Category Archives: Photoshop

Old Text on Older Brick – A Photoshop Tutorial

Letters Photoshopped onto a brick wall
You can drive through just about any small old town and see signs painted on the sides of brick buildings. Cheaper and longer lasting than wooden signs, these relics only fare as well as their media, many fading and chipping in their age. It’s the character of these signs that I was looking for in a recent project. Continue reading Old Text on Older Brick – A Photoshop Tutorial


Bad Hair Day? 3 Good Ways To Cut Out Hair In Photoshop

Image courtesy of: imagerymajestic /
Image courtesy of: imagerymajestic /

Here it comes, the project all graphic designers dread… Cutting out hair. Sure it’s pretty easy to just use the pen tool to go around the general shape of the head and snip off all those pesky stray hairs, but other than adding another head, there really isn’t anything more unnatural looking. Lets face it, you can’t individually trace around every hair and still have a productive work day.

So what is the best solution for the problem? Well, there isn’t one perfect solution. Since every photo is going to have it’s own set of variables, the real solution is to know a few good methods for solving the problem. Here are the three I use most often.

1. Selecting & Extracting Hair – Masking Tutorial – Extraction Tips

This is one I like when there is a fair amount of contrast between the subjects hair and the background, but has many stray hairs as part of the composition. It has a few too many steps for me to use real often, but it does a great job under certain circumstances.

Also, recognize this is actually a Photoshop Elements tutorial. There are some differences between Elements and Photoshop Pro, but if you know anything at all about Photoshop then it’s pretty easy to figure out ways around it.

2. New Techniques for Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop CS5

This is my favorite of the three. It uses the Refine Edge palette which is still fairly new. My only issue with it is that photos with certain highlights will sometimes loose their opacity in those areas. There are of course ways to work around this, but if this is going to be an issue you might want to try one of the other two techniques instead.

3. Select Hair by Using Channels

Here’s an oldie but goodie. The method is a bit oversimplified in this particular tutorial so it might not be perfect for your particular situation, but it gives the basics of using Channels. Personally this is about the only time I touch Channels so I’m not very well versed with all of their possibilities. I do know people who swear by them and can use them for what seem to be just about any situation.

Hopefully these three will do the trick if you’re having a bad hair day.

Rules to Email By: Designing Emailers for the Masses

Image provided by Patchareeya99 at

Email campaigns are easy for web designers, right? It’s just streamlining a webpage isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. For the most part graphical emailers are basic HTML sprinkled with sensible graphics. They can have similar visual impact as web pages and sport most of the same code. However there are a few rules that you need to know to create successful emailers.

Continue reading Rules to Email By: Designing Emailers for the Masses

Quicktip: Customizing Main and Panel Menus in Photoshop CS5

Keyboard Shortcut and Menu Palette

With a large variety of new tools and capabilities in Photoshop CS5, it’s hard to tell at first glance what is new and what isn’t. Even if you’re aware of many of the new features, you’ve no doubt heard of Puppet Warp, there are others that remain hidden. But don’t think hidden is unimportant.

Continue reading Quicktip: Customizing Main and Panel Menus in Photoshop CS5

Adobe’s Mobile App Evolution

Adobe has always been a frontrunner when it comes to design software. Their Creative Suite is the standard for designers all over the world. It stands to reason they would get in on the mobile app game early.

Adobe released their first illustration app, Adobe Ideas, in 2010. Since then, designers have been patiently waiting for the day Photoshop would become truly mobile. Continue reading Adobe’s Mobile App Evolution

Brushed Metal Gradient in Photoshop

This is one of the easiest and quickest backgrounds out there, plus it looks great on buttons, type, etc.  One thing you have to remember is that because of the technique, there will be portions of the graphic (on the right and left side) that don’t look right.  I generally just make my file a bit larger than I need and trim it when I’m done. Continue reading Brushed Metal Gradient in Photoshop

Save your history, take a Snapshot

This is an interesting feature that we all should get in the habit of using. If you open your History palette in Photoshop you will notice that as you work, things stack up fast. With only a limited number of states your History can handle (by default I believe it should be 20) it would be a good idea to start taking Snapshots of your work.

When I say this I don’t mean screenshots. Actually if you look at your History palette, at the bottom there is a small button that looks like a camera. This is the Create New Snapshot button. When you click it, at the top of your History palette it will add a snapshot that you can select later on if you don’t like the direction your image is going.

For example, if you are working hard to create an image that suggests how difficult life is in a wartorn country, but then get off on this kick of lightening the eyes and teeth, fixing the hair and removing blemishes from peoples’ faces… it’s easy to revert to how it was before if you have done a snapshot.

Unfortunately the snapshots won’t save with your file, so if you’ve already saved and closed your document then you are pretty much stuck with how it is, but it’s a great trick if you have a lot going on in your image and need to make sure you can get back to how it was before.