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Learn PhotoshoP cc & Lightroom the easy way! Issue 58 January 2016

Montage Masterclass 3D type skills HDr explaineD

EssEntial Photo FixEs

get to grips witH tHe pHotosHop tools tHat can iMprove alMost any iMage

Learn PhotoshoP cc & Lightroom the easy way! Issue 58 January 2016

Learn PhotoshoP cc & Lightroom the easy way! Issue 58 January 2016

Montage Masterclass 3D type skills HDr explaineD

Montage Masterclass 3D type skills HDr explaineD

EssEntial Photo FixEs

get to grips witH tHe pHotosHop tools tHat can iMprove alMost any iMage


DoWnloaD THE PRojEcT FIlEs

EssEntial Photo FixEs

get to grips witH tHe pHotosHop tools tHat can iMprove alMost any iMage

Welcome to issue 58 of Practical Photoshop! If you enjoy the issue, why not subscribe and get a whole year for just $19.99? We go back to basics this month and explain essential editing skills that will benefit most, if not all, of the images you make. You’ll also learn how to add 3D type and reflections to a scene, create stunning mono HDRs and build a playful montage.

To download this issue's files, type the following link into your web browser on your PC or Mac:

FInD us HERE… Also available on:

James Paterson, Editor •

HigHligHts: WHAt’s iNsiDE… The latest Photoshop news

Essential photo fixes

n Welcome CC 2015.1 n From toning skills and the wonderful to perfect cropping, Adobe Fuse get the basics right

Make magical mirror images

n Learn how to create an incredible mirror montage

Black-andwhite HDR

n High-dynamicrange images in stark monochrome

Get creative with 3D type

n Discover how to blend 3D type with a 2D scene


PhotoShoP CC 2015.1 arrivES Creative Cloud members have a treat to bring in the new year: a Photoshop update with features galore The end of the year brought a fresh, newlook Photoshop CC 2015.1 with an array of improvements. The first thing you’ll notice about the latest Photoshop update, besides the rather beautiful

new splash screen, is the Start Workspace, which gives you quick access to recently opened files, online content and Adobe Stock. Our first reaction was what will probably be quite a

common one: how do I turn this thing off and open files the old way? (Just go to Preferences > General and uncheck Show Start Workspace.) After a few hours, however, the new start screen begins to make a bit more sense. We can see how it would be useful for those wanting to learn how to use certain tools or discover new features. The new document size preset are good; quick access to libraries content is welcome; and it is useful to be presented with a list of recent files on startup. But then we could do that already with File > Open Recent. The lower section, with links to mobile apps and Adobe Stock, is only useful for those who don’t know about

The sleek Start Workspace gives you rapid access to recent files, libraries and presets. You can also search for stock photos and access tutorials.

these features. As soon as you do, the lower half of the screen becomes redundant. We may have mixed feelings about the Start Workspace, but there are lots of improvements elsewhere. The interface has a fresher, flatter look, and the new customisable toolbar is a winner. This lets you pare down the toolbar to just the tools you need by tucking little-used ones out of sight in a sub-menu. Click and hold the three dots at the bottom of the toolbar to open the custom options, then remove any tools you don’t need by dragging them to the Extra Tools section. The new export features will also prove very useful for anyone who needs to quickly export their file in a specific

format. Go to File > Export Preferences to set up a quick export, then choose your format, such as a low-quality JPEG, and save the preset. Now you can go to File > Quick Export to make a copy of your image whenever you need to. Adobe continues to refine its cloud-based features for an integrated workflow across devices, platforms and continents. As such, there are a number of improvements to Libraries. You can now export all the assets from a document into a library, as well as drag and drop layers and brushes directly from their panels. Elsewhere, designers will be pleased to see improvements to artboards, and touchscreen users such as those with a Surface Pro will see more

The Oil Paint filter is back in CC 2015.1!

nuanced touch functionality. New type controls let you choose your favourite fonts for quick access, or sort fonts by type. And new SVG support lets you place and scale SVG files in Photoshop documents. It’s the little things that make us smile too, such as the ability to copy layers between documents just by dragging a layer from the Layers panel. And then there’s the reintroduction of the muchmissed Oil Paint filter.

aFFiNity Photo WiNS aPPlE aWarD Congratulations to the team behind Affinity Photo, which has just been chosen by Apple as the best Mac App of 2015. Affinity Photo has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years – and it’s now in a position where many see it as a worthy alternative to Photoshop. With familiar features like layers and raw support, anyone with Photoshop experience will feel instantly at home within the app. A full licence costs £29.99 on the App Store.

CrEatE 3D CharaCtErS With NEW aDobE FuSE Adobe Fuse is a brand-new application that lets you create 3D characters from scratch. They can then be integrated into your Photoshop artwork. Making a 3D person is surprisingly easy thanks to the variety of readymade figures, shapes and outfits. You can then drop the person into your Photoshop document and use Photoshop’s 3D controls to position, light or even animate them. It’s stupidly easy to make 3D characters, even if you’ve no experience of 3D software. Simply mix and match faces, body parts, clothes and accessories, then export the character to your library before heading in to Photoshop to add them to your artwork. You can then choose from various animations to find a pose that works for your new character. Anyone with an Adobe ID can download a preview version of Fuse. But it’s available for “a limited time”, says Adobe, so it’s worth getting as soon as you can.

Assemble a unique 3D character and add it to your Photoshop artwork with Adobe Fuse.

EssEntial Photo FixEs This issue, we go back to basics and explore the fundamental features you need to fix and enhance your photos – from making simple tonal adjustments to essential edits like sharpening, cropping and much more... DownloaD the project files here on your pc or mac

Master color and tone Five essential toning tricks every photographer needs to know before

watch the video

The first stop for any image is usually a tonal adjustment. The best place to begin making these kind of adjustments is the Camera Raw Basic Panel – even if you

don’t shoot raw. (Right-click JPEGs in Bridge and choose Open in Camera Raw to adjust them). After making initial tweaks to correct colors, set white and black points,

and – if necessary – fix the exposure, we can then go into Photoshop to selectively enhance different areas with a powerful combination of adjustment layers and masks...



shoot in raw


set white and black points

One of the main reasons why many photographers choose to shoot in raw is the extra color and tonal information. Raws have a greater dynamic range than JPEGs, which means extra detail at the extremes of the tonal range in highlights and shadows.


fix the white balance

shooting raw also means you can change the white balance. Choose a preset from the white Balance drop-down in Camera Raw’s Basic panel; set the Temperature and Tint sliders manually; or click on a neutral point with Camera Raw’s white Balance Tool.

usually we want a full range of tones in images – but we don’t want too much pure white or black, as these areas lack detail. Alt-drag Camera Raw’s whites and Blacks sliders until just before pixels appear, or shift+double-click each slider to set points automatically.


Use cUrves to adjUst the tones


Make selective adjUstMents

found in both Camera Raw and Photoshop, the Curves command may seem complicated at first, but it quickly becomes the most intuitive means for adjusting tones and applying contrast. The diagonal line can be reshaped at different points to adjust either the shadows (to the left) or the highlights (to the right). A shallow s-shaped curve will boost contrast by pinning down shadows and lifting highlights.

make selective adjustments to lighten, darken or add contrast to various areas. in Photoshop, the best way to do this is with a combination of Adjustment layers and layer masks. Add an Adjustment layer and make a change to the tones, such as a Curves adjustment, then press Cmd/Ctrl+i to invert its mask to black. now grab the Brush Tool and paint white to reveal the tonal effect.

Perfect PersPective Use Camera Raw’s Upright controls to fix keystoning, barrel distortion and more Use of wide-angle lenses like the 1635mm used for this shot will usually result in some kind of distortion, either from a lens-related issue like barrel


distortion, or from perspective distortion such as converging verticals. These are easy to fix in Camera Raw (or Lightroom) with the excellent Lens Profile and Upright settings‌

watch the video

DownLoaD The PRojeCT fiLes heRe on yoUR PC oR maC


sPlit-tone the image


Use UPright bUttons

in Bridge, right-click the start image; choose open in Camera Raw. in the Basic panel, we’ve boosted Clarity and shadows, and lowered highlights. in the hsL/Grayscale panel, check Convert to Grayscale, then add color shifts with the split Tone panel.


Use a lens Profile

next, go to the Lens Correction panel on the right. Click the Profile Tab, then check enable Lens Profile Corrections. Camera Raw will hopefully detect the lens you used automatically, but if not, choose it yourself using the drop-down lists.

The Lens Profile corrections fix barrel distortion and vignetting, but they don’t help with our start image’s converging verticals. for this, click the manual tab then try the four Upright buttons- auto, Level, Vertical and full. auto does a pretty good job here by fixing the verticals and straightening the image, but it’s not perfect…


fine-tUne the verticals

move on to the sliders below the Upright buttons to fine-tune the perspective manually. first drag left on the scale slider until you can see the edges of the frame, then adjust the horizontal and Vertical sliders until the verticals look right. To finish, grab the Crop Tool and crop the edges.

why not try? adaPtive wide angle

found in Photoshop under filter > adaptive wide angle, this is another means for fixing verticals or correcting barrel distortion. it works by letting you plot lines along important lines in the image, like the horizon. These lines are then straightened. you can hold shift while adjusting the circles that pop up to snap the lines to horizontal or vertical.

Crop skills

Images will often benefit from a tighter crop, so it pays to know the ins and outs of Photoshop’s Crop Tool...



01 03


02 watCh the viDeo


Delete CroppeD pixels

Check this, and the Crop Tool will permanently delete any cropped areas. Leave it unchecked, and the crop remains non-destructive, so you can restore the missing areas later.


Crop ratios

With the Crop Tool active, right-click on the image for a menu with a number of common ratios – like 2:3, which is a standard SLR camera image ratio.


Crop box shortCuts


Crop overlays

While you drag the crop box, hold down Shift to constrain the proportions to the original ratio. Hold Alt to drag a crop from the centre. Press X to toggle a vertical or horizontal crop orientation.

The overlay menu features several useful compositional guides. (See the next page.) Once turned on, press O to toggle through them and Shift+O to change the orientation.


prepare for print


fix tilt

If you want to output the image for a specific print size, like 15x10 inches at 300 pixels/inch here, choose W x H x Resolution in the topleft drop-down, then type the dimensions you want into the three boxes. To fix wonky horizons. Click Straighten, then drag along part of the scene you know to be either perfectly horizontal or vertical.

Composition 101

The Crop Tool offers several different overlays that display classic compositional rules – but what exactly do they all mean?

rule of thirDs

GolDen trianGles

This is the best-known rule; it’s not always the best choice, but it’s certainly the easiest to remember. Divide an image frame by three, both horizontally and vertically. Then either place points of interest at one of the four intersections of the lines, or use the lines to organise your composition, perhaps by placing a horizon on the upper third.

Imagine a diagonal line running from one corner to the other. Then place a second line that runs perpendicular to the first and meets up with one of the other corners. Place points of interest where the lines meet, or use the diagonal lines to divide up your composition. It’s particularly useful for images with strong diagonal elements.

GolDen ratio

GolDen spiral

The Golden Ratio is a more nuanced, and arguably more important, compositional rule than the Rule of Thirds. The number 1.618 is a proportion that features throughout nature, and in many great works of art. In terms of an image frame, we begin with a square, one unit in length, then add a rectangle to it, 0.618 units in length. Objects of interest in an image should be placed on the dividing lines.

This is based on the Golden Ratio. Remember that the Golden Ratio creates a square and a rectangle? That rectangle can be divided into another square and rectangle of the same proportions, and so on. By applying the ratio 1.618 repeatedly to the rectangle within the rectangle, then drawing a line through the intersections, we can form a spiral. Place the point of interest at the centre of it.

watch the video

Sharpening and noiSe reduction Get to grips with vital noise reduction and sharpening controls to improve grainy images shot with high ISOs


Almost all images will benefit from sharpening at some stage – particularly if you shoot in raw. And noise reduction is vital on images shot with a high ISO - anything above ISO 400 is likely to need it. Both edits are easily made in Camera Raw’s Detail panel... DOwnlOAD the pROjeCt fIleS heRe On yOuR pC OR mAC

the camera raw detail panel amount

a higher value will preserve more detail in the shot.

this controls the overall strength of the sharpening effect, or rather, how much contrast is applied to edges.

luminance contraSt

this option preserves contrast, but may lead to blotchiness or a mottled texture.


Radius controls the distance from edges at which the sharpening occurs. A higher radius may lead to edge haloes.


eradicate the blotchy spots of color that can occur in some shots, particularly if the image is underexposed.


this sets the threshold for what is seen as an edge. At 0, only the really noticeable edges are sharpened, while at 100, the tiniest details are.

color detail


this lets you hold sharpening back from smooth areas. try holding the Alt key while dragging – the black areas will be masked from the sharpening effect.


this controls the strength of the noise reduction, targeting the grainy noise in the image.

luminance detail

A useful option to apply to very noisy photos. AÂ lower value will get rid of pockmarking, while

A high value will protect the edges of colors and stop smudging; a low value removes speckles but can result in color bleeds.

color SmoothneSS If some areas in your image are looking mottled, try ironing them out with this.


open and zoom


tweak the detail

Right-click the start image in Bridge and choose Open in Camera Raw. Doubleclick the Zoom tool to jump to 100% view, which is the best value to judge the strength of your noise reduction and sharpening as you apply it.


fix the noiSe

Start by increasing noise luminance. this helps to reduce the grain that can show in areas of soft focus. Drag it to a point where the grain disappears, but not so far that the details get blurry. use the Before/After splitscreen view to judge the effect.

next, move on to the luminance Detail slider. this can help to reduce pockmarking – the unsightly little blobs in the soft background here. first hold the Alt key and drag the slider to the right for a grayscale view that shows the pockmarking effect, then drag the slider to the left until the blotchy marks disappear.


adjuSt color SliderS


maSk the Sharpening

luminance Contrast can dial in more contrast if the Detail slider has taken it away. It’s not needed here. the Color sliders help get rid of blotchy discoloration that can occur in shadows. Adjust it, along with Color Detail and Smoothness, until any color noise goes.


apply Sharpening

now it’s time to sharpen any edges that may begun to look a little smudgy. Start with Amount. Drag it until the edges are sharpened. Don’t worry for now if the noise begins to reappear. next, adjust the Radius. A fairly high setting of 1.5 works here.

Adjust the Detail slider. A high value will mean finer edges will be sharpened, so it works for the detail on the bird. finally, double-click the hand tool to zoom back out, then hold Alt and drag the masking slider until all but the finer details are black. this masks the sharpening from the soft areas in the image, where it’s unnecessary.

why not try? painterly effect with noiSe reduction try dragging the luminance slider to 100, then knock the Detail slider down to 0 to give your image a smudgy effect like a digital painting


watch the video

Retouching tRicks

Perfect your images by removing marks, blemishes and spots Glass can be a real nightmare to shoot. Aside from all the unwanted reflections, it’s very hard to keep the surface of the glass

perfectly clean of marks or fingertips. So, as is often the case with a still-life like this – or a portrait, or any shot that needs a tidy up – a little

retouching is in order. The best tool for the job is the Spot Healing Brush. Use it on a separate layer to preserve your original. Here’s how…

DownloAD THe projecT fileS Here on yoUr pc or mAc


sample all layeRs


smooth out Rough patches

open the start image. in the layers panel, click the new layer icon. Grab the Spot Healing Brush from the Tools panel. Go to the options at the top and check Sample All layers. now we can work on the empty layer while sampling from the layer below‌


heal maRks and blemishes

work around the image with the Spot Healing Brush, painting over messy spots to remove them. Use ] and [ to resize the brush as you go, and hold cmd/ctrl+Space then drag left or right to quickly zoom in and out of different areas of the image.

once the healing is done, make a new layer to smooth out messy tonal patches. Grab the clone Tool and set Sample: All layers in the top options. press 3 for 30% opacity. Alt-click to sample a nearby area to the rough patch, then click repeatedly to gradually smooth it out.

why not tRy? batch-pRocess to Remove sensoR maRks


if the same camera sensor mark afflicts an entire set of images, first right-click one of the files in Bridge and choose open in camera raw. Use the Spot removal Tool to remove the offending mark, then click Done.


in Bridge, right-click the file and choose Develop Settings > copy Settings. click all of the other files that are affected, then right-click and go to Develop Settings > paste Settings. check Spot removal and click oK.


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Shoot the impoSSible

James Paterson explains how to combine three images into one and create a trick mirror-image Reflections are a terrific subject for photographic trickery. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to create a mirror image that couldn’t possibly have occurred (because the camera should be visible in the mirror). It’s a neat visual trick that echoes MC Escher’s mirror ball sketch, and, like the best trickery, it all begins incamera. You’ll need three images. In the first, the subject holds the camera with one hand, and stretches the other out to the surface of the mirror. In the second, he switches hands to

capture the other arm stretched out. And in the third, he holds the camera below his chin to capture his face. If you plan to shoot your own images for this, keep your camera and body position as fixed as possible so that everything can be aligned. Once you’ve opened these images in Photoshop, all you have to do is combine the arms and head to create a seamless composite that makes the camera invisible. This is easy enough using layer masks, selections and a little cloning to tidy things up.

watch the video

project info You’ll learn how you can create an ‘impossible photo’ in Photoshop using layers, masks and selections; how to mask out sections of layers; how to blend layers You’ll need Photoshop CC it’ll take 20 minutes



drag and drop

Open our start files mirror1.jpg and mirror2. jpg. Grab the Move Tool. Drag mirror2.jpg up to the tab of mirror1. jpg, then down into its window to copy it on top. Press 5 to set the layer opacity to 50%. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform, then position and rotate the top layer to match the frame below.


make a Selection

Press Enter to apply and 0 to bring the opacity back to 100%. next, grab the lasso Tool. Drag a rough selection from the top, through the right shoulder and down the middle of the body to the bottom, then drag around the edges to complete a selection of the right half.


create a layer maSk

Right-click the selection, choose feather and set feather Radius to about 30px to soften the edges of the selection. Click the Add Mask button in the layers panel to turn the selection into a layer mask. Everything but the selected area will be hidden, revealing the layer below.


Select the head

Open mirror3.jpg. Grab the Quick selection Brush from the Tools panel and paint over the head and neck to select it (hold Alt and paint to subtract if you go wrong). Click the Refine Edge button at the top. set Radius to 1.7 and paint over the hair. Choose Output to: selection, then click OK.


poSition and maSk

with the Move Tool, drag the head up to the mirror1 tab, then down again to copy it on top. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T and use the bounding box to position the head. Press Enter to apply. Click the Add Mask icon in the layers panel. Paint with a soft black brush to blend the neck in.


tidy up

Click the new layer icon in the layers panel and drag it below the head layer. Grab the Clone Tool and check sample: Current and Below in the tool options. hold Alt to sample a clean source area, then clone to tidy rough patches like the hand. Clone to rebuild any missing body parts.



majestic mono hdr

watch the video

Blend exposures, then tone in Camera Raw If you’re ever in a highcontrast shooting situation such as a bright, sunny day, your camera may struggle to capture detail in both the shadows and the highlights. With landscapes, typically either the bright sky will get blown out, or the land will be underexposed. The solution: put

your camera on a tripod and shoot a bracketed series of exposures. These can then be blended together into one seamless whole using Photoshop’s HDR tools. And then, why not try a blackand-white treatment? It steers the effect away from overcooked colours, for more of a classic feel.

project info You’ll learn How to merge a series of different exposures into a single shot; how to convert a shot to mono You’ll need Photoshop CC it’ll take 20 minutes

DoWnloAD THe PRojeCT fIles HeRe on youR PC oR mAC

learn lightroom today!

watch the video

This month, discover how to organise your image library with Smart Collections If you’d like to watch the complete course now, get the app from the Apple App Store

like this? now available on the apple app store

buy now!


Make a stand-out seaside slogan

watch the video

James Paterson delves into Photoshop’s 3D controls to explain how to render solid text Over the past few years Photoshop’s 3D controls have become much more intuitive. You only need to grasp a few basics to create 3D words. To make a 3D shape, we either use one of the basic ‘mesh presets’ (which includes spheres, cones and, for some reason, a wine bottle), or we make a flat shape that we then extrude. This simply means adding depth to a shape, as if we were cutting it out of a plank

of wood. This means we can turn flat letters into 3D blocks. When placing objects, imagine that your view is like a flying camera that can go anywhere. We want to match the view of the object to the camera angle and scene, which involves a neat trick with the Vanishing Point filter. Once the view is set, we can position our objects in the scene. This is best done with the colorful axis widget.

project info You’ll learn how to add letters in Photoshop; how to use the 3D panel to turn a flat shape into a solid object; how to light an object; and how to render an object You’ll need Photoshop cc it’ll take 30 minutes

DOWnlOaD The PrOJecT files here On YOur Pc Or mac


tyPe your words

Open the start file beach_before.jpg. Grab the Type Tool. select a blocky font (we used avenir next condensed heavy) and type away. use the character and Paragraph panels to arrange the text to suit. next, select 3D > new 3D extrusion from selected layer…


Match the PersPective

click the Background layer. select filter > Vanishing Point. Plot a grid that follows the ground perspective, then click OK. highlight the 3D layer. in the 3D panel, click current View. in the Properties panel, select Vanishing Point Grid from the View dropdown menu.


Position the letters

click on the letters with the move Tool, then select 3D > move Object To Ground Plane. Drag the ‘move on Z/X’ and ‘rotate around Y’ parts of the axis widget to roughly position the letters. select 3D > split extrusion, then click each letter in turn to position it.


add Materials

hold ctrl then, in the 3D panel, click on ‘front inflation material’ and ‘extrusion material’ for every shape. Go to the Properties panel, click the materials dropdown and choose ‘Plastic Glossy Blue’. click Diffuse if you want to change the color. (Diffuse is used in 3D software to describe the color of a model.)


light the letters

in the 3D panel, click ‘infinite light’. use the handle to direct the light from the left. in the Properties panel, change shadow softness to 80%. click the light icon in the 3D panel to add an infinite light from the right; set intensity: 50%, shadow softness: 100%.


add a reflection

click environment in the 3D panel. in the Properties panel, under Ground Plane, set reflections Opacity: 60%, roughness: 15%. click render at the bottom of the 3D panel. Once it’s done, go to the layers panel, right-click the layer and choose rasterize 3D to finish.

ESSENTIALS Your quick-start guide and reference to image editing in Photoshop

If you’re relatively new to editing in Photoshop, or you just don’t know where to begin, then this section is the best place to get started. Over the next nine pages, you’ll find an overview of the different versions of Photoshop available; a breakdown of the

typical image-editing workflow in Photoshop; an overview of raw file editing; a guide to the six most useful layers; and a glossary of the most useful shortcuts. This guide condenses most of the tools and techniques you’ll use every time you import a new roll of pictures.

LIghTroom 6

£100.07 or INcLudEd wITh crEATIvE cLoud wINdowS, oS X

PhoToShoP cc £8.57/$9.99 PEr moNTh wINdowS, oS X Photoshop is the software of choice for most professional and non-professional photographers. Beyond the standard photo-editing features, it boasts a vast array of more creative tools and filters. Layers are one of the key differences between Photoshop and Lightroom. They enable you to mask out selected parts to build up increasingly sophisticated images.

Lightroom combines the professional rawprocessing tools in the more expensive Photoshop CC with the asset-organising powers of the cheaper Photoshop Elements. Lightroom is available as a traditional boxed copy (Lightroom 6), and as part of a Creative Cloud subscription (Lightroom CC). Essentially, the applications are the same, except Lightroom CC has Creative Cloud support, ongoing updates, and access to the mobile and web workflows.

LIghTroom mobILE INcLudEd wITh crEATIvE cLoud IPhoNE, IPAd, ANdroId

ELEmENTS 14 £79.10/$99.99 wINdowS, oS X

Elements is the consumer variant of Photoshop, and contains many of its key tools and features within a simplified interface. It’s limited, but it does provide access to layers for those who have switched to a Lightroom workflow.

Lightroom Mobile is the lightweight iPad, iPhone and Android version of the application, integrated with Lightroom CC but not Lightroom 6. To use Lightroom Mobile you need to sign up for an Adobe ID so that you can access the Adobe Creative Cloud. This enables you to create a collection of photos on your desktop copy of Lightroom and sync them via the Creative Cloud to Lightroom Mobile on your portable devices. You can then use Lightroom Mobile to edit or add ratings to your pictures.

AdobE ShAPE FrEE IPhoNE, IPAd, ANdroId

AdobE PhoToShoP mIX FrEE IPAd, ANdroId

Mix enables you to merge two photos together to create a composite image. It offers a simplified compositing process that makes it easy for beginners to start combining an object from one image with a background from another. You can then send the composite to Photoshop for further edits. If you like, you can also use Mix to edit a single image. It offers a few simple tonal adjustments and more complex edits such as Content-Aware Fill.

AdobE coLor

FrEE IPhoNE, IPAd, ANdroId If you ever need help selecting coordinated colors for your designs, try using Adobe Color. It enables you to create color themes from photos taken on your mobile device. This could be anything from a scene in your local park to a famous painting. So if you come across an inspirational scene, capture the colors and save them.

Adobe Shape enables you to turn photos and sketches into beautiful vector shapes for use in your designs or artwork. The app smooths out jagged edges in images, resulting in gorgeous vectors that are endlessly scaleable, just as if you’d drawn them by hand with the Pen tool. Make a shape with the mobile app and the next time you open Photoshop on your desktop, the shape will sync to your Library. Drag it in to any document to add color and make further adjustments.

AdobE bruSh FrEE IPhoNE, IPAd, ANdroId

Adobe Brush enables you to make your own custom brushes from photos or sketches for use in Photoshop, Illustrator or the Sketch app. The most successful subjects are usually those that can be easily isolated, such as a splash against white, or a leaf against the sky. You can capture objects for your brush tips using your device’s camera, choose from your camera roll, or use your Creative Cloud library. Once captured, you can then finetune the look of the tip and apply brush settings.

AdobE comP cc FrEE IPAd

AdobE PhoToShoP SkETch FrEE IPAd

As the name suggests, this app enables you to paint freehand using a selection of brushes, colors and other tools. However, Sketch is more than just a painting app. It also enables you to connect with like-minded creatives, so you can follow artists and see their work updating. Once you’re done sketching the image on your iPad, you can upload to the Sketch community or continue working on the image in Photoshop CC. You can also bring in brushes made with Adobe Brush, and for those who can’t paint, there’s an option to overlay images so you can trace over a photo. Sketch is compatible with Adobe’s pen and ruler hardware, Ink and Slide, but you can get great results with your finger.


Fix is a retouching app for altering portraits and fixing marks or blemishes in your photos. Intelligent facial recognition locks onto eyes, lips noses and chins, making it easy to tweak a smile, tuck in a jawline or enlarge eyes, should you wish.

If you’re a designer who wants to build a quick layout for a web or print page, then Comp is the ideal place to start piecing ideas, images and text together. You can draw common design elements such as text or image boxes with quick gestures. For example, a couple of squiggly lines with a dot makes a header, and a cross makes an image box. It makes it easy to mock up a layout in seconds. You can then add words and graphics. The app even spits out a Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign document.


Behance is the online social space for creatives to share and showcase their portfolios, connect with one another, and find work. With work from the best photographers, digital artists and designers out there, it’s also a great place to find inspiration for a new project. If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber you can set up a Behance page in minutes. The Behance app for iOS devices enables you to manage your page, while the Creative Portfolio app provides a polished portfolio.

ThE ImAgE-EdITINg workFLow Manage your photos from capture to output in three stages The image-editing process begins as soon as you’ve transferred your photos from your memory card to your computer. 1 The first stage is to begin sifting through your pictures to discover which are the keepers. The image organizer that comes with Photoshop is ideal for this task. Adobe Bridge has controls for keywording, rating and filtering your images, and there are handy tools for batch renaming files, creating panoramic stitches, making contact sheets and more. Launch Adobe Bridge and navigate to a folder containing new images. Use the cursor keys to quickly flick through the images and click below a thumbnail to add a star rating, or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+1-5. You can then filter your images by the star rating to group the ones you want to work on. 2 The next step is to open the images from Bridge into Adobe Camera Raw. ACR is the best place to make initial changes to your images to boost tones and correct any problems with exposure and so on. It doesn’t enable you to combine images – you’ll use Photoshop for that – but it does enable you to make the kind of edits photographers need. 3 In Photoshop, you can further refine the image with layers and adjustment layers, which offer a much more flexible way of working than ACR. Once you’ve finished, it’s time to share it with a wider audience. Go to File>Save, and your image will be saved as a Photoshop document (PSD). This keeps all the layers intact, which means you can go back and retweak the image at a later date. However, PSD files are large and take up lots of hard drive space. If you want to share your images online or via email or social media, save them as JPEGs.




ThE bASIcS oF rAw ProcESSINg Discover how to process your raw files to perfection The latest version of the raw file processor included with Photoshop is so powerful that most photos can be processed entirely in the raw processor, with no need for further editing in Photoshop. And by making your adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw

rather than in Photoshop, you’ll ensure the best possible image quality, because raw files contain more picture information than bitmap images such as un-layered PSDs and JPEGs. Here’s our reference to the features you’ll use the most in the Basic panel.



Makes light pixels brighter and dark pixels darker



Controls the brightness of the lightest pixels

Use this slider to warm or cool an image if the White Balance tool fails to correct a color cast


Controls the brightness of the darkest pixels


This slider enables you to correct a green or magenta cast, again, if the White Balance tool fails


Sets a point on the tonal range at which pixels should be pure white



Controls the overall brightness of the image


Sets a point on the tonal range at which pixels should be pure black

Controls the amount of midtone contrast


Controls the overall color intensity of the image


Adjusts the intensity of the less-saturated colors

SIX ESSENTIAL LAyErS For PhoToS The six most frequently used Photoshop layers for image editing, and how to use them to improve almost any photo Photoshop has many types of layers and adjustment layers available, but there are six that you’ll find you need to use again and again. Learning how they should be

used may seem a little daunting for beginners, but once you’ve got to grips with them, you’ll find they play a part in the creative process of almost every image you make.



This should be the first layer you add to an image, because it fundamentally alters the tonal range of the entire image. Create a Levels Adjustment Layer, drag the Black Point slider inwards until it touches the lefthand edge of the histogram, and drag the White Point slider inwards to the right-hand edge. This remaps the tones of the image to make more of the available tonal range.



Curves is one of the most powerful adjustment layers. An S-shaped curve brightens the highlights and darkens the shadows, resulting in extra contrast. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer and click the middle of the diagonal line to add a central control point. Drag down on the lower part of the line and drag up on the upper part of the line to improve image contrast.



This adjustment layer is best used for altering the intensity and brightness of individual color channels in an image – greens and blues in landscapes, for instance. Create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, click the Master menu and choose the color channel you’d like to adjust. Small changes are usually the most effective.



Most photos contain unwanted marks or blemishes. The Spot Healing Brush tool is effective at removing these. The best way to apply the healing is on a new blank layer, so that you can easily tone down or remove selected healing work later without having to start from scratch because you healed directly on the background layer. To do this, create a new blank layer, choose the Spot Healing Brush tool from the Tools panel and tick Sample All Layers on the Options Bar, then continue as normal.




dodgE ANd burN

One of the best ways to enhance a photo is by lightening or darkening selected areas of the image. This can be done with the Dodge and Burn tools, but rather than use them directly on the image, a separate grey layer gives you greater control. To create a Dodge and Burn layer, hold down Alt and click the Create a new layer icon in the Layers panel. Give the layer a name, then choose Mode: Overlay. Check Fill with Overlay-neutral color and click OK. Now use the Dodge and Burn tools (with Range set to Midtones) to work on the new layer.



Once all other adjustments have been made, you need to sharpen the image for output. The traditional way is to create a merged layer at the top of the stack, apply Unsharp Mask, then paint on the mask to remove the sharpening from those parts of the image you want to remain soft. However, the Sharpen tool enables more control over the process by enabling you to build up the effect by brushing repeatedly with a low opacity brush. Create a new blank layer, select the Sharpen tool, tick Sample All Layers and set a Strength of 50% or lower.

14 ESSENTIAL kEyboArd ShorTcuTS

14 keyboard shortcuts that will massively improve your speed and efficiency while working in Photoshop



ALT+[ScroLL whEEL]

[ or ]


ShIFT+[ or ]



ALT+[EyE IcoN]

cmd/cTrL+[LAyEr mASk]



ShIFT+[LAyEr mASk]


Reset the foreground and background colors to black and white

Zoom in or out of the image

Create a merged copy of all the layers in the layer stack

Temporarily switch the current tool to the Hand tool, for moving around the image while zoomed in

Switch off the visibility of all other layers in the layer stack, for before-and-after comparisons

Invert the color of a layer mask to black

Disable the effects of a layer mask

Switch the foreground and background color swatches

Resize the brush tip

Cycle backwards or forwards through the layer blend modes

Undo the last change made to the document. Works multiple times

Load the currently active layer mask as a new selection

Activate the Free Transform tool

Duplicate the current layer

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