it doesn’t require you to press Alt or select a check box to
switch to history mode. The history brush is also more intuitive because its icon
matches the source state icon in the History palette.
Tip
As you play with the history brush, keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to painting into the past. Just as the History palette lets you skip back and forth
along the train track of time, the history brush lets you paint to any point in time.
The following steps provide an example of how you can use the History palette to
establish an alternative reality and then follow up with the history brush to merge
that reality with the present. It’s trippy stuff, I realize, but I’m confident that with a
little effort, you can give that post-modern brain of yours a half twist and wrap it
around these steps like a big, mushy Möbius strip.
STEPS: Brushing to a Parallel Time Line
1. Open the image you want to warp into the fourth dimension. I begin with a
map of Japan (Figure 7-34). Japan is a wacky combination of 17th-century cultural uniformity, 1950’s innocence, and 21st-century corporate imperialism,
so it strikes me as a perfect subject for my compound-time experiment.
2. Apply a couple of filters. I choose Filter ➪ Pixelate ➪ Mosaic and set the Cell
Size value to 20 pixels. Then I apply Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Emboss with a Height of
5 pixels and an Amount of 200 percent. Figure 7-35 shows the results.
3. Choose the History Options command from the History palette menu. Then
turn on the Allow Non-Linear History check box and press Enter.
4. Click the Open item in the History palette. This reverts the image to the state
at which it existed when you first opened it. But thanks to non-linear history,
Photoshop retains the alternate filtered versions of the image just in case
you’d like to revisit this timeline in the future.
5. Click in front of the first filter effect in the History palette to make it the
source state. In my case, I click in front of the Mosaic item.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
Figure 7-34: This map of Japan comes from the Digital
Stock image library.
Figure 7-35: The results of applying the Mosaic (left) and Emboss (right) filters.
Both effects are overstated, so I’ll undo them and then paint them back in with the
history brush.
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6. Select the history brush and start painting. As you do, you’ll paint with the
filtered version of the image. For my part, I set the blend mode to Darken and
painted around the island country to give it a digital edge, as in the first example of Figure 7-36.
Figure 7-36: I set the brush mode to Darken and painted in the Mosaic effect with
the history brush (left). Then I changed the brush mode to Overlay and brushed in
the Emboss effect (right).
7. Switch the source state by clicking in front of the second filter effect.
Naturally, I clicked in front of the Emboss item.
8. Paint again with the history brush. This time, I changed the brush mode to
Overlay and painted randomly over Japan and the surrounding ocean. The
result appears in the second example of Figure 7-36.
After you finish, you can toss the filtered states. This alternate timeline has served
its purpose. Or keep it around as a snapshot to come back to later.
The art history brush
With the art history brush, you can create impressionistic effects with the aid of
the History palette. Try this. Open any old file. Then press D to get the default foreground and background colors and press Alt+Backspace to fill the entire image with
black. Then select the art history brush, which shares a flyout menu and keyboard
shortcut (Y) with the history brush. Now paint inside your black image. Each stroke
reveals a bit of your image in painterly detail, as illustrated in Color Plate 7-2.
Chapter 7 ✦ Retouching, Repeating, and Restoring
The performance of the art history brush depends both on the tool options that
you select from the Options bar and the source state specified in the History
palette. For information on setting the source state, read “The History palette” section, earlier in this chapter. From the Options bar, shown in Figure 7-37, you can
select a brush, a brush mode, and the opacity just as you do when using the paintbrush, covered in Chapter 5. You can also use the Brush Dynamics options to create tapering and fading strokes using either a mouse or a pressure-sensitive palette.
Read about these options in Chapter 5 as well.
Figure 7-37: Select an option from the Style menu to change the type of strokes
applied by the art history brush.
The remaining options work as follows:
✦ Style: The art history brush paints with randomly generated corkscrews of
color. You can decide the basic shapes of the corkscrews by selecting an option
from the Style pop-up menu. Combine these options with different brush sizes
to vary the detail conveyed by the impressionistic image. Tight and small
shapes give you better detail; loose and big shapes produce less detail.
✦ Fidelity: The brush colors each corkscrew according to a color lifted by the
cursor from the original source state. Lowering the Fidelity value lets the
corkscrew color drift away from the source color. This results in random coloring (true to the impressionist tradition) but slows down the brush’s response.
Photoshop
✦ Area: This value defines the area covered by a single dollop of paint. Larger
values generally mean more strokes are laid down at a time; reduce the value
for a more sparse look.
6
Spacing: This option, formerly known as the Tolerance value, limits where the art
history brush can paint. A value of 0 lets the brush paint anywhere; higher values
let the brush paint only in areas where the current state and source state differ in
color.
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If impressionism interests you, I encourage you to experiment. If not, give this brush
the slip. I happen to think it’s pretty nifty (and surprisingly well implemented), but it
definitely falls under the heading of Whimsical Creative Tools to Play with When
You’re Not under Deadline.
Tip
For even more creative variety, you can follow the steps outlined in the preceding
section to paint from several different History states.
Source state limitations
Photoshop displays the cancel cursor and won’t let you paint with the history
brush or art history brush if the source state is a different width or height than the
current image. One pixel difference, and the source state is a moot point. This same
restriction applies when you set the eraser to the Erase to History mode as well as
when you select the History fill option in the Fill dialog box (Edit ➪ Fill) or press
Ctrl+Alt+Backspace.
As I mentioned earlier, you may see the cancel cursor if you lock transparency or
image pixels in the Layers palette (using the Lock check boxes). To find out whether
that’s the problem or you’re dealing with a source state issue, click the image to display an explanatory box. If the problem relates to the source state, move the source
state icon in the History palette to a point after you modified the width or the height
of the image. The crop tool and the Image ➪ Image Size, Canvas Size, Rotate Canvas,
and Crop commands can mix up the history brush. If you applied one of these operations in the very last state, you either have to backstep before that operation or find
some alternative to the history brush.
It’s not a big deal, though. Give it some time and you’ll learn to anticipate this problem. In the case of my experiment with Japan, I made sure to resample and crop the
image before I began my experiment. Get the dimensions ironed out, and then start
laying down your time trails.
✦
✦
✦
8
C H A P T E R
Selections and
Paths
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Selection Fundamentals
Selections direct and protect. If it weren’t for Photoshop’s
selection capabilities, you and I would be flinging paint on the
canvas for all we’re worth, like so many Jackson Pollock and
Vasily Kandinsky wannabes, without any means to constrain,
discriminate, or otherwise regulate the effects of our actions.
Without selections, there’d be no filters, no color corrections,
and no layers. In fact, we’d all be dangerously close to real life,
that dreaded environment we’ve spent so much time and
money to avoid.
No other program gives you as much control over the size and
shape of selections as Photoshop. You can finesse selection
outlines with unparalleled flexibility, alternatively adding to
and subtracting from selected areas and moving and rotating
selections independently of the pixels inside them. You can
even mix masks and selection outlines together, as covered in
Chapter 9.
That’s why this chapter and the one that follows are the most
important chapters in this book.
Pretty cool, huh? You put a provocative sentence like that on
a line by itself and it resonates with authority. Granted, it’s a
little overstated, but can you blame me? I mean, I can’t have a
sentence like, “If you want my opinion, I think these are some
pretty doggone important chapters — at least, that’s the way
it seems to me; certainly, you might have a different opinion,”
on a line by itself. The other paragraphs would laugh at it.
At any rate, I invite you to pay close attention to the fundamental concepts and approaches documented throughout
this chapter. Although I wouldn’t characterize each and every
technique as essential — lots of artists get by without paying
much attention to paths, for example, while other artists
swear by them — a working knowledge of selection outlines
is key to using Photoshop successfully.
Special tricks that
work with only the
marquee tools
Using the polygonal
and magnetic lasso
tools
Working with the
magic wand
Manual and automatic
methods for editing
selection outlines
An in-depth
examination of the
Feather command
Moving and cloning
selections and
selection outlines
New ways to use
Photoshop’s pen tools
Transforming selection
outlines and paths
independently of the
image
Painting along an
open path
Creating, saving, and
exporting clipping
paths
✦
✦
✦
✦
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How selections work
Before you can edit a portion of an image, you must first select it, which is computerese for indicating the boundaries of the area you want to edit. To select part of an
image in a painting program, you surround it with a selection outline or a marquee,
which tells Photoshop where to apply your editing instructions. The selection outline
appears as a moving pattern of dash marks, lovingly termed marching ants by doughheads who’ve been using computers too long. (See Figure 8-1 for the inside story.)
Photoshop
Figure 8-1: A magnified view of a dash mark in a selection outline
reveals a startling discovery.
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Visible selection outlines can be helpful sometimes, but they can as readily impede
your view of an image. When they annoy you, you can press Ctrl+H to shoo them
away, as in earlier versions of Photoshop. However, in Version 6, Ctrl+H invokes the
new View ➪ Hide Extras command, which hides and displays all on-screen aids, not
just those pesky ants. So you also lose guides, the grid, note icons, slices, and target
paths. If you want to hide just the ants, choose View ➪ Hide ➪ Selection Edges. Choose
the command again to toggle the ants back on. You also can control which items disappear when you press Ctrl+H by choosing View ➪ Show ➪ Show Options. In the resulting dialog box, check the items that you want Photoshop to display at all times.
As for creating selections, you have at your disposal a plethora of tools, all shown
in Figure 8-2 and described briefly in the following list. You can access most of the
tools by using keyboard shortcuts, which appear in parentheses.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Photoshop
Figure 8-2: Photoshop 6 offers a bounty of selection tools.
6
When multiple tools share the same shortcut, you press the key once to activate
the tool that’s visible in the toolbox and press the key repeatedly to cycle through
the other tools. This assumes that you turn off the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch
check box in the Preferences dialog box (Ctrl+K). Otherwise, press Shift and the
shortcut key to cycle through the following tools:
✦ Rectangular marquee (M): Long a staple of painting programs, this tool
enables you to select rectangular or square portions of an image.
✦ Elliptical marquee (M): The elliptical marquee tool works like the rectangular
marquee except it selects elliptical or circular portions of an image.
✦ Single-row and single-column: The single-row and single-column tools enable
you to select a single row or column of pixels that stretches the entire width
or height of the image. These are the only tools in Photoshop that you can’t
access from the keyboard.
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✦ Lasso (L): Drag with the lasso tool to select a free-form portion of an image.
Unlike the lasso tools in most painting programs, which shrink selection outlines to disqualify pixels in the background color, Photoshop’s lasso tool
selects the exact portion of the image you enclose in your drag.
✦ Polygonal lasso (L): Click different points in your image to set corners in a
straight-sided selection outline. This is a great way to select free-form areas if
you’re not good at wielding the mouse or your wrists are a tad sore. (You can
achieve this same effect by Alt-clicking with the lasso tool; I explain this more
in the “Free-form outlines” section in this chapter.)
✦ Magnetic lasso (L): Click with the magnetic lasso along the edge of an image
element that you want to select independently from its background. Then
move (you don’t have to drag) the magnetic lasso around the edge of the element. It’s a tricky tool to use, so you can be sure I describe it in excruciating
detail in the coming pages.
✦ Magic wand (W): First introduced by Photoshop, this tool lets you select a
contiguous region of similarly colored pixels by clicking inside the region. For
example, you might click inside the boundaries of a face to isolate it from the
hair and background elements. Novices tend to gravitate toward the magic
wand because it seems like such a miracle tool, but, in fact, it’s the least predictable and ultimately the least useful of the bunch.
✦ Pen (P): The pen tool is difficult to master, but it’s the most accurate and versatile of the selection tools. You use the pen tool to create a path, which is an
object-oriented breed of selection outline. You click and drag to create individual points in the path. You can edit the path after the fact by moving,
adding, and deleting points. You can even transfer a path by dragging and
dropping between Photoshop, Illustrator, and FreeHand. For a discussion
of the pen tool, read the “How to Draw and Edit Paths” section later in this
chapter.
Photoshop
6
In Photoshop 6, selecting the Magnetic check box on the Options bar transforms the freeform pen into the magnetic pen, which used to be a tool in its
own right. The magnetic pen is basically an object-oriented version of the
magnetic lasso tool. Click to set the first point and then move your mouse and
watch Photoshop create the other points automatically. It’s not a great tool,
but it can prove handy when selecting image elements that stand out very
clearly from their backgrounds.
Photoshop
✦ Freeform pen and magnetic pen (P): If you hate setting points but you need
to create a clipping path, the freeform pen is the tool for you. You just drag
with the tool as if you were selecting with the lasso tool and let Photoshop
define the points automatically. Obviously, you can expect the same level of
accuracy that you get from the standard pen tool, but it’s child’s play to use.
6
✦ Shape tools (U): To draw paths in simple geometric shapes — rectangles, polygons, and so on — give the shape tools a whirl. First, put the tools into path
mode by clicking the Work Path icon at the left end of the Options bar. Then
simply drag to create the path. To find out more about working with these
tools, visit Chapter 14.
Photoshop
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
6
CrossReference
✦ Path and shape selection tools: Use the path component selection tool (the
black arrow) and the direct selection tool (the white arrow) to select and edit
paths and vector shapes. You can read more about these tools later in this
chapter, in the section “How to Draw and Edit Paths.”
Photoshop’s type tool, when set to the type mask mode, is also technically a selection
tool because Photoshop converts each character of type to a selection outline. But
type involves other issues that would merely confuse the contents of this chapter, so
I’ve awarded type its own chapter (Chapter 15). Also, if your purpose for selecting an
area is to separate it from its background, you should investigate the Extract command (Chapter 9) and the magic eraser and background eraser (Chapter 7). If this
were all you needed to know to use the selection tools in Photoshop, the application
would be on par with the average paint program. Part of what makes Photoshop
exceptional, however, is that it provides literally hundreds of little tricks to increase
the functionality of every selection tool.
Furthermore, all of Photoshop’s selection tools work together in perfect harmony.
You can exploit the specialized capabilities of the selection tools to create a single
selection boundary. After you understand which tool best serves which purpose,
you can isolate any element in an image, no matter how complex or how delicate
its outline.
Geometric selection outlines
Tools for creating simple geometric selection outlines occupy the very first slot in
the Photoshop toolbox. By default, the rectangular marquee tool has the stage. You
select the elliptical, single-row, and single-column marquee tools from the flyout
menu that appears when you drag from the marquee tool icon.
Tip
Press M to select the tool that’s currently visible in the toolbox. Press M again to
toggle between the rectangular and elliptical marquee tools. Alternatively, Alt-click
the tool icon to toggle between the rectangular and elliptical marquee tools.
The marquee tools are more versatile than they may appear at first glance. You can
adjust the performance of each tool as follows:
✦ Constraining to a square or circle: Press and hold Shift after beginning your
drag to draw a perfect square with the rectangular marquee tool or a perfect
circle with the elliptical marquee tool. (Pressing Shift before dragging also
works if no other selection is active; otherwise, this adds to a selection, as I
explain later in the “Ways to Change Selection Outlines” section.)
✦ Drawing a circular marquee: When I was perusing an online forum a while
back, someone asked how to create a perfect circular marquee. Despite more
than a month of helpful suggestions — some highly imaginative — no one
offered the easiest suggestion of all (well, I ultimately did, but I’m a know-itall). So remember to press Shift after you begin to drag and you’ll be one step
ahead of the game.
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✦ Drawing out from the center: Press and hold Alt after you begin dragging to
draw the marquee from the center outward instead of from corner to corner.
(Again, pressing Alt before dragging works if no selection outline is active;
otherwise, this subtracts from the selection.) This technique is especially useful when you draw an elliptical marquee. Locating the center of the area you
want to select is frequently easier than locating one of its corners — particularly because ellipses don’t have corners.
Tip
✦ Moving the marquee on the fly: While drawing a marquee, press and hold the
spacebar to move the marquee rather than resize it. When you get the marquee in place, release the spacebar and keep dragging to modify the size. The
spacebar is most helpful when drawing elliptical selections or when drawing a
marquee out from the center — this eliminates the guesswork, so you can
position your marquees exactly on target.
✦ Selecting a single-pixel line: Use the single-row or single-column tools to
select a single row or column (respectively) of pixels. I use these tools to fix
screw-ups such as a missing line of pixels in a screen shot, to delete random
pixels around the perimeter of an image, or to create perpendicular lines in a
fixed space.
✦ Constraining the aspect ratio: If you want to create an image that conforms to a
certain aspect ratio, you can constrain either a rectangular or an elliptical marquee so that the ratio between height and width remains fixed, no matter how
large or small a marquee you create. To accomplish this, select Constrained
Aspect Ratio from the Style pop-up menu on the Options bar, as shown in Figure
8-3. Enter the desired ratio values into the Width and Height option boxes.
(Press Enter to display the Options bar.)
Figure 8-3: Select Constrained Aspect Ratio from the Style pop-up menu
on the Options bar to constrain the width and height of a rectangular
selection outline.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
If you work with a digital camera, you may find this feature especially helpful.
Digital cameras typically produce images that fit the 4 × 3 aspect ratio used by
computer screens and televisions. If you want to crop an image to a standard
photo size — say, 4 × 6 inches — enter 4 and 6, respectively, in the Width and
Height option boxes and press Enter to confirm your changes. Then drag the
marquee around to select the portion of the picture you want to retain, as
shown in the figure, and choose Image ➪ Crop.
Remember that you’re just establishing the image aspect ratio here, not setting
the output width and height. So you could just as easily enter 2 and 3 in the
Width and Height option boxes. The size of the final, cropped image depends
on how large you draw the marquee and the Resolution value you set in the
Image Size dialog box.
Photoshop
✦ Sizing the marquee numerically: If you’re editing a screen shot or some other
form of regular or schematic image, you may find it helpful to specify the size
of the marquee numerically. To do so, select Fixed Size from the Style pop-up
menu and enter size values in the Width and Height option boxes. To match
the selection to a 640 × 480-pixel screen, for example, change the Width and
Height values to 640 and 480, respectively. Then click in the image to create
the marquee.
6
You can now set the marquee size in any unit of measurement you like. Just
type the number followed by one of these units: px (pixels), in, mm, cm, pt
(points), pica, or %.
✦ Drawing feathered selections: A Feather option box is available when you
use either marquee tool. To feather a selection is to blur its edges beyond the
automatic antialiasing afforded by most tools. For more information on feathering, refer to the “Softening selection outlines” section later in this chapter.
Photoshop
✦ Creating jagged ellipses: By default, elliptical selection outlines are antialiased.
If you don’t want antialiasing — you might prefer harsh edges when editing
screen shots or designing screen interfaces — deselect the Anti-aliased check
box. (This option is dimmed when you use the rectangular marquee because
antialiasing is always on for this tool.)
6
Photoshop novices often misunderstand the rectangular and elliptical marquee
tools and expect them to create filled and stroked shapes. In the past, the program
offered no tools for creating such shapes — you had to draw a geometric marquee
and then fill or stroke the selection. Now Photoshop provides the shape tools,
which can create filled vector and raster shapes. You can apply strokes and other
effects to these shapes if you like. Chapter 14 takes you on a guided tour of the
shape tools.
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Free-form outlines
In comparison to the rectangular and elliptical marquee tools, the lasso tool provides a rather limited range of options. Generally speaking, you drag in a free-form
path around the image you want to select. The few special considerations are as
follows:
✦ Feathering and antialiasing: Just as you can feather rectangular and elliptical
marquees, you can feather selections drawn with the lasso tool by selecting
the Feather check box on the Options bar. To soften the edges of a lasso outline, select the Anti-aliased check box.
Note
Although you can adjust the feathering of any selection after you draw it by
choosing Select ➪ Feather, you must specify antialiasing before you draw a
selection. Unless you have a specific reason for doing otherwise, leave the
Anti-aliased check box turned on (as it is by default).
✦ Drawing polygons: If you press and hold Alt, the lasso tool works like a freeform polygon tool. (Polygon, incidentally, means a shape with multiple straight
sides.) With the Alt key down, click to specify corners in a free-form polygon,
as shown in Figure 8-4. If you want to add curves to the selection outline, drag
with the tool while still pressing Alt. Photoshop closes the selection outline
the moment you release both the Alt key and the mouse button.
Tip
You can extend a polygon selection outline to the absolute top, right, or bottom edges of an image. If the image window is larger than the image, you can
Alt-click with the lasso tool on the background canvas surrounding the image.
You can even click on the scroll bars. Figure 8-4 illustrates the idea.
✦ The polygonal lasso tool: If you don’t want to bother with pressing Alt, select
the polygonal lasso. When the lasso is active, you can switch to the polygonal
lasso by pressing L. Or drag from the lasso tool icon to display the lasso flyout
menu and select the polygonal lasso that way. Then click inside the image to
set corners in the selection. Click the first point in the selection or doubleclick with the tool to complete the selection outline.
Tip
If you make a mistake while creating a selection outline with the polygonal
lasso, press Backspace to eliminate the last segment you drew. Keep pressing
Backspace to eliminate more segments in the selection outline. This technique
works until you close the selection outline and it turns into marching ants.
To create free-form curves with the polygonal lasso tool, press Alt and drag.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Alt-click
outside image
End drag
Alt-click
Begin drag
Figure 8-4: Alt-click with the lasso tool to create corners in a selection
outline, shown as black squares in the bottom image. Drag to create
free-form curves. Surprisingly, you can Alt-click anywhere within the
image window, even on the scroll bars, to add corners outside the
boundaries of the image.
Adobe added the polygonal lasso for those times when Alt-clicking isn’t convenient.
If no portion of the image is selected, it’s no trick to Alt-click with the standard
lasso to draw a straight-sided selection. But if some area in the image is selected,
pressing Alt tells Photoshop that you want to subtract from the selection outline.
For this reason, it’s often easier to use the polygonal lasso (although you still can
make it work by pressing Alt after you click with the lasso tool, as I explain in the
“Using Shift and Alt like a pro” section later in this chapter).
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Magnetic selections
In the old days of black-and-white painting programs — most notably MacPaint on
the Mac — black pixels were considered foreground elements and white pixels were
the background. To select a black element, you had only to vaguely drag around it
with the lasso tool and the program would automatically omit the white pixels and
“shrink” the selection around the black ones.
The magnetic lasso tool is Adobe’s attempt to transfer shrinking into the world of
color. Under ideal conditions — very ideal conditions, I might add — a selection
drawn with the magnetic lasso automatically shrinks around the foreground element and omits the background. Naturally, it rarely works this miraculously, but it
does produce halfway decent selection outlines with very little effort — provided
that you know what you’re doing.
Using the magnetic lasso tool
Typically, when people have a problem using the magnetic lasso tool, it’s because
they’re trying to make the process too complex. Work less, and the tool works better. Here are the basic steps for using this unusual tool:
STEPS: Making Sense of the Magnetic Lasso Tool
1. Select an image with very definite contrast between the foreground image
and its background. The skull in Figure 8-5 is a good example: a light gray
skull against a dark gray background. Here’s something that Photoshop can
really sink its teeth into.
2. Select the magnetic lasso. If any tool but a lasso tool is active, press L to grab
the lasso that’s showing in the toolbox. Then press L as necessary to cycle to
the magnetic lasso.
3. Click anywhere along the edge of the foreground element. I clicked at the
top of the skull, as labeled in Figure 8-5.
4. Move the cursor around the edge of the foreground element. Just move the
mouse, don’t drag — that is, there’s no need to press the mouse button. As
your cursor passes over the image, Photoshop lays down a line along the
edge of the element, as Figure 8-5 shows. If you don’t like the placement of the
line, back up the cursor and try moving along the edge again. The magnetic
lasso also lays down anchor points at significant locations around the image.
If you don’t like where the program puts a point, press Backspace. Each time
you press Backspace, Photoshop gets rid of the most recent point along the
line. To set your own anchor points, just click.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Click to
begin selection...
...then move cursor
along edge
Figure 8-5: After clicking to set the start point (top), I moved the magnetic lasso
cursor along the edge of the skull. Then I reversed the completed selection
(Ctrl+Shift+I) and pressed Backspace to fill it with white (bottom).
5. When you make it all the way around to the beginning of the shape, click
the first point in the outline to close the selection. Or just double-click to
close with a straight edge.
As I mentioned before, the magnetic lasso does not perform miracles. It almost
never selects an image exactly the way you would like it to. After moving the cursor
around the skull, I reversed the selection by choosing Select ➪ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I)
and then I pressed Backspace to fill the background with white. The result appears
in the second example in Figure 8-5. As you can see, the magnetic lasso did a very
nice job of isolating the skull — much better than I could have done with the lasso
alone — but the selection isn’t perfect. Notice the gap on the right side of the skull
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and the clumsy treatment of the tip of the pointy lower jaw on left. Okay, no automated selection tool is perfect, but the magnetic lasso makes as few mistakes as
any I’ve seen.
Photoshop
Tip
To create a straight segment while working with the magnetic lasso tool, press Alt,
click to set the start of the segment, and click again at the end point. The next time
you click without holding down Alt, the tool reverts to its normal magnetic self.
Modifying the magnetic lasso options
6
You modify the performance of the magnetic lasso tool by adjusting the values on
the Options bar. (If you don’t see the Options bar, press Enter to display it.) The
first two options — Feather and Anti-aliased — define the softness of the final selection outline, just as they do for the standard lasso tool. The others control how the
magnetic lasso positions lines and lays down points:
✦ Width: I might have named this option Sloppiness Factor. It determines how
close to an edge you have to move the cursor for Photoshop to accurately see
the image element. Large values are great for smooth elements that stand out
clearly from their backgrounds. If I raise the Width to 20 when selecting the
top of the skull, for example, I can move the cursor 20 pixels away from the
skull and Photoshop still shrinks the selection tight around the skull’s edge.
That’s a lot of wiggle room and makes my life easier. But when you’re selecting
narrow passageways, you need a low value to keep Photoshop from veering
off to the wrong edge. The spot where the pointy jaw meets with the snout is
a good example of a place where I need to set a small Width and move very
carefully around the edge.
Tip
The great advantage to the Width value is that you can change it on the fly by
pressing a bracket key. Press the [ key to lower the Width value; press the ]
key to raise the value. Shift+[ lowers the value to its minimum, 1, and Shift+]
raises it to the maximum, 40.
If you have a pressure-sensitive tablet and select the Stylus Pressure check
box, you can control the sloppiness factor dynamically according to how hard
you press on the pen. Bear down to be careful; let up to be sloppy. Because
this is the way you probably work naturally, you’ll be able to adjust the width
as needed without even thinking much about it.
✦ Frequency: This option tells the magnetic lasso when to lay down points. As
you drag with the tool, the line around the image changes to keep up with
your movements. When some point in the line stays still for a few moments,
Photoshop decides it must be on target and anchors it down with a point. If
you want Photoshop to anchor points more frequently, raise the value. For
less frequent anchoring, lower the option. High values tend to be better for
rough edges; lower values are better for smooth edges.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
✦ Edge Contrast: This is the simplest of the options. It tells Photoshop how
much contrast there has to be between the element you’re trying to select
and its background to even be recognized. If the foreground element stands
out clearly, you may want to raise the Edge Contrast value to avoid selecting
random flack around the edges. If the contrast between foreground and background is subtle, lower the value.
Most of the time, you can rely on the bracket keys to adjust the Lasso Width and leave
the Frequency and Edge Contrast values set to their defaults. When dealing with a lowcontrast image, lower the Edge Contrast value to 5 percent or so. And when selecting
unusually rough edges, raise the Frequency to 70 or more. But careful movements with
the magnetic lasso tool go farther than adjusting any of these settings.
The world of the wand
Using the magic wand tool is a no-brainer, right? You just click with the tool and it
selects all neighboring colors that fall within a selected range. The problem is getting the wand to recognize the same range of colors that you see on screen. For
example, if you’re editing a photo of a red plate against a pink tablecloth, how do
you tell the magic wand to select the plate and leave the tablecloth alone?
Sadly, adjusting the wand is pretty tricky and frequently unsatisfying. If you press
Enter when the magic wand is active, you’ll see four controls on the Options bar:
✦ Anti-aliased softens the selection, just as it does for the lasso tool.
✦ Contiguous, when selected, tells Photoshop to select a contiguous region of
pixels emanating from the pixel on which you click. If you’re trying to select
landmasses on a globe, for example, clicking on St. Louis selects everything
from Juneau to Mexico City. It doesn’t select London, though, because an
ocean of water that doesn’t fall within the tolerance range separates the
cities. To select all similarly colored pixels throughout the picture, deselect
the option.
✦ Tolerance determines the range of colors the tool selects when you click with
it in the image window.
✦ Use All Layers allows you to take all visible layers into account when defining
a selection.
You now know what you need to know about the Anti-aliased and Contiguous
options; the next two sections explain Tolerance and Use All Layers.
Adjusting the tolerance
You may have heard the standard explanation for adjusting the Tolerance value:
You can enter any number from 0 to 255 in the Tolerance option box. Enter a low
number to select a small range of colors; increase the value to select a wider range
of colors.
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Nothing is wrong with this explanation — it’s accurate, in its own small way — but
it doesn’t provide one iota of information you couldn’t glean on your own. If you
really want to understand this option, you have to dig a little deeper.
When you click a pixel with the magic wand tool, Photoshop first reads the brightness value that each color channel assigned to that pixel. If you’re working with a
grayscale image, Photoshop reads a single brightness value from the one channel
only; if you’re working with an RGB image, it reads three brightness values, one
each from the red, green, and blue channels; and so on. Because each color channel
permits 8 bits of data, brightness values range from 0 to 255.
Next, Photoshop applies the Tolerance value, or simply tolerance, to the pixel. The
tolerance describes a range that extends in both directions — lighter and darker —
from each brightness value.
Suppose you’re editing a standard RGB image. The tolerance is set to 32 (as it is by
default); you click with the magic wand on a turquoise pixel, whose brightness values are 40 red, 210 green, and 170 blue. Photoshop subtracts and adds 32 from each
brightness value to calculate the magic wand range that, in this case, is 8 to 72 red,
178 to 242 green, and 138 to 202 blue. Photoshop selects any pixel that both falls
inside this range and can be traced back to the original pixel through an uninterrupted line of other pixels, which also fall within the range.
From this information, you can draw the following basic conclusions about the
magic wand tool:
✦ Clicking on midtones maintains a higher range: Because the tolerance range
extends in two directions, you cut off the range when you click a light or dark
pixel, as demonstrated in Figure 8-6. Consider the two middle gradations: In both
cases, I selected the Contiguous check box and set the Tolerance value to 60. In
the top gradation, I clicked on a pixel with a brightness of 140, so Photoshop calculated a range from 80 to 200. But when I clicked on a pixel with a brightness
value of 10, as in the bottom gradation, the range shrank to 0 to 70. Clicking on a
medium-brightness pixel, therefore, permits the most generous range.
✦ Selecting brightness ranges: Many people have the impression that the magic
wand selects color ranges. The magic wand, in fact, selects brightness ranges
within color channels. So if you want to select a flesh-colored region — regardless of shade — set against an orange or a red background that is roughly equivalent in terms of brightness values, you probably should use a different tool.
✦ Selecting from a single channel: If the magic wand repeatedly fails to select
a region of color that appears unique from its background, try isolating that
region inside a single-color channel. You’ll probably have the most luck isolating a color on the channel that least resembles it. For example, to select the yellow Sasquatch Xing sign shown in Color Plate 8-1, I switched to the blue channel
(Ctrl+3). Because yellow contains no blue and the brambly background contains quite a bit of blue — as demonstrated in the last example of Figure 8-7 —
the magic wand can distinguish the two relatively easily. Experiment with this
technique and it will prove even more useful over time.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
32 (default)
60
100
Figure 8-6: Note the results of clicking on a pixel with a brightness
value of 140 (top row) and a brightness value of 10 (bottom row)
with the tolerance set to three different values.
Red
Green
Blue
Figure 8-7: Because the yellow Sasquatch sign contains almost no blue, it appears
most clearly distinguished from its background in the blue channel. So the blue
channel is the easiest channel in which to select the sign with the magic wand.
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Here’s one more twist to the Tolerance story: The magic wand is affected by the
Sample Size option that you select for the eyedropper tool. If you select Point
Sample, the wand bases its selection solely on the single pixel that you click. But if
you select 3 by 3 Average or 5 by 5 Average, the wand takes into account 15 or 25
pixels, respectively. As you can imagine, this option can have a noticeable impact
on the extent of the selection that you get from the wand. Try clicking the same
spot in your image using each of these Sample Size settings, using the same
Tolerance value throughout, to see what I mean.
Making the wand see beyond a single layer
The Use All Layers option enables you to create a selection based on pixels from
different layers (see Chapter 12 for more about layers). Returning to my previous
landmass example, suppose you set Europe on one layer and North America on the
layer behind it so the two continents overlap. Normally, if you clicked inside Europe
with the magic wand, it would select an area inside Europe without extending out
into the area occupied by North America on the other layer. Because the wand
doesn’t even see the contents of other layers, anything outside Europe is an empty
void. We’re talking pre-Columbus Europe here.
If you select Use All Layers, though, the situation changes. Suddenly, the wand can
see all the layers you can see. If you click on Europe, and if North America and
Europe contain similar colors, the wand selects across both shapes.
Mind you, while the Use All Layers option enables the wand to consider pixels on
different layers when creating a selection, it does not permit the wand to actually
select images on two separate layers. Strange as this may sound, no selection tool
can pull off this feat. Every one of the techniques explained in this chapter is applicable to only a single layer at a time. Use All Layers merely allows the wand to draw
selection outlines that appear to encompass colors on many layers.
What good is this? Well, suppose you want to apply an effect to both Europe and
North America. With the help of Use All Layers, you can draw a selection outline
that encompasses both continents. After you apply the effect to Europe, you can
switch to the North America layer — the selection outline remains intact — and then
reapply the effect.
Ways to Change Selection Outlines
If you don’t draw a selection outline correctly the first time, you have two options.
You can either draw it again from scratch, which is a real bore, or you can change
your botched selection outline, which is likely to be the more efficient solution.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
You can deselect a selection, add to a selection, subtract from a selection, and even
select the stuff that’s not selected and deselect the stuff that is. (If this sounds like a
load of nonsense, keep reading.)
Quick changes
Some methods of adjusting a selection outline are automatic: You choose a command and you’re finished. The following list explains how a few commands — all
members of the Select menu — work:
✦ Deselect (Ctrl+D): You can deselect the selected portion of an image in three
ways. You can select a different portion of the image; click anywhere in the
image window with the rectangular marquee tool, the elliptical marquee tool,
or the lasso tool; or choose Select ➪ Deselect. Remember, though, when no
part of an image is selected, the entire image is susceptible to your changes. If
you apply a filter, choose a color-correction command, or use a paint tool, you
affect every pixel of the foreground image.
✦ Reselect (Ctrl+Shift+D): If you accidentally deselect an image, you can retrieve
the most recent selection outline by choosing Select ➪ Reselect. It’s a great function that operates entirely independently of the Undo command and History
palette, and it works even after performing a long string of selection-unrelated
operations. (You can restore older selections from the History palette, but that
usually means undoing operations along the way.)
✦ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I): Choose Select ➪ Inverse to reverse the selection.
Photoshop deselects the portion of the image that was previously selected
and selects the portion of the image that was not selected. This way, you can
begin a selection by outlining the portion of the image you want to protect,
rather than the portion you want to affect.
Tip
You can also access the Inverse and Deselect commands from a context-sensitive
pop-up menu in the image window. Right-click to make the menu appear underneath your cursor.
Manually adding and subtracting
Ready for some riddles? When editing a portrait, how do you select both eyes without affecting any other portion of the face? Answer: By drawing one selection and
then tacking on a second selection. How do you select a doughnut and leave the
hole behind? Answer: Encircle the doughnut with the elliptical marquee tool, and
then use the same tool to subtract the center.
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Photoshop enables you to whittle away at a selection, add pieces on again, whittle
away some more, ad infinitum, until you get it exactly right. Short of sheer laziness
or frustration, no reason exists why you can’t eventually create the selection outline of your dreams:
✦ Adding to a selection outline: To increase the area enclosed in an existing
selection outline, Shift-drag with one of the marquee or lasso tools. You also
can Shift-click with the magic wand tool or Shift-click with one of the marquee
tools when the Fixed Size option is active (as described in the “Geometric
selection outlines” section earlier in this chapter).
✦ Subtracting from a selection outline: To take a bite from an existing selection
outline, press Alt while using one of the selection tools.
Photoshop
✦ Intersecting one selection outline with another: Another way to subtract
from an existing selection outline is to Shift+Alt-drag around the selection
with the rectangular marquee, elliptical marquee, or lasso tool. You also
can Shift+Alt-click with the magic wand tool. Shift+Alt-dragging instructs
Photoshop to retain only the portion of an existing selection that also falls
inside the new selection outline. I frequently use this technique to confine a
selection within a rectangular or elliptical border.
6
If the key-press techniques seem bothersome, use the selection state buttons at the
left end of the Options bar to set your selection tool to add, subtract, or intersect
mode. (Figure 8-8 labels the icons.) After clicking a button, simply drag to alter the
selection outline. To toggle the tool back to normal operating mode, click the first
button in the bunch. Note that the keyboard techniques described in the preceding
list work no matter what button you select in the Options bar. For example, if you
click the Intersect icon, Alt-dragging still subtracts from the selection outline.
Normal
Add
Subtract
Intersect
Figure 8-8: You can use the selection state buttons as well as the
Shift and Alt keys when modifying a selection outline.
Tip
When you’re working with the magic wand, you can right-click to display a contextsensitive menu that contains the add, subtract, and intersect mode options. Click
the mode you want to use.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
Photoshop displays special cursors to help you keep track of a tool’s selection
state. Suppose that you select part of an image and the lasso tool is active. When
you press Shift or click the Add button on the Options bar, Photoshop appends a
little plus sign to the lasso cursor to show you’re about to add. A minus sign indicates that you’re set to subtract from the selection outline; a multiply sign appears
when you work in intersect mode. If you’re pressing keys to switch tool modes,
Photoshop temporarily selects the corresponding selection state button on the
Options bar as well.
Using Shift and Alt like a pro
Photoshop
The roles of the Shift and Alt keys in adding, subtracting, and intersecting selection
outlines can interfere with your ability to take advantage of other functions of the
selection tools. For example, when no portion of an image is selected, you can Shiftdrag with the rectangular marquee tool to draw a square. But after a selection is
active, Shift-dragging adds a rectangle — not a square — to the selection outline.
6
This is one reason why Adobe added the selection state buttons to the Options bar.
After you click a button, the tool adds, subtracts, or intersects, with no additional key
presses on your part, depending on which button you click. But if you want to hide
the Options bar or you just prefer pressing keys to clicking buttons, you can control
the selection tools from the keyboard without giving up any selection flexibility.
The trick is to learn when to press Shift and Alt. Sometimes you have to press the
key before you begin your drag; other times you must press the key after you begin
the drag but before you release. For example, to add a square to a selection outline,
Shift-drag, release Shift while keeping the mouse button pressed, and press Shift
again to snap the rectangle to a square. The same goes for adding a circle with the
elliptical marquee tool.
The following list introduces you to a few other techniques. They sound pretty
elaborate, I admit, but with a little practice, they become second nature (so does
tightrope walking, but don’t let that worry you). Before you try any of them, be sure
to select Normal from the Style pop-up menu on the Options bar.
✦ To subtract a square or a circle from a selection, Alt-drag, release Alt, press Shift,
drag until you get it right, release the mouse button, and then release Shift.
✦ To add a rectangle or an ellipse by drawing from the center outward, Shiftdrag, release Shift, press Alt, and hold Alt until after you release the mouse
button. You can even press the spacebar during the drag to move the marquee around, if you like.
✦ To subtract a marquee drawn from the center outward, Alt-drag, release Alt,
press Alt again, and hold the key down until after you release.
✦ What about drawing a straight-sided selection with the lasso tool? To add a
straight-sided area to an existing selection, Shift-drag with the tool for a short
distance. With the mouse button still down, release Shift and press Alt. Then
click around as you normally would, while keeping the Alt key down.
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✦ To subtract a straight-sided area, Alt-drag with the lasso, release Alt, press Alt
again, and click around with the tool.
If you can’t manage the last two lasso-tool techniques, switch to the polygonal lasso
instead. In fact, the reason Adobe provided the polygonal lasso tool was to accommodate folks who don’t want to deal with pressing Alt seven times during a single
drag (which I strangely quite enjoy).
Adding and subtracting by command
Photoshop provides several commands under the Select menu that automatically
increase or decrease the number of selected pixels in an image according to numerical specifications. The commands in the Select ➪ Modify submenu work as follows:
✦ Border: This command selects an area of a specified thickness around the
perimeter of the current selection outline and deselects the rest of the selection. For example, to select a 6-point-thick border around the current selection, choose Select ➪ Modify ➪ Border, enter 6 in the Width option box, and
press Enter. But what’s the point? After all, if you want to create an outline
around a selection, you can accomplish this in fewer steps by choosing Edit ➪
Stroke. The Border command, however, broadens your range of options. You
can apply a special effect to the border, move the border to a new location, or
even create a double-outline effect by first applying Select ➪ Modify ➪ Border
and then applying Edit ➪ Stroke.
✦ Smooth: This command rounds off the sharp corners and weird anomalies in
the outline of a selection. When you choose Select ➪ Modify ➪ Smooth, the
program asks you to enter a Sample Radius value. Photoshop smoothes out
corners by drawing little circles around them; the Sample Radius value determines the radius of these circles. Larger values result in smoother corners.
Tip
The Smooth command is especially useful in combination with the magic
wand. After you draw one of those weird, scraggly selection outlines with the
wand tool, use Select ➪ Modify ➪ Smooth to smooth out the rough edges.
Photoshop
✦ Expand and Contract: Both of these commands do exactly what they say,
either expanding or contracting the selected area by a specified amount. For
example, if you want an elliptical selection to grow by 8 pixels, choose
Select ➪ Modify ➪ Expand, enter 8, and call it a day. These are extremely useful
commands; I refer to them several times throughout the book.
6
Photoshop 6 enables you to expand and contract selections by as many as
100 pixels, up from the previous limit of 16. The upper limits of the Border and
Smooth commands were raised also (to 200 and 100 pixels, respectively), but
my guess is that you’ll have less reason to take advantage of those changes
than you will the new ranges for Expand and Contract.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
Both Expand and Contract have a flattening effect on a selection. To round
things off, apply the Smooth command with a Sample Radius value equal to
the number you just entered into the Expand Selection or Contract Selection
dialog box. You end up with a pretty vague selection outline, but what do you
expect from automated commands?
In addition to the Expand command, Photoshop provides two other commands —
Grow and Similar — that increase the area covered by a selection outline. Both commands resemble the magic wand tool because they measure the range of eligible pixels by way of a Tolerance value. In fact, the commands rely on the same Tolerance
value (on the Options bar) that you set for the magic wand. So if you want to adjust
the impact of either command, you must first select the magic wand and then apply
the commands:
✦ Grow: Choose Select ➪ Grow to select all pixels that both neighbor an existing
selection and resemble the colors included in the selection, in accordance
with the Tolerance value. In other words, Select ➪ Grow is the command
equivalent of the magic wand tool. If you feel constrained because you can
only click one pixel at a time with the magic wand tool, you may prefer to
select a small group of representative pixels with a marquee tool and then
choose Select ➪ Grow to initiate the wand’s magic.
✦ Similar: Another member of the Select menu, Similar works like Grow, except
the pixels needn’t be adjacent. When you choose Select ➪ Similar, Photoshop
selects any pixel that falls within the tolerance range, regardless of the location of the pixel in the foreground image.
Note
Although both Grow and Similar respect the magic wand’s Tolerance value, they
pay no attention to the other wand options — Contiguous, Use All Layers, and Antialiased. Grow always selects contiguous regions only; Similar selects noncontiguous areas. Neither can see beyond the active layer or produce antialiased selection
outlines.
One of the best applications for the Similar command is to isolate a complicated
image set against a consistent background whose colors are significantly lighter or
darker than the image. Consider Figure 8-9, which features a dark and ridiculously
complex foreground image set against a continuous background of medium-to-light
brightness values. The following steps explain how to separate this image using the
Similar command in combination with a few other techniques I’ve described thus far.
STEPS: Isolating a Complex Image Set Against a
Plain Background
1. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select some representative portions of
the background. In Figure 8-9, I selected the lightest and darkest portions of
the background along with some representative shades in between. Remember,
you make multiple selections by Shift-dragging with the tool.
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Figure 8-9: Before choosing Select ➪ Similar, select a few sample portions
of the background for Photoshop to base its selection range.
2. Double-click the magic wand tool icon to display the Tolerance option box
on the Options bar. For my image, I entered a Tolerance value of 16, a relatively low value, in keeping with the consistency of the background. If your
background is less homogenous, you may want to enter a higher value. Make
certain you turn on the Anti-aliased check box.
3. Choose Select ➪ Similar. Photoshop should select the entire background. If
Photoshop fails to select all the background, choose Edit ➪ Undo (Ctrl+Z) and
use the rectangular marquee tool to select more portions of the background.
You may also want to increase the magic wand’s Tolerance value. If Photoshop’s
selection bleeds into the foreground image, try reducing the Tolerance value.
4. Choose Select ➪ Inverse. Or press Ctrl+Shift+I. Photoshop selects the foreground image and deselects the background.
5. Modify the selection as desired. If the detail you want to select represents
only a fraction of the entire image, Shift+Alt-drag around the portion of the
image you want to retain using the lasso tool. In Figure 8-10, I Shift+Altdragged with the polygonal lasso tool to draw a straight-sided outline
around the selection.
6. Congratulations, you’ve isolated your complex image. Now you can filter
your image, colorize it, or perform whatever operation inspired you to select
this image in the first place. I wanted to superimpose the image onto a different background, so I copied the image to the Clipboard (Ctrl+C), opened the
desired background image, and then pasted the first image into place (Ctrl+V).
The result, shown in Figure 8-11, still needs some touching up with the paint
and edit tools, but it’s not half bad for an automated selection process.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Figure 8-10: Shift+Alt-drag with the polygonal lasso tool to intersect the area
you want to select with a straight-sided outline.
Figure 8-11: The completed selection superimposed onto a new background.
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Part III ✦ Selections, Masks, and Filters
Whenever you introduce a selection into another image — by copying and pasting or
by dragging the selection and dropping it into another image window — Photoshop
automatically assigns the selection to a new layer. This is a great safety mechanism
because it prevents you from permanently affixing the selection to its new background. But it also limits your file format options when saving an image; you can’t
save in a format other than the native Photoshop format, PDF, or TIFF (the last two
now offer layer support) without first flattening the image. For the big story on layers, read Chapter 12.
Softening selection outlines
You can soften a selection in two ways. The first method is antialiasing, introduced in
Chapter 5. Antialiasing is an intelligent and automatic softening algorithm that mimics
the appearance of edges you’d expect to see in a sharply focused photograph.
Note
Where did the term antialias originate? Anytime you try to fit the digital equivalent
of a square peg into a round hole — say, by printing a high-resolution image to a
low-resolution printer — the data gets revised during the process. This revised data,
called an alias, is frequently inaccurate and undesirable. Antialiasing is the act of
revising the data ahead of time, essentially rounding off the square peg so it looks
nice as it goes into the hole. According to a reader who spent time at MIT’s
Architecture Machine Group, “We did the first work with displaying smooth lines.
We called the harsh transitions jaggies and the display process dejaggying.
Somehow, this easy-to-understand term slid sideways into ‘alias’ (which it isn’t,
really, but it’s too late to change).” Now you know.
When you draw an antialiased selection outline in Photoshop, the program calculates the hard-edged selection at twice its actual size. The program then shrinks the
selection in half using bicubic interpolation (described in Chapter 2). The result is a
crisp image with no visible jagged edges.
The second softening method, feathering, is more dramatic. Feathering gradually
dissipates the selection outline, giving it a blurry edge. Photoshop accommodates
partially selected pixels; feathering fades the selection both inward and outward
from the original edge.
You can specify the number of pixels affected either before or after drawing a selection. To feather a selection before you draw it with a marquee or lasso tool, enter
a value in the Feather option box, found on the Options bar in Photoshop 6. To
feather a selection after drawing it, choose Select ➪ Feather or press Ctrl+Alt+D.
You also can right-click in the image window and then choose Feather from the
pop-up menu that appears next to your cursor.
The Feather Radius value determines the approximate distance over which Photoshop
fades a selection, measured in pixels in both directions from the original selection outline. Figure 8-12 shows three selections lifted from the image at the bottom of the figure.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
The first selection is antialiased only. I feathered the second and third selections,
assigning Feather Radius values of 4 and 12, respectively. As you can see, a small
feather radius makes a selection appear fuzzy; a larger radius makes it fade into view.
Figure 8-12: Three clones selected with the elliptical marquee
tool. The top image is antialiased and not feathered, the next
is feathered with a radius of 4 pixels, and the third is feathered
with a radius of 12 pixels.
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The math behind the feather
A few eagle-eyed readers have written to ask me why feathering blurs a selection
outline more than the number of pixels stated in the Feather Radius value. A radius
of 4 pixels actually affects a total of 20 pixels: 10 inward and 10 outward. The reason
revolves around Photoshop’s use of a mathematical routine called the Gaussian bell
curve, which exaggerates the distance over which the selection outline is blurred.
Figure 8-13 demonstrates the math visually. The top-left image shows a hard-edged
elliptical selection filled with white against a black background. To its right is a side
view of the ellipse, in which black pixels are short and white pixels are tall. (Okay,
so it’s really a graph, but I didn’t want to scare you.) Because no gray pixels are in
the ellipse, the side view has sharp vertical walls.
The bottom-left image shows what happens if I first feather the selection with a
radius of 4 pixels and then fill it with white. The side view now graphs a range of
gray values, which taper gradually from black to white. See those gray areas on the
sides (each labeled Diameter)? Those are the pixels that fall into the 8-pixel diameter, measured 4 pixels in and out from the original selection outline. These gray
areas slope in straight lines.
Top views
Side views
White
Black
White
Black
Diameter
Diameter
Figure 8-13: Here are some graphic demonstrations of what happens when
you feather a selection. Photoshop tapers the ends of the feathered selections
(shown by the black areas, bottom right) to prevent your eye from easily
detecting where the feathering starts and stops.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
The rounded areas of the side view — painted black — are the Gaussian bell curves.
These are appended to the radius of the feather to ensure smooth transitions between
the blurry edges and the selected and deselected pixels. Programs that do not include
these extra Gaussian curves end up producing ugly feathered selections that appear
to have sharp, incongruous edges.
Tip
If exact space is an issue, you can count on the Feather command affecting about 2.7
times as many pixels as you enter into the Feather Radius option box, both in and
out from the selection. That’s a total of 5.4 times as many pixels as the radius in all.
If this was more than you wanted to know, cast it from your mind. Feathering makes
the edges of a selection fuzzy — ’nuff said.
Putting feathering to use
You can use feathering to remove an element from an image while leaving the background intact, a process described in the following steps. The image described in
these steps, shown in Figure 8-14, is a NASA photo of a satellite with the Earth in the
background. I wanted to use this background with another image, but to do so I first
had to eliminate that satellite. By feathering and cloning a selection outline, I covered the satellite with a patch so seamless you’d swear the satellite was never there.
STEPS: Removing an Element from an Image
1. Draw a selection around the element using the lasso tool. The selection
needn’t be an exact fit; in fact, you want it rather loose, so allow a buffer zone
of at least 6 pixels between the edges of the image and the selection outline.
Figure 8-14: Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to remove the
satellite by covering it with selections cloned from the background.
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2. Drag the selection outline over a patch in the image. Now that you’ve specified
the element you want to remove, you must find a patch, that is, some portion of
the image to cover the element in a manner that matches the surrounding background. In Figure 8-15, the best match seemed an area just below and to the right
of the satellite. To select this area, move the selection outline independently of
the image merely by dragging it with the lasso tool. (Dragging a selection with a
selection tool moves the outline without affecting the pixels.) Make certain you
allow some space between the selection outline and the element you’re trying
to cover.
Figure 8-15: After drawing a loose outline around the satellite with the
lasso tool, I dragged the outline to select a portion of the background.
3. Choose Select ➪ Feather. Or press Ctrl+Alt+D. Enter a small value (8 or less)
in the Feather Radius option box — just enough to make the edges fuzzy.
(I entered 3.) Then press Enter to initiate the operation.
4. Clone the patch onto the area you want to cover. Select the move tool by
pressing V. Then Alt-drag the feathered selection to clone the patch and position it over the element you want to cover, as shown in Figure 8-16. To align
the patch correctly, choose Select ➪ Hide Extras (Ctrl+H) to hide the marching
ants and then nudge the patch into position with the arrow keys.
5. Repeat as desired. My patch was only partially successful. The upper-left corner of the selection matches clouds in the background, but the lower-right
corner is dark and cloudless, an obvious rift in the visual continuity of the
image. The solution: Try again. With the lasso tool, I drew a loose outline
around the dark portion of the image and dragged it up and to the left as
shown in Figure 8-17.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Figure 8-16: Next, I used the move tool to Alt-drag the feathered
selection over the satellite. Sadly, the patch was imperfect and
required further adjustments.
Figure 8-17: I used the lasso tool to draw a new outline around the
dark, cloudless portion of the patch. Then I dragged the outline to
a different spot in the background.
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6. It’s all déjà vu from here. I chose Select ➪ Feather, entered 6 in the Feather
Radius option box — thus allowing the clouds a sufficient range to taper off —
and pressed Enter. I then selected the move tool and Alt-dragged the feathered patch over the dark, cloudless rift. Finally, I nudged, nudged, nudged
with the arrow keys, and voilà, no more satellite. Figure 8-18 shows $200 million worth of hardware vaporized in less than five minutes.
Figure 8-18: I selected a new bit of cloudy sky and placed it over the
formerly cloudless portion of the patch. Satellite? What satellite?
Moving and Duplicating Selections
In the preceding steps, I mentioned that you can move either the selected pixels or
the empty selection outline to a new location. Now it’s time to examine these techniques in greater depth.
The role of the move tool
To move selected pixels, you have to use the move tool. No longer is it acceptable
merely to drag inside the selection with the marquee, lasso, or wand tool, as it was
in Photoshop 3 and earlier. If you haven’t gotten used to it yet, now is as good a
time as any. The move tool is here to stay.
You can select the move tool at any time by pressing V (for mooV). The advantage
of using the move tool is that there’s no chance of deselecting an image or harming
the selection outline. Drag inside the selected area to move the selection; drag outside the selection to move the entire layer, selection included. I explain layers in
more detail in Chapter 12.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
To access the move tool on a temporary basis, press and hold Ctrl. The move tool
remains active as long as you hold Ctrl. This shortcut works when any tool except
the hand, pen, or any shape or slice tool is active. Assign this shortcut to memory
at your earliest convenience. Believe me, you spend a lot of time Ctrl-dragging in
Photoshop.
Making precise movements
Photoshop provides three methods for moving selections in prescribed increments.
In each case, the move tool is active, unless otherwise indicated:
✦ First, you can nudge a selection in 1-pixel increments by pressing an arrow
key on the keyboard or nudge in 10-pixel increments by pressing Shift with an
arrow key. This technique is useful for making precise adjustments to the
position of an image.
Tip
To nudge a selected area when the move tool is not active, press Ctrl with an
arrow key. Press Ctrl+Shift with an arrow key to move in 10-pixel increments.
After the selection is floating — that is, after your first nudge — you can let up
on the Ctrl key and use only the arrows (assuming a selection tool is active).
✦ Second, you can press Shift during a drag to constrain a move to a 45-degree
direction — that is, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
✦ And third, you can use the Info palette to track your movements and to help
locate a precise position in the image.
To display the Info palette, shown in Figure 8-19, choose Window ➪ Show Info or
press F8. The first section of the Info palette displays the color values of the image
area beneath your cursor. When you move a selection, the other eight items in the
palette monitor movement, as follows:
✦ X, Y: These values show the coordinate position of your cursor. The distance
is measured from the upper-left corner of the image in the current unit of measure. The unit of measure in Figure 8-19 is pixels.
✦ ∆X, ∆Y: These values indicate the distance of your move as measured horizontally and vertically.
✦ A, D: The A and D values reflect the angle and direct distance of your drag.
✦ W, H: These values reflect the width and height of your selection.
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Figure 8-19: The Info palette provides
a world of numerical feedback when
you move a selection.
Cloning a selection
When you move a selection, you leave a hole in your image in the background color,
as shown in the top half of Figure 8-20. If you prefer to leave the original in place
during a move, you have to clone the selection — that is, create a copy of the selection without upsetting the contents of the Clipboard. Photoshop offers several ways
to clone a selection:
✦ Alt-dragging: When the move tool is active, press Alt and drag a selection to
clone it. The bottom half of Figure 8-20 shows a selection I Alt-dragged three
times. (Between clonings, I changed the gray level of each selection to set
them apart a little more clearly.)
✦ Ctrl+Alt-dragging: If some tool other than the move tool is active, Ctrl+Altdrag the selection to clone it. This is probably the technique you’ll end up
using most often.
✦ Alt+arrowing: When the move tool is active, press Alt in combination with one
of the arrow keys to clone the selection and nudge it one pixel away from the
original. If you want to move the image multiple pixels, press Alt+arrow the
first time only. Then nudge the clone using the arrow key alone. Otherwise,
you’ll create a bunch of clones, which can be a pain in the neck to undo.
✦ Ctrl+Alt+arrowing: If some other tool is active, press Ctrl and Alt with an
arrow key. Again, press only Alt the first time, unless you want to create a
string of clones.
✦ Drag-and-drop: Like about every other program on the planet, Photoshop lets
you clone a selection between documents by dragging it with the move tool
from one open window and dropping it in another, as demonstrated in Figure
8-21. As long as you manage to drop into the second window, the original
image remains intact and selected in the first window. My advice: Don’t worry
about exact positioning during a drag-and-drop; first get it into the second
window and then worry about placement.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Figure 8-20: When you move a selection, you leave a gaping hole
in the selection’s wake (top). When you clone an image, you leave
a copy of the selection behind. To illustrate this point, I cloned the
selection in the bottom image three times.
CrossReference
You can drag-and-drop multiple layers if you link the layers first. For more
information on this subject, see Chapter 12.
✦ Shift-drop: If the two images are exactly the same size — pixel for pixel —
press Shift when dropping the selection to position it in the same spot it
occupied in the original image. This is called registering the selection.
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Figure 8-21: Use the move tool to drag a selection from one open
window and drop it into another (top). This creates a clone of the
selection in the receiving window (bottom).
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
If an area is selected in the destination image, Shift-dropping positions the
selection you’re moving in the center of the selection in the destination image.
This tip works regardless of whether the two images are the same size.
✦ Ctrl-drag-and-drop: Again, if some other tool than the move tool is selected,
you must press Ctrl when you drag to move the selected pixels from one window to the other.
Moving a selection outline independently
of its contents
After all this talk about the move tool and the Ctrl key, you may be wondering what
happens if you drag a selection with the marquee, lasso, or wand. The answer is, you
move the selection outline independently of the image. This technique, which I used
earlier in this chapter in the steps “Removing an Element from an Image,” serves as
yet another means to manipulate inaccurate selection outlines. It also enables you to
mimic one portion of an image inside another portion of the image or inside a completely different image window.
In the top image in Figure 8-22, I used the marquee tool to drag the skull outline
down and to the right, so that it only partially overlapped the skull. I then lightened
the new selection, applied a few strokes to set it off from its background, and gave it
stripes, as shown in the bottom image. For all I know, this is exactly what a female
Russian Saiga antelope looks like.
Tip
You can nudge a selection outline independently of its contents by pressing an
arrow key when a selection tool is active. Press Shift with an arrow key to move the
outline in 10-pixel increments.
For even more selection fun, you can drag-and-drop empty selection outlines
between images. Just drag the outline from one image and drop it into another, as
demonstrated in the first example of Figure 8-21. The only difference is that only the
selection outline gets cloned; the pixels remain behind. This is a great way to copy
pixels back and forth between images. You can set up an exact selection outline in
Image A, drag it into Image B with the marquee tool, move it over the pixels you
want to clone, and Ctrl-drag-and-drop the selection back into Image A. This is slick
as hair grease, I’m telling you.
So remember: The selection tools affect the selection outline only. The selection
tools never affect the pixels themselves; that’s the move tool’s job.
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Figure 8-22: Drag a selection with a selection tool to move the outline
independently of its image (top). Wherever you drag the selection
outline becomes the new selection (bottom).
Scaling or rotating a selection outline
In case you fell asleep during the last two sentences, let me repeat the important
part: Selection outlines stay independent — and entirely changeable — as long as a
selection tool is active. In addition to moving a selection outline, you can transform
it by choosing Select ➪ Transform Selection.
Photoshop
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
6
When you select this command, Photoshop displays a transformation boundary
framed by eight handles, as shown in Figure 8-23. You can drag the handles to adjust
the outline as described in the upcoming list. If you display the Options bar (press
Enter), you get access to a slew of mysterious option boxes, as shown at the bottom
of the figure. These options take the place of those formerly accessed through the
Numeric Transform dialog box. You can enter specific values to relocate, size, rotate,
and skew the selection outline precisely.
The handles and Options bar controls work just as they do for the Edit ➪ Free
Transform command, which I cover in gripping detail in Chapter 12. To save you
the backbreaking chore of flipping ahead four chapters, though, here’s the short
course:
✦ Scale: Drag any of the handles to scale the selection, as shown in Figure 8-23.
Shift-drag to scale proportionally, Alt-drag to scale with respect to the origin
(labeled in the figure). You can move the origin just by dragging it.
Alternatively, enter a scale percentage in the W (width) and H (height) boxes
on the Options bar. By default, Photoshop maintains the original proportions
of the outline. If that doesn’t suit you, click the Constrain Proportions button
between the two boxes.
Note
See that little replica of the transformation boundary near the left end of the
Options bar? The black square represents the current origin. You can click the
boxes to relocate the origin to one of the handles. Use the X and Y values to
change the position of the origin numerically. Click the triangular delta symbol, labeled in Figure 8-23, to measure positioning relative to the transformation origin.
✦ Rotate: Enter a value in the Rotate box or drag outside the transformation
boundary to rotate the selection, as in the second example in Figure 8-23. The
rotation always occurs with respect to the origin.
Tip
To rotate the outline by 90 or 180 degrees, right-click the image window and
choose the rotation amount you want from the resulting pop-up menu.
✦ Flip: You can flip a selection outline by dragging one handle past its opposite
handle, but this is a lot of work. The easier way is to right-click inside the image
window and choose Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical from the pop-up menu.
✦ Skew and distort: To skew the selection outline, Ctrl-drag a side, top, or bottom handle. Or enter values in the H (horizontal) and V (vertical) skew boxes
on the Options bar. To distort the selection, Ctrl-drag a corner handle.
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Drag outside to rotate
Drag a handle to scale
Transformation
origin
Relative to
transformation
origin
Constrain
Proportions
Position
Scale
Rotate
Skew
Set origin point
Figure 8-23: After choosing Select ➪ Transform Selection, you can scale the selection
outline (top) and rotate it (bottom), all without harming the image in the slightest.
Photoshop
When you get the selection outline the way you want it, press Enter or double-click
inside the boundary. To cancel the transformation, press Escape.
6
Alternatively, click the check mark button near the right end of the Options bar to
apply the transformation or click the X button to cancel out of the operation.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
The untimely demise of floating selections
As you may (or may not) recall, Photoshop 4 bludgeoned floating selections into a
state of unconsciousness. While Version 5 didn’t entirely kill them, it moved them
to the critical list.
In case you’re unsure what I’m talking about, a floating selection is an element that
hovers above the surface of the image. Any time you move a selection or clone it,
Photoshop floats the selection onto a temporary layer. This way, you can move the
selection or nudge it into position without harming the underlying image. And if
you press Backspace, Photoshop deletes the floater rather than filling the selection
with the background color.
But that’s all there is to floating selections now. The Floating Selection item that used
to appear in the Layers palette is a thing of the past, so you don’t even know when a
selection is floating or not. And the only way to defloat a floater is to deselect it.
Tip
Quite unexpectedly, Photoshop still lets you mix a floater with the image behind it
by modifying the opacity and blend mode settings. After dragging a selection to
float it, choose Edit ➪ Fade (Ctrl+Shift+F). Then modify the settings inside the Fade
dialog box to mix the floater with the background. The process is incredibly nonintuitive, but it works.
How to Draw and Edit Paths
Photoshop’s path tools provide the most flexible and precise ways to define a selection short of masking. However, while a godsend to the experienced user, the path
tools represent something of a chore to novices and intermediates. Most people
take some time to grow comfortable with the pen tool, for example, because it
requires you to draw a selection outline one point at a time.
Photoshop
Note
6
If you’re familiar with Illustrator’s pen tool and other path-editing functions, you’ll
find Photoshop’s tools nearly identical. Photoshop doesn’t provide the breadth of
options available in Illustrator, but the basic techniques are the same.
Photoshop 6 includes a new set of path-drawing tools to help smooth out the learning curve for inexperienced users. You can use any of the shape tools — rectangle,
rounded rectangle, line, ellipse, polygon, and custom shape — to draw a simple geometric path.
The following pages get you up and running with all the path features. I explain how
to draw a path, edit it, convert it to a selection outline, and stroke it with a paint or
edit tool. All in all, you learn more about paths than you ever wanted to know.
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Paths overview
You create and edit paths by using the various pen tools or shape tools. (Figure 8-2,
earlier in this chapter, shows all the path-related tools along with their selection
tool counterparts.) Path management options — which enable you to convert paths
to selections, fill and stroke paths, and save and delete them — reside in the Paths
palette, shown in Figure 8-24.
New path
Delete path
Make path
Make selection
Stroke path
Fill path
Figure 8-24: To save and organize your paths, display
the Paths palette by choosing Window ➪ Show Paths.
How paths work
Paths differ from normal selections because they exist on the equivalent of a distinct, object-oriented layer that sits in front of the bitmapped image. This setup
enables you to edit a path with point-by-point precision with no fear that you’ll accidentally mess up the image, as you can when you edit ordinary selection outlines.
After you get a path just so, you convert it into a standard selection outline, which
you can then use to edit the contents of the image. (I detail this part of the process
in the section “Converting and saving paths” later in this chapter.)
The following steps explain the basic process of drawing a selection outline with
the path tools. I explain each step in more detail throughout the remainder of this
chapter.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
STEPS: Creating a Selection with the Path Tools
1. Draw the path. Use a pen tool or a shape tool to draw the outline of your
prospective selection.
Note
If your goal is to select multiple areas of the image, draw outlines around all of
them. A path can include as many separate segments as you like. Technically,
the individual segments in a path are called subpaths.
2. Edit the path. If the path requires some adjustment, reshape it using the other
path tools.
3. Save the path. When you get the path exactly as you want it, save the path by
choosing the Save Path command from the Paths palette menu. Or doubleclick the Work Path item in the scrolling list.
4. Convert the path to a selection. You can make the path a selection outline by
choosing the Make Selection command or by pressing Enter on the numeric
keypad when a path or selection tool is active.
That’s it. After you convert the path to a selection, it works like any of the selection
outlines described earlier. You can feather a selection, move it, copy it, clone it, or
apply one of the special effects described in future chapters. The path remains
intact in case you want to do further editing or use it again.
Sorting through the path tools
Before I get into my long-winded description of how you draw and edit paths, here’s
a quick introduction to the path tools. First up, the tools on the pen tool flyout:
Pen: Use the pen tool to draw paths in Photoshop one point at a time.
Click to create a corner in a path; drag to make a smooth point that
results in a continuous arc. (Never fear, I explain this tool ad nauseam in the
“Drawing paths with the pen tool” section later in this chapter.) You can
select the pen tool by pressing P; press P again to toggle to the freeform pen,
described next. (As always, the shortcuts assume that you turned off the Use
Shift Key for Tool Switch option in the Preferences dialog box.)
Photoshop
Freeform pen: Drag with this tool to create a path that automatically follows the twists and turns of your drag. Simplicity at its best; control at its
lowest. Luckily, you can turn around and edit the path after you initially draw it.
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The magnetic pen, which debuted in Photoshop 5, evidently wasn’t
a huge hit on the path tool circuit. In Version 6, the magnetic pen no
longer appears in the toolbox. But if you select the freeform pen and then
select the Magnetic check box on the Options bar, the freeform pen does a
dandy impression of the magnetic pen. Click the edge of the foreground element you want to select and then move the cursor along the edge of the shape.
Photoshop automatically assigns points as it deems appropriate.
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Add anchor point: Click an existing path to add a point to it.
Delete anchor point: Click an existing point in a path to delete the point
without creating a break in the path’s outline.
Photoshop
6
Photoshop
Convert point: Click or drag a point to convert it to a corner or smooth
point. You also can drag a handle to convert the point. To access the convert point tool, press Alt when the pen is active. Press Ctrl+Alt when an arrow
tool (explained in the next section) is active. (The terms anchor point, smooth
point, and others associated with drawing paths are explained in the upcoming section.)
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You can use a pen tool to add, delete, and convert points, too, providing that
you turn on the Auto Add/Delete check box on the Options bar. Pass the cursor over a segment in a selected path to toggle to the add anchor point tool;
move the cursor over a point to get the delete anchor point tool. Press Alt
over a point to get the convert point tool.
If all you need is a simple, geometric path, you can save time by creating the path
with the new shape tools. I cover these tools in detail in Chapter 14, so I won’t repeat
everything here. Just know that after you select a shape tool, you shift it into pathdrawing mode by clicking the Work Path button on the Options bar, labeled in Figure
8-25. (The pen that appears on the button face serves as a reminder that you’re in
path country.) If you don’t see the buttons, you’re already in path mode. Photoshop
sets the shape tools to that mode automatically if you select them while working on
an existing path.
Work Path
Shape tools
Figure 8-25: Click the Work Path icon to draw paths with the new
shape tools.
As you draw, Photoshop automatically adds whatever points are needed. You only
need to worry about selecting a path overlap button, which determines how the
program regards overlapping areas when you turn the path into a selection. See the
next section to find out which button to choose when.
After you create a path, you can select it or edit it by using the two tools on the
flyout directly above the pen tools flyout:
Photoshop
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
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Path component selection tool (black arrow): This tool, new to Photoshop 6, selects an entire path. Just click inside the path to select it. If you
created subpaths, the tool selects only the one underneath your cursor. You
also use this tool to select vector objects, as explained in Chapter 14.
Direct selection tool (white arrow): This tool permits you to drag points
and handles to reshape a path. You can access the tool when any other
path tool is active by pressing and holding Ctrl. And you can Alt-click inside a
path to select the entire path without switching to the path component selection (black arrow) tool.
Note
From this point on, I refer to these two tools as the black arrow and white
arrow. First off, because we Photoshop users are a visually oriented lot, I’m
guessing that you can find the right tool more quickly if I say “click with the
black arrow” or “drag with the white arrow” than if I use the technical tool
names. Second, the nicknames save some page space, enabling me to fill your
head with even more jaw-dropping insights than would otherwise be possible.
You can access the arrows from the keyboard by pressing A. You know the drill:
Press A to switch to the tool that’s currently active; press A again to toggle to the
other tool. (Add Shift if you turned on the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch option in
the Preferences dialog box.)
Drawing paths with the pen tool
When drawing with the regular pen tool, you build a path by creating individual
points. Photoshop automatically connects the points with segments, which are
simply straight or curved lines.
Note
Adobe prefers the term anchor points rather than points because the points anchor
the path into place. But most folks just call ’em points. I mean, all points associated
with paths are anchor points, so it’s not like there’s some potential for confusion.
All paths in Photoshop are Bézier (pronounced bay-zee-ay) paths, meaning they rely
on the same mathematical curve definitions that make up the core of the PostScript
printer language. The Bézier curve model allows for zero, one, or two levers to be
associated with each point in a path. These levers, labeled in Figure 8-26, are called
Bézier control handles or simply handles. You can move each handle in relation to a
point, enabling you to bend and tug at a curved segment like it’s a piece of soft wire.
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Smooth points
Bézier
control
handles
Curved segment
Figure 8-26: Drag with the pen tool to create a smooth point
flanked by two Bézier control handles.
The following list summarizes how you can use the pen tool to build paths in
Photoshop:
✦ Adding segments: To build a path, create one point after another until the
path is the desired length and shape. Photoshop automatically draws a segment between each new point and its predecessor. (The next section gets
specific about how you use the tool to create points.)
✦ Closing the path: If you plan to convert the path to a selection outline, you
need to complete the outline by clicking again on the first point in the path.
Every point will then have one segment entering it and another segment exiting
it. Such a path is called a closed path because it forms one continuous outline.
✦ Leaving the path open: If you plan to apply the Stroke Path command
(explained later), you may not want to close a path. To leave the path open,
so it has a specific beginning and ending, deactivate the path by saving it
(choose the Save Paths command from the Paths palette menu).
✦ Extending an open path: To reactivate an open path, click or drag one of its
endpoints. Photoshop draws a segment between the endpoint and the next
point you create.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Photoshop
✦ Joining two open subpaths: To join one open subpath with another, click or
drag an endpoint in the first subpath and then click or drag an endpoint in the
second.
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✦ Specifying path overlap: You can set the path tools to one of four settings,
which control how Photoshop treats overlapping areas in a path when you
convert the path to a selection.
To make your will known, click one of the buttons near the left end of the
Options bar. The buttons, which are labeled in Figure 8-27, become available
only after you make your first click or drag with a pen tool. And the button
you click remains in effect until you choose another button.
Add
Subtract
Restrict
Invert
Figure 8-27: Click one of these buttons on the
Options bar to control how Photoshop treats
overlapping areas when you convert a path
to a selection.
Note
These buttons also appear when you draw paths with the shape tools. With
either set of tools, your choices are as follows:
• Add: Select this button if you want all areas, overlapping or not, to be
selected.
• Subtract: Select this button to draw a subpath that eats a hole in an
existing path. Any areas that you enclose with the subpath are not
selected. Note that if you select a path and the Make Selection command
is dimmed in the Paths palette, it’s probably because you drew the path
with the subtract option in force.
• Restrict path area: The opposite of Invert, this option selects only overlapping areas.
• Invert: Any overlapping regions are not included in the selection.
You can change the overlap setting for a subpath after you draw it if necessary. Click inside the path with the black arrow tool and then click the overlap
button for the setting you want to use.
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✦ Deactivating paths: At any time, you can click the check-mark button at the
right end of the Options bar or press Enter to dismiss — deactivate — the path.
When you do, Photoshop hides the path from view. To retrieve the path, click
its name in the Paths palette. Be careful with this one, though: If you dismiss
an unsaved path and then start drawing a new path, you can lose the dismissed one. For more details, see “Converting and saving paths,” later in this
chapter.
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✦ Hiding paths: If you merely want to hide paths from view, press Ctrl+H, which
hides selections, guides, and other screen elements as well. Or choose View ➪
Show ➪ Target Paths to toggle the path display on and off. To select which
items you want to hide with Ctrl+H, choose View ➪ Show ➪ Show Options.
Tip
To get a better sense of how the pen tool works, turn on the Rubber Band check box
on the Options bar. (Press Enter to display the bar and the check box.) This tells
Photoshop to draw an animated segment between the last point drawn and the cursor. Unless you’re an old pro and the connecting segment gets in your face, there’s
no reason not to select Rubber Band. (Besides, what with the ’70s being so hot with
the teenies, the Rubber Band check box makes the pen tool seem, well, kind of funky.
Consider it another chance to bond with today’s youth.)
The anatomy of points and segments
Points in a Bézier path act as little road signs. Each point steers the path by specifying how a segment enters it and how another segment exits it. You specify the identity of each little road sign by clicking, dragging, or Alt-dragging with the pen tool.
The following items explain the specific kinds of points and segments you can create in Photoshop. See Figure 8-28 for examples.
✦ Corner point: Click with the pen tool to create a corner point, which represents the corner between two straight segments in a path.
✦ Straight segment: Click at two different locations to create a straight segment
between two corner points. Shift-click to draw a 45-degree-angle segment
between the new corner point and its predecessor.
✦ Smooth point: Drag to create a smooth point with two symmetrical Bézier
control handles. A smooth point ensures that one segment meets with another
in a continuous arc.
✦ Curved segment: Drag at two different locations to create a curved segment
between two smooth points.
✦ Curved segment followed by straight: After drawing a curved segment, Altclick the smooth point you just created to delete the forward Bézier control
handle. This converts the smooth point to a corner point with one handle.
Then click at a different location to append a straight segment to the end of
the curved segment.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Corner point
Straight segment
Smooth point
Curved segment
Curved segment
followed by straight
Straight segment
followed by curved
Cusp point
Figure 8-28: The different kinds of points and
segments you can draw with the pen tool
✦ Straight segment followed by curved: After drawing a straight segment, drag
from the corner point you just created to add a Bézier control handle. Then
drag again at a different location to append a curved segment to the end of
the straight segment.
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✦ Cusp point: After drawing a curved segment, Alt-drag from the smooth point
you just created to redirect the forward Bézier control handle, converting the
smooth point to a corner point with two independent handles, sometimes
known as a cusp point. Then drag again at a new location to append a curved segment that proceeds in a different direction than the previous curved segment.
Going freeform
If the pen tool is too much work, try the freeform pen tool, which is just a press of
the P key away from the standard pen. As you drag, Photoshop tracks the motion of
the cursor with a continuous line. After you release the mouse button, the program
automatically assigns and positions the points and segments needed to create the
Bézier path.
Tip
You can draw straight segments with the freeform pen: As you’re dragging, press
and hold Alt. Then click around to create points. When you’re finished drawing
straight segments, drag again and release Alt. (If you release Alt when the mouse
button is not pressed, Photoshop completes the path.)
Alas, automation is rarely perfect. (If it were, what need would these machines have
for us?) When the program finishes its calculations, a path may appear riddled with
far too many points or equipped with too few.
Fortunately, you can adjust the performance of the freeform pen to accommodate
your personal drawing style using the Curve Fit control on the Options bar. When
the freeform pen is active, press Enter to highlight the Curve Fit value. You can
enter any value between 0.5 and 10, which Photoshop interprets in screen pixels.
The default value of 2, for example, instructs the program to ignore any jags in your
mouse movements that do not exceed 2 pixels in length or width. Setting the value
to 0.5 makes the freeform pen extremely sensitive; setting the value to 10 smoothes
the roughest of gestures.
Photoshop
A Curve Fit from 2 to 4 is generally adequate for most folks, but you should experiment to determine the best setting. Like the magic wand’s Tolerance setting, you
can’t alter the Curve Fit value for a path after you’ve drawn it. Photoshop calculates
the points for a path only once, after your release the mouse button.
Going magnetic
6
As I mentioned earlier, the official magnetic pen is gone from the Photoshop 6 toolbox but lives on. To use it, select the freeform pen tool and then select the Magnetic
check box on the Options bar.
The magnetic pen works like a combination of the magnetic lasso and the freeform
pen. As with the magnetic lasso, you begin by clicking anywhere along the edge
of the image element you want to select. (For a pertinent blast from the past, see
Figure 8-5.) Then move the cursor — no need to drag — around the perimeter of the
element and watch Photoshop do its work. To set an anchor point, click. When you
come full circle, click the point where you started to complete the path.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Photoshop
You can create straight segments by Alt-clicking, just as you can when using the
freeform pen without Magnetic turned on. And the Curve Fit option (on the Options
bar) controls the smoothness of the path. Lower values trace the edges more carefully; higher values result in fewer points and smoother edges.
6
To uncover the remaining options for the magnetic pen, click the tool’s icon on the
Options bar, as shown in Figure 8-29. A drop-down palette gives you access to the
Width, Contrast, Frequency, and Stylus Pressure options, all of which are lifted right
out of the magnetic lasso playbook. Read “Modifying the magnetic lasso options”
near the beginning of this chapter for complete information.
Figure 8-29: While the freeform pen is active, select the Magnetic check box
to access the magnetic pen. Click the adjacent icon to display additional options.
Editing paths
If you take time to master the default pen tool, you’ll find yourself drawing accurate
paths more and more frequently. But you’ll never get it right 100 percent of the time —
or even 50 percent of the time. And when you rely on the freeform or magnetic pen
tools, the results are never dead on. From your first timid steps until you develop into
a seasoned pro, you’ll rely heavily on Photoshop’s capability to reshape paths by moving points and handles, adding and deleting points, and converting points to change
the curvature of segments. So don’t worry too much if your path looks like an erratic
stitch on the forehead of Frankenstein’s monster. The path-edit tools provide all the
second chances you’ll ever need.
Reshaping paths
The white arrow tool — known in official Adobe circles as the direct selection
tool — represents the foremost path-reshaping function in Photoshop. To select this
tool from the keyboard, first press A to select the new black arrow tool and then
press A again to toggle to the white arrow. Or just Alt-click the black arrow tool in
the toolbox. (You use the black arrow to select, relocate, and duplicate entire paths
or subpaths, as explained in the upcoming section “Moving and cloning paths.”)
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Tip
Press and hold Ctrl to access the white arrow tool temporarily when one of the pen
or path-edit tools are selected. When you release Ctrl, the cursor returns to the
selected tool. This is a great way to edit a path while you’re drawing it.
However you put your hands on the white arrow, you can perform any of the following functions with it:
✦ Selecting points: Click a point to select it independently of other points in a
path. Shift-click to select an additional point, even if the point belongs to a different subpath than other selected points. Alt-click a path to select all its
points in one fell swoop. You can even marquee points by dragging in a rectangle around them. You cannot, however, apply commands from the Select
menu, such as All or None, to the selection of paths.
✦ Drag selected points: To move one or more points, select them and then drag
one of the selected points. All selected points move the same distance and
direction. When you move a point while a neighboring point remains stationary, the segment between the two points shrinks, stretches, and bends to
accommodate the change in distance. Segments located between two selected
or deselected points remain unchanged during a move.
Tip
You can move selected points in 1-pixel increments by pressing arrow keys. If
both a portion of the image and points in a path are selected, the arrow keys
move the points only. Because paths reside on a higher layer, they take precedence in all functions that might concern them.
✦ Drag a straight segment: You also can reshape a path by dragging its segments. When you drag a straight segment, the two corner points on either
side of the segment move as well. As illustrated in Figure 8-30, the neighboring
segments stretch, shrink, or bend to accommodate the drag.
Caution
This technique works best with straight segments drawn with the default pen
tool. Segments created by Alt-clicking with the freeform or magnetic pen may
include trace control handles that make Photoshop think the segment is actually curved.
✦ Drag a curved segment: When you drag a curved segment, you stretch,
shrink, or bend that segment, as demonstrated in Figure 8-31.
Tip
When you drag a curved segment, drag from the middle of the segment, approximately equidistant from both its points. This method provides the best leverage and ensures that the segment doesn’t go flying off in some weird direction
you hadn’t anticipated.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Figure 8-30: Drag a straight segment to move the segment
and change the length, direction, and curvature of the
neighboring segments.
Figure 8-31: Drag a curved segment to change the curvature of
that segment only and leave the neighboring segments unchanged.
✦ Drag a Bézier control handle: Select a point and drag either of its Bézier control handles to change the curvature of the corresponding segment without
moving any of the points in the path. If the point is a smooth point, moving
one handle moves both handles in the path. If you want to move a smooth
handle independently of its partner, you must use the convert point tool, as
discussed in the “Converting points” section later in this chapter.
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Adding and deleting points and segments
The quantity of points and segments in a path is forever subject to change.
Whether a path is closed or open, you can reshape it by adding and deleting
points, which, in turn, forces the addition or deletion of a segment:
✦ Appending a point to the end of an open path: If a path is open, you can activate one of its endpoints by clicking or dragging it with the pen tool, depending on the identity of the endpoint and whether you want the next segment to
be straight or curved. Photoshop is then prepared to draw a segment between
the endpoint and the next point you create.
✦ Closing an open path: You also can use the technique I just described to
close an open path. Select one endpoint, click or drag it with the pen tool to
activate it, and then click or drag the opposite endpoint. Photoshop draws a
segment between the two endpoints, closing the path and eliminating both
endpoints by converting them to interior points, which simply means the
points are bound on both sides by segments.
✦ Joining two open subpaths: You can join two open subpaths to create one
longer open path. To do so, activate an endpoint of the first subpath and then,
using the pen tool, click or drag an endpoint of the second subpath.
Photoshop
✦ Inserting a point in a segment: Using the add point tool, click anywhere along
an open or closed path to insert a point and divide the segment into two segments. Photoshop automatically inserts a corner or smooth point, depending
on its reading of the path. If the point does not exactly meet your needs, use
the convert point tool to change it.
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In Photoshop 6, you can no longer pick up the add point tool pressing the plus
key as in versions past. Instead, Version 6 gives you this alternative option:
When a pen tool is active, select the Auto Add/Delete check box on the Options
bar. Now, whenever you pass the pen tool cursor over a segment, you see the
little plus sign next to your cursor, indicating that the add point tool is temporarily in the house. This trick works only if the path is selected, however.
✦ Deleting a point and breaking the path: The simplest way to delete a point is
to select it with the white arrow and press Delete or Clear. (You also can choose
Edit ➪ Clear, though why you would want to expend so much effort is beyond
me.) When you delete an interior point, you delete both segments associated
with that point, resulting in a break in the path. If you delete an endpoint from
an open path, you delete the single segment associated with the point.
✦ Removing a point without breaking the path: Select the remove point tool
and click a point in an open or closed path to delete the point and draw a new
segment between the two points that neighbor it. The remove point tool
ensures that no break occurs in a path.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Tip
To access the remove point tool when using one of the pen tools, select the
Auto Add/Delete check box on the Options bar and then hover your cursor
over a selected interior point in an existing path. You see the minus sign next
to the cursor, indicating that the remove point tool is active. Click the point
and it goes away. Alternately, you can remove a point when the add point
tool is active by Alt-clicking, and vice versa.
✦ Deleting a segment: You can delete a single interior segment from a path without affecting any point. To do so, first click outside the path with the white arrow
tool to deselect the path. Then click the segment you want to delete and press
Delete. When you delete an interior segment, you create a break in your path.
Converting points
Photoshop lets you change the identity of an interior point. You can convert a corner point to a smooth point and vice versa. You perform all point conversions using
the convert point tool as follows:
✦ Smooth to corner: Click an existing smooth point to convert it to a corner
point with no Bézier control handle.
✦ Smooth to cusp: Drag one of the handles of a smooth point to move it independently of the other, thus converting the smooth point to a cusp.
✦ Corner to smooth: Drag from a corner point to convert it to a smooth point
with two symmetrical Bézier control handles.
✦ Cusp to smooth: Drag one of the handles of a cusp point to lock both handles
back into alignment, thus converting the cusp to a smooth point.
Tip
Press Alt to access the convert point tool temporarily when one of the three pen
tools is active and positioned over a selected point. To do the same when an arrow
tool is active, press Ctrl+Alt.
Transforming paths
In addition to all the aforementioned path-altering techniques, you can scale,
rotate, skew, and otherwise transform paths using the following techniques:
Photoshop
✦ To transform all subpaths in a group — such as both the eye and skull outline
in the first example of Figure 8-32 — select either arrow tool and click off a
path to make sure all paths are deselected. Then choose Edit ➪ Free
Transform Path.
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✦ To transform a single subpath independently of others in a group, click it with
the black arrow and then select the Show Bounding Box check box on the
Options bar. Or click the path with the white arrow and choose Edit ➪ Free
Transform Path.
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✦ Photoshop even lets you transform some points independently of others
inside a single path, as demonstrated in the second example of Figure 8-32.
Just use the white arrow to select the points you want to modify and then
choose Edit ➪ Free Transform Points.
Tip
The keyboard shortcut for all of these operations is Ctrl+T. If you select an independent path — or specific points inside a path — press Ctrl+Alt+T to transform a duplicate of the path and leave the original unaffected.
Rotate cursor
Transformation origin
Figure 8-32: To transform multiple paths at once (top), deselect all
paths and press Ctrl+T. You can alternatively transform independent
paths or points by selecting them and pressing Ctrl+T (bottom).
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
In an attempt to conserve tree matter — which is being wasted liberally enough in
this tome — I explain the larger topic of transformation in one central location, the
“Applying Transformations” section of Chapter 12. Even so, here’s a brief rundown
of your transformation options after you press Ctrl+T:
✦ Scale: To scale a path, drag one of the eight square handles that adorn the
transformation boundary. Alt-drag a handle to scale with respect to the origin
point. You can move the origin by dragging it or by clicking one of the boxes
in the little bounding box icon at the left end of the Options bar.
✦ Rotate: Drag outside the boundary to rotate the paths or points, as demonstrated in Figure 8-32.
✦ Flip: Right-click to access a pop-up menu of transformation options. Choose
Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical to create a mirror image of the path.
✦ Skew: Ctrl-drag one of the side handles to slant the paths. Press Shift along
with Ctrl to constrain the slant along a consistent axis.
✦ Distort: Ctrl-drag one of the corner handles to distort the paths.
✦ Perspective: Ctrl+Shift+Alt-drag a corner handle to achieve a perspective
effect.
Note
You can’t take advantage of the distortion or perspective features when individual points are selected. These techniques apply to whole paths only.
Photoshop
✦ Numerical transformations: If you need to transform a path by a very specific
amount, use the controls on the Options bar, which are the same ones you get
when transforming a regular selection. Modify the values as desired and press
Enter. (Figure 8-23 earlier in this chapter labels the options.)
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Tip
When you finishing stretching and distorting your paths, press Enter or doubleclick inside the boundary to apply the transformation. You also can click the checkmark button at the right end of the Options bar. To undo the last transformation
inside the transform mode, press Ctrl+Z. Or bag the whole thing by pressing
Escape.
To repeat the last transformation on another path, press Ctrl+Shift+T.
Moving and cloning paths
You can relocate and duplicate paths as follows:
✦ Clone a path: Click inside the path with the black arrow tool to select it.
To select multiple subpaths, Shift-click them. Then Alt-drag to clone all
selected paths.
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Photoshop
✦ Move a path: After selecting the path with the black arrow, drag the path to
its new home.
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✦ Align and distribute paths: You can align two or more paths by selecting
them with the black arrow and then clicking an alignment button on the
Options bar. To space the paths evenly across the image, click one of the distribution buttons, which are shown in Figure 8-33. Press Enter or click the
check-mark button on the Options bar to apply the transformation.
Path Overlap buttons
Vertical alignment
Vertical distribution
Horizontal alignment Horizontal distribution
Photoshop
Figure 8-33: You can now align and distribute multiple selected paths, just as you
can layers and vector objects.
Merging and deleting paths
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When the black arrow is selected, the Options bar contains a Combine buttons
(see Figure 8-33). Clicking this button merges all selected subpaths into one. When
Photoshop combines the subpaths, it does so according to which path overlap
options were active when you drew the subpaths. Remember, you can select a
subpath with the black arrow to change its overlap setting if necessary. Just click
inside the subpath and then click the appropriate overlap button on the Options
bar (see Figure 8-33). Refer to the earlier section, “Drawing paths with the pen tool,”
for more information about overlap options.
To get rid of a path, click inside it with the black arrow or drag around it with the
white arrow. Then press Delete. That path is outta here.
Filling paths
After you finish drawing a path, you can convert it to a selection outline — as
described in the upcoming “Converting paths to selections” section — or you can
paint it. You can paint the interior of the path by choosing the Fill Path command
from the Paths palette menu, or you can paint the outline of the path by choosing
Stroke Path. In either case, Photoshop applies the fill on the active image layer.
The Fill Path command works much like Edit ➪ Fill. After drawing a path, choose the
Fill Path command or Alt-click the fill path icon in the lower-left corner of the palette
(the one that looks like a filled circle). Photoshop displays a slight variation of the
Fill dialog box discussed in Chapter 6; the only difference is the inclusion of two
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Rendering options. Enter a value in the Feather Radius option box to blur the edges
of the fill, as if the path were a selection with a feathered outline. Select the Antialiased check box to slightly soften the outline of the filled area.
Photoshop
Note
6
If you select one or more subpaths, the Fill Path command changes to Fill Subpaths,
enabling you to fill the selected subpaths only. The fill path icon also affects only
the selected subpaths.
When applying the fill, Photoshop adheres to the overlap option you used when
creating the path. Suppose that you draw two round paths, one fully inside the
other. If you drew both circles with the Add overlap option active, both circles get
filled. If you drew the interior circle with the Invert option active, Photoshop fills
only the area between the two paths, resulting in the letter O.
If the Fill Path command fills only part or none of the path, the path probably falls
outside the selection outline. Choose Select ➪ Deselect (Ctrl+D) to deselect the
image and then choose the Fill Path command again.
Painting along a path
Unlike the Fill Path command, which bears a strong resemblance to Edit ➪ Fill, the
Stroke Path command is altogether different from Edit ➪ Stroke. Edit ➪ Stroke creates outlines and arrowheads, whereas the Stroke Path command enables you to
paint a brush stroke along the contours of a path. This may not sound like a big
deal at first, but this feature enables you to combine the spontaneity of the paint
and edit tools with the structure and precision of a path.
To paint a path, choose the Stroke Path command from the Paths palette menu to
display the Stroke Path dialog box shown in Figure 8-34. In this dialog box, you can
choose the paint or edit tool with which you want to stroke the path (which only
means to paint a brush stroke along a path). Photoshop drags the chosen tool
along the exact route of the path, retaining any tool or brush shape settings that
were in force when you chose the tool.
Tip
Note
You can also display the Stroke Path dialog box by Alt-clicking on the stroke path
icon, the second icon at the bottom of the Paths palette (labeled back in Figure
8-24). If you prefer to bypass the dialog box, select a paint or edit tool and then
either click the stroke path icon or simply press Enter. Instead of displaying the dialog box, Photoshop assumes that you want to use the selected tool and strokes
away. If any tool but a paint or edit tool is active, Photoshop strokes the path using
the tool you previously selected in the Stroke Path dialog box.
If you select one or more subpaths, the Stroke Path command becomes a Stroke
Subpath command. Photoshop then strokes only the selected path, rather than all
paths saved under the current name.
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Figure 8-34: Select the paint or edit tool that
you want Photoshop to use to stroke the path.
The following steps walk you through a little project I created by stroking paths
with the paintbrush and smudge tools. Figures 8-35 through 8-37 show the progression and eventual outcome of the image.
STEPS: Stroking Paths with Paint and Edit Tools
1. After opening a low-resolution version of a hurricane image, I drew the
zigzag path shown in Figure 8-35. As you can see, the path extends from the
eye of the hurricane. I drew the path starting at the eye and working upward,
which is important because Photoshop strokes a path in the same direction
as you draw the path.
2. I saved the path. I double-clicked the Work Path item in the Paths palette,
entered a name for my path, and pressed Enter.
Photoshop
3. I used the Brush drop-down palette to create three custom brush shapes.
Each one had a Roundness value of 40. The largest brush had a diameter of
16, the next largest had a diameter of 10, and the smallest had a diameter of 4.
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4. I selected the paintbrush and pressed Enter to display the Options bar.
Then I opened the Brush Dynamics palette (by clicking the brush icon on the
right end of the Options bar) and set the Color option to Fade, entering a Fade
value of 400. This option fades the brush stroke from the foreground color to
the background color over the course of your drag, as explained in Chapter 5.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Figure 8-35: I drew this path starting at the eye of the hurricane
and working my way upward.
5. I stroked the path with the paintbrush three times using the Stroke Path
command. I changed the foreground and background colors for each stroke.
The first time, I used the largest brush shape and stroked the path from gray
to white; the second time, I changed to the middle brush shape and stroked
the path from black to white; and the final time, I used the smallest brush
shape and stroked the path from white to black. The result of all this stroking
is shown in Figure 8-36.
6. Next, I created two clones of the zigzag path by Alt-dragging the path with
the black arrow tool. I pressed Shift while dragging to ensure the paths
aligned horizontally. I then clicked in an empty portion of the image window
to deselect all paths, so they appeared as shown in Figure 8-36. This enabled
me to stroke them all simultaneously in Step 9.
Figure 8-36: After stroking the path three times with the
paintbrush tool, I cloned the path twice.
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7. I created a 60-pixel version of my brush shape and reduced its Hardness
value to 0 percent. I then painted a single white spot at the bottom of each of
the new paths. I painted a black spot at the bottom of the original path.
8. I selected the smudge tool, set the Pressure value to 98 percent, and
selected a brush with a radius of 16 pixels. At this setting, the tool has a
tremendous range, but it eventually fades out.
9. I pressed Enter on the numeric keypad to apply the smudge tool to all three
paths at once. The finished image appears in Figure 8-37.
Figure 8-37: I stroked all three paths with the smudge tool set
to 98 percent pressure to achieve this unusual extraterrestrialdeparture effect. At least, I guess that’s what it is. It could also
be giant space Slinkys probing the planet’s surface. Hard to say.
Tip
If you’re feeling really precise — I think they have a clinical term for that — you can
specify the location of every single blob of paint laid down in an image. When you
deselect the Spacing value in the Brush Options dialog box, Photoshop applies a
single blob of paint for each point in a path. If this isn’t sufficient control, I’m a monkey’s uncle. (What a terrible thing to say about one’s nephew!)
Converting and saving paths
Photoshop provides two commands to switch between paths and selections, both
of which are located in the Paths palette menu. The Make Selection command converts a path to a selection outline; the Make Path command converts a selection to
a path. Regardless of how you create a path, you can save it with the current image,
which enables you not only to reuse the path, but also to hide and display it at will.
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
Converting paths to selections
When you choose the Make Selection command or Alt-click the make selection icon
(which looks like a dotted circle, as shown back in Figure 8-24), Photoshop displays
the dialog box shown in Figure 8-38. You can specify whether to antialias or feather
the selection and to what degree. You can also instruct Photoshop to combine the
prospective selection outline with any existing selection in the image. The Operation options correspond to the keyboard functions discussed in the “Manually
adding and subtracting” section earlier in this chapter.
Figure 8-38: When you choose the Make Selection
command, you have the option of combining the
path with an existing selection.
Photoshop
Photoshop offers several alternative ways to convert a path to a selection outline,
all of which are more convenient than the Make Selection command:
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✦ Press Ctrl+Enter: As long as a path, shape, or selection tool is active, this keyboard shortcut converts the path to a selection. Note that this is a change from
earlier versions of Photoshop, when pressing Enter on the numeric keypad did
the trick. In this version, you have to press Ctrl, but the regular old Enter key
works as well as Enter on the numeric keypad.
✦ Ctrl-click the path name: If a tool other than a path, shape, or selection tool is
active, you can Ctrl-click the name of a path in the Paths palette. The path
needn’t be active.
✦ Ctrl+Shift+Enter or Ctrl+Shift-click: To add the path to an existing selection,
press Shift with one of the previous techniques.
✦ Alt-Enter or Ctrl+Alt-click: Naturally, if you can add, you can subtract.
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✦ Shift+Alt+Enter or Ctrl+Shift+Alt-click: Now we’re starting to get into some
obscure stuff, but what’s possible is possible. You select the intersection of a
path and a selection outline by pressing a whole mess of keys.
All these techniques offer the advantage of hiding the path when converting the
path to a selection, giving you full, unobstructed access to your selection outline.
Caution
By contrast, the Make Selection command leaves the path on screen in front of the
converted selection. If you try to copy, cut, delete, or nudge the selection, you perform the operation on the path instead.
Converting selections to paths
You turn a selection into a path by choosing the Make Work Path command from the
Paths palette. When you choose the command, Photoshop produces a dialog box
containing a single option, Tolerance. Unlike the Tolerance options you’ve encountered so far, this one is accurate to 1⁄ 10 pixel and has nothing to do with colors or
brightness values. Rather, it works like the Curve Fit option for the freeform pen and
magnetic pen. That is, it permits you to specify Photoshop’s sensitivity to twists and
turns in a selection outline. The value you enter determines how far the path can
vary from the original selection. The lowest possible value, 0.5, not only ensures that
Photoshop retains every nuance of the selection, but also can result in overly complicated paths with an abundance of points. If you enter the highest value, 10,
Photoshop rounds the path and uses few points. If you plan on editing the path,
you probably won’t want to venture any lower than 2.0, the default setting.
To bypass the Make Work Path dialog box and turn your selection into a path using
the current Tolerance settings, click the make path icon at the bottom of the Paths
palette. (It’s labeled back in Figure 8-24.)
Saving paths with an image
As I mentioned at the beginning of the paths discussion, saving a path is an integral
step in the path-creation process. You can store every path you draw and keep it
handy in case you decide later to reselect an area. Because Photoshop defines
paths as compact mathematical equations, they take up virtually no room when
you save an image to disk.
You save one or more paths by choosing the Save Path command from the Paths
palette menu or by simply double-clicking the italicized Work Path item in the scrolling
list. After you perform the save operation, during which you name the path, the path
name appears in upright characters in the palette. A path listed in the palette can
include any number of separate paths. In fact, if you save a path and then set about
drawing another one, Photoshop automatically adds the new path in with the saved
path. To start a new path under a new name, you first must hide the existing path. Or
click the new path icon — the little page at the bottom of the Paths palette — to establish an independent path.
Photoshop
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
6
To hide paths in Photoshop 6, you have two options. You can click the empty portion of the scrolling list below the last saved path name or click the check-mark button at the far right end of the Options bar. You can even hide unsaved paths in this
way. If you hide an unsaved path and then begin drawing a new one, however, the
unsaved path is deleted, never to return again.
Importing and Exporting Paths
Paths come in handy not only for working inside Photoshop, but also for importing
images into drawing programs, such as Illustrator and FreeHand, and into page-layout programs, such as InDesign. By saving a path as a clipping path, you can mask
regions of an image so that it appears transparent when placed in other programs
that support clipping paths.
In addition, you can swap paths directly with the most recent versions of Illustrator
and FreeHand. That way, you can take advantage of the more advanced path-creation
features found in those programs.
The last few sections of this chapter explain these added uses for your Photoshop
paths.
Swapping paths with Illustrator
You can exchange paths between Photoshop and Illustrator or FreeHand by using
the Clipboard. This special cross-application compatibility feature expands and
simplifies a variety of path-editing functions.
For example, suppose that you want to scale and rotate a path. Select the path in
Photoshop with the black arrow tool and copy it to the Clipboard (Ctrl+C). Then
switch to Illustrator, paste the path, and edit as desired. About 95 percent of
Illustrator’s capabilities are devoted to the task of editing paths, so you have many
more options at your disposal in Illustrator than in Photoshop. When you finish
modifying the path, copy it again, switch to Photoshop, and paste.
When you paste an Illustrator path into Photoshop, you have the option of rendering the path to pixels (just as you can render an Illustrator EPS document using
File ➪ Open), keeping the path information intact, or creating a new shape layer.
Select the Paths radio button to add the copied paths to the selected item in the
Paths palette. (If no item is selected, Photoshop creates a new Work Path item.)
You can then use the path to create a selection outline or whatever you want.
Caution
Incidentally, to avoid having problems transferring data between Photoshop and
Illustrator, go into Illustrator, choose Edit ➪ Preferences ➪ Files & Clipboards, and
turn on the AICB check box. I also recommend that you turn on the Preserve Paths
radio button when using Illustrator to alter Photoshop paths.
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Tip
Things can get pretty muddled in the Clipboard, especially when you’re switching applications. If you copy something from Illustrator, but the Paste command is dimmed
inside Photoshop, you may be able to force the issue a little. You may simply need to
wake up the Clipboard by opening the Windows Clipbook Viewer (Start ➪ Programs ➪
Accessories ➪ System Tools ➪ Clipbook Viewer). Don’t worry if you see a message
about an unsupported format, or if the image looks a complete mess. Just minimize the
viewer window and try to paste again. (Computers are kind of slow sometimes. Every
once in a while you must give them a kick in the pants.)
Note
You can copy paths from Photoshop and paste them into Illustrator or some other
drawing program regardless of the setting of the Export Clipboard check box in the
Preferences dialog box. That option affects pixels only. Paths are so tiny, Photoshop
always exports them.
Exporting to Illustrator
If you don’t have enough memory to run both Illustrator and Photoshop at the same
time, you can export Photoshop paths to disk and then open them in Illustrator. To
export all paths in the current image, choose File ➪ Export ➪ Paths to Illustrator.
Photoshop saves the paths as a fully editable Illustrator document. This scheme
enables you to trace images exactly with paths in Photoshop and then combine
those paths as objects with the exported EPS version of the image inside Illustrator.
Whereas tracing an image in Illustrator can prove a little tricky because of resolution
differences and other previewing limitations, you can trace images in Photoshop as
accurately as you like.
Note
CrossReference
Unfortunately, Illustrator provides no equivalent function to export paths for use in
Photoshop, nor can Photoshop open Illustrator documents from disk and interpret
them as paths. This means the Clipboard is the only way to take a path created or
edited in Illustrator and use it in Photoshop.
Only about half of Photoshop users own Illustrator. Meanwhile, close to 90 percent
of Illustrator users own Photoshop. This is why I cover the special relationship
between Illustrator and Photoshop in depth in my Illustrator book, Real World
Illustrator 9 (Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2000).
Retaining transparent areas in an image
When you import an image into Illustrator, FreeHand, CorelDraw, QuarkXPress,
PageMaker, InDesign, or some other object-oriented program, the image comes in as
a rectangle with opaque pixels. Even if the image appeared partially transparent in
Photoshop — on a layer, for example — the pixels are filled with white or some other
color in the receiving application. These same object-oriented applications, however, enable you to establish a clipping path to mask portions of an image that you
want to appear transparent. Elements that lie inside the clipping path are opaque;
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
elements outside the clipping path are transparent. Photoshop enables you to
export an image in the EPS format with an object-oriented clipping path intact. When
you import the image into the object-oriented program, it appears premasked with a
perfectly smooth perimeter, as illustrated by the clipped image in Figure 8-39.
Figure 8-39: I drew one path around the perimeter of the skull and another around the
eye socket. After defining the paths as clipping paths, I exported the image in the EPS
format, imported it into Illustrator, and set it against a black background for contrast.
The following steps explain how to assign a set of saved paths as clipping paths.
STEPS: Saving an Image with Clipping Paths
1. Draw one or more paths around the portions of the image that you want to
appear opaque. Areas outside the paths will be transparent.
2. Save the paths. Double-click the Work Path item in the Paths palette, enter
a path name, and press Enter. (Try to use a name that will make sense three
years from now when you have to revisit this document and determine what
the heck you did.)
3. Choose the Clipping Path command from the Paths palette menu, as shown
in Figure 8-40. Photoshop displays the dialog box shown at the top of the figure, asking you to select the saved paths you want to assign as the clipping
path. Remember, you can’t make the Work Path a clipping path; you must save
it as a named path first.
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If you like, enter a value in the Flatness option box. This option enables you to
simplify the clipping paths by printing otherwise fluid curves as polygons.
The Flatness value represents the distance — between 0.2 and 100, in printer
pixels — that the polygon may vary from the true mathematical curve. A
higher value leads to a polygon with fewer sides. This means it looks chunkier,
but it also prints more quickly. I recommend a value of 3. Many experts say
you can go as high as 7 when printing to an imagesetter without seeing the
straight edges. But I strongly suspect it depends on how much of a perfectionist you are. Me? I like 3.
Figure 8-40: Choose the Clipping Path command from
the Paths palette menu (bottom) and then select the
path that you want to use from the Clipping Path
dialog box (top).
4. Choose File ➪ Save As and select Photoshop EPS from the Format pop-up
menu. Select the desired Preview and Encoding settings and then press Enter.
Photoshop saves the EPS image with masked transparencies to disk.
Note
PageMaker and InDesign support clipping paths saved in the TIFF format. So if you
plan on placing the image in PageMaker, you can save the image in TIFF instead of
EPS in Step 4.
Figure 8-41 shows an enhanced version of the clipped skull from Figure 8-39. In addition to exporting the image with clipping paths in the EPS format, I saved the paths
to disk by choosing File ➪ Export ➪ Paths to Illustrator. Inside Illustrator, I used the
exported paths to create the outline around the clipped image. I also used them to
Chapter 8 ✦ Selections and Paths
create the shadow behind the image. The white of the eyeball is a reduced version of
the eye socket, as are the iris and pupil. The background features a bunch of flipped
and reduced versions of the paths. This may look like a lot of work, but the only
drawing required was the creation of the two initial Photoshop paths.
Figure 8-41: It’s amazing what you can accomplish by combining
scans edited in a painting program with smooth lines created in a
drawing program.
Be prepared for your images to grow by leaps and bounds when imported into
Illustrator. The EPS illustration shown in Figure 8-41 consumes six times as much
space on disk as the original Photoshop image saved in the TIFF format.
Caution
When used in excess, clipping paths will present problems for the most sophisticated printing devices. You should use a clipping path only when it’s absolutely
necessary and can’t be avoided. If you want to place an image against a bitmapped
background, for example, do it in Photoshop, not in Illustrator, QuarkXPress, or any
other application. This invariably speeds printing and may mean the difference
between whether or not a file prints successfully.
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9
C H A P T E R
Masks and
Extractions
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In This Chapter
Selecting Via Masks
Most Photoshop users don’t use masks. If my personal experience is any indication, it’s not only because masks seem complicated but also because they strike most folks as being more
trouble than they’re worth. Like nearly everyone, when I first
started using Photoshop, I couldn’t even imagine a possible
application for a mask. I have my lasso tool and my magic
wand. If I’m really in a rut, I can pull out my pen tool. What
more could I possibly want?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. Every one of the tools I just mentioned is only moderately suited to the task of selecting
images. The lasso tools let you create free-form selections, but
none of the tools — not even the magnetic lasso — can account
for differences in focus levels. The magic wand selects areas of
color, but it usually leaves important colors behind, and the
edges of its selection outlines often appear ragged and ugly.
The pen tool is extremely precise, but it results in mechanical
outlines that may appear incongruous with the natural
imagery they contain.
Masks offer all the benefits of the other tools. With masks, you
can create free-form selections, select areas of color, and generate amazingly precise selections. Masks also address all the
deficiencies associated with the selection tools. They can
account for different levels of focus, they give you absolute
control over the look of the edges, and they create selections
every bit as natural as the image itself.
In fact, a mask is the image itself. Masks use pixels to select
pixels. Masks are your way to make Photoshop see what you
see using the data inherent in the photograph. Masks enable
you to devote every one of Photoshop’s powerful capabilities
An introduction to
masking
Painting inside a
selection outline
Using the quick mask
mode to modify
selection outlines
Drawing gradient
selections in the quick
mask mode
Creating translucent
gradient arrows
Using the Extract
command to clip away
the image background
Selecting images with
the Color Range
command
Saving a selection
outline to a mask
channel
Converting channels
into selections
Creating a highly
accurate mask based
on the image itself
Selecting hair and
other precarious details
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Part III ✦ Selections, Masks, and Filters
to the task of creating a selection outline. Masks are, without a doubt, the most
accurate selection mechanism available in Photoshop.
Masking defined
If you’re not entirely clear about what I mean by the term mask, I’ll tell you: A mask
is a selection outline expressed as a grayscale image.
✦ Selected areas appear white.
✦ Deselected areas appear black.
✦ Partially selected parts of the image appear in gray. Feathered edges are also
expressed in shades of gray, from light gray near the selected area to dark
gray near the deselected area.
Figure 9-1 shows two selection outlines and their equivalent masks. The top-left
example shows a rectangular selection that I inverted by choosing Image ➪
Adjust ➪ Invert (Ctrl+I). Below this example is the same selection expressed as a
mask. Because the selection is hard-edged with no antialiasing or feathering, the
mask appears hard-edged, as well. The selected area is white and is said to be
unmasked; the deselected area is black, or masked.
The top-right example in Figure 9-1 shows a feathered selection outline. Again, I’ve
inverted the selection so that you can better see the extent of the selection outline.
(Marching ants can’t accurately express softened edges, so the inversion helps
show things off more.) The bottom-right image is the equivalent mask. Here, the
feathering effect is completely visible.
When you look at the masks along the bottom of Figure 9-1, you may wonder where
the heck the image went. One of the wonderful things about masks is that you can
view them independently of an image, as in Figure 9-1, or with an image, as in Figure
9-2. In the second figure, the mask is expressed as a color overlay. By default, the
color of the overlay is a translucent red, like a conventional rubylith. (To see the
overlay in its full, natural color, see Color Plate 9-1.) Areas covered with the rubylith
are masked (deselected); areas that appear normal — without any red tint — are
unmasked (selected). When you return to the standard marching ants mode, any
changes you make to your image affect only the unmasked areas.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Figure 9-1: Two selection outlines with inverted interiors (top) and their
equivalent masks (bottom).
Now that you know roughly what masks are (the definition becomes progressively
clearer throughout this chapter), the question remains what good are they?
Because a mask is essentially an independent grayscale image, you can edit the
mask using paint and edit tools, filters, color correction options, and almost every
other Photoshop function. You can even use the selection tools, as discussed in the
previous chapter. With all these features at your disposal, you can’t help but create
a more accurate selection outline in a shorter amount of time.
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Figure 9-2: Here are the masks from Figure 9-1, shown as they appear
when viewed along with an image.
Painting and Editing Inside Selections
Before we immerse ourselves in masking techniques, let’s start with a warm-up
topic: selection masking. When you were in grade school, you may have had a
teacher who nagged you to color within the lines. (I didn’t. My teachers were more
concerned about preventing me from writing on the walls and coloring on the other
kids, or so I’m told.) If so, your teacher would have loved this incredibly straightforward feature. In Photoshop, all selection outlines act as masks — hence the term
selection masking. (And you thought this chapter was going to be hard.) Regardless
of which tool you use to create the selection — marquee, lasso, magic wand, or
pen — Photoshop permits you to paint or edit only the selected area. The paint
can’t enter the deselected (or protected) portions of the image, so you can’t help
but paint inside the lines. If you dread painting inside an image because you’re
afraid you’ll screw it up, selection masking is the answer.
Figures 9-3 through 9-6 show the familiar skull image subject to some pretty freeand-easy use of the paint and edit tools. (You think I ought to lay off the heavy
metal or what?) The following steps describe how I created these images using a
selection mask.
STEPS: Painting and Editing inside a Selection Mask
1. I selected the slightly rotting skull of the enchanting Russian Saiga antelope. You can see the selection outline in the top example in Figure 9-3. For
the record, I drew this selection outline using the pen tool, explained in
Chapter 8.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Figure 9-3: After drawing a selection outline around the antelope
skull (top), I inversed the selection and deleted the background
(bottom).
2. I reversed the selection with the Inverse command. I wanted to edit the area
surrounding the skull, so I chose Select ➪ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I) to reverse
which areas were selected and which were not.
3. I pressed Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selected area with the background
color. In this case, the background color was white — as shown in the bottom
half of Figure 9-3.
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4. I painted inside the selection mask. But before I began, I chose View ➪ Hide
Extras (Ctrl+H). This enabled me to paint without being distracted by those
infernal marching ants. (In fact, this is one of the most essential uses for the
Hide Extras command.)
5. I selected the paintbrush tool and expressed myself. I chose the 21-pixel soft
brush shape in the Brush drop-down palette. With the foreground color set to
black, I dragged around the perimeter of the skull to set it apart from its white
background, as shown in Figure 9-4. No matter how sloppily I painted, the
skull remained unscathed.
Figure 9-4: I painted inside the selection mask with a 21-pixel
soft brush shape.
6. I selected and used the smudge tool. I set the tool’s Pressure value to 80 percent by pressing the 8 key. I dragged from inside the skull outward 20 or so
times to create a series of curlicues. I also dragged from outside the skull
inward to create white gaps between the curlicues. As shown in Figure 9-5, the
smudge tool can smear colors from inside the protected area, but it does not
apply these colors until you go inside the selection. This is an important point
to remember, because it demonstrates that although the protected area is safe
from all changes, the selected area may be influenced by colors from protected pixels.
7. I added some additional embellishments with the airbrush. After selecting
the airbrush, I opened the Brush Dynamics palette on the Options bar and set
the Opacity pop-up menu to Fade so that my paint strokes would fade gradually from full opacity to transparency. I entered a Fade value of 20, selected a
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
60-pixel soft brush shape, and dragged outward from various points along the
perimeter of the skull. As demonstrated in Figure 9-6, combining airbrush and
mask is as useful in Photoshop as it is in the real world.
Figure 9-5: Dragging with the smudge tool smeared colors from
pixels outside the selection mask without changing the appearance
of those pixels.
Figure 9-6: I dragged around the skull with the airbrush to
distinguish it further from its background. Pretty cool effect, huh?
Well, if this is not your cup of tea, maybe you can track down a
teenager who will appreciate it.
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Working in Quick Mask Mode
Selection masks give you an idea of what masks are all about, but they only scrape
the surface. The rest of this chapter revolves around using masks to define complex
selection outlines.
The most straightforward environment for creating a mask is the quick mask mode.
In the quick mask mode, a selection is expressed as a rubylith overlay. All deselected areas appear coated with red, and selected areas appear without red coating,
as shown in the top examples of Color Plate 9-1. You can then edit the mask as
desired and exit quick mask mode to return to the standard selection outline. The
quick mask mode is — as its name implies — expeditious and convenient, with none
of the trappings or permanence of more conventional masks. It’s kind of like a fast
food restaurant — you use it when you aren’t overly concerned about quality and
you want to get in and out in a hurry.
How the quick mask mode works
Typically, you’ll at least want to rough out a selection with the standard selection
tools before entering the quick mask mode. Then you can concentrate on refining
and modifying your selection inside the quick mask, rather than having to create
the selection from scratch. (Naturally, this is only a rule of thumb. I violate the rule
several times throughout this chapter, but only because the quick mask mode and I
are such tight friends.)
To enter the quick mask mode, click the quick mask mode icon in the toolbox, as
I’ve done in Figure 9-7. Or press Q. When I pressed Q after wreaking my most recent
havoc on the extinct antelope skull, I got the image shown in Figure 9-7. The skull
receives the mask because it is not selected. (In Figure 9-7, the mask appears as a
light gray coating; on your color screen, the mask appears in red.) The area outside
the skull looks the same as it always did because it’s selected and, therefore, not
masked.
Notice that the selection outline disappears when you enter the quick mask mode.
This happens because the outline temporarily ceases to exist. Any operations you
apply affect the mask itself and leave the underlying image untouched. When you
click the marching ants mode icon (to the left of the quick mask mode icon) or
press Q, Photoshop converts the mask back into a selection outline and again
enables you to edit the image.
Note
If you click the quick mask mode icon and nothing changes on screen, your computer isn’t broken; you simply didn’t select anything before you entered quick mask
mode. When nothing is selected, Photoshop makes the whole image open for editing. In other words, everything’s selected. (Only a smattering of commands under
the Edit, Layer, and Select menus require something to be selected before they
work.) If everything is selected, the mask is white; therefore, the quick mask
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
overlay is transparent and you don’t see any difference on screen. This is another
reason why it’s better to select something before you enter the quick mask mode —
you get an immediate sense you’re accomplishing something.
Quick mask icon
Figure 9-7: Click the quick mask mode icon (highlighted in the toolbox)
to instruct Photoshop to express the selection temporarily as a grayscale
image.
Also, Photoshop enables you to specify whether you want the red mask coating to
cover selected areas or deselected areas. For information on how to change this
setting, see “Changing the red coating,” later in this chapter.
In quick mask mode, you can edit the mask in the following ways:
✦ Subtracting from a selection: Paint with black to add red coating and, thus,
deselect areas of the image, as demonstrated in the top half of Figure 9-8. This
means you can selectively protect portions of your image by merely painting
over them.
✦ Adding to a selection: Paint with white to remove red coating and, thus, add
to the selection outline. You can use the eraser tool to whittle away at the
masked area (assuming the background color is set to white). Or you can
swap the foreground and background colors so you can paint in white with
one of the painting tools.
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Figure 9-8: After subtracting some of the selected area inside the
eye socket by painting in black with the paintbrush tool (top),
I feathered the outline by painting with white, using a soft 45-pixel
brush shape (bottom).
✦ Adding feathered selections: If you paint with a shade of gray, you add feathered selections. You also can feather an outline by painting with black or
white with a soft brush shape, as shown in the bottom image in Figure 9-8.
✦ Clone selection outlines: If you have a selection outline that you want to
repeat in several locations throughout the image, the quick mask is your
friend. Select the transparent area with one of the standard selection tools
and Ctrl+Alt-drag it to a new location in the image, as shown in Figure 9-9.
Although I use the lasso tool in the figure, the magic wand tool also works
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
well for this purpose. To select an antialiased selection outline with the wand
tool, set the Tolerance value to about 10 and be sure the Anti-aliased check
box is active. Then click inside the selection. It’s that easy.
Figure 9-9: To clone the eye socket selection, I lassoed around it
(top) and Ctrl+Alt-dragged it (bottom).
✦ Transform selection outlines: You can scale or rotate a selection independently of the image, just as you can with the Transform Selection command
(covered in Chapter 8). Enter the quick mask mode, select the mask using one
of the standard selection tools, and choose Edit ➪ Free Transform or press
Ctrl+T. (See Chapter 12 for more information on Free Transform and related
commands.)
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These are only a few of the unique effects you can achieve by editing a selection in
the quick mask mode. Others involve tools and capabilities I haven’t yet discussed,
such as filters and color corrections.
When you finish editing your selection outlines, click the marching ants mode icon
(to the left of the quick mask mode icon) or press Q again to return to the marching
ants mode. Your selection outlines again appear flanked by marching ants, and all
tools and commands return to their normal image-editing functions. Figure 9-10
shows the results of switching to the marching ants mode and deleting the contents
of the selection outlines created in the last examples of the previous two figures.
Figure 9-10: The results of deleting the regions selected in the
bottom examples of Figures 9-8 (top) and 9-9 (bottom). Kind of
makes me want to rent It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
I mean, who wouldn’t give this antelope a rock?
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Tip
As demonstrated in the top example of Figure 9-10, the quick mask mode offers a
splendid environment for feathering one selection outline, while leaving another
hard-edged or antialiased. Granted, because most selection tools offer built-in feathering options, you can accomplish this task without resorting to the quick mask
mode. But the quick mask mode enables you to change feathering selectively after
drawing selection outlines, something you can’t accomplish with Select ➪ Feather.
The quick mask mode also enables you to see exactly what you’re doing. Kind of
makes those marching ants look piddly and insignificant, huh?
Changing the red coating
By default, the protected region of an image appears in translucent red in the quick
mask mode, but if your image contains a lot of red, the mask can be difficult to see.
Luckily, you can change it to any color and any degree of opacity that you like. To
do so, double-click the quick mask icon in the toolbox (or double-click the Quick
Mask item in the Channels palette) to display the dialog box shown in Figure 9-11.
✦ Color Indicates: Choose Selected Areas to reverse the color coating so that
the translucent red coating covers selected areas, and deselected areas
appear normally. Choose Masked Areas (the default setting) to cover deselected areas in color.
Tip
You can reverse the color coating without ever entering the Quick Mask
Options dialog box. Simply Alt-click the quick mask icon in the toolbox to
toggle between coating the masked or selected portions of the image. The
icon itself changes to reflect your choice.
Figure 9-11: Double-click the quick
mask mode icon to access the Quick
Mask Options dialog box. You then can
change the color and opacity of the
protected or selected areas when
viewed in the quick mask mode.
✦ Color: Click the Color icon to display the Color Picker dialog box and select a
different color coating. (If you don’t know how to use this dialog box, see the
“Using the Color Picker” section of Chapter 4.) You can lift a color from the
image with the eyedropper after the Color Picker dialog box comes up, but you
probably want to use a color that isn’t in the image so that you can better see
the mask.
✦ Opacity: Enter a value to change the opacity of the translucent color that
coats the image. A value of 100 percent makes the coating absolutely opaque.
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Change the color coating to achieve the most acceptable balance between being
able to view and edit your selection and being able to view your image. For example, the default red coating shows up poorly on my grayscale screen shots, so I
changed the color of the coating to light blue and the Opacity value to 65 percent
before shooting the screens featured in Figures 9-7 through 9-9.
Gradations as masks
If you think that the Feather command is a hot tool for creating softened selection
outlines, wait until you get a load of gradations in the quick mask mode. There’s no
better way to create fading effects than selecting an image with the one of the gradient tools.
Fading an image
Consider the U.S. Capitol building shown in Figure 9-12. Whether or not you care for
the folks who reside inside — personally, I’m sick of all this cynicism about the government, but I’m happy to exploit it for a few cheap laughs — you must admit, this
is one beautiful building. Still, you may reckon the structure would be even more
impressive if it were to fade into view out of a river of hot Hawaiian lava, like the
one to the Capitol’s immediate right. Well, you’re in luck, because this is one of the
easiest effects to pull off in Photoshop.
Figure 9-12: You can create a linear gradient in the quick mask mode to make
the Capitol (left) fade out of the lava (right).
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Switch to the quick mask mode by pressing Q. Then use the gradient tool to draw a
linear gradation from black to white. (Chapter 6 explains exactly how to do so.) The
white portion of the gradation represents the area you want to select. I decided to
select the top portion of the Capitol, so I drew the gradation from the top of the second tier to the top of the flag, as shown in the first example of Figure 9-13. Because
the gradient line is a little hard to see, I’ve added a little arrow to show the direction
of the drag. (To see the mask in full color, check out the first image in Color Plate 9-2.)
Figure 9-13: After drawing a linear gradation in the quick mask mode near
the center of the image (left), I hid the image and applied the Add Noise filter
with an Amount of 24 (right).
Banding can be a problem when you use a gradation as a mask. To eliminate the
banding effect, therefore, apply the Add Noise filter at a low setting several times.
To create the right example in Figure 9-13, I applied Add Noise using an Amount
value of 24 and the Uniform distribution option.
Tip
In the right example of Figure 9-13, I hid the image so that only the mask is visible.
As the figure shows, the Channels palette lists the Quick Mask item in italics. This
is because Photoshop regards the quick mask as a temporary channel. You can
hide the image and view the mask in black and white by clicking the eyeball in front
of the color composite view, in this case RGB. Or just press the tilde key (~) to hide
the image. Press tilde again to view mask and image together.
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To apply the gradation as a selection, I returned to the marching ants mode by
again pressing Q. I then Ctrl-dragged the selected portion of the Capitol and
dropped it into the lava image to achieve the effect shown in Figure 9-14. I could say
something about Congress rising up from the ashes, but I have no idea what I’d
mean by this. For the color version of this splendid image, see Color Plate 9-2.
Figure 9-14: The result of
selecting the top portion of the
Capitol using a gradient mask
and then Ctrl-dragging and
dropping the selection into the
lava image.
Applying special effects gradually
You also can use gradations in the quick mask mode to fade the outcomes of filters
and other automated special effects. For example, I wanted to apply a filter around
the edges of the Lincoln colossus that appears in Figure 9-15. I began by deselecting
everything in the image (Ctrl+D) and switching to the quick mask mode. Then I
selected the Gradient tool, selected the linear gradient style icon on the Options
bar, and selected the Foreground to Transparent gradient from the Gradient dropdown palette. I also selected the Transparency check box on the Options bar.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Figure 9-15: This time
around, my intention is to
surround Lincoln with a
gradual filtering effect.
I pressed D to make the foreground color black and the background color white.
Then I dragged with the linear gradient tool from each of the four edges of the
image inward to create a series of short gradations that trace around the boundaries of the image, as shown in Figure 9-16. (As you can see, I’ve hidden the image
so that you see the mask in black and white.) Because I’ve selected the Foreground
to Transparent option, Photoshop adds each gradation to the previous gradation.
Figure 9-16: Inside the quick mask
mode, I dragged from each of
the four edges with the gradient
tool (as indicated by the arrows).
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To jumble the pixels in the mask, I applied Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Add Noise with an
Amount value of 24. You see the effect in Figure 9-16.
Tip
The only problem is that I want to select the outside of the image, not the inside.
So I need the edges to appear black and the inside to appear white, the opposite of
what you see in Figure 9-16. No problem. All I do is press Ctrl+I (Image ➪ Adjust ➪
Invert) to invert the image. Inverting inside the quick mask mode produces the
same effect as applying Select ➪ Inverse to a selection.
Finally, I switched back to the marching ants mode by again pressing Q. Then I
applied Filter ➪ Render ➪ Clouds to get the atmospheric effect you see in Figure
9-17. Yes, he’s Abe the Illusionist — Lincoln as you’ve never seen him before!
Once he gets to Vegas, he’ll wipe the floor with David Copperfield.
Figure 9-17: After switching back to the marching ants
mode, I chose Filter ➪ Render ➪ Clouds to create the
foggy effect shown here.
Tip
Notice the corners in the mask in Figure 9-16? These corners are rounded, but you
can achieve all kinds of corner effects with the linear gradient tool. For harsher corners, select the Foreground to Background gradient and select Lighten from the
Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar. For some really unusual corner treatments,
try out the Difference and Exclusion brush modes. Wild stuff.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Creating gradient arrows
A few sections ago, Figure 9-13 featured an upward-pointing arrow that faded into
view with a dark halo around it. I could have created this arrowhead in a drawing
program to get nice sharp points and smooth outlines. But I chose to create it in
Photoshop, so I could take advantage of two options drawing programs don’t offer:
gradient lines and halos. Naturally, you can create both in the quick mask mode.
The following steps explain how to add cool fading arrows to any image, as demonstrated in Figures 9-18 and 9-19. The steps involve the quick mask mode, the gradient tool, the Fill command, and good old Backspace.
STEPS: Creating Fading Arrows with Halos
1. Choose the New Snapshot command from the History palette menu.
Photoshop adds a new snapshot thumbnail at the top of the palette. Click in
front of it to make it the source state. Now you’re ready to revert to this state
if need be, as called for in Step 15.
2. Deselect everything (Ctrl+D) and switch to the quick mask mode (Q). The
image should appear absolutely normal.
3. Select the line tool (press U as necessary to get the tool). Also press Enter
to display the Options bar, if it’s not already visible. First, click the Fill Region
button to set the line tool into raster mode — that is, so that it creates a pixelbased line. (The Fill Region button is the third mode button and looks like a
solid square.) Enter the line width in the Weight option box to suit your needs.
Then click the down-pointing arrow at the end of the strip of shape icons to
display the Arrowheads palette and enter the arrowhead values that you want
to use. To create my first arrows (the ones that come inward from the corners
in Figure 9-19), I set the Size value to 20 and the Width, Length, and Concavity
values in the Arrowheads palette to 400, 600, and 20, respectively. I selected
the End option box to append the arrowheads at the end of my lines. (See
Chapter 6 if you want more information about working with the line tool
options in Photoshop 6.)
4. Press D to switch to the default colors.
5. Draw your line, which shows up in red. If you don’t get it right the first
time — as is often the case with this tool — press Ctrl+Z and try again. The
beauty of drawing a line in the quick mask mode is you can edit the line after
the fact without damaging the image. (You could also do the same on a separate layer, but the quick mask mode affords you a little more flexibility in this
specific exercise.)
6. Select the gradient tool (G) and select the Foreground to Background gradient from the Gradients drop-down palette on the Options bar. Also set the
Opacity value to 100 percent and choose Lighten from the Mode pop-up menu.
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7. Use the gradient tool to fade the base of the line. Drag from the point at
which you want the line to begin to fade, down to the base of the line. Try
to make the direction of your drag parallel to the line itself, thus ensuring a
smooth fade. The first example in Figure 9-18 shows me in the process of dragging along one of my arrows with the gradient tool. The small white arrow
shows the direction of my drag. (The black line shows the actual cursor you
see on screen.) The second image shows the result of the drag.
Figure 9-18: Drag
from the point at
which you want the
arrow to begin fading
to the base of the line
(left). Keep the drag
parallel to the line
itself (indicated here
by the white arrow)
to fade the line out
smoothly (right).
8. Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert (Ctrl+I). This inverts the quick mask, thus
making the arrow the selected area.
9. Copy the quick mask to a separate channel. Drag the Quick Mask item in the
Channels palette onto the little page icon at the bottom of the palette to copy
the quick mask to a permanent mask channel. You’ll need it again.
10. Press Q to switch back to the marching ants mode. Your arrow appears as a
selection outline.
11. Expand the selection to create the halo. Choose Select ➪ Modify ➪ Expand
and enter the desired value, based on the size and resolution of your image.
I entered 6 to expand the selection outline 6 pixels.
12. Choose Select ➪ Feather (Ctrl+Alt+D). Enter the same value and press Enter.
13. Fill the selection with white for a light halo, or black for a dark one. I wanted
a white halo, so I pressed D to restore the default foreground and background
colors. Then I pressed Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selection with white.
14. Ctrl-click the Quick Mask Copy item in the Channels palette. This regains
your original arrow-shaped selection outline. (I explain channel masks in
detail later in this chapter, but for now, just Ctrl-click.)
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
15. Press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. If you set the source state properly in Step 1, this
shortcut reverts the portion of the image inside the arrows to its original
appearance.
16. Copy the selection to an independent layer. Press Ctrl+J or choose Layer ➪
New ➪ Layer via Copy.
17. Fill the layered arrow with a color. Change the foreground color to anything
you like and press Shift+Alt+Backspace to fill the arrow (and only the arrow).
18. Choose Multiply from the pop-up menu in the Layers palette. This burns the
colored arrow into the image. Then set the Opacity value to the desired level.
I set the Opacity to 40 percent.
After that, I simply kept adding more and more arrows by repeating the process to
create the effect shown in Figure 9-19. I saved occasional snapshot states so that I
could create arrows on top of arrows. Most notably, I made a snapshot of the image
before adding the last, big arrow that shoots up from the bottom. Then I filled the
arrow with the snapshot to bring back bits and pieces of a few of the other arrows.
(Had I not filled back in time via the History palette, the arrow fragments behind
the big arrow would have disappeared.)
Figure 9-19: I don’t know
whether this guy’s in store for
a cold front or what, but if you
ever need to annotate an image
with arrows, this gradientarrowhead trick is certainly
the way to do it.
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Generating Masks Automatically
In addition to the quick mask mode and selection masking, Photoshop offers a few
tools that automate the masking process — well, automate some parts of the process. You still need to provide some input to tell the program exactly what you’re
trying to mask.
Photoshop 5.5 added a trio of tools designed to select the foreground of an image
while cutting away the background: the background eraser, magic eraser, and Extract
command. I cover the two erasers along with the plain old eraser tool in Chapter 7
because all three erasers share some common characteristics. The next section in
this chapter explores the Extract command, which Adobe upgraded significantly in
Photoshop 6. Following that, I explain how to generate a mask based on a range of
colors in your image.
Extracting a subject from its surroundings
Photoshop
Like the background eraser and magic eraser, the Extract command aims to separate — extract, if you will — an image element from its surroundings. After you draw
a rough highlight around the subject you want to retain, Photoshop analyzes the
situation and automatically deletes everything but the subject. In my estimation,
though, Extract is only slightly more powerful than the background eraser and several times more complex. Some images respond very well to the command, others
do not.
6
That said, Extract can produce reasonably good results if you get the steps right.
And in Photoshop 6, Extract offers some added features — most notably, an Undo
function — that improve on the first incarnation of the command. So take Extract
for a test drive, as follows:
1. Choose Extract from the Image menu. Or use the keyboard shortcut,
Ctrl+Alt+X. Either way, Photoshop displays the large Extract window shown
in Figure 9-20.
2. Select the edge highlighter tool. Most likely, this tool is already active, but if
not, press B to select it.
3. Outline the subject that you want to retain. In my case, I want to delete the
background, so I traced around the lion, as shown in Figure 9-20. Be sure to
either completely encircle the subject or, if the subject is partially cropped,
trace all the way up against the outer boundaries of the photograph.
Tip
Often, it’s easier to Shift-click around the perimeter of an image than drag
manually. Shift-clicking creates a straight highlight from one click point to the
next. As long as you do a reasonably careful job, the performance of the
Extract command won’t be impaired.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Edge highlighter
Fill Eraser
Photoshop
Figure 9-20: After tracing around the portion of the image you want to retain,
click inside the outline with the fill tool.
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Tip
Turn on the Smart Highlighting check box, in the Tool Options section of the
Extract dialog box, to get some assistance in drawing your outline. Smart
Highlighting seeks out edges in the image and places the highlight along them.
When you turn on Smart Highlighting, your cursor becomes a circle with four
inward-pointing lines. Keep the center of the circle over the edge between the
subject and the background as you drag. This feature works best when your
subject has well-defined edges, of course. Note that you can’t Shift-click with
the tool to draw straight segments when Smart Highlighting is active.
Ctrl-drag to temporarily turn off Smart Highlighting without deselecting the
check box. Or go the opposite direction: Deselect the check box and then
Ctrl-drag to temporarily take advantage of Smart Highlighting.
4. As you trace, use the bracket keys, [ and ], to make the brush larger or
smaller. When you work with brushes from 1 to 9 pixels in diameter, each
press of [ or ] changes the brush size by 1 pixel. The increment of change
gets larger as you increase the brush size.
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Photoshop
Tip
6
Small brush sizes result in sharper edges. Larger brush sizes are better for
fragile, intricate detailing, such as hair, foliage, wispy fabric, bits of steel wool,
thin pasta — you get the idea.
5. If you make a mistake, press Ctrl+Z. As I mentioned before, the Extract window now has a much needed Undo function. But you get only one Undo level
here — you can only undo and redo your last stroke with the highlighter tool.
If you want to erase more of the highlight, drag over the botched region with
the eraser tool (press E to access it from the keyboard) or use Alt-drag with
the edge highlighter tool. To delete the entire highlight and start over, press
Alt+Backspace.
Photoshop
6. Navigate as needed. If you can’t see all of your image, you can access the
hand tool by pressing the spacebar or clicking the hand tool icon. You can
also zoom by pressing Ctrl+plus or Ctrl+minus, or by using the zoom tool.
6
7. Select the fill tool. It’s the one that looks like a paint bucket. To select the fill
tool from the keyboard, press G, same as you do to select the paint bucket in
the regular Photoshop toolbox. (Formerly, the shortcut for both the fill tool
and paint bucket was K.)
8. Click inside the subject of the image. The highlighted outline should fill with
color. If the fill color spills outside the outline, then there’s probably a break in
your outline someplace. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the fill and then scroll the image
with the hand tool to find the break. Patch it with the edge highlighter and
then click with the fill tool again.
Tip
You also can click inside a filled area with the fill tool or eraser to remove
the fill.
Photoshop
6
Photoshop
9. Click the Preview button. Before you can apply your prospective mask, you
need to preview it so you can gauge the finished effect, as in Figure 9-21.
6
If you Shift-click with the fill tool in Step 8, Photoshop fills the outline and
processes the preview automatically, saving you the trouble of clicking the
Preview button.
10. Edit the mask as needed. You have several tools at your disposal in
Photoshop 6. The tools are labeled in Figure 9-21; you can read about
them in the list following these steps.
11. Click the OK button to delete the masked portion of the image. If the image
was flat, Photoshop floats it to a separate layer. You can then use the move
tool to drag the masked image against a different background. In Figure 9-22, I
set my lion against an Italian landscape. The composite isn’t perfect, but it’s
not half bad for five to ten minutes of work.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Eyedropper
Cleanup
Edge touchup
Figure 9-21: Click the Preview button to gauge the appearance of the final
masked image.
Figure 9-22: I believe this particular lion is stuffed, but even a dead creature
may enjoy a change in its diorama.
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12. After you exit the Extract window, fix any problems using the background
eraser and history brush. Use the background eraser (explained in Chapter 7)
to erase stray pixels that you wish the Extract command had deleted. Use the
history brush to restore details that you wish the Extract command hadn’t
deleted.
Photoshop
Back in Step 10, I alluded to ways that you can refine the mask within the Extract
dialog box. In Photoshop 6, you can use the following techniques to touch up the
mask before clicking OK to create it:
6
✦ Drag with the cleanup tool (C) to change mask opacity: Press the number
keys to adjust the pressure of the tool and thus alter the amount of opacity
that the tool subtracts. To erase to full transparency, press 0, as you do when
working with the eraser on a layer. Press 9 for 90 percent transparency, 8 for
80 percent, and so on. Alt-drag to add opacity.
✦ Drag along the boundaries of the mask with the edge touchup tool ( T ) to
sharpen the mask edges. If the boundary between mask and subject isn’t well
defined, dragging with this tool adds opacity to the subject and removes it
from the mask. In other words, it turns soft, feathery edges into crisp, clearly
defined edges. Again, you can press the number keys to adjust the impact of
the tool.
✦ Raise the Smooth value to remove stray pixels from the mask: A high value
smoothes out the edges around the image and fills in holes. Basically, if your
edges are a big mess, give this option a try.
✦ Drag with the edge highlighter or eraser tools to edit the mask boundary.
When you select either tool, the original mask highlight reappears, and the
tools work as they do when you initially draw the highlight. After you adjust
the highlight, Shift-click inside it to redraw and preview the adjusted mask.
✦ Choose an option from the Show pop-up menu to toggle between the original highlight and the extracted image preview. Figure 9-23 spotlights this
option. You can press X to toggle between the two views without bothering
with the pop-up menu.
Figure 9-23: To toggle between the
extraction preview and the original
highlight, choose the view you want
from the Show pop-up menu or just
press X.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Photoshop
That’s 99 percent of what you need to know about the Extract command. For those
of you who care to learn the other 1 percent, here’s a quick rundown of the remaining options that appear along the right side of the Extract window.
6
Note that some of the option names have changed in Version 6, but all the functions
remain the same as in Version 5.5. You do, however, have access to some new keyboard shortcuts for these options:
✦ Highlight, Fill: Use these pop-up menus to change the highlighter and fill
colors. It doesn’t matter what colors you use, so long as they show up well
against the image.
✦ Channel: Advanced users may prefer to prepare the highlighter work by tracing around the image inside an independent mask channel, which you can create in the Channels palette prior to choosing the Extract command. Then load
the mask by selecting it from the Channel pop-up menu. You can further modify the highlight using the edge highlight and eraser tools. One weirdness:
When loading a mask, black in the mask channel represents the highlighted
area, white represents the nonhighlighted area. Strikes me as upside-down,
but that’s how it goes.
✦ Force Foreground: If the subject of your image is predominantly a single
color, select Force Foreground and use the eyedropper to sample the color in
the image that you want to preserve. (Alternatively, you can define the color
using the Color swatch, but it’s much more work.) Then use the edge highlighter tool to paint over all occurrences of the foreground color. (Note that
this check box is an alternative to the fill tool. When Force Foreground is
selected, the fill tool is dimmed.)
✦ Display: You don’t have to preview the image against the transparent checkerboard background. You can also view it against white (White Matte) or some
other color. Or you can view it as a mask, where white represents the opaque
area and black the transparent area. (Ironically, you can’t export the extraction as a mask — go figure.)
Tip
Press F to select the next display mode in the menu; press Shift+F to switch to
the previous mode in the menu.
✦ Show Highlight, Show Fill: Use these check boxes to hide and show the highlight and fill colors.
Tip
One final tip: Before using the Extract command — or the magic eraser or
background eraser, for that matter — you may want to copy the image to a
separate layer or take a snapshot of the image in the History palette. Either
way, you have a backup in case things don’t go exactly according to plan.
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Using the Color Range command
Another convenient method for creating a mask is the Color Range command under
the Select menu. This command enables you to generate selections based on color
ranges. Use the familiar eyedropper cursor to specify colors that should be considered for selection and colors that you want to rule out. The Color Range command
is a lot like the magic wand tool, except that it enables you to select colors with
more precision and to change the tolerance of the selection on the fly.
When you choose Select ➪ Color Range, Photoshop displays the Color Range
dialog box shown in Figure 9-24. Like the magic wand with the Contiguous option
enabled, Color Range selects areas of related color all across the image, whether
or not the colors are immediate neighbors. Click in the image window to select
and deselect colors, as you do with the wand. But rather than adjusting a Tolerance
value before you use the tool, you adjust a Fuzziness option any old time you like.
Photoshop dynamically updates the selection according to the new value. Think
of Color Range as the magic wand on steroids.
Note
So why didn’t the folks at Adobe merely enhance the functionality of the magic wand
instead of adding this strange command? The Color Range dialog box offers a preview of the mask — something a tool can’t do — which is pretty essential for gauging
the accuracy of your selection. And the magic wand is convenient, if nothing else. If
Adobe were to combine the two functions, you would lose functionality.
Preview
Eyedropper
Add color
Remove color
Figure 9-24: The Color Range dialog box enables you to generate
a mask by dragging with the eyedropper tool and adjusting the
Fuzziness option.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
When you move your cursor outside the Color Range dialog box, it changes to an
eyedropper. Click to specify the color on which you want to base the selection — I
call this the base color — as if you were using the magic wand. Or click inside the
preview, labeled in Figure 9-24. In either case, the preview updates to show the
resulting mask.
You can also do the following:
✦ Add colors to the selection: To add base colors to the selection, select the
add color tool inside the Color Range dialog box and click inside the image
window or preview. You can access the tool while the standard eyedropper is
selected by Shift-clicking (just as you Shift-click with the magic wand to add
colors to a selection). You can even Shift-drag with the eyedropper to add
multiple colors in a single pass, something you can’t do with the magic wand.
✦ Remove colors from the selection: To remove base colors from the selection,
click with the remove color tool or Alt-click with the eyedropper. You can also
drag or Alt-drag to remove many colors at a time.
Tip
If adding or removing a color sends your selection careening in the wrong
direction, press Ctrl+Z. Yes, the Undo command works inside the Color Range
dialog box as well as out of it.
✦ Adjust the Fuzziness value: This option resembles the magic wand’s Tolerance
value because it determines the range of colors to be selected beyond the ones
on which you click. Raise the Fuzziness value to expand the selected area;
lower the value to contract the selection. A value of 0 selects the clicked color
only. Unlike changes to Tolerance, however, changing the Fuzziness value
adjusts the selection on the fly; no repeat clicking is required, as it is with the
wand tool.
Fuzziness and Tolerance also differ in the kind of selection outlines they generate. Tolerance entirely selects all colors within the specified range and adds
antialiased edges. If the selection were a mask, most of it would be white with
a few gray pixels around the perimeter. By contrast, Fuzziness entirely selects
only the colors on which you click and Shift-click, and it partially selects the
other colors in the range. That’s why most of the mask is expressed in shades
of gray. The light grays in the mask represent the most similar colors; the dark
grays represent the least similar pixels that still fall within the Fuzziness range.
The result is a tapering, gradual selection, much more likely to produce natural
results.
✦ Reverse the selection: Select the Invert check box to reverse the selection,
changing black to white and white to black. As when using the magic wand, it
may be easier to isolate the area you don’t want to select than the area you do
want to select. When you encounter such a situation, select Invert.
✦ Toggle the preview area: Use the two radio buttons below the preview area
to control the preview’s contents. If you select the first option, Selection, you
see the mask that will be generated when you press Enter. If you select Image,
the preview shows a reduced version of the image.
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Tip
Press and hold Ctrl to toggle between the two previews. My advice is to leave
the option set to Selection and press Ctrl when you want to view the image.
✦ Control the contents of the image window: The Selection Preview pop-up
menu at the bottom of the dialog box enables you to change what you see in
the image window. Leave the option set to None — the default setting — to
view the image normally in the image window. Select Grayscale to see the
mask on its own. Select Quick Mask to see the mask and image together.
Select Black Matte or White Matte to see what the selection would look like
against a black or white background.
Although they may sound weird, the Matte options enable you to get an accurate picture of how the selected image will mesh with a different background.
Figure 9-25 shows Lincoln’s head at the top with the grayscale mask on the
right. The mask calls for the shadows in Lincoln’s face to be selected, with the
highlights deselected. The two Matte views help you see how this particular
selection looks against two backgrounds as different as night and day. Use the
Fuzziness option in combination with Black Matte or White Matte to come up
with a softness setting that will ensure a smooth transition.
None
Grayscale
Black Matte
White Matte
Figure 9-25: The options in the Selection Preview pop-up
menu change the way the Color Range command previews
the selection in the image window.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
✦ Select by predefined colors: Choose an option from the Select pop-up menu
at the top of the dialog box to specify the means of selecting a base color. If
you choose any option besides Sampled Colors, the Fuzziness option and eyedropper tools become dimmed to show they are no longer operable. Instead,
Photoshop selects colors based on their relationship to a predefined color.
For example, if you select Red, the program entirely selects red and partially
selects other colors based on the amount of red they contain. Colors composed exclusively of blue and green are not selected.
The most useful option in this pop-up menu is Out of Gamut, which selects all
the colors in an RGB or Lab image that fall outside the CMYK color space. You
can use this option to select and modify the out-of-gamut colors before converting an image to CMYK.
✦ Load and save settings: Click the Save button to save the current settings to
disk. Click Load to open a saved settings file.
After you define the mask to your satisfaction, click OK or press Enter to generate
the selection outline. Although the Color Range command is more flexible than the
magic wand, you can no more expect it to generate perfect selections than any
other automated tool. After Photoshop draws the selection outline, therefore, you’ll
probably want to switch to quick mask mode and paint and edit the mask to taste.
If you learn nothing else about the Color Range dialog box, at least learn to use
the Fuzziness option and the eyedropper tools. Basically, you can approach these
options in two ways. If you want to create a diffused selection with gradual edges,
set the Fuzziness option to a high value — 60 or more — and click and Shift-click
two or three times with the eyedropper. To create a more precise selection, enter a
Fuzziness of 40 or lower and Shift-drag and Alt-drag with the eyedropper until you
get the exact colors you want.
Figure 9-26 shows some sample results. To create the left images, I clicked with the
eyedropper tool once in Lincoln’s face and set the Fuzziness value to 160. To create
the right images, I lowered the Fuzziness value to 20; then I clicked, Shift-clicked, and
Alt-clicked with the eyedropper to lift exactly the colors I wanted. The top examples
show the effects of stroking the selections, first with 6-pixel white strokes and then
with 2-pixel black strokes. In the two bottom examples, I copied the selections and
pasted them against an identical background of — what else? — the Lincoln Memorial. In all four cases, the higher Fuzziness value yields more generalized and softer
results; the lower value produces a more exact but harsher selection.
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Fuzziness: 160
Fuzziness: 20
Figure 9-26: After creating two selections with the Color Range command —
one with a high Fuzziness value (left) and one with a low one (right) —
I alternately stroked the selections (top) and pasted them against a different
background (bottom).
A few helpful Color Range hints
Tip
You can limit the portion of an image that Select ➪ Color Range affects by selecting
part of the image before choosing the command. When a selection exists, the Color
Range command masks only those pixels that fall inside it. Even the preview area
reflects your selection.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
You also can add or subtract from an existing selection using the Color Range command. Press Shift when choosing Select ➪ Color Range to add to a selection. Press
Alt when choosing Color Range to subtract from a selection.
If you get hopelessly lost when creating your selection and you can’t figure out
what to select and what to deselect, click with the eyedropper tool to start over.
This clears all the colors from the selection except the one you click. Or you can
press Alt to change the Cancel button to a Reset button. Alt-click the button to
return the settings inside the dialog box to those in force when you first chose
Select ➪ Color Range.
Creating an Independent Mask Channel
The problem with masks generated via the quick mask mode and Color Range
command is that they’re here one day and gone the next. Photoshop is no more
prepared to remember them than it is a lasso or wand selection.
Most of the time, that’s okay. You’ll only use the selection once, so there’s no reason
to sweat it. But what if the selection takes you a long time to create? What if, after a
quarter hour of Shift-clicking here and Alt-dragging there, adding a few strokes in the
quick mask mode, and getting the selection outline exactly right, your boss calls a
sudden meeting or the dinner bell rings? You can’t just drop everything; you’re in the
middle of a selection. But nor can you convey your predicament to non-Photoshop
users because they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about and no sympathy for
your plight.
The simplest solution is to back up your selection, save your file, and move on to
the next phase of your life. In fact, anytime that you spend 15 minutes or more on
a selection, save it. After all, you never know when all heck is going to break loose,
and 15 minutes is just too big a chunk of your life to repeat. (The average person
racks up a mere 2.5 million quarter hours, so use them wisely!) You wouldn’t let
15 minutes of image-editing go by without saving, and the rules don’t change just
because you’re working on a selection.
Saving a selection outline to a mask channel
The following steps describe how to back up a selection to an independent mask
channel, which is any channel above and beyond those required to represent a
grayscale or color image. Mask channels are saved along with the image itself,
making them a safe and sturdy solution.
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STEPS: Transferring a Selection to an Independent Channel
1. Convert the selection to a mask channel. One way to do this is to choose
Select ➪ Save Selection (or right-click in the image window and choose Save
Selection from the pop-up menu), which saves the selection as a mask. The
dialog box shown in Figure 9-27 appears, asking you where you want to put
the mask. In most cases, you’ll want to save the mask to a separate channel
inside the current image. To do so, make sure that the name of the current
image appears in the Document pop-up menu. Then select New from the
Channel pop-up menu, enter any name for the channel that you like, and
press Enter.
Make selection
Make channel Delete channel
New channel
Figure 9-27: The Save Selection dialog box enables you to convert your
selection outline to a mask and save it to a new or existing channel.
If you have an old channel you want to replace, select the channel’s name
from the Channel pop-up menu. The radio buttons at the bottom of the dialog
box become available, permitting you to add the mask to the channel, subtract it, or intersect it. These radio buttons work like the equivalent options
that appear when you make a path into a selection outline (as discussed in
the previous chapter), but they blend the masks together, instead. The result
is the same as if you were adding, subtracting, or intersecting selection outlines, except it’s expressed as a mask.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Alternatively, you can save the mask to a new multichannel document all its
own. To do this, choose New from the Document pop-up menu and press Enter.
Tip
Man, what a lot of options! If you only want to save the selection to a new channel and be done with it, you needn’t bother with the Save Selection command
or dialog box. Just click the make channel icon at the bottom of the Channels
palette (labeled in Figure 9-27). Photoshop automatically creates a new channel, converts the selection to a mask, and places the mask in the channel.
Regardless of which of these many methods you choose, your selection outline remains intact.
2. View the mask in the Channels palette. To do so, click the appropriate channel name in the Channels palette — automatically named Alpha 1 unless you
assigned a name of your own. In Figure 9-27, I replaced the contents of a channel called Existing Mask, so this is where my mask now resides.
This step isn’t the least bit mandatory. It just lets you see your mask and generally familiarize yourself with how masks look. Remember, white represents
selection, black is deselected, and gray is partial selection.
Tip
If you didn’t name your mask in Step 1 and you want to name it now, doubleclick the Alpha 1 item in the Channels palette and enter a name in the resulting dialog box.
3. Return to the standard image-editing mode by clicking on the first channel
name in the Channels palette. Better yet, press Ctrl+1 if you’re editing a
grayscale image or Ctrl+tilde (~) if the image is in color.
4. Save the image to disk to store the selection permanently as part of the file.
A handful of formats — PICT, Pixar, PNG, TIFF, Targa, and native Photoshop —
accommodate RGB images with an extra mask channel. But only the TIFF and
native Photoshop format can handle more than four channels, both saving up
to 24 channels in all. I generally use the TIFF format with LZW compression
when saving images with masks. Because TIFF supports layers in Photoshop
6, you aren’t restricted to the Photoshop format for multilayered images with
masks. (See Chapter 3 for more on that exciting news.)
Both the native Photoshop format and TIFF can compress masks so that they take
up substantially less room on disk. The Photoshop format does this automatically.
When saving a TIFF image, be sure to turn on the LZW Compression check box. In
both cases, this run-line compression is entirely safe. It does not change a single
pixel in the image; it merely writes the code in a more efficient manner.
Tip
If you performed the steps in the “Creating gradient arrows” section earlier in this
chapter, you know that you can also save a quick mask to its own channel for later
use. But in case you missed those steps, or you’re saving them for a special occasion,
here’s how it works. When you enter the quick mask mode, the Channels palette displays an item called Quick Mask. The italic letters show the channel is temporary and
will not be saved with the image. (To clone it to a permanent channel, drag the Quick
Mask item onto the page icon at the bottom of the Channels palette). Now save the
image to the TIFF or Photoshop format, and you’re backed up.
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Converting a mask to a selection
To retrieve your selection later, choose Select ➪ Load Selection. A dialog box nearly
identical to the one shown in Figure 9-27 appears except for the addition of an Invert
check box. Select the document and channel that contain the mask you want to use.
You can add it to a current selection, subtract it, or intersect it. Select the Invert
option if you want to reverse the selected and deselected portions of the mask.
Want to avoid the Load Selection command? Ctrl-click the channel name in the
Channels palette that contains the mask you want to use. For example, if I Ctrlclicked the Existing Mask item in Figure 9-27, Photoshop would load the equivalent
selection outline into the image window.
Tip
But wait, there’s more:
✦ You can press Ctrl+Alt plus the channel number to convert the channel to a
selection. For example, Ctrl+Alt+4 would convert the Existing Mask channel
shown in Figure 9-27.
✦ You can also select the channel and click the far-left mask selection icon at the
bottom of the Channels palette. But for my money, this takes too much effort.
✦ To add a mask to the current selection outline, Ctrl+Shift-click the channel
name in the Channels palette.
✦ Ctrl+Alt-click a channel name to subtract the mask from the selection.
✦ And Ctrl+Shift+Alt-click to find the intersection.
You can convert color channels to selections, as well as mask channels. For example, if you want to select the black pixels in a piece of scanned line art in grayscale
mode, Ctrl-click the first item in the Channels palette. This selects the white pixels;
press Ctrl+Shift+I (or choose Select ➪ Inverse) to reverse the selection to the black
pixels.
Viewing mask and image
Photoshop lets you view any mask channel along with an image, just as you can
view mask and image together in the quick mask mode. To do this, click in the first
column of the Channels palette to toggle the display of the eyeball icon. An eyeball
in front of a channel name indicates you can see that channel. If you are currently
viewing the image, for example, click in front of the mask channel name to view the
mask as a translucent color coating, again as in the quick mask mode. Or if the contents of the mask channel appear by themselves on screen, click in front of the
image name to display it as well.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Tip
When the mask is active, you can likewise toggle the display of the image by pressing the tilde (~) key. Few folks know about this shortcut, but it’s a good one to
assign to memory. It works whether the Channels palette is open or not, and it permits you to focus on the mask without moving your mouse all over the screen.
Using a mask channel is different from using the quick mask mode in that you can
edit either the image or the mask channel when viewing the two together. You can
even edit two or more masks at once. To specify which channel you want to edit,
click the channel name in the palette. To edit two channels at once, click one and
Shift-click another. All active channel names appear highlighted.
You can change the color and opacity of each mask independently of other mask
channels and the quick mask mode. Double-click the mask channel name or choose
the Channel Options command from the Channels palette menu. (This command is
dimmed when editing a standard color channel, such as Red, Green, Blue, Cyan,
Magenta, Yellow, or Black.) A dialog box similar to the one shown back in Figure 9-11
appears, but this one contains a Name option box so you can change the name of
the mask channel. You can then edit the color overlay as described in the “Changing
the red coating” section earlier in this chapter.
Tip
If you ever need to edit a selection outline inside the mask channel using paint and
edit tools, click the quick mask mode icon in the toolbox. It may sound a little like a
play within a play, but you can access the quick mask mode even when working
within a mask channel. Make sure the mask channel color is different from the
quick mask color so you can tell what’s happening.
Building a Mask from an Image
So far, everything I’ve discussed in this chapter has been pretty straightforward.
Now it’s time to see how the professionals do things. This final section in this chapter explains every step required to create a mask for a complex image. Here’s how
to select the image you never thought you could select, complete with wispy little
details such as hair.
Take a gander at Figure 9-28 and see what I mean. I chose this subject not for her
good looks or her generous supply of freckles, but for that hair. I mean, look at all
that hair. Have you ever seen such a frightening image-editing subject in your life?
Not only is this particular girl blessed with roughly 15 googol strands of hair, but
every one of them is leaping out of her head in a different direction and at a different level of focus. Can you imagine selecting any one of them with the magnetic
lasso or magic wand? No way. As demonstrated by the second example of Figure
9-28, these tools lack sufficient accuracy to do any good. Furthermore, you’d be fit
for an asylum by the time you finished selecting the hairs with the pen tools, and
the edges aren’t definite enough for Select ➪ Color Range to latch onto.
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Figure 9-28: Have you ever wanted to select wispy details, such as the hair shown
on left? You certainly aren’t going to make it with the magnetic lasso (right) or other
selection tools. But with masks, it’s a piece of cake.
So, what’s the solution? Manual masking. Although masking styles vary as widely as
artistic style, a few tried-and-true formulas work for everyone. First, you peruse the
channels in an image to find the channel that lends itself best to a mask. You’re
looking for high degrees of contrast, especially around the edges. Next, you copy
the channel and boost the level of contrast using Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Levels. (Some
folks prefer Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Curves, but Levels is more straightforward.) Then
you paint inside the lines until you get the mask the way you want it.
The only way to get a feel for masking is to try it out for yourself. The following
steps explain exactly how I masked this girl and pasted her against a different
background. The final result is so realistic, you’d think she was born there.
STEPS: Selecting a Monstrously Complicated Image
Using a Mask
1. Browse the color channels. Press Ctrl+1 to see the red channel, Ctrl+2 for
green, and Ctrl+3 for blue. (This assumes you’re working inside an RGB image.
You can also peruse CMYK and Lab images. If you’re editing a grayscale
image, you have only one channel from which to choose — Black.)
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
Figure 9-29 shows the three channels in my RGB image. Of the three, the red
channel offers the most contrast between the hair, which appears very light,
and the background, which appears quite dark.
Red
Blue
Green
Figure 9-29: Of the three color channels, the red channel offers the best
contrast between hair and background.
2. Copy the channel. Drag the channel onto the little page icon at the bottom of
the Channels palette. (I naturally copy the red channel.) Now you can work on
the channel to your heart’s content without harming the image itself.
3. Choose Filter ➪ Other ➪ High Pass. The next thing you want to do is to force
Photoshop to bring out the edges in the image so you don’t have to hunt for
them manually. And when you think edges, you should think filters. All of
Photoshop’s edge-detection prowess is packed into the Filter menu. Several
edge-detection filters are available to you — Unsharp Mask, Find Edges, and
many others that I discuss in Chapter 10. But the best filter for finding edges
inside a mask is Filter ➪ Other ➪ High Pass.
High Pass selectively turns an image gray. High Pass may sound strange, but
it’s quite useful. The filter turns the non-edges completely gray while leaving
the edges mostly intact, thus dividing edges and non-edges into different
brightness camps, based on the Radius value in the High Pass dialog box.
Unlike in most filters, a low Radius value produces a more pronounced effect
than a high one, in effect locating more edges.
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Figure 9-30 shows the original red channel on left with the result of the High
Pass filter on right. I used a Radius of 10, which is a nice, moderate value. The
lower you go, the more edges you find and the more work you make for yourself. A Radius of 3 is accurate, but it’ll take you an hour to fill in the mask.
Granted, 10 is less accurate, but if you value your time, it’s more sensible.
Figure 9-30: After copying the red channel (left), I apply the High Pass filter
with a Radius value of 10 to highlight the edges in the image (right).
4. Choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Levels (Ctrl+L). After adding all that gray to the
image, follow it up by increasing the contrast. And the best command for
enhancing contrast is Levels. Although I discuss this command in-depth in
Chapter 17, here’s the short version: Inside the Levels dialog box, raise the
first Input Levels value to make the dark colors darker, and lower the third
Input Levels value to make the light colors lighter. (For now you can ignore
the middle value.)
Figure 9-31 shows the result of raising the first Input Levels value to 110 and
lowering the third value to 155. As you can see in the left-hand image, this
gives me some excellent contrast between the white hairs and black background.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
To demonstrate the importance of the High Pass command in these steps, I’ve
shown what would happen if I had skipped Step 3 in the right-hand image in
Figure 9-31. I applied the same Levels values as in the left image, and yet the
image is washed out and quite lacking in edges. Look at that wimpy hair. It
simply is unacceptable.
Figure 9-31: Here are the results of applying the Levels command to the mask
after the High Pass step (left) and without High Pass (right). As you can see,
High Pass has a pronounced effect on the edge detail.
5. Use the lasso tool to remove the big stuff you don’t need. By way of High
Pass and Levels, Photoshop has presented you with a complex coloring book.
From here on, it’s a matter of coloring inside the lines. To simplify things, get
rid of the stuff you know you don’t need. All you care about is the area where
the girl meets her background — mostly hair and arms. Everything else goes
to white or black.
For example, in Figure 9-32, I selected a general area inside the girl by Alt-clicking with the lasso tool. Then I filled it with white by pressing Ctrl+Delete. I also
selected around the outside of the hair and filled it with black. At all times, I
was careful to stay about 10 to 20 pixels away from the hair and other edges;
these I need to brush in carefully with the eraser. (Be sure to press Ctrl+D to
eliminate the selection before continuing to the next step.)
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Figure 9-32: To tidy things up a bit, I selected the general areas inside and
outside the girl with the lasso tool and filled them with white or black (left).
Then I painted inside the lines with the block eraser (right).
6. Erase inside the lines with the block eraser. This is the most time-consuming
part. You now have to paint inside the lines to make the edge pixels white
(selected) or black (not). I like to use the block eraser because it’s a hard-edged
block. See, Photoshop has already presented me with these lovely and accurate
edges. I don’t want to gum things up by introducing new edges with a soft paintbrush or airbrush. The block eraser is hard, you can easily see its exact boundaries, and it automatically adjusts as you zoom in and out — affecting fewer
pixels at higher levels of magnification, which is what you need. When working
in a mask, the eraser always paints in the background color. So, use the X key
to toggle the background color between white and black.
The second example in Figure 9-32 shows the fruits of my erasing. As you can
see, I make a few judgment calls and decide — sometimes arbitrarily — where
the hair gets so thick that background imagery won’t show through. You may
even disagree with some of my eraser strokes. But you know what? It doesn’t
matter. Despite whatever flaws I may have introduced, my mask is more than
accurate enough to select the girl and her unruly hair, as I soon demonstrate.
7. Switch to the color composite view. Press Ctrl+tilde (~). Or if you’re working
in a grayscale image, press Ctrl+1. By the way, now is a good time to save the
image if you haven’t already done so.
Chapter 9 ✦ Masks and Extractions
8. Ctrl-click the mask channel to convert it to a selection. This mask is ready to
go prime time.
9. Ctrl-drag the selection and drop it into a different image. Figure 9-33 shows
the result of dropping the girl into a background of rolling California hills.
Thanks to my mask, she looks as natural in her new environment as she did
in her previous one. In fact, an uninitiated viewer might have difficulty believing this isn’t how she was originally photographed. But if you take a peek at
Figure 9-29, you can confirm that Figure 9-33 is indeed an artificial composite.
I lost a few strands of hair in the transition, but she can afford it.
Figure 9-33: Thanks to masking, our girl has found
a new life in Southern California. Now she’s ready
to finally put on those sunglasses.
The grayscale Figure 9-33 looks great but, in all honesty, your compositions may not
fare quite so well in color, as illustrated by the first girl in Color Plate 9-3. Her hair
is fringed with blue, an unavoidable holdover from her original blue background.
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The solution is to brush in the color from her new background. Using the paintbrush tool set to the Color brush mode, you can Alt-click in the Background layer to
lift colors from the new background and then paint them into the hair. I also took
the liberty of erasing a few of the more disorderly hairs, especially the dark ones
above her head. (I used a soft paintbrush-style eraser, incidentally, not the block.)
After a minute or two of painting and erasing, I arrived at the second girl in the
color plate. Now if that isn’t compositing perfection, I don’t know what is.
✦
✦
✦
10
C H A P T E R
Corrective
Filtering
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Filter Basics
In Photoshop, filters enable you to apply automated effects
to an image. Though named after photographers’ filters,
which typically correct lighting and perspective fluctuations,
Photoshop’s filters can accomplish a great deal more. You
can slightly increase the focus of an image, introduce random
pixels, add depth to an image, or completely rip it apart and
reassemble it into a hurky pile of goo. Any number of special
effects are made available via filters.
At this point, a little bell should be ringing in your head,
telling you to beware of standardized special effects. Why?
Because everyone has access to the same filters that you do.
If you rely on filters to edit your images for you, your audience will quickly recognize your work as poor or at least
unremarkable art.
Imagine this scenario: You’re wasting away in front of your TV,
flipping aimlessly through the channels. Just as your brain is
about to shrivel and implode, you stumble across the classic
“Steamroller” video. Outrageous effects, right? Peter Gabriel
rides an imaginary roller coaster, bumper cars crash playfully
into his face, fish leap over his head. You couldn’t be more
amused or impressed.
As the video fades, you’re so busy basking in the glow that
you neglect for a split second to whack the channel-changer.
Before you know it, you’re midway through an advertisement
for a monster truck rally. Like the video, the ad is riddled with
special effects — spinning letters, a reverberating voice-over
slowed down to an octave below the narrator’s normal pitch,
and lots of big machines filled with little men filled with single
brain cells working overtime.
An overview of
corrective, destructive,
and effects filters
Mixing a filtered
image with the original
Fixing the focus
of an image with
Unsharp Mask
Enhancing a grainy
photograph using a
custom edge mask
Highlighting edges
with the High Pass filter
Creating glowing
images with
Gaussian Blur
Feathering a selection
using Maximum and
Gaussian Blur
A complete guide
to the filters in the
Noise submenu
Sharpening
images with lots of
compression artifacts
Reducing moiré
patterns in scanned
images
✦
✦
✦
✦
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In and of themselves, these special effects aren’t bad. There was probably even a
time when you thought that spinning letters and reverberating voice-overs were hot
stuff. But sometime after you passed beyond preadolescence, you managed to grow
tired of these particular effects. You’ve come to associate them with raunchy, local
car-oriented commercials. Certainly these effects are devoid of substance, but,
more importantly, they’re devoid of creativity.
This chapter and the next, therefore, are about the creative application of special
effects, as is Chapter A on the CD at the back of this book. Rather than trying to
show an image subject to every single filter — a service already performed quite
adequately by the manual included with your software — these chapters explain
exactly how the most important filters work and offer some concrete ways to
use them.
You also learn how to apply several filters in tandem and how to use filters to edit
images and selection outlines. My goal is not so much to teach you what filters are
available — you can find that out by tugging on the Filter menu — but how and
when to use filters.
A first look at filters
You access Photoshop’s special effects filters by choosing commands from the Filter
menu. These commands fall into two general camps — corrective and destructive.
Corrective filters
Corrective filters are workaday tools that you use to modify scanned images and
prepare an image for printing or screen display. In many cases, the effects are
subtle enough that the viewer won’t even notice that you applied a corrective filter.
As demonstrated in Figure 10-1 and Color Plate 10-1, these filters include those that
change the focus of an image, enhance color transitions, and average the colors of
neighboring pixels. Find these filters in the Filter ➪ Blur, Noise, Sharpen, and Other
submenus.
Many corrective filters have direct opposites. Blur is the opposite of Sharpen, Add
Noise is the opposite of Median, and so on. This is not to say that one filter entirely
removes the effect of the other; only reversion functions such as the History palette
provide that capability. Instead, two opposite filters produce contrasting effects.
Corrective filters are the subject of this chapter. Although they number fewer than
their destructive counterparts, I spend more time on them because they represent
the functions you’re most likely to use on a day-to-day basis.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Unsharp Mask
Gaussian Blur
Median
High Pass
Figure 10-1: The gigantic head of 4th-century Roman emperor
Constantine subject to four corrective filters, including one
each from the Sharpen, Blur, Other, and Noise submenus
(reading clockwise from upper left).
Destructive filters
The destructive filters produce effects so dramatic that they can, if used improperly, completely overwhelm your artwork, making the filter more important than
the image itself. For the most part, destructive filters reside in the Filter ➪ Distort,
Pixelate, Render, and Stylize submenus. A few examples of overwhelmed images
appear in Figure 10-2 and Color Plate 10-2.
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Wave
Crystallize
Emboss
Lens Flare
Figure 10-2: The effects of applying four destructive filters,
one each from the Distort, Pixelate, Render, and Stylize
submenus (clockwise from upper left). Note that Lens Flare
is applicable to color images only, so I had to convert
Constantine to the RGB mode before applying the filter.
Destructive filters produce way-cool effects, and many people gravitate toward
them when first experimenting with Photoshop. But the filters invariably destroy
the original clarity and composition of the image. Granted, every Photoshop function is destructive to a certain extent, but destructive filters change your image so
extensively that you can’t easily disguise the changes later by applying other filters
or editing techniques.
Destructive filters are the subject of Chapter 11. Rather than explaining every one
of these filters in detail, I try to provide a general overview.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Effects filters
Photoshop also provides a subset of 47 destructive filters called the effects filters.
These filters originally sire from the Gallery Effects collection, developed by Silicon
Beach, which got gobbled up by Aldus (of PageMaker fame), and finally acquired
by Adobe Systems. Not knowing what exactly to do with this grab bag of plug-ins,
Adobe integrated them into Photoshop.
Little about these filters has changed since Gallery Effects 1.5 came out in 1993. A
couple of filters have been renamed — the old GE Ripple filter is now Ocean Ripple
to avoid confusion with Photoshop’s own Ripple filter. And one filter, GE Emboss, is
gone, presumably because it detracted from the popular Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Emboss.
But Adobe hasn’t bothered with any meaningful retooling. You can’t preview the
effect in the image window and a few filters are dreadfully slow.
As a result, I devote only passing attention to the effects filters, explaining those
very few that fulfill a real need. Of course, I encourage you to experiment and
derive your own conclusions. After all, as Figure 10-3 illustrates, these filters do
produce intriguing special effects. I mean, that Plaster effect is just plain cool. For
the record, most of the effects filters reside in the Filter ➪ Artistic, Brush Strokes,
Sketch, and Texture submenus. A few have trickled out into other submenus,
including Filter ➪ Distort ➪ Diffuse Glow, Glass, and Ocean Ripple; and Filter ➪
Stylize ➪ Glowing Edges.
Tip
If your experimentation leads you to the same conclusion as it did me — that you
can live through most days without the effects filters — you can turn them off. All
the effects filters are stored in the Effects folder inside the Plug-Ins folder on your
hard drive. Rename the Effects folder ~Effects, and all 47 filters will be turned off.
How filters work
When you choose a command from the Filter menu, Photoshop applies the filter to
the selected portion of the image on the current layer. If no portion of the image is
selected, Photoshop applies the filter to the entire image. Therefore, if you want to
filter every nook and cranny of the current layer, press Ctrl+D to cancel any existing
selection outline and then choose the desired command.
External plug-ins
Some filters are built into the Photoshop application. Others are external modules
that reside in the Plug-Ins folder. This enables you to add functionality to Photoshop
by purchasing additional filters from third-party collections. Gallery Effects used to
be such a collection. Eye Candy, from Alien Skin, is another popular collection.
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Cutout
Angled Strokes
Patchwork
Plaster
Figure 10-3: The effects filters come from Gallery Effects, a
little toy surprise that Adobe accidentally acquired when it
purchased Aldus Corporation. Here we see the impact of
one filter each from the Filter ➪ Artistic, Brush Strokes,
Sketch, and Texture submenus (clockwise from upper left).
If you open the Plug-Ins folder inside the Photoshop folder, you see that it contains
several subfolders. By default, Photoshop places the filters in the Filters and Effects
subfolders, but you can place additional filters anywhere inside the Plug-Ins folder.
Even if you create a new folder inside the Plug-Ins folder and call it No Filters Here,
create another folder inside that called Honest, Fresh Out of Filters, toss in one more
folder called Carpet Beetles Only, and put every plug-in you own inside this latest
folder, Photoshop sees through your clever ruse and displays the exact same filters
you always see under their same submenus in the Filter menu. The only purpose of
the subfolders is to keep things tidy, so that you don’t have to look through a list
of 6,000 files.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Previewing filters
For years, the biggest problem with Photoshop’s filters was that none offered
previews to help you predict the outcome of an effect. You just had to tweak
your 15,000 meaningless settings and hope for the best. But today, life is much
better. Photoshop 3 introduced previews, Version 4 made them commonly available
to all but the most gnarly filters, and Versions 5 and 6 had the good sense to leave
well enough alone.
Photoshop offers two previewing capabilities:
✦ Dialog box previews: Labeled in Figure 10-4, the 100 × 100-pixel preview box
is now a common feature to all filter dialog boxes. Drag inside the preview
box to scroll the portion of the image you want to preview. Move the cursor
outside the dialog box to get the square preview cursor (labeled in the figure).
Click with the cursor to center the contents of the preview box at the clicked
position in the image.
Click the zoom buttons (+ and –) to reduce the image inside the preview
box. You can even take advantage of the standard zoom tool by pressing Ctrl+
spacebar or Alt+spacebar, depending on whether you want to zoom in or out.
Tip
Note
Tip
✦ Image window previews: Most corrective filters — as well as a couple of
destructives such as Mosaic and Emboss — also preview effects in the full
image window. Just select the Preview check box to activate this function.
While the effect is previewing, a blinking progress line appears under the
zoom value in the dialog box. In Figure 10-4, for example, you can see that
the bottom of the image still hasn’t finished previewing, so the progress line
strobes away. If you’re working on a relatively poky computer, you’ll probably
want to turn the Preview check box off to speed up the pace at which the
filter functions.
Incidentally, the Preview check box has no affect on the contents of the
preview box. The latter continually monitors the effects of your settings,
whether you like it or not.
Use the Preview check box to compare the before and after effects of a
corrective filter in the image window. Turn it on to see the effect; turn it off
to see the original image. You can also compare the image in the preview box
by clicking in the box. Mouse down to see the old image; release to see the
filtered image. It’s like an electronic, high-priced, adult version of peek-a-boo.
But not nearly as likely to induce giggles.
Even though a dialog box is on screen and active, you can zoom and scroll the
contents of the image window. Press Ctrl+plus or Ctrl+spacebar-click to zoom in;
press Ctrl+minus or Alt+spacebar-click to zoom out. Spacebar-drag to scroll. You
can also choose commands from the View and Window menus.
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Preview box
Image window
Preview cursor
Progress line
Zoom buttons
Figure 10-4: Most filter dialog boxes let you
preview the effects of the filter both inside
the dialog box and in the image window.
Tip
One more tip: When you press Alt, the Cancel button changes to a Reset button.
Alt-click this button to restore the settings that appeared when you first opened
the dialog box. (These are not necessarily the factory default settings; they are
the settings you last applied to an image.)
Most destructive filters make no attempt to preview effects in the image window.
And seven filters continue to offer no previews whatsoever: Radial Blur, Displace,
Color Halftone, Extrude, Tiles, De-Interlace, and Offset. Of course, single-shot
filters — the ones that don’t bring up dialog boxes — don’t need previews
because there aren’t any settings to adjust.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Reapplying the last filter
Tip
To reapply the last filter used in the current Photoshop session, choose the first
command from the Filter menu or simply press Ctrl+F. If you want to reapply the
filter subject to different settings, Alt+choose the first Filter command or press
Ctrl+Alt+F to redisplay that filter’s dialog box.
Both techniques work even if you undo the last application of a filter. However, if
you cancel a filter while in progress, pressing Ctrl+F or Ctrl+Alt+F applies the last
uncanceled filter.
Nudging numerical values
Tip
In addition to entering specific numerical values inside filter dialog boxes, you
can nudge the values using the up and down arrow keys. When working with
percentage values, press an arrow key to raise or lower the value by 1. Press
Shift-up or -down arrow to change the value in increments of 10. Note that with
some of the destructive filters, most notably those associated with the old Gallery
Effects filters, you must use the arrow keys on the numeric keypad; the regular
navigation arrow keys don’t work.
If the value accommodates decimal values, it’s probably more sensitive to the
arrow key. Press an arrow for a 0.1 change; press Shift+arrow for 1.0.
Fading a filter
In many cases, you apply filters to a selection or image at full intensity — meaning
that you marquee an area using a selection tool, choose a filter command, enter
whatever settings you deem appropriate if a dialog box appears, and sit back and
watch the fireworks.
Photoshop
What’s so full intensity about that? Sounds normal, right? Well, the fact is, you can
reduce the intensity of the last filter applied by choosing the Fade command. This
command permits you to mix the filtered image with the original, unfiltered one.
6
In Photoshop 6, the Fade command appears on the Edit menu instead of the Filter
menu; the new placement makes sense because Adobe expanded the Fade feature
in Version 5.5 to enable you to apply it to brush strokes and other edits in addition
to filter applications. But the result of the command — as well as its keyboard
shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F) — remains the same as in versions past.
As shown in Figure 10-5, the Fade dialog box provides you with the basic tools of
image mixing — an Opacity value and a blend mode pop-up menu. To demonstrate
the wonders of Filter ➪ Fade, I’ve applied two particularly destructive Gallery
Effects filters to the colossal marble head — Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Glowing Edges and
Filter ➪ Sketch ➪ Note Paper. In the second column of heads, I pressed Ctrl+Shift+F
and lowered the Opacity of the two effects to 30 percent. The right-hand images
show the effects of two blend modes, Lighten and Overlay, with the Opacity
value restored to 100 percent.
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Glowing Edges
Note Paper
Lighten
30% Opacity
Overlay
Figure 10-5: Press Ctrl+Shift+F to mix the filtered image with the unfiltered
original. Now, is it me, or is Constantine on Note Paper the spitting image of
Rambo? That’s got to be keeping some art historian awake at night.
Creating layered effects
Caution
The drawback of the Fade command is that it’s only available immediately after you
apply a filter (or other applicable edit). If you so much as modify a selection outline
after applying the filter, the Fade command dims, only to return when you apply the
next filter.
Therefore, you may find it more helpful to copy a selection to a separate layer
(Ctrl+J) before applying a filter. This way, you can perform other operations,
and even apply many filters in a row, before mixing the filtered image with
the underlying original.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Filtering inside a border
And here’s another reason to layer before you filter: If your image has a border
around it — like the ones shown in Figure 10-6 — you don’t want Photoshop to
factor the border into the filtering operation. To avoid this, select the image inside
the border and press Ctrl+J to layer it prior to applying the filter. The reason is that
most filters take neighboring pixels into consideration even if they are not selected.
By contrast, when a selection floats, it has no neighboring pixels, and therefore the
filter affects the selected pixels only.
Layered
Motion Blur
Unsharp Mask
Not layered
Figure 10-6: The results of applying two sample filters to images
surrounded by borders. In each case, only the image was selected;
the border was not. Layering the right examples prevented the
borders from affecting the performance of the filters.
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Figure 10-6 shows the results of applying two filters discussed in this chapter —
Unsharp Mask and Motion Blur — when the image is anchored in place and when
it’s layered. In all cases, the 2-pixel border was not selected. In the left examples,
the Unsharp Mask filter leaves a high-contrast residue around the edge of the image,
while Motion Blur duplicates the left and right edges of the border. Both problems
vanish when the filters are applied to layered images, as seen on the right.
Even if the area outside the selection is not a border per se — perhaps it’s just a
comparatively dark or light area that serves as a visual frame — layering comes
in handy. You should always layer the selection unless you specifically want
edge pixels to be calculated by the filter.
Undoing a sequence of filters
Okay, here’s one last reason to layer before you filter. Copying an image to a layer
protects the underlying image. If you just want to experiment a little, pressing Ctrl+J
is often more convenient than restoring a state in the History palette. After applying
four or five effects to a layer, you can undo all that automated abuse by Alt-clicking
the trash icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, which deletes the layer. The
underlying original remains unharmed.
Heightening Focus and Contrast
If you’ve experimented at all with Photoshop, you’ve no doubt had your way with
many of the commands in the Filter ➪ Sharpen submenu. By increasing the contrast
between neighboring pixels, the sharpening filters enable you to compensate for
image elements that were photographed or scanned slightly out of focus.
The Sharpen, Sharpen More, and Sharpen Edges commands are easy to use and
immediate in their effect. However, you can achieve better results and widen your
range of sharpening options if you learn how to use the Unsharp Mask and High
Pass commands, which I discuss at length in the following pages.
Using the Unsharp Mask filter
The first thing you need to know about the Unsharp Mask filter is that it has a weird
name. The filter has nothing to do with unsharpening — whatever that is — nor is it
tied into Photoshop’s masking capabilities. Unsharp Mask is named after a traditional
film compositing technique (which is also oddly named) that highlights the edges in
an image by combining a blurred film negative with the original film positive.
That’s all very well and good, but the fact is most Photoshop artists have never
touched a stat camera (an expensive piece of machinery, roughly twice the size of a
washing machine, used by image editors of the late Jurassic, pre-Photoshop epoch).
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Even folks like me who used to operate stat cameras professionally never had the
time to delve into the world of unsharp masking. In addition — and much to the
filter’s credit — Unsharp Mask goes beyond traditional camera techniques.
To understand Unsharp Mask — or Photoshop’s other sharpening filters, for that
matter — you first need to understand some basic terminology. When you apply
one of the sharpening filters, Photoshop increases the contrast between neighboring pixels. The effect is similar to what you see when you adjust a camera to bring
a scene into sharper focus.
Two of Photoshop’s sharpening filters, Sharpen and Sharpen More, affect whatever
area of your image is selected. The Sharpen Edges filter, however, performs its
sharpening operations only on the edges in the image — those areas that feature
the highest amount of contrast.
Unsharp Mask gives you both sharpening options. It can sharpen only the edges
in an image or it can sharpen any portion of an image according to your exact
specifications, whether it finds an edge or not. It fulfills the exact same purposes
as the Sharpen, Sharpen Edges, and Sharpen More commands, but it’s much more
versatile. Simply put, the Unsharp Mask tool is the only sharpening filter you’ll
ever need.
When you choose Filter ➪ Sharpen ➪ Unsharp Mask, Photoshop displays the
Unsharp Mask dialog box, shown in Figure 10-7, which offers the following options:
✦ Amount: Enter a value between 1 and 500 percent to specify the degree to
which you want to sharpen the selected image. Higher values produce more
pronounced effects.
Figure 10-7: Despite any conclusions you
may glean from its bizarre name, the Unsharp
Mask filter sharpens images according to your
specifications in this dialog box.
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✦ Radius: This option determines the thickness of the sharpened edge. Low
values produce crisp edges. High values produce thicker edges with more
contrast throughout the image.
✦ Threshold: Enter a value between 0 and 255 to control how Photoshop recognizes edges in an image. The value indicates the numerical difference between
the brightness values of two neighboring pixels that must occur if Photoshop
is to sharpen those pixels. A low value sharpens lots of pixels; a high value
excludes most pixels from the running.
The preview options offered by the Unsharp Mask dialog box are absolutely
essential visual aids that you’re likely to find tremendously useful throughout
your Photoshop career. Just the same, you’ll be better prepared to experiment
with the Amount, Radius, and Threshold options and less surprised by the results
if you read the following sections, which explain these options in detail and
demonstrate the effects of each.
Specifying the amount of sharpening
If Amount were the only Unsharp Mask option, no one would have any problems
understanding this filter. If you want to sharpen an image ever so slightly, enter a
low percentage value. Values between 25 and 50 percent are ideal for producing
subtle effects. If you want to sharpen an image beyond the point of good taste,
enter a value somewhere in the 300 to 500 percent range. And if you’re looking for
moderate sharpening, try out some value between 50 and 300 percent. Figure 10-8
shows the results of applying different Amount values while leaving the Radius
and Threshold values at their default settings of 1.0 and 0, respectively.
If you’re not sure how much you want to sharpen an image, try out a small value
in the 25 to 50 percent range. Then reapply that setting repeatedly by pressing
Ctrl+F. As you can see in Figure 10-9, repeatedly applying the filter at a low setting
produces a nearly identical result to applying the filter once at a higher setting.
For example, you can achieve the effect shown in the middle image in the figure by
applying the Unsharp Mask filter three times at 50 percent or once at 250 percent.
I created the top-row results in Figure 10-9 using a constant Radius value of 1.0. In
the second row, I lowered the Radius progressively from 1.0 (left) to 0.8 (middle)
to 0.6 (right).
The benefit of using small values is that they enable you to experiment with
sharpening incrementally. As the figure demonstrates, you can add sharpening
bit by bit to increase the focus of an image. You can’t, however, reduce sharpening
incrementally if you apply too high a value; you must press Ctrl+Z and start again.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Original
25%
50%
75%
100%
150%
200%
300%
500%
Figure 10-8: The results of sharpening an image with the Unsharp Mask
filter using eight different Amount values. The Radius and Threshold values
used for all images were 1.0 and 0, respectively (the default settings).
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50% twice
50% times three
50% times four
100%
250%
500%
Figure 10-9: Repeatedly applying the Unsharp Mask filter at 50 percent
(top row) is nearly equivalent on a pixel-by-pixel basis to applying the
filter once at higher settings (bottom row).
Just for fun, Color Plate 10-3 shows the results of applying the Unsharp Mask filter
to each of the color channels in an RGB image independently. In each case, I maxed
out the Amount value to 500 percent and set the Radius and Threshold to 4.0 and
0 respectively. The top row shows the results of applying the filter to a single channel; in the second row, I applied the filter to two of the three channels (leaving only
one channel unfiltered). You can see how the filter creates a crisp halo of color
around the chess pieces. Sharpening the red channel creates a red halo on the
inside of the pieces and a blue-green halo on the outside; sharpening the red and
green channels together creates a yellow halo on the inside and a bluish halo on
the outside; and so on. Applying the filter to the red and green channels produced
the most noticeable effects because these channels contain the lion’s share of the
image detail. The blue channel contained the least detail — as is typical — so
sharpening this channel produced the least dramatic results.
CrossReference
If you’re a little foggy on how to access individual color channels, read Chapter 4.
Incidentally, you can achieve similar effects by sharpening the individual channels
in a Lab or CMYK image.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Tip
As I mentioned in Chapter 4, Photoshop is ultimately a grayscale editor, so when
you apply the Unsharp Mask command to a full-color image, Photoshop actually
applies the command in a separate pass to each of the color channels. Therefore,
the command always results in the color halos shown in Color Plate 10-3 — it’s just
that the halos get mixed together, minimizing the effect. To avoid any haloing whatsoever, convert the image to the Lab mode (Image ➪ Mode ➪ Lab Color) and apply
Unsharp Mask to only the Lightness channel in the Channels palette. (Do not filter
the a and b channels.) This sharpens the brightness values in the image and leaves
the colors 100 percent untouched.
Setting the thickness of the edges
The Unsharp Mask filter works by identifying edges and increasing the contrast
around those edges. The Radius value tells Photoshop how thick you want your
edges. Large values produce thicker edges than small values.
The ideal Radius value depends on the resolution of your image and the quality
of its edges:
✦ When creating screen images — such as Web graphics — use a very low
Radius value such as 0.5. This results in terrific hairline edges that look so
crisp, you’ll think you washed your bifocals.
✦ If a low Radius value brings out weird little imperfections — such as grain,
scan lines, or JPEG compression artifacts — raise the value to 1.0 or higher.
If that doesn’t help, don’t fret. I include two different sure-fire image-fixing
techniques later in this chapter, one designed to sharpen grainy old photos,
and another that accommodates compressed images.
✦ When printing an image at a moderate resolution — anywhere from 120 to 180
ppi — use a Radius value of 1.0. The edges will look a little thick on-screen, but
they’ll print fine.
✦ For high-resolution images — around 300 ppi — try a Radius of 2.0. Because
Photoshop prints more pixels per inch, the edges have to be thicker to remain
nice and visible.
Tip
If you’re looking for a simple formula, I recommend 0.1 of Radius for every 15
ppi of final image resolution. That means 75 ppi warrants a Radius of 0.5, 120
ppi warrants 0.8, 180 ppi warrants 1.2, and so on. If you have a calculator, just
divide the intended resolution by 150 to get the ideal Radius value.
You can of course enter higher Radius values — as high as 250, in fact. Higher
values produce heightened contrast effects, almost as if the image had been
photocopied too many times, generally useful for producing special effects.
But don’t take my word for it; you be the judge. Figure 10-10 demonstrates the
results of specific Radius values. In each case, the Amount and Threshold values
remain constant at 100 percent and 0, respectively.
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Original
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.5
5.0
10.0
50.0
100.0
Figure 10-10: The results of applying eight different Radius values,
ranging from precise edges to very gooey.
Figure 10-11 shows the results of combining different Amount and Radius values.
You can see that a large Amount value helps to offset the softening of a high Radius
value. For example, when the Amount is set to 200 percent, as in the first row, the
Radius value appears to mainly enhance contrast when raised from 0.5 to 2.0.
However, when the Amount value is lowered to 50 percent, the higher Radius
value does more to distribute the effect than boost contrast.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
200%, 0.5
200%, 2.0
200%, 10.0
100%, 0.5
100%, 2.0
100%, 10.0
50%, 0.5
50%, 2.0
50%, 10.0
Figure 10-11: The effects of combining different Amount and Radius
settings. The Threshold value for each image was set to 0, the default setting.
For those few folks who are thinking, “By gum, I wonder what would happen if
you applied an unusually high Radius value to each color channel independently,”
you have only to consult Color Plate 10-4. In this figure, I again applied the Unsharp
Mask filter to each channel and each pair of channels in the RGB chess image independently. But I changed the Amount value to 250 percent, raised the Radius value
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to a whopping 20.0 pixels, and left the Threshold at 0. To make the splash more
apparent, I applied the filter twice to each image. The colors now bound out from
the king, queen, and knight, bleeding into the gray background by as much as 20
pixels, the Radius value. Notice how the color fades away from the pieces, almost
as if I had selected and feathered them? A high Radius value spreads the sharpening
effect and, in doing so, allows colors to bleed. Because you normally apply the filter
to all channels simultaneously, the colors bleed uniformly to create thick edges and
high-contrast effects.
Recognizing edges
By default, the Unsharp Mask filter sharpens every pixel in a selection. However,
you can instruct the filter to sharpen only the edges in an image by raising the
Threshold value from zero to some other number. The Threshold value represents
the difference between two neighboring pixels — as measured in brightness
levels — that must occur for Photoshop to recognize them as an edge.
Suppose that the brightness values of neighboring pixels are 10 and 20. If you set
the Threshold value to 5, Photoshop reads both pixels, notes that the difference
between their brightness values is more than 5, and treats them as an edge. If
you set the Threshold value to 20, however, Photoshop passes them by. A low
Threshold value, therefore, causes the Unsharp Mask Filter to affect a high
number of pixels, and vice versa.
In the top row of images in Figure 10-12, the high Threshold values result in tiny
slivers of sharpness that outline only the most substantial edges in the woman’s
face. As I lower the Threshold value incrementally in the second and third rows,
the sharpening effect takes over more and more of the face, ultimately sharpening
all details uniformly in the lower-right example.
Using the preset sharpening filters
So how do the Sharpen, Sharpen Edges, and Sharpen More commands compare
with the Unsharp Mask filter? First of all, none of the preset commands permit you
to vary the thickness of your edges, a function provided by Unsharp Mask’s Radius
option. Second, only the Sharpen Edges command can recognize high-contrast
areas in an image. And third, all three commands are set in stone — you can’t adjust
their effects in any way (except, of course, to fade the filter after the fact). Figure
10-13 shows the effect of each preset command and the nearly equivalent effect created with the Unsharp Mask filter.
Sharpening grainy photographs
Having completed my neutral discussion of Unsharp Mask, king of the Sharpen filters, I hasten to interject a little bit of commentary, along with a helpful solution to
a common sharpening problem.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
80
50
30
20
15
10
5
2
0
Figure 10-12: The results of applying nine different Threshold values. To
best show off the differences between each image, I set the Amount and
Radius values to 500 percent and 2.0 respectively.
First, the commentary: While Amount and Radius are the kinds of superior options
that will serve you well throughout the foreseeable future, I urge young and old to
observe Threshold with the utmost scorn and rancor. The idea is fine — we can all
agree that you need some way to draw a dividing line between those pixels that you
want to sharpen and those that you want to leave unchanged. But the Threshold
setting is nothing more than a glorified on/off switch that results in harsh transitions between sharpened and unsharpened pixels.
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Sharpen
Sharpen Edges
Sharpen More
100%, 0.5, 0
100%, 0.5, 5
300%, 0.5, 0
Figure 10-13: The effects of the three preset sharpening filters (top row)
compared with the Unsharp Mask equivalents (bottom row). Unsharp
Mask values are listed in the following order: Amount, Radius, Threshold.
Consider the picture of pre-presidential Eisenhower in Figure 10-14. Like so many
vintage photographs, this particular image of Ike is a little softer than we’re used
to seeing these days. But if I apply a heaping helping of Unsharp Mask — as in the
second example in the figure — I bring out as much film grain as image detail. The
official Photoshop solution is to raise the Threshold value, but the option’s intrinsic
harshness results in a pockmarked effect, as shown on the right. Photoshop has
simply replaced one kind of grain with another.
These abrupt transitions are quite out of keeping with Photoshop’s normal
approach. Paintbrushes have antialiased edges, selections can be feathered, the
Color Range command offers Fuzziness — in short, everything mimics the softness
found in real life. Yet right here, inside what is indisputably Photoshop’s most
essential filter, we find no mechanism for softness whatsoever.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Soft
Sharpened, Threshold: 20
Sharpened, Threshold: 0
Figure 10-14: The original Ike is a bit soft (left), a condition I can remedy with
Unsharp Mask. Leaving the Threshold value set to 0 brings out the film grain
(middle), but raising the value results in equally unattractive artifacts (right).
While we wait for Photoshop to give us a better Threshold — one with a Fuzziness
slider or similar control — you can create a better Threshold using a very simple
masking technique. Using a few filters that I explore at greater length throughout
this chapter and the next, you can devise a selection outline that traces the essential edges in the image — complete with fuzzy transitions — and leaves the nonedges unmolested. So get out your favorite old vintage photograph and follow
along with these steps.
STEPS: Creating and Using an Edge Mask
1. Duplicate one of the color channels. Bring up the Channels palette and drag
one of the color channels onto the little page icon. Ike is a grayscale image, so
I duplicate the one and only channel.
2. Choose Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Find Edges. As I explain in Chapter 11, the Find
Edges filter automatically traces the edges of your image with thick, gooey
outlines that are ideal for creating edge masks.
3. Press Ctrl+I. Or choose Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Invert. Find Edges produces black
lines against a white background, but in order to select your edges, you need
white lines against a black background. The Invert command reverses the
lights and darks in the mask, as in the first example in Figure 10-15.
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Find Edges, Invert
Sharpened edges
Find edge mask
Figure 10-15: I copy a channel, find the edges, and invert (left). I then apply a
string of filters to expand and soften the edges (middle). After converting the
mask to a selection outline, I reapply Unsharp Mask with winning results (right).
4. Choose Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Median. You need fat, gooey edges, and the current
ones are a bit tenuous. To firm up the edges, choose the Median filter, enter
a value of 2 (or thereabouts), and press Enter.
5. Choose Filter ➪ Other ➪ Maximum. The next step is to thicken up the edges.
The Maximum filter expands the white areas in the image, serving much the
same function in a mask as Select ➪ Modify ➪ Expand serves when editing a
selection outline. Enter 4 for the Radius value and press Enter.
6. Choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur. Unfortunately, the Maximum filter
results in a bunch of little squares that don’t do much for our cause. You
can merge the squares into a seamless line by choosing the Gaussian Blur
command and entering 4, the same radius you entered for Maximum. Then
press Enter.
The completed mask is pictured in the second example of Figure 10-15.
Though hardly an impressive sight to the uninitiated eye, you’re looking
at the perfect edge mask — soft, natural, and extremely accurate.
7. Return to the standard composite view. Press Ctrl+tilde (~) in a color image.
In a grayscale image, press Ctrl+1.
8. Convert the mask to a selection outline. Ctrl-click the mask name in the
Channels palette. Photoshop selects the most essential edges in the image
without selecting the grain.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
9. Choose Filter ➪ Sharpen ➪ Unsharp Mask. In the last example in Figure 10-15, I
applied the highest permitted Amount value, 500 percent, and a Radius of 2.0.
10. Whatever values you use, make sure the Threshold is set to 0. And always
leave it at 0 from this day forward.
In case Figures 10-14 and 10-15 are a little too subtle, I include enlarged views of
the great general’s eyes in Figure 10-16. The top eyes show the result of using the
Threshold value, the bottom eyes were created using the edge mask. Which ones
appear sharper and less grainy to you?
Figure 10-16: Enlarged views of
the last examples from Figures
10-14 (top) and 10-15 (bottom).
A good edge mask beats the
Threshold value every time.
Using the High Pass filter
The High Pass filter falls more or less in the same camp as the sharpening filters but
is not located under the Filter ➪ Sharpen submenu. This frequently overlooked gem
enables you to isolate high-contrast image areas from their low-contrast counterparts.
When you choose Filter ➪ Other ➪ High Pass, Photoshop offers a single option:
the familiar Radius value, which can vary from 0.1 to 250.0. As demonstrated in
Figure 10-17, high Radius values distinguish areas of high and low contrast only
slightly. Low values change all high-contrast areas to dark gray and low-contrast
areas to a slightly lighter gray. A value of 0.1 (not shown) changes all pixels in an
image to a single gray value and is therefore useless.
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100.0
50.0
35.0
20.0
10.0
5.0
3.5
2.0
1.0
Figure 10-17: The results of separating high- and low-contrast areas in
an image with the High Pass filter set at eight different Radius values.
Applying High Pass to individual color channels
In my continuing series of color plates devoted to adding a bit of digital color to the
ages-old game of chess, Color Plate 10-5 shows the results of applying the High Pass
filter set to a Radius value of 5.0 to the various color channels. This application is a
pretty interesting use for this filter. When applied to all channels at once, High Pass
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
has an irritating habit of robbing the image of color in the low-contrast areas, just
where the color is needed most. But when you apply it to a single channel, there’s
no color to steal. In fact, the filter adds color. For example, because there is almost
no contrast in the dark shadows, High Pass elevates the black to gray in each of the
affected color channels. The gray in the red channel appears red, the gray in the
red channel mixed with the gray in the green channel appears yellow, and so on.
As a result, the filter imbues each image with a chalky glow.
Note
I enhanced the High Pass effect slightly in Color Plate 10-5 by increasing the
contrast of each affected color channel using the Levels command. Using the
Input option boxes at the top of the Levels dialog box, I changed the first value
to 65 and the third value to 190, thereby compressing the color space equally on
both the black and white sides. Had I not done this, the images would appear a
little more washed out. (Not a lot, but I figure that you deserve the best color I
can deliver.) For detailed information on the Levels command, read Chapter 17.
Converting an image into a line drawing
The High Pass filter is especially useful as a precursor to Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Threshold,
which converts all pixels in an image to black and white (again, covered in Chapter
17). As illustrated in Figure 10-18, the Threshold command produces entirely different
effects on images before and after you alter them with the High Pass filter. In fact,
applying the High Pass filter with a low Radius value and then issuing the Threshold
command converts your image into a line drawing.
In the second row of examples in the figure, I followed Threshold with Filter ➪
Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur (the subject of the next section). I set the Gaussian Blur
Radius value to 1.0. Like the Threshold option in the Unsharp Mask dialog box,
the Threshold command results in harsh transitions; Gaussian Blur softens
them to produce a more natural effect.
Why change your image to a bunch of slightly different gray values and then apply
a command such as Threshold? One reason is to create a mask, as discussed at
length in the “Building a Mask from an Image” section of Chapter 9. (In Chapter 9, I
used Levels instead of Threshold, but both are variations on the same theme.)
You might also want to bolster the edges in an image. For example, to achieve the
last row of examples in Figure 10-18, I layered the images prior to applying High
Pass, Threshold, and Gaussian Blur. Then I monkeyed around with the Opacity
setting and the blend mode to achieve an edge-tracing effect.
Note
I should mention that Photoshop provides several automated edge-tracing filters —
including Find Edges, Trace Contour, and the Gallery Effects acquisition, Glowing
Edges. But High Pass affords more control than any of these commands and permits
you to explore a wider range of alternatives. Also worth noting, several Gallery
Effects filters — most obviously Filter ➪ Sketch ➪ Photocopy — lift much of their
code directly from High Pass. Although it may seem at first glance a strange effect,
High Pass is one of the seminal filters in Photoshop.
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5.0
2.5
1.0
Threshold and Gaussian Blur
Opacity: 45%, Overlay mode
Figure 10-18: Several applications of the High Pass filter with low
Radius values (top row), followed by the same images subject to
Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Threshold and Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur (middle).
I then layered the second row onto the first and modified the Opacity
and blend mode settings to create the third row.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Blurring an Image
The commands under the Filter ➪ Blur submenu produce the opposite effects of
their counterparts under the Filter ➪ Sharpen submenu. Rather than enhancing the
amount of contrast between neighboring pixels, the Blur filters diminish contrast to
create softening effects.
Applying the Gaussian Blur filter
The preeminent Blur filter, Gaussian Blur, blends a specified number of pixels incrementally, following the bell-shaped Gaussian distribution curve I touched on earlier.
When you choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur, Photoshop produces a single Radius
option box, in which you can enter any value from 0.1 to 250.0. (Beginning to sound
familiar?) As demonstrated in Figure 10-19, Radius values of 1.0 and smaller blur an
image slightly; moderate values, between 1.0 and 5.0, turn an image into a rude
approximation of life without my glasses on; and higher values blur the image
beyond recognition.
Moderate to high Radius values can be especially useful for creating that hugely
amusing Star Trek Iridescent Female effect. This is the old Star Trek, of course.
Captain Kirk meets some bewitching ambassador or scientist who has just beamed
on board. He takes her hand in sincere welcome as he gives out with a lecherous
grin and explains how truly honored he is to have such a renowned guest in his
transporter room, and so charming to boot. Then we see it — the close-up of the
fetching actress shrouded in a kind of gleaming halo that prevents us from discerning if her lips are chapped or perhaps she’s hiding an old acne scar, because some
cockeyed cinematographer smeared Vaseline all over the camera lens. I mean, what
wouldn’t you give to be able to recreate this effect in Photoshop?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any images of actresses adorned in futuristic go-go
boots, so Constantine cum Rambo will have to do in a pinch. The following steps
explain how to make the colossal head glow as demonstrated in Figure 10-20.
STEPS: The Captain Kirk Myopia Effect
1. Press Ctrl+A to select the entire image. If you only want to apply the effect to
a portion of the image, feather the selection with a radius in the neighborhood
of 5 to 8 pixels.
2. Choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur. Enter some unusually large value into
the Radius option box — say, 8.0 — and press Enter.
3. Press Ctrl+Shift+F to bring up the Fade dialog box. To achieve the effects
shown in Figure 10-20, I reduced the Opacity value to 70 percent, making the
blurred image slightly translucent. This way, you can see the hard edges of
the original image through the filtered one.
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4. You can achieve additional effects by selecting options from the Mode
pop-up menu. For example, I created the upper-right example in the figure
by selecting the Screen option, which uses the colors in the filtered image
to lighten the original. I created the two bottom examples in the figure by
applying the Darken and Lighten options.
0.3
0.6
1.0
1.5
2.0
3.5
5.0
10.0
50.0
Figure 10-19: The results of blurring an image with the Gaussian Blur
filter using eight different Radius values, ranging from slightly out of
focus to Bad Day at the Ophthalmologist’s Office.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Normal
Screen
Darken
Lighten
Figure 10-20: After blurring the image, I chose Edit ➪ Fade
Gaussian Blur and changed the Opacity value to 70 percent.
Then I applied the labeled blend modes to alter the image further.
Color Plate 10-6 shows an image that’s more likely to interest Captain Kirk. It
shows a young agrarian woman subject to most of the same settings I applied
earlier to Constantine. Again, I applied the Gaussian Blur filter with a Radius of 8.0.
Then I used Edit ➪ Fade Gaussian Blur to adjust the Opacity value and blend mode.
The upper-left image shows the Normal mode, but the upper-right image shows
the Luminosity mode. In this case, the Screen mode resulted in a washed-out effect,
whereas Luminosity yielded an image with crisp color detail and fuzzy brightness
values. As a result, there are some interesting places where the colors leap off her
checkered dress. As in Figure 10-20, the bottom two images show the effects of the
Darken and Lighten modes.
You know, though, as I look at this woman, I’m beginning to have my doubts about
her and Captain Kirk. I mean, she has Scotty written all over her.
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The preset blurring filters
Neither of the two preset commands in the Filter ➪ Blur submenu, Blur and Blur
More, can distribute its blurring effect over a bell-shaped Gaussian curve. For that
reason, these two commands are less functional than the Gaussian Blur filter.
However, just so you know where they stand in the grand Photoshop focusing
scheme, Figure 10-21 shows the effect of each preset command and the nearly
equivalent effect created with the Gaussian Blur filter.
Figure 10-21: The effects of the
two preset blurring filters (top row)
compared with their Gaussian Blur
equivalents (bottom row), which
are labeled according to Radius
values.
Blur
Blur More
0.3
0.7
Antialiasing an image
If you have a particularly jagged image, such as a 256-color GIF file, there’s a
better way to soften the rough edges than applying the Gaussian Blur filter. The
best solution is to antialias the image. How? After all, Photoshop doesn’t offer an
Antialias filter. Well, think about it. Back in the “Softening selection outlines” section
of Chapter 8, I described how Photoshop antialiases a brushstroke or selection
outline at twice its normal size and then reduces it by 50 percent and applies
bicubic interpolation. You can do the same thing with an image.
Choose Image ➪ Image Size and enlarge the image to 200 percent of its present size.
Make sure that the Resample Image check box is turned on and set to Bicubic. (You
can also experiment with Bilinear for a slightly different effect, but don’t use Nearest
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Neighbor.) Next, turn right around and choose Image ➪ Image Size again, but this
time shrink the image by 50 percent.
The top-left example in Figure 10-22 shows a jagged image subject to this effect. I used
Image ➪ Adjust ➪ Posterize to reduce Moses to four colors. It’s ugly, but it’s not unlike
the kind of images you may encounter, particularly if you have access to an aging
image library. To the right is the same image subject to Gaussian Blur with a very
low Radius value of 0.5. Rather than appearing softened, the result is just plain fuzzy.
Jagged original
Antialiased
Gaussian Blur, 0.5
Antialiased x 4
Figure 10-22: A particularly jagged image (top left) followed by the image
blurred using a filter (top right). By enlarging and reducing the image one or
more times (bottom left and right), I soften the pixels without making them
appear blurry. The enlarged details show each operation’s effect on the
individual pixels.
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However, if I instead enlarge and reduce the image with the Image Size command,
I achieve a true softening effect, as shown in the lower-left example in the figure,
commensurate with Photoshop’s antialiasing options. Even after enlarging and
reducing the image four times in a row — as in the bottom-right example — I
don’t make the image blurry, I simply make it softer.
Directional blurring
In addition to its everyday blurring functions, Photoshop provides two directional
blurring filters, Motion Blur and Radial Blur. Instead of blurring pixels in feathered
clusters like the Gaussian Blur filter, the Motion Blur filter blurs pixels in straight
lines over a specified distance. The Radial Blur filter blurs pixels in varying degrees
depending on their distance from the center of the blur. The following pages explain
both of these filters in detail.
Motion blurring
The Motion Blur filter makes an image appear as if either the image or camera
was moving when you shot the photo. When you choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Motion
Blur, Photoshop displays the dialog box shown in Figure 10-23. You enter the angle
of movement into the Angle option box. Alternatively, you can indicate the angle
by dragging the straight line inside the circle on the right side of the dialog box,
as shown in the figure. (Notice that the arrow cursor actually appears outside the
circle. Once you begin dragging on the line, you can move the cursor anywhere
you want and still affect the angle.)
Figure 10-23: Drag the line inside the circle to
change the angle of the blur.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
You then enter the distance of the movement in the Distance option box. Photoshop
permits any value between 1 and 999 pixels. The filter distributes the effect of
the blur over the course of the Distance value, as illustrated by the examples
in Figure 10-24.
Original
50 pixels
100 pixels
200 pixels
300 pixels
500 pixels
Figure 10-24: A single black rectangle followed by five different
applications of the Motion Blur filter. Only the Distance value varied,
as labeled. A 0-degree Angle value was used in all five examples.
Note
Mathematically speaking, Motion Blur is one of Photoshop’s simpler filters. Rather
than distributing the effect over a Gaussian curve — which one might argue would
produce a more believable effect — Photoshop creates a simple linear distribution,
peaking in the center and fading at either end. It’s as if the program took the value
you specified in the Distance option, created that many clones of the image, offset
half the clones in one direction and half the clones in the other — all spaced 1 pixel
apart — and then varied the opacity of each.
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Using the Wind filter
The problem with the Motion Blur filter is that it blurs pixels in two directions. If
you want to distribute pixels in one absolute direction or the other, try the Wind
filter, which you can use either on its own or in tandem with Motion Blur.
When you choose Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Wind, Photoshop displays the Wind dialog box
shown in Figure 10-25. You can select from three methods and two directions to
distribute the selected pixels. Figure 10-26 compares the effect of the Motion Blur
filter to each of the three methods offered by the Wind filter. Notice that the Wind
filter does not blur pixels. Rather, it evaluates a selection in 1-pixel-tall horizontal
strips and offsets the strips randomly inside the image.
Figure 10-25: Use the Wind filter
to randomly distribute a selection
in 1-pixel horizontal strips in one
of two directions.
To get the best results, try combining the Motion Blur and Wind filters with a translucent selection. For example, to create Figure 10-27, I cloned the entire image to a new
layer and applied the Wind command twice, first selecting the Stagger option and
then selecting Blast. Next, I applied the Motion Blur command with a 0-degree angle
and a Distance value of 30. I then set the Opacity option in the Layers palette to 80
percent and selected Lighten from the blend mode pop-up menu.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
The result is a perfect blend between two worlds. The motion effect in Figure 10-27
doesn’t obliterate the image detail, as the Wind filter does in Figure 10-26. And the
motion appears to run in a single direction — to the right — something you can’t
accomplish using Motion Blur on its own.
Motion Blur
Wind
Blast
Stagger
Figure 10-26: The difference between the effects of the Motion
Blur filter (upper left) and the Wind filter (other three). In each
case, I selected From the Right from the Direction radio buttons.
Radial blurring
Choosing Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Radial Blur displays the Radial Blur dialog box shown in
Figure 10-28. The dialog box offers two Blur Method options: Spin and Zoom.
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Figure 10-27: The result of combining
the Wind and Motion Blur filters with a
translucent selection.
Figure 10-28: Drag inside the Blur
Center grid to change the point about
which the Radial Blur filter spins or
zooms the image.
If you select Spin, the image appears to be rotating about a central point. You specify that point by dragging in the grid inside the Blur Center box (as demonstrated in
the figure). If you select Zoom, the image appears to rush away from you, as if you
were zooming the camera while shooting the photograph. Again, you specify the
central point of the Zoom by dragging in the Blur Center box. Figure 10-29 features
examples of both settings.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Spin, Draft
Spin, Best
Zoom, Draft
Zoom, Best
Figure 10-29: Four examples of the Radial Blur filter set to
both Spin and Zoom, subject to different Quality settings
(left and right). I specified Amount values of 10 pixels for
the Spin examples and 30 for the Zooms. Each effect is
centered about the right eye (your right, that is).
After selecting a Blur Method option, you can enter any value between 1 and 100
in the Amount option box to specify the maximum distance over which the filter
blurs pixels. (You can enter a value of 0, but doing so merely causes the filter to
waste time without producing an effect.) Pixels farthest away from the center point
move the most; pixels close to the center point barely move at all. Keep in mind
that large values take more time to apply than small values. The Radial Blur filter,
incidentally, qualifies as one of Photoshop’s most time-consuming operations.
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Select a Quality option to specify your favorite time/quality compromise. The Good
and Best Quality options ensure smooth results by respectively applying bilinear
and bicubic interpolation (as explained in the “General preferences” section of
Chapter 2). However, they also prolong the amount of time the filter spends
calculating pixels in your image.
The Draft option diffuses an image, which leaves a trail of loose and randomized pixels
but takes less time to complete. I used the Draft setting to create the left-hand images
in Figure 10-29; I selected the Best option to create the images on the right.
Blurring with a threshold
The purpose of the Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Smart Blur is to blur the low-contrast portions
of an image while retaining the edges. This way, you can downplay photo grain,
blemishes, and artifacts without harming the real edges in the image. (If you’re
familiar with Filter ➪ Pixelate ➪ Facet, it may help to know Smart Blur is essentially
a customizable version of that filter.)
The two key options inside the Smart Blur dialog box (see Figure 10-30) are the
Radius and Threshold slider bars. As with all Radius options, this one expands
the number of pixels calculated at a time as you increase the value. Meanwhile, the
Threshold value works just like the one in the Unsharp Mask dialog box, specifying
how different two neighboring pixels must be to be considered an edge.
Figure 10-30: The Smart Blur filter lets you
blur the low-contrast areas of an image
without harming the edges.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
But the Threshold value has a peculiar and unexpected effect on the Radius. The
Radius value actually produces more subtle effects if you raise the value beyond
the Threshold. For example, take a look at Figure 10-31. Here we have a grid of
images subject to different Radius and Threshold values. (The first value below
each image is the radius.) In the top row of the figure, the 5.0 radius actually
produces a more pronounced effect than its 20.0 and 60.0 cousins. This is
because 5.0 is less than the 10.0 threshold, while 20.0 and 60.0 are more.
5.0, 10.0
20.0, 10.0
60.0, 10.0
5.0, 30.0
20.0, 30.0
60.0, 30.0
5.0, 80.0
20.0, 80.0
60.0, 80.0
Figure 10-31: Combinations of different Radius (first number) and
Threshold (second) values. Notice that the most dramatic effects occur
when the radius is equal to about half the threshold.
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The Quality settings control the smoothness of the edges. The High setting takes
more time than Medium and Low, but it looks smoother as well. (I set the value
to High to create all the effects in Figure 10-31.) The two additional Mode options
enable you to trace the edges defined by the Threshold value with white lines.
Overlay Edge shows image and lines, while Edge Only shows just the traced lines.
About the only practical purpose for these options is to monitor the precise effect
of the Threshold setting in the preview box. Otherwise, the Edge options are
clearly relegated to special effects.
Frankly, I’m not convinced that Smart Blur is quite ready for prime time. You
already know what I think of the Threshold option, and it hasn’t gotten any better
here. Without control over the transitions between focused and unfocused areas,
things are going to look pretty strange.
Tip
The better way to blur low-contrast areas is to create an edge mask, as I explained
back in the “Sharpening grainy photographs” section. Just reverse the selection by
choosing Select ➪ Inverse and apply the Gaussian Blur filter.
Figure 10-32 shows how the masking technique compares with Smart Blur. In the
first image, I applied Unsharp Mask with a Threshold of 20. Then I turned around
and applied Smart Blur with a Radius of 2.0 and a Threshold of 20.0, matching the
Unsharp Mask value. The result makes Ike look like he has dandruff coming out of
every pore in his face.
Figure 10-32: The difference between relying on Photoshop’s automated
Threshold capabilities (left) and sharpening and blurring with the aid of
an edge mask (right). Despite the advent of computers, a little manual
labor still wins out over automation.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
In the second image, I created an edge mask — as explained in the “Creating and
Using an Edge Mask” steps — and applied Unsharp Mask with a Threshold of 0.
Then I pressed Ctrl+Shift+I to reverse the selection and applied Gaussian Blur with
a Radius of 2.0. The result is a smooth image with sharp edges that any president
would be proud to hang in the Oval Office.
Softening a selection outline
Gaussian Blur and other Blur filters are equally as useful for editing masks as they
are for editing image pixels. As I mentioned earlier, applying Gaussian Blur to a mask
has the same effect as applying Select ➪ Feather to a selection outline. But Gaussian
Blur affords more control. Where the Feather command affects all portions of a
selection outline uniformly, you can apply Gaussian Blur selectively to a mask,
permitting you to easily mix soft and hard edges within a single selection outline.
Another advantage to blurring a mask is that you can see the results of your
adjustments on-screen, instead of relying on the seldom-helpful marching ants.
For example, suppose that you want to establish a buffer zone between a foreground image and its background. You’ve managed to accurately select the
foreground image — how do you now feather the selection exclusively outward,
so that no portion of the foreground image becomes selected? Although you can
pull off this feat using selection commands such as Expand and Feather, it’s much
easier to apply filters such as Maximum and Gaussian Blur inside a mask. But
before I go any farther, I need to back up and explain how Maximum and its
pal Minimum work.
Maximum and Minimum
Filter ➪ Other ➪ Maximum expands the light portions of an image, spreading them
outward into other pixels. Its opposite, Filter ➪ Other ➪ Minimum, expands the dark
portions of an image. In traditional stat photography, these techniques are known
as spreading and choking.
When you are working in the quick mask mode or an independent mask channel,
applying the Maximum filter has the effect of incrementally expanding the selected
area, adding pixels uniformly around the edges of the selection outline. The Maximum dialog box presents you with a single Radius value, which tells Photoshop
how many edge pixels to expand. Just the opposite, the Minimum filter incrementally decreases the size of white areas, which subtracts pixels uniformly around
the edges of a selection.
Feathering outward from a selection outline
The following steps describe how to use the Maximum and Gaussian Blur filters
to feather an existing selection outline outward so that it doesn’t encroach on the
foreground image.
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STEPS: Adding a Soft Edge in the Quick Mask Mode
1. Select the foreground image. As shown in Figure 10-33, my foreground image
is the layered television that figured so heavily into Chapter 12. I convert the
layer’s transparency mask to a selection outline by Ctrl-clicking on the layer’s
name in the Layers palette.
2. If you’re working on a layer, switch to the background image. The quickest
route is Shift+Alt+[.
3. Press Q to enter the quick mask mode. You can create a new mask channel
if you prefer, but the quick mask mode is more convenient.
Photoshop
4. Choose Filter ➪ Other ➪ Maximum. Enter a Radius value to expand the
transparent area into the rubylith. In Figure 10-33, I entered a Radius value
of 10 pixels. After pressing Enter, I decided this wasn’t enough, so I pressed
Ctrl+Alt+F to bring up the filter again, and further expanded the selection
by 4 pixels.
6
The range of acceptable values for both the Maximum and Minimum filters
now stretches to an impressive 100 pixels, giving you 90 pixels more to play
with than in previous versions of Photoshop.
Figure 10-33: The Maximum filter increases the size of the
transparent area inside the quick mask mode, thereby
expanding the selection outline.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
5. Choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur. To ensure that you don’t blur into the
foreground image, enter a Radius value that’s no more than half the value you
entered into the Maximum dialog box. Altogether, I expanded the selection by
14 pixels, so I entered 7 into the Gaussian Blur dialog box. Photoshop blurs
the transparent area, as shown in Figure 10-34.
Figure 10-34: Use the Gaussian Blur filter to soften the
transparent area, thus feathering the selection outline.
6. Invert the mask by pressing Ctrl+I. So far, I selected the TV, but I really want
to edit the background. So I pressed Ctrl+I to invert the mask and inverse the
prospective selection.
7. Press Q to exit the quick mask mode. Ah, back in the workaday world of
marching ants.
8. Apply the desired effect. I copied a zebra-skin pattern from another image.
Then I chose Edit ➪ Paste Into (Ctrl+Shift+V) to paste the pattern inside the
selection. Photoshop created a new layer with layer mask. After Ctrl-dragging
the pattern into position, I applied the Overlay blend mode to achieve the
effect shown in Figure 10-35.
Thanks to my expanded and softened selection outline, the stripes fade toward the
television without ever quite touching it. As I said, you can achieve this effect using
Select ➪ Modify ➪ Expand and Feather, but unless you have a special aversion to the
quick mask mode, it’s easier to be sure of your results when you can see exactly
what you’re doing.
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Figure 10-35: I copied some zebra skin from one image
window and pressed Ctrl+Shift+V to paste it into my
new selection.
Noise Factors
Photoshop offers four loosely associated filters in its Filter ➪ Noise submenu.
One filter adds random pixels — known as noise — to an image. The other three,
Despeckle, Dust and Scratches, and Median, average the colors of neighboring
pixels in ways that theoretically remove noise from poorly scanned images. But in
fact, they function nearly as well at removing essential detail as they do at removing
extraneous noise. In the following sections, I show you how the Noise filters work,
demonstrate a few of my favorite applications, and leave you to draw your own
conclusions.
Adding noise
Noise adds grit and texture to an image. Noise makes an image look like you shot it
in New York on the Lower East Side and were lucky to get the photo at all because
someone was throwing sand in your face as you sped away in your chauffeur-driven,
jet-black Maserati Bora, hammering away at the shutter release. In reality, of course,
a guy over at Sears shot the photo while you toodled around in your minivan trying
to find a store that sold day-old bread. But that’s the beauty of Noise. It makes you
look cool, even when you aren’t.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
You add noise by choosing Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Add Noise. Shown in Figure 10-36, the
Add Noise dialog box features the following options:
Photoshop
✦ Amount: This value determines how far pixels in the image can stray
from their current colors. The value represents a color range rather than
a brightness range.
6
In previous versions of Photoshop, the Amount value was measured in
brightness values. Now, you enter a percentage value for Amount. You
can enter a value as high as 400 percent. The percentage is based on 256
brightness values per channel if you’re working with a 24-bit image and
32,768 brightness values for 16-bit images. So with a 24-bit image (8-bit
channels), the default value of 12.5 percent is equivalent to the Photoshop
5.5 default of 32 brightness levels, which is 12.5 percent of 256.
For example, if you enter a value of 12.5 percent for a 24-bit image, Photoshop
can apply any color that is 32 shades more or less red, more or less green, and
more or less blue than the current color. If you enter 400 percent, Photoshop
theoretically can go 1024 brightness values lighter or darker. But that results
in colors that are out of range; therefore, they get clipped to black or white.
The result is higher contrast inside the noise pixels.
Figure 10-36: The Add Noise dialog box asks you
to specify the amount and variety of noise you
want to add to the selection.
✦ Uniform: Select this option to apply colors absolutely randomly within the
specified range. Photoshop is no more likely to apply one color within the
range than another, thus resulting in an even color distribution.
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✦ Gaussian: When you select this option, you instruct Photoshop to prioritize
colors along the Gaussian distribution curve. The effect is that most colors
added by the filter either closely resemble the original colors or push the
boundaries of the specified range. In other words, this option results in more
light and dark pixels, thus producing a more pronounced effect.
✦ Monochromatic: When working on a full-color image, the Add Noise filter distributes pixels randomly throughout the different color channels. However,
when you select the Monochrome check box, Photoshop distributes the noise
in the same manner in all channels. The result is grayscale noise. (This option
does not affect grayscale images; the noise can’t get any more grayscale than
it already is.)
Figure 10-37 compares three applications of Gaussian noise to identical amounts of
Uniform noise. Figure 10-38 features magnified views of the noise so that you can
compare the colors of individual pixels.
Gaussian, 6.25%
Gaussian, 12.5%
Gaussian, 18.75%
Uniform, 6.25%
Uniform, 12.5%
Uniform, 18.75%
Figure 10-37: The Gaussian option produces more pronounced effects
than the Uniform option at identical Amount values.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Gaussian, 6.25%
Gaussian, 12.5%
Gaussian, 18.75%
Uniform, 6.25%
Uniform, 12.5%
Uniform, 18.75%
Figure 10-38: The upper-left corners of the examples from
Figure 10-37 enlarged to four times their original size.
Noise variations
Photoshop
Normally, the Add Noise filter adds both lighter and darker pixels to an image.
If you prefer, however, you can limit the effect of the filter to strictly lighter or
darker pixels. To do so, apply the Add Noise filter, and then apply the Fade
command (Ctrl+Shift+F) and select the Lighten or Darken blend mode. Or you
can copy the image to a new layer, apply the filter, and merge the filtered image
with the underlying original.
6
Remember, the Fade command now resides on the Edit menu, not the Filter menu.
But everything else about Fade is the same as it was in the past.
Figure 10-39 shows sample applications of lighter and darker noise. After copying
the image to a separate layer, I applied the Add Noise filter with an Amount value
of 40 percent, and selected Gaussian. To create the upper-left example in the figure,
I selected Lighten from the blend mode pop-up menu. To create the right example, I
selected the Darken mode. In each case, I added a layer of strictly lighter or darker
noise while at the same time retaining the clarity of the original image.
To achieve the streaked noise effects in the bottom example of Figure 10-39, I
applied Motion Blur and Unsharp Mask to the layered images. Inside the Motion
Blur dialog box, I set the Angle value to –30 degrees and the Distance to 30 pixels.
Then I applied Unsharp Mask with an Amount value of 200 percent and a Radius
of 1. Naturally, the Threshold value was 0.
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Lighten
Darken
Motion Blur, Lighten
Motion Blur, Darken
Figure 10-39: You can limit the Add Noise filter to strictly
lighter (left) or darker (right) noise by applying the filter to
a layered clone. To create the rainy and scraped effects
(bottom examples), I applied Motion Blur and Unsharp
Mask to the noise layers.
Chunky noise
My biggest frustration with the Add Noise filter is that you can’t specify the size
of individual specks of noise. No matter how you cut it, noise only comes in 1-pixel
squares. It may occur to you that you can enlarge the noise dots in a layer by
applying the Maximum or Minimum filter. But in practice, doing so simply fills
in the image, because there isn’t sufficient space between the noise pixels to
accommodate the larger dot sizes.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Luckily, Photoshop provides several alternatives. One is the Pointillize filter, which
adds variable-sized dots and then colors those dots in keeping with the original
colors in the image. Though Pointillize lacks the random quality of the Add Noise
filter, you can use it to add texture to an image.
To create the top-left image in Figure 10-40, I chose Filter ➪ Pixelate ➪ Pointillize
and entered 5 into the Cell Size option box. After pressing Enter to apply the filter, I
pressed Ctrl+Shift+F to fade the filter, changing the Opacity value to 50 percent. The
effect is rather like applying chunky bits of noise.
Pointillize, 50%
Halftone Pattern
Grain, Clumped
Speckled, 50%
Figure 10-40: The results of applying several different Add
Noise-like filters, including Pointillize, Halftone Pattern, and
Grain. A percentage value indicates that I modified the
Opacity setting in the Fade dialog box.
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The Gallery Effects filters provide a few noise alternatives. Filter ➪ Sketch ➪ Halftone
Pattern adds your choice of dot patterns, as shown in the upper-right example in
Figure 10-40. But like all filters in the Sketch submenu, it replaces the colors in your
image with the foreground and background colors. Filter ➪ Texture ➪ Grain is a regular noise smorgasbord, permitting you to select from 10 different Grain Type options,
each of which produces a different kind of noise. The bottom examples in Figure
10-40 show off two of the Grain options, Clumped and Speckled. I used Edit ➪ Fade
Grain to reduce the Opacity value for the Speckled effect to 50 percent.
Removing noise with Despeckle
Now for the noise removal filters. Strictly speaking, the Despeckle command probably belongs in the Filter ➪ Blur submenu. It blurs a selection while at the same time
preserving its edges — the idea being that unwanted noise is most noticeable in the
continuous regions of an image. In practice, this filter is nearly the exact opposite of
the Sharpen Edges filter.
The Despeckle command searches an image for edges using the equivalent of an
Unsharp Mask Threshold value of 5. It then ignores the edges in the image and blurs
everything else with the force of the Blur More filter, as shown in the upper-left image
in Figure 10-41.
Despeckle
Median, 1
3
5
10
16
Figure 10-41: The effects of the Despeckle filter (upper left) and Median
filter. The numbers indicate Median filter Radius values.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Averaging pixels with Median
Photoshop
Another command in the Filter ➪ Noise submenu, Median removes noise by averaging
the colors in an image, one pixel at a time. When you choose Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Median,
Photoshop produces a Radius option box. For every pixel in a selection, the filter
averages the colors of the neighboring pixels that fall inside the specified radius —
ignoring any pixels that are so different that they might skew the average — and
applies the average color to the central pixel.
6
You can now enter any value between 1 and 100. However, even at the old limit, 16,
significant blurring occurs, as you can see from the bottom-right example in Figure
10-41 (in the preceding section). At the maximum Radius value, you wind up with a
sort of soft, blurry gradient, with all image detail obliterated.
As with Gaussian Blur, you can achieve some very interesting and useful effects by
backing off the Median filter with the Fade command. But rather than creating a Star
Trek glow, Median clumps up details, giving an image a plastic, molded quality, as
demonstrated by the examples in Figure 10-42. To create every one of these images,
I applied the Median Filter with a Radius of 5 pixels. Then I pressed Ctrl+Shift+F to
display the Fade dialog box and lowered the Opacity value to 70 percent. The only
difference between one image and the next is the blend mode.
Another difference between Gaussian Blur and Median is that Gaussian Blur
destroys edges and Median invents new ones. This means you can follow up the
Median filter with Unsharp Mask to achieve even more pronounced sculptural
effects. I sharpened every one of the examples in Figure 10-42 using an Amount
value of 150 percent and a Radius of 1.5.
Sharpening a compressed image
Digital cameras are the hottest thing in electronic imaging. You can take as many
images as you like, download them to your computer immediately, and place them
into a printed document literally minutes after snapping the picture. In the next five
years, I have little doubt that you — yes, you — will purchase a digital camera (if you
haven’t already).
Unfortunately, the technology is still very young. And if you’re using one of the midor low-priced cameras — read that, under $500 — even the slightest application of the
Unsharp Mask filter sometimes results in jagged edges and unsightly artifacts. These
blemishes stem from a stingy supply of pixels, heavy-handed compression schemes
(all based on JPEG), or both. The situation is improving; cameras at the high end of
the consumer price range ($700 and up) can produce 3-megapixel images and often
enable you to store uncompressed images in the TIFF format. But as with all good
things in life, it will take a while for those options to be available in moderately
priced equipment.
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Normal
Screen
Darken
Lighten
Figure 10-42: After applying the Median filter, I reversed the
effect slightly using Edit ➪ Fade Median. Although I varied the
blend mode — as labeled beneath the images — the Opacity
value remained a constant 70 percent.
In the meantime, firm up the detail and smooth out the color transitions in your
digital photos by applying a combination of filters — Median, Gaussian Blur, and
Unsharp Mask — to a layered version of the image. The following steps tell all.
Note
If you own a digital camera, I encourage you to record these steps with the Actions
palette, as explained in Chapter B on the CD accompanying this book. This way, you
can set Photoshop to open squads of images, batch-process them, and save them in
a separate folder, leaving you free to do something fun, like read more of this book.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
STEPS: Adjusting the Focus of Digital Photos
1. Select the entire image and copy it to a new layer. That’s Ctrl+A,
Ctrl+J. Figure 10-43 shows the image that I intend to sharpen, a picture
of a friend’s child.
Figure 10-43: I captured this youthful fellow
with a low-end digital camera equipped with a
removable fish-eye lens. How innocent and happy
he looks — obviously not a computer user.
2. Choose Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Median. After processing several thousand of
these images, I’ve found that a Radius value of 2 is almost always the
optimal choice. But if the image is particularly bad, 3 may be warranted.
3. Choose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur. Now that you’ve gummed up the detail
a bit and rubbed out most of the compression, use the Gaussian Blur filter
with a Radius of 1.0 to blur the gummy detail slightly. This softens the edges
that the Median filter creates. (You don’t want any fake edges, after all.)
4. Choose Filter ➪ Sharpen ➪ Unsharp Mask. All this blurring demands some
intense sharpening. So apply Unsharp Mask with a maximum Amount value
of 500 percent and a Radius of 1.0 (to match the Gaussian Blur radius). This
restores most of the definition to the edges, as shown in Figure 10-44.
5. Lower the layer’s Opacity value. By itself, the filtered layer is a bit too smooth.
So mix the filtered floater with the underlying original with an Opacity value
between 30 and 50 percent. I found that I could go pretty high — 45 percent —
with Cooper. Kids have clearly defined details that survive filtering quite nicely.
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Figure 10-44: Thanks to Median, Gaussian Blur,
and Unsharp Mask, Cooper is a much smoother
customer. In fact, he’s beyond smooth — he’s a
gummy kid.
6. Merge the image. Press Ctrl+E to send the layer down.
7. Continue to correct the image as you normally would. The examples in
Figure 10-45 show the difference between applying the Unsharp Mask filter
to the original image (top) and the filtered mixture (bottom). In both cases,
I applied an Amount value of 200 percent and a Radius of 1.0. The top photo
displays an unfortunate wealth of artifacts — particularly visible in the
magnified eye — while the bottom one appears smooth and crisp.
These steps work well for sharpening other kinds of compressed imagery, including
old photographs that you over-compressed without creating backups, and images
that you’ve downloaded from the Internet. If applying the Unsharp Mask filter
brings out the goobers, try these steps instead.
Cleaning up scanned halftones
Photoshop offers one additional filter in the Filter ➪ Noise submenu called Dust &
Scratches. The purpose of this filter is to remove dust particles, hairs, scratches,
and other imperfections that may accompany a scan. The filter offers two options,
Radius and Threshold. As long as the offending imperfection is smaller or thinner
than the Radius value and different enough from its neighbors to satisfy the
Threshold value, the filter deletes the spot or line and interpolates between
the pixels around the perimeter.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
Figure 10-45: Here you can see the difference
between sharpening a digital photograph right off
the bat (top) and waiting to sharpen until after
you’ve prepared the image with Median, Gaussian
Blur, and Unsharp Mask (bottom).
But like so many automated tools, this one works only when conditions are favorable.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever use it — in fact, you may always want to give
this filter the first crack at a dusty image. But if it doesn’t work (as it probably won’t),
don’t get your nose out of joint. Just hunker down and eliminate the imperfections
manually using the rubber stamp tool, as explained in the “Touching up blemishes”
section of Chapter 7.
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Now, as I say, Dust & Scratches was designed to get rid of gunk on a dirty scanner.
But another problem that the filter may be able to eliminate is moiré patterns.
These patterns appear when scanning halftoned images from books and magazines.
See, any time you scan a printed image, you’re actually scanning a collection
of halftone dots rather than a continuous-tone photograph. In most cases, the
halftone pattern clashes with the resolution of the scanned image to produce
rhythmic and distracting moirés.
Caution
When scanning published photographs or artwork, take a moment to find out if
what you’re doing is legal. It’s up to you to make sure that the image you scan is
no longer protected by copyright — most, but not all, works over 75 years old are
considered free game — or that your noncommercial application of the image falls
under the fair-use umbrella of commentary or criticism.
The Dust & Scratches filter can be pretty useful for eliminating moirés, particularly
if you reduce the Threshold value below 40. But this also goes a long way toward
eliminating the actual image detail, as shown in Color Plate 10-7. This figure features
an image scanned from a previous issue of Macworld magazine. (Because I created
the original image, Macworld probably won’t sue me, but you shouldn’t try it.)
The left half of Color Plate 10-7 shows the individual color channels in the image;
the right half shows the full-color image. I’ve blown up a detail in each image so
that you can better see the pixels in the moiré pattern.
The top example in the color plate shows the original scanned image with its
awful moirés. (Actually, I’ve slightly exaggerated the moirés to account for any
printing anomalies; but believe me, with or without enhancement, the image is a
mess on screen.) The middle example shows the same image subject to the Dust
& Scratches filter with a Radius of 2 and a Threshold value of 20. The moirés are
gone, but the edges have all but disappeared as well. I’m tempted to describe
this artwork using adjectives such as “soft” and “doughy,” and them are fightin’
words in the world of image editing.
But what about that bottom example? How did I manage to eliminate the moirés
and preserve the detail that is shown here? Why, by applying the Gaussian Blur,
Median, and Unsharp Mask filters to individual color channels.
The first step is to examine the channels independently (by pressing Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2,
and Ctrl+3). You’ll likely find that each one is affected by the moiré pattern to a different extent. In the case of this scan, all three channels need work, but the blue
channel — the usual culprit — is the worst. The trick, therefore, is to eliminate the
patterns in the blue channel and draw detail from the red and green channels.
To fix the blue channel, I applied both the Gaussian Blur and Median commands in
fairly hefty doses. I chose Filter ➪ Blur ➪ Gaussian Blur and specified a Radius value
of 1.5 pixels, rather high considering that the image measures only about 300 pixels
tall. Then I chose Filter ➪ Noise ➪ Median and specified a Radius of 2.
Chapter 10 ✦ Corrective Filtering
The result was a thickly modeled image with no moirés but little detail. To firm
things up a bit, I chose Filter ➪ Sharpen ➪ Unsharp Mask and entered 200 percent
for the Amount option and 1.5 for the Radius. I opted for this Radius value because
it matches the Radius that I used to blur the image. When correcting moirés, a
Threshold value of 0 is almost always the best choice. A higher Threshold value
not only prevents the sharpening of moiré pattern edges but also ignores real
edges, which are already fragile enough as it is.
The green and red channels required incrementally less attention. After switching
to the green channel, I applied the Gaussian Blur filter with a Radius of 1.0. Then I
sharpened the image with the Unsharp Mask filter set to 200 percent and a Radius
value of 0.5. In the red channel (Ctrl+1), I applied Gaussian Blur with a Radius value
of 0.5. The gradual effect wasn’t enough to warrant sharpening.
When you’re finished, switch back to the RGB view (Ctrl+0) to see the combined
result of your labors. (Or keep an RGB view of the image up on screen by choosing
Window ➪ New Window.) The focus of the image will undoubtedly be softer than it
was when you started. You can cure this to a limited extent by applying very discreet passes of the Unsharp Mask filter, say, with an Amount value of 100 percent
and a low Radius value. Keep in mind that oversharpening may bring the patterns
back to life or even uncover new ones.
Tip
One last tip: Always scan halftoned images at the highest resolution available
to your scanner. Then resample the scan down to the desired resolution using
Image ➪ Image Size, as covered in Chapter 3. This step by itself goes a long way
toward eliminating moirés.
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C H A P T E R
Full-Court
Filtering
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Destructive Filters
Corrective filters enable you to eliminate image flaws and
apply special effects. Destructive filters, on the other hand, are
devoted solely to special effects. Even though Photoshop
offers nearly twice as many destructive filters as corrective
counterparts, destructive filters are less frequently used and
ultimately less useful.
Photoshop
Don’t get me wrong — these filters are a superb bunch. But
because of their more limited appeal, I don’t explain each and
every one of them. Rather, I concentrate on the ones that I
think you’ll use most often, breeze over a handful of others,
and let you discover on your own the ones that I ignore.
6
In addition to explaining the commands found on the Filter
menu, this chapter also explains the new Liquify command,
which probably ought to be on the Filter menu but isn’t.
Liquify enables you to shove pixels around your image by
dragging them, providing a means for freeform, interactive
distortion.
A million wacky effects
Oh heck, I guess I can’t just go and ignore half of the commands on the Filter menu — they’re not completely useless,
after all. It’s just that you aren’t likely to use them more than
once every lunar eclipse. So here are the briefest of all possible descriptions of these filters:
✦ Color Halftone: Located under the Filter ➪ Pixelate submenu, this command turns an image into a piece of Roy
Lichtenstein artwork, with big, comic-book halftone
dots. Although scads of fun, the filter is ultimately a
novelty that takes about a year and a half to apply.
Capsule descriptions
of Photoshop’s special
effects filters
Clever ways to use the
Pixelate filters
Putting the Mezzotint
filter to good use
Applying the edgeenhancement filters,
including Emboss and
Find Edges
Creating metallic
effects with Bas Relief,
Plastic Wrap, and
Chrome
Exploring new worlds
with the help of the
distortion filters
Tugging at images
with the Liquify filter
Designing specialized
gradations and other
abstractions
Transforming images
in 3D space
Changing a picture’s
atmosphere using
Clouds
The complete inner
workings of Lighting
Effects
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✦ Fragment: Ooh, it’s an earthquake! This lame filter repeats an image four times
in a square formation and lowers the opacity of each to create a sort of jiggly
effect. You don’t even have any options to control it. It’s quite possible I’m
missing the genius behind Filter ➪ Pixelate ➪ Fragment. Then again, maybe not.
Photoshop
✦ Lens Flare: Found in the Render submenu, this filter adds sparkles and halos
to an image to suggest light bouncing off the camera lens. Even though photographers work their behinds off trying to make sure that these sorts of
reflections don’t occur, you can add them after the fact. You can select from
one of three Lens Type options, adjust the Brightness slider between 10 and
300 percent (though somewhere around 100 is bound to deliver the best
results), and move the center of the reflection by dragging a point around
inside the Flare Center box.
6
Tip
In addition, you now can Alt-click inside the preview to position the center
point numerically.
If you want to add a flare to a grayscale image, first convert it to the RGB
mode. Then apply the filter and convert the image back to grayscale. The
Lens Flare filter is applicable to RGB images only.
Here’s another great tip for using Lens Flare. Before choosing the filter, create
a new layer, fill it with black, and apply the Screen blend mode (Shift+Alt+S
with a non-painting tool selected). Now apply Lens Flare. You get the same
effect as you would otherwise, but the effect floats above the background
image, protecting your original image from harm. You can even move the lens
flare around and vary the Opacity value, giving you more control over the
final effect.
✦ Diffuse: Located in the Stylize submenu — as are the three filters that follow —
Diffuse dithers the edges of color, much like the Dissolve brush mode dithers
the edges of a soft brush. Diffuse is moderately useful but not likely to gain a
place among your treasured few.
✦ Solarize: This single-shot command is easily Photoshop’s worst filter. It’s
really just a color-correction effect that changes all medium grays in the image
to 50 percent gray, all blacks and whites to black, and remaps the other colors
to shades in between. (If you’re familiar with the Curves command, the map
for Solarize looks like a pyramid.) It really belongs in the Image ➪ Adjust submenu or, better yet, on the cutting room floor.
✦ Tiles: This filter breaks an image up into a bunch of regularly sized but randomly spaced rectangular tiles. You specify how many tiles fit across the width
and height of the image — a value of 10, for example, creates 100 tiles — and
the maximum distance each tile can shift. You can fill the gaps between tiles
with foreground color, background color, or an inverted or normal version of
the original image. A highly intrusive and not particularly stimulating effect.
✦ Extrude: The more capable cousin of the Tiles filter, Extrude breaks an image
into tiles and forces them toward the viewer in three-dimensional space. The
Pyramid option is a lot of fun, devolving an image into a collection of spikes.
Chapter 11 ✦ Full-Court Filtering
When using the Blocks option, you can select a Solid Front Faces option that
renders the image as a true 3D mosaic. The Mask Incomplete Blocks option
simply leaves the image untouched around the perimeter of the selection
where the filter can’t draw complete tiles.
Actually, I kind of like Extrude. For the sheer heck of it, Color Plate 11-1 shows
an example of Extrude applied to what was once a red rose. I set the Type to
Blocks, the Size to 10, the Depth to 30 and Random, with both the Solid Front
Faces and Mask Incomplete Blocks radio buttons selected. Pretty great, huh? I
only wish that the filter would generate a selection outline around the masked
areas of the image so that I could get rid of anything that hadn’t been extruded.
It’s a wonderful effect, but it’s not one that lends itself to many occasions.
✦ Diffuse Glow: The first of the Gallery Effects that I mostly ignore, Filter ➪
Distort ➪ Diffuse Glow sprays a coat of dithered, background-colored pixels
onto your image. Yowsa, let me at it.
✦ The Artistic filters: As a rule, the effects under the Filter ➪ Artistic submenu
add a painterly quality to your image. Colored Pencil, Rough Pastels, and
Watercolor are examples of filters that successfully emulate traditional mediums. Other filters — Fresco, Smudge Stick, and Palette Knife — couldn’t pass
for their intended mediums in a dim room filled with dry ice.
✦ The Brush Strokes filters: I could argue that the Brush Strokes submenu contains filters that create strokes of color. This is true of some of the filters —
including Angled Strokes, Crosshatch, and Sprayed Strokes. Others — Dark
Strokes and Ink Outlines — generally smear colors, while still others —
Accented Edges and Sumi-e — belong in the Artistic submenu. Whatever.
✦ The Sketch filters: In Gallery Effects parlance, Sketch means color sucker.
Beware, every one of these filters replaces the colors in your image with the
current foreground and background colors. If the foreground and background
colors are black and white, the Sketch filter results in a grayscale image.
Charcoal and Conté Crayon create artistic effects, Bas Relief and Note Paper
add texture, and Photocopy and Stamp are stupid effects that you can produce better and with more flexibility using High Pass.
Tip
To retrieve some of the original colors from your image after applying a
Sketch filter, press Ctrl+Shift+F to display the Fade dialog box and try out a
few different Mode settings. Overlay and Luminosity are particularly good
choices. In Color Plate 11-2, I applied the Charcoal filter with the foreground
and background colors set to light blue and dark green. Then I used the Fade
command to select the Overlay mode.
✦ The Texture filters: As a group, the commands in the Filter ➪ Texture submenu are my favorite effects filters. Craquelure, Mosaic Tiles, and Patchwork
apply interesting depth textures to the image. Texturizer provides access to
several scalable textures and permits you to load your own (as long as the
pattern is saved in the Photoshop format), as demonstrated in Figure 11-1.
The one dud is Stained Glass, which creates polygon tiles like Photoshop’s
own Crystallize filter, only with black lines around the tiles.
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Burlap
Canvas
Sandstone
Random Strokes
Figure 11-1: Filter ➪ Texture ➪ Texturizer lets you select from four built-in
patterns — including the first three shown here — and load your own. In the
last example, I loaded the Random Strokes pattern included with Photoshop.
Certainly, there is room for disagreement about which filters are good and which
are awful. After I wrote a two-star Macworld review about the first Gallery Effects
collection back in 1992 — I must admit, I’ve never been a big fan — a gentleman
showed me page after page of excellent artwork he created with them. Recently,
a woman showed me her collection of amazing Lens Flare imagery. I mean, here’s
a filter that just creates a bunch of bright spots, and yet this talented person was
able to go absolutely nuts with it.
The moral is that just because I consider a filter or other piece of software to be a
squalid pile of unspeakably bad code doesn’t mean that a creative artist can’t come
along and put it to remarkable use. But that’s because you are good, not the filter.
So if you’re feeling particularly creative today, give the preceding filters a try.
Otherwise, skip them with a clear conscience.
Chapter 11 ✦ Full-Court Filtering
What about the others?
Some filters don’t really belong in either the corrective or destructive camp. Take
Filter ➪ Video ➪ NTSC Colors, for example, and Filter ➪ Other ➪ Offset. Both are
examples of commands that have no business being under the Filter menu, and
both could have been handled much better.
The NTSC Colors filter modifies the colors in your RGB or Lab image for transfer to
videotape. Vivid reds and blues that might otherwise prove very unstable and bleed
into their neighbors are curtailed. The problem with this function is that it’s not an
independent color space; it’s a single-shot filter that changes your colors and is
done with them. If you edit the colors after choosing the command, you may very
well reintroduce colors that are incompatible with NTSC devices and therefore warrant a second application of the filter. Conversion to NTSC — another light-based
system — isn’t as fraught with potential disaster as conversion to CMYK pigments,
but it still deserves better treatment than this.
The Offset command moves an image a specified number of pixels. Why didn’t I
cover it in Chapter 8 with the other movement options? Because the command
actually moves the image inside the selection outline while keeping the selection
outline itself stationary. It’s as if you had pasted the entire image into the selection
outline and were now moving it around. The command is a favorite among fans of
channel operations, a topic I cover in Chapter 13. You can duplicate an image, offset
the entire duplicate by a few pixels, and then mix the duplicate and original to create highlight or shadow effects. But I much prefer the more interactive control of
layering and nudging with the arrow keys. I imagine the Offset filter might find favor
with folks who want to automate movements from the Actions palette, but now that
Photoshop records movements made with the move tool, I’m not even sure about
that. Okay, I admit it; the Offset command is a primitive feature with no purpose in
our high-tech modern world.
CrossReference
Among the filters I’ve omitted from this chapter is Filter ➪ Stylize ➪ Wind, which is
technically a destructive filter but is covered along with the blur and noise filters in
Chapter 10. I discussed Filter ➪ Render ➪ Texture Fill in Chapter 7. And finally, for
complete information on the Custom and Displace filters, crack open Chapter A on
the CD-ROM at the back of this book.
As for the other filters in the Filter ➪ Distort, Pixelate, Render, and Stylize submenus, stay tuned to this chapter to discover all the latest and greatest details.
Third-party filters
In addition to using the filters provided by Photoshop, you can purchase all sorts of
plug-in filters from other companies. In fact, Photoshop supports its own flourishing cottage industry of third-party solutions from wonderful companies such as
Extensis, Alien Skin, Andromeda, and others.
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CrossReference
The CD-ROM at the back of this book includes sample versions of some of my
favorite filters. For complete information on the specific filters and the companies
that provide them, read the appendix. Many of the filters are demo versions of the
shipping products, which means that you can see what they do but you can’t actually apply the effects or they work for only a limited period of time. I know, it’s a
drag, but these folks claim that they like to make money every once in a while, and
I can’t say that I blame them.
One final note about RAM
Memory — that is, real RAM — is a precious commodity when applying destructive
filters. As I mentioned in Chapter 2, the scratch disk space typically enables you to
edit larger images than your computer’s RAM might permit. But all the filters in the
Distort submenu and most of the commands in the Render submenu operate exclusively in memory. If they run out of physical RAM, they choke.
Tip
Fortunately, there is one potential workaround: When editing a color image, try
applying the filter to each of the color channels independently. One color channel
requires just a third to a fourth as much RAM as the full-color composite. Sadly, this
technique does not help either Lighting Effects or Lens Flare. These delicate flowers
of the filter world are compatible only with full-color images; when editing a single
channel, they appear dimmed.
The Pixelate Filters
The Filter ➪ Pixelate submenu features a handful of commands that rearrange your
image into clumps of solid color:
✦ Crystallize: This filter organizes an image into irregularly shaped nuggets. You
specify the size of the nuggets by entering a value from 3 to 300 pixels in the
Cell Size option.
✦