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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jumpstart Photoshop

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

Open Levels, then click to choose the middle eyedropper (gray color). Move your cursor over the photo; you'll see it changes to an eyedropper. Find something in the photo that should be a neutral color (gray, black, white) and click on it. If you get lucky, your photo will adjust exactly to the colors you always wanted. More likely, you'll get colors almost right or wildly off. No problem; just click again on something else. If the photo looks too ugly, use the Reset trick in Tip 1.

In most photos, you can find something to click that will give excellent color (for more advanced users, this is a great use of an adjustment layer because you always can tweak the adjustment by turning down the opacity of the layer).

6. Adjust Color
Adjusting color is much more than simple color correction. It can range from fixing a problem color that didn't record right (blue flowers are notorious for that, for example) to enhancing color saturation. Learn to use the Hue/Saturation control fully for many options in adjusting color. The Hue slider lets you change the color itself, which you probably won't do much. The Saturation slider will increase your image's color richness-use it carefully. It's rare that an overall adjustment needs more than 10 to 15 points of change.

Some real power in this tool comes when you click the Flyout menu button to the right of the Master color choice. Now you'll see a whole set of specific colors. Click on one, then use the Hue slider to affect it. You even can tell Photoshop to be more specific by moving your cursor onto the photo and clicking the color you want. This is a great way to correct specific colors without changing the whole photo or to even totally alter someone's clothing color! The little color bar at the bottom of the window tells you the range of hues being affected by the tool.

7. Select And Isolate
Once you've done overall adjustments to your photo, take a look at small or "local" areas that need adjustment separately from the rest of the image. You need to isolate those areas so you can change them without affecting anything else. The simplest way to isolate special areas in the image is by using the selection tools. These tools (at the upper part of the toolbar) give you multiple ways of selecting specific sections of an image. The Polygonal Lasso, Magnetic Lasso and Magic Wand are good places to start, as they're all easy to use.




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