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!

Photoshop Express – Photoshop for the iPhone/iPad!

Yes, Adobe has made a version of Photoshop for iPhones and iPads, and the best part? IT’S FREE! Here is a link to a video that demos this new app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hui0p_qI-Q

This is a great application for photographers looking to edit their photos on the go or for casual user who would like to edit or enhance their photos. Not only does it allow simple editing and enhancement all by touch, but also gives you the option to upload directly to Facebook and Picasa or share to friends via email.

Photoshop Express, I’m sure, will have photographers and graphic designers very excited, but another reason this app is so significant is that it is a precursor to having full desktop applications that have gone completely  mobile. This very well could be the beginning of the end for desktop computing in general.

Getting a New Computer Without That Hefty Price Tag

As much as I love the applications included in the Adobe Creative Suite I sometimes wonder if my computer is going to make it through my next Flash project or if it will even be able to open the flier I am editing with InDesign. So, seeing as the computers I own are getting on in years, I’ve been thinking it is about time for an upgrade. Now I have always been a Mac guy myself, but their prices are getting more and more outrageous. To get the power I want in a desktop without breaking the bank, I am in the process of choosing parts for a computer I intend to build myself. Now this may sound completely beyond your knowledge and skills, but surprisingly enough its no more complicated than my Lego Death Star I built in the 4th grade. All you need is proper manuals, here is a useful site that will tell you the necessary components and how to choose the correct ones. There are many more tutorials to be found by simple Google searches. Buying your own components and building your own computer will give you about twice as much bang for your buck. Yeah, the jig is up Dell and HP.

That being said, I have a few tips to save you even more cash. When it comes to computer hardware, take your time, you don’t want to get something that’s outdated but also don’t want to be spending too much on a piece of hardware that you could find on sale or cheaper elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with Gizmodo, this site is your best friend when it comes to tech deals. Each day, Gizmodo will post an article called Dealzmodo that lists the best deals of the day for primarily tech items. There are always hardware deals on Gizmodo. Newegg is one of the best sources in general for hardware, everything you need will be on Newegg at reasonable prices. For in depth reviews of hardware, tomshardware.com is the place to go. One last thing, and this should go with out saying, avoid ebay. As appealing as some of those prices are, this is fragile technology and I, for one, would not trust ebayers with this stuff.

lego death star

On second thought, building a computer may be less complicated than the old Lego Death Star. I must’ve had a lot more patience back then.

Thats all for today,

Smarter Saves with Adobe Bridge Collections

If you find yourself using files that are in two differen folders or even hard drives, Collections is for you! On the lower left side of the Bridge window you will notice 3 tabs reading Filter, Collections and Export. When you click on Collections you have 2 choices: A straight Collection, or a Smart Collection.

Smart Collections are fantastic because let’s say you buy images from istockphoto.com. The good thing is that the word “istock” is in the name of each image, and if you set up a Smart Collection with Filename Contains istock, Bridge will set up and save that search as a Collection.

Photography through Astronomy

As I was browsing the internet the other day, I stumbled across an article that may interest those of you who enjoy photography. It details a trick where you can use the rotation of the earth to create neat, long exposure photos. First, you need to know how to go about finding the North Star (Polaris), which is made easy by this picture:

Now with the north star located, you can create background designs with the stars. Over time, all the stars rotate about the North Star so the direction of your camera in terms of the North Star will change the pattern of the star movement in your photo. For example, angling your camera directly at the North Star will produce a circular effect whereas directing your camera to the left will produce arcs going from top to bottom in your photo. Chicago, obviously, wouldn’t be the best place to experiment with this, but the suburbs, and certainly while camping, would be great opportunities to experiment with this. Then once you get some photos you like, fine tune them or toy with them in Photoshop until they are to your liking. Get more details or see examples here.

Photoshop CS5 New Paste Features

NUnder the Paste options, we used to have 2 choices: Paste, and Paste Into. In Photoshop CS5, we now have the following choices:

  1. Paste
  2. Paste in Place
  3. Paste Into: Pastes into a Pixel Mask if you have a selection.
  4. Paste Outside: Pastes outside a Pixel Mask if you have a selection.

While we’ve had multiple paste options in other Adobe apps forever, now there are more choices on how exactly you want to paste in Photoshop!

A Visual History of the Photoshop Splash Screen

- by Jori Curry

For many of us, Photoshop is a lifestyle, not just a software application. Shockingly enough, Photoshop turns 20 this year making those memories of days without layers a far-off memory (or nightmare). Now in 27 languages, Adobe Photoshop touches the globe.

In 1987 Thomas and John Knoll started coding an application because his Mac Plus had a 1 bit b/w display and couldn’t display grayscale images. The early Adobe Photoshop (called Display) solved the problem and simulated a grayscale image.

In 1998, Thomas and his brother John, who worked at Industrial Light and Magic, began shopping it in Silicon Valley, where it didn’t receive a warm audience, since PixelPaint was already on the market. A company called BarneyScan decided to give it a very small chance, and bundle “Photoshop” with their scanners. Once September 1998 rolled around and the Knoll brothers showed Photoshop to Adobe, and thought it was an excellent companion to the new application “Illustrator.” Adobe had primarily been involved in the print industry until this point,

Photoshop Version 1.0 required a 8MHz Mac and at least 2 MB of RAM. The cost of the first Adobe Photoshop was $1,000. So thank you to Adobe and Russell Brown for having the vision to create a beautiful pixel based world!

Photoshop Version 1 Install Disk

Photoshop precursor .07. On the radio: George Michael - "Father Figure"

Photoshop .87. On the radio: Suzanne Vega - "Luka"

Photoshop v. 1.0.7 released 1990. On the radio: Janet Jackson - "Escapade"

Photoshop 2.0 Alt Screen

Photoshop 2.5 released 1992. On the radio: Whitney Houston-I Will Always Love You

Photoshop version 3.0 released 1993. On the radio: Stereo MC's - "Connected"

Photoshop 4.0 released 1996: On the radio: Los Del Rio - "Macarena"

Photoshop 5.0 released 1998. On the radio: Will Smith - "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"

Photoshop 6.0 released 2000. On the radio: Train - "Meet Virginia"

Photoshop Version 7.0 released 2002. On the radio: Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head

Photoshop CS released 2003. On the radio: Fountains of Wayne - Stacy's Mom

Photoshop CS2 released 2005. On the radio: The Killers - Mr. Brightside

Photoshop CS3 released 2007. On the radio: Rihanna - Don't Stop the Music

Photoshop CS4 Alt Splash Page released 2007. On the radio: Kid Rock - "All Summer Long"

Photoshop CS4 released 2008. On the radio: Katy Perry - "Hot 'n Cold"

Photoshop CS5 Alt Splash Page released 2010. On the radio: Lady Gaga - "Alejandro"

Photoshop CS4 Solution: Show All Menu Items

While working in the beta of Photoshop CS4, it became apparent that there were many menu items that Adobe deemed not necessary and had hidden. What was a annoyance at first has become a full fledged speed bump since many of those items I use every day. While it is possible to go to Edit > Menu and edit each individual menu item, Chris Koerner has kindly created a one-step workaround to turn on all the hidden menu items. This is a much needed addition to Photoshop CS4, and hats off to Chris!