How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop


Creating a watermark, whether for use in company stationery, or websites, or wherever, has become fairly important recently. It’s part of what is known as product branding. I won’t go into the discussion of designing logos, as it’s a very involved process. But many companies want their official colors, fonts, and logos to be visible in any facet of their business, especially those the public sees. The watermark is very helpful in the subtle-advertising mode. They’re visible, but unobtrusive. For this example, I’ll use our own company logo (which I happen to like). We first open it in Photoshop, and make [...]

How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop2019-09-30T13:42:48-04:00

How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop


When we convert a color image to grayscale in Photoshop, we  obviously toss out color. But sometimes this makes the image look a little flat. Color can make an image look vivid, and not just because color is there. It also allows subtle contrasts, enhancements, and other things which are harder in a grayscale image. But grayscale images can be enhanced, and there are one or two tricks we can pull before the actual conversion. One is based on the color or colors which form the majority of the image. We can use a Color Balance adjustment layer to make colors [...]

How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop2019-09-30T13:44:00-04:00

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text


Someone had a question about working with text in Photoshop using Bitmap mode. “Between 50% threshold, pattern dither, diffusion dither and halftone screen, which one is more suitable for text use?” This is the image mode which converts to strictly black-and-white pixels. We want to be aware that even Grayscale mode, often thought of as “black-and-white”, isn’t really. Bitmap is the only mode which natively uses just those two colors. But even Bitmap mode has a few variations, as mentioned above. So if one is scanning text in from somewhere, which should we use? The answer depends partially on whether there’s [...]

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text2019-09-30T13:53:11-04:00

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop


Got a real-life question from someone this time, regarding how to fix glare. It’s a fairly typical problem in some images. Reflections off shiny surfaces, lights accidentally pointing toward the camera, even some kinds of glossy fabric, or curved glass acting as a lens can distract, if not irritate, the viewer (and the subject, and the photographer). Here’s a wedding picture with just this kind of problem. Just above the bride’s head, we’re getting a spot of unusual brightness. (The lady asked, “Can you adjust my halo?”) Obviously, we want to tone the glare spot down as much as we can [...]

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop2019-09-30T13:54:44-04:00

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop


One of the more subtle problems in digital photography is something called moiré. It looks rather like a slight mesh of light and dark lines, sometimes curved, sometimes straight. Certain kinds of fabric produce this effect when one takes pictures of, say, people in suits. Silks are among the biggest culprits, and wedding images can abound with it. Luckily, there’s a bit of work we can do in Photoshop to greatly reduce the visibility of moiré. We start by opening the picture and selecting the area with the moiré effect. We want to use a couple of pixels of feather, so [...]

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop2019-09-30T14:28:50-04:00

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop


The Photoshop features called Image Size and Canvas Size can be a little confusing. The names are similar, and at first glance what they do will seem to be also. And both are on the Image menu. But the two controls do something quite different from each other, and understanding how can be helpful. Once we open a sample document, we can try using each one. First, Image Size. This feature can change two main things—(a) the size, in height and width, of the printed image, and (b) its resolution, or level of detail in pixels per inch. Since it can [...]

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop2019-09-30T14:35:59-04:00

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop


Resolution, in the graphics world, refers to detail. Usually, in a Photoshop document, it means the number of dots or pixels per inch. And this number tells you how detailed, sharp, or clear the image will be. Generally, the higher, the better. But there are a couple of points we need to know to use this to the fullest. Changing the resolution of an image is very simple. Having opened the image, we go to the Image menu, click Image Size, and change the number as needed. The number of pixels per inch is usually figured according to the purpose of [...]

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop2019-09-30T14:37:14-04:00

How to Create an Action in Adobe Photoshop


An Action is the Photoshop equivalent of a macro in programs like Word and Access. It allows consistent repetition of a sequence of steps. So it’s easier to do the same thing in different files, if one wants. As usual, the thing which helps most is rehearsal—practice a little to avoid frustration when you record the real thing. (I’ll apply a layer effect here, the Drop Shadow, for demonstration.) After opening your file and setting up whatever elements we want to affect, we bring up the Actions panel and click the New Action button. We enter a name, a keyboard shortcut [...]

How to Create an Action in Adobe Photoshop2019-09-30T15:09:23-04:00

How to Use Quick Mask Mode in Photoshop


Of all the “beyond-the-basics” tools in Photoshop, the Quick Mask feature is probably one of the most nitpicky to understand. But it can provide the user with a fairly easy method of doing something complex, namely, making selections. So it’s worth the time. It’s normally easiest to start by making a partial selection of the area. Using a conventional method such as clicking with the Magic Wand will work fine. Then, going over to the Tools panel/Toolbox, we simply click the button near the bottom for Quick Mask mode. Now, the trick here is knowing what Quick Mask mode does, and [...]

How to Use Quick Mask Mode in Photoshop2019-09-30T15:13:19-04:00

Using the Gradients in Photoshop—Additional Info


In an earlier post, I went through the basics of creating gradients in Photoshop. In this one, I want to mention a couple more details which might be helpful in their use. There are five patterns, or appearances, which gradients can follow, shown to the right of the Gradient Editor in the Options panel. The one we use most, Linear, makes the color pattern appear as bars, or bands, in the selected area. But the others are potentially quite useful, and not just for decor. One selects the gradient and pattern, and drags from point A to point B, just as [...]

Using the Gradients in Photoshop—Additional Info2019-09-30T15:30:31-04:00

How to Create an Adobe Photoshop Gradient


Setting up a Photoshop gradient works a little differently from its cousin, Illustrator. The concept is the same, but the tool involved, and how we create and fine-tune a gradient, changes. The first thing to do is select the Gradient tool in the Tools panel/Toolbox. Looking up at the Options panel, we find the dropdown with the choice of gradients on the left. Usually there are a dozen to sixteen presets; clicking one will select it. But if we want to create one, we can click the gradient already visible to bring up the Gradient Editor. The next thing we frequently [...]

How to Create an Adobe Photoshop Gradient2019-10-02T16:21:13-04:00

How to Use Dodge and Burn in Photoshop


Of all the tools in the last few versions of Photoshop, the Dodge and Burn tools seem to be less busy, possibly since digital photography reduces the need for them. But once in a while, especially in restoring scanned-in prints, one might still try them out. Dodging and burning, in photography, are lightening and darkening parts of an image that show some detail but not quite enough; if we can lighten the dark parts a little, or vice versa, visible detail might improve. Once we have a decent scan, we can decide which parts are a little too dark or light. [...]

How to Use Dodge and Burn in Photoshop2019-09-30T16:24:50-04:00

Using Layer Masks in Photoshop – Basics


When we put together a composite image in Photoshop, built from pieces of other images, using layer masks is a very helpful trick. Masking allows us to experiment with the appearance of the composite by letting us show or hide very specific bits of the layers in the image, and adjust what shows without editing or deleting any of the actual images in the layers. First, we assemble the pieces of the composite. The number of layers is entirely up to the user, of course. (Recently found out the actual max number you can have is 8000. Wow.) Then, of course, [...]

Using Layer Masks in Photoshop – Basics2019-09-30T16:28:04-04:00

How to Select Precise Colors with Pickers and Libraries


More than ever in today’s business world, having one’s company stand out from the competition is important; product branding, and the use of color in particular, is integral to this. Product branding is the term we normally use to describe a distinctive scheme of hue/shade/etc. choices, font choices, logo, etc. which give a company a unique “look”. Coca-Cola, John Deere, Five Guys (a burger chain), Panera—any company at all. So how can a company select—and use consistently—any of these, particularly color?      There are at least two methods we can use, at least in a majority of programs. One, which is [...]

How to Select Precise Colors with Pickers and Libraries2019-09-30T16:34:03-04:00

How to Restore Pictures in Photoshop—Easy Fixes


Although the restore and cleanup business is not quite as much a boom thing as it was when Photoshop first came out, it still comes up. Detailed restorations take time. But there are things you can do to get some problems solved without too much trouble. The most common problems with most older photos have to do with age. Images yellow or fade with time, in which case doing a restore implies color correction or improving saturation. Others involve fading of contrast, or having areas too light or dark to see detail in. Recognizing the main problem(s) more or less on [...]

How to Restore Pictures in Photoshop—Easy Fixes2019-10-02T16:26:14-04:00

How to Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop


In this tutorial, you will learn how to colorize a black and white photo in Photoshop. Want to learn more about Photoshop? Visit our Photoshop Training Classes page to enroll in one of our live, instructor-led Photoshop classes. You'll learn about Photoshop from an experienced instructor while being able to ask questions and discuss projects you are working on.

How to Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop2018-07-17T13:58:55-04:00

Using Photoshop — More Tips, Tricks, and Hints


Figured I’d mention a few other techniques which might be of use. Photoshop is almost a gold mine of cool tip after cool tip; I’d never deny it takes some practice to become comfortable with the program, so here’re some more. Tip 4. Always be aware of the Layers panel if the image has more than one layer (not all images do). Particularly, which layer is selected. Whatever kind of edit, with whichever kind of tool, the layer selected is the one that’ll show the change. If it’s the “wrong” layer, you can undo, but it’s irritating. Better to know in [...]

Using Photoshop — More Tips, Tricks, and Hints2019-10-07T10:46:15-04:00

Using Photoshop — Tips, Tricks, and Hints


Photoshop has been around for a while, and it’s a fairly sophisticated program, but there are some tips one can learn to work a little more efficiently no matter what your level of expertise. 1. A lot of the work we do in Photoshop depends on selection. Refining selections takes time; actually doing things with the selected area usually takes less. But when done working with a selection, don’t forget to DE-select it! Kind of like turning the oven off when finished cooking. (Ctrl- or Cmd-D is quickest.) Otherwise you might end up doing the right thing to the wrong part [...]

Using Photoshop — Tips, Tricks, and Hints2019-10-07T10:51:05-04:00

How to Use Color Libraries in Photoshop


For some reason, a few people I’ve talked to seem a little uneasy about the Color Libraries. Either they don’t know what these are, or they don’t know how to use them. But they’re easy to bring into play, they’re very useful, and sometimes even necessary. They’re standard sets of colors anyone can use to make sure the viewer sees precisely the color they should. Many companies have what are called “product branding” standards: Official fonts, official colors, logos, and so on. If I mention Coca-Cola, or John Deere, you can probably see the red or green in your mind’s eye. [...]

How to Use Color Libraries in Photoshop2019-10-17T11:28:04-04:00

How to Use Duotone Mode in Photoshop


One of the least-known color modes in Photoshop, or certainly lesser-known today, is Duotone. This may be partly because it requires converting a file to grayscale first, which means that for color images the very name is unavailable on the menu. But it has a couple of interesting properties. The first thing, as I mentioned, is to take an image and convert to grayscale; from there, one can go to Duotone mode. And then, as the one chap said in the movies, the fun begins. Duotone mode allows the user to “tint” the image with between one and four ink colors, [...]

How to Use Duotone Mode in Photoshop2019-10-17T11:35:49-04:00

Dealing with Dust Using History in Photoshop


There’s another trick for dealing with dust in Photoshop (to sort of continue from the last blog post), which takes a little setup but is even more subtle. It involves the History Brush tool, and the History panel. The advantage is that the corrections are very unobtrusive, especially if one takes the time to do them carefully. The disadvantage, such as it is, is that the recipe has to be followed rather carefully, which is why I’m taking the liberty of condensing it at the end of the post. After opening the file, it’s advisable to save it as a PSD, [...]

Dealing with Dust Using History in Photoshop2019-10-02T15:37:33-04:00

How to Deal with Dust in Photoshop Images


In the age of digital photography, dust would seem to be a thing of the past. Perhaps. But who knows how many pre-digital pictures still exist, un-digitized, and in need of cleaning? With this in mind, I’d like to show you how. Before we had digital cameras, Photoshop, and so on, one would have to clean the film very carefully, print the picture, and use a kind of watercolor called spotting dye to touch up the (hopefully few) white spots caused by dust on the negative. (Yes, I did it.) It’s not too hard, but it is tedious, and requires patience [...]

How to Deal with Dust in Photoshop Images2019-10-02T15:43:17-04:00

Using the Layers Panel in Photoshop–Tips and Tricks


The Layers panel is one of the most important members of the team. A lot of what goes on in Photoshop is related at least partly to which layer(s) you’ve selected. Or want to select to do stuff in. So paying attention to this, and knowing a few things, will save you some work, and a little stress. Unlike in its brother programs, Illustrator and InDesign, layers serve a vital function here—anything in a Photoshop layer is basically oil paint that never dries. So keeping things on separate layers till you’re SURE you don’t need to is good procedure. Before painting, [...]

Using the Layers Panel in Photoshop–Tips and Tricks2019-10-17T12:08:29-04:00

Using Paths to Make a Selection in Photoshop


An unexpected ally in making selections in Photoshop is the Paths panel. Selecting a precise piece of an image can be tedious, even for a veteran user; understanding the selection tools does not provide instant expertise, and some images have such irregular content that it’s a touchy matter to set the right numbers for almost any of the tools. But the Paths panel lets the user at least partly bypass the problem. Using the Pen tool, we can create a path (essentially a vector shape) within Photoshop. This also takes practice. But the nice thing about a path drawn with the [...]

Using Paths to Make a Selection in Photoshop2019-10-17T12:13:52-04:00

How to Use Layer Styles in Photoshop


The use of Layer Styles (also known as Layer Effects) in Photoshop is fairly easy, but can add some pretty snazzy results. One of the most visually catchy is the Drop Shadow, which can make it look as if an object is in front of the rest of the artwork. Any of the styles can apply in about the same way, but the Drop Shadow gives a good general example. Usually the first thing is to assemble the artwork layers, since the effect normally applies to the whole layer. As far as possible, position things first (though moving layers and items [...]

How to Use Layer Styles in Photoshop2019-10-17T12:35:46-04:00

Creating Alpha Channels in Photoshop


Making selections in Photoshop is fairly easy, but a large, complicated selection can take some time. And if it’s an area that needs repeated tweaks, such as for color balancing or lightness, it’s helpful if one doesn’t have to keep going back and reselecting thirty or forty bits and pieces. There’s a feature in Photoshop which can help, but seems almost hidden, in the Channels palette/panel. Normally, we see the composite channel there (showing the full color image) and the individual color channels (RGB or CMYK, or other). Even these be manipulated if desired. But we can also store selections in [...]

Creating Alpha Channels in Photoshop2019-10-17T14:58:58-04:00

How to Use Bitmap Mode in Photoshop


Of all the image modes in Photoshop, perhaps the least used today is Bitmap mode. It’s the “true” black-and-white mode, unlike Grayscale, which is what a “black-and-white” photograph really is. And Bitmap actually has a couple of advantages, though making proper use of the mode does take a little understanding. A color picture first has to be changed to Grayscale mode to drop color out, and then one can convert to Bitmap. (If the user knows the image is going to be put in Bitmap, it’s advisable to keep it fairly high-resolution; since Bitmap only has two colors—black and white—compensating with [...]

How to Use Bitmap Mode in Photoshop2019-10-17T15:39:11-04:00

Feathering a Selection in Photoshop


One of the must-have skills in Photoshop is the ability to make precise selections, since we indicate which parts of the picture we want to work with this way, and there are a number of techniques to do it. But equally important is the ability to feather, or “fuzz” the edge of the selection. Very few normal photographs are going to be so supremely razor-sharp in focus that a selection needs to be also, and even those that are will often not be super-high-resolution (that is, naturally a tiny bit fuzzy) anyway. Aside from any specific effects you want to achieve…. [...]

Feathering a Selection in Photoshop2019-10-17T15:54:10-04:00

Clone Stamping in Photoshop


The use of the Clone Stamp tool, in itself, is not hard to understand. It allows the user to “borrow” or copy a piece of picture from one spot to “clone” or paste elsewhere. But some people use it like a paintbrush. They clone big swaths of picture from one place to another—which looks obviously like cloning, or stereotypical “Photoshopping”. So is there a trick to using the tool and not making things look visibly cloned? Actually, there is. It’s a little bit more work, but it’s not really difficult. It does depend somewhat on the picture and your goals. Once [...]

Clone Stamping in Photoshop2019-10-17T16:14:54-04:00

RGB vs CMYK–Which should I use?


Having taught and worked with Adobe Photoshop for many years, I get asked many basic but good questions about it by new users. One has to do with color, and the color systems we use in a picture. There are several that Photoshop can use, but the two most common are RGB and CMYK. The question: Which is best? The fundamental difference between the two is, RGB is meant for use on screen, and CMYK for print. The terms used to describe how they work are “additive primaries” and “subtractive primaries”, which refer to how these systems show white. For RGB, [...]

RGB vs CMYK–Which should I use?2019-10-16T15:53:52-04:00