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T H E A D O B E® P H O T O S H O P


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Peterson shows us DYNAMIC Moose how to finish our landscape RANGE images from the heart

Learn how to make the perfect group photo by merging and masking multiple shots



Scott Kelby’s 11th Annual

Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide

Visit our website at


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December 2016



Scott Kelby’s 11th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide

Images: Adobe stock; Layout: Margie Rosenstein

For the past 11 years during the holidays, Scott Kelby has gathered a list of his favorite photography gear, computer hardware, and software into what he calls the “Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide.” This is all the stuff that he has fallen in with love with in the past year and uses himself. And he knows that if you give someone (or yourself) anything from this list, that he or she will be extremely happy—at least until the next holiday season rolls around. Scott Kelby


From the Editor

Contributing Writers

About Photoshop User Magazine

KelbyOne Community

Exposed: Industry News

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk Winners

From the Help Desk


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DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT Whenever you see this symbol at the end of an article, it means there are either downloadable practice files or additional content for KelbyOne members at

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Cerise Cylinder Computer

My Passport Wireless Pro

Fujifilm X-T2

Profoto D2 500 and 1000 AirTTL Prynt

Triggertrap Kyno

ShotPut Pro 6

Photoshop Book Reviews

All lighting diagrams courtesy of Sylights

Click this symbol above to access the Table of Contents.

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030 DOWN & DIRTY TRICKS Dancing in the Light


Create a Winter Portrait with Realistic Falling Snow


©Adobe Stock/kopitinphoto

©Adobe Stock/snaptitude


Working with the Art History Brush


Boost Your Productivity and Creativity

080 INDESIGN SPECIAL TUTORIAL Personalized Christmas Card


68 Finishing for the Heart How many times have you opened a landscape image in Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop and thought to yourself, “That’s not what I saw when I snapped the picture”? We bet this happens quite a lot. Moose Peterson shows you how easy it is to get your pictures back to what you originally saw when you captured the image by simply finishing for the heart.

Moose Peterson

Moose Peterson

©Adobe Stock/Pavel Timofeev


Jack Davis

Combining Photos into the Perfect Group Shot


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From the Editor member input

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Our “Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide” issue has been a tradition 11 years in the making; but before we get to all the fun gift ideas, I have to share something really cool. One of our goals for 2016 was to get to know our members better so we can deliver the most relative, valuable, and focused education that we can. I hope you’ve noticed how quickly we’ve responded to the things you’ve told us are important to you; for example, earlier this year we sent out one of our now-famous “one-question surveys” asking which online Photoshop class you wanted next, and we said that your #1 choice would be the next class we produced. Well, you made it loud and clear! Your #1 pick was compositing techniques and, within two weeks, we not only had a new class on compositing and masking hair (by yours truly), but we also promptly followed it with a second class from the amazing Corey Barker on advanced compositing techniques. While quickly doing the #1 most-requested class is awesome (and something we were really proud to be able to pull off), what about the class that came in second, or third, or the top five or ten? Well, we’ve either released them already or we’re working on them now. You told us, “This is what we want,” and it’s our job to give you the tools and techniques to be a success, and we couldn’t be happier doing just that. Recently, we sent out something much bigger than a one-question survey: an in-depth 20-question survey


where we asked you to help us steer the direction of Photoshop User magazine in 2017. We wanted to know which topics and techniques were important to you, what you want more of, what you can do without, and how we can make this magazine more valuable to you. We’re still stunned (and thrilled) at how many of you responded. Thousands of you participated in our survey, and you’re going to see the results of your responses here in the magazine starting with the February issue. This huge response spoke volumes about how much you care about the magazine, and that really meant a lot to our team. Best of all, you’ll see how quickly we steer the ship in your direction by delivering the type of Photoshop education you asked for. My humble thanks to everyone who participated. As for our “Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide” issue, it’s here! I can’t believe this year went by so fast! Once again I tried to put together a really great collection of my favorite holiday gift ideas, based on stuff I’d recommend to a friend. All your other favorites are here too (and we hope you’re enjoying the new Lightroom Magazine, which is now “its own thing,” and comes between every issue of Photoshop User magazine). So, are you getting 20 magazine issues every year as an annual KelbyOne member? Yes, you are. We want you to kick butt at this stuff, and we’re going to provide the tools you need to get there. Here’s wishing you and your family a holiday filled with hope, friendship, sharing, and joy!

All my best,

Scott Kelby KelbyOne President & CEO Editor & Publisher, Photoshop User

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The official publication of KelbyOne DECEMBER 2016 • Volume 19 • Number 10


Scott Kelby, Editor-in-Chief Chris Main, Managing Editor Kim Doty, Associate Editor

Contributing Writers

Steve Baczewski • Corey Barker • Peter Bauer • Larry Becker Bruce Bicknell • Dave Clayton • Michael Corsentino • Kirk Nelson Moose Peterson • Colin Smith • Lesa Snider • Scott Valentine Erik Vlietinck • Jake Widman


Jessica Maldonado, Art Director Margie Rosenstein, Senior Graphic Designer Angela Naymick, Graphic Designer


Adam Blinzler • Rachel Scott • Kleber Stephenson • Melissa White


| fuel for creativity

Adam Frick • Brandon Nourse • Yojance Rabelo • Aaron Westgate


Scott Kelby, Publisher Kalebra Kelby, Executive V.P. Jean A. Kendra, Business Manager


Jeanne Jilleba, Advertising Coordinator 800-201-7323 ext. 152


U.S. Mail: 118 Douglas Road East • Oldsmar, FL 34677-2922 Voice: 813-433-5000 • Fax: 813-433-5015 Customer Service: Letters to the Editor: Help Desk:


All Images: ©Adobe Stock; Background: pvl0707; Ornament & Camera: ylivdesign

Photoshop User was produced using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 and Adobe InDesign CC 2015. Roboto was used for headlines and subheads. Frutiger LT Std for text.

This seal indicates that all content provided herein is produced by KelbyOne, LLC and follows the most stringent standards for educational resources. KelbyOne is the premier source for instructional books, DVDs, online classes, and live seminars for creative professionals.

All contents ©COPYRIGHT 2016 KelbyOne, LLC. All rights reserved. Any use of the contents of this publication without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Photoshop User is an independent journal, not affiliated in any way with Adobe Systems, Inc. Adobe, the Adobe logo, Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, and Photoshop are registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks mentioned belong to their respective owners. Some of the views expressed by contributors may not be the representative views of the publisher. ISSN 2470-7031 (online)


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Contributing Writers STEVE BACZEWSKI


is an award-winning designer and illustrator. A featured instructor at the Photoshop World Conference and an Adobe MAX Master Instructor, he has produced numerous training titles for KelbyOne. Look for his latest book Photoshop Tricks for Designers.


is an Adobe Certified Expert that does computer graphics consulting for a select group of corporate clients. His latest book is Photoshop CC for Dummies. He was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame in 2010.


is an author, trainer, speaker, and tech aficionado. He is the founder and lead trainer at, where they teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how to create their own professional-looking videos in-house without hiring a video production team.


is the founder of Digital Blue Productions. He has been an instructor on Adobe’s in-box training, and is an instructor at His clients include Time Inc., NFSTC, DTCC, and magazines that include People and National Geographic.


is a KelbyOne instructor, designer, and creative specialist with more than 30 years experience. He specializes in creating branding projects and logos and has been published by Peachpit and KelbyOne. He’s also an Adobe Influencer and ACA in InDesign.


is an award-winning wedding and portrait photographer, Photoshop and Lightroom expert, author, columnist for Shutter Magazine and Resource Magazine, and speaker and international workshop leader. Learn more at


is a professional graphics artist in the Washington, D.C., area. He has a B.A. from George Mason University and is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop. Kirk’s career has touched on a broad range of subjects from logo design to animation. He can be reached here.


captures the life history of endangered wildlife and wild places. His aviation photography has the same goal of preserving our aviation heritage. He’s been published in over 143 magazines and authored 28 books, including his latest, Photography FUNdamentals. He lectures across the country to thousands of photographers every year.


is an award-winning digital artist, photographer, and lecturer who has authored 19 books and has created a series of training videos. Colin is also the founder of the online resource and president of


is the author of Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for Photographers: Classroom in a Book (2016), Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual, Photos for Mac and iOS: The Missing Manual,, more than 40 video courses, and the “Creaticity” column for Macworld.


is a member of Adobe’s prerelease team, an Adobe Community Professional, and Photoshop author. His books include The Hidden Power of Adjustment Layers and The Hidden Power of Blend Modes (both by Adobe Press). Keep up with him at


founded IT Enquirer in 1999. A J.D. by education, Erik has been a freelance technology editor for more than 22 years. He has written for Macworld, Computer Arts, Windows NT Magazine, IT Week, New Media Age, and many others. He also contributes to UK-based Red Shark News and Red Shark Sound.


is a writer and editor who lives in San Francisco. He’s been covering the intersection of computers and graphic design for about 25 years now—since back when it was called “desktop publishing” and Photoshop was just a piece of scanning software.

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is a freelance writer, professional photographer, graphic designer, and con­sultant. He also teaches classes in traditional and digital fine arts photo­graphy. His company, Sore Tooth Productions, is based in Albany, California


All Images: ©Adobe Stock; Background: pvl0707; Ornament & Camera: ylivdesign

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Photoshop User Magazine Photoshop User magazine is an official publication of KelbyOne. As a KelbyOne member, you automatically receive Photoshop User ten times a year. Each issue features in-depth Photoshop tutorials written by the most talented designers, photographers, and leading authors in the industry.

About KelbyOne KELBYONE

is the world’s leading resource for Adobe® Photoshop®, Lightroom®, and photography training, news, and education. Founded in 1998 as the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), KelbyOne has evolved from NAPP and KelbyTraining to create a singular hub for creative people to learn, grow, and inspire. From photographers to graphic designers, beginners to professionals, KelbyOne is open to everyone. There’s no faster, easier, and more affordable way to get really good at Photoshop and photography. You can join for only $19.99 per month or $199 U.S. for a full year of training. To learn more, visit

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Member Benefits



Ten issues each of the best Photoshop and Lightroom tutorial-based magazines in the industry.


Save anywhere from 2–3 times your membership cost by using our many industry-related discounts.


Fast, friendly Photoshop, Lightroom, and photo gear help; equipment advice; and more from certified experts at the KelbyOne Help Desk.


KelbyOne members range from beginners to pros and love to lend each other a hand. Together, we have built the friendliest, most knowledgeable Photoshop and photography community on the Web.


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FIND KELBYONE MEMBERSHIP DETAILS AT or call 800-201-7323 Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.

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KelbyOne Community › ›

Inspiration, information, and member musings to fuel your creative think tank By Rachel Scott and Dave Clayton

Kristina Sherk Visits KelbyOne Studios


But that’s not all! You probably noticed we have several placeholders on the Toolkit page. Because it’s the holiday season, we’re celebrating by giving you a new toolkit every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, so we highly recommend that you keep an eye on the Creative Toolkit page. Enjoy! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all of you from the entire KelbyOne team! Also, we’d love to hear what you’re thankful for this holiday season. Is it family? Friends? KelbyOne? (Haha, kidding on that last one.) But in all seriousness, we want to know what’s near and dear to your hearts, so tweet it at us with this hashtag: #KB1thanks.

Happy Holidays from KelbyOne The holidays are looming before us and Thanksgiving is lingering in our rearview mirror. With that in mind, we’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all KelbyOne members. Whether you���ve been with us since the early days, or you’re a brand-new member, we appreciate you! We wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of you. As we move forward, we’ll continue to work our hardest to provide you with the education and materials you desire and deserve to improve your craft.

Happy ! s y a d i l o H

©Adobe Stock/Melpomene

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Guess who visited the KelbyOne studios recently. The one and only Shark Pixel—Kristina Sherk! Not only did she film an episode of The Grid while she was visiting, but Kristina also created a new course called Portrait Retouching in Adobe Lightroom CC! We don’t want to give away everything that’s in her class, so let’s get back to that Kristina Sherk episode of The Grid! For those of you who missed it, just click on the play button below. Kristina and Scott Kelby blind-critiqued portrait retouches on air, and during the critique, Kristina shared a ton of helpful tips such as making sure the hot spot (brightest point) is on the model’s face, and never smooth out the skin so much that the skin texture disappears. Don’t forget to watch Kristina’s latest course and make sure you tune in to The Grid every Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST. We also like to give away prizes during The Grid, so you’ll want to get in on all the goods!

And since we’re a more of a show-and-tell kind of company, we thought it’d be appropriate if we showed our gratitude by giving all KelbyOne members a gift—a brand-new Creative Toolkit! This Creative Toolkit includes 20 Lightroom presets. To download your Creative Toolkit, simply log into your KelbyOne account and go to the Toolkit tab on the left. There you’ll find the most recent Toolkit—Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Preset Pack, Volume #1.



Who’s Who in the KelbyOne Community >> Erik a Thornes MEMBER SINCE 2011

KelbyOne Community In our October 2016 issue, Gilmar Smith wrote an article called “Creating Compelling Images of Kids.” We ran a photography contest based on her article, in which Gilmar selected the winner back in November. The winning image was by Erika Thornes (see top opposite page). As chance would have it, Dave Clayton met Erika at Photoshop World back in July and interviewed her for “Who’s Who” here in the magazine. These two unconnected events have led Erika to be featured in this issue of Photoshop User. So what made you pick up a camera and hold on to it? My father was an excellent photographer and put a camera in my hands as a young child. I just loved it. I took every photography class I could, and created my own class when there were no more to take. I was the photo editor for my college paper but I couldn’t handle the hours and the lack of sleep. I took a break after college, and started back up again about eight years ago. Many photographers struggle to find a style. What inspired your style? Struggle to find a style? I’ve tried them all. I think when you’re learning, it’s good to emulate, but not directly copy, the style of others. Try long exposure, macro, smoke photography, gelled flash—try it all. When I got back into photography, I spent time learning. If a photo style or technique interested me, I practiced it until I felt confident in it. For my personal style, I like fresh, bold colors and clean edits. I want my photos to still be strong even if the trends change. If an image doesn’t make me feel, it isn’t good enough. It has to have something that makes me pause, reflect, or laugh. When did you first think, “I’m actually good at this?” Ha! I sometimes delude myself into thinking I might be quite good, but a lot of that is bravado. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied. I get great images sometimes, but on the whole, I always see things I could do better, and that’s why I study, practice, and try new things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to win awards and get recognized, but for me, the biggest reward is seeing the pride in my children’s eyes when they see what I create. How did your underwater projects get started? Underwater came about because I can’t stand not knowing how to do something. It’s the hardest thing I’ve shot, and I wanted to solve it. I found a great deal on an underwater

housing for a point-and-shoot camera and I convinced a pregnant friend to get into the pool. My friend and I went in together and bought an underwater bag to hold a DSLR. We worked together to get better and better at underwater portrait photography. It was a trial-and-error process with a lot of errors, but after about five years, I’m finally starting to see results that I’m proud of. I don’t use strobes and expensive housings, as I don’t want gear to be an obstacle for anyone who wants to try to re-create the underwater work I do. What do you enjoy shooting the most? I love shooting joy. I love shooting events, parties, and just capturing life as it unfolds. My favorite image is of my daughter on the beach wearing a superhero cape. She just happened to be wearing a tutu and a cape. She looks so brave. I prefer not to stage my work. My favorite images are created when serendipity strikes. You just need to always have your camera by your side. What’s your history with KelbyOne? I adore KelbyOne. I’m not super patient with videos, and I don’t learn a ton through classes, but I love to learn through books. Scott Kelby’s books were the best way for me to jump in deep and fast. Because his books were so good, and I had heard about some of the online classes, I subscribed. Just last month, I watched all of Kristina Sherk’s classes on high-end retouching. It was a wonderful refresher, and I was in love with some of her tricks that I hadn’t thought of. What made you decide to teach as well? I love teaching even more than I love photography, and I love photography. There’s something about the joy and satisfaction you see in someone’s eyes when they get it, and the genuine thanks they give when you’ve helped guide them to an answer. I don’t feel like my day is complete if I haven’t made someone’s day better, and photography and teaching are great ways to do that. What’s the biggest challenge for you? Finding the time to work as much as I’d like. I don’t advertise or promote my photography locally. The best way to get work is to get out there and meet people. Volunteer. Network. Find what you’re interested in, and go for it. For the first few years after I started back up, I just shot for me. I wouldn’t accept payment. Now, I’ve almost gone to the other extreme and only pull out my camera for work. It isn’t a good habit, and I need to start shooting more for myself, as that’s what I love, and honestly, what pays my bills. ■ CLICK TO RATE

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Who’s Who in the KelbyOne Community


Getting Started In Real Estate Photography

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Get started in real estate photography with Thomas Grubba, a San Fransisco-based real estate photographer.


Portrait Retouching in Adobe Lightroom CC Join Kristina Sherk as she takes you through her retouching workflow using only Lightroom.

Scott’s Simplified Lightroom Image Management System

Camera Essentials: Nikon D5 Join Larry Becker as he guides you through the features and settings of the Nikon D5.

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Walk through the system Scott Kelby uses to keep his drive organized, his workflow simple, and his peace of mind intact.


Exp sed: Industry News › ›

The latest news about photography gear, software, and services

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New Mini Workstation from HP Delivers Server-Grade Power in a Small Package


HP Inc. unveiled the world’s first mini workstation designed for users in CAD and other compute-intensive industries. The stylish, new HP Z2 Mini Workstation delivers power and versatility in a package that’s 90% smaller than a traditional business-class tower. Building off the success of their HP Z240 SFF, HP claims the HP Z2 Mini Workstation is twice as powerful as any commercial mini PC on the market today and has the ability to support six displays right out of the box. The HP Z2 Mini was designed for the millions of CAD users demanding smaller hardware with mission-critical reliability without compromising acoustics and performance. At only 2.28x8.5x8.5", the new HP Z2 Mini Workstation is capable of designing anything from state-ofthe-art electronics to home and office buildings. The workstation, running Windows 10 Pro or Linux, comes equipped with next generation Intel Xeon processors, NVIDIA professional graphics, and the availability of HP Z Turbo Drive for handling large files remarkably fast. The ultra-compact and aesthetically pleasing workstation provides users with numerous placement options: on/under the desk, behind an HP Z display, or on a wall. HP engineers created custom designed fans and a cooling system for whisper-quiet acoustics (63% quieter than an HP business-class mini PC) for workstation customers that need mission-critical reliability. HP Z2 Mini Workstation is expected to be available worldwide in December starting at $699.

DxO Releases Viewpoint 3 DxO, a world leader in digital imaging technologies, announced a major update to DxO ViewPoint, its software that automatically corrects problems inherent in photographs taken with wide-angle lenses. DxO ViewPoint 3 leverages DxO’s advanced image science to automatically correct skewed perspectives and horizons with a single click, making the process quick and easy. The update also introduces a brand-new tool that produces a miniature effect; the first software of its kind to perfectly replicate the popular look made famous by tilt-shift lenses. DxO ViewPoint can fix even the most complex perspective problems, as well as restore the natural shape to subjects situated on the edges of photos. The automatic corrections are provided by DxO Optics Modules, which are developed by exacting laboratory analysis of thousands of camera and lens combinations. The existing perspective correction tools have also been enhanced with an innovative, fully automatic mode that can instantly correct geometric distortion, straighten both horizontal and vertical lines, and automatically crop images, effectively eliminating keystoning while preserving the maximum information in the picture. The new auto horizon correction tool is equally efficient at correcting skewed landscape and architectural images. A single click detects the most relevant straight lines in the image, which are analyzed to determine the correct horizon. With just one license, DxO ViewPoint works as both a standalone app and as a plug-in for DxO OpticsPro, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements. It’s available now for $79.

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Wacom Reveals Its New Line of Cintiq Pro Pen Displays

Mark Mawson

Phase One recently released Capture One Pro 10, a major release of their RAW conversion and imageediting software. Based on customer feedback, Capture One Pro 10 puts user experience center stage with interface improvements, under-the-hood tuning, and new features. The user experience has been enhanced with faster browsing, zooming, panning, and switching between images, even at 100% view. Also, a new default workspace offers a more intuitive experience for new users, with examples for getting started. Version 10 offers greater control with a three-stage image sharpening process: A new lens tool option corrects lost sharpness caused by diffraction; user-defined creative sharpening (using a new Halo Suppression slider and blending algorithm) allows the photographer to sharpen an entire image, or just various elements within it; and finally, user-defined output sharpening. For print sharpening, users can also specify the distance from which the final output image should be viewed. An enhanced proof mode takes the guesswork out of the RAW conversion process. From the viewer panel, users can now simulate the final size, resolution, color, compression artifacts and sharpening of images. This is especially useful for live assessment of files—particularly small files for the Web and for optimizing image compression quality. Other new features include accessing Capture One Pro directly through a Tangent panel system; a camera focus tool module for tethered cameras; new search filter options; optimization of JPEG output for size/quality; auto masking has been extended to any editable file type (including Xtrans); improved compressed RAW and Fuji support; and much more.

Wacom has announced the Cintiq Pro 13 and Cintiq Pro 16. With more than 30 years of product innovation and customer feedback, the new Wacom Cintiq Pro line wraps the most natural and precise pen performance to date into a sleek, thin, and portable form factor to help designers, illustrators, photographers. Critical to the Cintiq Pro experience is the new Pro Pen 2, which delivers four times greater accuracy and pressure sensitivity than the previous Pro Pen. The improved Pro Pen 2 creates an intuitive, free-flowing experience with virtually lag-free tracking on a glass surface that produces just the right amount of friction and is coated to reduce reflection. Additionally, the new optical bonding process greatly reduces parallax, providing a pen-on-screen performance that emulates the natural feel and feedback of a traditional pen or brush. Both Cintiq Pro models also feature multi-touch for easy and fast navigation. The new modern, sleek, and thin design of the Wacom Cintiq Pro makes it easy to slip into a laptop bag or backpack and move between working locations and computers. Both high-resolution Cintiq Pro models come with an optimized edge-to-edge etched glass workspace for a creative platform that encourages bold pen and brush strokes. The Cintiq Pro also builds on its predecessor, the Cintiq 13HD touch, offering the ExpressKey Remote as an optional accessory so users can customize their most commonly used shortcuts and modifiers when working with creative software applications. In addition, ergonomic features such as ErgoFlex, fully integrated popout legs, and an optional three-position desk stand (available in February), let users focus on their work instead of constantly adjusting for comfort or sketching in a way that is counterintuitive to their style. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 and 16 feature full HD (1920x1080) and ultra-HD (3840x2160) resolution, respectively. The 13” model provides color accuracy up to 87% of Adobe RGB and the 16” provides up to 94%. Priced at $999.95, the Cintiq Pro 13 is expected to be available at the beginning of December. The Cintiq Pro 16, priced at $1499.95, should be available in February. ■ CLICK TO RATE

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Phase One Announces Capture One Pro 10

e x p o s e d: i n d u st ry n e w s



You’ve Updated Photoshop , ®

Now Update Your Photo Editing Skills!

The photographer’s workflow in Photoshop has evolved greatly over time, and in the latest edition of The Adobe Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers (2017 Release) by Scott Kelby, you’ll wind up doing a lot of your processing and editing in Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw (whether you shoot in RAW, JPEG or TIFF—it works for all three). That’s because, for years now, Adobe has been adding most of Photoshop’s new features for photography directly into Camera Raw itself. Since today’s photography workflow in Photoshop is based around Camera Raw, nearly half of this book is about mastering Camera Raw like a pro. If you’re ready to learn all the “tricks of the trade”—the same ones that today’s leading pros use to correct, edit, retouch, and sharpen their work—then this is the book that will get you up to speed!

fuel for creativity

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Juan Francisco M

Fatemeh Rowshan, M



Cindy Ni

Mananares, Montreal, Canada

Don Johnson, Boise, Idaho

Mashhad, Iran

Jersey mbertville, New La , hy ut ur th Ashwin Cha

Radlan, Turku, Finland

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Gremaud Thomas, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kellie Carey, Georgetown, Kentucky

pines mpanga, Philip Pa , at ng Li er Mac Oliv

Ana Goncalo, CovilhĂŁ, Portugal


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Sandip De, Lausanne, Switzerland

Hany Fouad, Suez, Egypt

Rachel Bilodeau, MontrĂŠal, Canada

ngland indsor, E W , y b s Arm Matthew

Paul Gotiong, Cebu, Philippines

Allan Pinedo, Yucatan, Mexico

Christiani Berer, Graz, Austria

Gustavo Barrios Ramirez, Xalapa, Mexico

Lumpur, Malaysia Cheryl Hoffman, Kuala

Bart Baylon, P astrana Park, Philippines

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akr, Egypt Kahled AboB

Carlos Vasquez, Gamcheon Cultural Village, South Korea

Christopher Arnold, Stuart, Florida

Brandi Korte, Fort Worth, Texas

m Carter, Phoenix, Arizona

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Susie Lee



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HOW TO › ›

Down &Dirty Tricks

dancing in the light BY COREY BARKER

This tutorial was inspired by several images that I recently saw of dancers blended with geometric shapes. When you combine various concepts from different places, you can create something entirely new that challenges your skills and creativity. Follow along by downloading the exercise file, and let’s explore some creative light effects.

Step One: This effect works well with a subject that has been shot on a white background with more of a silhouetted look. The image we’re using here from Adobe Stock is perfect for this. Normally, extracting a subject on a white background is simple enough, but in this case there’s transparency in some areas of the dress, so we’ll use a luminancebased extraction method. [KelbyOne members may download the file used in this tutorial at /magazine. All files are for personal use only.]

©Adobe Stock/snaptitude


Step Three: Since a luminositybased selection selects the lightest parts of an image, the background and some lighter areas of the subject will be selected in this image. All you need to do is flip the selection from the background to the subject by going under the Select menu and choosing Inverse, or press ShiftCommand-I (PC: Shift-Ctrl-I).

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Step Two: Open the Channels panel, which is located next to the Layers panel, or go under the Window menu and choose Channels. Hold down the Command (PC: Ctrl) key and click on the main RGB thumbnail. This will create a luminosity-based selection.


HOW TO › ›

Step Four: With the subject now selected, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selected area to a new layer. In the Layers panel, hide the Background layer by clicking its Eye icon. You’ll notice the subject is somewhat transparent. To build the density back up, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) five more times. The density will build up in the subject with each duplicate layer.

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Step Five: With the top layer active in the Layers panel, hold down the Shift key and click on the original copied layer (Layer 1) to select all the layers except the Background layer. Once you have them all selected, press Command-E (PC: Ctrl-E) to merge them into a single layer. You’ll see the subject is nicely extracted while maintaining areas of transparency in the dress.



Step Six: Now create a new document (File>New) measuring 1500x2000 pixels. Create a new blank layer and then click on the Foreground color swatch near the bottom of the Toolbar. In the Color Picker, select a blue color using the RGB numbers shown here, and click OK. Press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill the layer with blue.

Step Eight: Back in the dancer image, switch to the Move tool (V), and click-and-drag the extracted layer into this working image. Once in the main image, use Free Transform (Command-T [PC: Ctrl-T]) to scale the subject to fit in the composition. Hold the Shift key to maintain proportions, and then press Enter to commit the transformation. In the Layers panel, drag the subject layer below the shape layer.

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Step Seven: In the Toolbar, choose the Rectangle tool (U). Then, go to the Options Bar and set the tool mode to Shape. Also, set the Fill to No Color and the Stroke to white with a thickness of 35 px. Draw a vertical rectangle in the image like the one shown here. It will automatically create a shape layer in the Layers panel. Don’t worry about its position or scale yet, as we’ll get into that when we bring in the subject.


HOW TO › ›

Step Nine: Click on the shape layer in the Layers panel to make it active, and enter Free Transform again. Position and scale the rectangle in relation to the subject, bearing in mind what limbs you want to be in front or behind the shape. When done, press Enter.

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Step 10: Make the dancer layer active and remove the color by pressing Shift-Command-U (PC: Shift-Ctrl-U), then change the layer blend mode near the top left of the Layers panel to Hard Light.


Step 11: Make the blue fill layer active, click on the Add a Layer Style icon (ƒx) at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Gradient Overlay. In the Layer Style dialog, click on the Gradient thumbnail to open the Gradient Editor; select the Black, White preset; click OK to close the Gradient Editor; and check on Reverse. You can see the other settings we used here in the Layer Style dialog to create a vignette effect on the background. You can also move the gradient around manually while the Layer Style dialog is still open by clicking-and-dragging directly on the canvas. Click OK when done. You can see this step has added a dramatic effect to the image.


Step 12: Now let’s blend the subject with the rectangle. Hold down the Command (PC: Ctrl) key and click on the layer thumbnail of the dancer to load her shape as an active selection. Step 13: Make the shape layer active in the Layers panel, hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key, and click the Add Layer Mask icon (circle in a square) at the bottom of the Layers panel. This will mask the rectangle in the areas where the subject overlaps it, making it appear as though she is in front of the rectangle.

Step 12

Step 13

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Step 14: Select the Brush tool (B), click on the Brush Preset Picker on the left side of the Options Bar, and choose the Hard Round Brush. Set the Foreground color to white by pressing D. Use the Bracket keys on your keyboard to make the brush size just a little bigger than the white stroke of the shape, and then paint in the areas where you want to reveal the rectangle, making it appear as though parts of the girl are behind the shape while other parts appear in front.


HOW TO › ›

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Step 15: Click on the shape layer thumbnail in the Layers panel so the shape layer is active and not its layer mask. Go into the Add a Layer Style menu again and choose Outer Glow. Use the settings shown here to give the rectangle a glow effect, making it look like it’s emitting light, and click OK.


Step 16: With the rectangle shape appearing to give off light, you’d expect light to be reflecting on the subject, especially the limbs that are closest to the shape. Create a new layer at the top of the layer stack and make it active. Apply the shape of the subject as a layer mask again by Commandclick­ing (PC: Ctrl-clicking) the layer thumbnail of the subject, then clicking the Add Layer Mask icon—don’t hold the Option (PC: Alt) key this time though. This will isolate the effect to just the dancer. Finally, change the layer blend mode to Overlay.


Step 17

Step 17: Select the Gradient tool (G) in the Toolbar. In the Options Bar, click on the preview thumbnail, choose the Foreground to Transparent preset in the Gradient Editor, and click OK to close the Editor. Then, choose the Radial Gradient icon in the Options Bar. Click on the layer thumbnail for this top layer so the mask isn’t active. Press D then X to set the Foreground color to white.

In the end, you have a cool illuminated piece with believable lighting effects on the subject. As a final option, you can drop in some text as I did here. Set the text in white, hold the Option (PC: Alt) key, and click-and-drag the Outer Glow layer style that appears below the shape layer in the Layers panel to the text layer. This will copy the same glow to the text, enhancing the glow effect even more. ■


Step 18

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Step 18: Add gradients in the areas where her limbs, body, and dress are closest to the rectangle. Start each gradient in the white stroke and drag it into the subject. Do this two or three times in the same area to build up the brightness. I also added some gradients in areas like her face and upper body to enhance the glow even more.


HOW TO › ›

Down &Dirty Tricks

create a winter portrait with realistic falling snow BY KIRK NELSON

With winter rearing its frosty head in most parts of the country, it’s likely that most outdoor photography will involve the elements of the season. As beautiful as it is, shooting in falling snow can be quite a challenge. Those delicate flakes are composed of water after all, and traditionally water and cameras don’t mix very well. The erratic nature of falling snow also presents its own challenges. It’s impossible to keep flakes from obscuring your subject’s face, and if the flakes are large enough, they can play havoc with your auto-focus sensors—all leading to a potentially very cold, frustrating, and unproductive photo shoot.

As an alternative while the snow is falling, consider staying inside where it’s warm, and adding the snow effect in Photoshop. In this tutorial, we explore a handful of techniques that can be used to easily and realistically add falling snow for a beautiful environmental winter portrait.

©Adobe Stock/ikonacolor

©Adobe Stock/Mexrix

©Adobe Stock/kopitinphoto


Step One: The most critical aspect of crafting a convincing environmental portrait is the portrait itself. We’ll begin with a portrait of an attractive young model out in a snowy landscape and two images of falling snow isolated against a dark background. Open all three of these images in Photoshop. [KelbyOne members may download the files used in this tutorial at All files are for personal use only.]

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Step Two: Cold weather will create visible changes to exposed human skin. Our bodies naturally collect blood in the areas where it’s most important. In our faces, that means our cheeks and noses receive a rosy tint, so in the winter portrait image, add a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer through the Adjustments panel (Window>Adjustments). Double-click the name of the adjustment layer in the Layers panel and name it “Rosy Cheeks.” In the Properties panel (Window>Properties), check the Colorize option, set the Hue to 15, Saturation to 91, and the Lightness to –2.


HOW TO › ›

Step Three: In the Layers panel, click on the layer mask of the adjustment layer thumbnail so it’s the currently active entity. This controls the application of the colorization and we’ll use it to restrict that color. Begin by using Edit>Fill, selecting Black in the Contents drop-down menu, and clicking OK to fill the mask with black, effectively hiding the red color. Then, grab the Brush tool (B) and use a Soft Round Brush tip from the Brush Presets panel (Window>Brush Presets) with white paint (press X until the Foreground color is set to white) to gently brush the color onto the cheeks and nose of the model. Use the Bracket keys on your keyboard to quickly change the size of the brush.

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Step Four: The opposite effect of the rosy cheeks is that areas with less blood tend to lose color. Add another Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation to –34. Then use the same technique with the layer mask to apply this effect to only her forehead, chin, and fingers. This is intended to be a subtle effect, so be gentle with its application.



Step Five: Switch to the image called FallingSnowOnBlackBackground. Use the Move tool (V) to drag this image onto the portrait image. Scale the image to fill the frame with Edit>Transform>Scale. Press Enter to commit the transformation. Convert the layer to a smart object through Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object, and rename it “Background Snow.” Set the blend mode to Screen near the top left of the Layers panel to render the black background invisible. Add a white layer mask with Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All and use the Brush tool with black paint (press X again until the Foreground color is black) to hide the snow that’s falling in front of the model.

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Step Six: The falling snow appears to be simply floating in the air; the effect will be more successful if there’s a sense of motion to it, so click on the Background Snow layer thumbnail in the Layers panel and go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 58°, the Distance to around 12 pixels (for a high-res image, use around 50 pixels), and click OK. The filter is applied as a smart filter, so if these settings aren’t to your liking, you can always double-click the name of the filter in the Layers panel to come back and change them.


HOW TO › ›

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Step Seven: The next task is to create a custom brush to paint in the snowflakes that have fallen on the model. Switch back to the FallingSnowOnBlackBackground image. Photoshop brushes need to be black on white, so go to Image>Adjustments>Invert or press Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I). Increase the contrast with Image>­ Adjust­ ments>­Levels by pulling the rightmost slider below the histogram to about 183 and clicking OK. Then, use the Lasso tool (L) to select a small area of clustered snowflakes, and go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Name your brush “Scattered Snow,” and click OK.


Step Eight: Switch to the Brush tool, and open the Brush panel with a quick press of F5 or go to Window>Brush. In the Brush Tip Shape settings, set the Size to 35 px (set it to around 175 px for a high-res image) and the Spacing to 10%. In the Shape Dynamics settings, set the Size Jitter to 44%, the Angle Jitter to 98%, Roundness Jitter to 35%, Minimum Roundness to 25%, and check both the Flip X Jitter and Flip Y Jitter options. In the Scattering settings, click the Both Axes option, set the Scatter to 134%, and Count Jitter to 21%. (Tip: Consider using the New Brush Preset icon at the foot of the panel to save all of these settings in a single brush preset.)


Step Nine: Return to the portrait image and add a new layer with Layer>New>Layer or use Shift-Command-N (PC: Shift-Ctrl-N). Name the layer “Scattered Snow” and use the newly minted brush with white paint to gently dab some snowflakes onto the model’s hair and coat. (You’ll want to single-click to apply the snowflakes rather than click-and-drag.) The scattering of the brush makes it a bit uncontrollable so use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove stray flakes.

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Step 10: Using the Move tool, drag the SnowFallingNightSky image onto the portrait file. Use Edit>Free Transform or Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to scale and position this image into the lower-left portion of the frame. It should cover just more than half the height and width. Press Enter to commit the transformation. Set the blend mode to Screen to render the black areas invisible. Then, reduce the layer Opacity to 56% so the snowflakes aren’t overly prominent.


HOW TO › ›

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Step 11: Duplicate the Foreground Snow layer twice. (Tip: Pressing Command-J [PC: Ctrl-J] is a quick way to create duplicate layers.) Using Free Trans­ form, rotate and position the duplicate layers to fill the rest of the frame. Avoid scaling the layers individually as they should all be a consistent size. There will be areas of obvious overlap, so add a layer mask to each Foreground Snow layer and use a Soft Round brush tip with black paint on the masks to remove the obvious seams and overlaps. Also use the brush on the masks to clear away any flakes that are obscuring the model’s face. You can lower the Opacity of the brush in the Options Bar to reduce the intensity of some of the snowflakes without painting them away completely.


Step 12: To enhance the cold effect even further, add a Photo Filter adjustment layer from the Adjustments panel, and drag this layer to the top of the layer stack in the Layers panel. In the Properties panel, choose Cooling Filter (80) from the Filter drop-down menu. Set the Density to 16% and check the Preserve Luminosity option. This adds a subtle bluish hue to the overall image that contributes to the idea of it being cold.


Adding environmental effects, even something as complex as thousands of falling snowflakes, isn’t that difficult to accomplish. The key is to realize the small details that need to be included, such as rosy cheeks, snowflakes on hair and garments, and different depths of snowfall images. Each of these elements is small, but together they add up to a larger effect that’s beautifully realistic. ■


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Step 13: Create a merged layer by holding down the Option (PC: Alt) key and going to Layer>Merge Visible. Convert this layer to a smart object and go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter. In the Basic tab, set the Clarity to +30 and the Vibrance to +43. Click OK to close the filter and behold your final winter portrait image!


› › photoshop user › december 2016

Welcome to my “11th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide,” featuring another magical collection of awesome gear that’s simply too gonzo to live without for another minute but, at the same time, will give you perfect gift ideas for the gonzo photographer on your Holiday Gift list.


It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since I started this tradition here in the magazine. Why, when I started it, Jimmy Carter was still President; we listened to music on our 8-track tape players; and every home had a VCR that could record up to 60 minutes on one tape (don’t think about any of that too long, because I’m not sure that timeline is 100% accurate). Anyway, no one is more surprised than me that this is still “a thing” after 11 years, but let’s not dwell on that; instead, let’s tear into this bad boy and see what’s on this year’s list. Before we get to the list, just remember: The holidays are about giving, and who is giving you what and how much so you can post pictures of it on social media. So don’t be shy: Act like a millennial, even if you’re actually old enough to still be a fan of Roosevelt.

The Rules

These are my annually, self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide—it’s just two rules actually. To be listed here, they have to be: (a) products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to); and (b) if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend was a famous rapper (kidding). Also, to make things easy, we added direct links to all the products I picked so you don’t have to wonder if you’re getting the exact right one. (Note: Depending on the product, clicking on the product name below will take you to the manufacturer’s website; if the product is available at B&H Photo or Amazon, then clicking on the price will take you to those websites.) As is my sacred Gonzo tradition for more than a 10th of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.

G reat Value Gear :

Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.

C ha-ching: Stuff you buy for the surgeon/Wall Street banker/rap mogul on your Holiday

gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.

ProMaster Clamper Jr.

This is a really clever, very sturdy mini-tripod, but what makes it unique is that it has a clamp built in to two of the legs, so you can clamp it on a railing. It’s small, lightweight, but tough. Price: $44.95

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g n i k c o St s r e f f u St


Topaz Adjust

Probably Topaz’s most-popular plug-in (for Photoshop or Lightroom), it’s great for creating a wide range of special effects, and it comes with loads of presets, so all your holiday gift receiver has to do is click on presets until he sees one that looks good, and click OK. Of course, he can tweak away to his heart’s content, but by that time, he’ll already be basking in the glow of your generosity for getting this for him in the first place. Price: $49.99

› › photoshop user › december 2016

g n i k c Sto r e f f u t S


A Year of Backblaze Unlimited Backup

There’s more than a reasonable chance that the photographers on your gift list don’t have an offsite backup of their all-important image library, but don’t worry: You can get them one for just $5 a month for unlimited storage. The whole process is automated, and best of all, they can back up external drives. They’ll totally dig this, and one day, if catastrophe strikes and they need to retrieve all their images from this backup, they’ll never forget you! It could be, literally, the ultimate gift. Price: $5/month; $50/1 year; or $95/2 years

Put this diffuser between your subject and the sun, and you’ll turn that harsh nasty light into beautiful gorgeous light and it’s only $14.17, which is a crazy low price to pay for beautiful light. Plus, it’s collapsible and folds down to onethird its size, and the whole thing looks like it cost three times the price. It’s all good. Price: $14.17

Some Cool Books

If they’re into sports, they’ll love You Will Never Get in the Game by Jimmy Cribbs (the story of Atlanta Falcon’s team photographer). Price: $34.95

Or how about Photo Adventures for Kids by Anne-Laure Jacquart, which is a really great photo project book to get kids interested in learning about photography. Very well done! Price: $19.95 Hey, they just might like my brand-new book, The Adobe Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers (2017 Release). Price: $54.99 Or if you want to splurge just a little, get them either of these gorgeous coffee-table style photo books: • AIR by Vincent LaForet: Price: $59.95 • Paris by Serge Ramelli: Price: $75.00 › › k e l b yo n e . c o m

g rs

Westcott 30" White Diffuser


t a e r G lue Va ar Ge

Westcott 26" RapidBox Octa Softbox for Flash

These pop-up softboxes are just brilliantly designed: They open and close like an umbrella. This particular one is actually a pop-up beauty dish, and it’s awesome! I think it’s the best designed and most durable collapsible I’ve ever seen, and it fits in such a small, lightweight, soft-sided case that you won’t believe it could even fit. I would call this “ultra portable,” to say the least. Designed to work with your off-camera flash, it comes with a well-made hot-shoe bracket, so you’re ready to go in 60 seconds. I’m a big fan of these, and Westcott now also makes 10x24" strip bank versions. (I have two of them!) They’re worth every penny. Price: $169.90

› › photoshop user › december 2016

Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 10 Sling Camera Bag


A friend turned me on to this small sling bag and I love it on a level you can’t imagine! I took it with me on my last photo trip, and now it’s my travel companion—perfect for carrying a couple of lenses and accessories. You carry it like a backpack, but then you swivel it around in front of you for easy access. So well designed, superlightweight, and built like a Think Tank bag (amazing quality). They’ll love this. Price: $84.75

Haida 150 Series Filter Holder System

If the photographer on your holiday list shoots landscape, architectural, or travel photography, they’ll love this filter system that lets you take long exposure shots in broad daylight. Really wonderfully designed and built. (I started using these this summer, and I was just so impressed.) And the price (especially for the quality) is really amazing—much lower than the competition’s—plus the case and overall presentation makes them look like you spent way more than you did. Make sure you know which type of lens your photographer friend uses, get the filter holder adapter ring set that fits their landscape lens, then pick up a Haida 150x150 ND 3.0 Optical Glass Filter, which is a 10-stop neutral density filter, to go in the bracket. You’ll feel much love when you give this gift! Haida 150 Series Filter Holder: Around $150 Haida 150x150 ND 3.0 Optical Glass Filter: $129

This new model grew out of a huge Kickstarter campaign because photographers are either looking to put cameras where tripods aren’t allowed or into spaces that are too small or tight for a tripod; or they just want to shoot at really low angles. (I use one for shooting remotes at football games or weddings, where I can place it behind the altar.) The Platypod Pro Max is probably the best solution ever! Built with lightweight but crazy-strong commercial aircraft aluminum, this is such a clever design. Price: $99

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Platypod Pro Max


Lexar 128 GB JumpDrive C20i Lightning to USB 3.0 Cable with Built-in Flash Drive

Okay, that’s a boring name, but this is a really cool, handy device that does more than you might think. Not only can you transfer up to 128 GB of photos, either from your iPhone or iPad to your computer (or vice versa), it also actually acts as an iPhone or iPad charger. So small and lightweight, but backed with power! Price: $136.99

Tether Tools Case Air Wireless TetheringSystem Photographers have been dying for an inexpensive, reliable, easy way to shoot directly from their DSLR straight to an iPad or iPhone (also works for Android devices), and Tether Tools totally nailed that with their new Case Air Wireless Tethering System. You can even focus and fire your camera using their app (for iOS or Android). So easy to set up and use, and the price is right. Very cool stuff! Price: $159.99

› › photoshop user › december 2016

3 Legged Thing Equinox Albert Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and AirHed 360


This has become my go-to tripod for travel, because it really packs up small, it’s fairly lightweight, but sturdy as all get-out, and it comes with a really nice ballhead (and a nice ballhead alone can cost more than this entire rig, so that helps make it a great deal). They make an even smaller, lighter travel tripod called the “Leo,” if size and portability is #1 on your list; otherwise, I’d go with the Albert, even though it’s a little heavier, and a little bigger. Albert: $489.99 Leo: $349.99

t a e r G lue Va ar Ge

This is one of those gifts that they’ll love you for forever because it’s so handy and it makes their camera look and feel more like a high-end pro camera, as it gives them a second battery holder and a shutter button for when they’re shooting vertical. The price starts at around $50 for a third-party grip, but if you buy a Nikon brand for a Nikon camera, or Canon brand for Canon, expect to pay at least 2–3 times as much, so give the Vello brand at B&H a serious look. You’ll be a holiday hero for this one! Price: Starting at $50

Mpix Premium Panoramic Photo Books

I made my first one of these photo books earlier this year, and I have to say, they scream quality! The thickness of the pages just gives it such an expensive feel (but without an actual expensive price). Your giftees can design their books right on the Mpix site (it’s so simple to create a book; anyone can do it), and they’ll be amazed when their photo book arrives—just beautiful! Either gift them the ability to make one using their images, or make a book of your images and present it as a gift. Price: Starting at $39.99

B&H Photo Gift Cards

Not sure exactly what to get your photographer friends? Yes you are. Get ’em a B&H Photo Gift Card. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want something from the greatest photo store on earth, plus this way they can get whatever they want (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course). You can order them direct from the B&H site, and they send a card and a catalog, so it looks pretty substantial. Price: Starting at $25

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e r

Battery Grip


If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s just because it’s brand new. I think this might be the perfect plug-in for people who are just getting into using plug-ins, because: (a) it has lots of presets; (b) it does tons of stuff; (c) it’s very easy to use; and (d) it’s super affordable at $69. It does everything from photo special effects to editing tasks (even editing RAW images); and again, its big strength is lots of presets that create good looks. It’s pretty full-featured photo-editing software on its own, so you’ll see stuff like Layers, Noise Reduction, Curves, and more, but I just use the special effects—of which there are plenty to keep your giftee busy. The downside is that it’s Mac only at this point, so make sure your photographer giftee uses a Mac. Price: $69

› › photoshop user › december 2016

Phottix Mitros+ Transceiver Flash


If you want to get the photographer on your gift list a really good quality flash without spending $600, this is what I’d go with. They’re awesome quality flashes, but I have to say it’s the wireless transmitter—the Phottix Odin II Flash Trigger Transmitter, sold separately for around $199 and used for wirelessly controlling one or more flashes—that made me fall in love with this system. It’s like it was designed by a photographer (rather than an engineer). If you’ve seen me out on the road this year, these are the flashes I’ve been using. Phottix Mitros+ Transceiver Flash: Around $350 Phottix Odin II Flash Trigger Transmitter: $194.90

Trey Ratcliff

Macphun Luminar for Lightroom or Photoshop

Impact Venture TTL 600W/s Battery-Powered Monolight Kit

The hot things in lighting right now are these studio strobes you can take on location and, instead of having a separate battery pack, the battery is built right into the light itself, so it’s just the light, on a stand, and that’s it—no cables whatsoever. Of course, the problem has been that they’ve been crazy expensive, which is why I like this Impact version so much: The light, a 32" hex softbox, the wireless controller, and a spare battery are available as a kit from B&H Photo for just $1,249.95, which is a pretty screaming deal. It has built-in high-speed sync and LED modeling lights. And did I mention the price? It’s less than one-half the competitor’s. Sweet! Price: $1249.95

Cha! g n i h C Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Price: $3,499

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If the Canon shooter on your holiday list is looking for a new camera body, the 5D Mark IV is perhaps the best all-around camera Canon has ever made. It’s a big upgrade over the industry workhorse Mark III, and just about every single aspect is improved or enhanced on this bad boy. It has more megapixels, better sensor, built-in wireless, built-in GPS, more frames per second, and I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: It makes better images. If you buy them this body, they’ll follow you around like a puppy for the rest of their lives.


Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 500s Flash Head Want something awesome for the studio photographer on your list? These new strobes from Elinchrom are the best I’ve used from them (and they’re known for their quality/ value ratio). Great new design, but beyond that, it fires about as fast as you can shoot with virtually no recycling time between shots. And you can do stroboscopic, sequence, and delayed strobe effects easily—these modes are built in. Very consistent, well designed, and a lot of bang for the buck. Price: $1,049.99

Cha! g n i h C

› › photoshop user › december 2016

Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens


This 16–35mm range is one of my all-time favorites for a super-wide-angle lens, and Canon just released a new updated version of this classic lens that’s sharper than ever. If your photographer giftee shoots landscape, travel, architecture or football (I use it for my remote cameras), he’ll lose his mind if you get him one of these. This is the good stuff! Price: $2,199

I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least make mention of some of the cool gifts we have over here at KelbyOne.

A One- Year KelbyOne Membership Wanna give them a gift that they’ll remember all year long? How about world-class, online training on everything from Photoshop to Lightroom to photography. It’s $199 for an entire year (with 24/7 access to literally thousands of lessons), or just $19.95 a month. Not only will they love you for it, so will I.

My How Do I Do That In Photoshop and How Do I Do That In Lightroom Book Bundle

Stuff from Us

I created these two books for people who are already at least somewhat familiar with Photoshop and/or Lightroom and they want reference books they can keep right at their desk, so when they ask themselves, “Isn’t there a way to do that in Lightroom or Photoshop?” they just turn right to the page in the respective book that describes just that one topic. These books have a been a huge hit with readers (the Lightroom book is already in its third printing), and you can get a deal from the publisher on the two-book bundle for only $30.00. Both eBooks: $20 Both Paperbacks: $30 Both Print and eBook Bundles: $45

Okay, do you want to totally blow them away to the extent that they need a spinal tap? Give them a full conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference in April in Orlando, Florida. It’s a three-day Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography love fest, and they’ll be talking about this gift, what they learned, and the overall experience, for years to come. As a KelbyOne member, if you buy it for them now, you get $100 off with the Early Bird discount, so it’s just $599. ■ CLICK TO RATE

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Treat them to the Photoshop World Conference in Orlando


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We are the world’s largest Photoshop, Lightroom and photography conference. Members come from all over the world to learn from an extraordinary roster of instructors. Everybody’s here from beginners to seasoned pros, from students to educators, from amateurs to wizards, Photoshop users, photographers, graphic designers, social media marketing folks, Lightroom fanatics, creative professionals, soccer moms, artists, hobbyists, bloggers, video creators, and anyone else who uses Adobe’s amazing tools to create, inspire, and communicate. It’s a bunch of really cool, fun, creative people—just like you. If there’s any one thing we want you to know it’s this: This is your conference! It was created for KelbyOne members to have a place to come together to learn all the latest technology, make new friends and connections. We all come together to share, engage and have the best time ever doing it all. LEARN MORE»

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Want to dive in deeper on a particular topic, or be a part of a live on-location shoot? Then come a day earlier for our optional in-depth pre-conference workshops. These intensive workshops give you a chance to get a head start on your learning, and feature a smaller group atmosphere and a dedicated block of time so you can really focus in on a subject that interests you most. We have in-depth workshops on everything from food photography, automotive photography, dog photography, lightpainting, portaits, and lighting. We even have a class on creating jaw dropping images on a low budget! Advance registration is required (and there is a separate registration fee for these optional workshops). VIEW A FULL LIST OF AVAILABLE WORKSHOPSÂť

Our home for the week is in Sunny Orlando Florida right in the heart of the city’s main tourist strip. Our staff and instructors will be staying at our host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, conveniently connected to the Orange County Convention Center. The Hyatt offers the quintessential location for convention attendees! Make yourself at home in your spacious guestroom, lounge at the gorgeous pools between class sessions, or if you want to venture out have lunch or dinner at Pointe Orlando, where you’ll find a large selection of restaurants and nightclubs all within walking distance. And the best part is we’ve negotiated an amazing rate for our attendees. . VISIT OUR SITE FOR MORE DETAILS»

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Beginners' Workshop


combining photos into the perfect group shot

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Step One: There are several ways to open two photos within the same document and then align the layers; however, the easiest way is to choose File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack. Click the Browse button, navigate to the files you want to combine, Shift-click each file so they’re all selected, and click Open. (If the images are already open in separate Photoshop documents, and they’re the only files open in Photoshop, click the Add Open Files button instead.) Turn on the checkbox next to Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and click OK. Tip: You can also Shift-click to activate multiple layers in the same document and choose Edit>AutoAlign Layers. This is handy if you send files from Lightroom over to Photoshop on separate layers. If you watch your document closely, you’ll see the top layer shift to align with the bottom layer. In the background, Photoshop rotates, scales, changes perspective, and even performs a cylindrical warp (if necessary) to make the images match up (the latter is mission critical if you’re not shooting with a tripod). Here are the two images we’re working with. [KelbyOne members may download the files used in this tutorial at www.kelbyone .com/magazine. All files are for personal use only.]


Group photography can be difficult. Inevitably, someone is smiling in one photo and not in another; at least one person has his or her eyes closed in every shot; and so on. Happily, Photoshop can perfectly align multiple shots so matching areas overlap, leaving you the task of a little layer masking. Read on!


Step Two: In the Layers panel, drag the layer thumbnail of the main photo—the one with all the teens in the frame named Prom 1—to the bottom of the layer stack. When you’re performing this technique using your own imagery, place the main image (the best of the bunch) at the bottom of the layer stack.

Step Four: Press B to grab the Brush tool and use the Brush Preset Picker (circled) at the left of the Options Bar to pick a soft-edged brush. Make sure the Mode drop-down menu is set to Normal and that Opacity and Flow are at 100%—don’t worry about setting brush size because you’ll change it with a keyboard shortcut momentarily. In the realm of layer masks, painting with black conceals and painting with white reveals. So to hide one of the teens in the top layer in order to reveal the one on the bottom layer, press D on your keyboard to set the color chips at the bottom of the Toolbar (also circled) to their default values of black and white. Press X on your keyboard to flip-flop them so black is on top.

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Step Three: Click the top layer to activate it and then add a layer mask to it by clicking the circlewithin-a-square icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Photoshop adds a white mask thumbnail to the right of the layer thumbnail (circled here). The white brackets around the mask corners indicate that it’s active so the next thing you do happens to the mask instead of the layer content.


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Step Five: Mouse over to the image and brush across the area you want to hide, which is the teen on the right. To decrease or increase brush size, tap the Left or Right Bracket keys ([, ]) on your keyboard. As you paint with black inside the layer mask, you basically punch a hole through the top layer so you can see what’s on the layer beneath it in that specific area. If you mess up and hide too much of the photo, press X on your keyboard to flip-flop your color chips so that white is on top, and then paint across that area with white to reveal it.

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Step Six: Choose File>Save and then close the file. Here’s the final image, complete with Layers panel.


You can use this same technique to remove eyeglass glare too. The trick is to take two photos of the subject: one with his or her glasses on and another with his or her glasses off. That way, you can combine, align, and mask (swap) the eyes as described here to hide the glare. To keep the photo looking realistic, you could reveal a little bit of the glare once you’ve hidden it completely by painting with light gray inside the mask. To do that, set your Foreground color chip to black and then lower the Brush tool’s Opacity setting in the Options Bar to, say, 30%. Until next time, may the creative force be with you all! ■ CLICK TO RATE


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Dynamic Range


finishing for the heart

We’re amazingly fortunate to wander our planet with our cameras in hand to bring back to others the wonders that we witness. It’s a very passionate affair, which greatly influences how we see and make our photographs. We all know the process we go through to bring back our stories in our photos, and we’ve all experienced the moment when showing our photos to others that we’ve said, “This doesn’t do the scene justice.” If we could share our photos from our memories, they’d always look perfect, but we have to rely on what I affectionately call “the cold-hearted bastard” (the camera) to do the job. Compared to our eyes, mind, and heart, sometimes the camera needs a helping hand. That’s why when we’re processing landscape photos to try and bring them back to where they represent what we saw and felt when we took them, we must understand that the key to finishing is to know where we started!

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Yellowstone National Park


There’s a magic to Yellowstone National Park, which is magnified when it’s blanketed in white. Many of its unique and subtle colors become emeralds against the white backdrop, instantly grabbing the eye and heart when bringing the camera up to take the shot. With exposure and white balance set, and all the wanted elements included and unwanted elements excluded, we make the click to the best of our ability. This gives Photoshop the best data in which it can perform its finishing magic. For many reasons, the scene that you witnessed isn’t the photo the camera brought home, and once you understand that, you can quickly and easily bring that memory back to your photo. You could ask, “Which came first, the pixel or the egg?” You need to start by understanding that our mind’s eye sees all the right colors, whereas our cameras—which aren’t influenced by physiology, but rather run on numbers—can be easily influenced. In this case, it set the white balance lower than it really was.


Step One: I started by opening the NEF file in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and applying my Landscape preset (which you can learn more about in my KelbyOne class Landscape Photography: Post-Processing in Camera Raw and on my website). This preset is set up to mimic the settings in my camera when I took the picture. My Step One


Landscape preset sets the Vibrance to +32 in the Basic panel, and applies sharpening and noise reduction. Next, I clicked on the snow in the lower-right corner of the thermal with the White Balance tool (I). That brought the white balance up to 7000, but more importantly, it brought back some of the rich tones that made me stop to shoot this scene in the first place. Step Two: After setting the white balance, I used the Dehaze slider in the Effects panel (fx) to decrease the overall haze created by the steam, which in turn added contrast to the image. Step Three: With these basics in place, we can start finishing. The light was on the flat side so exposure-wise, the photo still lacked contrast, but there’s tons of color contrast. That’s what made me stop in the first place and which I’ll now bring to life. In ACR, the sliders in the Basic tab aid us in bringing out that color contrast. In the screen grab to the right, you can see a whole bunch of movement in these sliders. Understand that these are for this photo and how the scene emotionally moved me; these aren’t magic numbers to be used with every photo you take. What you should take away from this is the relationship of the sliders; for example, how Shadows and Whites are opened up, but the Highlights are brought down. That combo makes the thermal, its steam and color, jump in the photograph.

Step Two

Step Three

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Step Four: We aren’t done, though, as we can easily bring out that color contrast even more in ACR. Why is that important? The shades of color in the thermal, which indicate just how bloody hot it is, are important to speak of that heat, as well as what attracted me to it in the first place. So listen carefully, because this is what I like to think is one of my greatest secrets to finishing: the HSL/Grayscale tab. Click on Luminance first, as this permits you to target specific colors and affect their luminance—and that’s a beautiful thing.


Step Four

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Step Five: With that done (and you’re doing it for your photographs, not some specific number), I headed to the Saturation tab to deepen specific colors and remove the influence of a bad color. Look at the Blues slider. I desaturated it. Why? The scene has enough cold, so I wanted to bring it down a notch, which warmed up the other colors. Also, all of the other adjustments that I had made up to this point had made the blue sky look like something from a bad HDR. Skies don’t look like that, so that one slider took care of both warming the photo and fixing the sky in one fell swoop.

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Step Five

Step Six: When in ACR, make sure that the option is checked to Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects. You can find this option by clicking on the link at the bottom of the ACR window to open the Workflow Options dialog. Once in Photoshop, it’s time for the final coup de grâce. What might that be? Well, Nik Color Efex Pro 4, of course! As you probably know by now, the Google Nik Collection is free to everyone. I do have a specific recipe for these that you can download from here. In this case, I applied the Pro Contrast, Tonal Contrast, and Detail Extractor filters. And that’s it, the photo is finished and it took less than a minute total of digital darkroom time. The key is connecting the dots of what you saw and felt, and understanding what the camera did and didn’t connect in that process. Knowing where you started makes your finishing so much simpler!

Step Six




The Lighthouse Our finishing is only as difficult as we want to make it. As an example, I offer up the Coquille River Lighthouse, a longtime favorite of mine. Located on the Coquille River in Bandon, Oregon, it’s no longer in operation. And there isn’t a single squared-up wall or line anywhere in the structure. But it’s located in an incredibly moody place just screaming to have its photograph taken. You might see its shape and the mood and wonder how you can bring that home with you. Actually, it’s really easy. Here are some ideas how you can do it. Before

Step One: You just can’t make this stuff up. To clean up all the lines, I simply went into ACR, activated the Transform tool (Shift-T), clicked on the Vertical icon below Upright, and I was done. (I’ll fix the resulting transparency in the bottom corners later in Photoshop.)

Step One

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Step Two: Then, after a little work in the Basic and Detail tabs (like in the Yellowstone National Park photo above), into Photoshop I went.


Step Two

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Step Three: Once in Photoshop (working with a smart object as in the previous example), I applied the Pro Contrast and Tonal Contrast filters in Color Efex Pro 4. With this, the sea mist and stormy skies started to come to life in our photo.

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Step Three


Step Four: Now you might be wondering about those transparent areas in the left- and right-bottom corners. Well, knowing where I wanted to go and using the power of Photoshop, I took care of two finishing steps in the next single layer. Photoshop needs a layer with a thumbnail for these next two steps. To get that layer, simply press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) and rasterize it (Right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and choose Rasterize Layer). Now, grab the Lasso tool (L), select the right corner, and press Shift-Delete (PC: Shift-Backspace) to open the Fill dialog. Choose Content-Aware in the Contents drop-down menu, check on Color Adaptation, click OK, and bang! The corner is now populated with mood. Repeat for the left corner. You gotta love how easy Photoshop makes it for us! The last step for this same layer is to quickly select just the clouds (using the Quick Selection tool [W]) and apply the Detail Extractor filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to the selection. You could stop there, but when it comes to romance and mood, you gotta go black-andwhite (B&W). And since that takes only seconds, let’s do it! Step Four


Step Five: There are lots of ways of converting a photograph to B&W, and I’ve probably used them all. This is my current favorite, which is to say that I think more methods are still coming. It takes only seconds. Start by going to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Black & White and clicking OK. Then click on what I call, “The Fickle Finger of Fate” near the top-left corner of the Properties panel. Click on the tones in your photo that you want to bring out, and drag left or right. In this case, I grabbed the gray in the left clouds and then the whites in the lighthouse. You can see the outcome in the sliders in the Properties panel from doing this. Step Five

Step Six: Next, go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation and click OK. This layer will appear above the Black & White layer you just created in the Layers panel, but you want to drag it down below the Black & White layer. Click-and-drag the Hue slider back and forth in the Properties panel, and you’ll see your B&W image dance. Once you like what you see, stop making it dance, and you’re done. The one camera setting or Photoshop slider you didn’t read about here is probably the most important one of all in the whole process: the heart! Since I was at these locales and knew where it all started, it was easy to finish. You can do the same thing with your photography because it’s your photography. What you’ve read here is just a start to the possibilities, both at the camera and the computer. Keep it simple and make it fun and you’ll find that finishing for the heart is photographically rewarding. ■

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Step Six

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Photoshop Proving Ground some challenges and solutions for working with the art history brush


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©Adobe Stock/Pavel Timofeev

Remember the Art History Brush? I have to admit, I haven’t been a huge fan of it. In fact, after it was first released, I spent about 10 minutes with it and decided it wasn’t for me. Recently, some colleagues started talking about it and I spent another 10 minutes with it after seeing their beautiful results. This time I was stunned at how quickly I could get some really nice textures. The secret lies in working within the limits of the tool.


The Art History Brush (let’s call it AHB for short) relies on history states. Basically, you do some filtering or correction on an image, set a particular point in the History panel as your source, and go to town with one of a handful of brush effects. But there’s some complexity to deal with before you can really start to unwind the unique capabilities here. Running over a few key concepts will help us warm up: • T he AHB needs a history state to sample from, and the easiest way to manage this is by using snapshots in the History panel. • O  nly the original history state is available for use on any arbitrary layer; if you create snapshots from other

filtered layers, you’re constrained to paint only on the layer from which that snapshot was taken. • Y  ou can create filtered or processed effects and save those as a snapshot in the History panel. • W  hen you close your image, the history and snapshots are erased. • S everal options for regular brushes can be used with the AHB, but not all—color blending and brush blend modes aren’t used, for example (except those in the Options Bar).


The History Panel, Snapshots, and the AHB Start by opening your image, then show the History panel (Window>History) so you have ready access. Notice at the top of the History panel is your first snapshot—it’s the state of the document as you first opened it, and it can be used as a source to any other regular layer. Press Y to choose your History Brush, then Shift-Y again to get the Art History Brush. In your snapshot area, ensure there’s an icon next to the default snapshot layer. You can create a new snapshot at any time by clicking the Camera icon at the bottom of the History panel.

The most obvious way to start with the AHB is simply to start painting on a layer above your background using the default snapshot. Go ahead and tinker with that for a minute to get a feel for how the tool works. The Options Bar at the top of your screen has controls for a very few blend modes, Opacity, Style of brush stroke, and controls for Area and Tolerance. And of course, you can choose a brush tip, or even a tool preset, which I’ll come back to later. After a few passes with the various Styles, you should notice that the brush is picking up colors from the snapshot source and drawing random strokes. Clicking-and-holding in one place lets you see that the tool is continuously painting or stamping. The Area setting behaves a lot like the Scatter setting in the Brushes panel; it causes the stamps or strokes to spread out more. Meanwhile, the AHB is also sampling random pixels to use as solid color fills on each mark.

My AHB Workflow

Note: If you’re starting from an Adobe Stock image in your library, it may come in as a smart object. Be sure to Rasterize it (Layer>Rasterize>Layer) before starting to paint.

Above, I mentioned limits, and one of them is that only the default snapshot can be used on just about any layer. But I like to create snapshots of adjusted and filtered layers. Here’s the workflow I use to set up my painting: Starting from a document with only your photo in the Background, duplicate it (Command-J [PC: Ctrl-J]), apply filters or adjustments

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Keep these elements in mind as I describe my particular technique to transform this quill and scroll from Adobe Stock into a stylized old painting.


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HOW TO › ›


to the duplicate, then name the layer. Next, create the snapshot and give it the same name as the layer. This way you’ll always know which layer you can paint using that snapshot. Here, I used a Gaussian Blur filter on my duplicate, then used a Curves adjustment (Command-M [PC: Ctrl-M]) to increase contrast. In this case, I named both the Layer and the snapshot “Blur.”

Tool Presets

Note: The History panel can be finicky! Double-click the name to modify it, but don’t click away from the name to the right or on the thumbnail—you’ll put your document back to that history state! If you do that, press Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to undo. To activate a snapshot, with the AHB tool selected, click to the left of the name and you’ll get the AHB icon. That’s now the selected source.

the size of the brush at first and then begin working with smaller sizes to define edges. Now we’ll get a little more detailed. Select the Champagne tool preset, but lower the Opacity to about 25% and the Area to about 10 px (depending on the size of your starting image), then set the blend mode of the tool to Normal. Painting on this layer now starts to add some

To make things easy, with the AHB active, open the Tool Presets panel (Window>Tool Presets) and click in the little sandwich menu in the upper right. From there you can load the Art History Brush presets and get some really nice starting setups. Of course, you could use any available brush tip, but stay away from Bristle brushes because they’re unpredictable. If you have a Wacom tablet, you can even adjust things such as rotation and size jitter for more variation. I like to work from general to specific, and painting usually starts with large areas of loose color. Choose Oil Sketch in the Tool Presets panel, and in the History panel, select the Blur snapshot (remember not to click the snapshot, just the source checkbox), then click on the Blur layer to make it active. Start painting on the canvas and don’t worry about precision. Just fill up the canvas! You may want to increase


Creating More Complex Effects The actual filters used aren’t that important until you get to really small details. More often than not, I just create snapshot layers from various adjusted layers and blending. I have a special trick for doing this that you can see in this video. The reason for the adjustments is so I can paint with lighter or darker colors. I simply use effects such as Blur or Crystallize to add a little variety to the samples, but in the end those effects are pretty much lost until you paint with very fine details (use small brush sizes and the Dab setting) or

Okay, I’m really looking forward to seeing your painterly results on Facebook and Instagram! Tag #KelbyOne and get painting! ■

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interesting texture. Vary the size of the brush, its Opacity and Area, and even the Style to build up the effect.

duplicate them and mask the painted layer to reveal them. In this case, the blur and contrast add more drama to the painting and it begins to feel more vintage. Optionally finish everything off with a mask to slowly reveal the original image. You can also keep adding layers and snapshots to get richer or more complex results. Using a variety of brushes and Styles from the Options Bar lets you get some really incredible textures. Painting on different layers gives you lots of flexibility in masking and blending. And while you can get some great results with the tool presets, try to avoid the temptation to pick just one and cover your entire image in one pass and call it done. I like to think of this tool as a foundation for deeper textured effects, so spending some quality time with it is necessary to put it under your control, and definitely use it with other techniques. And remember that your snapshots vanish when you close the file, so it’s generally best to work all in one session, or to save your snapshots as separate files, then load them back in as layers to create new snapshots. Weird, huh?


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Photoshop Tips

boost your productivity and creativity


Hi, everyone! As the year draws to a close, here are some Photoshop tips to send the year on its way. I hope that you find these tips useful and timesaving. Many are little fine-tuning Photoshop style tips, but there’s an aha moment for everyone.

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CHANNELS IN COLOR Did you ever wonder why channels always display in black and white? After all, these are color channels, right? Where are the red, green, and blue? When working with channels, it’s easier to see the density and details when they’re displayed in grayscale; however, you can make them display in color if you like. Simply to go to Photoshop (PC: Edit)>​ Preferences>Interface and check the Show Channels in Color box.


PRECISE CURSOR You may have noticed that you can choose a Precise cursor in Photoshop (PC: Edit)>Preferences>Cursors. This changes the cursor to a crosshair, which enables pinpoint precision when clicking on things. The regular cursor shows the size of the brush or current tool so you know how large an area you’ll affect. If you need the precise cursor, it’s a lot of work to change it in the Preferences, especially if you only need it for a short time. Here’s an easier way to get the precise cursor: Tap on the Caps Lock key. When your turn the Caps Lock off, it will revert back to the normal cursor. POINT SAMPLE Here’s something you should change as soon as you install or update Photoshop. Whenever you use any of the Eyedropper tools (they’re everywhere in Photoshop but fortunately, they’re all controlled from the same place), by default they’re set to Point Sample. That means that you’re sampling at pixel level, which is perfect for flat colors. With digital photographs, however, there may be some grain, and if you sample just a single pixel, it might not be accurate. Here’s the tip: Choose the Eyedropper tool (I) in the Toolbar. At the top in the Options Bar, change the Sample Size dropdown menu to 5 by 5 Average for a more accurate sample. It will now look at five pixels in either direction and give you the average of those colors. ©Colin Smith/

STRAIGHTEN PANORAMAS When working with panoramas or fisheye lenses, you can often see the subjects bending in your photographs. There’s an easy way to fix this in Photoshop: Go to Filter>Adaptive Wide Angle. When the dialog first opens, the Constraint tool (C) is selected. You can drag this tool along the horizon and it will warp the photo to make the horizon straight between the points at the beginning and end of the constraint line. Here are two tips for using the Constraint tool: First, don’t try to straighten the entire horizon all at once with a single line; use one constraint line on the left and another on the right. Second, when you’re using the Constraint tool, hold down the Shift key; the line will turn yellow and when you let go of the mouse button, not only will it straighten the horizon between the two points of the line, it will also rotate the image to make the horizon perfectly horizontal.

› › P H O T O S H O P T I PS

MAKE DIFFERENCE CLOUDS MORE DIFFERENT One of the foundational building blocks of textures is Clouds and Difference Clouds (both found under Filter>Render). You can make almost anything starting with these textures. When using Difference Clouds, it creates a contrast pattern between the Foreground and the Background colors in the Difference blending mode. If you hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key as you apply the filter, it will be applied with higher contrast. PUT ALL THE TEXT ON TOP If you’re like me and many other Photoshop users, you may get so involved in the creation stage that the Layers panel gets a little cluttered and disorganized. One organizational tip for designers is to place all your text layers at the top of the layer stack in the Layers panel, and maybe even inside their own layer group. This makes it easy to edit the text in one place. Also, you won’t have any blended layers above them, which might slightly obscure your type without your realizing it. To organize your type layers quickly, click on the T icon at the top of the Layers panel to Filter for Type Layers. Only the type layers will now be visible in the Layers panel. Shift-click all the type layers to select them. Click on the T icon again to turn off the filter and drag one of the type layers to the top of the layer stack in the Layers panel. All of the selected type layers will snap to the top of the layer stack with no other layers in between. If they don’t move, create a blank layer on top of the layer stack and then try again, hopscotching over that new blank layer. MAKING ANIMATED GIFS FROM VIDEO I’m surprised by the number of people who aren’t aware of this functionality in Photoshop. If you have a video and ALL IMAGES BY COLIN SMITH

you want to convert it to an animated GIF in Photoshop, it’s easy! (How did GIFs get popular again?) Open the video in Photoshop in the same way you’d open a photograph. In the Timeline (Window>Timeline), set the beginning and end points for the part of the video that you want to convert to a GIF. Choose File>Export>Save For Web. You’ll notice that there’s an option at the top right to change the format to GIF. Do it! Change the Animation Looping Options to Forever if you want it to be endless, decrease the Image Size as needed, and click Save. RAW VIDEO Since we’re on the topic of video, did you know that you could edit video in Camera Raw? First, convert your video to a smart object in Photoshop by Right-clicking on the thumbnail in the Layers panel and choosing Convert to Smart Object. This will ensure that you’re editing the entire video and not just a single frame. Choose Filter>Camera Raw Filter. Now you can edit the video in exactly the same way that you’d edit a photograph in Camera Raw. Use all the basic tools to make the colors and tones pop, or whatever you like. You can even apply and make presets. Click OK to apply the changes and your video now looks amazing! CREATE AN INVERTED MASK When you apply a layer mask and then fill it with black, you’re filling the visible area only. If you move that mask, or you enlarge the canvas, you’re going to see the edges of

the mask. If you want to work with an inverted mask (everything on the layer is hidden except where you paint), do it this way instead: Hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key when you’re creating the mask and you’ll get an inverted mask (black). If you’ve already created the mask, don’t fill with black; choose the mask and press Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I) for a better result. Now if you move the mask or enlarge the canvas, you won’t see the edges of the mask. ■ CLICK TO RATE

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HUGE THUMBNAILS IN THE LAYERS PANEL When you’re working in the Layers panel, the layer thumbnails show you the layers’ contents. Did you know that you could change the size of the thumbnails? Click on the Layer panel’s flyout menu at the top right and choose Panel Options. This is where you can choose a different-sized thumbnail. This is also where you control other things such as automatically adding a layer mask to fill layers.


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InDesign personalized christmas card Special Tutorial BY D AV E C L A Y TO N

It’s that time of year again when we can all go to the store and buy some mass-produced Christmas cards to send to friends and family, or we could

practice our InDesign skills and make our very own personalized card.

InDesign is so versatile that we can lay out, design, and send to print all in one document. In this tutorial, we’re going to use Adobe Stock photos, a cool font from Typekit, and a free texture from Plus, we’re also going to make a personalized logo to go on the back of the card, all without leaving InDesign.


So, let’s get started. We’ll first set up our document. This is going to be a simple A5 folded card with a design on the front, an image on the inside left, text on the inside right, and a small logo on the back. Step One: To start, we’ll set up a new blank document (File>New>Document). Pick A5 as the Page Size and make it 4 pages, with the Facing Pages checkbox ticked—you’ll see why in the screen grab to the right. This layout gives us the front cover, the inside spread, and the back cover. We need to set the Margins to 10 mm on all sides so that our text stays in a safe area for printing, and we’ll give it a 3-mm Bleed on all sides as well for the parts of the card that go to the very edge. I’ve selected 10 Columns with a 2-mm Gutter to help with lining everything up. The number of columns you use is up to you. Step Two: We want to keep this nice and simple, so the resources for this card are as follows: • Image for the cover (you can use one of your own images or something from Adobe Stock like we’re going to use in this example) • V ector image (again, we’re using Adobe Stock) • Voltage font from Typekit

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to assume that you’re already familiar with (if you’re a CC subscriber you can get 10 free images) and know how to download and use preview images, as well as license them. If you haven’t taken advantage of Adobe Stock through your Libraries panel in either Photoshop or InDesign, then check out the recent tutorial from Jesús Ramirez in the July/August issue of Photoshop User magazine.

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• A  ged paper texture from DesignCuts .com, my go-to online place for textures and other resources.


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it makes all four corners curved. Drag the top-right yellow diamond to the second column guide as shown here (again, if you click-and-hold for a couple of seconds first, you’ll get a live preview of the rounded corners as you drag the diamond point). Step Five: Now it’s time to place your image. We’re using an image from Adobe Stock of a camera with a Santa hat on top. (On the Adobe Stock site, log in to your Adobe account, and then click on Save Preview to My Library to the right of the image to download a watermarked image directly to your CC Libraries panel in InDesign.) We want to place our image into the rectangle, so click on the rectangle to make it active, then choose File>Place, select the image from it’s saved location, and click Open. Since it was active, the image will be placed directly into the rectangle. (If you downloaded the watermarked Adobe preview, you can drag it from your CC Libraries panel, and click inside the rectangle to place the image inside it.) We need to move and resize the image inside the rectangle, so click the double “grabber” circle (it looks like a transparent donut) in the middle of the image. This makes the image active instead of its frame, so we can now move and resize the image until it fits within the shape as shown

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©Adobe Stock/Vitaliy

Step Three: Before we download any images, we’re going to create a white rectangle shape with a red stroke on the front cover. Select the Rectangle tool (M) and make sure that View>Grid & Guides>Snap to Guides or Smart Guides is turned on. Starting at the left margin, just slightly below the top margin, draw a rectangle that extends to the right and bottom margins. In the Control panel at the top of the screen, give this rectangle a white Fill color and a 10-pt red Stroke. Because the stroke is centered on the outer edge of the rectangle, the stroke goes outside the margins. So switch to the Selection tool (V), and click-and-drag the center points on the sides and bottom of the rectangle shape to align the outer edge of the stroke with the margins. (Tip: Click-and-hold on the control points for a couple of seconds before you start dragging them. This will give you a live preview of the stroke as you drag it, making it easier to align it with the margins.)


Step Four: We want to give the rectangle shape rounded corners, and this is really simple to do. With the rectangle shape active, click the small yellow block that appears just below the top-right corner of the shape. Once you do this, all the corner points will change to yellow diamonds. Click-and-drag any of these yellow diamonds inward, and


(again, click-and-hold for a couple of seconds for a live preview before you begin dragging). Press Command-– (PC: Ctrl-–) several times to zoom out so you can see the edges of the image to resize it. Hold the Shift key while dragging corner points to maintain proportions. We can always move this image around and resize it, as it’s a live link. We’re working nondestructively, just like in Photoshop. So far we’ve done things you know how to do in Photoshop: Draw a rectangle, apply a color and stroke, and also add rounded corners. The placing of an image inside a shape is like using a clipping mask in Photoshop; the image is only visible inside the shape.

Step Seven: Next, we want to add some text for the front message. Using the Type tool (T), click-and-drag a text box over the polygon. In the Control panel, activate the Character Formatting Controls (A) on the far left, and from the top right of the font drop-down menu, select Add Fonts from Typekit. This will take you to the Typekit webpage. Use the

search bar at the top of the page to search for the lovely Laura Worthington script font, Voltage, which has a retro feel to it and suits the design of the card perfectly. You only need to click the Sync button for each of the three available versions (Light, Regular, and Bold). Once you do this, Creative Cloud will automatically download these fonts to your Font library, and they’ll show instantly in your font menu. Step Eight: Our cover text is “The magic of Christmas never ends, its greatest gift is family and friends...” I’ve set a font size to fit and selected the Align Center option in the Control panel so each line of text is centered in the text box. Play with this until the text is adjusted within the red stroke of the polygon shape and you’re happy with the look. You can also switch to the Selection tool (V) to resize and rotate the text box. I resized the text box so that I had four lines of text with no breaks at the end of each line, then I rotated it by a few degrees for a nice jaunty angle! To rotate the text box, hover your cursor just outside one of the corner points until it turns into a curved, double-headed arrow, and then click-and-drag.

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Step Six: Now we want to add a polygon shape at the top of the card for a place to add some text. Click-and-hold on the Rectangle Frame tool (F) in the Toolbar and select the Polygon Frame tool when it appears. Click-and-drag out a polygon using the column guides to center it at the top of the document. (Tip: After you start drawing the polygon shape, you can click-and-hold the Spacebar to reposition it as you’re drawing it.) At the moment, it has no Fill and Stroke. We want it to have the same Fill and Stroke as the rectangle, so with the polygon selected, press the letter I on your keyboard to switch to the Eyedropper tool, and click the red stroke of the rectangle. This copies the style and applies it to the polygon shape, including the rounded corners. The corners are too rounded, though, so go to Object>Corner Options. In the dialog that appears, change the radius to 5 mm. All the corners are linked, so this radius amount will be applied to each corner of the polygon. Click OK.


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Step Nine: Next, let’s add a bit of Christmas feel to the text by making it green and adding a Satin effect. To change the color of your text, highlight it with the Type tool. In the Control panel, double-click on the Fill icon (it has a big T in it) to open the Color Picker. Select a green color and click OK. You’ll need to switch to the Selection tool before you can apply the Satin effect. With the text frame selected, go to Object>Effects>Satin. You can play with these settings until you’re happy, but the default works just fine (I did raise the Opacity to 70%). Click OK.

Step 11: Go back to the cover in InDesign, and with nothing selected, go to File>Place, navigate to the folder of textures that you just downloaded, select the Paper and Cardboard_062.jpg file, and click Open. Now click-anddrag until the file covers the entire cover. Hover your cursor just outside one of the corner points of the texture’s frame until you see the curved, double-headed arrow, hold the Shift key, and click-and-drag to rotate the texture 90° (the Shift key constrains the rotation to 45° increments). Drag the texture so it covers the entire page again, and then click-and-drag adjustment points on the texture’s frame to resize it to the red bleed lines that are just outside the boundary of the card (you’ll probably need to zoom out to see all the edges of the frame).

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Step 10: We need our retro paper texture to add to the cover. Head over to and click on Freebies. Choose the 100 Grungy Paper and Card Textures–Sample Pack, and click Download. You can click here for a direct link to that page. You’ll just need to sign up for a free account, and then you can download and use the textures in the pack.


Step 12: We can’t see the card design behind the texture, though, so we need to use a blend mode. But that’s only in Photoshop, right? Wrong! We can also apply a blend mode in InDesign by selecting the texture and going to Window>Effects to open the Effects panel. In the drop-down menu at the top left of the Effects panel, select Multiply, and then set the Opacity to around 50%. Now the cover has an aged retro look. (Tip: To quickly preview your design without any guides and frames, press W on your


©Adobe Stock/muchmania

keyboard. Press W again to reveal the guides. Just make sure you don’t have any text active, because you’ll type the letter “W” instead.)

space between the camera graphics and the red stroke, and you’re done with the left side of the card. Step 14: Now we need to set our text on the right-hand page. As before, draw a text box about the same size as the rectangle shape on the left page. In the Control panel, make the font size about 60 pt, choose Voltage Bold as the font, and the Center Align option. Then type “…just kidding, camera gear is the greatest gift ever!” Change this to the same green as the text on the cover, and apply the same Satin object style as before.

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Step 13: The front cover is now done so we can move to the inside spread. We’re going to repeat some steps here, so the first thing to do is use the Rectangle tool to draw another rectangle in the middle of the left inside cover page, but not as large as the one we created on the front. We’ll apply the same white Fill and red 10-pt Stroke as we did before, and then round the corners using the yellow diamonds. This time we’re going to add a vector image from Adobe Stock. So click on the shape with the Selection tool to make it active, then go to File>Place, choose the image from its location on your computer, and click Open (or you can drag it from your CC Libraries panel). It will need resizing, so again, click the image grabber donut in the middle and, while holding down Shift-Option (PC: Shift-Alt), click-and-drag a corner point to resize the image proportionally and from the center. Resize until there’s some white


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HOW TO › ›


Step 15: Finally, let’s make a little logo for the back cover. InDesign can make shapes just like Illustrator, and using the Pathfinder, you can join them and add elements. We’re going to make a camera inside a badge shape and add some text. Using the Polygon Frame tool, draw a polygon shape at the bottom of the back page. Give it a black 5-pt Stroke, and go to Object>Corner Options. Select Rounded for the corners, set them to around 6 mm, and click OK.

Step 17: Next, with the Selection tool active, hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key and click-and-drag a duplicate of the black rectangle above the original shape. With the shape selected, hold the Shift key down, and spin the shape around 180° so that the curved corners are on the top. Click-and-drag the bottom middle point upward until the top shape is about half the height of the bottom shape. Drag the top shape down, leaving a small gap between the two shapes. Next, draw a smaller rectangle filled with black on the top center, making sure it sits directly on top with no join. Select all three shapes by clicking on each while holding the Shift key and go to Window>Object & Layout>Align. In the Align Objects section of the Align panel, choose the Align Horizontal Centers option.

Step 16: Switch to the Rectangle Frame tool, draw a small rectangle above the polygon shape and fill it with black. Click on it with the Selection tool, and click the little yellow square near the top right of the frame to reveal the yellow diamonds for rounding the corners. Holding the Shift key, drag the bottom-right diamond inward. (The Shift key constrains the effect to just that corner.) Repeat for the bottom-left corner.

Step 18: Switch to the Ellipse Frame tool (which lives in the same flyout as the Polygon Frame tool in the Toolbar), hold the Shift key, and draw a circle in the middle the camera shape as shown. Give it a black Fill and a 3-pt white Stroke. Select all the shapes and align their horizontal centers again using the Align panel.


Step 19: We need to group these camera elements together, so select all the pieces, and go to Object>Group. The bounding box will now change to a dotted line and you can click-and-drag the whole shape into the polygon shape. With the group selected, you can also resize accordingly by holding down Shift-Option (PC: Shift-Alt) and dragging one of the corners to resize from the center. Step 20: Just add some text below the camera shape in the font of your choosing. (I’ve stayed with Voltage Bold filled with black.) As a last little touch, you can add a thin line between the camera and the text by selecting the Line tool in the Toolbar, choosing a 1-pt black Stroke in the Control bar, holding down the Shift key, and clicking-and-dragging your line below the camera shape.

With the Selection tool, click-and-drag around all the elements that make up the logo to select them, align their horizontal centers, and go to Object>Group again. Then, move the logo to the lower part of the back page of the card. Step 21: Now that our card is finished, we need to get it ready for print. The easiest way to do this is to go to File>Export. Choose Adobe PDF (Print) in the Format drop-down menu at the bottom of the window, navigate to where you want to save it, and click Save. In the Export Adobe PDF dialog that appears, select Marks and Bleeds on the left, and in the Marks section, tick on Crop Marks. In the Bleed and Slug section, tick on the Use Document Bleed Settings. Now go to General section and tick the radio button for Spreads (not Pages), and then tick the checkbox for View PDF after Exporting. Click Export and, after a few seconds, the document will open in Acrobat.

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Now you can send the PDF off to your printer, sit back with a glass of eggnog and a mince pie, and wait for your cards to arrive for Christmas! And hope that your friends and family get the subtle message. Happy Christmas and thank you for reading my InDesign tips and tricks column this past year. If you have any requests for tips or tutorials next year, please contact the editor with your suggestions. ■


Product Reviews Cerise Cylinder Computer This Workstation Aims at the Competition and Exceeds Expectations

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Review by Bruce Bicknell


My favorite boutique computer builder is at it again, and this time they’re taking no prisoners with their newly designed cylinder-shaped computer. Yes, you heard that right! This time they’ve brought us the dream machine that we wished the “other” cylinder computers had been, with fully interchangeable and upgradable components. Loaded with options that include multiple (3–5 removable SSD or standard) drive configurations, up to 128-GB RAM, and a variety of video card options that smoke the capabilities of other machines in this class. This one is a game changer for the photography and content creators in our space. As many of you know, I’ve been reviewing Cerise computers for some time now and have always been impressed with their attention to customer service and build quality from their shop. If you recall, I dubbed them the AMG of the computer world because they have one person working with you on your build to ensure that it’s exactly what you need for your workflow. When I was contacted, I had no idea what I was in store for this time around and was truly “giddy” when they filled me in on this new product. Like many other users, I’ve been disenfranchised with the lack of style in the PC world and with the cost of the cool cylinder that has very limited options when you need to expand to match your needs. The problem has been solved. Is the suspense killing you? Let’s get into it then. Let’s start with what everyone wants to know: The cylinder has a semigloss black finish that looks amazing and comes in at 12" in diameter and 15" in height. It weighs in at just under 17 lbs. and features top-mounted controls, with a bottom-mounted fan that keeps everything cool and ultra-quiet. Now for the good stuff! My test unit came with: an i7 Skylake Quad-Core 4.0-GHz processor; 32-GB Crucial DDR4 2133 RAM; a 480-GB SSD for OS and applications and a 512GB SSD for storage (with the option for up to 10 TB additional swappable storage); and an NVIDIA Quadro K2200 4-GB, 128-bit GDDR5 workstation-class graphics card (one DVI, one HDMI out, and two DisplayPort connections). This is a true workstation card producing 10-bit color, 1.7 billion colors (normal cards are 8-bit, 16 million color), that handled my two, hi-res 27" monitors and my 40" monitor (HDMI out) with ease, and produced amazing detail. To wrap it up, it also

has six USB 3 and two USB 3.1 ports and, best of all, these are all industry-standard parts that you can swap out yourself. As for real-world use, I recently completed a corporate golf pro tour shoot with photos and video for all the typical media (print, Web, and video), so I used Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, and Premiere Pro to complete the projects. The performance of the Cerise computer was stellar. I could give you all the numbers, but instead, I like the headto-head method of reporting, so I put it up against my iMac 5K that’s similarly specked (but still over 1.5 K more). I must say that the import and render times were faster for the Cerise and the overall response time exceeded expectations. If I had more space I’d continue writing, but unfortunately, I do not. As pros, we have all felt forgotten by the other brands in favor of their more profitable consumer market and it’s refreshing to finally have the option to get something that not only looks great, but is also a high-performance, upgradable beast. Imagine being able to install your own RAM and swap out hard drives (or even a video card) when you need to? This Cerise cylinder computer exceeded all my expectations and deserves a hard look if you’re searching for a machine that’s dedicated to your profession. The cost is very reasonable for this high-quality machine, and the staff’s attention to your needs is invaluable. I’m so impressed with this one that I’m looking forward to replacing my current system with my own customized version of this machine. ■ Company: Cerise Computers, LLC Price: $3,339 (as configured) Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Styling; upgradability; configurability; graphics card; very quiet


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My Passport Wireless Pro Wireless Storage Wherever You Go It’s been a long time since I've seen something compelling about new hard-drive technology, but the folks at Western Digital have delivered an especially interesting portable hard drive with the release of My Passport Wireless Pro. If you’re in the market for a portable drive, you need to consider this drive—it does quite a bit more than just hold data. My Passport Wireless Pro is available with either 2-TB or 3-TB capacity drives, and I tested the 2-TB drive. Obviously, having “wireless” as part of its name gives away one of the really interesting new features of this drive: wireless data transfer. It’s surprisingly fast, because it can use 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz WiFi for wireless data transfer. And of course, it has a USB 3.0 port for a direct, wired connection to a computer, just like a traditional portable drive. This description, however, only scratches the surface of all that this road warrior can do. A word of warning: because of all this drive can do, understanding how to get it to do each task will require spending some time with the PDF manual. There’s no paper manual and there’s very little printed help in the package, so you’ll want to plug the drive into your computer using the provided USB 3.0 cable. A habit I have with a new hard drive is to format it when I first plug it in. Do not do this: whether you’re using a Mac or a PC, the drive does not need to be reformatted. There are a lot of materials on the hard drive that you’ll need, and for safety’s sake, go ahead and copy all of the drive’s native files to another drive. (I copied them all to my laptop internal drive, and it took only 1.34 GB of space.) Among those native files, you’ll find the PDF manual, utilities for the hard drive with a corresponding installer (Mac and PC), and a few helpful videos. I highly recommend that you watch all three videos. The videos answer some basic questions, but you’ll still need to reference the manual for a number of tasks. Go ahead and install the utility software too. While you’ll be able to access the drive from a Web browser on your computer when the drive is wirelessly connected to it, the utility software gives you an additional quick way to access the drive. Beyond the hard drive itself, the device has an SD card slot. This allows you to pop in an SD card and upload specific files from the card, or you can set the device to automatically upload any images from the SD card to the drive. I was able to access the SD card when the drive was wirelessly connected to my Mac so I could see all of the hard drive’s contents and

all of the files on the SD card, and transfer the files from the SD card to my Mac. Obviously the wireless drive has an onboard battery to power the Wi-Fi radio and the spinning hard drive (it’s not an SSD), but what truly surprised me is the fact that you can also charge your mobile devices, like a smartphone or tablet, from the drive’s battery. I plugged my iPhone into the USB slot and it charged my iPhone! That port is not for data transfer though; just power. You connect your smartphone to the drive via Wi-Fi for any information exchange. When you turn it on, and it’s not plugged into a computer, My Passport Wireless Pro creates its own (ad hoc) Wi-Fi network. You can join the network from your computer, smartphone, or camera with built-in Wi-Fi, and transfer files wirelessly, even if there’s no other Wi-Fi network available. But if there is a nearby network, once you connect your phone or computer to the hard drive’s wireless network, you can use your computer or phone to tell My Passport Wireless Pro to connect to that Wi-Fi network, so you have Internet access too. And once that’s set up, you can even connect to the Adobe Creative Cloud and manage your images there. It’s kinda complicated, but that process is covered in one of those videos on your new hard drive. The My Passport Wireless Pro is physically about 50% larger than the regular portable Western Digital 2-TB drive I bought a few months ago, but with the addition of wireless capabilities, the SD card slot, and the battery (with devicecharging capabilities), that’s to be expected. And when it comes to external hard drives, my experience with the reliability of Western Digital is better than my experience with all of the other popular drive manufacturers. Western Digital drives in the 2-TB and 3-TB range are somewhere in the $100 price range, and this new My Passport Wireless Pro is around $200–$250 depending on which capacity you choose and where you buy it. You’ll pay much more, but get much more in return. I happily include this drive as an innovative tech recommendation for my holiday gift ideas list. ■ Company: Western Digital Corporation Price: $199.99 (2 TB); $229.99 (3 TB)

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Wireless transfer; battery/charger; SD card slot; Wi-Fi compatible

Not: Relatively complicated to learn; need manual for most functions

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Review by Larry Becker



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Fujifilm X-T2 Versatile Still and Video Camera

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Review by Steve Baczewski


Fuji’s new, high-end, mirrorless X-T2 camera with its 24-megapixel, APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor is a marriage of new technology and improved ergonomic design. It delivers high-quality JPEG and RAW files in a retro-styled body that feels and handles beautifully. At first glance the X-T2 looks very similar to its predecessor, the X-T1, but the X-T2 is a sizeable upgrade, emphasizing better handling, 4K video, and improved autofocus. The solid, compact, black magnesium-alloy body is weather-sealed, with a textured grip that’s deeper and adds stability especially when using longer lenses. There are now two SD memory card slots that can be used in tandem or as a backup. The camera’s pads, buttons, and dials are larger and taller for improved handling, and the ISO and shutter dials can now be locked to avoid unintentional changes. A joystick has been added for quickly moving the focus point and freeing up the four navigational pads, which now can be used as four of eight customizable function buttons for quick access to more than 30 features. The joystick is a big improvement, but a touchscreen would be even better for moving the focus point, stack focusing, or resizing in playback. The LCD now articulates 45º vertically as well as 45º and 90º horizontally, thus broadening the ability to shoot from low and high angles. The LCD holds up very well in bright light. Composing with X-T2’s bright EVF and 0.77-magnification factor is a pleasure. Fuji has added a new “boost performance mode” that, amongst other things, increased the EVF’s refresh frame rate from 60 to 100 fps for very smooth viewing. The new sensor uses a larger combination of 325 contrast and phase-detection points with the faster 169 phase-detection points densely distributed in the center of the frame and the contrast points flanking its sides. Compared to the X-T1, focusing is noticeably faster with a minimum of hunting or hesitation in low-light or low-contrast situations. Fuji has paid special attention to improving continuous autofocus (CAF) tracking with five new presets that maintain focus while tracking a variety of defined subject movement. You can also add your own customized CAF preset. Examples of defined CAF presets might be for erratic subject tracking, like a child playing or a subject moving toward or away from the camera. The X-T2 algorithms anticipate acceleration or deceleration and adjust with an impressive degree of success. For added precision, you can adjust the tracking speed, sensitivity, and zone

of the subject. These presets in combination with using the boost mode reduce the blackout time between shots, making continuous autofocus tracking close to the experience of using an optical viewfinder. The X-T2 records both full HD and an impressive 4K video. The frame rates for 4K are from 23.9–29.97 fps internally. There’s also a micro HDMI out port for external recording. The optional vertical grip ($329) has a headphone jack to monitor audio. With its two additional batteries, the vertical grip increases continuous shooting burst performance from 8 to 11 fps, and up to 14 fps when using the electronic shutter. The grip also boosts camera life to approximately 1,000 frames and 4K video recording from 10 to 30 minutes. The new 24-megapixel sensor clearly delivers increased detail without adding noise. In a head-to-head comparison with Sony’s full-frame, 42.4 MP a7R II, there was no discernible difference onscreen, or in 17x22" prints from ISO 200 to 2500. Fuji has produced a number of fine lenses that fit the X-T2, making this a robust system worth looking into. ■ Company: Fujifilm Corporation

Price: $1,599 (body only)

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: In-camera USB battery charging; film simulation

Not: Limited 3-stop bracketing; no built-in image stabilization

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Profoto D2 500 & 1000 AirTTL Lightning-Fast Monolight Review by Michael Corsentino

You loved the Profoto D1 series for its compact size, wireless air control, consistent shot-to-shot quality, and rugged build quality. Profoto’s B1 and B2 strobes won you over with TTL and high-speed sync. Well, there’s a new sheriff in town that builds upon the success of all three of these models, while adding a ton of speed to the equation. Profoto’s new D2 AirTTL strobe, available in 500Ws and 1000Ws models, is redefining the definition of speed in monolights. The D2 brings together the best attributes of Profoto’s previous monolights as well as their more speedy pack and head systems—all in a compact, easy-to-use, portable, mains-powered monolight. The D2 represents a first for Profoto’s mains-powered units with the inclusion of TTL and High Speed Sync. These features are sure to be a boon for portrait, sports, dance, and action photographers who’ll appreciate the creative possibilities and flexibility that TTL and lightning-fast flash durations afford. When it comes to keeping up with the latest crop of high frames per second professional DSLRs, the D2 is a speed demon, clocking in at an impressive recycle rate of .03–0.6

seconds at full power. This means the D2 is able to deliver an astounding 20 flashes per second, easily keeping pace in the most demanding situations. An incredibly fast maximum flash duration of 1/63,000 second makes the Profoto D2 the perfect tool for freezing super-crisp action shots. The D2 also benefits from an enhanced digital interface, making it even more straightforward to navigate and operate. Users of previous models will be right at home with this intuitive, new menu system. Bravo, Profoto! ■ Company: Profoto AB

Price: $1,495 (500Ws); $1995 (1000Ws); $2,995 (Duo 500/500 Kit); $3,995 (Duo 1000/1000 Kit)

Rating: ◆◆◆◆◆

Hot: Compact; portable; mains-powered AirTTL; HSS speeds


Prynt Portable iPhone Case Printer Review by Michael Corsentino

making it easy to display them anywhere you like. You can also print any image you already have on your phone, from Instagram, Facebook, etc., and create a video to link it to. Prynt offers monthly paper subscriptions. Membership includes access to several recently introduced features, such as the ability to add a GIF behind any Prynt rather than the standard video recording. Prynt cases come with a free 10-pack of Prynt ZINK Paper, which is also available on Amazon, and via the Prynt app for iOS and Android. The printer is currently compatible with iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and Samsung Galaxy S5. ■ Company: Prynt Corp.

Price: $149.99 (Case Printer); $19.99 (40-pack ZINK Sticker Paper); $7.99 Monthly Subscription (20-pack ZINK Sticker Paper)

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Instant printer; shareable videos; no ink cartridge; 1-year warranty


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As good as our DSLRs are, the saying goes that the best camera is the one you have with you. That typically ends up being our multi-purpose smartphones, which for many of us is an iPhone or Android. When it comes to capturing images of our lives, one of the main reasons we use our phones is that they’re so portable; but what about prints? Remember those? We all love prints, but nobody wants to carry around a bulky printer. That, along with the convenience of social-media sharing means that some of our most precious moments never get printed. Prynt, a photo-printing case that attaches to your smart phone, turns your iPhone or Android device into an instant camera, like the old Polaroid cameras we all loved! This portable printing solution brings together the best of both analog and digital worlds in a very unique package. When you capture an image, the Prynt app prompts you to record a quick 5-second video at the same time. When you print your image and give it to someone, they can scan it with their phone and unlock this video from their own phone, essentially bringing the photo to life! Prints are adhesive backed,



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Triggertrap iOS Device Creates Time Lapses and More Review by Erik Vlietinck

Using an iOS device to trigger your DSLR is a tempting idea but, as it turns out, not straightforward to implement. The Triggertrap system lets you use an iPhone or iPad to control the shutter button, create time lapses, HDR image series, bulb ramping, and sensor-driven photos. The Triggertrap Mobile Kit consists of a camera-specific cable and a dongle. The dongle translates the app’s commands into simple shutter-release commands, while also protecting the iOS device against power surges that a speedlight might generate. The dongle plugs into the headphone jack of your iOS device. Optional hardware includes a Triggertrap Flash Adapter. Triggertrap offers two apps: the free Triggertrap Mobile and the Triggertrap Timelapse Pro to create complex timelapse photography. However, the latter would only fire my Sony A700 at random intervals. An interesting feature that Triggertrap Mobile offers is TimeWarp, which allows you to create time lapses with a speed curve. You can increase the number of shots at the beginning and end of the sequence by changing the curve. It’s cleverly designed and very easy to use.

There’s a basic bulb-ramping mode as well. Making it work required that I set the camera to its fastest settings, which included changing a lot of menu options. Some sensor modes don’t work well either. The interface is well designed and user-friendly enough, but sensors sometimes act in unexpected ways or the app is too slow, making this sort of photography a frustration instead of a pleasure. Triggertrap also supports LE HDR (Long Exposure High Dynamic Range), a basic version of remote-controlled HDR shooting. It allows you to take a set number of shots at different exposure lengths. Triggertrap’s LE HDR requires the camera to be in bulb mode, which means it will only work well with exposures above 1/15. ■ Company: Triggertrap Ltd.

Price: $37 (dongle & camera cable); $29 (Flash Adapter)

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Quality cables/accessories; inexpensive; mobile app works well

Not: Doesn’t work with some cameras; some triggers work randomly

Kyno Simple User Interface to Speed Up Your Video Workflow

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Review by Erik Vlietinck


Kyno is a management app for screening video files even while they’re still on recording media. It allows you to create subclips and Excel shot lists, convert footage, and send clips to Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro. The app is optimized for screening video. For example, you can select a drill-down option that lists all the files in any of a selected folder’s subfolders. It’s a handy way to quickly view all the files on camera-recording media. Kyno offers search capabilities and filters; however, these can’t be saved, and you can’t create Boolean filters. You can batch-rename files using 27 variables, including popular ones such as “folderName” or “take.” In screening mode, you’ll get a large preview and a sidebar containing tabs for metadata, content, subclips and track information. The preview works much the same as in NLEs, but the JKL shortcuts work in a nonstandard way. While previewing, you can set markers and In/Out points, as well as export the current frame as a JPEG or

PNG—or set it as a poster frame. The clip preview has a zebra feature (only useful if you don’t have that feature on your camera or monitor/recorder). You can also loop I/O selections and play slow-motion recordings at playback speed so you can really evaluate what the end result will look like. In addition, Kyno lets you convert clips to a number of formats. Kyno works with images too, but I found that it’s very slow at creating thumbnails. Its features aren’t well suited for still images either. One thing I didn’t like at all is that it creates hidden folders (without asking or informing) across all of the volumes it accesses. ■

Company: Lesspain Software

Price: $159

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Fast ProRes conversion; subclips; interface; file renaming

Not: JKL transport shortcuts nonstandard; no clip scrubbing

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ShotPut Pro 6 Industry Standard for Offloading Media Gets a Makeover Review by Erik Vlietinck

The industry standard for offloading video clips and now also photographs is ShotPut Pro. This venerable application has received a complete overhaul so that ShotPut Pro 6 has a better workflow and offers more flexibility. The app has a brand-new interface that’s much more userfriendly than previous versions. Volumes to which you offload can be monitored; with color-coded progress bars and realtime offload data. The ability to offload any type of specialized media with strong integrity checks remains one of ShotPut Pro’s most powerful features. But where you were once forced to offload whole media into newly created folders, ShotPut Pro 6 makes it possible to copy media files directly into already existing folders. This is called Destination Mode and it entails dragging files directly from media to already existing folders on your offload volumes to put them in a queue. With presets, you can automate the whole offload process from multiple media to multiple destinations, but the automation doesn’t extend beyond setting offload destinations

and auto-naming folders. ShotPut Pro 6 does, however, allow you to create presets for each type of camera/job-type combination. Furthermore, the app has a Preference setting that allows you to automatically offload any volume not already mounted on your Mac. Offloading will start immediately after inserting the card or disk using the activated presets. A job identifier allows you to name the destination top-level folder. Reporting capabilities include the ability to personalize reports and send an email message or SMS. The reports include thumbnail images of the clip and a summary (or all of the info) of the clip’s file and video information. Everything happens simultaneously in the background while offloading, which translates into performance. Although the app has become faster, it’s still no speed demon. ■ Company: Imagine Products

Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Hot: Integrity checks; handles all media; flexibility; user-friendy

Not: No speed demon

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BOO K RE V I E WS › › P E T E R B A U E R › ›


Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for Photographers Classroom in a Book

Photoshop: A Quick-Start Guide to Starting with Photoshop and Creating Incredible Photos Like A Pro!

By Lesa Snider

By Peter Goodman

These days it’s hard to find printed books on the general subject of Photoshop or Lightroom. Because the software changes so quickly, with new features seemingly added every couple of weeks, books are a bit out of date by the time they reach bookstores. Instead, you’ll find books on a specific aspect of Photoshop or photography and eBooks that claim to cover Photoshop as “An Ultimate Guide” or “Complete Guide to Photoshop.” Many of these eBooks are self published, very short, and lack basic editing (see the following review for an example). The venerable Classroom in a Book series continues to do an excellent job of covering Adobe software in a thorough and understandable way. This is another fine example, covering both Lightroom and Photoshop and with downloadable practice files. If you use only parts of the programs, you’ll find additional features that may be very handy in your work.

As a book reviewer I have a twofold job: I recommend good books that you should consider purchasing, and I also have the task of warning you away from bad books that are simply a waste of your money. Once again, I feel obligated to give a book one star. As is the case with so many self-published eBooks, this one lacks not only content, but also coherence. The author’s command of English seems to be limited; the number of typographical errors is amazing; the misuse of feature names is found throughout the book; and “Photoshop” is found as “photo shop” in far too many places. But worst of all, this so-called “Photoshop book” lacks content—you won’t find much of anything that’s useful here. There’s a link to a free copy of another book, but to get that book you need to subscribe to a photography email list.

Publisher: Adobe Press

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Price: $59.99 (paperback); $30.49 (Kindle) Rating: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Pages: 368

Price: $8.95 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle) Rating: ◆

Pages: 30

D E PA R T M E N T › ›

From the Help Desk

answers to photoshop & gear-related questions


My spouse is starting to get interested in photography. What would be your recommendation for a great holiday gift?—Orlean

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To: Nick From: KelbyOne Help Desk


A gift certificate and guidance. Rather than purchasing a specific camera for your spouse, decide how much you want to spend, and purchase a gift certificate from a local photo store or a gift card from B&H Photo. Present the gift on the holiday and then sit down and discuss what aspects of photography attract your spouse. If he or she is interested in travel photography, a smaller camera that has a built-in lens with a wide range of zoom factors and shoots only JPEG may be best. (And if there’s money left on the gift certificate, suggest a monopod or tripod and a couple of high-capacity SD cards.) Canon, for example, offers a camera with 25x Optical Zoom, which in our parlance means a 35mm equivalent of 24–600mm— quite a range, and for under $900 (at the time I’m writing this column). Nikon offers a model with 83x Optical Zoom for even less money. When shooting at the longer zooms, these cameras demand some sort of stabilization, be it a monopod, a tripod, or simply the back of a chair. Hand-held results generally suffer from unacceptable blurring when shooting zoomed in. The slightest movement combined with longer exposures is a recipe for, well, not disaster, but rather a wasted shot. If your spouse is interested in eventually graduating to a professional or even an accomplished amateur photographer, perhaps with an eye toward entering prints in local or regional contests, an entry-level DSLR kit might be the right choice. Your budding photographer can then, as she or he progresses, start accumulating specific lenses for specific purposes. For example, if low-light conditions that

KelbyOne Member HELP DESK

don’t permit flash (such as many museums, theaters— if they let you shoot at all—and churches) are in the future, lenses with very large apertures are a great, though expensive, investment. A larger aperture enables the shooter to keep the ISO and shutter speed down and still capture a sharp image. How large is “large”? I have a Canon lens that zooms between 70mm and 200mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range and a 50mm primary lens (a lens that has a fixed zoom factor) with a maximum aperture of f/1.2. (Remember that the smaller the number, the larger the aperture.) Most zoom lenses vary the aperture according to the zoom factor. Many affordable zoom lenses may have an aperture of f/4.5 at the shortest zoom and f/5.6 when completely zoomed. That means slower shutter speeds and/or higher ISO to capture a decent shot. Such lenses may be unsuitable for shooting sports or other action. DSLR cameras with an APS-C sensor are generally less expensive than cameras with full-frame sensors (sensors the same size as a 35mm film negative). The smaller APS-C sensors generally don’t capture as much detail as full-frame sensors, but many models available today are extremely good cameras. There’s a wide variety of lenses designed to work with these sensors, but many such cameras can also use lenses designed for full-frame sensors (although there is change in the lens zoom factor). Remember, too, that many of today’s smartphones have very capable cameras built in. For someone who always wants to have a camera near at hand and easy to use, upgrading the phone may be the best suggestion. ■


Are you taking advantage of the Help Desk at the KelbyOne member website? This is the place where you can get all of your Photoshop and Lightroom questions answered by our Help Desk experts. Not only that, you can get photo and computer gear help and advice, as well. What are you waiting for? Visit the Help Desk section under My Account on the KelbyOne member site today! ■

“By itself, an off-camera flash is a small light source that produces very contrasty, harsh light. When used in tandem with the Rapid Box and Deflector Plate, the flash transforms into a much larger light source that gives off soft, beautiful light.” ZACH GRAY TOP PRO ELITE PHOTOGRAPHER

Photoshop User magazine is an official publication of KelbyOne. Each issue features in-depth Photoshop tutorials written by the most talented designers, photographers, and leading authors in the industry. As a KelbyOne member, you automatically receive Photoshop User delivered digitally ten times a year.


Photoshop User - December 2016