Monday, February 4, 2008
Follow these tips to finish your image enhancements in less time
The real power of Actions is to set up your own. You can create and use Actions for any series of Photoshop commands that you want to use on multiple photos. To create an Action, go to the Actions palette menu, select New Action and type in a name for your new Action. Click on Record to tell Photoshop to track whatever commands and adjustments you make until you click Stop.
That sets up the Action. Now whenever you want to begin that set of adjustments and controls, simply click on that Action and then click the play button.
Adjustment Layers And Layer Masks
When you need to work on individual areas in a photograph, you could spend a lot of time selecting those areas so that you can confine the adjustments within the selection. Now, if you've done a lot of selections, you know that selecting multiple areas within a photograph can be tedious and time-consuming.
For example, suppose that I want to darken multiple parts of a picture. I could go in and select one area, feather it carefully and darken that isolated area. Then I could select another area, feather that and darken that new location. I could go to a third place, make a careful selection once again, feather that selection like before and darken this area. I'm getting tired of this already!
Often, a better way of accomplishing isolated adjustments is to use an adjustment layer and its attached layer mask. Instead of all that work I just described, I could add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. I'd darken the entire picture by moving the Brightness slider to the left (I like to use Brightness/Contrast for the darkening of specific areas in a picture). This adjustment layer automatically includes a layer mask, shown by the little white box to the right of the icon in the Layer palette.
The adjustment layer is now tweaked by "painting" black or white to the layer mask. The colors black and white when painted on a mask only affect layer behavior. They don't affect the picture directly; they do affect how the adjustment layer is allowed to act on the picture. Black blocks any effects of the layer; white allows the effects of the layer.
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