Whenever the need arises to make a natural element white or whiter (such as in portraits of people), it’s tempting to set the foreground color to white and reach for the brush tool. This works if applied with care, but it’s easier to achieve a more realistic effect using other Photoshop tools. Here, a small amount of whitening applied to the model’s teeth and eyes will lift the whole image. PhotoshopSupport has a quick tutorial on how to whiten the eyes and teeth of your subject in Photoshop.
While I don’t consider it a big deal, I thought I would mention that Adobe has removed a few items from Photoshop CS4 that were found in CS3 and earlier, as well as changed some keyboard shortcuts. Extract, Pattern Maker, Web Photo Gallery, Contact Sheet, Picture Package and PDF Presentation have all been removed from the default installation of Photoshop. The latter four have been replaced by the Output module in Bridge CS4. Several of the CS3 optional plugins have also gone missing, but you can download them here. The plugins include:
- Bigger Tiles
- Force VM Compression
- Force VM Buffering
- Overscroll Always
- Overscroll Floating Windows
- Texture Fill
- Unlimited Clipboard Size
- Unlimited Preview Size
You may also notice that Command + 1 now resets the view to 100%, making it consistent with other Creative Suite tools. You can see a larger list of keyboard shortcut changes at John Nack’s blog. There are very good reasons for the keyboard shortcut changes, but John also provides a link in the article to download a plug-in to switch the commands back on a few of them. That being said, I would avoid using it because it most likely won’t work forever, so you might as well get used to the new commands.
When you’re working with Photoshop brushes such as corner shaped or otherwise directionally oriented, you can easily rotate the brush to fit your needs without manually rotating them with the Transform command. In the sample image above, I want to use a brush that was meant to be used in the lower right corner. But I want to use it in the upper right corner, so I need to rotate the brush. First, open the Brushes panel by going to Window>Brushes. When the panel pops up, select the brush you wish to use. Next, select Brush Tip Shape from the Brush Presets list on the left side. Finally, click the arrow on the crosshair icon in the lower right and drag it so the arrow points in the direction you wish to have the brush point. You can preview the brush direction change simply by moving your cursor over the canvas area – the brush outline will give you the visual feedback you need.
If you’ve ever tried to expand the size of a selection in Photoshop, you’ve no doubt come across a nasty result. Using the Expand Selection menu item results in the corners of a rectangular selection being rounded off. It’s quite frustrating. Creativetechs has the solution. Rather than choosing Select>Modify>Expand from the menu, choose Select>Transform Selection instead. Doing so will result in Photoshop’s normal transform box appearing around your selection. Now you can drag a corner to resize, or enter new values in the Options Bar to give you a new selection area with the squared-off corners you expect.
Top-notch Photoshop tutorials sites offer 30 beautiful illustration tutorials for Adobe Photoshop users. While you may not have the need to create a shiny green apple any time soon, the techniques used in all of these tutorials will surely give you a better grasp of what is possible.
Adding a little spark to your image is simple with Grinder Sparks, a free high-resolution Photoshop brush set from Nathan Brown at Room122. I love Photoshop brushes because they’re so versatile, and I can see that this brush collection offers many possibilities. The 8 brushes in the set are all of high quality, and large enough for most print resolution uses.
PanosFX Fan is a complex Photoshop action that will create a hand-held fan using any landscape oriented image. The action creates 20 slats, making use of semi-transparent layers and a number of decorative elements. I used the small image to the right to create the final image you see above. The action not only gives you a straight on view of the fan, but two perspective options as well. The results are fantastic, which is no surprise considering how many great Photoshop Actions PanosFX has to offer.
Tutorial9 offers up this simple Moonshine text effect tutorial. All that is required to create this elegant effect are four easy layer style settings. If you’re in a lazy mood, they even offer the Photoshop layer style as a download for one-click application of the effect.
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.
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.
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.