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The power of Photoshop at your fingertips



The Complete Guide

guides explore
the world of
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edit and improve
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your digital editing repertoire

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The Complete Guide

Your essential guide

to the power of digital
photo editing.
From the simplest adjustment to the
exposure of a photograph, to the
merging and blending of multiple
images to create HDR photos,
Photoshop has become the one
stop shop for all your digital editing
needs. Everyone from beginners to
top level graphics professionals and
photographers can all use this amazing
image manipulation program and
achieve great results very quickly. Let us
show you just how powerful Photoshop
is, and discover a range of tools and
techniques that can make excellent
digital artists of us all.
BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 3
Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide

Starting with Photoshop

10 - 11 Main Interface
12 - 13 Menus
14 - 15 The Toolbar
16 - 17 Keyboard Shortcuts
18 - 19 Selection Tools
20 - 21 Healing Brush Tools
22 - 23 The Clone Stamp Tool
24 - 25 Brushes, Pencil and Eraser
26 - 27 Gradient Fill & Paint Bucket

Basic Editing Techniques

30 - 31 Making Selections
32 - 33 Modifying Selections
34 - 35 Using Layers
36 - 37 Adjustment Layers
38 - 39 Curves and Levels
40 - 41 Cropping and Resizing
42 - 43 Quick Mask Mode
44 - 45 Using Layer Masks
46 - 47 Content-Aware Fill and Scale

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4 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide

Building Your Editing Skills
50 - 51 Adjusting Exposure
52 - 53 Contrast and Saturation
54 - 55 Adding a Graduated Filter
56 - 57 Correcting Lens Distortion
58 - 59 Panorama Stitching
60 - 61 Colour Replacement
62 - 63 Soft Focus Technique

What is Raw Mode?

66 - 67 Processing Raw Files
68 - 69 Adobe Camera Raw Interface
70 - 73 Adobe Camera Raw Workflow

Photo Editing Projects

76 - 87 Creative Text Effects
88 - 99 Skin Retouching
100 - 111 Split Raw Conversion
112 - 115 Layer Styles
116 - 123 Infrared Processing
124 - 133 High Dynamic Range Images
134 - 139 Blend Modes
140 - 145 The Tilt-Shift Effect

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Starting with
Photoshop is a very complex image editing program,
of that there is no doubt; but there’s no reason to be
daunted by all those tools, menus and technical jargon
that surround this amazing piece of software. This is
where you begin your journey into the world of digital
image editing.

10 - 11 Main Interface 20 - 21 Healing Brush Tools
12 - 13 Menus 22 - 23 The Clone Stamp Tool
14 - 15 The Toolbar 24 - 25 Brushes, Pencil and Eraser
16 - 17 Keyboard Shortcuts 26 - 27 Gradient Fill & Paint Bucket
18 - 19 Selection Tools

8 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 9


Main Interface
This is Photoshop’s
graphic user front end

P hotoshop has a great interface, with a

dark slate grey work area, slightly lighter
menu and palette bars and sharp white text.
It looks great and really makes photos stand
out from the background. Let’s see what it
has to offer.

Menu Bar
You’ll find all the options menus here. Read on
for more details.

Tool Palette
Here you’ll find your main editing tools. The
following pages look at the individual tools and
what you can do with them.

Tool Option Bar

For each tool on the palette there are options,
such as brush size or softness. You’ll find them
in this area.

Document Window
Each window you open will have its own tab
to identify it. It includes the document name,
current scaling and colour space being used.

Document Details
Here you’ll find the compressed and real size of
your document.

Active Image
You can set up your own workspaces to reflect The new interface provides a larger area
the way you work, and save them so that you
to work on your images, with a darker
can quickly switch from one to another.
background colour.

10 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Rulers Palettes Workspace Option

Use these to accurately measure positions There are a number of interchangeable Choose between pre-set workspace
on your image, and drag guidelines from palettes available, which you can choose arrangements, including 3D workspaces
here to help line up text and layers. from the Window menu. and other user options.

Fly-out Palettes Layer Palette Layer Options

You can set up your own custom list of Here you’ll find the layers of the image you’re Here you can add effects, layer styles,
frequently used palettes, and access them by currently working on. Layers at the top of the adjustments and other options to your
clicking on these buttons. stack will appear above those below. currently active layers.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 11


Menus One look at the menus and you

begin to understand Photoshop’s
complexity and versatility
T he main interface of Photoshop has no fewer than eleven menus, each with a dozen or more options, and with many additional nested sub-
menus. It’s vital to become familiar with the contents of the most important ones, because once you know where to look for everything you’ll
be able to work more quickly, efficiently and confidently.

The Image menu is where
you come to make changes
File to the whole image, including
The most important options here are Mode (colour type), Image
New… to create a new document, Size, Canvas Size and Image
Open… to open an existing Rotation, but the most
document, Save to save your current important thing you’ll find here
project in its default file format and Edit is the Adjustments sub-menu, Layer
location, and Save As… which gives The Edit menu has many features which Adobe could probably Layers are a vital feature of
you the option to save in a different you’ll find familiar if you use a have made into a separate Photoshop. Over the long history
format or location, and to change the word processor, including Copy, main menu in its own right. and development of the program
file name. Also in the File menu are Paste and Cut functions and even Under Adjustments you’ll find Layers have evolved into
the important Automate and Scripts a spelling checker, although you’ll all your main image controls, complex multi-functional things,
sub-menus, which provide advanced probably find it quicker to use such as Brightness/Contrast, hence the large number of sub-
batch processing and automated the keyboard shortcuts for these. Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation menus in this section. The most
editing options. You’ll also find the useful features and many more. You’ll find important options here though
Fill, Stroke, Content-Aware Scale, many of these duplicated on are New, which lets you create
Puppet Warp and Free Transform, the Adjustment Layer palette. and name a new layer, and New
as well as the colour profiles and Adjustment Layer, which adds
Preferences sub-menu. a non-destructive editing layer
to your image. The Merge and
Flatten options can also be
found here.

12 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Type Filter
The latest version of Photoshop CS6 and Creative
Photoshop includes many Cloud saw a major overhaul of
new text presentation options. the Filters menu, with many new View
Most of these can be found options, including the amazing The View menu is home to
in the fly-out Character and Adaptive Wide Angle feature. the basic viewing controls
Paragraph panels on the right There’s the ever-popular Liquify such as zoom level, but again
of the screen, but many others filter, automatic lens distortion you’ll want to control those
can be found here, including correction, as well as a huge range using shortcuts to save time. Window
3D text, warping, typing on of other filters and effects. Don’t go You’ll also find the very useful This isn’t a menu you’ll
work paths and special foreign too wild though, most of them are controls for the Snap functions, be using constantly, but
language options. best used sparingly! including guide lines, essential it does hold some very
when you’re laying out a design useful features, such as the
or composing text on an image. Arrange and Workspace
sub-menus, which allow you
to control the layout of tabs,
windows and the various
tool palettes and panels.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 13


The Toolbar
Let’s take a look at Photoshop’s main editing tools

T he main elements of the Photoshop Toolbar haven’t changed all

that much since the introduction of Layers and the Move tool with
version 3.0, back in 1994. The shape has changed a bit, elongating
options, denoted by a small arrow in the bottom right corner of the
tool icon. Click and hold on any tool bearing this mark to see a pop-up
menu showing the other options that are available. Most of the tools
into a single column to take advantage of today’s larger monitors, and can also be selected by using a hotkey shortcut. These shortcuts can
a few more tools have been added over the years, but anyone who’s be customised via a link in the Edit menu, but of the default keys,
familiar with any previous version of Photoshop will soon feel right at among the most useful are “C” for the Crop tool, “M” for Marquee
home with the latest version. selection tool, and “E” for the Eraser. Here’s a quick run-down of what
In common with previous versions, most of the tools have alternate you have available on the Toolbar.

Used to move pixel information on
the active layer or selection. You can
Most of the tools in the toolbar have
alternative options, denoted by the MARQUEE LASSO also create multiple layouts using the
small arrow below and right of the Artboard feature.
icon. Click and hold on the icon to
see the pop-up alternative menu.
This diagram shows the alternative
menus for each tool. You can move EYEDROPPER Marquee
the Toolbar around by dragging the The Marquee is used to select an area
border at the top, or switch back to SPOT HEALING of the active layer. Alternative options
the old two-column look by clicking
include an elliptical shape and single
the double arrow. BRUSH
row or column selections.


The Lasso is also used to make area
GRADIENT selections from the active layer, but
this time the shape can be irregular,
SMUDGE marked out by clicking or drawing a
line around the area to be selected.

Magic Wand
TYPE Yet another area selection tool, this
one can select an area based on
its colour. The alternative option is
LINE Quick Selection, which as the name
suggests can be used to paint an area
HAND into the selection created.



The Eyedropper and its extensive
SWITCH COLOUR list of alternatives provide you with
tools that can tell you more about the
image you’re working on, such as
QUICK MASK MODE colour values, sizes and even a tool for
counting objects in an image.

14 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Crop Burn
The Crop tool has seen a major Burn, and its alternatives Dodge and
overhaul in Photoshop CS6, but it still Sponge, are based on photographic
does the same job. Use it to select one darkroom techniques, and are used to
area of an image and discard the rest. selectively lighten, darken images.

Spot Healing Pen

Another tool that has seen some The Pen tool is used to draw smooth
changes in the latest version, the Spot curves for lines or selections, using
Healing tool is for removing small something called Bezier curves. They can
blemishes such as stray hairs or dust produce great results.
spots from your images.

Path Selection Type

Paths are used for many purposes The Type tool is another area that received
in Photoshop. Use this tool and its a major overhaul in version CS6. It is now
alternative to select a path to use. part of a powerful text system.

Brush Line
The Brush tool is one of the most The Line tool and its alternatives are
basic and most useful for all types of used to create shapes and paths on your
image editing, painting and drawing. images. It is very useful for graphics work
Alternatives include the equally useful and adding arrows and custom shapes.
Pencil tool, as well as colour replacement
and colour mixing.

Clone Stamp The hand tool is used to navigate around
Arguably the most powerful of a large image. It is most often used via its
Photoshop’s many tools, the Clone default keyboard shortcut, the space bar.
Stamp is used to copy one area of
an image onto another. Remove any
unwanted element in your image. Zoom
This tool simply zooms in to an area of the
image. Again it is most often used via a
History Brush shortcut, in this case CTRL + or CTRL -.
Used in conjunction with the History
palette the History Brush can be used
to selectively restore certain areas of an Edit Toolbar
image to a previous state. It’s useful if The Edit Toolbar enables you to customise
you’re making a changes to an image. your toolbar to add or remove tools to your
specific requirement.

As the name implies, the Eraser tool is a Switch Colour
special brush that can delete an area of Clicking on this swaps the current
an image, layer or selection. background colour for the current
foreground colour.

The Gradient tool can apply a fill-in to an Set Colour
area that fades gradually from one colour Clicking here brings up the colour chooser
to another. palette, which lets you choose the
foreground or background colours.

The Smudge tool, along with its Quick Mask mode
alternatives the Blur and Sharpen tools, The Quick Mask mode is a great way
can be used to blend and alter colours of making complex selections using the
and details in smaller areas of the image. drawing and painting tools.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 15


There’s always a quicker way of
doing almost everything
O ne of Photoshop’s best features is its huge list of fully customisable keyboard shortcuts. Almost all of the program’s functions can be
accessed quickly by pressing various combinations of keys, and once you learn those shortcuts your workflow will speed up immensely. You
can even make up your own for your most frequently-used operations.

Customising Shortcuts
You’ll find the keyboard shortcut preferences already have their own default shortcuts. You can combination is already used by another shortcut
menu at the bottom of the Edit menu, although easily change these, or even add your own new you’ll see a notification warning you of this, and
naturally it has its own keyboard shortcut, ones. To apply a shortcut to an operation, first asking if you want to proceed with the change. If
Alt+Shift+Ctrl+K. You’ll find an exhaustive list locate it in the list, and then click in the space you click Accept the new shortcut will be applied
of all Photoshop functions, broken down into to the right of the name. You’ll see a small text immediately. Take care when making your own
category headings matching the names of the window appear, and the next key or combination shortcuts that you don’t accidentally overwrite
main menus. You’ll find that many operations of keys that you press will appear here. If the some useful defaults.

Learning the keyboard shortcuts
will speed up your editing, and you
can also set up your own in the Edit
menu. Just be aware of creating
‘shortcut collisions’ where a custom
shortcut is the same as a current
default one.

16 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Some Useful Default Shortcuts

Here are some of the more commonly-used shortcuts for image editing. There are many more of course, but it’s worth taking the time to
memorise these ones. You’ll work efficiently and they’ll make your life a whole lot easier.









Important Note
On a PC the Ctrl key for your On a Mac computer the
shortcuts looks like this on a Ctrl key is replaced by the
standard Windows keyboard. Cmd key on a standard Mac
If you use a PC and you see keyboard. If you use a Mac
an instruction in this title to and you see an instruction in
use a Cmd key, then just use this title to use the Ctrl key,
Ctrl instead. just use your Cmd key instead.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 17


Selection Tools
Photoshop provides multiple methods for
isolating areas of your image
T he ability to select discrete areas of an image and change them
in isolation is fundamental to Photoshop editing, and to help
with this there are many different ways of making that selection.
you to select regular shapes such as rectangles, ellipses and lines. For
irregular shapes there are several Lasso tools, which let you draw the
area to be selected. For quicker selections there are the Magic Wand and
The most frequently used are the Marquee tools, which allow Quick Selection tools.

Common Options
If you look across the top left of your menu bar,
you will see there are common tool options for
all of the selection tools. The first row of four
buttons are: New Selection, which is the
default setting; Add To Selection, which can
also be activated temporarily by holding down
the Shift key; Subtract From Selection, also
activated by the Alt key; and Intersect With
Selection, which selects only from areas you
have already selected.

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The next option is Feather, which softens the
edge of the selection, useful for gradual effects.
The edge of the selection can be further
adjusted by using the Refine Edge menu in CS6
or Select and Mask in Photoshop CC, which
uses sophisticated edge-detection techniques
to automatically select around things like fine
hair or soft and blurred edges.

You can use the Quick Selection tool to
quickly paint a selection using an adjustable
round brush tip. As you drag, the selection
expands outward and automatically finds
and follows defined edges in the image. If the
tool isn’t visible in your toolbar, hold down
the Magic Wand tool to see the fly-out menu
with the additional options that are available
to you.

18 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Rectangular Marquee Single Column Marquee Elliptical Marquee

Lets you make a selection of a rectangular area of any This option creates a selection of just a single vertical Create a selection of an elliptical shape of any size or
size or aspect ratio. Just click and drag to the right size. column of pixels. This is useful for tidying up other proportion. Just click and drag to the size and shape you
Hold down the Shift key to constrain the selection to selections or crops that are just a little too big. Click need, and hold down the Shift key to draw a circle. If you
a square shape, and use the arrow keys to move the near the area you want to select, and then drag the hold down the Alt key the ellipse will be centred on the
selection area. marquee to the exact location. starting point.

Magnetic Lasso Lasso Single Row Marquee

This tool uses edge-detection to try to match your The Lasso is also used to make area selections from This is the same as Single Column Marquee, but this
selection to the edges of the subject in the image. You the active layer, but this time the shape can be irregular, time it selects a single horizontal row of pixels. As with
simply draw a line as closely as possible to what you marked out by clicking or drawing a line around the area the Single Column Marquee option, click near the area
want, and it should automatically snap to the edge. to be selected. Join up your lasso at the point you started you want to select, and then drag the marquee to the
Works best on high contrast areas. to close the selection. exact location.

Polygonal Lasso Magic Wand Quick Selection

The Polygonal Lasso lets you draw a point-to-point line This tool lets you select areas of the same colour This tool lets you paint a selection, and uses edge
around your subject. It can only draw straight lines, but and brightness, and by adjusting the tolerance and detection to try to match the selection to the
by using very short sections it’s possible to approximate whether or not it will select contiguous areas, you can nearest edge in the image. Again it’s often only an
a curved line. To draw curved lines you need to use the use it to do things like automatically select all the sky approximation, and will have problems with blurred or
Pen tool. in your image. low contrast edges.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 19


Healing Brush
Clean-up minor blemishes, dust spots and
stray hairs with the Healing Brush tools

E ven with a modern digital camera, your

photos may have slight imperfections.
Maybe it’s just a stray hairs or an
unwelcome skin blemish in a portrait, or To get the best out of the
maybe some dust has managed to get onto healing tools, you need
your sensor, causing dark spots on your to work with care and not
photos. Whatever the reason, sometimes overdo the effect. The key to
you need to remove some small features success is to be subtle. There
from your images, and the best tools for is also no reason you can’t
this are the Healing tools. There are five use several of the healing
brushes to make sure you get
healing tools in Photoshop, which you
a perfectly healed image.
can see if you click and hold on the Spot
Healing Brush tool icon in the tool palette.

Healing Brush Tool Content Aware Move Patch Tool

The Healing Brush is a legacy from older versions of The Content Aware Move tool was introduced in The Patch tool is used for repairing larger areas.
Photoshop. It does much the same job as the Spot Photoshop CS6. The idea is that you can simply It can be used in one of two ways; either draw
Healing Brush, but is rather less sophisticated. It draw a selection around an object and then drag it to around the area you want to replace and then
works in much the same way as the Clone Stamp another place. The program analyses the surrounding drag the sample to an area of matching clean
tool. To heal a blemish, you first need to set a sample area and fills in the source with a matching texture. In texture, or sample an area of clean texture and
point by clicking on an area of similar texture while practice the Content Aware Move tool is only useful then drag it over the part you want to replace.
holding down the Alt key, then painting the sample in very specific circumstances, when the object you Here, a patch of wooden floor can be used to
over the blemish. As ever, when it comes to healing want to move is surrounded by a uniform texture. You remove some bread crumbs from the shot. As
and cloning techniques, subtlety is the key. You may will find that the more even the texture, the better the you drag the patch, it will show you a real-time
find that it might take several attempts to get a good final result. Backgrounds such as grass and blue sky overlay over your target area so you can align it
texture that doesn’t stand out as being cloned in. are much more successful candidates for this. as best you can to ensure a good patch.

20 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


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Red Eye Tool Spot Healing Brush Tool

Red Eye is caused by light from a camera flash For removing small objects such as dust spots
reflecting off the blood vessels at the back of the and stray hairs, the Spot Healing Brush is the USEFUL TIP
eye when the pupil is wide open. It’s possible to most useful and effective tool at your disposal. In
avoid it by proper camera technique, but if you find some cases, you can even remove larger objects Camera sensors pick up dust spots over
it in one of your portraits, Photoshop has a quick and people. When you use it to paint over an time. Use the Spot Healing Brush to remove
unwanted sensor dust spots that appear
and easy tool to help remove it. Simply click on the object, the brush samples the area around it
on your digital images. As you can see
offending redness and the tool will automatically and replaces the object with a simulation of the from these examples, you can also remove
analyse how much redness there is in the subject’s background. The way that it samples can be larger objects as long as you have an even
eyes and remove it and replace it with a more selected, and most effective option is Content background behind it, otherwise the effect
natural-looking tone which is usually black or a very Aware sampling. The brush parameters can be might look fake.
dark tone. adjusted like any other brush.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 21



Vary brush size by using the
open and close square brackets

Stamp Tool
keys, and vary brush hardness
with the curly brackets.

Remove unwanted elements from your photos

T he Clone Stamp tool (also known as the Clone Brush in some
programs) is one of the most useful items in your image editing
tool kit. Despite recent developments such as Photoshop’s Spot
elements such as dust spots, skin blemishes, lens flare, telephone
lines and other intrusive objects from your pictures. Because the
process is entirely manual it can be somewhat time-consuming,
Healing tool and Content-aware fill, it is still the most precise and but the results are often superior to the output of the more modern
reliable way to retouch photographs, allowing you to remove unwanted automatic tools.


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The Clone Stamp works by copying (“cloning”) pixels from a selected target the foreground were a bit distracting, as was the telephone line stretching
area and placing them over the unwanted objects. Using the Clone Stamp across the back of the shot in the top left corner.
it is relatively straightforward to remove even quite large unwanted objects We decided it would be a good demonstration of the power of the Clone
from a photo. Our example is a photo taken at a motorsport event. It is a Stamp tool to remove both flags and the telephone line from the shot. Let’s
good shot with plenty of action and flying dirt, but we thought the flags in see how they were removed.

22 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Go to your toolbar and select the Clone 04 Now move your cursor over the top of the Now you can remove the green flag by
01 07
Stamp Tool (S). For the image we’re flag, level with your target area from the sampling an area of the mud to the left of
working on, a brush Size of about 75 - 100 pixels last step. It is shown as an overlay so you can it and cloning that over the top of the remaining
will be fine. You can make the brush Hardness see what you are about to clone on top of your part of the flag. Finally, we can remove that
anywhere between 0% - 20%. We’re going to flag. If you click and drag your mouse down the telephone line from the top of the shot using the
start with the flag in the lower right corner. flag pole, the grass adjacent to it will be cloned same techniques for both flags.
over the top, removing the pole.

Sampled Sampled pixels

pixels are copied here

The random nature of the dirt flying across

the frame is actually quite useful. sample
an area directly above the unwanted telephone
line and then clone the sample on top of it. You
can simply click on the telephone line and drag
the mouse to the left, cloning the patch of dirt
that is directly above it as you do.
Make sure that you have the Aligned
option ticked. This means that the
sampling area of your brush moves as your brush
does, otherwise you will clone the same sampled
area repeatedly until you alter it. You can now choose another target
sample to the right of the flag and clone
grass from that side over the remaining area of
the green flag. If you notice any repeated areas
that stand out as being cloned, you can choose a
new target area and clone in some new grass to
keep the pattern random.

Find an area of clean grass next to the flag

and then press your Alt key. A small target
icon will appear. Anything under this target will be Once complete, you can assess the result
your sample to be used as the starting point of and if you see any obvious repeating
the cloning. Left-click your mouse to confirm this patterns that give the game away, you can simply
as your sample area. You can now move to the second flag on clone new areas over the offending repeated
the left and create a new sample to clone parts with random grass and sky as needed.
over the pole as you did with the first. Again,
watch out for obvious repeat patterns as you
clone clean areas on top of the flag pole.

This is your
target sample
of clean grass.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 23


Brushes, Pencil
and Eraser
Photoshop has many tools to
help you create images as well as
edit them
A lthough it is primarily designed and best known as an image editing
program, Photoshop also offers a range of versatile tools, allowing you
to create original artwork as well as adapting existing images. The brushes,
pencils and eraser are designed to behave as much like their real life
counterparts as possible, to make using them an intuitive process. If you
have a graphics tablet and a pen, this helps even more.

The Brush Tool

The most useful drawing implement is the You select the Brush tool by clicking on its
Brush (keyboard shortcut B), which is a multi- icon in the tool palette, but to get the most out
purpose tool that can emulate almost any type of it you need to open the new Brush palette by
of drawing tool imaginable, be it a fine pencil, clicking on the little folder-shaped icon in the
a felt-tip marker pen, a soft-bristle brush, an options bar.
airbrush, or anything in between. The Brush When you take a look at the new Brush
tool has received a major upgrade for version palette you’ll be blown away by just how
CS6, and now has more options and more pre- customisable it is. You can adjust the shape
sets than ever before, giving you unparalleled of the brush tip, the density, length, thickness,
versatility for creating your own artistic stiffness and angle of the brush bristles, and
Photoshop masterpieces. adjust or disable brush spacing. As well as

The Pencil Tool

The Pencil tool used to be a separate
item from the Brush tool, but with radical
expansion of the Brush in Photoshop to
include simulations of numerous types of
pencil, the Pencil tool itself now is just a
variation of the Brush tool, and uses the
same options palette. It’s not without its
uses though.
The Pencil can be used as a secondary
brush, which can save time swapping
between pre-sets, and can also be used to
apply a stroke to work paths. You can press
Shift + B to make it appear. By default it
uses the 1 pixel brush size. The pencil tool
is limited to hard-edged brush shapes of
various sizes.

24 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


this there are many more options, allowing you There are pre-set brushes to simulate Many people will probably use Photoshop
to add random scattering, noise, texture, wet airbrushes, pastel crayons, big soft brushes, small with a pen and tablet device, such as the
edge simulation, airbrush-like build-up, and stiff bristles, pencils, felt pens, sponges, and even Wacom Intuos 4 shown here. The Brush tool
both shape and colour dynamics. If this degree template brushes to quickly draw grass or leaves. includes options for pen tablet users, such as
of control is too time-consuming there are also The options and adjustments can be applied to allowing pen pressure to control either brush
dozens of pre-set brushes, a small sample of pre-set brushes, so you can customise them for size or opacity.
which you can see in the picture shown below. your own specific needs. You can even make your
own brushes if you want.
As well as options for the appearance and
texture of the brush, there are also options for
how it interacts with the layer that you paint on.
These are called Blend Modes, and you can
choose which one to use by clicking on the
Modes button in the tool options bar.

The Eraser Tool

The Eraser tool (keyboard shortcut E) is a
specialised variation on the brush tool, and uses
the same palette options. It differs from the
standard brush in that it can render pixels from
a layer transparent, allowing the layer beneath to
show through. If used on the background layer it
paints in whatever the current background colour
is set to.
As well as the Brush palette options, the
Eraser also has tool options including Opacity, There are two other Eraser options available if
Flow, and one unique one, Erase to History, you click and hold on the Eraser tool. Background
which can be used in conjunction with the History Eraser can, as the name suggests, erase parts
palette to selectively undo changes in layers. The of the background, but it does this by converting
Mode options for the Eraser are Brush, Pencil or the background into a layer. Magic Eraser simply
Block, which is a small square-shaped eraser of combines the Magic Wand tool with the Eraser tool,
fixed size and full opacity. and selectively erases contiguous areas of colour.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 25


Gradient Fill &

Paint Bucket
Fill layers and selections with colours, textures
and gradients
O ne very useful facility that Photoshop
provides is the Gradient tool. It can fill an
area of a layer with a gradual blend between
such as vignettes and centre-spot soft-focus.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
You’ll find the Gradient tool about halfway
multiple colours. You can choose from a down the Tool Palette. It has its own unique set
selection of pre-set gradient fills or create your of options in the Tool Options bar, the main one
own. It’s a great way to add gradient filters for being the Gradient Picker, which lets you choose
enhancing photographs, or to create effects from a list of pre-set gradients.

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26 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Photoshop comes with a selection of default Below are the main gradient types that you can
pre-set gradients loaded, but there are other packs choose from the tool options bar at the top left of
of gradients available. You can load in these other your screen.
packs via the Gradient menu. If you open the
Gradient Picker you’ll see a small icon like a cog
wheel. If you click on this you’ll see the menu, with
the list of standard gradient packs available to load
at the bottom.
Other gradient tool options include the overall
layer opacity, reversing the direction of the gradient
colour mix, changing the “dither” of the colour
mixing, and toggling the transparency.
Next to this is a row of buttons that create different
gradient shapes. The default setting is a straight
linear gradient, but other options include Radial,
Angle, Reflected and Diamond shapes.



Like the Brush tools the Gradient has blend

modes that let you mix the gradient colour fill with
the layer below it in various ways. This is a great
way to enhance sunset landscape shots, by using a
blue-to-transparent gradient fill in color mode, as in
the example seen here.

Paint Bucket Tool


If you click and hold on the Gradient tool you’ll way as the Magic Wand tool. To add a tint to
find that one of its options is the Paint Bucket a whole image, create a new layer, then fill it
tool, which is used to fill an area, a layer or a with the colour. It will fill the whole layer, and
selection with a solid colour. In combination you can then use layer transparency and blend USEFUL TIP
with layer transparency and blend modes it’s modes to achieve the effect you’re looking for.
a great way to add a colour tint or filter to a To get this cross-processed photo effect, Remember that the Paint Bucket uses the
same edge detection as the Magic Wand
whole image. we used a blue colour, at 70% opacity, and
tool. If you want to fill the whole screen, use
If you use the Paint Bucket on the a Lighten blend mode, which combines
a new layer.
background layer of your image it will fill in an the fill colour with the darker colours of the
area of contiguous colour in much the same background image.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 27


Basic Editing
Now that you’ve had a look at the main tools that are
available to you, we can move on to the next stage.
Now you can explore some of the main editing and
manipulation techniques you can apply to your images.
Using these tools and features you will be able to edit,
select, mask, use layers and more.

30 - 31 Making Selections 40 - 41 Cropping and Resizing
32 - 33 Modifying Selections 42 - 43 Quick Mask Mode
34 - 35 Using Layers 44 - 45 Using Layer Masks
36 - 37 Adjustment Layers 46 - 47 Content-Aware Fill and Scale
38 - 39 Curves and Levels

28 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 29


The ability to select and modify only part of an image is
fundamental to how Photoshop works
O ne of the most basic features of Photoshop is the ability to
modify only part of an image, leaving the rest unchanged.
The way that we do this is by using Selections, and there are
several tools and menu operations that we can use to help us
achieve this.
After the Move tool, the next three icons on the Tool Palette
are all selection tools, giving you a wide range of methods for
isolating an area of your image. Some are fully manual, while
others use varying degrees of automation.
The most basic Selection tools are the Rectangular and
Elliptical Marquee tools. These both allow you to manually select
a simple shape of any size, or of a fixed size or aspect ratio. You
can select several areas, either separately or joined together,
and with a hard edge or a soft feathered edge. The various Lasso
This tutorial tools let you select an area of irregular shape, again with the
content is option of a feathered edge. You can draw the area freehand, or
available for use point-to-point lines for greater precision.
Let’s take a look at the process of making a selection, and
examine the various options that are available.

Elliptical Marquee Tool

The Elliptical Marquee tool works

in much the same way as the
Rectangular Marquee, but draws a To draw an ellipse around your
curved shape. selection, imagine that it’s actually a
rectangle, start from one corner and drag to
As with the Rectangular Marquee, the diagonally opposite corner. This can be
you can set the size or aspect ratio. A tricky to get right, so alternatively hold down
ratio of 1x1 draws a circle, other ratios draw the Alt key and start from the centre of where
ellipses of various sizes. you want your ellipse to be.

30 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Simple Area Selection

To make a soft-edged selection, type a

number into the Feather box. The higher
the number, the more blurred the edge will be.

Let’s start off with the simplest selection

tool, the Rectangular Marquee. This is To draw a square, click on a point where you
used, as the name implies, for selecting simple want one of the corners to be, then hold and
rectangular shapes. drag to the diagonally opposite corner. You’ll see
the “marching ants” line of the selection box appear
following the cursor.

This time if you draw a selection and fill it,

06 you’ll see that the edges are very blurred,
with the marquee “marching ants” line in the
middle of the blurred area.

If you want to select more than one area or
You can draw a freehand rectangle, or fix add to the current selection, holding down
02 the Shift key will temporarily put the tool into
the size or aspect ratio by using the tool If you use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the
04 “Add to Selection” mode.
options. Let’s draw a perfect square selection by area you’ve selected you’ll see that the
setting a ratio of 1x1. edges are very sharp.

Polygonal Lasso Tool

For selecting more complex shapes, the With the Polygonal Lasso, you A Polygonal Lasso selection is ideal if you
01 02 03
best option is the Polygonal Lasso tool, or click around the edge of the area want to cut or copy a complex shape out
if you want to draw freehand, then the Lasso Tool you want to select. When you complete of a background, for example to make it part of
is the one to go for. Drawing freehand may be the loop, or double-click, the selection is another picture. It is particularly helpful when your
quite odd using a mouse, but with a little practice completed and you’ll see the “marching subject has lots of straight, regular edges that are
you can use it with confidence. ants” border. easy to follow.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 31


Photoshop has sophisticated tools to refine selections
P hotoshop’s standard selection tools,
the Marquee, Lasso and Magic Wand,
are fine for making basic selections of
regular, well defined shapes, but they’re
not so good at picking out soft-edged or
This tutorial
content is very fine shapes. One thing in particular
available for that has always been a problem is the
download edge of fine or untidy hair. Take this
photo for example:

This model has been photographed in a

typical studio setting, with good lighting and
against a plain light grey background. Photos
like this are used all the time for catalogues,
advertising posters and the like.
However, in order to fit these needs the
model will have to be separated from the
background. With a plain background like
this, it would be tempting to use a normal
selection tool such as the Magic Wand.
However if we try it, what we end up with is
something like this:

Modify Selection Border Smooth

Photoshop has other tools to modify a selection Border converts the single-line selection into Smooth removes the kinks and wrinkles from
which you’ll find, appropriately enough, in the a border of the specified width. You can use the line of your selection. It’s useful when you’re
Select menu, under Modify. The options include this selection to create a border around your selecting smooth-edged objects, but it will round
Border, Smooth, Expand, Contract and Feather. selection by using the Paint Bucket tool. Be off the corners of any irregular shapes. The larger
They’re all relatively simple, but useful nonetheless. aware that the border extends an equal amount the value of Smooth Selection, the smoother and
We have some examples to show you. from either side of your original selection. less detailed the selection becomes.

32 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


When you’ve been around all the edge

area that you want to refine, click OK, and
then wait a few seconds while the program
recalculates the edge. As you can see here,
the result is a good improvement over the
first attempt.

Select and Mask is very easy to use. Starting

with a Magic Wand or Polygonal Lasso
selection as close as possible to the edge of
the hair or any other soft edge, click on the
Refine Edge button on the tool options bar.
In the dialog window that opens, in Edge
Definition, check the box marked Smart
Radius, and use the square brackets keys to
set the brush size so that it’s large enough to
cover the hazy edge area around the hair. Then
simply paint around the edge, overlapping both
the model and the background.

As you can see, the edge around the

model’s hair looks terrible. The automatic
Magic Wand selection has produced a very
jagged edge, because it can’t distinguish
between the fine edge of the hair and the
background. Fortunately the latest version
of Photoshop has a feature called Select
and Mask, which is capable of making
much finer distinctions.

Expand Contract Feather

Expand, as the name suggests, expands the Contract is the opposite of Expand. It shrinks We’ve looked at Feather before. It softens the
size of the selection by the specified number the size of the selection by the specified edge of the selection by the radius set in the
of pixels. The larger the value you expand number of pixels. As with the Expand option, dialog box. It’s perhaps the most useful option
the selection by, the detail and shape of your the more you Contract the selection, the here, particularly if you’re trying to copy and
original selection will begin to decrease as it original selection shape’s detail will become paste the selection into a background. Unlike
enlarges outwards. less well defined. Smooth, this creates a soft vignette effect.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 33


Using Layers
Understanding layers is fundamental to Photoshop editing
T he concept of Layers was first
introduced with Photoshop 3.0 in
1994, and has become the very core of
descending order. Since layers can include
transparency, lower layers can be visible
through higher layers.
or off, and delete layers without affecting the
others. Some people seem to have a hard
time getting their head around the concept
Photoshop image editing, as well as being Effects, adjustments and operations can of layers, so the best way to think of them is
imitated by every other image editing be applied to individual layers, or to all as a pile of glass panels with the elements
program on the market. Layers are exactly the layers at once. You can move layers that make up the image painted onto them,
what they sound like; the elements of the around relative to one another, change the with you looking down on them from above
image are stacked up and displayed in order of layers in the stack, turn layers on to see how they stack up.

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Layers have a number of advantages. For one work paths, and then there
thing, the ability to change one element on one are Adjustment layers, which
layer without affecting the other layers means contain embedded commands
that you can edit your image non-destructively. that affect the layer immediately
For example if you want to perform an operation below. We’ll look at Adjustment
on a layer but you’re not sure how it’s going layers in more detail on the
to turn out, just make a duplicate layer, set the following pages.
original to be invisible, then do your editing on the There is a downside to using
copy. If you don’t like the result, you can simply layers, and that is the file sizes
delete it and go back to the original. they generate. Adding layers and
There are four main types of layer. There are the information that goes along USEFUL TIP
Pixel layers, which contain the graphical elements with them massively increases the size of the file,
of the image. There are Text layers, which so when you’ve finished editing and you want Click on a layer, press and hold the Shift key
contain text information which can be edited to save the picture you’ve created, it’s usually a on your keyboard and click on another layer
to multi-select a number of layers.
and resized. There are Vector layers, which good idea to Flatten the image, which merges all
contain vector information such as shapes and the layers together into a single image.

34 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The Layer Palette

Knowing your way around the Layer palette is vital if you want to make the best use of this feature.

Blend Mode Opacity Layer Filters

Determines how the layer interacts with the Controls how transparent the layer is, and how Choose to display only one type of layer, or all
layer below it. Can be changed for every layer much of the layer below will show through. of them, and by selecting from the drop-down
one by one, or for a group. you can choose what order to show them in.

Similar to Opacity, but only works on pixel
information, ignoring blending options and
layer effects.

Layer Locks
By clicking on these buttons you can lock the
layer from any further activity. Transparency,
image pixels and position can be locked
independently of each other.

Text Layer
There are several different types of layer. Text
layers, not surprisingly, contain text characters.

The Background layer is the default bottom
layer, and always starts off locked when you
open a new Photoshop document.

Link Layers
Highlight a few layers and then click this
A B C D button to link the layers. Transform and
Move commands will affect all linked layers.

Visibility Layer Styles Layer Mask

Clicking on the eyeball simply renders the Add effects such as drop shadow, bevelled Add a mask to a pixel-based layer to reveal
layer and all its effects invisible. edges, inner glow and more. or conceal information using a black or
white brush.

A Adjustment Layer B New Group C New Layer D Delete Layer

An alternative to the main layer Creates a new layer group, into Clicking on this button Does exactly what you’d
menu, you can add all the adjustment which you can drag and drop layers, creates a new blank layer expect it to do. Click to delete the
effects such as Levels, Brightness and which helps you to organise layers in a directly above the currently currently active layer, or drag a layer
Contrast and Saturation here too. big complicated composition. active layer. onto the button to delete it.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 35


A great way to edit your images without damaging them
A lthough there are many editing options
in the Image > Adjustment menu, they
all have one thing in common. When you
Saturation, then add a Photo Filter effect,
that’s three operations that have discarded
information, each one degrading your
the damage done by these modifications
is to revert to an earlier version by using
undo or the History palette, but that also
apply them to an image the effect they image quality. If you apply an operation undoes all your subsequent editing as well.
have is destructive, because they discard repeatedly, such as multiple Curves This degradation is much worse with 8-bit
information from the original image. For corrections, you’ll actually be able to see than with 16-bit images, since there’s less
example, if you apply Curves, the Hue/ the degradation. The only way to undo information to start with.

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It’s impossible to avoid this image degradation merged when flattening the image.
altogether, but by using Adjustment Layers You can apply Adjustment Layers in several
we can reduce it as much as possible. ways. First, you’ll find a list of available layers
Adjustment Layers sit above the pixel layer in in the Layer > New Adjustment Layer menu.
the stack, and their effects are applied in real Second, if you have the Adjustments palette open
time as the layers are displayed. That way (it’s open in the default interface workspace) you
if you change your mind about an effect, or can click on the button for the layer you want to
wish to change it after it has been applied, apply. Third, you can click on the middle button
your alteration doesn’t have any further at the bottom of the Layer Palette. All of these
effect on the layer below it, and the image offer exactly the same list of options and produce
degradation isn’t applied until the layers are the same results.

36 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The Adjustment Layer Palette

Click on any of these buttons to instantly create a new adjustment layer.

01 Brightness/Contrast Photo Filter 09

Edit image tonal range. Add custom colour cast to images.
02 Levels Channel Mixer 10
Adjust colour and tonal range. Create tinted or greyscale images.
03 Curves Colour Lookup 11
Adjust points through the tonal range. Add preset colour effects to images.
04 Exposure Invert 12
Adjust an images’ exposure range. Inverts image colours like a negative.
01 02 03 04 05
05 Vibrance Posterize 13
Enhance less saturated colours first. Adjust the number of tonal levels.
06 Hue/Saturation 06 07 08 09 10 11 Threshold 14
Alter Hue, Saturation and Lightness. Convert to black and white bitmap.
07 Colour Balance 12 13 14 15 16
Selective Colour 15
Add colour to shadows and highlights. Alter individual primary colours.
08 Black and White Gradient Map 16
Convert to monotone or greyscale. Maps an image to a custom gradient fill.



Before and After

This photo of Alfie was taken on a Canon 5DMK3. The subject was photographed
on an overcast day and there was little contrast. By applying Levels, Saturation and
Photo Filter adjustments to the image, the colours have been saturated and contrast
enhanced to bring back some punch and detail to the image.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 37


and Levels
The most versatile way to adjust, brightness
and contrast in your digital images
Y ou’ll find the Curves function in the Image >
Adjustments menu, or use the keyboard shortcut
Cmd+M. The Curves dialog looks a bit daunting
at first; a graph with a diagonal line running up the
middle of it, like a difficult piece of maths homework.
It’s nothing to be scared of though, and is in fact the
most useful and versatile tool for making adjustments
to the exposure and tonal balance of your images.
We’ll use this picture of Ursula as the image to begin
with. What we want to do first is crop it down so we
just have the main part of her face and hair with some
trees beyond.
The Curves graph is a histogram showing the relative
strengths of different tones within the image. It shows the
input distribution along the bottom of the graph, and the
output up the vertical axis. The straight diagonal line from
corner to corner indicates that there is a 1:1 ratio between
input and output at all tones; the output is exactly the
same as the input, as you’d expect. It is by adjusting the This tutorial
line and altering the ratio of input tones to output tones, content is
that we can achieve a number of effects. The left-hand available for
end of the horizontal axis represents the darker tones,

while the right-hand end represents the highlights.

The Curves graph can be manipulated in several ways.
You can move the line directly, by clicking on it to place
new anchor points and then dragging these points into
new positions. You can also use the arrow keys to nudge
a selected point up, down, left or right. There’s no limit
to where the line can start or finish, or where it goes in
between, which can lead to some extraordinary results.
In later versions of Photoshop there’s an even more
useful way to use Curves. Just to the lower left of the
histogram you’ll see a button with a hand and two
arrows on it. If you click this button and then move the
cursor over the image you’ll notice a point on the line
move up and down as the cursor passes over lighter
and darker areas. Pick a spot that you want to lighten,
click on it and drag upward, and you’ll see the tone
curve move to match. Using this awesome feature you
can selectively lighten or darken pretty much every tone
in the image.

38 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Boosting Contrast
Add two anchor points to the tone curve roughly
one-third of the way from either end. Drag the
shape of the line into a narrow S-shaped curve,
slightly raising the upper half of the curve and
lowering the lower half of it, leaving the mid-
point and both ends in the same positions.
This will brighten the lighter areas of the image,
while darkening the darker areas, increasing
the contrast while maintaining the same overall
exposure. It’s an excellent way to make very
precise adjustments to contrast. Mid-tone
lightness can be adjusted by moving the mid-
point on the curve up or down.

Emphasising Highlights Emphasising Shadows Brightening Mid-tones

To boost the highlights of an image move the Moving the lowest point on the curve to the right For images with very high contrast sometimes it is
highest point leftwards along the top horizontal will darken the shadows, but this will lose both necessary to boost the mid-tones to balance the
axis. This increases the brightness of the lighter shadow and mid-tone detail. This can be alleviated image. To do this, set three points on the tone curve
pixels, and may cause the brighter highlights by moving the mid-point of the curve upwards at roughly equal positions along the curve, and then
to be burned out, but the result can be quite slightly, flattening the upper part of the curve and move the middle one upwards to achieve the effect.
pleasing for the right kind of image. This brightening the mid-tones. This emphasising of The other two points act as anchors, keeping the
technique works well in monochrome, producing shadows is very similar to boosting contrast, but shadows and highlights unchanged. Moving the
an ethereal high-key image. can create a more extreme result. mid-point downwards has the opposite effect.

A quick, easy and accurate
way to adjust brightness
and contrast

Also in the Image > Adjustments menu you’ll

find Levels, keyboard shortcut Cmd+L. The
Levels function is easier to use than Curves,
and lets you quickly adjust the black and white
points and overall brightness of your image. It’s
particularly useful for images that contain a lot
of light or dark areas, such as dark objects on a
light background, because it provides a method
for fixing the lightest and darkest areas of the
image, while leaving the mid-tones free to be
adjusted upward or downward.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 39


and Resizing
Changing the size of a digital photograph
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content is
available for
S ometimes a digital photograph
can be the wrong size. Maybe
you’ve got too much of the

surroundings in the picture, when

you wanted to concentrate on just
the main subject, or maybe the
whole image is too big, and you
need to make it smaller to send
via email or publish on a website.
Doing both of these things is very
quick and simple in Photoshop.
We’ll use this wide-angle
automotive shot as the image to start BEFORE
with. What we want to do first is crop
it down so we just have a tighter view
of the truck.

The best tool for the job is, not

surprisingly, the Crop tool. You’ll find it
in the tool palette, fourth down from the top. It
looks a bit like two set-squares.

The crop tool is very easy to use. Simply

click near one corner and then drag a
box around the area you want to crop. Don’t
worry if you don’t get the size exactly right first
time, because you can adjust the size of the box
by using the drag-handles on each side and
corner. Press Enter to perform the crop.

Next we’ll resize the image. To In the Image Size dialog box, check
03 04
do this you’ll need to get to the the box marked Resample Image,
Image menu and select Image Size, and open the drop-down option panel below
or use the keyboard shortcut it. We’re reducing the size of this picture, so
Cmd + Alt + I. select Bicubic Sharper.

40 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide



You’ll see the current size in pixels at

the top of the panel, with the width
as 800 pixels. In the lower window put in a
height of 500 pixels. If your main subject is
not in the centre of the frame, you can alter
the anchor point by clicking on the arrows
surrounding the box below. Click OK to
In the Pixel Dimensions panel, enter Next, go back to the Image menu, perform the resize. You’ll get a warning that
05 06
the width that you want your image to but this time choose Canvas Size, or you’re about to chop off part of the image,
appear. If we were preparing this picture for a use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Alt + C. but just ignore it.
website, a width of 800 pixels would be ideal. Canvas Size will allow you to be able to extend Now we’ve resized the image to 800 x 500,
The height will change automatically to keep the dimensions of your current document by a convenient size for display on many mobile
the aspect ratio the same. Press OK to resize adding extra pixels to the image. Bear in mind devices, and ideal for uploading to a website
the picture. this is different than simply resizing the image. or sending via email.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 41



By varying the transparency of
the Quick Mask selection you can

alter the effect of the edit you
want to perform.

There’s a quicker way of editing selections and masks

O ften when editing in Photoshop it’s useful to be able to
block off certain areas that we don’t want to be affected.
For that we use masks, and there are several ways of creating
them, but by far the easiest is Quick Mask, a fantastically
useful feature that was first introduced in Photoshop 7. Quick
Mask lets you create and edit masks and selections quickly
This tutorial
content is and easily using any of Photoshop’s pixel painting tools to
available for apply a brushed mask with freehand strokes of the mouse.
download It’s extremely simple to use, but it can produce a wide and
varied range of results. You’ll find the Quick Mask mode
button near the bottom of the Tool Palette. Clicking it will
toggle Quick Mask mode on or off.

The most basic way that Quick Mask is used is with the brush tool.
When you switch on Quick Mask, you’ll notice that the foreground and
background colours change to black and white. Select a normal paint brush
and start painting in black. You’ll see that instead of black, the colour is a
translucent red. Paint this colour over the area you want to mask.
If you make a mistake and overlap your area, simply switch to the white
background colour. Painting white will erase the mask.

42 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


By using a combination
of the two you can mask
out even quite complex
shapes. If you then
toggle out of Quick Mask
mode, you’ll find that
all but the area you’ve
masked will be selected.
You can now alter very
specific areas of your
image, such as just the
skin areas on this portrait
of our model.
There are other ways

Gradient Mask
to apply Quick Mask. For example it can be used with the Gradient
Tool to produce gradual mask effects. Simply enter Quick Mask mode,
then select the Gradient Tool. Drag a gradient fill over the area you wish
to affect, and when you release the mouse button you’ll see that the
gradient effect is in translucent red, like the painted Quick Mask.



You can now use this gradient mask to produce graduated effects on the
image. For instance, on this picture we can darken the sky and leave the
foreground as it is by using a graduated Levels function. The gradient mask
ensures a smooth transition from the full effect at the upper edge to zero effect
at the lower edge of the picture.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 43


Layer Masks
Add effects non-destructively with Layer Masks

W hile the Quick Mask function is an easy way to selectively edit your pictures,
the more traditional method is to use Layer Masks. The advantage to this
method is that it is non-destructive, so if you don’t like the results you can just go
01 To start with, right-click on the thumbnail of the
photo in the layer palette and select Duplicate
Layer from the menu. Alternatively click and drag the
back and start again. It is also repeatable, because you can use the same mask for layer thumbnail in the palette onto the New Layer
multiple effects, saving you time and effort. For this quick tutorial we’ll use a Layer button at the bottom of the palette, which will also
Mask to apply a selective monochrome or colour extraction effect. We’ll start with duplicate the layer.
this bright image of a buttercup. The yellows will remain in colour while the rest of
the picture will be changed to black and white.

This tutorial BEFORE

content is
available for

Next, activate the new layer by clicking on it in the

palette, and then click on the Add Layer Mask button
at the bottom of the palette.

A white square will appear in the layer palette

representing the new mask. Double-click on this
and the Layer Mask palette will fly out. This palette lets you
configure the mask in a variety of ways.

44 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Click on the Color Range button and you’ll Next we can apply the effect to the top 08 The Layer Mask can be used to produce
04 06
see a new window appear with a colour layer. For this one we’ll use the Black any kind of selective effect like this, and
range picker, and the cursor will change to an and White menu option, since it’s a quick the great part of it is that the original image is
eyedropper tool. Click on the yellow petals of the and easy effect. You’ll find it in the Image > still intact in the background layer, so if you’re
flower, and adjust the sliders so that as much of Adjustments menu. unhappy with the finished result you can just
the colour as possible is selected, but none of the delete the effect layer and start again. However
background. Click OK when you’re happy. as you can see, the effect is just about perfect.

You can adjust the parameters of the

Black and White effect with the sliders
on the window that appears. The results
are a matter of personal taste, so adjust the
parameters until you’re happy.

Always remember that layer masks do not
erase any of a layer’s detail, it just makes
certain details invisible without deleting
them. This is referred to as non-destructive
Now we’ve got a mask that covers the
05 image editing.
shape of the flower but what we need is
a mask that leaves the chosen colour, but covers
everything else, so click on the Invert button
that swaps the mask and the background. This
effectively creates a hole in the layer through which
the background layer will be visible.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 45


Fill and Scale
Photoshop contains image processing technology so
advanced it looks like magic
P hotoshop CS4 introduced the world to an
amazing new technology called Content-
Aware Scaling, which can resize an image
Content-Aware Scaling
If we resize the image vertically by 75 You’ll find Content-Aware Scaling
while preserving the proportions of important 01 03
percent using the standard Photoshop in the Edit menu, but it will be
image elements. It works by analysing the
Image Size menu option, the people and greyed out unless you’ve converted the
image and removing lines of pixels that
cars will end up looking flattened and out of image into a layer.
contain relatively little information, so that a
proportion, since their height has also been
plain background will be affected before the
reduced by 70 percent.
main subject. The best way to illustrate the
effect is with examples, such as this picture
of a clock tower.

This tutorial
content is
available for However if we use Content-Aware You use Content-Aware Scaling in just
download 02 04
Scaling, the clever algorithm detects the same way as the normal Image
BEFORE that the areas that are just sky contain relatively Size option. Either drag the handles on each
little information, and so this time when we edge in the direction you want, or directly enter
re-scale the image it deletes those pixels first, the proportions into the text boxes on the tool
preserving the more information-rich pixels that options bar. Content-Aware Scaling works for
AFTER hold the details including the people. As a result both height and width, and can also be used to
a 75 percent height reduction leaves the scene enlarge an image.
looking relatively unchanged, although the area
of blue sky has been reduced.

46 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Content-Aware Fill and Move

Photoshop CS5 took the content-aware technology further with the introduction of Content-Aware Fill. This extremely useful function can fill in blank areas
of an image with an approximation of the surrounding area, which makes it particularly handy for filling those triangular edges that are left after rotating an
image, for example when levelling the horizon line. Again it’s relatively easy to use.

Starting with an image that has just been rotated, leaving There will be a short pause while Photoshop analyses the
01 04
those empty triangles, take the Magic Wand tool and select image, but then it will fill in the blank areas with a texture derived
the plain areas. from the content of the immediately surrounding area.

Next, go to the Select menu and click on Modify > Expand.

Increase the selection area by a decent amount; for this picture
10 pixels should do nicely.
Content-Aware Move is a new feature introduced with
Photoshop CS6, and uses the same technology as Content-
Aware Fill. The idea is that you can select an object on a background
and move it to a new area of the image. The Content-Aware algorithm
should automatically fill in the area that you moved from and also
blend in the moved object.
In practice it’s not actually much use unless the object to be moved
is on a virtually plain background, in which case it’s often simpler to
use the Clone Stamp anyway, but some people may find it useful.

You’ll find Fill in the Edit menu. Click on it and you’ll see the Fill
options window appear. Content-Aware should be selected by
default, but if not choose it from the drop-down menu.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 47


Building Your
Editing Skills
Photoshop has become extremely popular amongst
digital artists, designers and photographers the world
over due to its creative power. It has all the tools you
could ever need to get the job done. We’re going to
take the techniques developed in the last section and
add some more to your growing skill set.

50 - 51 Adjusting Exposure 58 - 59 Panorama Stitching
52 - 53 Contrast and Saturation 60 - 61 Colour Replacement
54 - 55 Adding a Graduated Filter 62 -63 Soft Focus Technique
56 - 57 Correcting Lens Distortion

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BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 49


Correcting your exposure mistakes is easy with Photoshop
E ven with the sophisticated technology found in the light metering
systems of modern digital cameras, they are not infallible. Some
lighting conditions can confuse them, resulting in pictures that are over
or under-exposed.
All cameras have a limited dynamic range, levels of illumination at which they
record featureless pure white or featureless pure black. The tonal variation available
between those two extremes depends on the quality of the lens, sensor and image
processor that captured it, and the bit-depth of the file type used to record it. For
maximum bit-depth it’s always best to use Raw mode, since this will usually store
images in 42-bit or even 48-bit form, capturing greater dynamic range. We’ll look
at improving the exposure of the more common JPEG images from a compact
camera. JPEG images are usually only 24-bit, so have less latitude for any
exposure recovery.
Over-exposure tends to be more of a
problem than under-exposure, since
burned-out highlights contain no detail,
but the JPEG format is surprisingly good
at capturing detail in areas that might initially
look like featureless black. As a result it’s
often possible to rescue shots that are
quite badly under-exposed, although this
will also amplify any noise in the image,
so there is a trade-off for image quality.
Take a look at this shot. It was an
average meter reading taken against
This tutorial quite a bright but featureless sky as
content is seen out of the windows. The pilots are
available for in in darker shadow and under-exposed. It
download would have been a better idea to use
spot metering, but we can still rescue
this it using an image editing program.

The quickest and easiest way to brighten the
photo is to simply turn up the brightness. You’ll find
Brightness/Contrast as an adjustment layer in the
palette on the right, or in the Image > Adjustment
menu. The Brightness/Contrast function in recent
versions of Photoshop has been changed to improve
contrast and tonal balance when adjusting the
brightness of your images.
By moving the Brightness slider to the right, the
overall brightness of the entire photo is increased,
but the new algorithm retains a reasonable balance
in shadow tones. You can tweak the effect with the
Contrast slider, the result is reasonably acceptable.

50 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Photoshop offers another way of altering brightness between represented by a spike on the graph. On and highlights points left towards the shadows. This
and contrast, but this time with more subtlety and the bottom axis of the graph are three points, the has the effect of bringing out a lot of the detail from
control, by adjusting the Levels histogram. You’ll left representing the black cut-off point, the right the shadow areas without burning out any more
find Levels in the same Image > Adjustment sub- the white cut-off point, and the one in the middle highlights. It also leaves the deeper shadow areas
menu as Brightness/Contrast. The Levels histogram representing the midtone point. intact. It is a far better way of adjusting the exposure
is basically a graph showing the proportion of As you can see from the graph our image is mostly of a photograph than simply altering the Brightness/
pixels in the image at each colour intensity. The shadows and midtones, with little highlights, so we Contrast, however it isn’t quite the best way.
far left-hand end of the graph represents black, need to brighten some of those shadows into mid- Adjusting the Levels mid-point is still strictly linear in
and the right-hand end is white, with every tone in tones. The way we do this is by moving the mid-tone its adjustment.

The Curves adjustment option, again found in the
Image > Adjustment menu and as an adjustment
layer option, is a method of changing the relative
brightness of specific tones and ranges of tones
within an image, giving precise control over
exposure. Learning to use it properly is a core
skill in image editing, and will enable you to make
precise and subtle changes to brightness and
relative contrast not just of the image as a whole,
but also of individual colour channels.
Drag the Curves output line around by clicking at
any point, then moving the handle that appears. To
improve this picture we need to brighten the shadows
and mid-tones, while simultaneously darkening the
highlights, so we should drag the lower side of the
curve upwards, and the upper part of the curve
downwards, creating an inverted S-shaped curve.
As with many Photoshop techniques, the key here
is subtlety. Push the curve too far and you’ll ruin the
picture, so keep an eye on it as you progress.

As with most Photoshop editing techniques,
subtlety is the key. If you push the curves too
far you’ll lose detail.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 51


and Saturation
Using curves and blend modes to improve colour
saturation and contrast in your digital photos

W hen you take a digital photo of a scene,

you are relying on your camera to be
able to capture all the colours and tones that
you see. Unfortunately most digital cameras
simply aren’t capable of recording the full
range of colours and shades that the human
eye can see, so your photo of what was a
bright and colourful scene may prove to be
a bit of a disappointment when you see it
on your monitor. Fortunately there are many
different ways to improve both contrast and
colour saturation, which might help to restore
some of the sparkle to your photos. Let’s
take a look at some of the alternatives.

As an example we’ll use this snapshot The simplest way to improve the saturation A much more controllable way to adjust
01 02 03
of Dartmouth. In reality the colour of the is by adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment both saturation and contrast is to use a
scene is much more intense than it looks here, layer. Like many other parts of the program, Hue/ Curves adjustment layer. We’ve already looked
but the digital camera that was used to take the Saturation has been improved in Photoshop, at Curves in the section on adjusting exposure,
photo was set to a neutral and flat colour mode producing a smoother result than previous but by using Blend Modes we can also use
to capture as much dynamic range as possible. versions. If you were to boost the saturation by Curves to enhance saturation. In Normal blend
This mode generally leaves images looking a about +45, you’d restore some of the missing mode the curve will change both contrast and
bit pale and lacking contrast and vibrant colour. colour, but it’s a scattergun approach and doesn’t saturation. We’re using the same S-shaped
This shouldn’t be a problem as the shot is well offer much fine control. It can also increase noise curve, which boosts brightness at the upper
exposed and contains plenty of detail that will in shadow areas in JPEG images. Let’s look at end of the scale and darkens shadows at the
suit the increase in saturation. more options. lower end.

52 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


This tutorial
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available for


Another way to improve saturation is

a Photoshop function called Vibrance,
which can also be applied as an adjustment
layer. Vibrance is a difficult thing to quantify. It is
a saturation function, but it works on a graph,
affecting the least saturated areas most, and the
By changing the blend mode to most saturated areas least. On a picture like this
Luminosity, the curve will only Conversely, by using a Color blend it can help, but it has to be used with contrast
affect brightness, so the same S-shaped mode, the S-shaped curve will alter enhancement for best effect, which may again
enhancement curve will improve contrast, colour saturation without affecting brightness, cause an increase in noise. This option is less
lightening highlights and darkening shadows so shadows and highlights are unaffected. This intense than using Saturation. Vibrance is best
without affecting colour saturation. is great to keep noise under control. used when processing a Raw image file.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 53


Adding a
Graduated Filter
Graduated filters can improve photos by adding
depth and colour to the sky

P hotographers use graduated filters

placed in front of the camera lens
to selectively change the exposure and
sometimes the colour of part of a picture,
usually to darken the sky to bring out details
in the clouds and balance the exposure with
the landscape in the foreground. They come
in many different shapes, sizes and colours to
fit all types of camera system.
As with most photographic techniques, it’s
possible to duplicate the effect of graduated
filters using Adobe Photoshop, and as usual
there are several ways to accomplish this. For
this example we’ll use an image of a sunrise
on the Devon coast.

This tutorial
content is
available for
download AFTER


54 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Graduated Filter in Camera Raw

Since this photo was taken using Raw mode, we can use the Graduated Filter tool in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). ACR is the Raw processing
application supplied with each version of Photoshop, and allows you to add the effect during processing. This is by far the best way to do it, since it
preserves the maximum amount of detail in the photograph.

When you open the image in Adobe To apply the filter, drag a line down from The red dotted line marks the lower, least
01 03 04
Camera Raw, you’ll see a row of tool the top of the screen to the horizon line. saturated edge of the gradient effect, but
icons across the top of the main image window. You’ll see a horizontal and vertical dotted line like an there is also a green line at the top of the frame. This
The Graduated Filter icon is to the right. inverted T. You’ll also notice that you can change the marks the top or most saturated edge of the effect,
angle of the line by moving the cursor left and right. with a smooth gradient between the two lines. If you
To constrain the line to the vertical, hold down the drag this green line down, more of the image will be
Shift key while dragging. at maximum effect and the gradient will be shorter.

When you click on the Graduated Filter

icon, you’ll see the control panel on the
right of the screen change. The filter can apply
many different effects, but the one we want to
use is a reduction in exposure. A setting between
-2.00 and -2.70 should produce a suitable effect
for this picture.

Graduated Filter in Photoshop

If your photo wasn’t taken in Raw Next, in the tool options bar, click To apply the gradient to the picture, start at
01 02 03
mode, you can apply a graduated on the gradient editor and select the top of the frame, click and drag down
filter using the Gradient Tool. To set up the Foreground to Transparent, click on the button to the horizon line. If you hold down the shift key
graduated filter, first select the Gradient Tool, for Linear Gradient, set the Blending mode to it will constrain the line to the vertical. The blue is
then set the foreground colour to blue by Multiply, and the Opacity to 85 percent. Make blended into the clouds making them darker. It’s
clicking on the foreground square and then sure the boxes for Dither and Transparency always a good idea to tailor the blend colour to
using the colour picker. are checked. match the sky.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 55


Lens Distortion
Correct the optical distortion of ultra-wide lenses
with Photoshop’s Adaptive Wide Angle

O ne of the new features introduced with Photoshop CS6 is

called Adaptive Wide Angle; this can warp and bend an
image to undo the optical distortion common to all very wide
angle lenses. We’ve all seen photographs taken with “fish-eye”
lenses. These lenses are called ultra-wide-angle, because the
angle of view that they can capture can be as much as 180
degrees. Naturally the ability to squeeze half a room into the same
shot comes at a price, and that is extreme optical distortion.
Straight and parallel lines appear to be bent, perspective
is massively shortened and familiar objects take on almost
unrecognisable proportions. In the photo opposite, the straight
uprights of the window alcoves and bench seats seem to curve
inwards, the walls seem to bulge outwards and the whole effect is
quite disconcerting.

In the Adaptive Wide Angle interface,

first select the Constraint tool from the
panel on the upper left of the main screen, and The line will automatically warp the
select Fisheye from the Correction drop-down picture to make the curved line
Adaptive Wide Angle attempts menu. Pick one of the vertical lines, in this straight. You’ll see that there is a circle
to correct at least some of these case one of the stone window alcoves, click overlaid on the line, with two more control
problems, and can warp the picture to undo near the top of it and drag a line down the handles where they intersect. You can drag
most of the optical distortion. Remarkably it length of it. You should find that the line will these handles, rotating the line to bring it
can do all this while still preserving most of automatically curve to follow the line, but you into a vertical position. If you hold down the
the detail in the picture. You’ll find Adaptive can drag the control handle in the mid-point of shift key it will automatically snap to vertical
Wide Angle in the Filters menu. the line to match it up to the curvature. right away.

56 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


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Again, drag the handle on the circular

line to move the upright into a vertical
position. If you’ve done it right the vertical
curvature distortion of the image should now
be looking better. You may notice that the
correction isn’t quite perfect; there may still
some slight curvature of the various uprights
and horizontals, but it’s certainly a great
improvement, and the vertical structures are The process will have left some empty
04 Pick a line on the opposite side of much straighter. You can carry on and try to spaces at the edges of the image,
the picture and repeat the process, correct more of the curvature, but be aware so it will be necessary to crop the image to
dragging a line down the upright of the stone of how much warping is being applied to the remove these. This does mean losing some
wall. This too will automatically straighten up image to straighten everything out. Click OK of the original photograph, but the result is
the line. when you’re done to finalise the correction. much less distorted than it was at the start.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 57


Get the whole of the landscape
into one ultra-wide picture
This tutorial
content is
M any digital cameras have a feature
known as “Panorama Stitching” or
“Panorama Assist” mode. It’s there to BEFORE
available for

help with a particular type of photograph,

or rather series of photographs, in which For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll use
successive shots are taken as the camera this example of a four-shot sequence
is panned across a scene. After you take taken down on the Devon coast.
the first shot, the camera shows the edge
of that shot superimposed on the monitor
so you can match up the position of
features in successive shots, producing a USEFUL TIP
long continuous photo showing an entire
panoramic scene. You can also shoot your If shooting a panoramic sequence manually,
pan sequence manually, especially if you always make sure that you have a large
enough overlap between each shot you take.
have a tripod handy to keep the camera
For best results, it is advisable to have about
level. When it’s done well the results can be
25% of the previous frame visible each time.
breathtaking, but getting a satisfactory result
isn’t as easy as it looks.

Having downloaded our panorama

pictures from the camera into a folder The Photomerge window offers
on the PC, it’s time to fire up Photoshop and a number of options for how to
stitch them together into a panorama. Locate arrange your panoramic shots. For a simple
the files on your hard drive and open all of landscape panorama like this the Auto
them in Photoshop. If you go to the Window option should work fine. Click on the Add
> Arrange menu you can view them all at Open Files button to add the three shots to
once in 4-up Horizontal mode. Not essential, In Photoshop you’ll find Photomerge in the Photomerge list, and check the top two
but it gives you a chance to make a last- the File menu under Automate, along options and the bottom option to attempt to
minute exposure check. with several other automatic processes. fill blank areas with the Content Aware tool.

58 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide



Once the Panorama has been

rendered, you’ll see that there are
areas where the program has had to warp
the pictures to correct for perspective.
Once you click OK the merging This is where the Content Aware Fill tool
process starts, and it is completely will have attempted to add something that You can also use the crop tool to
automatic. It will take a while to complete, looks a bit like sky and fields. Depending straighten out any slight tilt in your
possibly quite a long while if you have a slow on how well the fill works, you can always horizon, but hopefully you won’t need it. The
computer and/or very large image files. crop out these areas. finished result should look something like this.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 59


Swapping one colour BEFORE
for another
O ne relatively simple operation that you
can do in Photoshop is to replace one
colour with another. By using some of the
selection tools we looked at earlier, along This tutorial
with the Hue/Saturation controls, we can content is
change the colour of individual objects in our available for
photos, such as replacing the colour of the download
lifebuoy in this shot.

With the Magic Wand, it’s

best to add a bit at a time.
Click on an area that’s a mid-tone for the total
area you want to select, and you’ll find that the
wand tool will select an area around it. The size
of the selection will depend on the tolerance
setting. By holding down the Shift key and
carefully clicking on areas around your starting
selection, you can add more areas. If the wand
selects part of the background, use Cmd+Z to
Selecting large areas of the same undo that step, and try again more carefully,
colour is one of those few occasions possibly adjusting the tolerance downwards if
where the Magic Wand tool is actually it keeps happening.
useful, so we’ll use it as a starting point
here. With a tolerance setting of 20 it should
be able to pick out the buoy ring without too
much trouble.

When you’ve reached the limit of

what you can usefully select using Again hold down the Shift key to add
the Magic Wand tool, you can finish your more areas to your selection. If you
selection using the Polygonal Lasso tool. By need to remove any areas from the selection,
setting the Feather to zero you can produce a such as the rope and metal hook, you can
sharp-edges selection. Alternatively, use the subtract by holding down the Alt key and
Selection Brush tool. going around them with the Lasso.

60 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide



Although there are several filters we You have three options under the
06 07
could use at this point, the most Hue/Saturation setting. Leave the
versatile way to change the colour of the Lightness slider in the middle position
selected area is the Hue/Saturation/Lightness to preserve the overall brightness of the
option. This is common to most editing object, but you can experiment by moving
programs. In Elements you’ll find it in the the Saturation and Hue sliders around.
Enhance menu. As you move the Hue slider, the colour
will start to shift through the spectrum of
colours, or you can produce subtle colour
changes with lower saturation settings, or
say to hell with subtlety and go for broke
with full saturation.

When you’ve selected all the bits you

want to repaint, you can save the
selection for later use, to save you doing all that
work again if you change your mind.

When you’re happy with the result, or

when your eyes start bleeding, you
can clear the selection by using the keyboard
shortcut Cmd+D, and then save the result.
When you save the final image as a .PSD file
in Photoshop or Elements, the selections are
saved as well, embedded in the file.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 61


Soft Focus
Adding a soft focus effect gives your
portraits a romantic feel
S oft focus is an effect used widely in
television and in the movies, as well
as in many commercial and advertising
photographs, for producing a dreamy
romantic look. It’s also a big favourite with
wedding photographers. In traditional
photography the effect is achieved with a
special filter fitted over the camera lens.
Many digital cameras now include soft focus
as a digital effect, but we can produce the
same results in Photoshop with ease using
Gaussian blur and layer transparency.

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62 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The first step is to turn the picture into Next, go to the Filter menu, move We don’t need very much blurring to
01 02 03
two identical layers. To do this, go to down to Blur, and select Gaussian produce the soft-focus effect, so for
the Layer menu, and select Duplicate Layer. Blur. This is a special type of blurring that this portrait shot, set a radius of 10 pixels.
Don’t worry about naming this layer, it’s the can be adjusted to produce certain effects. You may need a smaller radius for smaller
only one we’re going to make. images, but keep it subtle.

In the Layers palette, set the transparency We can further enhance the look of the Drag an elliptical marquee selection
04 05 06
of the blurred layer to around 60 percent. picture by adding an elliptical vignette around the portrait subject. This may take
This lets the still-sharp lower layer to show of further blurring around the subject. This is a a few tries to get right, so use Cmd+D to de-
through, mitigating the effects of the Gaussian technique that portrait photographers have been select if you get it wrong. When you’re happy with
blur. If you feel it is too blurred, you can drop the using almost since the invention of photography. it, go to the Select menu and click on Feather.
Opacity down to about 40% if you like. First, select the Elliptical Marquee tool. Set a radius of about 40-50 pixels.

Next, select Inverse from the Select menu Now add a Lens blur filter to the selection, One final option is to use a soft eraser and
07 08 09
to change the selection so that everything giving it a slightly bigger radius than before; erase areas of the blurred layer around your
outside the ellipse is selected. around 50 pixels should do the job. subject’s face to keep it sharp if you prefer.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 63


What is
Raw Mode?
Digital cameras have replaced the need for chemical
processing. If you shoot in Raw mode, this is a
digital equivalent to processing. Raw mode is a digital
readout straight off the camera’s sensor that offers
great scope for processing your shots. To do this, you
need to step inside your very own digital darkroom.

66 - 67 Processing Raw Files
68 - 69 Adobe Camera Raw Interface
70 - 73 Adobe Camera Raw Workflow

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BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 65


Raw Files
For the best possible quality,
shoot in Raw mode

A ll digital SLRs and Compact System Cameras, and most of

the better compact cameras, have a shooting option called
Raw mode. You’ll usually find it in the menu as an option under
image quality. Raw mode offers greatly improved image quality
over the usual JPEG image file format, and is recommended
for all serious photographers. Let’s take a closer look at Raw
mode, find out how it works and see how it can help you
produce better photographs.

What is Raw Mode?

Lens Sensor Processor JPEG Output

Raw Output

Raw mode is a special image recording option captured by an electronic image sensor. This eye, so the signal from the sensor feeds into the
that is available on digital SLRs, Compact System sensor has millions of tiny photocells that produce a camera’s image processor, a combination of
Cameras, and other high-quality digital cameras. If charge when they are exposed to light; the brighter computer electronics and software which turns the
your camera has this option, you have access to the light, the higher the charge. Digital camera brightness data from the sensor, adjusted for the
much higher image quality than the standard JPEG sensors don’t record the colour of the light hitting colours in the Bayer filter, into a full colour digital
file format. them, just the brightness, so a special mosaic of image that you can view and print.
Essentially, Raw mode is just what it sounds coloured filters is placed in front of the sensor, Part of that process includes reducing the
like. It’s the raw data pretty much straight from called a Bayer filter. bit-depth of the basic image data (the amount of
the camera’s sensor. In a digital camera the Naturally, the image generated by the sensor and 1s and 0s used by a computer to describe each
photographic image is, as I’m sure you’re aware, filter wouldn’t make much sense to the unaided pixel), usually from 36-bit (12 bits per channel)

66 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide



Modern cameras all come supplied with
Raw processing software, although if you
have Photoshop, it has Adobe Camera Raw
built in as part of the application. Try to get
used to always shooting in Raw mode on
your camera. The quality and processing
possibilities are much greater than JPEG
files. These days, even some camera phones
have the ability to shoot in Raw format.
They are larger file sizes than JPEGs but
the benefits become clear once you start
to understand how much more processing
ability you have. Your photos will see a
marked improvement when you use Raw.

or even 48-bit (16 bits per channel) to 24-bit (8 artefacts into some areas of the image. that the saved files are much larger, so they take
bits per channel), which makes a smaller and The main advantage of Raw shooting, apart from a lot longer to save to the memory card, and you
more easily processed file, but loses some colour the improvement in overall image quality, is that it can fit fewer of them on there. For a typical 16MP
depth because of the smaller palette that can be bypasses the in-camera image processing, such DSLR, a high quality JPEG file will be around
represented by that many bits. Other adjustments as white balance, saturation, sharpness etc. This 8MB, while a Raw file will be around 25MB, over
to the colour balance, such as unusual white sounds illogical, but it’s not really. The processing three times the size.
balance settings, can also reduce image quality, as that takes place in the camera is pre-set before the Many of the more recent DSLRs have the
will heavy noise reduction. shot is taken, and irreversible once the image has ability to record Raw and JPEG image files
In order to save space on the memory card, been converted to a JPEG file. By shooting in Raw simultaneously. This has the advantage of the
produce faster transfers and make it easier to mode, you can make the processing adjustments convenience of JPEG with the versatility and
display and print the photograph on a computer, after the shot has been taken, and if you need to quality of Raw, but takes up even more space on
the image is usually converted to a compressed change them you can do so as long as you have your memory card. Fortunately the price of very
JPEG file. Unfortunately JPEG compression also the original Raw file. large memory cards is falling almost daily, so this
reduces the image quality, and can introduce The downside to Raw file recording is of course needn’t be much of a problem.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 67


ACR Interface
Adobe Camera Raw isn’t as difficult as it looks

P hotoshop comes with Adobe Camera Raw,

usually shortened to ACR. It offers a range
of processing options that enable you to get
the best out of your photos, including exposure
adjustment, sharpening, noise reduction, colour
correction and automatic correction for lens
distortion. It is regularly updated to maintain
compatibility with all the latest cameras and
lenses. Like the rest of Photoshop, it’s easy to
get started. Let’s take a look at the interface
and see what it has to offer.

This holds all the main selectable tools, most of
which are similar to tools in the main Photoshop
interface, including Zoom, Hand, Crop, Straighten,
Spot Removal, Red Eye Removal, and a newly-
added feature that can add a graduated filter to
your picture.

Control Palette
This is the main dialog palette, which contains
the controls for each tabbed section. Most of the
controls are sliders, and you can see the results
of each adjustment both in real-time on the
histogram and in the main image window.

Image Window
This is the main window displaying the image
you’re currently working on. All changes that you
make during Raw editing will be visible here. You
can zoom into the image using the magnification
controls at the bottom left, or use the usual CTRL
+ and CTRL - shortcuts. You can see what effect
your editing has had by checking and unchecking
the preview option at the top right.

Output Options
At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the controls
for when you’ve finished your editing. If you
click on the blue link you’ll see a range of output
options, since Adobe Camera Raw can process
your pictures in a range of sizes. You can also
save your edits back into the Raw file to keep
them for later.

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Control Tabs Information Palette Histogram

Camera Raw breaks the workflow down The left side of this panel shows the The Histogram shows you the number
into discrete sections, each with its own RGB colour values at the cursor position. of pixels of each tone in your image and
tabbed palette, and you can switch The larger right side of the area displays changes as you make exposure and colour
between them by clicking here. The tabs the exposure information for the image, balance adjustments. The graph represents
are, from left to right: Basic, Tone Curve, including the aperture, shutter speed, ISO the colour in digital form, with levels from
Detail, HSL/Greyscale, Split Toning, Lens setting and focal length of the lens. 0 to 255, with the darkest on the left and
Correction, Effects, Camera Calibration, the brightest on the right. The white area
Presets and Snapshots. represents the combined colours, but you can
also look at each colour channel individually.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 69


ACR Workflow
Getting the most out of your Raw files
This tutorial
content is
available for

A sk any five professional photographers

about the process they use to create their
pictures, you’ll get five different answers. The
the type of final image required, as well as the
type of camera used to take the photo and
the use to which the photo will be put. There
so we’ll take a look at a common general
purpose workflow that will be suitable for
most types of photo. We’ll be using a coastal
amount of processing and adjustment used are certain operations that will be common sunrise photo of Paignton beach shot with a
will vary, depending on the job at hand and to most photos that you’ll want to process, Canon 5DMK3 and an EF24-105 f/4 lens.

If you look at the histogram at the top While holding down the Alt key (Option We can spend a while carefully adjusting
01 03 04
right of the screen you’ll notice that the on Mac), move the exposure slider to the the various sliders by hand to try and
line at the right (brightest) end of the graph is right. With the key held down, all you’ll see will be equalise the histogram, but the quickest way to get
relatively flat compared to the peaks on the left. the over-exposed areas. You can do this with any close to the optimum result is to let Camera Raw
Ideally the graph should fill the area between the of the first six sliders, and it’s a good way to make do the hard work. If you click on Auto the software
lightest and darkest ends of the range, so we adjustments without going too far. will automatically adjust the image to produce a
need to slightly boost the lighter end of the graph good approximation to a perfect exposure. It’s
without causing over-exposure. probably not going to be ideal, but it will give us a
good starting point. You’ll notice that the sun on
the horizon and the clouds around it are over-
exposed, but that’s OK. We’re looking for a good
spread of tones, and that includes white.

To ensure that we don’t lose too much

detail to highlight clipping, click on the
arrow in the top right corner of the histogram
window. This turns on the highlight clipping
warning. Any over-exposed areas will turn bright
red in the image window. Clicking on the left
button turns on the shadow clipping warning.

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The Auto adjustment has made a good One of the best things about Adobe
05 07
job of this particular picture, but for Camera Raw is its lens correction feature.
landscape shots a little bit of extra saturation The Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens used to take this
usually looks good, so we’ll boost the vibrance picture is a nice bit of glass, but it’s not perfect.
by about +30 and the saturation slider by +20 Although it’s hard to see at a glance, this wide-
to get the colours of the sunlight, sea and sky to angle shot does suffer from some pincushion
really pop out. distortion and slight chromatic aberration.
Fortunately Camera Raw comes pre-loaded
with correction profiles for a huge list of popular
lenses, including this one. All you need to do
to automatically correct the optical distortion
caused by the lens is to check the box Enable
Lens Profile Corrections. You’ll see the change
happen to your image immediately.

The next step is largely a matter of

personal taste, but you can also choose
to use a camera profile for the colour calibration
too. In the Camera Calibration tab, click on the
Camera Profile button, and from the drop-down
menu select Camera Standard. This sets the
colour rendering profile to the embedded profile
recorded by the camera. The 5DMK 3 does
produce some really great colours, so for this
shot we’ll use the camera profile.

Adobe Camera Raw also provides a

second method of adjusting contrast, by
altering the tone curve. Although it’s no more
accurate than using the sliders many people will
prefer it because it’s nice and simple and gives a
good visual representation of what we’re doing.
It’s also a lot harder to burn out the highlights
using curves. By boosting the highlights a lot,
and then boosting the other sliders in decreasing
amounts we can quickly equalise the histogram
without losing too much quality. The chromatic aberration is just as easy
to fix. Click on the Color tab in the Lens
Correction palette and simply check the box
Remove Chromatic Aberration. You’ll need to
zoom in near the edge of the frame to see the
difference, but you’ll notice the effects at once.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 71


For this particular image, the sky is a bit lighter than it needs to be,
but we can easily darken it down a bit by adding a high quality digital
graduated filter in Camera Raw. Click on the Graduated Filter button at the
top of the screen, and you’ll see the filter control palette appear. Set the
exposure slider to about -1.5 or -2, then in the image window drag down
from the top of the picture to just below the horizon line to apply the filter. If
you hold down the shift key while dragging it will stay parallel with the top of
the frame.

Finally we have the output options. Camera Raw gives you the
option to output the processed image in a number of different ways,
but which one you use will depend on what you want to do with the finished
image. For most purposes the default settings will be ideal, but you may
need to select a different colour space, and for maximum colour fidelity you
can output in 16-bit format. You can also choose an image size different
from the native resolution of your camera, but be aware that choosing a
larger size doesn’t magically create new pixels; the image will be enlarged
using Photoshop’s bicubic resampling algorithm. If you’re planning to print
the picture you might also want to look at the sharpening options. When
you’re happy with your choice, click OK, and then Open Image. The picture
will now open in Photoshop, from where you can either carry out more
editing, or save the picture in JPEG or TIFF format.

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Any adjustments you make to your image
do not directly affect the Raw file. They are
added to an XMP file that is used to keep a
record of all your image modifications. When
you finally save your final image, to preserve
as much detail as possible, try saving your
photos as TIFF files instead of JPEG, since
it uses lossless compression and keeps all
that detail in your images.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 73


Photo Editing
The tutorials on the following pages use multiple
techniques to create new images and modify existing
images and text, sometimes combining elements from
two or more pictures. Here, we’ll take you through the
processes that creative digital artists and professional
photographers use every day.

76 - 87 Creative Text Effects 116 - 123 Infrared Processing
88 - 99 Skin Retouching 124 - 133 High Dynamic Range Images
100 - 111 Split Raw Conversion 134 - 139 Blend Modes
112 - 115 Layer Styles 140 - 145 The Tilt-Shift Effect

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BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 75




There’s a lot more to life This tutorial

content is
available for
than Verdana download

T here will most likely come a time when you might

think about dabbling with typography or text effects
because you need a certain look for your project and
text into a graphic marvel. It uses a couple of
interesting Photoshop techniques that will no
doubt be useful to know. You’ll get a chance to explore
a plain old font like Arial or Verdana is just not going to making selections, handling type and creating some great shadow
cut it. Typography is the art and technique by which you effects that don’t just rely on the good old Drop Shadow layer style
can make words and letters more appealing and legible. function. Let’s dive in and create a lush typographic oasis on a dried
We’re going to take an example that can turn your simple up lake bed.

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With Photoshop running, go to File > Open and browse to where The images we will be working with are 3000 pixels wide by 4500
01 02
the ‘mud’jpg’ file is kept. Double-click the image to open it or pixels high. Our settings are going to be based around using an
highlight it and then click Open to proceed. image this size. If you’re using different sized images, you settings will need
to be adjusted accordingly.

The mud image is your base upon which you will drop some With the ‘vignette’ layer active, go to the toolbar and make sure
03 04
interesting text effect. To start though, create a new layer and your foreground colour is set to black.
call it ‘vignette’. We will use this to darken the edges of our muddy
base image.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 77


Then choose the Gradient Tool (G) from the toolbar. Make sure Make sure you have selected the Foreground to Transparent
05 06
Radial Gradient is selected from the top menu bar. Then click on option from the presets available. This will fade from solid black to
the Gradient Editor to open it. transparent. Click OK when you are ready.

Next, make sure that the Reverse button is checked in the top Place your mouse cursor in the middle of the page. Left-click
07 08
menu bar. Why Reverse is selected will become apparent in the and drag your gradient tool out and off the page. Depending
next step. how much you are zoomed in to the image, use the Cmd + - (minus)
key or Cmd + + (plus) keys to zoom in or out.

78 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


When you let go of the mouse, a radial gradient will be drawn. it Adjust the Opacity of the ‘vignette’ layer down to about 50-60 per
09 10
starts at fully transparent in the centre and ends at solid black. If cent. Your mud image with its vignette are ready for the next step.
Reverse was not checked, it would be the other way around and would
not look right.

Go to File > Open and browse to where the ‘grass’jpg’ image is With the ‘grass.jpg’ file now open, press Cmd + A to select the
11 12
kept. Double-click the image to open it or highlight it and then click entire image, then press Cmd + C to copy it to your clipboard.
Open to proceed.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 79


Click back on the document tab for your ‘mud.jpg’ image to It’s optional, but if you want to adjust the grass, go to Image
13 14
activate it again and press Cmd + V to paste the grass not the > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Cmd + U) and boost its
document on a new layer. Name this layer ‘grass’. It should be in the saturation or alter its hue to get the grass looking lustrous and healthy.
middle of your document above the ‘mud’ layer.

You can also then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Cmd + L) and Next you’ll need your text. Go to the toolbar and click on the
15 16
boost the grass’ contrast by moving the Highlight slider to the left a Horizontal Type Tool (T) and choose yourself a font that you like.
little and moving the Midtone slider to the right a little. Click OK to proceed. Something chunky will be best as you’ll see later in the tutorial. We chose a
heavy modern font to work with.

Make sure your foreground colour is white and click on the You can press Cmd + T to scale the text to a larger size. Hold Shift
17 18
document and type the letters ‘O’ and ‘A’. A new text layer will as you do if you want to constrain the proportions, or just scale it to
be automatically created when you do. Make sure it is at the top of your any width or height you like. Press Enter to commit the changes.
layer stack.

80 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Use the Type Tool again and click on the document, a second text Hold the Shift key and click on each text layer to select them both
19 20
layer will be created. Type the letters ‘sis’. Scale these letters and at the same time. Right-click them to call up the context menu and
use the Move Tool (V) to place them underneath the first two. You’ll now choose Rasterise Type. This will convert the text to a bitmap image.
have the word ‘oasis’. Press Enter to commit the changes again.

With both get layers still selected, right-click once more and choose This ‘guide’ layer is going to be just that. You can use this layer as
21 22
Merge Layers to combine them into one single layer. call this layer a visual guide for the part of the process that comes next. If you
‘guide’. This is what you will use to start creating our ‘oasis’ of grass. make the Opacity of the ‘guide’ layer about 50 per cent, this allows you to
see the grass through it.

Go to your toolbar and choose the Lasso Tool (L). Then zoom in Using your Lasso Tool, pick a start point on the text and begin to
23 24
to your text so you can see it all clearly. You can use the Cmd + draw around the outline of the text. We started with the ‘o’ and first
- (minus) and Cmd + + (plus) keys or type a value in the document detail ’s’ as they are a joined shape on their own.
panel in the bottom left of the screen.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 81


You are looking to create a selection that is fairly random but has Draw your selection all the way around the first two letters and join
25 26
plenty of blades of grass included in it. You don’t have to pick out up with your start point again. When you let go of the mouse, the
every blade of grass around the text outline, just make the shapes look marching ants appear to show you the selection area you’ve drawn.
suitably organic and ’grassy’.

Now you need to select the inside of the ‘o’. Go to the top menu bar Your Lasso Tool cursor will now have a small minus symbol next
27 28
and click on the Subtract From Selection button. to it to show that anything you draw now will be cut out of your
original active selection. You can now cut out the inside of the first letter
using the same random grassy shapes as before.

When you join back up with the starting point, the centre of the ‘o’ Click on the ‘grass’ layer to make it active, then right-click on
29 30
will be removed. Make sure to keep your selection active. your document and choose Layer Via Copy from the context
menu that appears.

82 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The area of grass that is within the selection you’ve drawn will With your Lasso Tool still selected, go to the top menu bar and
31 32
be copied from the ‘grass’ layer onto a new one. Call the new choose the Add To Selection button. You can now begin to draw
layer ‘o s’. a new selection around the remaining ’a’ ‘i’ and ’s’ letters just as you
did previously.

Once you have the perimeter selected, choose the Subtract With this new selection active, click on the ‘grass’ layer again to
33 34
From Selection button again and remove the centre of the ‘a’ make it active and choose Layer Via Copy once more. Another layer
from the selection. of grass in the shape of your reaming letters will be created. You can name
this layer ‘a i s’.

At this point the ‘guide’ layer has served its purpose and you can Now if you make the ‘grass’ layer invisible by clicking on the little
35 36
either make it invisible or delete it by dragging its layer onto the eye icon next to its layer thumbnail, you can view your handiwork.
trashcan symbol, whichever you prefer. Next, we’ll help the grassy text stand out from the mud background.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 83


Double-click the ‘o s’ layer and you will open up the Layer Click on the Bevel & Emboss button and set the values as shown in
37 38
Styles panel. Here you can add a small Drop Shadow by the our example. This adds a small amount of depth to the shape of the
using the settings as shown. This creates a small, intense area to lift it text to make it a little more dimensional. Click OK to apply those styles.
off the background.

If you right-click the ‘o s’ layer and choose Copy Layer Style from the If you click on the ‘a i s’ layer and make it active, you can right-
39 40
menu, all the Layer Styles you just applied will be copied. click that layer and choose Paste Layer Style from the context
menu. This is a quick way of applying layer styles to multiple layers should
you need to.

It’s time to bring the two pieces of text together. Hold the Shift This merges the layers and their layer styles into one image. You
41 42
key and left-click on each of the two text layers to select them can finally name it ‘oasis’. We can now create a slightly more
both. Right-click them and choose Merge Layers from the context menu advanced shadow effect than just using the Drop Shadow effect in the
that appears. Layer Styles menu.

84 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


With the ‘oasis’ layer active, press Cmd + J to duplicate the layer. Go to Edit > Fill (Shift + F5) and choose Black as your Contents
43 44
Name it ‘shadow’ and make sure it is beneath the ‘oasis’ layer. and make sure that the Preserve transparency button is checked.
Make sure that the ‘shadow’ layer is the active one. Click OK to proceed. The ‘shadow’ layer text will be filled black but any
transparent areas will not.

With the ‘shadow’ layer still active, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. This creates a nice long cast shadow that fades to transparent and
45 46
From the Motion Blur dialog box, choose an angle of -45° and a is much more effective than a standard drop shadow. If you view it
Distance of about 400 pixels. on its own, you’ll see that the blur extends in both directions, but we can
remedy that next.

With the ’shadow’ layer still active, go to the toolbar and choose You can then begin to erase any shadow blur along the top and left
47 48
the Eraser Tool (E). Make sure you choose a soft round eraser of sides of your text. Now it looks like it is just casting a shadow down
about 300 pixels. and to the right.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 85


Press Cmd + J to duplicate the ‘shadow’ layer and name it Set its Opacity to about 65 per cent and your grass oasis really
49 50
‘shadow 2’. Use the Move Tool (V) to move it diagonally down to the looks like it is more three dimensional and solid.
right to extend and deepen the shadow effect.

We’ve provided a little something to add a finishing touch to the You can press Cmd + A to select all and then press Cmd + C
51 52
proceedings. Go to File > Open and browse to where the ‘daisy. to copy the flower to your clipboard. You can then go back to
png’ file is and click Open. your main document and press Cmd + V to paste the daisy into the
document. Make sure it is the top layer and call it ‘daisy’.

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You can press Cmd + T to use the Free Transform Tool to scale You can then duplicate the daisy a few times and dot it around the
53 54
the flower to a more reasonable size. You can add a small Drop grass for the final part of this tutorial.
Shadow if you like to enhance it a little.

Top creative
typography tips
This is what we mean by text appeal.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 87




This tutorial
content is
available for

Beauty retouching end up with their models

looking like mannequins.
workflow for great skin Of course, there has been
much debate about the use
of retouching and manipulation of body shape.

B efore the advent of digital technology, it was the job of

the makeup artist to get the skin looking perfect on set or
in the studio. Now, thanks to Photoshop you are the makeup
All we are looking to do is make our model’s skin look as healthy
and glowing as possible. We are going to use a technique called
frequency separation. Simply put, you break the base image
artist. You can control exactly how you want your model to look down into two components. One layer carries just colour and
in the final image. As ever, there are numerous ways you can tonal information, the other layer holds detail and texture. This
go about retouching skin. Some techniques are very simple means you can work on one, without affecting the other. It’s a
but do not give natural results. Some take it to extremes and simple and effective method.

88 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Open Photoshop, then go to File > Open (Cmd + O) and navigate This is your base image. It was shot in the studio with our model
01 02
to where the ‘skin retouch.jpg’ is kept. Double-click it or click Sarah-Jane. Although some makeup was used, her bare shoulders
Open to proceed. and back could do with some retouching to even it out and reduce the
crease by her neck.

Our example image is 2650 pixels wide by 4000 pixels high. The We are going to start with a basic skin clean-up which will be
03 04
settings and brush sizes are based on an image this size. If you an important aspect of the retouch as a whole. Getting this part
use a smaller image for instance, then your settings will need to alter right will make the rest much easier as we progress.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 89


Click on the Create New Layer button. Name this layer ‘spot Select the Spot Healing Brush Tool (J) from your toolbar. From the
05 06
healing’ and make sure it is the active layer. You are going to do top context menu make sure the Type is set to Content-Aware. It
the basic skin clean-up, but all the healing done will appear on this layer, will analyse the image and create the best texture to apply over the spot
leaving the original image untouched. you clicked on.

You also need to make sure that the Sample All Layers is checked. The healing brush can be set to about 30-40 pixels and needs
07 08
Each time you click to heal an area on your model’s skin, the cloned to be around 60-100 per cent Hardness, start to click on any
data will appear on the ’spot healing’ layer. flaws, blemishes and imperfections on her skin.

90 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


As you click your brush on each blemish, the areas will Keep working around her shoulders, back and face to remove any
09 10
automatically be filled in with skin texture that matches and the unwanted imperfections. Don’t worry too much about creases or
blemishes will be removed. wrinkles, they can be addressed later.

It’s worth spending as much time as you can on this part. A good As we mentioned, every time you click the healing tool on her
11 12
base retouch now will literally be a great foundation on which the skin, the resulting healed area is added to the ‘spot healing’
rest of the retouching can be built. This part took about ten minutes. layer only. This is a great non-destructive method to use.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 91


If you view the ’spot healing’ layer on its own by Alt + left-clicking With the ‘spot healing’ layer active press Shift + Alt + Cmd +
13 14
on that layer’s visibility icon, you’ll see all your newly healed skin is E to create a merged duplicate of both the ‘Background’ and
only on this layer. Alt + left-click again to return to normal view. ‘spot healing’ layers. Name this new layer ‘blur’.

Press Cmd + J to duplicate the ‘blur’ layer. Rename this top layer Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and make the blur Radius about
15 16
‘detail’. For the moment click the visibility icon for the ‘detail’ layer to 10-15 pixels. This is enough to remove any strong detail and texture
turn it off. Click the ‘blur’ layer to make it active. but keep all the colour information. Click OK to proceed.

Make the ‘detail’ layer visible again, and while it’s active, go to Match the settings as shown above. Layer = blur, Channel = RGB,
17 18
Image > Apply Image. This is where we create a layer that has Invert button is checked. The Blending mode is set to Add. Opacity
no colour information, just texture and detail. is 100 per cent and Scale is 2 and Offset is 0. Click OK to proceed.

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The ‘detail’ layer now looks very different. At this point go to Image Now you need to set the ‘detail’ layer Blend Mode to Linear Light.
19 20
> Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift + Cmd + U) to remove any The portrait will appear to have gone back to normal. This is
colour and click OK to continue. because the combination of the ’detail’ and ‘blur’ layers blended together
creates the illusion.

For the moment, turn off all layers except the ‘detail’ layer which we It is important to note that you must now make sure that in the top
21 22
will work on next. Zoom in close to your image and choose the Clone context menu, Sample is set to Current Layer. Make Opacity 50 per
Stamp Tool from your toolbar (press S). cent and Flow 50 per cent and check the Aligned button. This will let us
clone with more control.

Cloned area Sampled area

Sampled area

Cloned area Sampled area

Start with the creases around her mouth. Hold the Alt key and Now you can begin to brush this sampled area of clean skin onto the
23 24
your cursor will change to a small crosshair. Choose an area of crease next to it. Whilst you clone, watch out for repeating patterns. If
unblemished skin texture next to the crease and left-click to make that area you need to, sample a new area of clean skin and carry on cloning.
your clone sample.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 93


Work your way around the face, cloning areas of clean skin onto Now sample some clean skin texture from her cheek and use that
25 26
any wrinkles and imperfections that you want to remove. You can to reduce the creases on her neck. You don’t have to completely
even clone some skin over stray hair around her face to remove it. eliminate them, just make them less visible.

Next you can start cloning a clean area of skin from her back and use An optional tweak is to soften some of the darker areas of the
27 28
it to even out her shoulders, arm and lower back. image. To do this, make the ‘blur’ layer visible and active. You are
going to selectively blur some additional areas on this layer.

Select your Lasso Tool from the toolbar (L), click draw a rough If there are any other darker areas you want to soften, hold the
29 30
selection around the darker areas of her head, ear and neck. Once Shift key, and you will be able to draw another selection to add to
you join the Lasso up to the starting point, the marching ants will appear. the first one you drew with the Lasso Tool.

94 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Go to Select > Modify > Feather (Shift + F6) and feather the Now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to
31 32
selection by about 30 pixels. Click OK to apply the feather. about 15 pixels. Click OK to apply the blur. The effect is subtle,
and is a good way to remove any remaining harsh shadows or generally
soften the image some more.

We now have our image with its basic skin clean-up and also its Make sure the ‘detail’ layer is active and then press Shift + Alt +
33 34
blur and detail layers which have been modified to give us skin Cmd + E. This will create a new layer that is a merged version of all
which is free of blemishes. Now we can add some texture to enhance the currently visible layers. Name this layer ‘pores’.
it further.

Go to Filer > Filter Gallery to open the Filter Gallery panel. Open the Make sure the Texture is set to Sandstone and Scaling is about 100
35 36
Texture tab and choose Texturizer from the list of options. per cent. Relief can be about 3 and Light is set to Top Left. The
Invert button can be left unchecked. Click OK to add this texture to the
‘pores’ layer.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 95


Obviously, the texture has been applied to the entire image but we Keep the ‘pores’ layer active and then click on the Add Layer Mask
37 38
can sort that out with the aid of some masking. button at the bottom of the layers palette.

A mask will be added to the ‘pores’ layer. Click the mask When you do, the ‘pores’ layer will become invisible for the
39 40
thumbnail itself to make it active and press Cmd + I to invert it moment. We can now selectively reveal just the textured areas
from white to black. we want to be visible. Make sure the ‘pores’ layer mask is active, not the
image itself.

Go to your toolbar and select the Brush Tool (B). Make sure the Start to paint with your white brush over areas of skin. As you do,
41 42
Foreground Color is white and choose a soft brush of about 125 the ‘pores’ layer texture will be revealed with each stroke.
pixels. Make sure Opacity and Flow are both 100 per cent.

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Work your way over the shoulders, arm, lower back and then As you paint, if you need to make the brush smaller or larger
43 44
her face. Avoid brushing over her lips, eyes and teeth. press the [ or ] keys to make the brush size scale up or down to
fit the areas you are painting over.

If you press the Alt key and left-click on the ‘pores’ layer mask At the moment, the texture is a little too obvious. Click on the
45 46
thumbnail, you can see the areas you’ve painted in white on the ‘pores’ layer thumbnail and make its Opacity about 50-60 per cent.
mask. Press Alt + left-click again to return to the standard view. This makes the texture more subtle.

Once final thing to retouch is her swimsuit. If you look closely, you’ll Click back on the ‘detail’ layer to make sure it is active. Go to your
47 48
see dust and fluff on it which we want to remove. There is a really toolbar and choose the Lasso Tool (L). Then draw a selection that
simple way to do that. roughly encompasses the black material of her swimsuit.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 97


With the selection active, go to Select > Modify > Feather (Shift + F6) Now got to Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches. From the dialog box
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and feather the selection by about 30 pixels. Click OK to proceed. that appears, you can dial in settings to eliminate the dust and fluff
on her suit.

Make Radius about 25 pixels. If you set Threshold too low, the suit At about 10 Levels, the dust is magically removed without
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will be too blurred. If Threshold is too high, the dust isn’t removed. destroying the detail of the suit’s fabric for a much cleaner look.

98 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Your skin retouch is complete. You have great skin on your

model and you’ve also removed the fluff from her swimsuit.
That’s a win as far as we are concerned.

How to achieve
perfect skin
A powerful workflow process that can give stunning results!

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 99


Split Raw


This tutorial
content is
available for

Bring out the full potential the scene is a bit of a

challenge. Perhaps
of every photograph the weather is failing
and the light is just
not doing it for you anymore.

T here are probably many times when you have been out and
about, looking for a great landscape to photograph, and
happened upon a scene begging to be immortalised by you and
Now you may be tempted just to consign those
shots to the digital waste bin of your computer when
you get home. Before you do, remember that Raw
your camera. You set yourself up, put the camera on a tripod, make files have much greater tolerance to being heavily
sure you are shooting in Raw mode and snap away. Have there been processed and a single Raw file can create two or more
times that the shots, when reviewed on your camera’s LCD, don’t variants of your shot that allow you to enhance photos
quite seem to match up to expectations? Maybe the exposure for to much greater effect.

100 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Let’s start with an appropriate image that is in need of some From Adobe Bridge, you can right-click on the Raw file and select
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work. It’s a sunrise shot of the Devon coast. The sky and clouds Open in Camera Raw from the context menu that appears. The file
at the horizon are reasonably well exposed but the foreground rocks will open in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) ready for editing.
are too dark.

The image has a dark, underexposed foreground and a fairly well Begin the editing process by correcting any lens distortion that
03 04
exposed sky. You’re going to start work on the sky first and get it is present in the image. This shot was taken with a 10-22mm
looking as good as it can be. wide-angle lens and some barrel distortion is present.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 101


Go to the Control Tabs on the right, click on Lens Corrections and You can also click on the Remove chromatic Aberration button.
05 06
turn on Enable Lens Profile Corrections. It can automatically choose This removes the colour green/purple fringing you get with
the right lens profile and adjust the image accordingly. some lenses.

Seeing as we have a very obvious horizon line, it’s worth making Click and hold the mouse button on the left side of your
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sure it is level. Start by clicking on the Straighten Tool (A) in the top horizon line, then drag a line to the right side that matches the
left menu. line of the horizon.

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When you let go of the mouse button, the line you drew will be Under the Basic tab you can use the control sliders to alter the
09 10
used as a reference for a true level horizon. Your image will be exposure, highlights and shadows as well as the colour temperature
slightly cropped and rotated so the horizon is now level. and saturation. We have made various adjustments to get a good exposure
in the sky.

Now to add some targeted adjustments with an Adjustment In the Adjustment Brush options panel you can set the
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Brush (K) that you can access from the toolbar in the top left of colour, exposure and highlights and shadow adjustments
the screen. When you click on the Adjustment Brush Tab, a new set of that will be applied to the image as you literally paint the adjustment
properties opens on the right. onto your photo.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 103


We set the Temperature to make the sky more orange to enhance You can change the Size, Feather, Flow and Density of the
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the sunrise colours. The Exposure has been reduced slightly too. brush by altering the sliders. Here you are going to use a
This means you can paint this set of adjustments across the image only soft, medium size brush to make the orange sky stronger above the
where you want it to be altered. horizon line.

Start to paint the adjustment over the areas of sky and clouds. Based If you click on the New button, you can add a completely new
15 16
on the adjustments that have been set, the sky becomes warmer and Adjustment Brush that is independent of the one just applied. This
the colour temperature setting make the sky even more orange. one can be set to make areas of sky darker and more punchy.

The Temperature is made cooler blue and Exposure is Now you can paint with this new Adjustment Brush onto the clouds
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decreased. Clarity and Saturation is also increased to add a little and sky and you will see the effect your brush strokes are having on
more depth and contrast to the blue sky area. the image.

104 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


As an additional example, we’ve also used a Graduated Filter (G) The Temperature has been boosted even more and a little extra
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from the Toolbar at the top left of the screen. You can use this to Exposure has been added as well as Clarity and Saturation to really
simulate the addition of a coloured grad filter to warm up the whole sky make the sky light up with warm colours.
even more.

Now you can left-click a point at the top of the photo where you The file is ready to be opened in Photoshop. Rather than just
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want the strongest part of grad to begin and drag down towards the clicking on Open Image, press Shift and you have the option
horizon to define where the grad will fade to nothing. to Open Object. This will open the photo in Photoshop as an editable
Smart Object.

The image will be processed according to the adjustments added The Smart Object opens in Photoshop with the adjustments
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but you will be able to return to ACR at any time, to make further made to the sky in place. Note the small Smart Object icon in
edits to the image and return to Photoshop with those new edits in place. the bottom right corner of the layer thumbnail. Name this layer ‘sky’.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 105


Now you will need to work on the foreground. You can create Name this new layer ‘ground’. This object can be edited separately
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another Smart Object and work on that separately to the first one. to the ‘sky’ layer. If you had simply duplicated the layer, any further
Right-click on the ‘sky’ layer and choose New Smart Object via Copy edits in ACR would be applied to both because it is the same object.
from the menu.

If you double-click the ‘ground’ layer thumbnail, it will open in ACR Click on the Basic menu button and you can either zero out the
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and you can begin to work on the rocky foreground safe in the current adjustments or just start altering the existing settings to get
knowledge that your ‘sky’ layer will not alter. the foreground sea and rocks looking good.

Do not alter any of the cropping or lens corrections you made in the Now you can start adjusting the basic parameters to get a good
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first instance, or this version of your file will not match up with the exposure for the rocks in the foreground. Don’t worry if the sky
first one. blows out because our previous Smart Object will take care of the sky.
Just get the ground looking its best.

106 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


After tweaking Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, etc. The ‘ground’ layer will have its Smart Object updated, with the
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you can return to Photoshop. This is already a Smart Object foreground now correctly exposed based on the edit you just
and so you can just click OK when it is looking the way you want it to. made in ACR. You now have a ‘sky’ layer and a ‘ground’ layer ready to
be combined.

Make sure the ‘ground’ layer is active and go to the toolbar and Now click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of your
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click on the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Click and drag a layers palette. A layer mask will be added to the ‘ground’ layer.
marquee selection that starts at the horizon line top left and ends in the Any part of the mask outside the selection will be filled black and the area
bottom right corner. inside will be white.

The black area of the mask stops the sky above the horizon Keep the ‘ground’ layer mask active and make sure your
35 36
being seen and only allows the rocks of the ‘ground’ layer to be Foreground Color is black. Then choose the Gradient Tool (G) from
visible. Now we just need to soften the transition between the ‘sky’ and the toolbar. Make sure you are using Foreground to Transparent. You can
‘ground’ layers. click on the Gradient Editor to check or select the correct grad to use.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 107


Left-click and drag the Gradient Tool from just above the horizon, If you Alt + Left-click the layer mask, you will be able to see the grad
37 38
to just below it. When you let go of the mouse, a small grad from and how it transitions from black to white creating a blend of the
solid black to zero will be added to the layer mask. ‘sky’ and ‘ground’ layers. Alt + Left-click again to return to normal view.

The mask has allowed us to let the correctly exposed sky from the Keep the ‘ground’ layer mask active and your Foreground Color
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‘sky’ layer to show through and blend with the correctly exposed black, then go to your Brush Tool (B). Choose a soft brush of
rocks on the ‘ground’ layer. We can finesse the mask more if needed. around 200-300 pixels.

You want to allow some more areas of the darker rocks and sea We’ve made certain darker areas of the sea and the foreground
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on the ’sky’ layer to show though. As you paint black on the layer rocks visible to add a little more contrast to the overall image.
mask, these areas will start to become visible.

108 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


If you Alt + Left-click the ‘ground’ layer mask, you will be able to Of course Photoshop will allow you to add more adjustments if you
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see the areas that you have masked. If you Alt + Left-click the mask so wish; just click on the Create New Adjustment Layer button and
again, you will be returned to the normal view once more. select Levels from the menu. A new Levels adjustment will be added to the
layer stack.

You can make a Levels adjustment that brightens the entire image Another Adjustment Layer was added by clicking on the Create
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slightly, by moving the Highlights slider to the left a little. New Adjustment Layer button once more. This was a Hue/
Saturation adjustment and the image’s Saturation value was boosted to
about +20.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 109


Next you can address sharpness. With the topmost layer active With this new layer active, go to the top menu and select Filter >
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press Shift + Alt + Cmd + E to create a new layer that is a merged Other > High Pass. This will open the High Pass Filter dialog panel.
version of all the layers below. Name this layer ‘high pass’. The image will turn to grey showing only edge details.

For the image size being used, a pixel value of about 1.2 is plenty. You now need to apply this to the layers below. Keep the
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This brings out enough edge detail and can be used to sharpen ‘high pass’ layer active and choose Overlay from the Blend
your image non-destructively. Click OK when you are ready and the filter Mode options.
is applied.

110 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The ‘high pass’ layer is blended into the layers below and adds You can save the document as a PSD and return to it any time to
51 52
its edge sharpness to the overall effect. If the sharpness is too make further edits if you wish. Your enhanced photo is complete.
much, you can simply reduce the ‘high pass’ layer’s opacity to suit. From a fairly ordinary original Raw file, you have created a great landscape.

Your landscapes
greatly improved
Now you can breathe new life into all your favourite shots.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 111





This tutorial
content is
available for
Add graphical and artistic download

effects to your layers

S ometimes you don’t necessarily want your layers to blend
seamlessly into the background. For instance, if you’re adding
a text caption to an image you’ll want it to really stand out from
the bottom of
the layer palette. Click
on the “Fx” button to see a list of options,
the background so that it’s easier to read. Fortunately Photoshop and click on any of them to bring up the Layer
offers a wide range of effects that you can apply to your layers Style control panel. From this panel you can apply
that can make them seem to leap off the page. You’ll find the layer blending modes as well as any combination of
effects options in either the Layer menu under Layer Style, or at layer effects.

112 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Bevel & Emboss Stroke

This produces a 3D effect as though the layer was a raised This is a nice simple one, it adds a solid line around your layer.
01 02
shape with bevelled edges. The various controls let you alter You can control the colour, opacity and thickness of the line and
the lighting angle, the direction, height and sharpness of the bevel, and whether it appears on the inside or outside of your layer.
several other parameters.

Inner Shadow Inner Glow

This is another favourite of website designers. It makes your layer look The opposite of Inner Shadow, this effect makes it look as
03 04
like it’s actually a hole in the background, with a shadow to give it the though your layer is lit from the sides, with a diffuse glow around
illusion of 3D. You can adjust the depth, opacity and softness of the shadow, the edges. Again the size, softness, colour and contour of the effect
as well as the angle of the lighting effect. can be adjusted.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 113


Satin Colour Overlay

Although not as obvious on straight edged objects, on curved This is another simple effect, it just adds a plain colour over your
05 06
edges it adds a subtle glossy sheen to the surface, making it look layer. You can adjust the colour, opacity and blending mode.
as though your layer is wrapped in satin. It’s a bit specialised perhaps, but
useful for some graphic artists.

Gradient Overlay Pattern Overlay

Another fairly straightforward effect, this is similar to Colour Overlay This one simply drops a pattern over your layer. There are many
07 08
but adds a gradient effect. You can adjust the style, colour, angle, patterns to choose from and you can adjust the blend mode.
blend mode and opacity. Once again it’s a bit specialised but useful if you want to add a texture
to a surface.

114 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Outer Glow Drop Shadow

This is a great effect for making text pop out from the background. The classic way to make text stand out from a page, adding
09 10
It adds a glow effect around the edge of your layer, making it look a drop shadow makes it look as though your layer is hovering
like it’s lit from underneath. You can alter the colour, size, softness and above the background. You can adjust many parameters including the
contour of the effect, as well as several other parameters. lighting angle, height, contour and opacity of the shadow.

Add some cool

graphic effects
Layer Styles are your key to quickly making your work stand out.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 115



Processing BEFORE

See the world in a whole This tutorial

content is
available for
new light download

I n normal practice our eyes see the world around us and we

accept it for what it is. The sky is blue, grass is green and so
on. This is because our eyes can only see certain wavelengths
which has blocked all visible
light, allowing just infrared
to be captured. A commonly
of light. We are only sensitive to the so called ‘visible spectrum’. asked question is just how you
Infrared (IR) light is invisible to our eyes but our digital cameras process these images to their best effect. Well,
are capable of recording it, with a little help. We have an image this tutorial will show you a couple of the most
that was shot on a Nikon D5500 with a 720mm infrared filter common methods.

116 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


As well as using Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), you When you have the DNG Profile Editor installed, open Adobe Bridge
01 02
will need assistance from another program called the DNG Profile and navigate to the ‘infrared.NEF’ raw file we have provided. Right-
Editor (PC or Mac). You can download it free from Don’t click on it and choose Open in Camera Raw.
worry, it’s nothing complicated.

The image is comprised of vivid red and pink hues. This is a If you move the Temperature slider as far left as you can, ACR
03 04
typical result of an IR image. The first step is to reduce the colour can only go to 2000K. IR images need to be a much cooler
temperature to well below 2000K. This is a problem. temperature than that. Not to worry, the profile editor you downloaded
will remedy this issue.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 117


Keep the Raw file at all its defaults and click on the Save Image A file called ‘infrared.dng’ will be added next to your original
05 06
button in the bottom left of the ACR window. A Save Options Raw file. Now you need the help of that DNG Profile Editor. DNG
panel will open. Keep the same name and choose Digital Negative as your is the main format it prefers, hence saving the image as a DNG.
Format, then click Save.

Go to your editor and open it. The application will open and you can The file will open. Now, you can calibrate the image to give
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choose File > Open DNG Image (Cmd + O). Navigate to where you more colour temperature latitude.
have the ‘infrared.dng’ file and double-click it.

118 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Click on the Color Matrices tab. At the bottom of the options, Move the Temperature and Tint sliders all the way to the left so the
09 10
you will see White Balance Calibration and two sliders, one for value is -100 per cent. The result will give you an image that looks
Temperature and one for Tint. very yellow/bronze in colour.

Once you have done this, go to File > Export Nikon D5500 profile A window will open where you can save this camera profile.
11 12
(Cmd + E). It has tagged it Nikon D5500 just to identify the camera It defaults to a folder that ACR can access. Name it ‘Nikon
that shot the image. D5500 IR.dcp’ and click Save. A window will inform you that it was
saved successfully. Click OK to continue.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 119


You can close the editor and go back to Adobe Bridge. Right-click Beneath the histogram in the top right are a series of control tabs.
13 14
on your original ‘infrared.NEF’ file and choose Open in Camera Click on Camera Calibration. Under Camera Profile, choose your
Raw again. After a small detour, we are back to where we started. This ’Nikon D5500 IR’ profile from the dropdown menu.
time we are prepared.

The image will be calibrated to the values you used in the DNG Profile If you move the Temperature slider to the far left now, the image
15 16
Editor. Now, if you go back to the Basic tab, you will be able to see goes totally blue. You have greater Temperature control. After the
how it affects your image. calibration, the Temperature value can be set to about 4900K and Tint
about +80.

The sky in the image is a bronze-like colour and the trees and There is more we can do to get closer to the best colour
17 18
foliage a pale blue/grey. This is closer to the usual look of an IR balance. You can reduce the blue/grey tint on the foliage by
image once processed with the correct colour temperature. going to the toolbar at the top left of the screen and choosing the White
Balance Tool (I).

120 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Click on an area of the foliage that is in shadow and ACR will try IR images tend to come out of the camera a little flat, so we
19 20
to neutralise the blue tint and make it more neutral. Once done, have boosted the Contrast and Shadows. Highlights and
you can start to enhance the image. Whites were reduced to minimise clipping and Clarity and Vibrance and
Saturation were increased.

A final tweak is to crop the image a little better. From the top You can also rotate the crop by clicking and dragging just outside
21 22
menu bar, choose the Crop Tool (C) and draw out a rectangle the corner control points of the crop area.
that better suits the composition.

When you have the image how you like it, you can click on the Once open in Photoshop go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/
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Open Image button and transfer the image to Photoshop, with all Saturation (Cmd + U). Choose Cyan as the colour to alter and set
the enhancements you have made, in place. Saturation to -100, then choose Blues and set that to -100 as well.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 121


This will ensure that you have removed as much of the blue tint We could still do with some more punch in our image. Go to Image
25 26
from all foliage as possible, leaving a ghostly looking tree and > Adjustments > Levels (Cmd + L). Drag the Shadows slider to the
bushes. You can save this image and call it done, but there are more right a little and then drag the Highlight slider to the left. This will really add
possibilities. more drama to the image.

It is a popular technique to return the bronze coloured sky to a more In the Channel Mixer panel, click on Output Channel and choose
27 28
natural looking blue. This ‘false colour’ can be done by swapping the Red. Under Source Channels, change Red from 100 to 0 per cent
red and blue channels in the Channel Mixer. Go to Image > Adjustments > and change Blue from 0 to 100 per cent. Do not click OK yet.
Channel Mixer.

Click back on the Output Channel and now choose Blue. Under Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Cmd + U) and alter
29 30
Source Channels, change Blue from 100 to 0per cent and Red from the Hue value slightly to make the sky a darker shade of blue. In
0 to 100 per cent. Now you can click OK. The image should now have a this case about +20. You can save this as an alternative image file.
blue sky and white trees.

122 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Another approach favoured by many, is to take your Go to Image > Adjustments > Black & White and Move the Reds
31 32
finished bronze coloured original IR image and convert it to slider right to the left. As you do, the sky should go very dark, if
monochrome. not black. Adjust just Reds and Yellows to suit your tastes.

Your foray into infrared imagery is complete. You can now

process and enhance IR images, producing some surreal and
beautiful photographs.

Photoshop stops
you seeing red
A whole new way to shoot and process landscapes.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 123


High Dynamic
Range Images



This tutorial
content is
available for

This tutorial
content is
available for

Capture more of the world

as you see it
H DR or High Dynamic Range, is a photographic process that allows
you to combine multiple images of varying exposure to create a final
photo with a much greater tonal range than could be captured in a single
detail in the darker areas of the shot. HDR does have a bit of a
bad reputation as some tend to wildly over process their shots and the
results can be awful. We want to redress the balance and show you a
shot. It requires a series of bracketed shots that vary in brightness. method that can yield great natural looking results. The latest version
Typically, the series runs from one image that is underexposed to of Photoshop can let you easily process your shots in Adobe Camera
reveal detail in the brightest areas of the shot. Then there is one that Raw (ACR) with the additional benefit of being able process multiple
is an average of the scene, then another that is overexposed to reveal exposure sequences at the same time.

124 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


We have two example sets of images that we are going to convert The images are Raw files. Raw files are essentially unprocessed
01 02
to HDR at the same time in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). They were readouts of the data straight from the camera sensor. Although
taken at Brentor near Dartmoor just after sunrise. they tend to look flat, they contain much more information than you
might imagine.

Both sets were shot as part of a three image capture, where the We have our images in Adobe Bridge. The first thing to do
03 04
darkest image is underexposed by two stops relative to the base is to select both sets of images and then right-click on them
exposure and the lightest is overexposed by two stops. and choose Open In Camera Raw. This will automatically open all the
images in ACR.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 125


The images will open in ACR. They are arranged in a Filmstrip The top menu contains a set of various tools such as Gradient
05 06
down the left side of your screen. Filters, Adjustment Brushes, Cropping and Straightening tools.

The right side of the screen contains the control panels where you If you click on one of your Raw files and then press Cmd + A, you
07 08
can make various adjustments to the look of your images including its can select all your images. We are going to make some basic edits
Brightness, Saturation, Sharpness and Lens Corrections. before converting them into HDR images.

It is important that any amends you make at this stage are all done Click on the Lens Corrections tab on the right of the screen.
09 10
at the same time and to all the images simultaneously. Otherwise Under its Profile tab, you have the option to remove any
they may not match up when combined in an HDR image. unwanted optical aberrations and distortions by checking Remove
Chromatic Aberration and Enable Profile Corrections.

126 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Enable Profile Corrections will scan your image data and detect what All the images will have any distortion caused by the lens
11 12
lens was used to take the shots. In our case, a Canon 16-35mm wide removed and any optical green/purple fringing will also be
angle lens is detected and ACR applies the appropriate corrections. removed. You don’t need to make any more edits until you have the
HDR image created.

Let’s convert the photos of the church into an HDR image first. With the three church images highlighted, right-click on them and
13 14
Click on hdr 1.CR2 first, then press the Shift key and click on choose Merge To HDR (Cmd + M) from the menu that appears.
hdr 3.CR2. You can select multiple images this way.

Adobe Camera Raw will then start the process of merging the When it is done, ACR will present you with an HDR Merge Preview.
15 16
three sets of image data into an additional new file that contains a There are a couple of options to consider before you press the
wider range of tonal information than is present in each individual photo. Merge button.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 127


In the Options section, make sure that Align Images is selected. There’s also the Auto Tone feature. This will attempt to apply some
17 18
This will ensure that the images are matched as precisely as basic adjustments to the HDR image before you start. We are going
possible to reduce the chances of the HDR failing because of poorly to keep this option turned off for this first example so we can get more
aligned originals. ‘hands on’ with the processing.

Deghost is useful if you have any elements in your images that have You can choose between four options. You can have it turned off if
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moved between shots such as clouds or tree branches waving in nothing in your shot is moving enough to be a concern or you can
the wind. Deghost will attempt to use one reference image to minimise any choose Low, Medium or High Deghosting strengths. We’re leaving it turned
ghosting caused by moving objects. off for the church shots.

When you are ready, you can press the Merge button. You will be The three files will be merged and converted into a new dng
21 22
asked to save the Merge Result as a dng file. A dng is Adobe’s own file which will also be displayed in the filmstrip along with your
Raw standard. Type a name for your result and then press Save to continue. originals. This file is ready for processing, but first, let’s cover the other
set of photos too.

128 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


This time, multi-select the images of the tree and right-click These three images will also be merged and you will be
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them and choose Merge To HDR (Cmd + M) once again. presented with a preview. This time we will turn on the Auto Tone
feature and we will also use the Deghost option on its Medium setting.

When you press the Merge button, type in a new name for Let’s start with the church HDR file first. Make sure that the merged
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this dng file and press Save. It too will appear in your Filmstrip file is highlighted. In our example it is called ‘hdr 1-2-3.dng’.
along with the others. Now we have both HDR merged files it’s time to
process them.

Under the Basic tab you have all the main adjustment sliders to We reduced the Highlights value to -75 to bring back detail into the
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bring out the best in your image. How you process the images sky. The Shadows value was increased to +70 to bring detail back
will be down to personal preference but we’ll show you what we did. into the dark shadow areas by lightening the darkest tones.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 129


Blacks were also lightened by +15 to help ensure there were as These particular settings we felt brought detail back into the sky
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little solid blacks in the image at this point. We also boosted Clarity and revealed more detail in the foreground grass and rocks to
(Midtone contrast) to +60. Vibrance is +15 and Saturation is +35. create a fairly well balanced exposure with nothing lost to overexposure
or underexposure.

We wanted to make the sky a little more punchy so we used a The starting point of the grad, in green, is where the effect is
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Graduated Filter (G) from the top menu bar and drew a grad from the at its strongest and the end point in red, is where the effect
top left of the image down to the horizon at a slight angle. reduces to zero. This behaves like a digital version of a tradition filter
used on your camera.

The Graduated Filter settings were as follows: Temperature and Tint Clarity was also boosted by +45 and Dehaze +10. The sky is
33 34
were reduced very slightly to add a little more blue to the sky. The now much more punchy at the top of the photo and fades nicely
Exposure was reduced by -2.10 but Highlights were boosted to +23 and down at the horizon so as not to make the sunrise too dark.
Blacks darkened -19 for a little more contrast.

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Next we wanted to boost the sunlight glow along the horizon. To do Click on your image where the sun is and draw out an ellipse
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this, we selected the Radial Filter (J) from the top menu bar. that extends along the horizon. You don’t want this effect to be
too extreme so the settings were dialled in appropriately.

Temperature was set at +50 for a warm yellow glow. Tint was The next part is a little technique used by a lot of landscape
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+10 to add little more red. Exposure was just +15 as was photographers to enhance their photos. Go to the Lens Corrections
Highlights. Everything else could be kept at zero. tab and under the Manual panel, set the Vignetting Amount to -25 and
Midpoint to about 20.

This creates a darkening of the edge of the photo and helps to One more adjustment that again is optional and down to
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draw your eye into the centre of the photo towards the church personal taste, is the Split Toning effect. Click on the Split Toning
and the sunrise. It is optional but we’ve always liked this effect. tab to control what colour cast is present in the highlights and shadows
of your image.

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Under Highlights, we set the Hue to 50 and Saturation to Back in the Basics tab you can make any final tweaks to your
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20. Shadows Hue was 225 and Saturation 20. Balance was HDR image. You can then save it out in your preferred format
+20 in favour of the Highlights. This makes shadows cooler and such as Jpeg of Tiff. Happily, you’ll always have the dng file to go back
highlights warmer. to if you want to make more changes.

Next, we highlighted the tree dng file. Under the Basics tab, you From this starting point, we added a Radial Filter to brighten
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will see that the Auto Tone adjustments are already in place for the horizon like the previous shot and we also darkened the
you to add to. sky to add more drama.

132 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


We added our favourite vignette effect to this image as well and With both HDR image files complete, you can click Done in the
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then made some Split Toning adjustments to add warmth to bottom right of the screen to apply all the adjustments non-
the brightest areas of the image and cool down the shadows. destructively to them.

In Adobe Bridge, you will see the finished new dng files. Each image
will have a small icon in the top-right of their thumbnail to indicate that
adjustments are present. With that, your HDR images are done.

Pro quality
HDR images
Processing tips for the best tonal range in your images.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 133





There are many ways that layers This tutorial

content is
can interact with each other available for

W hen you put one layer on top of another, the pixels of that
layer are added to the pixels of the layer below. Normally, they
cover them completely so that only the topmost layer is visible but
the layer palette. Most of
the blend modes are very
specialised but a few are very useful for
it doesn’t have to be that way. By using layer blending modes we many of your creative projects. Let’s show you a few of the
can change the ways that the pixels interact in a number of ways most often used blend modes available. We have a colour overlay
to produce different effects. You’ll find blending mode options in and a base image to show you how the basic blend modes affect
either the Layer menu under Layer Style or as a drop-down menu in your image.

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Normal Dissolve

Applies each pixel of the new layer to make it the result colour. Essentially the same as Normal but the result colour is a random
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This is the default blending mode. No blends are applied in replacement of the pixels with the base colour or the new layer
Normal mode. colour, depending on the opacity at any pixel location, producing a
pixelated airbrushed effect.

Darken Multiply

Takes the colour information in each channel and selects either the Takes the colour information in each channel and multiplies the
03 04
base or layer colour, whichever is darker, as the result colour. Pixels base colour by the layer colour. The result is always a darker
lighter than the blend colour are replaced and pixels darker than the blended colour when adding a colour other than black or white.
colour do not change.

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Color Burn Linear Burn

Takes the colour information in each channel and darkens the Takes the colour information in each channel and darkens
05 06
base colour to reflect the layer colour by increasing the contrast the base colour to reflect the layer colour by decreasing the
between the two. Blending with white produces no change. brightness. Blending with white produces no change.

Darker Color Lighten

Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base colour Takes the colour information in each channel and selects the
07 08
and displays the lower value colour. Darker Colour does not produce base or blend colour, whichever is lighter, as the result colour.
a third colour, which can result from the Darken blend, because it chooses Pixels darker than the layer colour are replaced and pixels lighter than
the lowest channel values from both the base and the blend colour to create the layer colour do not change.
the result colour.

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Screen Color Dodge

Takes each channel’s colour information and multiplies the inverse of Takes the colour information in each channel and brightens the
09 10
the layer and base colours. The result colour is always a lighter colour. base colour to reflect the layer colour by decreasing contrast
Screening with black leaves the colour unchanged. Screening with white between the two. Blending with black produces no change.
produces white. Similar to projecting multiple photographic slides together.

Linear Dodge (Add) Lighter Color

Takes the colour information in each channel and brightens the base Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base colour
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colour to reflect the layer colour by increasing the brightness. Blending and displays the higher value colour. It does not produce a third colour,
with black produces no change. which can result from the Lighten blend, because it chooses the highest
channel values from both the base and blend colour to create the result colour.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 137


Overlay Soft Light

Multiplies or screens the colours, depending on base colour. Patterns Darkens or lightens the colours, depending on the blend colour. If the
13 14
or colours overlay the existing pixels whilst preserving the highlights blend colour is lighter than 50 per cent grey, the image is lightened.
and shadows of the base colour. The base colour is not replaced but mixed If the blend colour is darker than 50 per cent grey, the image is darkened.
with the blend colour to reflect the lightness or darkness of the original colour. Painting with pure black or white produces a distinctly darker or lighter area.

Hard Light Linear Light

If the blend colour is lighter than 50 per cent grey, the image is Burns or dodges the colours by decreasing or increasing the
15 16
lightened. If the blend colour is darker than 50 per cent grey, the brightness. If the blend colour is lighter than 50 per cent grey, the
image is darkened. This is useful for adding shadows to an image. Painting image is lightened by increasing the brightness. If the blend colour is darker
with pure black or white results in pure black or white. than 50 per cent grey, the image is darkened by decreasing the brightness.

138 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


Pin Light Vivid Light

If the blend colour is lighter than 50 per cent grey, only pixels darker Burns or dodges the colours depending on the blend colour. If the
17 18
than the blend colour are replaced If the blend colour is darker than blend colour (light source) is lighter than 50 per cent grey, the image is
50 per cent grey, only pixels lighter than the blend colour are replaced. This is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend colour is darker than 50 per
useful for adding special effects to an image. cent grey, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

It’s all in
the blend
Explore your creative side and get your pixels interacting.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 139



Tilt-Shift BEFORE

Effect This tutorial

content is
Create the illusion of available for
miniature environments
T he Tilt-Shift effect is a process in which an image of a life-size
location or object is made to look like a miniature or scale model.
It employs the use of very shallow depth of field more commonly
give the image a sense of scale.
Things such as people, cars, trees and
buildings are ideal. This enhances the sense of looking down
associated with macro or close-up photography. The shallow depth over a miniature world. There is not necessarily any hard
of field creates the illusion that the scene is much smaller than it really and fast rule as to what will work and what won’t. Generally,
is. The best images to benefit from this effect are often taken with images with lots of detail seem to give good results once the
wide angle lenses from an elevated position and include objects that effect is applied.

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Adding the Effect Manually is good For your reference, our sample image is Our base layer is named ‘sharp’. We’re
01 02 03
practice to learn first because it does offer 3000 pixels wide by 2000 pixels high. The going to keep this and work on a duplicate
a little more flexibility when it comes to how and effects we apply in this tutorial is based on this layer by pressing Cmd + J and naming this new
where the effect is applied to the image and it is image size. layer ‘blur’.
very simple anyway.

Next we need is to make sure the Gradient Because we are simulating extremely Above and below this area, we want an
04 05 06
Tool is selected in the toolbar (press G). shallow depth of field, we have to have increasing amount of blur to create the
We now need to specify the kind of gradient we a horizontal area in our image that is sharp and look we are after.
are going to apply. contains the main focus of our image.

Go to the top menu bar and select The next step is to create a mask that will Quick Mask allows the adding of a mask
07 08 09
Reflected Gradient as our fill type. You will protect the areas we want to stay sharp that, in this case, will be defined by the
also need to make sure that the fill option Reverse and allow the rest of the image to be blurred. gradient we are going to apply next. Before you
is not checked. This will give us the gradient type From the left toolbar, click the Edit In Quick Mask do, make sure your Foreground Colour is set
that we need. Mode button (press Q). to black.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 141


If you click and hold the left mouse button on your image in the place Holding the Shift key while you do this will ensure the cursor is
10 11
that needs to remain the sharpest, you can draw your cursor line constrained to the vertical to keep your gradient horizontal.
upwards to the point where you want the blur effect to be the strongest.

When you let the mouse button go, your gradient will be applied. Clicking back on the Edit in Quick Mask Mode (or pressing Q again)
12 13
Because the fill type was set as Reflected Gradient, the mask will will take you out of masking mode and leave the gradient you
appear in red both above and below the start point you selected. created as a selection on the top and bottom of the image.

If the selection is in the middle only, press Shift+Cmd+I to invert If you now go Filter > Blur > Lens Blur it will call up the Lens Blur
14 15
the selection. These are the areas that will be affected by the dialog box where you can apply the effect. It also shows you a
blurring procedure. preview of the end result so you can judge just how much blur you need.

142 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


The blur starts to increase gradually both above and below our Saturation can increase the scale feel. Click on the Create New
16 17
main subject, but the mask keeps the boats and houses sharp. Hit Adjustment Layer button and select Hue/Saturation to add an
OK and apply the blur and press Cmd + D to clear the selection. adjustment layer to the top of your layer stack and make the Saturation
value about +20.

With the ‘blur’ layer active, select Filter > Sharpen > Smart You may notice that certain areas are blurred when logically, if this
18 19
Sharpen and add a level of sharpen. This also adds to the effect were a scale model, it would be more in focus than what is directly
and your tilt-shift image is almost complete. behind it. We can amend that issue next with a simple layer mask.

Make sure your ‘Blur’ layer is active and click on the Add Layer We can mask certain areas of this ‘bur’ layer and reveal some of the
20 21
Mask button to add a mask to the ‘blur’ layer. Make sure the sharp original beneath. Click on the layer mask thumbnail to activate it
‘sharp’ layer below is tuned on and visible. and make sure your Foreground Colour is black.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 143


Use a small soft brush and begin to paint black on the layer mask If you Alt + left click on the layer mask thumbnail, you can view it in
22 23
on areas such as the church steeple, houses, and trees that range isolation. You won’t need too much, just try to create a slightly more
either side of it to reveal the sharp layer underneath. defined roofline. Alt + left click again to return to normal view.

Now it looks a little more like the houses and church at the top of the Next we can try a new image that measures 3100 pixels wide
24 25
village are more in focus than the fields directly behind them, helping and 1700 pixels high, and this time we will use the Tilt-Shift tools
with the scale model effect. Now your image is complete. provided within Photoshop itself to create our miniature world effect.

Since the introduction of Photoshop CS6, the program now The dialog screen is relatively straightforward and lets you define
26 27
includes a specific Tilt-Shift blur tool. It can be found under Filter > your start point of sharpest focus and the two points at which the
Blur > Tilt-Shift or for Photoshop CC, under Filter > Blur Gallery > Tilt-Shift. blur is at its maximum based on values you can input.

144 BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide


You can also rotate the effect to any angle. In many cases it works As with the manual version, adding a Hue/Saturation Adjustment
28 29
well. If you do find that you need more fine control over how the Layer and increasing saturation helps the effect greatly. Also
blur is applied, you have the manual version to fall back on. adding a level of sharpening will help too.

So, whether you prefer the manual method, or the Photoshop

tool for creating the effect, either way, you can create some
mind-bending illusions right there on your computer screen.

With this effect, it really is a small world.

BDM’s Adobe Photoshop - The Complete Guide 145

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The Complete Guide

Photoshop has many powerful tools to help you set
your creative vision free. It can do as little or as much
as you need, with enough features to satisfy
l professionals and beginners alike. If you
en t ia
Your ess want to adjust the brightness of photo,
guide to cut an image out of one picture and paste
e d
layer-bas it into another or produce new works of
it in g
image ed original art, the power to create is at your
fingertips. The features and tools available
are completely scalable and you can tap into
more of its vast potential as you develop your skills.

Your guide
There may seem like there’s a bewildering amount to learn and
a lot of jargon to understand but this guide is here to help you
through the process of understanding exactly what Photoshop
can do for you. There are no hidden secrets to using Photoshop
effectively, it’s just a case of understanding the basics and taking
it from there. The potential to achieve more with your photos
and artwork is being utilised by beginners and professionals the
world over.

Powerful features
At its heart, Photoshop is a layer-based image editing program
that takes the main concepts developed by traditional graphic
artists and photographers and presents them in a digital form.
Our guide takes you through the main concepts behind how
Photoshop works with a series of introductory tutorials that you
can follow at your own pace. These concise tutorials will get you
up and running and ready to take on more challenges.

Go further
If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, we have a series of
interesting and diverse projects that you can get your teeth into.
Even though they are more involved, at their heart, they still use
core tools and features that you’re already familiar with. The aim
of the projects are to show you how it’s possible to start using
these tools and get Photoshop working just the way you like it.
Our tutorials and project images are available to download, so
what’s stopping you?