Photoshop CS6 at your fingertips

Being a designer means working to deadlines – which means time is always of the essence. Working quickly and efficiently within Photoshop is essential and there comes a point when your poor mouse just can’t scurry around the screen fast enough to keep up.

Adobe have always included keyboard shortcuts to reduce the little guy’s workload, but one issue with these is that they have been tweaked and moved around over the years, and it can be a little irritating to have to go against muscle memory, established over countless hours of working, to learn the new shortcut for something you have always used. My fingers still seem to be reminiscing about the good ol’ days of Photoshop 7: holding down cmd+Z to start the ‘undo’ time machine. I still forget to press shift every time!

Another, less trivial drawback has been that shortcuts have never taken into account that a tool as incredibly diverse as Photoshop allows (nay, encourages) us to pursue our desired results in a plethora of different ways. We all have our favorite tools and no two users work exactly the same way – so why do we all have to use the same shortcuts? If I constantly use smart objects, then I’m going to want my keyboard to be littered with ergonomically friendly shortcuts for adding and editing them. Someone else may never use smart objects and would make better use of those same convenient keys for, say, zooming controls.

Well, CS6′s answer to the problems with shortcuts was to give us another shortcut:

cmd+opt+shift+K

(ctrl+alt+shift+K in Windows)

…which opens the new keyboard shortcuts customization menu:

Photoshop CS6 Keyboard Shortcuts Customization Menu

This new feature for CS6 allows you to optimize your shortcuts for exactly the way you like to work. You can overwrite default shortcuts that you may have a grudge against, bring back retro shortcuts that your fingers still try to use, or you can introduce entirely new ones to save yourself even more time.

Through this menu you are able to edit shortcuts for menu commands, tools, and palette menus. More than one key command can be assigned to one action, and Photoshop will tell you if you have any conflicting commands and show you the duplicates so you can fix them.

One very useful feature, especially if you often use Photoshop on multiple computers, is the ability to save your configurations and export them as a handy .kys file. Being able to save means that our preferences can now survive version updates and the obsessives amongst us can now gradually build our dream set of optimal shortcuts (some dreams are cooler than others) and keep them forever!

The Creative Suite Conference Sneak Peek, November 4th

Ascend Training has teamed up with Mogo Media for this year’s InDesign Conference November 2nd-4th. We are both excited to bring participants the opportunity to get a sneak peek into next fall’s Creative Suite Conference. The last day of the InDesign Conference, we will be offering a Sneak Peek Track where attendees will gain exposure to a variety of topics: Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, and HTML 5 to name a few. Those not signed up can still participate and purchase a 1-day pass for $99. For more information, please click on the link below!

Adobe On The Go (be)

Now you can take Adobe Photoshop with you wherever you go! If you have an iPhone, and Android device, or even a mobile device with Windows Mobile, you can can edit, crop, and color-correct all your images just like you can at home…but you probably already knew this–what’s important is that, now that the iPad is out, we’re all going to be paying a lot more attention to Mobile Versions of things–that is, if the trendsetters at 1 Infinite Loop have again set the trend.

Adobe’s Photoshop Mobile is limited, to be sure, but its basic uses are the same as those used by many Photoshop (regular?) users; as aforementioned you can crop, color, and resize, but you can also make specialized albums, apply certain filters, add nifty effects. Perhaps coolest of all, you can add vignettes and things like “Warm Vintage” to your photos (this makes them look a little like old photos scanned from your parents’ wedding albums, with lots of red and brown and even more contrast).

At my job, we were all wondering (with, I think, good reason) if the Mystery Tablet would run Adobe software–and it will, sort of. This type of mobile approach to high-powered, sophisticated applications is not new, but it does seem to be the trend; stripped-down mobile browsers, mini-players for all sorts of files, and games that run on the (comparatively) itty-bitty screens of mobile devices have become the norm. In the effort to make mobile phones and devices that can do anything a desktop or laptop can do has made it more of a priority than ever for companies like Adobe to go mobile. Photoshop Mobile (cruise over to photoshop.com to check that out, by the way) is a step in the right direction, but where’s my Illustrator Mobile and (dare I suggest it?) Flash Mobile? At Ascend, we’ll teach you how to program for your iPhone, and how to use Photoshop, but isn’t it time we could combine them?

We all wait with baited breath for when we’ll be able to get an email of user requirements, build and code a website with interactive content, and mock up some examples for the client, all on the train from our phones. ‘Till then.

-This Blog sent from my iPhone

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Content Aware Scale: Magical Transformations!

- by Jori Curry

One of the slickest new features of Adobe Photoshop CS4 is Content Aware Scale. If you’ve ever wanted to turn a horizontal image into a vertical, without damaging key parts of the image, this is for you!

Step 1: Open your image and double-click on Background layer to turn it into Layer 0.

Step 2: Go to Image > Canvas Size to add space where you want to scale to. 
Step 2: Adjust the Canvas Size

Step 3: Go to Edit > Content Aware Scale and transform the image into the empty space.

When skintones become distorted, you need to choose Protect Skintones from the Control Panel (formerly the Options Bar)

When skintones become distorted, you need to choose Protect Skintones from the Control Panel (formerly the Options Bar)

Step 4: You may notice that some areas aren’t working well, so Undo (or press ESC) and go back to Edit > Content Aware Scale. Now  on the Control Panel (formerly the Options Bar) click on the icon that looks like a Mens’ room icon picture-21 and now transform your image. 

Step 5: If this still isn’t giving you the results you’re looking for, you can take it a step further by creating an Alpha Channel. Make a selection out of the area you don’t want scaled. Go to Select > Save Selection, which will give us an Alpha Channel we can use to protect this area.

The Alpha Channel allows you to designate specific areas not to be transformed.

The Alpha Channel allows you to designate specific areas not to be transformed.

Step 6: Choose Edit > Content Aware Scale, and from the “Protect” pull down menu on the Control Panel, select the Alpha Channel you just made.

Step 6: The "Protect" pull down menu allows you to use an Alpha Channel to keep areas from being transformed.

Step 6: The "Protect" pull down menu allows you to use an Alpha Channel to keep areas from being transformed.

Step 7: Drag the handles, and decide if you need to go back to the Alpha Channel and add more white (the protected area) to that channel.

 

Finished Product

Finished Product

And voilà ! Photoshop transforms the areas that aren’t part of the channel! Not every photo works well with this technique, but when it works, it’s a lot of fun! 

Learn More About our Photoshop CS4 Level 1 Hands-On Class
Learn More About our Photoshop CS4 Level 2 Hands-On Class 
Learn More About our Adobe Photoshop CS4 Digital Photography: Digital Photography for Commercial Use Level 2 Hands-On Class 
L
earn More About our Photoshop Quickstart Training: 1 Day Photoshop CS4 Introductory 
Learn More About our Online Photoshop 1 Class 
Learn More About our Online Photoshop 2 Class