Category: Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop topics

Adobe CC 2018 and macOS High Sierra

Adobe CreativeCloud 2018
Adobe released the latest major updates to their CreativeCloud apps this past week, and I’m happy to report that they’re running smooth as silk on macOS High Sierra—both the standard release version as well as the beta version.

The major bugs present in the CC2017 versions of Illustrator and InDesign running on High Sierra have been worked out between a macOS update and the latest CC apps, and I’ve noticed fairly significant speed gains in both those apps. As for Photoshop, I’ve not noticed much of an increase in speed, but no decrease either.

Some of the cool features include the ability to add rules around paragraphs in InDesign without having to resort to crude workarounds is a God-send! And I’m happy to see Adobe add the ability to keep text in CC Libraries and have them available in both InDesign and Illustrator. Type fanatics can now use InDesign’s Character panel to search for fonts based on visual similarity, a nice feature that you would normally need Suitcase Fusion for—though Suitcase still works better because it will find fonts that aren’t activated. Read about InDesign CC2018’s new features here.

Illustrator users will love the speed increase the most, but the variable font feature is really, really cool. The new Properties Panel is fantastic for those with a smaller screen or people like me who just hate having a bunch of panels open all the time. It’s a contextually aware panel that changes based on what you’re doing. Draw out a text frame and the panel displays text-related features like font, size, kerning, etc. Draw a shape and you get stroke and fill settings. Select multiple shapes and you’ll get the Pathfinder features. You get the idea. It’s only taken me a few days of using the new Illustrator to get used to using the Properties Panel vs. having a bunch of panels open all the time. Read about Illustrator CC2018’s new features here.

You might also want to take a look at the new Adobe Dimension app. Adding 3D objects to your 2D image just got a whole lot easier. It’s ultra-slick!

Which Photoshop content-aware feature should you use?

In Photoshop, content-aware features make automatic edits such as seamlessly blending the edges of retouched image areas. Using technology that recognizes different types of image content, content-aware features help you retouch images faster, and open up new possibilities for changing the composition of an image.
Content-Aware Fill
But how do you know which of the many content-aware features might help you right now?

Conrad Chavez has a brief explanation of each of the features in his article at CreativePro.

Resizing the Photoshop canvas when your text or artwork goes off the edge

Photoshop's Trim commandIf you’ve ever designed with type in Photoshop, you’ve probably encountered a situation where changing the size or font caused the text to not fit on the canvas any more. Or maybe you’ve placed a large logo file that didn’t fit on the canvas to begin with.

Mike Rankin has the easy alternative to the tedious norm of resizing the canvas size manually using the Reveal All and Trim commands.

Top 10 Photoshop tips the experts don’t want you to know!

A comedic look at some great Photoshop tips and advice.

The majority of Photoshop training available on the internet is part of a huge conspiracy to keep people from learning the REAL techniques of how to use this program. Why? So you don’t ever actually figure it out and have to keep coming back to them for more!

Whatever you do… don’t ever, ever EVER name your layers!

How to make Photoshop’s 100% View actually be 100%

Ever notice that when you view a Photoshop file at 100%, it’s not actually 100%. It’s almost always larger, depending on your Mac. That’s because when Adobe coded 100% view, it was based on all screens being 72 dpi. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case in many years. Try it out. Create an 8.5 x 11 inch document in Photoshop, set the view to 100% and hold up a Letter size piece of paper and you’ll notice the difference.

The problem is that modern computers/screens are much higher resolution than 72 dpi. The key to seeing things actual size in Photoshop is to make Photoshop and your screen the same resolution. It’s a simple process.

Determining your actual screen DPI:

  1. First, go to your System Preference and click the Displays icon. Make note of your monitor’s resolution (you may have to click the Scaled radio button on modern Macs). My iMac is set to the maximum resolution of 2560×1440.
  2. PXCALC

  3. Next, visit PXCALC and enter that screen size resolution from the step above if it doesn’t automatically populate this info for you, and in the Diagonal Size box enter the physical dimensions of your screen and hit enter. In my case it’s 27 inches. (see image above)
  4. On the little screen info area to the right, you’ll see stats about your screen, the first of which is the actual dpi of your screen. In the case of my iMac it’s 108.79. (see image above)

Setting Photoshop’s screen DPI

  1. Open Photoshop’s Preferences (Command + K) and click the Rulers & Units item from the list on the left. In the dialog window, you’ll see New Document Preset Resolutions in the top right corner.
  2. Photoshop screen resolution settings

  3. In the Screen Resolution box (just below the Print Resolution box) enter the DPI you got from step 3 above. Leave the Print Resolution setting at 300, as that is the typical resolution for commercial printing. (see image above)
  4. Hit OK in the dialog box and you should be good to go.

Now when you view your Photoshop document at 100%, it should actually be an accurate 100%. Try the Letter sized paper test I mentioned at the start to see if it worked for you.

There’s one caveat though. This is for SCREEN RESOLUTION ONLY. If you want to view your 300 dpi print resolution images at actual size, you don’t set your view settings at 100%. Instead, under the View menu choose Print Size instead of 100%.

Quickly change blend modes in Photoshop

Photoshop blend modes
One of the most frequent things you’ll find yourself doing with layers in your Photoshop document is changing blend modes to something like Multiply (great for shadows) or Overlay. Moving your mouse over to the Layers panel and clicking the blend mode drop-down menu, then scrolling down to your desired blend mode can be tedious… especially when you’re experimenting and don’t know which one you want.

You can quickly change the blend mode of the active layer by changing to a tool that doesn’t already use blend modes. I just hit the V key to switch to the Move tool, or the M key for the Marquee tool. Then simply hold the Shift key down and tap the + or – keys to cycle between the different blend modes.

Advice: When to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign

I belong to a lot of design forums and Facebook Groups and the question I see more often than I care to think about is “which app should I use to do X?” Should I design a logo in Photoshop, build an ad in Illustrator or InDesign, etc.

If you’re new in the graphic design field, or just never used Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications, take a look at this 30-minute video from Adobe Evangelist Terry White.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but in general:

  • Photoshop is for photo editing.
  • Illustrator is for logo design & custom illustration.
  • All the pieces should be brought into InDesign for layout and export to Acrobat PDF files.

The ONLY design rule that (in my opinion) has absolutely no exception: Design your logo in Illustrator. You’ll thank me later.

Easily switch between Photoshop’s Layer Blend Modes

When you have a multi-layer Photoshop file and you want to set one of the layers to Multiply, Overlay or one of the numerous other Blend Modes, you can click the drop-down menu in the Layers panel, but that can be tedious.

An easier way is to use the keyboard shortcut. Simply have the layer you want to switch Blend Modes on selected and have the Move, Lasso or other tool that doesn’t use Blend Modes (such as the Brush tool) active, and hit Shift + (plus) or Shift – (minus) to cycle through the different Blend Modes.

The shortcut works with tools that DO offer Blend Modes (such as the previously mentioned Brush tool or the Gradient tool) as well.

Incidentally, if you use the Multiply Blend Mode as often as I do, you’ll be happy to know you can simply hit Shift + Option + M to quickly apply it without cycling through it or bothering with the drop-down menu. Other often-used Blend Mode Shortcuts include Shift + Option + S applies Screen, Shift + Option + C applies Color.

Possible fix for laggy Photoshop features

Adobe PhotoshopIf you’re using Photoshop to work on your image then switch to another app like Safari, Mail, InDesign, etc., then switch back to Photoshop, you may notice that Photoshop gets a little laggy or even stuck.

Conventional wisdom says you need more RAM. Unfortunately that is neither cheap nor possible with most Macs. A fast SSD drive will help, but again it’s neither cheap or even possible to upgrade your storage drive on most Macs anymore.

The solution might be found in Photoshop itself.

Go in to your PS Preferences (Command+K) and choose the Performance tab from the list on the left. Once in the dialog, tick the Use Graphics Processor checkbox if it isn’t already checked, click the Advanced Settings button. Change the Drawing Mode drop-down menu from Advanced to Normal (if it’s already set to Normal, change it to Basic). Also make sure Use Graphics Processor to Accelerate Computation and Use OpenCL/GL are checked. Hit OK and you’re done

This will tell Photoshop to use your Mac’s video card to help with the heavy lifting, but not to over-do it.

Photoshop Graphics Processor prefs
While you’re in the Performance tab, you might also want to set the Memory use to about 70%. Over the years I’ve found that using much more than that of your total RAM for Photoshop has more negative effects than positive ones.