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Blog . Photoshop Tricks Continued


Photoshop Tricks Continued

10/13/14  |  Posted by Zachary James  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

Happy Alignments – Happy Art

Let’s take a look at a playing card from a deck of cards I just designed for one of my classes. Some projects are going to require symmetrical images and it could be vital that things line up perfectly (or as close to perfect as possible). It can be hard to tell with just the naked eye to see if something is lined up nice and pretty. It sure would be cool if there were a way to check it.


There is!

There are various ways of going about checking if things are aligned properly, but a good way to check is by using the "Difference" setting in layer blending modes. To check my playing card’s reflective symmetry, I’m going to go ahead and copy my layer (command/control+J). Now that I have an exact duplicate of my layer, I’m going to go ahead and flip the image on the copied layer 180 degrees. Now on the rotated, copied layer let’s go to Layer Blending Mode > Difference.


My whole card turned black, which means it is aligned perfectly. Pretty cool right? But what if things aren’t aligned properly? I’ll move the copied layer out of place. See the outlines in orange? You shouldn’t see that. Seeing outlines of various colors tells you that things are misaligned, or out of place. With more complex images in shape, size, or whatever else, this method may not work. It could certainly give you an idea as to what’s going on.

Let’s Talk About Color

Colors are pretty crazy. I’m not going to get all scientific over here, but knowing how Photoshop, Illustrator, and various other programs handle color is really important when it comes to printing your images. There isn’t really any way of knowing exactly what your file will look like when it’s printed, but good guy Photoshop over here has your back when it comes to trying to figure out what could go wrong or possibly change when you print your work.

Photoshop has a handy little thing called Gamut Warnings and Proof Colors. Both can be found under the view tab on the menu bar. A gamut is the range of colors that a system can display or print. Proof Colors allow you to see what your document will look like in the color setting selected under Proof Setup. It gives you an idea as to what your file will look like when printed.

A color that can be displayed in RGB could be out of gamut, and therefore unprintable (Meaning the printer is going to have to guess what the closest color is to replace the color that is out of gamut, thus causing possible strife and heartbreak). When you check gamut warning in Photoshop, any color that is out of gamut will appear grey. While working, there are a few ways you can tell you are working with out of gamut colors. First, you could just keep checking and unchecking the Gamut Warning label under View. You can also tell if the color you are using is out of gamut by looking at either the Color Picker or Color Panel. If there is a little triangle warning sign with an exclamation point next to your color that means it is out of gamut. The color in the box next to the warning sign will display the closest color it could find that is in gamut. If you click it, it will change your current color to the new color it suggested.

We can only hope that color gamut technology will improve in the future.

NOTE: You can change the color displayed to show out of gamut colors by going to Photoshop’s Preferences and selecting Transparency & Gamut.

File Size

While it’s really important to make sure you make your file the right size when you begin your project (especially with non-vector images), we are all human, so we’re bound to goof up here and there. If you absolutely can’t go back and start over, and you’ve realized your file is too big or small, Photoshop will try and help you out as best as it can. There’s a difference between resizing and resampling and what I’m going to talk more about is resampling. Click here if you’d like to read more about the two.

Anyways, I goofed up on my playing card size. I made my image too small and need to make it larger. My image dimensions are 800 pixels by 1092 pixels when it should be 822 pixels by 1122 pixels. I want to make my image bigger, but if I were to just change my dimensions to 822x1122 and go on my way, I would lose quality in my work.

The resample box, however, could possibly save the day for those in need of enlarging or decreasing the size of their image! In the drop down list in the resample box there are a few options to choose from. Here’s a list for quick reference on what each one does:

  • Automatic – Photoshop will choose which of the other options to use based on your file’s information, and whether you’re scaling up or down.
  • Preserve Details (enlargement) – When this option is chosen, Photoshop will attempt to reduce noise in your image to help enlargement become smoother and less upsetting.
  • Bicubic Smoother (enlargement) – Helps enlarge images that make use of bicubic interpolation resulting in a smoother result.
  • Bicubic Sharpener (reduction) – Like bicubic enlargement, but for reducing the size of your image and maintaining quality. It is recommended to use the next option Bicubic if this option sharpens your image too much.
  • Bicubic (smoother gradients) – More accurate than Nearest Neighbor and Bilinear, since it uses more complex calculations to see the relationship between nearby pixels. Might take more time and RAM to process.
  • Nearest Neighbor (hard edges) – Fast, but less precise than Bicubic. It preserves hard edges and produces smaller files. Can possibly produce poor quality to some files due to over manipulation.
  • Bilinear – Bilinear takes notes of the colors around pixels in an attempt to add the right pixels. It produces decent quality.

If you are unsure of which to use, it might be a good idea to go ahead and try a few to see which produces better results. Don’t forget to change your image dimensions to the size you wish, as well as use the resample options.

On A Completely Unrelated Note

This is my last bit for today, and it’s somewhat unrelated to what we’ve discussed so far. If you’re like me and forgot, or if you just didn’t know how to do so before, I’m going to show you how to give your text an outline!

So we’ve got some super cool text in our document, but it would be way cooler if it had an outline, right? Well you are in luck! This is a really simple fix. Go to your layer with your font and either right click or control click to get to Blending Options.

In Blending Options, find Stroke on the list and click it. You can now change how big of a stroke you want on your font, where it is positioned (outside, inside, etc.), how it blends, its opacity, and what color it is.


So Long

That’s all I have to cover this week. Hopefully more cool things were learned, and your skills are getting better.

Happy Arting!

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