8 Photoshop Tricks You Should Know
Friday 28 July 2017

8 Photoshop Tricks You Should Know

1. Rounded Corner Frame

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Back in the days of film, some labs would print photographs and round off the corners of the frames. This effect can also be used for any other shape.

1. Duplicate the background (image) layer.

2. Select the background layer and fill (Edit > Fill...) with white (or black or whatever color you want to appear as the frame for the image).

3. Select the Shape tool on the Toolbar. Right click on it to select different shapes. For example’s sake, select the rounded corner rectangle tool. Set the Radius to 30px.

4. Draw your frame over the image. Move it with the Move tool.

5. Drag the duplicated image layer over the shape layer in the Layers palette. Alt+click on the image layer to create a clipping mask and apply the frame.

2. Washed Out 70s Feel

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Real photographs fade over time, but not evenly across the color spectrum.

1. Create a new Hue/Saturation layer and change the blending mode from Normal to Saturation

2. Check “Colorize” at the bottom of the adjustment window and set the Saturation to about 15, Lightness to about -28.

3. To lower the contrast of the image, create a new Curves layer above that Hue/Saturation layer and raise the leftmost point (the black point) to about input 0, output 20.

3. Miniature Effect

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This effect’s been going around the Internet for a few years now, but it’s still neat. Most modern cameras have fixed lenses and sensor positions. This treatment replicates the focus of a large format camera with heavy shifts to how the lens sits, causing focus to fall off above and below and giving the impression that the subject matter is tiny.

1. Duplicate your background (image) layer.

2. Convert that layer for Smart Filters (Filter > Convert for Smart Filters) so you can go back and adjust the amount of blur we’re about to add.

3. Apply a Gaussian Blur via Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. A healthy amount, say 15px, is good to start off with.

4. On that same layer, create a layer mask by clicking the mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

5. Go to the Gradient tool on the toolbar and change the type of gradient to Reflected (fourth icon in on from the left).

6. With the mask selected on the Layers palette, draw a vertical line from the center of your subject to the top of the image. Where you start your line will be where it is most sharp.

7. Go back and double click on the Gaussian Blur layer to add or remove blur to make it a little more seamless.

4. Shadow/Highlight Tool

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The shadow/highlight tool (Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight) is a quick and dirty way to bring out details lost in muddy shadows or bright images. The basic settings come up as default, with just two sliders, one for recovering detail and generally darkening down brighter areas and one that does just the opposite in the shadows. Checking Show More Options brings up more detailed sliders; Tonal Width controls just how much of the image is considered in the shadows, Radius controls how much to blend between the areas being affected and not. Color correction adjusts for shifts in saturation in color, which is particularly important for highlight adjustments. Midtone contrast is a basic contrast adjustment for those areas between shadows and highlights. Best used when on night scenes with even but dark lighting.

5. Adding Fill Light

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Another trick using the selections generated from Channels as adjustment layer masks.

1. Load the RGB channel as a selection by cmd+clicking on it in the Channel palette.

2. Create a new Curves layer, automatically creating a layer mask with the selection.

3. Alt+click on the selection and invert it by hitting cmd+i.

4. Apply a curve to the mask by hitting cmd+m.

5. Move the leftmost point (the black point) to about a quarter of the way in. Move the rightmost point (the white point) to about three-quarters of the way in.

6. Right now, the mask is adjusted to just the midtones of the image. Return to the normal view by hitting the eye icon on the curves layer.

7. Pull up on the curve at about halfway to apply a bit of fill light to your image’s shadowy areas.

6. Non-Destructive Workflow

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At the simplest level, a non-destructive workflow means that you never actually work on the background layer of the image. By adding adjustment layers and layers filled with Heal Brush-ed and Clone Stamp-ed retouches, you are adding to the file size, but in the end you aren’t actually changing the original file. This is paramount if you plan on doing any more work on the files in the future, including printing or sizing for web.

7. Redeye Removal

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This is in the same vein as taking the yellow out of teeth.

1. Create a Hue/Saturation layer via Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation Layer.

2. Select the white box (the mask icon) of the new Hue/Saturation layer in the Layers palette and fill that with black (Edit > Fill...)

3. Using the brush tool, paint white over the red in the eyes you’d like to remove.Nothing will change as we’ve not adjusted the Hue/Saturation yet.

4. Back on the Adjustment Layer panel, change the colors affected from “Master” to “Reds”. Reduce the Saturation level to about 15% and raise the lightness to remove shadow in the eyes.

8. Selective Color Matching

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1. Matching colors in a scene creates cohesion within the frame; matching the red in lipstick to red in wallpaper, blue in eyes to the sky, etc. Basically simplifies an image by removing extraneous colors; a simplified color palette is a “tighter” feeling photograph.

2. This varies from image to image, but using Selective Color, Hue/Saturation and Curves adjustment layers will get the majority of the work done. Changing the blending mode to “Color” for any of these will help as well.