Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
Learn to quickly turn a Shape into a Path in Photoshop
Sometimes you get caught in Photoshop working with a shape when what you really want is a path. Luckily it’s easy to convert from one to the other – even if it isn’t obvious how to do it.
Start with the Layers palette open and make sure you have at least one layer in the document in addition to your shape layer. If you don’t, choose Layer > New > Layer and click Ok.
Click on the Shape layer in the Layers palette and open the Paths palette.
You will see the shape path there – double click it and give the new path a new name such as path1 and press Ok.
Now remove the original shape layer by clicking it and press Delete and you will be left with just your path.
So there’s a simple but not obvious answer to the question “How do I convert a shape to a path in Photoshop?”
Labels: convert a shape to a path, Photoshop CC, photoshop cc 2014, Photoshop CS6
Thursday, January 1st, 2015
When you create a path but you want a shape, here’s how to make a path into a shape in Photoshop
1. First create your path – it should be a closed path. In most cases this will already be done because it is at this point you realise that you have a path but what you really want is a shape.
2. With the Path selected in the Paths palette, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color, click Ok, choose a color and click Ok again.
3. If you now look in the Layers palette you will see that you have a Shape layer – the shape having been created from your original Work Path.
Simple when you know how!
Labels: how to convert a path to a shape, Photoshop CC, photoshop cc 2014, Photoshop CS6
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Switch between the Dodge and Burn tools with one key press
While you are making small photo edits one easy trick that could save you a lot of time is switching between pairs of editing tools like Dodge and Burn with one key press.
So to change from the Dodge to the Burn tool (or vice versa), hold down the Alt key (Option on the Mac).
While you have the Alt key (Option key) held you will be using the other tool. Let go the Alt (Option) key to return to the original tool you were using.
Now you can easily move back and forth between tools to speed up your edits.
Photo credit: © anitab0000 freeimages.com
Labels: Alt, burn, dodge, edit photos, editor, keyboard shortcut, option, Photography, photos, Photoshop, quick, quick tool, shortcut key, tools
Friday, November 21st, 2014
Quickly change the brush size (without using the slider)
When you’re using any tool in Photoshop that uses a brush such as the Brush itself, Eraser, Dodge, Burn and many others, you can change the size of the brush using a keyboard shortcut rather than having to use the size slider. This fast and easy shortcut can save you a lot of messing around.
To change the size of the brush for any tool that uses it, press the opening square bracket key ([) to decrease the size of the brush and press the closing square bracket key (]) to increase the size of the brush.
Notice from the top image to this one the brush has increased in size (I pressed the keyboard shortcut ] to do this) and I can easily make my adjustments without having to mess around with the brush size slider.
Photo credit: © anitab0000 freeimages.com
Labels: [ bracket, bracket key, brush size, burn, change brush size, dodge, edit photo, keyboard shortcut, Photography, Photoshop, quick tip, shortcut key, size slider, sponge tool
Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Notice the refresh icon is greyed out!
Help! Kuler won’t sync with Illustrator!
Unfortunately when Adobe changed how Kuler works with Illustrator CC they broke a great tool. Instead of being able to search for color schemes from inside Illustrator you now have to do this on the web and favorite a color scheme if you want it to appear in Illustrator. At least that’s the theory – in practice Kuler is very slow to update in Illustrator making it nearly impossible to use it in a meaningful way – unless you know how to force it to update.
While you should be able to click the Refresh button at the foot of the Kuler panel most of the time this is greyed out – so you can’t force a refresh. The only solution that reliably works for me is to sign out of your Creative Cloud account inside Illustrator then sign in again.
So, to force the update, go to Help and click to sign out – in practical terms you are deregistering your Adobe account on this computer for now. Now close Illustrator and restart it – when prompted to do so, log in to your Adobe account and voila! Kuler will update.
Seriously Adobe really should be more proactive in fixing this stuff when it breaks like this. It shouldn’t be too hard to do – just make the Refresh button do what it is supposed to do!
For what it is worth, the problems with Kuler occur with both the Windows and Mac version of Illustrator.
Labels: Adobe, color schemes online, creative cloud, Illustrator, kuler, kuler update, osx, windows
Friday, September 19th, 2014
Image Credit: © 2014 freeimages.com, anitab0000
Help! How to center a layer’s contents in Photoshop
Whether you’re making a simple document, newsletter or editing a photo a necessity is being able to center your layers. This task took me by surprise as to how challenging it was but in a few steps it can easily be done.
First press Control and click the layer thumbnail for the layer you want to center in your Layers panel.
Click Select > All (Control/Command + A). This makes all of your layers selected. You can tell this is done by the marching ants around your full image.
Click Layer >Align Layers to Selection > Horizontal Centers.
Notice that your layer is now centered.
Press Control/Command + D to deselect your layers.
Now your layer content is deselected and aligned horizontally and you’re free to continue editing.
Labels: alignment, center layer, Center text, Layers, Photoshop
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Need to check what you didn’t pick in Lightroom – here’s how!
My workflow for choosing the best of my photos in Lightroom is to go through the photos in a folder and either click the Pick flag, the Reject flag or simply move past the photo onto the next one. Now sometimes I’d like to review the photos that I haven’t picked – they aren’t the best but they aren’t rejects. I will do this just in case there are some good images I have overlooked.
So, how do you display only the unflagged photos? Luckily it’s dead easy to do this.
These icons across the top of the filmstrip are, from right to left: Show Flagged Photos (ie Pick Flag is on), Show Unflagged photos (no flag present) and Show Rejected photos (Reject flag on).
So, click the middle flag to see only those photos that don’t have either the Pick or Reject flags enabled.
Now, if you add a Pick (or Reject) flag to one of the images it will immediately disappear from view – that’s because this filter is a live filter – it only shows the unflagged photos and as soon as a photo has a flag it no longer matches the filter so it is removed from view.
Of course, when you are done, make sure to select Filters Off from the Filters: list (or click the same flag a second time) to return to viewing all your photos.
Labels: clear filter, filter, flagged, Lightroom, rejected, show unflagged photos, unflagged
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Love Canva? Here are some keyboard shortcuts to speed up your designs
Control (or Command) + A Select everything in the design
Click on an area which is not selected – Deselect current selection
Control (or Command) + ] or Control (or Command) + Down Arrow – Move the selection down one layer
Control (or Command) + [ or Control (or Command) + Up Arrow – Move the selection up one layer
Control (or Command) + ; Show/Hide the layout grid
Alt (or Option) + Shift + B – Add a border around the text
Alt (or Option) + Shift + + (the plus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad) to make the border wider
Alt (or Option) + Shift + – (the minus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad) to make the border thinner
Control (or Command) + Shift + K – selected text to uppercase/lowercase (toggle) (this may not be visible if you are using an all caps font)
Control (or Command) + Click on an already selected object to select the object directly below it (Canva suggests this works, it doesn’t for me but YMMD)
Up arrow / Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow – Nudge a selected shape in the direction of the arrow
Shift + Up arrow (or Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow) – Move the selected shape a larger amount in the direction of the arrow
To rotate an object to 45 or 90 degrees (or multiples of these), rotate it slowly when you are near a 45 degree increment and you will see it snap into position
Canva provides a fun tutorial to help you practice some of these shortcut keys which you will find here: https://support.canva.com/hc/en-us/articles/202777824-How-do-I-use-keyboard-shortcuts-
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
Harness the power of scripts to automate tasks in Illustrator
Where Photoshop has Actions, Illustrator has Scripts that help you automate complex and tedious tasks. You don’t need to know how to write code – just how to copy and paste it to harness the power of scripts to automate your workflow in Illustrator.
From scripts which make a rectangle the size of the artboard, which make metaball shapes and divide text frames you’ll find lots of practical use for scripts every day. I’ll show you how to find scripts online that you can use. I’ll show you how to find free scripts for Illustrator, how to download scripts and install them. I’ll even show you how to make a script file if you can find the code but it’s not in a downloadable format.
So you will learn to make use of .js and .jsx scripts and how to copy and paste script code from a web page and save it correctly so you can install it into Illustrator. I’ll also show you how to run the scripts you download.
Some of the scripts discussed include join reasonably which joins paths better than Illustrator does and a range of other handy scripts.
Labels: best scripts for illustrator, download scripts, free download, free scripts for illustrator, Illustrator, illustrator scripting, illustrator scripts, install scripts, scripts, use scripts in ilustrator, video
Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
More complex than it looks, here’s how to make a Wave Pattern in Illustrator
Learn how to create a wave pattern in Illustrator. You will see how to draw the starting shape and how to fill it. You will learn how you can test it to see how it will look and then adjust it if necessary before continuing.
You will use the Shape Builder tool to build the actual pattern starting piece and the new Pattern feature in Illustrator CS6 & Illustrator CC to make the repeating pattern swatch.
Labels: curly, Illustrator, ocean, pattern make, pattern swatch, pen tool, repeating pattern, shape builder, vector pattern, wave, wave pattern
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Recently I made a post giving thanks to the wonderful font creators who distribute their work for free. Today I’d like to thank the image and texture artists who are doing the same and making my life in Photoshop so much easier. If you are looking for texture resources then I cannot give any higher recommendations than these. The links provided will take you to specific textures, but each author’s entire portfolio is worth exploring.
Skeletal Mess - A brilliant independent image and texture author.
FreeImages.com - A massive archive of free images and textures.
TextureKing.com – Another great texture resource.
Mayang.com – Many useful day to day surface textures.
Labels: backgrounds, creative commons, credit, free, images, textures, thank you
Monday, July 28th, 2014
Create a multi-dimensional Illustrator shape from a simple star
Learn to create this multidimensional shape in Illustrator starting with a simple 20 point star.
You will learn how to make the points of the star round, how to fill it with a color and a pattern then how to create the outside and inside strokes.
The entire effect (minus the background and text) is one single resizable fully adjustable vector shape.
Labels: appearance panel, dimensional, fill, Illustrator, layered shape, multiple strokes, star, strokes, vector shape
Sunday, July 27th, 2014
Learn the secrets of how to Rotate Text in all versions of Word – 2003, 2007, 2010 & 2013
One of my most popular blog posts deals with the problem of rotating text in Microsoft Word. The issue is that in prior versions putting text in a shape and then rotating it just rotated the shape – not the text – sucks huh?
While the newer versions of Word work more reliably – not all of them do! Here’s the video version of that blog post – you will see how to rotate text in any version of Word from 2003 onwards and also see what doesn’t work so you don’t waste time trying!
I’ll show you how to rotate text through 90 degrees, 180 degrees and any other rotation you need and we’ll use Text Boxes, Word Art, Tables and Shapes to do it.
Labels: Microsoft Word, rotated text, vedio