The step by step guides for all the tricks on 2 Minute Photoshop Tricks

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Vivid | Dreamy - Step by Step

Step 1: First open up and image in Photoshop and duplicated the background layer by dragging the layer in the layer pallet to the button on the layer pallet that looks like a sticky note.

Step 2: Change the blending mode of duplicate layer from normal to multiply by selecting little popup menu at the top of the layers pallet that says normal, and then selecting the multiply option. You image should get a whole lot darker.

Step 3: Create a new levels adjustment layer by clicking the button on the layers pallet that looks like a circle that is half white and half black and select the levels option from the list that pops up.

Step 4: A new level dialog box will pop open. You should see a graph with three little arrows underneath it. Move the white arrow on the right side of the graph left to lighten your image back up. You might also have to move the middle grey arrow the left also. The amount you need to lighten depends on your image. Just keep an eye on your image as you make the adjustments and get something that looks good to you. Since this is an adjustment layer, you can always come back to this dialog later to fine-tune the settings by double clicking on the left half of the layer in the layers pallet. I like to keep it just a tiny tiny bit on the dark side so the colors are a little richer. When you have settings your happy with click ok.

Step 5: Now select your copy of your background layer by clicking on it in the layers pallet. Then go to the filter menu and select blur then Gaussian blur. A new blur dialog box will pop open. Enter 25 in to the radius box. This will blur your image, but because of the blending mode of the layer you will still have a lot of sharp detail. Depending on the size of your image you might need more or less blur, but 25 seems to be an excellent starting place. Click OK.

Step 6: To add some more vividness to the image create a new saturation adjustment layer by going to the half black half white circle button on the tools pallet and selecting the hue saturation option. A new dialog box will pop open. Drag the saturation slider to the right while keeping an eye on your image. I used about +26 on the saturation slider, but again, the amount you use will depend on your image. You want to accentuate the colors but not make them so over the top that that it looks ultra fake.

Step 7: If your happy with your image just save a copy of it and enjoy. If not, try adjusting your levels and hue saturation adjustment layers to get setting that you do like. Also you can use layer masks to block these adjustments on parts of you image. On my example I masked the sky in the hue saturation adjustment layer so that it didn’t look quite so over the top.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Workflow - Step by Step

Step 1: The first step in a digital workflow is getting images from your camera on to your computer. Photoshop isn’t too much help on this step, so use your favorite importing application, or just copy your images from your card or camera from your operating system.

The most important thing to keep in mind when importing your images is where you are importing them too. A lot of people like to file their images in dated folders, but I tend to file them by location folders. Really you just need to find a organization system that works for you and stick to it. Your images aren’t worth anything if you can’t find them, so be consistent with your organization.

Step 2: Now to quickly rename all of your images open up your folder of images in the Photoshop file browser or Adobe Bridge depending on what version of Photoshop you have. You can quickly get to the browser or bridge by pushing command shift and “o” while in Photoshop on a Mac or control shift and “o” on a PC.

Step 3: Once you are have the folder of images up in the browser or bridge, go through your images and delete the images that are totally unusable. Then select all of your images by hitting command and “a” keys on a Mac or Control and “a” keys on a PC. Or if you’re a menu person just go to the file menu and hit select all. Now control click on one of your images on a Mac or right click on a PC and select the “batch rename” option.

Step 4: A new dialog box will pop open with a variety of options that will somewhat depend on your version of Photoshop. The top part of this dialog will show your destination folder for the images. Since we already copied our images just leave this option on “rename in same folder.” The next section of the box deals with how we want the images renamed. I tend to rename my images with a descriptive word that relates to the shoot then the date then a serial number and the jpg or raw extension. Again how you name your images is mostly just a personal preference, but it is important to stay consistent. So pick a naming plan and stick to it. Basically you just select the naming criteria you want from pop up menus and add your own custom test to the text boxes in the dialog. Make sure to use an option like “serial number” or “sequence number” in one of the fields so each of your images will have a unique name. If you are using Photoshop CS 2 you will need to click the little plus button to the right of the first field to add additional options.

Step 5: When you have the naming options set to your liking, look at the bottom of the dialog box. There should be three little check boxes that say Windows, Mac OS, and Unix next to them. Clicking these boxes will insure that the file names work on these operating systems. I tend to leave all three boxes checked since you never know what operating system you might need to open your files on. Now click ok. Photoshop will now quickly rename all of your images in that folder.

Step 6: Now to add meta data to your images switch to Photoshop if you have CS 2 and are using bridge, if you have older versions you should already have Photoshop active. Since a lot of our meta data on our images like photographer, copyright, etc. doesn’t change, we are going to make a template of all the information we want to apply to all of our images. To make this template simply go to the file menu and select “new”. The settings for the image really don’t matter so just click ok when the new document dialog box comes up. We want a new document because we want a template based on an image that doesn’t have any meta data associated with it.

Step 7: Now go to the file menu and select the “file info…” option. A new dialog box will pop open. This box lets your set all the meta data for your image. For my template I filled out the IPTC Contact information along with the copyright fields in the IPTC status section along with my name and position in the description dialog. Fill in any field that will stay constant in all of future images you shoot. Not just the folder you downloaded. When you have all the fields filled out to you liking click the little arrow button at the top right of the dialog box. A little pop up menu will open, click the save metadata template option. Then enter a name for your template and click save.

Step 8: Now click ok in the file info dialog box and close the blank document we just made. Don’t worry about saving the blank document. We don’t need it anymore.

Step 9: Switch back to the file browser or adobe bridge and pull up the folder of images you just downloaded. Make sure all of the images are selected, then go to the edit menu in the file browser or the tools menu in bridge then select the append meta data option, then the template you just saved. This will apply the meta data from the template to all of your images, while leaving all the original meta data in your images intact.

Step 10: (optional) You can now select individual images in the folder to add more specific meta data like key words to each image.

OS X tiger users should be able to search for images based on the meta data in your images with spotlight, and windows vista users will be able to search in the same way with windows Vista when it comes out. Until then, you can seach images from within the file viewer using the search commands in the file menu, or the find command in the edit menue of bridge.

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Chromatic Aberration - Step by Step

Step 1: Open up an image that shows some color fringing or chromatic aberration. Then zoom way in on part of the image that shows the chromatic aberration well.

Step 2: Click the button on the bottom of the layers pallet that looks like a circle that is half white and half black, and then select the hue saturation option. This will create a new “hue saturation” adjustments layer.

Step 3: A new dialog box will open. At the top left of this new box there will be a pop up menu that says edit to the left of it. Click on that menu and select “Magentas”. Click the eyedropper button located near the bottom right of the same dialog box. You want the dropper farthest to the left out of the three available. Then in you image click with the dropper tool in one of the spots you see the chromatic aberration. Then slide the saturation slider left while watching your image. Stop the slider when the color fringe is gone then click ok. If the color fringe doesn't completely disappear, you might have more than one color for fringe. Use the middle eye dropper to select more colors of fringe if this is the case.

Step 4: Now we need to mask the areas that weren’t affected by the color fringe so we don’t lose saturation in the rest of the image. Make sure the adjustment layer is selected then select your paintbrush tool from the tool pallet and set your foreground color to black. Then paint the areas in your image that you don’t want the adjustment layer to change.

Now just save a copy of your image and enjoy.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eyes - Step by Step

Step 1: First we are going to take a look at how to remove redeye from images. So if you have a picture of someone with red eye, open it up. Zoom in on one of the eyes in your image so it’s nice and large on your screen. These tricks require very precise selections and zooming in makes selecting part of your image much easier. Select the elliptical marquee tool from the tool pallet by clicking and holding on the rectangular marquee tool in the pallet then selecting the elliptical tool from the pop up menu. Now select the red part of the eye with this tool.

Step 2: Go to the image menu and then the adjustments item then select desaturate. This will make the red turn grey.

Step 3: With out deselecting the gay circle go to the image menu and select the adjustments item then the brightness contrast item. A dialog box will pop open with two sliders. Drag the brightness slider to the left until they grey part turns mostly black. Now deselect the middle of the eye and repeat for the other eye.

Step 4: Now we will look at how to increase the definition of eyes in an image by slightly whitening the whites of the eye. With your image still zoomed in on the eye switch to quick mask mode. You can switch to Quick mask mode by clicking the button in the tool pallet that looks like a grey rectangle with a white circle on it. The button is located just under the color swatches on the tool pallet. The quick way to switch to this mode is by simply pressing the “q” key on your keyboard. Quick mask mode essentially lets you paint on selections in your image, so after you have changed to this mode select your paintbrush tool then press the “d” key on your keyboard to set the foreground color to black. Now paint over the eye with the brush. You should notice the areas you paint turn a transparent red. This is normal. You want to use a fairly hard brush but with a slight softness. Make sure to paint the whole eye but not the eye lashes or lids.

Step 5:Now exit quick mask mode by pressing “q” on your keyboard or by clicking the button just to the left of the quick mask mode button on the tool pallet. Then go to the select menu and select the inverse option. Now your eye should be selected. Now we can brighten it up by going to the image menu and selecting the adjustments option then levels.

A dialog box with a histogram graph will pop open. Under the graph you will notice three little handles on a slider. Click and drag the white handle located on the right hand side of the graph and pull it toward the left. Watch your image as you move the slider. When the whites of the eye have been brightened to your liking release the handle and click ok.

Step 6:Now to change eye color we need to make a new selection of just tie iris or colored part of the eye. So deselect your previous selection and grab the elliptical marquee tool again and select the iris. Then go the image menu and select the adjustments item then select hue saturation.

A new box will pop open with three sliders. The one we are interested in is the hue slider at the top. Try dragging this slider around to see how the eye changes color. For even more color variations you can try clicking the colorize check box at the bottom right corner of the dialog box and then slide the hue slider around again. The saturation slider will adjust the intensity of the color of the eye. When you find a good color just click ok.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Clear Skin - Step by Step

Step 1: First open a photo of a person and select the healing brush from the tool pallet. If you have an older version of Photoshop you can use the clone stamp tool but it is more difficult to get realistic results with the clone tool, so use the healing brush if you have it. Next zoom in to your image so you have a good close up view of any blemishes or wrinkles on the person’s face. Then set your brush size so it is just slightly larger than the blemish you are trying to remove. Now we need to set a source for the tool so hold down the option key on a Mac or the alt key on a PC. This should change your cursor to a little target symbol. Keep holding down the key and look for a clear area of skin near the blemish that has the same tone as the area you want to fix. Then click that spot. Now release the option or alt key and paint over the blemish. The blemish should disappear. Repeat these steps for other blemishes, wrinkles, scars etc. on the face.

Step 2: Now that your image is fairly clean we will smooth out the skin tones and add a little glow to the skin. First, duplicate the layer your image is in. You can do this a few different ways but just dragging the layer in the layer pallet to the icon of a sticky note on the bottom of the pallet is a quick and easy way.

Step 3: Make sure your duplicate layer is selected then go to the filter menu then the blur option the Gaussian blur option.

Step 4: Set radius of the blur so the skin texture becomes very smooth. The radius you use will depend on how big your image is. Then click ok.

Step 5: Adjust your blurred layer's opacity to below 50%. You can adjust the layers opacity by clicking on the arrow next to opacity value in the layers pallet then by moving the slider around. 50% is just a starting spot so try adjusting the opacity till you find a spot that makes the skin nice and even but still allows some texture to show through.

Step 6: Create a new layer mask by clicking the button that looks like a grey square with a white circle on it located at the bottom of the layers pallet.

Click this image for a larger copy.
Step 7: Select the paintbrush tool from the tools pallet and set your foreground color to black. You can easily set it to black by pushing the “d” key on your keyboard followed by the “x” key. Then select a nice soft brush and paint over your subject’s eyes, lips, hair, or anywhere else you want to restore the original sharpness to. You can see where you have masked in the layer mask icon in the layers pallet.

Step 8: If you are happy with the results go to the layer menu and select the flatten image option. Save a copy of your image and enjoy.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Noise Reduction - Step by Step

Step 1:First open an image that has a lot of noise in Photoshop. Images with a lot of noise will look speckled with red, green and sometime blue dots. Other times noise will take other forms, but digital noise almost always comes from shooting a picture in a digital camera while using a high ISO or film speed.

Step 2: Go to the “Image” menu then “mode” then “Lab color” this will convert the image from the RGB mode to the lightnes and a and b mode. Lab color mode splits the image into a lightness channel that stores the black and white information of the image along with the detail and two color channels a and b that just store color information.

Step 3: Since most digital noise resides in the a and b channels of the image in LAB mode, and most of the detail is in the lightness channel we can effectively remove noise from the image by carefully blurring the a and b channels and slightly sharpening the lightness channel.

To blur the a and b channels simply open up your channels pallet and select the "a" channel by clicking on it in the pallet. You should notice your image turn a bunch of funny shades of grey. If your channels pallet isn’t visible check to see if it’s docked with the layers pallet, if not just go to the window menu and select channels.

Step 4: Now go to the filter menu and select noise then median.

Step 5: Adjust the settings so your image looses the rough feel but not so much as to totally smooth your whole image into one massive blob. Then do the same thing with your "b" channel.

Step 6:Now select the lightness channel and go to the filter menu then sharpen – unsharp mask. This step sharpens the lightness channel. The settings you use for both the blurring of the a and b channels and the sharpening of the lightness channel will depend on the size of your image and the amount of noise. It best to try your settings on the conservative end of things at first then see how your image looks. If the settings were too low just undo and repeat the steps with more aggressive settings.

Step 7: After finishing the sharpening simply go to the image menu and select mode then RGB. Your image should now be less noise with a very minimal loss of sharpness.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Actions - Step by Step

NOTE:In this show I’m going make an example action that will automatically size an image, convert it to a specific color space and then save it for the web. This is particularly handy for getting images ready for display on a webpage or for sending in email, but it is only one of the infinite number of things you could use an action for so feel free to try your own workflow instead.

Step 1: Open an image. Really just about any image will work, we are just using this image as an example so Photoshop can see the steps we want done to an image. Now select your actions pallet. If it isn’t open already you make it visible by going to the window menu then selecting the actions option. Now I’m going to make a new folder in the actions pallet to keep my actions organized. You don’t have to do this, but its very easy and will save you time looking for your action next time you need it. To make a new folder just click on the button that has a picture of a folder at the very bottom of the actions pallet.

Step 2: A box will pop open. Enter a name for the folder an hit ok.

Step 3: Now create a new action by clicking the button right next to the new folder button on the actions pallet. It should look like a sticky note.

Step 4: Another box will pop open. This is where you name your new action and pick where it will show up. Then for the set option select the folder you just made then hit record. Photoshop is now recording ever thing you do.

Step 5: For my action I’m going to resize my image by going to the file menu then the automate option then the fit image option.

Step 6: This will pop open a new box. To fit my images on my website I need them to be no wider than 419 pixles so I will enter that into the width box and I will also put 419 in the height. That way my images will get resized so the longest side gets resized to 419 pixels.

Step 7: The next thing I want Photoshop to do to my image is to set the color space. So I will select the edit menu and the convert to profile option. If you have an older version of photoshop this option might be under the image menu then mode.

Step 8: I’m going to pick sRGB for my destination color space since that works well for web images then click ok.

Step 9: Now I want to save my image for the web. So go to the file menu and hit the save for web option. Set you save options and click save.

Step 10: After saving, the final thing I want my action to do is close the image. So I will click the close button and not save my image.

Since that is the last step I want Photoshop to do in my action, click the stop button in the actions pallet. It’s at the bottom and looks like a square. My action is now saved. But there is one more thing I want to do to it before I start to use it. In the actions pallet you can see all the steps Photoshop has saved along with a small empty box to the left of each step that had a dialog box in it. I’m going to click that box for the save or export step. This will let me change the settings and save location manually each time the action is run.

Now when I need resize and convert an image for my website I just need to open the image, click on my action in the action pallet and click the play button at the bottom, Photoshop takes care of the rest.

Advanced users might want to check out the batch option under the file menu and the automate sub menu. This allows you to run your action on large numbers of images automatically and can make things even faster.

Now remember this is just an example of what actions can do. You can use actions to do just about anything in Photoshop, so try experimenting with your own workflow.

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