Tag 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

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.

Photoshop Layers to GIF animation in 3 super easy steps

There was a time not too long ago when web graphics needed to be started in Photoshop and then run through GoLive for slicing, coding and animating. That has all changed now. Just about any image manipulation you need to do for the web can be done entirely in Photoshop.

In the case of GIF animations, Photoshop makes it super easy to create them from layers. For those of you familiar with GoLive and how it operated, this will be like a stroll down Memory Lane.

STEP ONE:

PSD file to be animated
This is my original PSD file that has only one text layer currently showing.

Start out with a Photoshop file that has layers. Any GIF animation you do will need to begin this way. In this case I have what will be a web banner that will need to move through three different frames, each two seconds long.

Layers window with separate text layers.
Layers palette with separate text layers.

As you can see in the above image, I have set all of my layers to visible. The text layers will be the ones which will change during the animation while the background remains constant.

Go to Window>Animation to bring up a timeline. Each layer is now set in it’s own place on the timeline. The timeline offers a bit more control than the simple frameset that once was offered. In fact, this particular timeline is fairly intuitive. The upper left tells you where you are timewise in the animation as well as how many frames per second your animation will run. I always leave mine set at the default 30 fps which is fast enough for some smooth transitions.

Timeline of animation

Down the left side are all the layers I have to work with. Each one has a dropdown arrow that allows you to adjust different effects. Under that you have your typical play, rewind, fast forward, etc. controls.

The timeline itself has a little blue tab at the top that sticks up. This tab tells you where in the animation you are. When the play button below is hit, you can watch your animation, after it has been altered.

There are also two flat sliders on the line below this, at the beginning and end. They tell the animation where to start and where to stop.

STEP TWO:

Simply adjust the ends of the layers by dragging them to certain spots on the timeline. In my case I’m actually going to drag them so they show for two seconds, then the next one will begin. To do this you just drag the beginning and end points of the layer you are working on to where you want them on the timeline. I’m staggering them so that as soon as one layer ends the next will begin.

TImeline of animation with layers adjusted

In the picture above I have already adjusted the sliders that tell the animation where to begin and end.

STEP THREE:

From here all you need to do is go to File>Save for Web and Devices and set it to GIF. When you do you’ll see an Animation section at the bottom that tells you how many frames it is. Hit Save, name it and you’re done!

You can add fades and a few more complicated effects in as well by clicking the Convert to Frame Animation button on the bottom right of the timeline. I think you’ll find that if you play around with the settings and such a little, you will quickly learn these on your own.

Quickly trimming an image in Photoshop

Though the traditional way of cropping a photo is with the crop or marquee tools, there is a quicker way which works especially well if you have a solid color background or one with very little detail.

Look at Image>Trim. It will give you the sampling option, either upper left or lower right corners I believe. It will automatically crop your image to the main subject, if it is well defined against the background. This comes in handy when Batching large numbers of similar photos. I set this up as an Action in my Actions Palette when I was working on a sporting goods website this past week as an easy way to clean up unwanted background space.