googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Improved Hints on using Photoshop CC 2017 & Lightroom

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Improved Hints on using Photoshop CC 2017 & Lightroom



Over several years I found a large number of public domain images that I could use to illustrate a series of kids books I was planning.

I needed to alter the images to fit the  storylines, and used the free Photoscape program, and then the paid Adobe Elements 12 one.

Neither gave me the quick and effective tool I needed, so I subscribed to the Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 program (an annual fee is paid).


Photoshop is Unhelpful to Beginners:

I downloaded them and was stunned by how unhelpful the program was for a beginner of Photoshopping. Googling for help, I found several good tutorials, and then jotted down How To notes for myself, which I now pass on to beginners of Photoshopping and Lightroom.

The Beginner’s Salvation:

These hints will take you from staring at the blank screen, to loading some of your pics into Lightroom (LR), and then using LR and Photoshop (PS) to edit your images in ways you never dreamed of before!

Just follow these hints and you will be well launched on the road to becoming an expert Photoshopper of your own and other images.

The Big Two Learnings:

Two key learnings:
·       I found how to save my images into LR so that I could start playing with LR and PS, and
·       I also stumbled on an easy way to simplify my life by using LR as my basic program, and moving from LR (which allows you to make a lot of changes that work), to PS (which is the best program to make detailed changes to individual images), and then shifting back to LR to continue your work.
This saves time and is easy to do, so I recommend that you do this.

How do I start?
Just start with the General Hint #1 below, move on to General Hint #2, and then dip into the LR and PS hints.

Have fun, and amaze your friends and family with your in-depth expertise!

Please share this with your friends, and ask them to do the same.

GENERAL HINT #1: The Quick Start on Lightroom

This takes you from staring helplessly at the screen after downloading Photoshop CC 2017, to loading some of your images into Lightroom, and then being able to start experimenting with changing the looks of your pics.

The way to do this is summarized below, and came from this helpful website: Google Total Beginner’s Guide to Lightroom Step by Step Simon Ringsmuth to get there.


Just do take these steps to load up LR:

  1. Open your Lightroom program by clicking on the Lr image.
  2. It will ask you where to store the Catalog (the place you store your pics in LR). Just press Continue to choose the default directory (which is in your Users directory). LR will find your pics there.
  3. The next screen is the Library module – a gray, almost blank screen.
  4. Click on Import button in the lower left corner and go to the directory on your hard drive where you stored the pics you want to move to LR to modify.
  5. Your screen fills with images – your pics.
  6. Select Copy at the top of your screen.
  7. Now you choose a Destination for your files on the right-hand side of your screen. You can indicate a directory you have already made on your hard disk to store your Photoshop files (I formed one using File Explorer, named Photoshop). LR can also find one for you. LR saves images into what it calls Catalogs.
  8. Forget about all the choices now open to you (such as renaming your images, adding keywords etc). You can come back to this later. I added a keyword PSTest1 just for fun).
  9. Choose your pics you want to import by making sure they all have the checkmarks (the tick sign) in the top corner of each thumbnail preview on your screen. Click Check All to choose all of them.
  10. Now click on the Import button in the lower-right corner of your screen. LR will import your files and let you know when it is done.
  11. Then go to General Hint #2 and start experimenting with LR and PS. And have fun!


GENERAL HINT #2: Simplify your life by moving from Lightroom to Photoshop and back to Lightroom

You can modify your pics in both LR and PS; LR allows general modifications to a whole list of pics at the same time, while PS lets you take one pic at a time and modify it.

If you start with LR and then stay there but move to PS to modify one of your pics, your life will be simpler and faster than going out of LR to PS. LR allows you to move from LR to PS to treat one pic and then move back into LR again.

Google Supercharge your photography by using Photoshop with Lightroom Adobe Support tutorials for the website post on this.

To use LR as your base and move into PS for individual images, take these steps:

  1. While in LR, use the Edit In command to go to PS and work there and then return.
  2. To do this, right click the pic you want to work on (or use Ctrl Click) to go to Edit In, and then click on Edit In Adobe Photoshop; then click Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments, and then click Edit.
  3. You will be taken to PS. Make your changes here, using the PS tools (such as the lassoo tool to draw around an object in your pic that you want to remove), then click on the File command in PS and click on Save. The pic is saved as a Tif file. Then Close in PS and you will be taken back to LR to work on this or other pics.


LIGHTROOM TIPS:

1                 Go to Develop to Edit pics – or press D on keyboard to get there:

a.     The Histogram panel measures color tones and lets you make tonal adjustments to the photo.
b.     Information about the Smart Preview status of the photograph is shown below the histogram/EXIF information/RGB values.
c.     Use the tools in the tool strip to fix red eye, remove dust and spots, crop and straighten photos, and apply adjustments to specific areas of a photo.
d.     The Basic panel tools let you adjust the photo’s white balance (WB), color saturation, and tonal scale.
e.     The Tone Curve and HSL/Color/B&W panels have tools for fine-tuning your color and tonal adjustments.
f.      The Split Toning panel lets you color monochrome images or create special effects with color images.
g.     The Detail panel lets you adjust sharpness and reduce noise.
h.     The Effects panel lets you apply a vignette to a cropped photo, add a film-grain effect, or adjust the amount of haze or fog.

2                 Crop is the square icon under the Histogram (type R); press Enter when done.

3                 Go to File and click Export for the edited pic (Export = Save As).
a.     Check Jpeg
b.     Set quality slider to 85
c.     Use color spectrum RGB
d.     Set Width and Height of 2014 pixels to get a 5 by 7 inch pic
e.     click After Export to Show in Windows Explorer. 

4                 How to go through lots of pics in LR as easily as possible?
a.     In Library enable Auto Advance of pics by clicking Caps Lock.
b.     Then use P = pick; U = skip; 1-5 for stars per pic; 6-9 for color label for each pic.

5                 Lights Out to focus on the image – use L in Library; click L twice more to exit.

6                 Go to Preferences then File Handling and then make the Camera Raw Cache 30 GB to speed things up in LR.

7                 Autohide the left and right panels so as to clear the screen for working on without distractions – go to Auto Hide and click on left and right panels; to restore just hover over each panel.

8                Solo Mode – in Develop right click on one of the palettes and select Solo Mode; this shows each adjustment palette one at a time, instead of all of them being visible on the screen.  

9                 Slideshow is easy to create:

a.     Drop down menu;
b.     select pics;
c.     use palettes to adjust on the right; 
d.     you can add music and make an mp4 file.

10             Presets

a.     Presets are one-click settings and are simply combinations of individual adjustments to images that people have made using Lightroom or Photoshop tools, and then saved, so that you can  use them by clicking on each preset.
b.     Google Lightroom free presets for a selection to start with.
c.     It means you benefit from the work of others, and don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
d.     Save your own presets; near the Develop Preset panel; name it and give it a folder (default folder is User Presets).
e.     Fade Presets with The Fader plugin. You can get good results with this!

11               Books – you can make books in Lightroom.

12              Basic Lightroom Adjustments – 3 groups of sliders: WB (white balance); Tone (make image or portions lighter or darker) and Presence (grittiness and color).

PHOTOSHOP TIPS:
1                 Go to Edit then to Transform then use size / rotate / flip / distort (or use Ctrl + T); right click mouse to flip; cursor on corner of the image and drag it to distort it).

2                 Removing Backgrounds with 4 Tools – there are 4 tools for doing this (one rubs out the background, the other 3 choose the edges and then remove the background without any rubbing out):

1.      magnetic lasso tool (it hunts edges with high contrast, and snaps to a foreground object’s edges quickly in order to remove the background);
2.     background eraser tool – shaped like a pencil with an eraser on its end, and scissors (it removes backgrounds according to color, and is useful for images where the foreground object and background object have different colors);
3.     magic eraser tool – shaped like a pencil tip with an eraser on the end, with three +’s (it is a combination of the Eraser and Magic Wand tools, and works well where backgrounds have a uniform color and value); and
4.     extract filter (it is a tougher tool to use for tougher jobs, including those dealing with hair, fur, leaves and blurred edges.)  

3                 MAGNETIC LASSO TOOL

1.      Free Willy!:
Very important tool to separate your target product from its background. It makes the target image in your pic that you want to show up without a background, easy to achieve. A very flexible tool.

2.     Where’s Waldo?:
Click on Lasso Tool until fly-out menu shows; the last one is the Magnetic Lasso tool (a magnet in an icon).

3.     Your target image:
Open a second image that you want to place the selected image in after lassooing it.

4.     Sharpen your target:
Press Caps Lock key to switch the pointer to circle with a + inside it; you place the + close to the edge of the object and PS will deal with the area inside the circle, making the line snap to the edge without any action on your part!

5.     Point the + and shoot:
Click, release and drag it around object to outline it. To begin a selection with the Magnetic Lasso Tool, simply move the crosshair in the center of the circle directly over an edge of the object and click once, then release your mouse button.

6.     This sets a starting point for the selection.
8.     Widen for speed:
You can adjust the width of the circle using the Width option in the Options Bar (increase the number). Use a larger width setting if the object has a well defined edge; you can then move faster and more freely. Or use the left and right bracket keys [ or ] on your keyboard.

9.     More contrast for better results:
The Edge Contrast option in the Options Bar (to the right of the Width option) lets you use a higher Edge Contrast value for areas with high contrast between the subject and its background, you can use a higher Edge Contrast value, with a larger Width value (larger circle). You  use a lower Edge Contrast and Width values for areas with poor contrast. The period key (.) increases the value and comma (,) reduces it, as you go along. A 10% Edge contrast might be a bit finecky, so try 40% to 50%.

10.  Mind the Gap:
Another tip – if the gap between points is too big, make it smaller using the Frequency value in the menu; 57 usually works well. You can also click your mouse to add a point.

11.   Now run around:
Once you have your starting point, move the Magnetic Lasso Tool around the object, always keeping the edge within the boundaries of the circle.

12.  Snapping:
Photoshop will automatically snap the line to the edge of the object, abd add anchor points to keep the line fastened in place.

13.  Spare the mouse:
Unlike the standard Lasso Tool, there's no need to keep your mouse button held down as you drag around the object.

14.  Join the dots:
Close the line by clicking the last dot on the very first dot. A small circle below the + shows you are close to the first dot.
You can also double-click to close contour at any time and any point.
 Anything you do next will affect only the sculpture with the rest of the photo ignored. You can Move the object by pressing M and clicking on the object and then dragging it to the second image with a different background.  You can go to Edit Copy (or Ctrl C) and then copy the object to another image using Ctrl V.
When you're done, you can remove it by going up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choosing Deselect, or you can press Ctrl+D. Or simply click anywhere inside of the document with the Magnetic Lasso Tool or with any of Photoshop's other selection tools.

15.  Deliver Willy:
Drag the outlined object to the second image and drop it inside it, then move it to the right spot using the Move tool.

16.  Zooming in for better aim:
To zoom in on the image as you're dragging around the edges, press Ctrl+ and Ctrl -  later to zoom out. To scroll the image around inside the document window when you're zoomed in, hold down your spacebar, which temporarily switches you to the Hand Tool, then click and drag the image around as needed. Release the spacebar when you're done.

17.  Dealing with dots:
Backspace removes any anchor dot. ESC clears all anchor dots.

18.  Cleaning up your misses:
Use the ALT key to move the cursor to any area you missed; this will switch you to the Subtract from Selection mode (shown by a small minus sign ( - ) in the bottom right corner of the cursor. With Alt held down, click once to set your starting point, then release the mouse button and drag around the edge of the area. You can release the Alt key; you will remain in Subtract from Selection mode until you click back on the initial point to complete the selection. Press the Caps Lock key to switch to the circle icon for more presion.

19.  End the Lasso:
Go to Select in upper menu and click on Deselect to end the lasso tool.

20. Kick the background:
                                                                   i.          To remove the background around the selected outlined object, press Ctrl and Shift and I (or go to Select in upper menu and choose Inverse),
                                                                 ii.          Then click Delete.
                                                               iii.          The background turns into little checks. Now click on the Deselect tool.
                                                              iv.          You can now move the object around, and add another object next to it.


4                 MAGIC WAND TOOL – press W to load it:
1.      Found in the Tools on left side, it looks like a rod with 3 +’s. See also paragraph 18 below for more difficult images and backgrounds.

2.     Use to change background colors if they are consistent colors.

3.     Click on the magic wand tool by right clicking on the Quick Selection Tool.

4.     Then click on part of the background; note the lines separating the background and foreground – they look like ants.

5.     Then go to the top and choose Add to Selection.

6.      Press (CTRL+D) to deselect your current selection.

7.     Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll notice one last option in your toolbar called select and mask. With your area selected (you’ll be able to tell by the “marching ants” dotted line running around your shape), click select and mask.

8.     You’ll be greeted with a whole new set of options which you can experiment with to finesse and improve your selected area:
                                                    i.     Try just the smooth slider and set it at 6.
                                                  ii.     If you are working with a more difficult image, try the shift edge slider to add a bit of space around your shape before you cut away the background.
                                                iii.     The best thing to do with this panel is to work by trial and error.

9.     Go to Select in the menu at the top and click on Deselect to remove the ants.
10.  Delete the background by pressing the Backspace.

11.   For background colors that are not consistent try the Background Eraser Tool. Works if the background colors are clearly different from the color of the foreground you want to keep.

12.  A tolerance in the  tool’s menu of around the 15-20% mark might work; if not try another tolerance.

13.  Try 50px for the brush size to get into little spaces; try another size if it is too big.

14.  If you aren’t happy with a section, simply press (CTRL+SHIFT+Z) to undo and step backward.

15.  To save the completed image go to File in top menu and click on Save As.

5                 CUSTOM SHAPE TOOL for adding to your pic speech bubbles, arrows and others. Go to Options Bar and click on the one that looks like a puzzle piece.

6                 ADJUSTMENT LAYERS are used for color and hue in a new Layer:
1.      Go to Layers Panel; the black and white circle icon – there are 4 options: brightness / contrast, Levels, Curves and Exposure (don’t use last one).
2.     To change (edit) an Adjustment Layer just click on the layer twice.
3.     Use the Opacity Tool to reduce impact of changes to a Layer.
4.     In Brightness, set layer blend mode to Luminosity to avoid unintended color shifts.
5.     Auto button is most useful thing about the Brightness / Contrast layer.
6.     Don’t use the Use Legacy option.
7.     Use Levels to adjust Contrast rather than the slider.
8.     Curves is most powerful way to adjust the brightness and contrast. Add more points to the single line to create more handles for your changes.

7                 LAYER STYLES for more pizazz (e.g.: glow, shadow etc.) Double click on the layer. Click on Windows in Menu at top and choose Layers or hit F7 on keyboard. Click on eyeball to toggle its visibility.

8                SPOT HEALING BRUSH & PATCH – best known Photoshop tool!
1.      Use Brush just a bit bigger than the thing you want to remove (use [ to reduce it and ] to increase brush size);
2.     replace thing with surrounding areas.
3.     Use PATCH TOOL (it looks like a band aid on left panel) to remove a logo or blemish:
                                                    i.     you double click on the band aid to find Patch in drop down menu.
                                                  ii.     Increase size of image.
                                                iii.     Circle the spot to be removed.
                                                iv.     Click mouse on the encircled spot and drag it to another area that you want to replace the blemish with, then let go.
                                                  v.      Patch looks for texture more than color. So then use the Clone Tool (on the left, looks like a postage stamp), to make sure  your colors match. Use a size 7 brush tool with it. It clones both texture and color. Move mouse over desired spot, press ALT and click mouse to select your color of choice. Go to area you want to change and click on it. Voila! The texture and color change to your choice!

9                 DODGE TOOL lightens pixels for removing tired eyes etc:
1.      use a soft brush;
2.     go to Range and choose highlights;
3.     set exposure to 20%;
4.     brush over the area.
5.     Go to Layer then New then Layer;
6.     set Mode to Overlay;
7.     tick box Fill with Overlay – neutral color.
8.     Use Dodge on that Layer.

10             BLUR TOOL – the fine lines in face tool. Easily take them out!

11               CLONE STAMP – create a new Layer; pick the tool; go to Options and then Sample (to Current & Below); it edits on the empty layer. This tool repeats (that is, clones) part of your pic into another part of the same pic. So you might have one little piggy in your pic, and can clone it to end up with three little piggies. Now all you need is to add a wolf (see below for how to do this).

12              CURVES – adjusts brightness and contrasts (as the Levels Tool does too). To brighten, make a point in the middle of the sloping line and drag it up; to darken, drat it down. To add contrast create a point in the shadows and drag it down, and a point in the highlights and drag it up.

13              SPOT COLOR

1.      Like making pic black and white but bunch of roses in hand bright red.
2.     Go to Layer then to New Adjustment Layers then  to Hue / Saturation and slide slider of Saturation all way to the left to take color out of the image.
3.     Rename the Layers e.g.: B&W for this result, in panel on the right side.
4.     Then Mask out the roses on the B&W Layer using the button Mask on the bottom of the palette that looks like a camera or washing machine.
5.     Then use a Paint Brush Tool and paint black onto the roses. White reveals and Black conceals.
6.     Then go to Layer, and then if you want to, go to Levels and Curves to add pop to the pic.

14              ALL images probably need Levels and Curves treatment:
1.      Levels sets Tone of the pic.
2.     Go to Image then Adjustments then Levels or Curves.
3.     Drag the three triangles for Levels to change; move the points in the Curves line to change.
4.     Use the 3 eyedroppers (black, gray and white) . Black dropper in the blackest part of the image; then white dropper in whitest spot; then gray dropper in the middle gray part.

15             Do you want to increase part of an image, or reduce part only, or remove bumps on the side of your image?
Use Filter to get Liquify to Bloat or increase a part of your pic (for example, the eye of a bird), and the Pucker Tool to reduce area inside circle. You can use the Forward Warp Tool in Liquify to remove bumps on side of a pic – you move the tool against the pic side and it caves  inwards.

16             COMBINING PICS:

1.      This is a very popular PS tool. It lets you add one image from one pic to another pic. So you could add a moon to a landscape pic. I use this a lot in creating an illustration for a kids book, by adding a character to one pic and then adding text or a speech balloon as well. Play with the choices in this tool to see the wide range of options that PS gives you. Let your creative juices flow!

2.     You should be working from Lightroom (LR) into Photoshop (PS) to work on this combination, and then back to LR (see above GENERAL HINT #2 for how to do this).

3.     Open the two pics in LR (the Moon pic and the Landscape pic).

4.     Now you move both pics from LR into PS into ONE file in PS, to combine them, and then move the combined result back to LR.

5.     To do this, select both the pics in LR (use Shift plus a click on the second one to select it)

6.     Now right click one of the 2 pics (say, the Moon pic) and then click on Edit In and then click on Open as Layers in Photoshop. This is how you end up with one combined pic in PS, to work on. The two pics show as two separate layers in the panel to the right of your PS screen.

7.     You can move the bottom layer to the top to replace the one there, if this makes more sense (if the Moon pic is below the Landscape pic and it is easier to work with the Moon one, click on the Moon pic and hold it and shift it up until it slides into place above the Landscape pic.)

8.     Now reduce the size or increase the size of the Moon to the size you want it to appear in your combined pic, and move it to where you want it to be in the Landscape pick. You do this by clicking on Edit then on Free Transform. Hold down Shift and reduce the size of the Moon by clicking on a corner of the Moon pic and moving it so that the Moon gets bigger or smaller, as you want it to be. Then, to move the Moon, click on the inside of the Moon pic and drag it to the spot in the Landscape where you want it to be.

9.     Now, click the Checkmark sign (the tick mark in the menu above the screen), so end the resizing and moving of the Moon operation.

10.  Let’s assume that the Moon pic has its own background color, and you want to take that out of the combined picture.

11.   To do this, you use the Layer Blend Modes. Select the Moon layer in the Layer Panel, then go up to the Normal block in the menu above the pic; click on Normal; then work your way through the list of blend alternatives you can use in the menu of blends that now appears.

12.  Experiment with the blending modes now open to you in the menu, and see how each one impacts your Moon and your Landscape combined pic. The blends show how the color of the Moon fits in with the colors of your Landscape.

13.  Now, to further tweak your Moon, click on Edit and then Free Transform, to change the size and location of the Moon if you think it needs change. Then click the Checkmark above the pic to select the result.

14.  Now, click on File and then on Save.

15.  The combined pic is saved as a Tif file in Lightroom.

16.  Close the image and note that you now have 3 pics on the bottom of your LR screen – your Moon, your Landscape, and the new and improved Combined Moon and Landscape, which has the word Edit added to its name.

17.  You can add more than one pic to another pic. Experiment with adding several figures or objects to one landscape, to get the hang of it. How about a Moon and a Sun? Or 3 Moons, each a different color and size?

17             HOW TO COMBINE IMAGES IN CREATIVE WAYS (FROM LAYERS TO BLENDS TO MASKS):

1.      This method uses Layers; Layer Masks; Smart Objects; and Blending techniques.

2.     Check the article – Google combine images in creative ways adobe support.

3.     The website provides sample files for you to practice with.

4.     Load your images into Photoshop such as in this example: a pier reaching into the sea; a sunset on the sea; a sign with an arrow on it pointing North; seagulls flying; a temple with pillars; and fluffy clouds.

5.     Click on the Pier in Photoshop to make it the background (in the layers panel to the right).

6.     Go to the sunset image and click Select and then All.

7.     Then click Edit and Copy.

8.     Go to the Pier layer and click Edit and then Paste.

9.     Voila! Progress! The Sunset sky is now added as a new layer.

10.  In the layers panel on the right, double click the layer name and call it Sunset Sky.

11.   How do you see the Pier and Sunset Sky layers at the same time? Click the Move tool at the top of the Tools panel on the left side of your screen, then click on Opacity just above the Sunset Sea layer on the right side of your screen. Drag the Opacity triangle to the left to about 50% (this makes it possible to see through it).

12.  Then click on the Sunset Sea layer and keep your Mouse down while you move it up until its horizon between sea and sky is a bit below the horizon on the Pier layer. Release your Mouse.

13.  Now set the Opacity layer back to 100% using the slider.

14.  The next step is to hide the lower part of the Sunset Sea skyline so that we can see the upper part of the Pier layer, with the Pier thrusting out into the sea.

15.  How do we do that? We use a Layer Mask (you will use Layer Masks often in composite Photoshopping.)

16.  Click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel on the right of your screen, to add a Layer Mask to the active layer.

17.  Now choose the Gradient Tool in the Tools panel on the left side of your screen, to open up the Gradient Picker and then to choose box 3 from the left (the black to white gradient tool). Click on this third box, then click on the horizon in the Sunset Sea and drag it upwards just a bit and then release your Mouse: the white to black gradient is added to the layer mask (as you can see from the black and white layers in the right hand panel), and the result is a blend for the new sky. The white part shows the Sunset Sea while the black part allos the Pier to show through (Remember: with gradients, White conceals while Black reveals).

18.  Now we add the North sign with its arrow pointing up, to the top of the Pier. How do we do this?

19.  Click on File in the top menu, and then on Place Embedded (this creates a smart object layer that allows you to resize and reshape the image many times).

20. Then choose the North Arrow jpeg from your directory where you stored it and click Place.

21.  You will now see the North Arrow image in a bounding box, that will allow you to resize or transform the layer by clicking and holding on a corner.

22. How do you do the resizing? Click on the Layers panel on the right side of the screen and change the blending mode from Normal to Overlay. This allows you to blend the image into the Pier image.

23. Hold down the Shift key and drag a corner of the box inwards to locate the edge of the North Arrow box on the Pier shape. Do the same for the left side of the box.

24. If you want to change the shape of the North Arrow box, click on Edit and then on Transform and then on Distort. Drag the right hand corner of the arrow box and place it on the top of the Pier, then do the same for the left side, and so the sides of the arrow box are angled to fit the angled shape of the Pier (the Pier has a bigger bottom on the shoreline and narrows as it thrusts out to sea).

25. Now click the Checkmark box (the tick mark button) in the Options bar on the right side of the screen to end this step.

26. What if the edges of the Pier are a bit ragged after all these changes? You can hide the edges of the Pier by using another Layer Mask.

27. How do you do this? Click on the Add Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel and then click on Add Layers and then click on the Brush tool in the Tools panel on the left side of the screen. Now click on the X to change the colors so that black becomes the foreground color. Then paint the Brush with its black paint, around the edge of the Pier, to hide that edge with a new black edge.

28. Congrats! You have covered a lot of ground and now know how to use these powerful tools! Now you can add seagulls, the temple pillars and fluffy clouds.

18             BACKGROUND ERASER TOOL – shaped like a pencil tip with scissors:

1.      Google lightpoint How to Quickly and Easily Remove a Background in Photoshop for the article this is based on.

2.     For simple backgrounds, use the standard magic wand tool to select and delete the background. See paragraph 4 above.

3.     For more complicated backgrounds, use the Background Eraser tool.

4.     This tool removes the background as if you are painting with acid. It does this by sampling the color at the center of the brush and then deleting pixels of a similar color as you “paint.”

5.     Select the Background Eraser tool from the PS toolbox. It may be hidden beneath the Eraser tool; if it is, simply click and hold the Eraser tool to reveal it.

6.     Go to the  tool options bar at the top of the screen and select a round, hard brush. Use the square bracket key ([ or ]) for reducing or increasing the size of your brush.

7.     Now, on the tool options bar, set:

                                                    i.      the Sampling to Continuous,
                                                  ii.     the Limits to Find Edges, and
                                                iii.     a Tolerance of between 20-25% to start (low tolerance limits your eraser to areas that are very similar to your sampled color; higher expands the range of colors your eraser will select). Change the tolerance if your brush is picking up the colors in the area you are painting.

8.     Place your brush on the background and begin to erase by painting the brush. The crosshair shows the “hotspot” and deletes that color wherever it appears inside the brush area.

9.     You will need to reduce the size of the brush in some places to ensure that you don’t erase part of your subject.

10.  For foreground image areas that share colors with the background, you may need to adjust the Sampling and Limits: try switching to the Sampling: Once option, and seting Limits to Discontinguous and set Tolerance to 30%.

11.   What is happening?

                                                    i.     The Sampling: Once option samples the color under the crosshair only the moment you click; it does not resample as you move your brush along.
                                                  ii.     The Discontiguous Limit option lets you erase all pixels that match the sampled color that you’re erasing. This lets you get in between the hair strands on a person’s head without erasing the hair.

12.  What do you do if you have an oops! and remove too much of your object as you work close to foreground’s edges? Fix the Oopsies with the PS Pen tool (aka Quick Mask tool): it creates a clean selection and deletes the unwanted background bits you left behind.

19             THE MAGIC ERASER TOOL – see also 4 & 18 – looks like a pencil tip with 3 +’s:

1.      Click in a layer with the Magic Eraser tool, and it changes all similar pixels to transparent.

2.     If the layer has a locked transparency, the pixels change to the background color: you simply click in the background, and it is converted to a layer and all similar pixels change to transparent (which means the background image shows through and your foreground image loses its background that came with it when you combined two images).

3.     You can choose to erase contiguous pixels only or all similar pixels on the current layer.

4.     Google photoshop erase with the eraser tool for the article this is based on.

5.     How do you use it? Select the Magic Eraser tool from the Tools bar on your left: it looks like an eraser.

6.     In the Options bar at the top, do the following:
                                                    i.     What range of colors? Enter a tolerance value to define the range of colors that can be erased (low erases pixels within a range of color values similar to the pixel you click; high widens the range of colors that will be erased).
                                                  ii.     How to smooth your edges? Select Anti-aliased to smooth the edges of the area you erase.
                                                iii.     All or touching only? Select Contiguous to erase only pixels right next to the one you click, or deselect to erase all similar pixels in the image even if they are separated from each other.
                                                iv.     Go wider? Select Sample All Layers to sample the erased color using combined data from all visible layers.
                                                  v.     All or nothing? Choose an opacity to define the strength of the erasure (100% erases pixels completely; lower erases pixels partially).

7.     Now click in the part of the layer you want to erase.

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Have fun with Photoshop! Let me know of your progress via an email to smallsp@telus.net

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