Some of the tips

Well as I said I’ve been looking at video podcasts, and I started wondering which were sticking…  Some are just different ways of doing things one’s already happy with, but some are so interesting that I go off to try them immediately.  Then comes the fun, as many are from CS2 and superseded in CS4.  Ones that spring to mind that still work are:

  • CMD-click on the title-bar of an open document to find which directory it came from  — does not work in consolidated tabbed view unfortunately
  • Use a threshold layer to pick white and black points for tweaking a curves adjustment, then use a 50% grey fill layer in difference blend mode behind the threshold filter to pick the mid tone for that same curves adjustment.
  • Switch to LAB colour space to intensify colours by adjusting the A and B curves to a steeper gradient, particularly good for photos with low colour content to start with
  • Use the LAB Lightness channel for less obvious «sharpening» (added acutance with consequent detail loss) — there is less of a colour effect
  • Alternatively a high-pass filter layer in hard light blend mode gives a different sharpening effect.
  • Use Colour selection from the selection menu as well as of the magic wand
  • Use alpha channels to make selection masks
  • Once you have a selection on its own layer, use DeFringe to tidy the edges
  • The patch tool is a good start to repair a crack in an old print
  • Aren’t layer styles great?
  • Wow! I didn’t know that was there — the animation tool! (under the window menu)
  • One can type © as Option-g on the Mac keyboard.
  • Make a self scaling visible watermark for web publishing: make a file containing it twice as wide as one’s largest picture will be with a transparent background, type the message, and free transform it to the full width (add height as needed) use grey text, add a bevel and save the file.
    Then make an action: Select all on the target image, Place the copyright message file into the image — this will bring it in as a centred smart object (which automatically scales to fit the target image) accept the placement, finally set the layer blend mode to hard light, and merge down.

And make a point of watching the “Steamy” episode 43 of Photoshop User TV — as good as the classic death giggles commentary on TMS for presenters choking.

There were also some photography tips…

  • The presenters on Photoshop User TV gave a great plug for the Expodisc white balance filter (£75), but a little reading around threw up the Seculine Vivicap white balance lens caps available from Warehouse Express at £17 about 1/4 the price (ie twice normal branded lens cap price), but the outright winner in function and value is the Melita basket filter (yes a white coffee filter paper) and an elastic band at about £1.50 for 50 from a comparison review of WB Filters published in 2008.

One of the other things one notices is how some of he versatility is salami sliced away in the newer releases of photoshop.  In CS3 under actions there was effectively a mini RIP for producing a set of different sized prints on a sheet.  Gone in CS4, replaced by the output function in Bridge which is only really for single prints of each image, and all at the same size.  The same complaint also applies to the LightRoom print module (Including LR3 beta 2).

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