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My Photoshop Handbook

Basic Photoshop handling

 The following is a list of practical applications of Photoshop functions, what you can expect from them, and how to get there:

  • Creating a new, empty format to work on: File – New; in the window that pops up, enter: Width: 800 Pixels, Height: 576 Pixels, Resolution: 72 Pixels per Inch (unless you have something different in mind for a specific reason). Then click OK.
  • Getting images from the internet: Remember that most images belong to individuals and companies, and that it may be illegal to use them unless you have written permission. It may, however, be OK to use them if you are not planning to publish the images. GIF images are all protected, so acquiring one of them is technically illegal. This is how you get images: Do a Google image search; on the pages of pictures you get, select the right one for your purpose by clicking on it; now click on “see full size image”; then click on it with the right mouse button and save it into your own cad folder by selecting “save as” on the pop-up banner. Done. The image is now saved in your cad folder.
  • Pasting images into your format or into another image: Select – All; Edit – Copy; go to the image you wish to paste into and click on it; Edit – Paste.
  • Changing the size of an image you have pasted: Edit – Transform – Scale; if you want to keep the image proportions as they are, hold the shift key down while you take hold of one of the corners of the image you want to re-scale. Otherwise, the image will be distorted. To get rid of the scaling frame, click on any selection tool, e.g. the lasso or square in the tools pillar, and click on “Apply” in the window that will pop up.
  • Changing the size of your entire image: Image – Size. Enter the measurements you want it to have. Remember, it will keep its proportions, unless you click on the little checkmark in front of the word “Retain Proportions”.
  • Getting rid of the scaling frame: To get rid of the scaling frame, click on any selection tool, e.g. the lasso or square in the tools pillar, and click on “Apply” in the window that will pop up.
  • Getting rid of the selection: To get rid ofany selection, double-click into your image, using any selection tool (Magic Wand, Lasso, Square, Circle). Alternatively, click on Select – Deselect.
  • “It´s not doing anything!” You may be trying to work on the wrong layer. To find the right one, find the layer window and check which one is highlighted blue. That´s the active one. If it is different from the one you want to work on, scroll up or down till you´ve found the right one. You can tell which one is correct by looking at the little image showing you the layer´s contents.
  • Getting to see the layer window: Window – Show Layers
  • Rulers: Window – Show Rulers
  • Grid: Window – Show Grid
  • Making a layer look translucent: Find the layer window. In it, there is a small window giving you a percentage reading and the word “opacity”. Click on the little arrow behind the percentage and use the sliding button to turn down the image´s opacity.
  • “My images are gone!” Probably not. If you have been saving them as PSDs so far, and then switched to JPEG, the computer may not show them, but they are there. To see all your files, scroll down to “all formats” in the window you get when you click File – Open.
  • Getting rid of excess material around pasted objects: The best way is to use the eraser tool. Make sure you have selected an appropriate brush tip. To do that, click Window – Show Brushes, and select one of the fuzzy ones. If you want to get rid of a very plain background, and if your pasted object has sharp contours, you can also use the magic wand tool and the backspace key.
  • Brush Tips: Window – Show Brushes

Scanning

 

Apart from the internet and digital photography, scanning is a classic way to obtain imagery to work on.

 

It basically means that an image is being “read” by a machine capable of translating visual information into pixels.

 

Scanning is a very simple process, but you need to select a few settings before you do it to ensure satisfaction with the result. The most basic and most important ones are colour and resolution. Make sure your scanner is scanning in colour, and also make sure it is set to a reasonable resolution. On most scanners, it is possible to choose from a range of resolutions between 50 and 1000.

As a rule of thumb, never choose a resolution of less than 72 dpi, simply because your computer’s monitor usually displays imagery at a higher resolution than 72, and your image would look dismal at less than that. Also, try not to exceed 300 dpi unless you really have to. For most jobs, 150 dpi is a good, solid choice, especially when your work is going to be printed by an inkjet printer later. Remember to choose this setting when you scan. If you are planning to print your work with a laser printer some time, try 240. 

This is how it is done:

 

Within your CAD folder, create a folder and name it “Scans”. Then, do this:

  1. Open Photoshop
  2. Go “File – Import – Twain 32”
  3. Wait a little until the scanner has woken up and has done its pre-scanning
  4. The panel which came up should show the following information: Colour Photo, Source 21.59 x 29.71 cm in Width and Height (this means A4), and the target needs to have the same dimensions. This is normally how the panel comes up anyway.
  5. Set your resolution to 150 dpi
  6. Place your image face down onto the scanner window (lift flap first, of course); make sure your image is plane and touches the glass everywhere by pushing down on it GENTLY
  7. If it is printed, which it most likely is, make sure it does not line up with the frame of the scanner, but sits there slightly crooked. You read that right: It prevents the so-called Moiree-Effect, which tends to occur while scanning printed items. This is because printed surfaces have intervals which can interfere with the image. You can see if it has happened to you by looking at your scanned image in Photoshop later. If it looks grey and blurry, you’ve been “moireed”.
  8. Press the Scan button
  9. Once the scanner has stopped, you can get rid of the scanner interface and will now find your image waiting for you in Photoshop. Just save it into your CAD folder where you can find it.

The Type Tool

 What it can do

 The Type Tool lets you add straight text to your image. It can type horizontally or vertically, and you can make your letters glow, cast a shadow, look three-dimensional, or translucent. You can choose various fonts and styles, and any size.

 How to use it

 To activate the type tool, click on the T icon in the tools pillar, then click on your image.

 In the window that has popped up, you can select the following settings for your Lettering:

 

  • Font: Choose your font wisely. They all have different “personalities” and may or may not fit with your message. As an example: What looks more appropriate, modern or modern?  Gentle  or Gentle ? Serious or serious ?
  • Font style: you normally have a choice of regular (just normal writing with no frills), bold (normal writing, but thicker), italic (your font slightly slanted to the right), and italic bold (slanted to the right and thicker).
  • Underline: Gives you a line under your letters.
  • Faux Bold: For letters for which there is no formal “bold” setting, Photoshop will make one up.
  • Faux Italic: For letters for which there is no formal “italic” setting, Photoshop will make one up.
  • Size: measured in points, a good size for text normally is 12 or 14. Anything smaller than that requires a higher resolution, because it tends to look edgy otherwise. Larger type is no problem.
  • Colour: Choose a colour for your lettering. If you want to change colour within the word, you need to perform a separate action.
  • Positioning: You have a choice of three settings, left, centre, and right.

 

To write from top to bottom, rather than horizontally, click on the T icon and and keep the mouse button down to see the other options; one of them will be a T icon with an arrow pointing downward. Click on it and then proceed as you normally would.

 

If you have already typed something and would like to convert it to vertical, go Layer – Type – Vertical, or Horizontal if that is what you want to see.

 

You can retrace your steps by clicking on different stages in your history window in the lower right hand corner of the monitor.

 

To get 3D effects, like shadows or an engraved look, go Layer – Effects – Drop Shadow, or Bevel Emboss, or any other function you fancy.

 

To change the colour of what you have written, go Layer – Effects – Colour Fill, and change the colour of your writing by changing the colour in the little square.

 

To make your writing translucent, go Layer – Options, and turn down the opacity percentage.

 

To change the size of your writing, either go Edit – Transform – Scale (suitable only for downsizing!), or erase your writing by going Layer – Delete Layer and doing the lettering over again in a bigger size.

 

This is how it is done:

 Within your CAD folder, create a folder and name it “Signs”. Then,

  • Go New – File, and create an image with the measurements 800 pixels (width) x 576 pixels (height), 72 dpi
  • Save the image as “Sign 01” in your new folder called “Signs”
  • Now pick images you feel would make a good background from the internet. Use company imagery.
  • Add text and make use of the functions explained under “How to use it”
  • Flatten the image and save it as a JPEG in your folder.
  • Now you’re done.

 

E-Mailing Images

When images are e-mailed, it is crucial to give them the right file type and dimensions.

The right file type is JPEG, and the right dimensions vary to a certain degree. As a rule of thumb, you will want to make sure that your image is large enough to fill the screen, but it should not be larger than that. Since you don’t know how large your recipients’ monitors are, you have to find one value which will work for all. These days, the dimensions 800 pixels by about 576 pixels, at 72 dpi, are your best bet. Slight variations are fine, such as 800 x 600. The image may also be smaller than that, but keep in mind that it will look better the larger it is.

 

Colour Theory

Colour Management and its practical applications in Photoshop

  1. Colour Mode:

There are several colour modes associated with computers. They are:

  • RGB (“Red, Green, Blue”)
  • CMYK (“Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Kontrast or Black”)
  • Indexed colour

RGB is best used for images which will be shown on monitors. Examples would be Power Point Presentations or projections. RGB images consist entirely of lighting elements, and dark regions are generated by an absence of light.

CMYK is used for printing, where images are put together with the use of pigment. Darker tones require the addition of black.

Indexed Colour is used for internet applications such as websites and homepage designs.

  1. Colour Depth:

Colour Depth is measured in Bits. The higher the bit number, the more colours there are at your disposal.

  • 1 Bit means that all you can expect to see is black dots forming cloud like images. Black is the only “colour” available.
  • Indexed Colour images, as used on the internet, possess 4 or 8 bit. They give you 16 and 256 colours.
  • Black and white imagery with 8 bits have 256 grey tones at their disposal.
  • RGB files give you 15, 16, or 24 bits, and a total number of up to 256 x 256 x 256 colours, which adds up to something over 16 million colours. This is as close as it gets to the natural spectrum of colours.

 Colour-related functions of Photoshop:

  • Foreground & Background Colour: Lets you choose the colours you want to work with.
  • Foreground & Background Colour – Web Colours Only: Lets youuse only colours which are suitable for the internet.
  • Foreground & Background Colour – Custom: Gives you various colour systems from which to select coded colours (e.g. Pantone, Toyo, etc.).
  • Image – Mode: Here you can choose between RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, and Indexed Colour.
  • Image – Adjust – Levels: Allows you to change an image at a very technical level. Low priority for us.
  • Image – Adjust – Auto Levels: Brings your image into a well-balanced colour situation automatically.
  • Image – Adjust – Color Balance: Allows you to “tint” your image
  • Image – Adjust – Hue & Saturation: Allows you to make changes to your image’s colour saturation. Useful!
  • Image – Adjust – Desaturate: Allows you to convert individual elements of your image to black and white, but leaves others in colour.
  • Image – Adjust – Replace Colour: Allows you to select and replace single colours in your image.
  • Image – Adjust – Selective Colour: Allows you to modify individual shades of colour in your image – very useful and worth trying!
  • Image – Adjust – Variations: Shows you different ambiences simultaneously. Nice.
  • Select – Colour Range: allows you to select single colours and highlights in your image (e.g., all the reds, or all the highlights, etc.)
  • Window – Show Colour: gives you a handy little colour palette to work with
  • Window – Show Swatches: gives you a limited little colour palette to work with.

Some practical advice:

Choose the right colour mode for your project in Photoshop  before you get going, because a conversion from one mode to another can result in a loss of colour.

On the other hand, you get the best range of filters and functions in RGB. If you know that you are going to do some complex work on an image, you are better off working on it in RGB mode and converting it once you are done, then make necessary adjustments to lost colour.

To change colour mode in Photoshop, follow this route:  Image – Adjust – Mode. You can select the mode of your choice at that location.

To change the overall colour of an image, use this route: Image – adjust – Colour Balance. There, you can alter the tint of an image. Also at Image – Adjust, you will find various other ways to control and manage colour in your image.

Layers

What they are, and what they are for:

Imagine painting or writing onto a clear sheet of acetate. And then imagine painting or writing onto a second, third, fourth sheet of acetate, and putting them all on top of each other. Obviously, you would be able to see everything you have created. This is how Photoshop works, too.

When you open a new file, it represents the first layer, called “Background”. Any other layers you have to add yourself.

This can be done in three ways: Either you click on “Layer – New – Layer”, or you paste something, or you write something. Any of these three actions will give you an additional layer over your original background layer. If you paste 5 different objects into your image, there will be one layer each.

To be able to work on one specific layer, it has to be active. You can activate a layer in the little layer control window by clicking on it. And you can shuffle layers, bring them forward or push them backward, by clicking and dragging them, also in the little layer control window.

Using layers in graphics contexts:

Prime scenarios for the use of layers are applications where you want to make something look translucent or merge into something else.  It also lets you soften the appearance of something whose colour may not be perfectly matched to whatever it is on.

Layers are practical to use because they allow you to move things around and make changes to individual elements.

If you want to save something as a JPEG though, you will have to flatten the layers first. This is irreversible.

 

Working with Lines and Measurements

How to create line drawings in Photoshop

Photoshop lets you do line drawings using various tools. There are the official line making tools, such as the line tool itself, the pen tool, and the brush; but they are to be handled freehandedly, resulting in unguided, coincidental lines.

To obtain perfectly straight lines and right angles, it is best to use the square or circular selection, or the polygon lasso, in combination with the function Edit – Fill Contour (make sure to select an appropriate line width, e.g. 2 or 3 pixels).

How to measure things in Photoshop

There are three ways of measuring things in Photoshop:

  1. Image Size can be viewed and changed by clicking on Image – Image Size;
  2. You can switch on rulers which seem to frame your image by clicking on Window – Show Rulers; whenever you move your mouse into your image, its current position is being followed on the rulers like in a coordinate system. You can see exactly where you are in terms of centimetres. X=0 and Y=0 is in the left upper corner of your image – this is where the measurements start.
  3. There is a measuring tool in the tools pillar. If you want to find out about the distance between two points in your image, you may use it.

 

How to build actual models from Photoshop graphics – and why would I want to?

Provided you are familiar with the basics of paper or cardboard model making, you can produce excellent looking models using Photoshop, and you can come to these results at tremendous speed when compared to conventional techniques.

This may come in handy when you want to quickly demonstrate to your team or your store decorators what you want done. You can create models of shop windows, of rooms, of furniture, buildings, etc. The main trick to learn is how to plan and build a cube.

Simply create a cube structure as shown in the examples, paste in the images you want, print it out, cut it out, and glue it together.

 

Picture Enhancement

Photographs are almost always imperfectly lit, blurred, spotty, pixelled, and they are grey and slightly tinted.

Photoshop offers us several tools to make the best of bad photographs. This is how you find them, and what they do:

  • Image – Adjust - Auto Levels: This function will automatically adjust your colour values for you. It takes a programmed median as a point of reference, and is therefore not always correct. But in most cases, you will find it helps a lot.
  • Image – Adjust - Auto Contrast: This function will automatically adjust your contrast values for you. It also takes a programmed median as a point of reference, and is therefore not always correct, either. But just as the previous tool, you will find it helps a lot, most of the time.
  • Image – Adjust – Color Balance: Allows you to adjust your colour balances yourself. Handle with care.
  • Image – Adjust – Brightness/ Contrast: Allows you to change contrast and brightness yourself. Use wisely.
  • Filter – Sharpen: Will gently add sharpness to an image. Use only once, otherwise, your image becomes a mess.
  • Filter – Sharpen Edges: Will seek out boundaries in your image, sharpen them, and leave everything else alone. Wise choice for the average photograph.
  • Filter – Sharpen More: A turbo-sharpener, if you like. Use only once, if at all. Can destroy an image.
  • Filter – Noise – Despeckle: Has a soothing effect on most pictures.
  • Filter – Blur – Smart Blur: The ultra-soother. If over-used, it can make your image look like a 1940s gouache painting. But it takes out pixels and grain very effectively.
  • Dodge Tool: Allows you to bring back some detail if a part of an image is too dark. Use with care.

The Rubber Stamp and its Options

 The Rubber Stamp Tool lets you…:

 

  • Make unwanted objects disappear from images
  • Fix botched transitions on textured surfaces
  • Design your own pattern
  • Create a pattern out of anything
  • Apply a pattern in a translucent manner to an image

 

Rubber Stamp - This is how to…:

 

  • Make unwanted objects disappear from images: Click on the rubber stamp tool (in the tools pillar) and set its opacity to 100%, then go Window - Show Brushes and select a nice, fuzzy brush tip (about 50 to 100 pixels in width). Then move the mouse arrow to a spot which you think is worth cloning, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and click once. Now you can let go of the Alt key and apply the rubber stamp tool as if it was an airbrush – only that it will spray an exact replica of the area you have chosen, wherever you choose.
  • Fix botched transitions on textured surfaces: Click on the rubber stamp tool (in the tools pillar) and set its opacity to 100%, then go Window - Show Brushes and select a nice, fuzzy brush tip (about 100 to 200 pixels in width). Then move the mouse arrow to a spot which you think is worth cloning, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and click once. Now you can let go of the Alt key and apply the rubber stamp tool.
  • Design your own pattern: Create any elaborate graphic element (like a rose) or odd little squiggle (by throwing some black markings on the canvas using the paint brush).  Then, click on the rubber stamp tool (in the tools pillar), and keep the button down until you find the pattern stamp tool. Set its opacity to 100%, then go Window - Show Brushes and select a nice, fuzzy brush tip (about 100 to 200 pixels in width). Click on the rectangular marquee tool and select your rose, or squiggle. Then move the mouse arrow to your squiggle or rose, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and click once. Now you can let go of the Alt key. Go Edit – Define Pattern, deselect, and apply the rubber stamp tool. You will receive a page full of repetitions.
  • Create a pattern out of anything: Click on the rectangular marquee tool and select any area. Then move the mouse arrow to it, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and click once. Now you can let go of the Alt key. Go Edit – Define Pattern, deselect, and apply the rubber stamp tool. You will receive a page full of repetitions.
  • Apply a pattern in a translucent manner to an image: Create any graphic element or select any area.  Then, click on the rubber stamp tool (in the tools pillar), and keep the button down until you find the pattern stamp tool. Set its opacity to less than 100%, then go Window - Show Brushes and select a nice, fuzzy brush tip (about 100 to 200 pixels in width). Click on the rectangular marquee tool and select your graphic element. Then move the mouse arrow to it, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and click once. Now you can let go of the Alt key. Go Edit – Define Pattern, deselect. Then apply the rubber stamp tool to the image which you wish to overlay with a pattern. You will receive a page full of translucent repetitions.

 

The Distortion Filters

 

Distorting an image is a way to create artwork quickly and effectively. It could then be used to produce decorative wall coverings for retail premises, backdrops in ads, or prints for paper and textiles.

 

Photoshop offers various distortion filters. This is where they are, and what they can do:

 

  • Filter – Distort – Diffuse Glow: Adds a ghostly mist by emphasizing bright areas in the picture. A great effect for anything to do with weddings, fairy tales, positive ghosts, and mystery of a happy sort.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Glass: Allows you to create glass objects in pictures. Just make a selection with any of the selection tools, apply the glass filter, go edit – copy – edit – paste, and layer – effects – bevel emboss; set the highlight opacity to 100%, the depth and blur to maximum, and click OK. You will now have a glass object hovering in your image.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Ocean Ripple: Lets you create water surfaces and water reflections.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Pinch: Creates an impression of an image that seems to bulge outward if set to negative coordinates, or inward if positive.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates: totally transforms an image. Can be used to create dynamic graphics out of anything quickly, but without much control over the outcome. Suitable for the creation of amusing, round graphics, which could be applied to CDs as stickers.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Ripple: Can be used to generate interesting pattern for printing out of photographs if set to high magnitude.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Shear: Waves and bends an image

 

  • Filter – Distort – Spherize: Creates an impression of an image that seems to bulge outward if set to positive coordinates, or inward if negative. Much like Pinch function, but creates a visible boundary inside the image.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Twirl: Spins an image slightly and causes related distortions. Can make an image more cartoon-like.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Wave: makes waves in the image, and is highly controllable.

 

  • Filter – Distort – Zigzag: as above; try using wave and zigzag together. They create wonderful, instant graphic wonders. Good for CD covers, CD stickers, sign backdrops, etc.

 

Colour and Black & White

Converting an image to black and white can be done in two ways:

  1. Image – Mode – Grayscale will convert an image to black and white.
  2. Image – Adjust – Desaturate:Allows you to convert individual elements of your image to black and white, but leaves others in colour.

Converting an image from black and white to colour requires much dedication. This is how it can be done:

  1. Switch your black and white image from grayscale mode to RGB colour mode (Image – Mode – RGB).
  2. Double-click on the polygonal lasso tool, and set the feather amount in its control window in the upper, right corner of your monitor to a setting of 1 or 2. This will keep your selection soft.
  3. Alternatively, use the magnetic lasso. Set it to a similar feather amount, and set its frequency to about 99 or higher.
  4. Look at your image: Decide which areas may have what colours. Start with one. Select it carefully (use the magnifying glass in the tools pillar to get optimum results).
  5. With the selection on, go Image – Adjust – Color Balance, and carefully give the area its tint. Stop in time.
  6. If you feel the area needs a stronger tint, use the contrast tool: Image – Adjust – Brightness/ Contrast.
  7. Continue until done.

Tips and tricks about colour:

  • Nothing in nature has only one colour. If you want to achieve more than a colourised look, you need to copy and paste your selection when you are done tinting, tint the newly pasted piece differently, and use the eraser tool to wipe out parts of it. That’s how you get many different shades into your image.
  • When working on a picture, find a comparable one in colour on the internet, bring it into photoshop, and check the colour values. This can save you much time: Use the colour picker to find out what the R, G, and B values are. Then simply punch in these numbers for your tint amount.
  • In the end, try using Image – Adjust – Auto Contrast to bring the punch back. This may not always work, but often does.
  • It’s a good idea to put cold colours in the background (like blue and green), and warm ones in the front (red, yellow, brown). This makes your image deeper.
  • If you think your colours are too strong, select and paste the black and white original, then go to the layer control window in the lower right corner of your monitor and turn down the opacity.
  • In the end, flatten your image (Layer – Flatten Image) and save it as a JPEG.

 

JPEG Compression

When preparing an image for emailing or a website, it is often compressed to reduce its size in Kilo Bites.  This does not mean that the dimensions change, but only that it becomes more simple. You may not immediately notice the difference visually, but the image quality and size in Bites are being reduced. This can become evident in a loss of detail. Nevertheless, JPEG compression is a useful thing for these two applications.

To compress a JPEG image, click File – Save As, and scroll to JPEG. If the choice is not offered, you need to flatten your Image in Photoshop (Layer – Flatten Image) and try again.

The control window which pops up has a sliding button which lets you choose the degree of simplification for your image. As a rule of thumb, the further down toward 0 you push the button, the more your image will become simplified. To verify that your image is now simple enough for your purpose, check on the image size in Photoshop by clicking Image – Image Size; in the upper region of the control window which appears, you will see numbers, followed by K, KB, or M. That is your present image size. As a point of reference, images that are emailed through Hotmail must not be larger than 1.024 KB (Kilo Bite), or 1.024 M (Mega Bite), or else they will be rejected.

It is also a good idea to save completed work on your computer as JPEG file, because JPEGs are generally smaller than Photoshop files (psd); however, if you are planning to keep working on it, or print it, do not reduce its size with the sliding button, as you would lose quality and detail then. Strive not to save an image repeatedly as a JPEG reduction, as it will cause it to lose a lot in quality. Once should be enough.

Improving hand-drawings with Photoshop

Photoshop is used to work on images – who says they can’t be drawings, or paintings, and your own? We all know the problem:

You’ve done a nice drawing – well, except for that weird, long leg that person somehow seems to have… and the colour of the face is a bit off… and you just wish you’d chosen a different pen to draw that outline…

But there is hope:

Scan your drawing in. It now becomes a Photoshop image, and the sky is the limit. You can do anything with it.

Here are some suggestions:

  • The most common problem is contrast. Most hand-drawn images are actually too pale. That is because of the media we use on paper (crayons, pencils, felts, etc.)– they will never give us the punch of digital images on a screen.  Just adjust the image automatically: Go Image-Adjust-Auto Contrast, and Auto Levels. Alternatively, crank up the contrast yourself under Image-Adjust-Brightness and Contrast.
  • The thing that really brings your image to life is lightness and darkness. Some near-black and some white in any image will liven it up a lot. Use the Dodge Tool and the Burn Tool in the tools pillar to add light and dark areas without losing features of your image.
  • Backgrounds: You never really do much of a background on paper drawings, because, let’s face it, the pens are getting drained, and it’s tedious. In Photoshop, that is no longer true. Try adding backgrounds as colours, sprayed in with the airbrush set to unusual settings (remember to select first!), or just pasted in from elsewhere. Photoshop doesn’t care how much colour you dump into your image – if it’s black you want, there you go. No harm done to the felt pen.
  • Colour Coordination: Often, your hand-drawn image somehow doesn’t look comfortable; that is frequently the case because your colours don’t look right. In Photoshop, you can replace them individually (Image-Adjust-Replace Colour), or give the entire image a tint (Image-Adjust-Colour Balance).
  • Rectifying mistakes: So the leg is too long, or the person generally misshaped? Just select carefully with one of the lasso tools, copy, paste, and go Edit-Transform-Distort; now you can correct the mistakes in the drawing.
  • Other interesting features: Try inverting a line drawing; the black lines become white, the rest of the image dark (Image-Adjust-Invert); this can give a boring image some punch and sophistication. You can also add text, take out spots, collage things together, paste things in and flip them, and change their size, so that it looks like you drew a lot more than you did; you can colourise any line drawing directly in Photoshop, which can save you a lot of time (just make sure you use more than the paint bucket to add colour to your image, unless you want it to look like something from “The Simpsons”).

 

Special Effects in Photoshop:

To create an impression of glass: Select an area and make it look slightly milky – you do that by going “Image – Adjust –Brightness/ Contrast” – contrast down about 20%, brightness up by 10 to 20%.

To create an impression of tinted glass: Select an area and make it look slightly milky – you do that by going “Image – Adjust –Brightness/ Contrast” – contrast down about 20%, brightness up by 10 to 20%. Then go “Image – Adjust – Colour Balance”, and turn up the green or the  blue just a bit.

To create the impression of fog with features in it: Any ghostly image on a dull surface will be seen as something in the fog. You need a surface first. Then you choose an image which will become your “thing in the fog”. You select it, copy and paste it onto your surface, and use the eraser tool to rub out the boundaries. Then you go to the layers and reduce the opacity to a very low setting, like 10 to 20%.

To add reflections: Any ghostly image on a shiny surface will be seen as a reflection. You need a shiny looking surface first (see “To create a surface impression like painted metal”). Then you choose an image which will become your reflection. You select it, copy and paste it onto your shiny surface, and use the eraser tool to rub out the boundaries. Then you go to the layers and reduce the opacity to a very low setting, like 10 to 20%. If your surface is curved, you may want to “squish” your selection image a bit (Edit – Transform – Scale).

To add a camera-style flare: Go Filter – Render – Lens Flare. Remember to adjust the intensity of the flare before hitting OK. Also, try the three different types of flare on offer first.

To create something resembling chrome trim: Draw a little square with the square selection tool at the end point of where your chrome trim should go. Now go Filter – Render – Lens Flare. Remember to adjust the intensity of the flare before hitting OK. Also, try the three different types of flare on offer first. When that’s done, go Edit – Transform – Scale, and pull on the side of the little transformer selection frame, all the way across your image. You can then get rid of the little transformer frame, and you will find that the selection is still active – go Edit – Copy, and you can just paste more chrome siding into your image easily that way, if you want.

To create a surface impression like painted metal: Draw a square of the correct height for your purpose with the square selection tool at the end point of where your painted metal panel should go. Now go Filter – Render – Lens Flare. Remember to adjust the intensity of the flare before hitting OK. Also, try the three different types of flare on offer first. When that’s done, go Edit – Transform – Scale, and pull on the side of the little transformer selection frame, all the way across your image. You can then get rid of the little transformer frame, and you will find that the selection is still active – go Edit – Copy, and you can just paste more metal panels into your image easily that way, if you want.

To create a material impression: Either use the texturizer (Filter – Texture – Texturizer, and select a material there), or find an image of a material and paste it into the area you want to work on. Then find your layers, activate the layer of the image you have pasted in, and reduce the opacity until what’s underneath is showing. Increase the contrast at will: Image – Adjust – Brightness/ Contrast).

To make swooping areas rather than curved ones: If your image is maximized (centre button on the very right of the blue top bar), you should be able to draw huge ovals with the elliptical marquee tool, far exceeding the image’s boundaries. That’s how you create curved selections. If you want to fill everything but your selection with a colour, go Select – Inverse. Use the paint bucket to dump the colour of your choice into your selection.

To make curved lines: If your image is maximized (centre button on the very right of the blue top bar), you should be able to draw huge ovals with the elliptical marquee tool, far exceeding the image’s boundaries. Now just go Edit – Stroke, and choose the right stroke width before you hit OK. There’s your curve.

To add 3D effect: First, selectthe curve or area you want to make 3D, e.g. with the magic wand tool. Then go Edit – Copy, Edit – Paste. Now go Layer – Effects – Bevel and Emboss, or Drop Shadow. Inside Bevel Emboss, you have several options. Try them. Remember also to play with Blur and Depth! Less is often much more.

 

How to Get Perfect Sketches

Sketching ability is usually your most marketable skill as a designer, right after 3D modeling. You absolutely must be incredible at it, otherwise, life will be hard.

Luckily, we now have much better tools than we used to have to help you get there. On the downside, everyone is using them, which puts pressure on you to compete. Better get with it.

 

Nowadays, this is how we organize our sketching process. Follow this order for great results:

 

  1. Sketch on cheap paper using whatever you like. Pencils are still best. Be prepared to bin forty to sixty pages until you have what you want. Keep going, page after page. You’ll see how your design will look better every time you draw it anew.
  2. Once you’ve got it, scan it with 240 dpi. This will make it laser-printable.
  3. Go into Illustrator and place your scanned image into the viewport.
  4. Draw your lines using the pen tool in Illustrator. Try different types of lines and brushes. There are some interesting calligraphy options which are worth the time and effort, giving great variations of line weight. Put a thicker boundary around the outsides of your sketched objects than the lines within the sketch. Remember, this is for lines only!
  5. Click on the placed image of your sketch and delete it.
  6. Save the newly drawn Illustrator line drawing as a PDF.
  7. Open the PDF in Adobe Photoshop and flatten it (Image – Flatten Image).
  8. Use Photoshop as outlined below.

 

Photoshop Magic for your Sketches:

 

Remember: Sketches are not renderings! Sketches are supposed to be simple, but striking. It’s OK if they’re black and white only. But do put reflections and shadows in to help understand them. Also put writing into them, arrows, whatever, to explain functions.

 

To do marker style renderings: Use the paintbrush, set to a sharp boundary, with reduced opacity (50 to 80%).

To add reflections and shadow lines: As above. Thiswill give you the same effect as markers. You can also airbrush them in. In that case, set your airbrush to a high fade.

To add a camera-style flare: Go Filter – Render – Lens Flare. Remember to adjust the intensity of the flare before hitting OK. Also, try the three different types of flare on offer first. Use sparingly, as it can get hoaky when there are more than two in on sketch.

To create something resembling chrome trim: As above, but use stronger contrast.

To make it all look very neat and intense: Cram lots of very cool sketches onto one page and make them smaller. Do this in a way that makes sense, e.g. let them tell the story of the functionality of your sketched object.

Basic Photoshop Handling and Tips for When Things Go Weird

The following is a list of practical applications of Photoshop functions, what you can expect from them, and how to get there:

  • Creating a new, empty format to work on: File – New; in the window that pops up, enter e.g.: Width: 28cm, Height: 20cm, Resolution: 240 Pixels per Inch (this gives you an A4 format). Then click OK.
  • Getting images from the internet: Remember that most images belong to individuals and companies, and that it may be illegal to use them unless you have written permission. It may, however, be OK to use them if you are not planning to publish the images. GIF images are all protected, so acquiring one of them is technically illegal. This is how you get images: Do a Google image search; on the pages of pictures you get, select the right one for your purpose by clicking on it; now click on “see full size image”; then click on it with the right mouse button and save it into your own cad folder by selecting “save as” on the pop-up banner. Done. The image is now saved in your cad folder.
  • Pasting images into your format or into another image: Select – All; Edit – Copy; go to the image you wish to paste into and click on it; Edit – Paste.
  • Changing the size of an image you have pasted: Edit – Transform – Scale; if you want to keep the image proportions as they are, hold the shift key down while you take hold of one of the corners of the image you want to re-scale. Otherwise, the image will be distorted. To get rid of the scaling frame, click on any selection tool, e.g. the lasso or square in the tools pillar, and click on “Apply” in the window that will pop up.
  • Changing the size of your entire image: Image – Size. Enter the measurements you want it to have. Remember, it will keep its proportions, unless you click on the little checkmark in front of the word “Retain Proportions”.
  • Getting rid of the scaling frame: To get rid of the scaling frame, click on any selection tool, e.g. the lasso or square in the tools pillar, and click on “Apply” in the window that will pop up.
  • Getting rid of the selection: To get rid ofany selection, double-click into your image, using any selection tool (Magic Wand, Lasso, Square, Circle). Alternatively, click on Select – Deselect.
  • “It´s not doing anything!” You may be trying to work on the wrong layer. To find the right one, find the layer window and check which one is highlighted blue. That´s the active one. If it is different from the one you want to work on, scroll up or down till you´ve found the right one. You can tell which one is correct by looking at the little image showing you the layer´s contents.
  • Getting to see the layer window: Window – Show Layers
  • Rulers: Window – Show Rulers
  • Grid: Window – Show Grid
  • Making a layer look translucent: Find the layer window. In it, there is a small window giving you a percentage reading and the word “opacity”. Click on the little arrow behind the percentage and use the sliding button to turn down the image´s opacity.
  • “My images are gone!” Probably not. If you have been saving them as PSDs so far, and then switched to JPEG, the computer may not show them, but they are there. To see all your files, scroll down to “all formats” in the window you get when you click File – Open.
  • Getting rid of excess material around pasted objects: The best way is to use the eraser tool. Make sure you have selected an appropriate brush tip. To do that, click Window – Show Brushes, and select one of the fuzzy ones. If you want to get rid of a very plain background, and if your pasted object has sharp contours, you can also use the magic wand tool and the backspace key.
  • Brush Tips: Window – Show Brushes

 

 

Good Luck now –

remember software skills are like playing the piano.

Keep playing, and you’ll get better at it.

 

 

Filed Under: Photoshop


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Uploaded Date: Oct 30,2015

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