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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jumpstart Photoshop

10 tips to help you get going quickly in using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

By moving your cursor outside of the box, it turns to a curved arrow, which allows you to rotate your crop box. Now you can create a crop that parallels a crooked horizon, for example, which means that it will be straight when you apply the crop. Apply the crop by double-clicking inside the crop box or by hitting Enter or Return. You can crop to a specific size by entering dimensions in the options bar below your menu headings.

3. Black And White Thresholds
Black areas in your photo are critical to contrast and color. Highlights make a photo lively. You need to set these early on in your image processing, and Levels is an excellent way to do this. Press Alt/Option while moving the left (black) slider in Levels, and the screen goes white (black threshold screen). As you move the slider to the right, you'll begin to see colors and blacks show up. When they start to appear, release the Alt/Option key to see what the photo is looking like. On most photos, you'll want a solid black somewhere, but in some photos, such as a foggy day or soft-focus flowers, this would ruin the image. Sometimes, you'll quit when just little spots of black appear; other times, you'll want something stronger in your shadows.

You do the same for highlights, but now use the Alt/Option key with the right or white slider to see where they are (white threshold screen).

4. Adjust The Midtones
After checking blacks and whites, your photo may be too dark or light. Now you need to adjust the midtones. The best way to do this is with Curves, although the Levels midtone slider can be used to set midtones. Curves provides more control and can offer better tonal gradations. If you're unfamiliar with Curves, try clicking on the center, angled line in the middle. Drag it up to lighten midtones and down to darken them.

5. Correct Overall Color
An easy and simple way to fix problem colors is to use Levels and the gray eyedropper. Do this as a separate step from earlier Levels adjustments, however. That way, you can undo this color-correction change without affecting anything else.




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