Helen Bradley - Photoshop and Lightroom tips and techniques
I'm Helen Bradley - I'm a photographer and Photoshop professional. In this Photoshop and Lightroom blog you will find powerful Photoshop and Lightroom tips, tricks and techniques that will help you get more out of both programs. You will also find step by step guides for working creatively with your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop and any other cool applications I know you will be interested in knowing more about.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in complex design solutions I forget the simple things. Like making patterns! So here is a quick and easy solution to turning any jpeg image (or indeed any image you can open in Photoshop) into a repeating pattern. These aren’t seamless repeats – but not everyone wants them to be seamless – sometimes all you need is to make a repeating pattern from something! So here’s how to do it – just make your selection – save it as a pattern and fill a new document with it – it is quick and easy.
I’ll show you how to do this with text and with a photo, they both work exactly the same.
How to make a Las Vegas Style Retro Neon Sign in Illustrator
Neon is a fun effect to make and in this set of three video tutorials you will see how to make a retro neon sign in Illustrator. You will start by making the lights and the sign itself. In part 2 see how to add a glow effect to the sign to give it some light and dimension. In the final video see how to add the Neon text to the sign.
Here are clickable links to all three videos in the play order:
Perspective problems vary – they include keystoning issues where a building is smaller at the top than at the bottom. There is barrel distortion where the sides of the image bend out and pincushion distortion where they are sucked in. Luckily, for all these distortion and bending lines issues Lightroom has a tool that will fix them for you.
In this video you will learn to use the Upright tool and the manual adjustments for fixing lens distortion and perspective problems in Lightroom.
How to draw flowers in Illustrator quickly and easily using rotated shapes
Illustrator has a great rotation tool which makes it easy to make flowers. In this video you will see four very different flowers made in Illustrator and you will see now only how to make flowers but also how to use gradients and transparency and how to harness the power of the distort and transform effect to make the flowers automatically from one single shape.
This nightscape city drawing is fun to draw in Illustrator and, in drawing it, you will learn a lot of tricks and techniques for filling and making shapes in Illustrator. You will make patterns and create repeating elements and you will learn how to texture an image. This video is jam packed with useful Illustrator skills as well as being interesting and challenging to draw.
This Illustrator project is fun to make and will expand your Illustrator skills. You will learn to make a ribbon and how to bend it so it wraps around your retro badge shape. You will see how to make the shape from a circle with multiple fills. This process is a great way to make shapes in Illustrator and you’ll see how to make multiple strokes and the curvy zig-zag edge in the shape.
This new Illustrator video tutorial will show you how to draw a vintage penny farthing bicycle in Illustrator.
Highlights of the process is learning to create the spokes for the bicycle wheels as they can be drawn and rotated to make the process simple. You’ll also see how to create the vintage background which I think is pretty cool too and which is a textured background effect that you can use in other drawings too.
Flat icons with long shadows are the rage right now – here’s how to make them in Illustrator
Flat icons look great with long shadows. There are a few ways to make long shadows in Illustrator and, in this video, I show you two of them.
One method will work fine for your own icons – it’s fast and easy. The second method is suitable for selling flat design icon vectors as stock images – in that case you will want your shadows to be neater so the image you are selling is easier to understand by the person buying it. For this second method I’ll show you how to make shadows as neat paths.
Today I needed to make some text which is white where the layer below is black and black where the layer below is white.
I didn’t want the text to have to be made in two ways (for preference) and I did want it to remain editable. Turns out it is all very easy and it works like magic.
Start by creating your black and white layer. I used a zebra image but you can use anything. Type your text on a layer above and make it white. Then just set the blend mode for the text layer to Exclusion and the colors will flip – the white text will become black where the image below is black.
The wonderful thing about this effect is that the text remains editable and so too is your background. You can move or adjust the black and white layer and the text layer and everything just changes to match.
I’ve been working with glossy things in Illustrator recently and I’ve encountered an interesting situation in relation to black.
To create the glosses for the baubles I am making, I need to use a black to white gradient in screen blend mode. It turns out that there are different ‘grades’ of black and, although they look pretty much the same on the screen when you are looking at the black objects, they actually work differently when using with blend modes.
Here is the regular Illustrator black (from the Swatches panel) – I am working in RGB mode, and this is how a filled black circle looks when added over the underlying shape and blended using Screen blend mode. You can see clearly where the circle begins and ends. You can also see from the Color palette that the black isn’t truly black:
Here is the same shape, but this time I’ve set the K value in the CMYK specification for the color as 100% (RGB are all 0) and the result is very different and you can’t see the edges of the circle:
Even though I am working in RGB and even though I only plan to use the images on the web, nevertheless creating a more blacker black using the CMYK color specification makes for a different and better blend (at least in this situation). If you need to, it might be a good idea to add a black black to your swatches so it will always be available.
It sounds scary to be drawing facial icons if you can’t draw, but these are simple to make. The lovely thing about using Illustrator is that you can move pieces around until you get the result you like. You can also delete bits that you don’t like and redraw them.
In this Youtube video I’ll show you the basics of making a flat design female portrait in Illustrator. You’ll build it from the bottom up stating with the shoulders and neck and the clothes. Then make the head and add the features. Finally you’ll do the hair and the optional shadow. Building a solution up step by step like this is a great way to learn to use Illustrator and a fun way to put your skills to work.
Your design can be realistic or quirky, as these samples show but they are all done the same way with simple steps that anyone can do.
So, without further ado, here is the video for your enjoyment:
When you need to find everything you haven’t flagged, here’s two ways of doing it
The long way (using the menus) is to:
1. First click on the Folder containing the photos to check
2. In the Library module, choose Library > Enable Filters (if it is already checked then don’t select it!)
3. Choose Library > Filter by Flag > Unflagged Photos Only to see the unflagged photos.
If you flag any photos with this filter in place, they will immediately disappear from view – because they are no longer umflagged – they won’t match the current filter.
When you are done, click Filters Off to go back to viewing all the photos.
The second way to isolate unflagged photos:
Again, is to click on the Folder containing the photos to check
Now, on the Filter bar, just above the Filmstrip click the middle of the three flag icons. You will see the Unflagged Photos alert appear temporarily to indicate you have selected to view unflagged photos only.
How to resize your artboard to match the size of your Illustrator image
You’ve probably experienced the problem where you draw something in Illustrator and, when you are done, the artboard is way too big for the image. For convenience you need to scale down the artboard so it matches the size of your image.
Now you could go and grab the Artboard tool and start adjusting its size but there is an easier way. Start by selecting the objects on the artboard and then click the Artboard tool in the Tools panel twice. This opens up the Artboard Options Panel. From the Preset dropdown list choose Fit to Selected Art. The artboard will be instantly resized to fit the art on the artboard.
Click another tool such as the Selection tool to deselect the Artboard and you are good to go – you’ve cropped the excess artboard away from your artwork.