Hey guys! I’m trying to mix it up a little here and give you all not only great Photography info tips and tricks, but also some great Photoshop info. With that in mind, I give you 5 tips and tricks for Photoshop. Some are Photoshop CS5 Specific, some aren’t. Some may be basic but everyone starts somewhere.
Extending a white background with the crop tool
This one is a quick one. If you have an image that you’ve shot on a white background that you want to extend the background to make it look larger, use the crop tool. Make sure that you have white set as your background color on your color swatches then select the crop tool, drag it out to cover the entire image. Release the crop tool then grab the small square on the edge you want to extend. In my case, I extended it down so I grabbed the square in the middle bottom and drug strait down. When you press enter, the area that you extended the crop area to will be filled with the background color, in our case white.
Content Aware Fill
This one is a CS5 only tip. When you have an area that you want to remove such as the softbox in this image, content aware fill makes it easier than it used to be. To do this, you need to make sure that you have the background layer selected. Make a selection around the area you want to remove with your favorite selection tool. Here I used the rectangle marquee tool. At this point press the delete or backspace key. You will see a dialog box with content aware set as the default for the dropdown. Leave content aware selected and press ok. this will fill the selected area with what Photoshop “thinks” should be there. Usually Photoshop does a good job of filling this area, but sometimes it doesn’t. (quick tip: if you don’t like how Photoshop filled the area, undo the fill, change the selection slightly and try it again. A slight change will make a dramatic difference.)
Make a selection to do your cloning in
If you have an area that you want to clone that is close to a hard line area that you don’t want the cloning to spill over to, make a selection around the area to be cloned to constrain it. You can use your favorite selection tool to select the area to be cloned just like with the content aware tip above. (tip: this trick will work with the healing brush, and the spot healing brush too.)
New layer for cloning
Here’s one that is supremely important. When you are doing cloning, always do your cloning on a blank layer above the layer you’re wanting to clone. When you do this you have to make sure that you have the “all layers” or “current and below” selected in the menu at the top of the screen. There are a few reasons to do your cloning on a new layer. First, if you clone too much, or you do something you don’t want to do you can either just grab the eraser tool and delete the cloned area that you want back, or delete the whole layer and start over. The next reason is that because it’s on a new layer, you can lower the opacity of the cloned layer to make it not so “heavy handed” or fade it slightly. (I didn’t actually clone anything in this example, I just used it to show you where the drop down on the menu bar was)
Turn an image into a virtual Pano
This image was ok, but I thought that it would have looked a whole lot better as a “pano” or panoramic. The problem was, I had only shot the one image, not multiple images to stitch to make a true pano. What to do? Fake it! Open your image in Photoshop, grab your crop tool and drag it out from edge to edge on your image. Then slowly bring the bottom and top in until your have the area you want selected. I have found that cropping off in between 1/3 to 1/2 of the image works about perfectly. In the end, you have an image like this:
I hope that you have picked up a tip or two from this post. If there’s anything you have a question about, feel free to leave it in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JasonLPhoto or on Facebook here.