Category Archives Photoshop

I know Photoshop feels like a very mature product, but 30 years? It can’t be 30 years already, right? (this getting old thing…well…it’s not for the young).

How lucky are we that for the past 30 years this program has existed — it touches most every visual part of our lives; if you see a Web page, a billboard, a video, a movie, a TV show, an ad, even an email, at some point it probably was touched in some way by Photoshop. It’s that much a part of our lives.

I came a little late to the Photoshop game – when I first saw it, it was already on version 2.0, and shortly after I started really using it, it was already at version 2.5 and it was already a mind-blowing program back then. I think one of the most amazing things — one of the things that makes Photoshop such a special program to this day, is that its a program without walls. You never say, “Photoshop can’t do this.” Instead, you say, “I wonder how you do this in Photoshop” because even though you might not know how to do a particular thing you want to do…you know Photoshop can do it. The limit isn’t the program — you don’t hit its limits — and that is truly something.

To get a feel for that Photoshop magic, take a look back with me at this video Adobe’s own Terry White did a while back where he’s showing the first version of Photoshop (Photoshop 1.0). It’s amazing to see the features that were in that first version that are still a mainstay of our workflows today, but it’s also awesome to see how far we’ve come since then. Check it out below.

Last week, in honor of Photoshop’s 30th anniversary, Terry also did a live Webcast showing his Top 30 favorite Photoshop features of all time. It’s so good! You’ll learn some cool things along the way, including features you might not even know where there. I’ve embedded that video below:

I hope you’ll join me in wishing Photoshop, the coolest program ever made, a big “Happy 30th Birthday!” :)

Here’s wishing you a kick-butt week!

-Scott

P.S. My Prague travel photography workshop I announced here on Friday sold out Friday. If you want to get on the early notice list for my upcoming workshops, head over to ScottKelbyWorkshops.com and sign up there. That way, you’ll get a heads-up before I announce my next workshop to the public (and it’s a pretty incredible one, so you’ll know to know early).

I know it’s been in Photoshop since forever, and in many cases, there are faster and better selection tools, but to this very day I still wind up using the Magic Wand tool a decent amount. One of the reasons I get good results when I do use it it is the basis of this little-known tip — it’s how to control how much the Magic Wand actually selects. Here goes:

Above: Let say you want to select the floor area in front of the chair, for example. If you click the Magic Wand on the floor, it selects a lot of the floor, but because the color tones are somewhat similar, it also selects part of the door frame, and the door and sidewalk outside and part of the beach and…well…you get the idea. The trick here is controlling how big a range of colors the magic wand should select.

Above: See that field called “Tolerance” up in the Options bar (I circled it here in red)? That’s what controls how many color tones the Magic Wand selects, and the default Tolerance setting of 32 always seems to select too much. Lowering that number lowers how many different color tones out the Wand will select. Here I reset it to 20 (which, by the way, is what I leave the Magic Wand set to as my default — if you type 20 in there, it’s sticky and will stay at 20 until you change it to something else or reset the tool using the reset button).

Above: By just lowering the Tolerance from 32 down to down, and clicking in approximately the same area, look how much less the Magic Wand selects now. No door frame, no door, no sidewalk, no beach, etc. It didn’t do a perfect job, but it’s a lot better (I would probably use the Quick Select tool for this job in reality, but I just wanted you to see how much the wand selects at different tolerance settings). Now let’s look at something a bit more real world.

Above: Let’s say I want to select that blur frame to the right of the chair. I clicked the Magic Wand right in the center of the dark and lighter blue areas, and it only selected the lighter blue side of the frame, as seen above). In this case, I would have liked it to select both sides; the dark blue and the light blue tones as well.

Above: I increased the Tolerance to 48 so it will select more colors; I clicked in the same place, and now look — it selected both sides of the blue frame (as seen above).

In short: think of the Tolerance settings as an “Amount” slider for the Magic Wand. In fact, if you want it to act more like a slider, click and hold directly on the word “Tolerance” and you can drag left or right to change the Tolerance amount just like you would with a slider.

Hope you found that helpful. :)

Here’s to a kick-butt, a fantastic week, full of opportunities and fun. :)

-Scott

For #TravelTuesday this week I, Dave Williams, want to give you a quick twilight tip. It’s only for those of you with patience, mind!

I just visited Zermatt, Switzerland, which is made entirely of chocolate! Okay, maybe it’s not made of chocolate, but it’s on that same league of fantasy. The town itself is a beautiful, Alpine skiing paradise, and it’s car-free which makes it all the more exciting. Everywhere you go requires walking unless you want to take an electric taxi (think more golf buggy) or ride a bike. It meant I had to walk up the slopes to the edge of the village to get this selfie: –

And it’s this selfie which inspired me to get this shot: –

But here’s the thing—and if you were watching my Instagram story you’ll know already—this isn’t one shot.

The key to this scene is that the upper half was taken during golden hour, and the lower half was taken during blue hour. It’s a simple process but it involves patience! I found my spot, got my composition sorted, and from that point on I couldn’t move my camera one bit.

I found a fence post, which was sturdy and out of the way, so if any tourists appeared (which they did) I wouldn’t have to move out of their way. I needed my frames to line up exactly and if there was the slightest deviation it would ruin the entire process. I stuck my Platypod Max on the post, securely holding my Nikon D810 and Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8.

The process from here on is simple. First, I took a shot for the sky, using a 10-stop filter to smooth out the clouds (though they were barely moving), and when I had the shot I wanted I simply had to twiddle my thumbs for a little while and wait for the darkness to fall and the lights of the village to come on, then get my second shot without the filter. The removal of the filter was a little tense; I was so scared of moving the camera! But when it was done I was left with these two images: –

All that was left to do was open them in Adobe Photoshop, place one image on top of the other on separate layers, and then use a layer mask to select the components I wanted from each image. Following this, I used the adjustment brush to paint some highlights onto the Matterhorn and the Toblerone mountain in the background, and then straightened everything up using the church spire as my guide for this.

Simple! Taking separate shots at twilight to combine golden hour and blue hour works wonders on an urban scene, and I strongly recommend working on your patience and trying it yourself.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday with Dave (that’s me) right here on ScottKelby.com, and today is all about why we should have a crack at compositing!

I’m going to refer to the work of a good friend in this post, as well as touch on the reasons why compositing can enhance our work. What I’m going to refer to can be found here on Layers Magazine. It’s by JR Maddox, and it won him a Guru Award at Photoshop World in 2013, so it’s serious business!

Compositing, first of all, is what we’re doing when we combine elements from two or more images together in Adobe Photoshop to create something a little different. It could be something taken to a radical extreme, or it could be something as simple as switching out a sky or just adding the moon, for example. When we create composite images we use layers, layer masks, blend modes, and a whole host of other features. Take a look at this example: –

A photo merge of husband Bill and wife Mandy to create this beautiful creature “Billandy.”

Here we see a composite image of two people, both shot in the same place with the same light, blended together to form a human-hybrid. JR explained that one of his sources of inspiration for this project was Mr. Potato Head. With this project, JR used the Lasso tool to select the components of the face and body that he needed, then blended those images together. He made the point that he had no firm plan, just a loose idea, and at many points throughout the process, he had no idea what would stay and what would go or what would be used from each of the two images. When it came to blending the elements together he used tools such as the Warp tool in Free Transform and ensured the colours were correct using the Curves Adjustment Brush.

Here’s one of the images he began with: –

A photo merge of husband Bill and wife Mandy to create this beautiful creature “Billandy.”

This kind of project can translate across the board in photography and applies to every genre, and it’s amazing what you can create if you put your mind to it. Whether it’s as part of a personal project or something bigger, it’s well worth broadening your skill and knowledge base in getting a grip on compositing. This example from JR is a great demonstration of what’s possible.

There are tons of resources out there that’ll help you learn how to get a grip on compositing, including KelbyOne and Photoshop User Magazine.

For those in the photography community who aren’t aware, we sadly lost JR this past week, and he is sorely missed. As he was a friend of mine, I didn’t receive the news well and one of the first things I did was call my mum. She said this: – “Life is short. If you want to do something, and you can afford to do it without hurting anybody, do it. You don’t know how long you have to get it done. And when it comes to the people you have in your life, remember this: We love our family; they’re given to us and they’re so special and important, but our friends are the ones we’ve made a decision to have in our life and they’re just as special and important. Give love, treat people well, be the best person you can be, and whatever it is you want to do according to the above—do it.”

If you have five bucks to spare to help JR’s family, that’d be awesome. Let’s show what our little community can do. You can leave a little gift right here.

Much love 

Dave

I remembered this tip when I was recording a new class on all the updates, changes, new features and enhancements Adobe has added to Photoshop in the past year (and there are way more than you’d probably think). However, this one is not new — it’s “old school” but I’ll bet ya don’t know this one (it’s that little known). So, first the tip, then more on the course.

Here’s a little teaser about my new Photoshop 2020 course, which will be released later this week.

I’m up in Seattle today for my seminar tomorrow —  the “Ultimate Photography Crash Course.” It’s not too late to join me tomorrow – Here’s the link. 

Have a great Tuesday, everybody!

-Scott

Hi all! It’s #TravelTuesday and here on Scott’s blog, that means one thing: I’m here! I’m Dave Williams, normally found hiding behind the guise of Capture With Dave, and I’m offloading some know-how for you all! Today, it comes in the form of my favourite Adobe Photoshop power keyboard shortcuts!

It’s fair to say that we’re all, in every sector, looking to optimise and streamline our flows and processes. One surefire way to achieve this aim is to hit buttons on the keyboard rather than to carefully and daintily manoeuvre the mouse about the desk. So, to that end, I’d like to share some of my favourite, lesser-known keyboard shortcuts—the power shortcuts!

The Brush tool (B) is frequently used, and there are shortcuts specifically designed to speed up our flow when using it. It’s commonly known that the bracket keys ([ and ]) make the brush size decrease and increase respectively, but did you know that you can use the comma and period keys to cycle through the brush styles, or that you can switch the crosshair on/off for precision brushing using the Caps Lock key?

When it comes to viewing your project it’s important to view everything correctly. As well as hitting the Z key to select the Zoom tool and “scrubby” zooming by sliding our mouse left and right with the left mouse button held down, we can quickly move around an image, whilst still having the Zoom tool selected, by holding the Space Bar and moving the image around right in front of us. Furthermore, from wherever we are on an image, at whichever zoom level, we can quickly and easily zoom back out and fit the image into our view by pressing Command-0 (zero; PC: Ctrl-0), which quickly gives us an overview of the finer work we’re completing.

When it comes to working with layers, we can utilise some handy shortcuts here for commonly used tasks, too. For example, to select the top layer, we just need to hit Option-. (period key; PC: Alt-.) or replace the period key with the comma key to get to the bottom layer. To move up and down through the layers stack, just hit Option-[ (PC: Alt-[) or Option-] (PC: Alt-]), and to move a selected layer up or down in the stack, press Command-[ (PC: Ctrl-[) or Command-] (PC: Ctrl-]). To select all the layers, it’s simply a case of hitting Command-Option-A (PC: Ctrl-Alt-A) or to merge all the visible layers, press Command-Shift-E (PC: Ctrl-Shift-E).

And, finally, if you frequently use certain blend modes, you can apply them quickly with these power shortcuts, but make sure you have the right layer selected and the Move tool (V) active: –

It’s always Option-Shift (PC: Alt-Shift) together with: –

N – Normal
I – Dissolve
K – Darken
G – Lighten
M – Multiply
O – Overlay
U – Hue
T – Saturation
Y – Luminosity

Or, cycle through the blend modes with Shift-+ (plus sign) or Shift-– (minus sign).

I hope you can make use of these power shortcuts to speed up your Photoshop flow! Until next week.

Much Love

Dave

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