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!

Adobe Ends Creative Suite Subscriptions

With the upcoming Creative Cloud, Adobe has eliminated their subscription service for the Creative Suite. The Creative Cloud will include access to all Creative Suite applications and also the new Touch Apps. It also will include file sharing and online storage.

The cost will be $49.99 per month. Adobe is still making subscriptions to individual applications, but the wave of the future is using the new Creative Cloud.

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.

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.

Photoshop CS5 Layer Comps

Layer Comps in Adobe Photoshop are a great alternative to Snapshots to save the way your image looks at a particular place in time. You can choose to save the Visibility, Position and Styles. Once you have everything the way you want it, click on the New Comp icon at the bottom of the Layer Comps Panel.

When you have mutiple comps, you can use the arrows to scroll through them. You also can make a change, and click on the Update button for a particular comp.

In addition, you can choose File > Scripts > Save Comps to Files to create separate images of your comps. The real power of Layer Comps comes when you export to InDesign.

When you import any layered Photoshop file to InDesign, either checking the Show Import Options button when you import, or selecting the file and choosing Object > Object Layer Options not only gives you access to the Photoshop Layers, but to the Layer Comps.

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!

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 

Pano for the iPhone: A Mini Photoshop Photomerge App

Pano for iPhone

- by Jori Curry

While we all may be holding our breath waiting for some form of Photoshop for the iPhone,Debacle Software does a great job of mimicking Photomerge.  Upon launching Pano, you are led through steps such as taking pictures, and then save, delete, or retake it. One thing that Pano has that Photoshop’s Photomerge does not is a transparent overlay showing you were to line up your next picture. We have seen this kind of thing in the CS3 Clone Stamp tool, but Photomerge for Photoshop has yet to give us any kind of overlay options.

Once you are finished taking all your photos, Pano seams the images together and saves them to the iPhone Photo album. The results are really outstanding, especially when you put it together that all this was created on a mobil app. That and the $3.00 price tag are very worthwhile.

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!