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Photoshop Tips & Tricks Variety Pack Volume 4
Here is a collection of useful tips and tricks to improve your Photoshop skills.
One of the generally neglected functions in Photoshop is the Distort filter called Polar Coordinates.
You can use this filter to create a cylinder anamorphosis - art popular in the 18th century - in which the distorted image appears normal when viewed in a mirrored cylinder. Check out the Masters of Deception page where there is a video of a self-portrait made with this technique of a Hungarian artist Istvan Orosz.
There is a much more practical use for this filter as well. The other day I was watching my friend meticulously creating concentric circles using rulers and transform calculations. When he finished, with an evil grin on my face I showed him how he could've done the same thing in a few clicks. Draw parallel horizontal lines of color. Top line will be the center. Than go to Filters> Distort> Polar Coordinates, and choose the Rectangular to Polar option. Also, with vertical lines using the same filter you would be able to create a star. I use this filter all the time to create backgrounds with rays of light for example.
Drag A Finder Folder To PS Browser
Just a simple trick that saves some clicks. It's much easier to browse images with PhotoShop's built in Browse function, but it's navigation to a certain folder is not very intuitive. (At least not for me.)
Once you have located the folder with images in your Finder window you can just drag the folder over the PS Browse folder bar to open the images in that folder instantly in PS Browse.
Measuring Multiple Dimensions
In Photoshop the measuring tool (I) has a hidden feature. Drag one measuring line and than press Alt (PC: Option) to drag a second one from one of the ends of the first one and measure a second dimension.
In the info palette you will be able to read the two dimensions as well as the angle between the two lines.
When you have several images open in PS you can scroll around them all at once if you press Shift-Space (or Shift and Hand tool). Great tool for small screens and especially useful if you are working on a big size document and you open a new window to work on a piece of it at 100%, but you prefer to see the whole document in the background scrolling in sync with your smaller window.
Eyedropper Outside Photoshop
Is there a way in Photoshop to have the eyedropper work on windows OTHER than Photoshop windows? Say I wanted it to set the background color to something in a Firefox window, can I do that?
I know I can just take a screengrab and paste down in a new Photoshop window, but that seems kinda clunky.
This exists since PS7: Select the eyedropper tool (Shortcut: "I"). Click and drag from your image to where you want to sample the color.
So you click in your image, and hold the mouse button until you sample the area you want, outside of the document window/Photoshop's UI...
Select Then Liquify
This is an obvious technique, still not used by many professionals. Before you apply liquify make a selection of the area of interest.
This will make your filter work much faster, be more responsive to your distortions and will give you better control.
Generally it's a good idea to make a selection before applying any filter to preview the effect of it. This simple technique will save you a lot of time especially when working on high-res files.
Text Layers Frustration
For a long time I was getting so frustrated when trying to add a new text layer on top or close to an existing one, because PS would select the existing text layer instead of adding a new one.
Here's a solution. Shift click to create a new text layer. Shift forces PS to create a new layer instead of editing an existing one. Maybe I should read the manual after all. No way! I was just kidding. That would kill all the fun. :)
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Photoshop CS5 Tutorials & CS5 Resources
See our Photoshop CS5 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS5 Tutorials, and the Free Photoshop CS5 Trial Download. See our Photoshop CS4 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS4 Tutorials.
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Skin Retouching Tips In Photoshop CS4
Transforming Smart Objects In Photoshop CS4
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Adjusting Exposure in Adobe Camera Raw CS3
Photoshop CS3 Tutorial High Dynamic Range
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