Category: Adobe Apps

Creating scanline text in Photoshop

I’ve written a tutorial on how to create scanlines across your images before, but I found another great tutorial on using the scanline effect on text and wanted to share it. PSDLearning offers a tutorial that shows you how to easily create a nifty scanline text effect in Photoshop. The tutorial is easy to follow and uses only a user-created pattern and layer effects to create some really nice results.

Set vertical & horizontal guides at one time in Adobe InDesign

If you want to set a vertical and horizontal guide along the edges of an object in Adobe InDesign, you normally find yourself dragging a guide out from the horizontal ruler, then another from the vertical ruler. Did you know you can save time by setting both guides at once? Let’s say your want to set guides, as I have in the image above, across the top and down the left side of a placed image. Hold down the Command key and click in the crosshairs icon where the two rulers meet at the top of your document. Drag out the dual guides to the top left of your image while still holding the Command key down, and release when they’re right where you want them. As you can see in the animated image above, the guides both appear right where I dragged them and I’ve saved myself another trip to the rulers!

Select all the objects on an Illustrator layer with one click

Adobe IllustratorIf you build extremely complex files in Adobe Illustrator, you’re most likely smart enough to build your files carefully using the layers feature. Building your file using layers not only helps you stay organized, but it makes it so much easier to edit your files later. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to have 5 to 10 different layers in an Illustrator file, so this tip comes in very handy. To select all the objects on any layer, simply Option + Click on the layer name (not the layer icon) in the Layers panel.

Isolate your grouped objects for editing in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator CS3 offers users a convenient way to edit grouped objects called Isolation Mode. In previous versions, in order to work on an object that was grouped with other objects, you would have to switch to the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), and then contend with trying to see just the path of the object you want to work on mixed among all the other paths. Isolation Mode allows you to double click an object you wish to work on which is grouped with other objects, and edit it as if it were no longer grouped. The advantage is that Illustrator doesn’t actually ungroup the objects, it just isolates them for you. It also offers the added advantage of fading out the other objects in the document to make it easier on the eyes. To exit Isolation Mode, simply right click (Control click) on the page and select Exit Isolated Group.

Quickly changing the ruler units setting in Adobe Illustrator

If your preferences are set to show the ruler units in Inches in Adobe Illustrator and you happen to be working on a Web graphic, you can quickly change them to pixels (or several other measurement units) by right-clicking (Control + Click for one-button mouse users) on the ruler and selecting Pixels from the drop-down menu. I can see the use for Points, but does anyone actually use Picas anymore?

Create a comic book halftone-dot effect for your Photoshop images

If you’ve got a particularly “uninteresting” image you want to use in your next design project and you’re looking for a way to spice it up a bit, consider adding a comic book style halftone-dot effect to your image. It’s quick and easy, uses only Photoshop’s built-in filters, and produces excellent results.

1. Choose your image.

Images with a decent amount of contrast and midtones work best, but virtually any image will do the trick. I chose this handsome little fella:

2. Duplicate the image.

Select the background layer from the layers panel and hit Command + J (or drag the layer icon to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel) to duplicate the image layer. Label the new layer “Comic effect” or something meaningful.

3. Prepare for the filter

Make sure the newly created Comic effect layer is on top of the original layer (if you left the original layer set as “background” you should be good to go). Now hit the “D” key to reset your colors to solid black & solid white. Then hit the “X” key to invert them so white is the foreground color and black is the background color.

4. Apply filter

With the Comic effect layer selected, go to your menubar and select Filter>Sketch>Halftone Pattern. For now, just leave the settings at their default, which is usually: Halftone Pattern Size: 1 Contrast: 5 Pattern Type: Dot Hit OK. Your image should now look something like this:

5. Invert the image

With the Comic effect layer still selected, hit Command + i to invert the image. It should now look something like this: If we wanted to have a black & white image, we could probably stop here, but I want color, so let’s move on.

6. Adjust the blending mode

Go to your layers panel blending mode drop-down menu and select Linear Light. You can try any of the other blending methods, but I’ve found that Linear Light works with the most predictable results and requires less tweaking. Your image should now look something like this: The image is too “muddy” like it is, so we have one last adjustment to make.

7. Set the opacity

With the Comic effect layer still selected, adjust the opacity to your liking. For this image, I chose a setting of about 60%, but it really depends on the image.

Final Image:

I added a thick black comic-style border, and a thought balloon with a comic-style font to complete the theme. There are several variations of this technique, but I’ve found that just playing around with the filter settings and layer blending modes can produce a wide-variety of effects by themselves. For instance, in the Halftone Filter settings from step 3, you could choose Line instead of Dot. Play around with it and see what you can come up with.

Use Tilde to create outrageous Illustrator patterns and shapes

If you’re looking for something a little different for a background in Adobe Illustrator, try holding down the Tilde (~) key while dragging out a shape using one of Illustrator’s shape drawing tools such as line, circle, square, etc. Holding the Tilde key forces Illustrator to repeat the shapes in rapid fashion as you drag your mouse around the artboard. For fun, I set all the shapes to the same color, then went back and randomly chose a few dozen shapes and made them a different color, then set all shapes to Multiply in the Transparency panel. Try it and you may find yourself busy for an hour or so. Thanks to BittBox for the tip.

Photoshop Action Pack for Automator

Automator If you’re a Photoshop user running Mac OSX 10.4 or 10.5, you should be taking advantage of Apple’s Automator. Automator allows you to string a series of “actions” together to create a workflow. Think of them as shortcuts. The Photoshop Action Pack 3.7 provides 90 Actions which allow you to control a huge amount of Photoshop functions, and execute complex batch operations you just can’t do with Photoshop’s built-in Actions.

The following actions are provided in the new Action Pack:

Add Empty Adjustment Layer Flip Canvas
Add Graphic Watermark Gaussian Blur
Add Layer Glass
Add Watermark HDR Merge
Arbitrary Rotate Hue/Saturation
Assign Color Profile Invert
Assign Custom Profile Load Selection
Assign Epson 2200 Profile Maximum/Minimum
Assign Epson 2400 Profile Mono Gaussian Noise
Auto Color Motion Blur
Auto Contrast NTSC Colors
Auto Levels Ocean Ripple
Bleach Bypass Open as Raw Data
Change Bit Depth Open
Change Mode Paint Daubs
Change Pixel Aspect Ratio Photo Filter
Change Resolution Pinch
Channel Mixer Polar Coordinates
Clouds Posterize
Color Balance Purge
Convert to Profile Radial Blur
Copy Data to IPTC Reduce Noise
Copy IPTC to Spotlight Comments Render
Crop Resize Canvas
Deinterlace Resize Image
Desaturate Resize to File Size
Deselect Resize to X by 10%
Despeckle Restore Original File List
Diffusion Ripple
Do Action Scale Image
Duplicate Current layer Set Blending Mode of Current Layer
Dust and Scratches Shadow/Highlight
Edit IPTC Info Sharpen Edges
Exposure (CS2 only) Sharpen More
Filter by Aspect Ratio Smart Blur
Filter by Bit Depth Smart Sharpen (CS2/CS3 only)
Filter by Color Mode Sphereize
Filter by EXIF Strip Extra Channels
Filter by File Type Swap Colors
Filter by IPTC Threshold
Filter by Orientation Trap
Filter by Size Trim
Fit Image Twirl
Flatten Document Unsharp Mask
  Use Currently Open Documents

Version 3.7 is fully compatible with PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. In addition to the action bundle, an assortment of sample workflows is provided. The included 73-page manual gives you a reference for all of the included actions, as well as an introduction to using Automator, and strategies for building Photoshop workflows. The Photoshop Action Pack is free, but donations are accepted via PayPal.