Photoshop: non-destructive Layer Merge

27 March, 2008

Here’s a marvelous shortcut for merging a number ofΒ  different layers into a new single layer, without loosing the original ones! This is a very useful technique for when you are not sure of the outcome of a layer merge, or when -for some reason- despite merging them, you still need to keep some layers separated for later use. Furthermore, the technique expands the horizons for more experimentation with various layer blending modes.

The following technique works from Photoshop 7 onwards to the latest versions (thank you for the info liverbones!) , for older versions please check and let me know πŸ™‚ Read the rest of this entry »


Photoshop: Converting Raster Images to Custom Shapes

5 February, 2008

One of the most useful tricks of our trade is the ability to convert within Photoshop a raster image to a custom monochromatic shape.
What’s the use of that? First of all, as you can understand, whenever you bring up the size of your shape, it never looses it’s “quality”, in other words it doesn’t pixelate like raster images do as you pump up their size.

The downside of that is that the shapes produced are monochromatic only; you cannot turn a full color image to a full color vector shape by doing the following procedure. Nevertheless it is a very useful technique that produces stylized monochrome graphics, mostly useful in applications where large scale printing is needed afterwards, eg. monochrome logos: you will be able to scale up to any size your logo without loosing on the image’s quality. Read the rest of this entry »


Powering Up for Photoshop!

27 December, 2007

If you’re, like me, spending endless hours on Photoshop, drawing or just editing/retouching photos, or just doing collages, you’ll probably want more out of your machine. Chances are that you already know most if not some of the tips I’ll give you below. By the way these tips are for PC users only.

Again, these are intended for the serious artist or the professional that demands more out of the application and works with large format artwork for print. If you’re editing small images for everyday or web use, you’ll definitely not need all this gear, as your everyday pc does the job beautifully.

First of all I would strongly recommend a dedicated system for running Photoshop and other graphics/DTP applications like Illustrator, Corel Draw, Quark Express etc. The reason for that being that Photoshop draws a hell of a lot system resources upon running, so for instance if you’re having a mail client, a download client or a web browser also running at the same time, they also drain system resources and therefore hold back valuable resources that would have been allocated to Photoshop otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »


RAM efficiency for Photoshop

24 December, 2007

Very often I’m working with large sized files that have a lot of layers and consume most of my pc’s RAM. It is also very common for some filters and plugins not to work due to lack of memory.

Here are a couple of tricks to do when this happens:
1. If you’re sure that you’re ok with your work and don’t need your history levels anymore, go to: Edit > Purge > All

If the filter still refuses to work, save your image, exit and restart Photoshop, load up your image again and try the filter now.

If you see no luck again, then you’ll definitely need more memory with that file, which only means bad news if you’ve already reached the 2GB limit of RAM on 32bit XP based machines 😦

Another tip I can give you on saving RAM for your work is to avoid using the copy / paste command (Ctrl+C – Ctrl+V).
Data stored to the clipboard consume RAM space.
Instead use the Alt+Drag combination: with the Move Tool (V) press alt and drag your selection to create a copy of it.
Also to copy whole layers use the duplicate layer command (Ctrl+J) – or right click on the layer in the layers palette and select Duplicate Layer.

Click here to read a post where I cover more aspects on how to make your machine more efficient for Photoshop use.


Photoshop: Brushes, Paths & Shapes

23 December, 2007

Here are a couple of excellent and extensive tutorials on 2 really hot subjects of the ol’ Photoshop:

Brushes Dynamics
Photoshop has an array of adjustable attributes to each and every brush. The tutorial above describes those attributes of the brushes and what happens when you change those dials πŸ™‚

Shapes, Paths and the Pen tool
To be honest with you, I’ve been working with Shapes and Paths for only one year now. Before that I was doing my masking using either the polygonal lasso tool, or the magic wand and on very rare occasions the freehand lasso tool, thinking that paths is just a trendy tool that only real pros use! Was I silly or what?

One afternoon last year, Read the rest of this entry »


Red Eye Removal Photoshop Tutorial

22 December, 2007

I was retouching some pictures of my sis this afternoon and in some shots I had to remove those scary red Dracula eyes.

For this procedure I had found a great and easy tutorial in the past, unfortunately I can’t find the link to it. I will describe the process as it is worthwhile to share cause it only takes less than a minute to remove those red eyes! In fact my sis’ eyes are beautiful, it’s her temper sometimes that reminds me of Dracula πŸ˜€ hehehe!

1. With your picture opened go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer… and hit OK on the next dialog

2. Set the dials to: Output channel= Red and Red=0% , Blue=50%, Green=50% don’t change anything else. You’ll notice a color change in your picture but fear not!

3. Click on the adjustment layer’s mask to select as active and fill the whole picture area with 100% black (paintbucket Tool – G). The picture will return to it’s original color.

4. Select the white color from your swatches and a soft brush and paint on the red area of the irises. The red will dissapear giving it’s place to the natural color of the eyes.

5. Flatten your image: Layer > Flatten Image, or right click on the background layer on the layers palette and select Flatten Image there.

That was quick! wasn’t it?