Tips 'n' Tutorials


  1. ADJUSTING CONTRAST: Don't use the Contrast control! The Histogram tool is far better.

    Image / adjust / levels menu.

    The Histogram (Levels) shows the total tonal distribution in the image. It's a barchart of the count of the pixels of every tone of gray that occurs in the image.

    By dragging the right hand triangle (whitest point) back to the end of the data indicated in the graph, and also dragging the left hand triangle (blackest point) back to the start of the data shown on the graph. This will give a much more even contrast

    Also, if the printing process is likely to darken the image, then tweeking the middle triangle can lighten the middle tones of the image to compensate.
  2. FAKE DUOTONE: For Greyscale images
    First convert image to Indexed Colour
    (Image / Mode / Indexed colour)

    Create a new layer
    Change it's settings from Normal to Colour

    Dump the Colour for the duotone into this layer

    Hey Presto! . a semi Duo tone! =)

    The colour layer can also be used to create a colourised effect similar to the old technique applied to B&W photographs, simply by painting the various colours into the colour layer.
  3. SELECTIONS: Complex selections can be made by combining various selection methods.
    COLOUR: To select a section made of one colour: quickly use the Lasso or Marque Tool to isolate the area.

    Then Select / Colour Range menu.

    Click in the image, on the colour to be selected
    More than one colour can be selected by using the Shift key while clicking. Adjusting fuzziness changes the sensitivity to similar colours.

    RUBBERBAND LASSOO: when holding the option key down (DURING the first mousedown), the lassoo selection links in straight line sections from clickpoint to clickpoint.

    SUBTRACTED SELECTIONS: When pressing the option key BEFORE the first mousedown, all new selections would be subtracted from previous selections.

    ALTERNATIVE SUBTRACTED LASSOO: (Easily allowing the use of a negative rubberband lassoo) to subtract from an existing selection.
    Invert the selection (shift-option-I)
    Then use the positive Rubberband Lassoo as normal (option clicking) (the positive will become negative)
    Then invert the selection again.

    MAGIC WAND: Existing selections can be added to, by holding the Shift key down while using the Magic Wand, or subtracted from by using the option key.
    Adjusting the tolerance controls the deviation from the selected colour. (between 10 and 30 is often the most usfull)

    Making a selection on one layer, and using that selection on another layer is very common.
  4. ADDING TEXTURE: Open a seperate texture file
    Select all (command-A) . . then

    Edit / Define Pattern

    then go to file you want to add the texture to
    Select the area needing texture
    Make new layer...

    Change layer from Normal to Multiply

    Edit / Fill ... change contents to pattern, OK

    Adjust the Opacity of the Multiplied Texture layer to suit your needs.
    Take one green Jacket ... add a pinch of blue,

    add blue
    make purple
    or an orange jacket turned purple
    To do this first select the jacket (use lassoo)
    or select / colour range...
    then choose a colour
    then choose a brush
    adjust brush settings from "Normal" to "Colour"

    and apply with a big brush.

    pre tan post tan
    ToGive a nice Tan
    Select skin area (lassoo or ColourRange again)
    use burn tool with large brush
    keep applying untill the tan suits your needs
  6. The Burn and Dodge tool can be very usefull for creating shading and highlights on objects.

    Mask/Select the object area first.
    (lassoo or magic wand tool)
    (or Select / ColourRange)
  7. COLOURED CARTOONS: Create the original linework by hand on paper or on computer,whatever suits.
    If the original is on paper... then Scan in at high resolution (between 300 and 600dpi) in B&W...
    If your machine is slow or short of memory
    , it may be practical to scan the original line art at a high res in B&W, save it, then change the resolution to 200dpi or even 150, do all the coloured layers at this res.
    hen when the job is finished, delete the working 'line' layer, change the resolution back up to the (exact) original high res.
    Then import the originally saved hires line work back into its own layer.
    Flaten the image, and Save in the required format
    7 cont...

    Convert to Greyscale,
    then again to RGB

    Rename layer (call it something like "LINE")
    (the renaming allows transparency)

    Select / Colour Range

    Click on white part of image
    ... click OK

    Press the delete button
    (this makes the white transparent)...
    (When doing this sort of thing in Freehand or Illustrator, it would be important to Lock this "LINE" layer, so that all interaction was with the coloured layer. However, in Photoshop it is usefull to leave the line layer unlocked, to allow easy selections. However, you will need to be carefull that you don't accidentally colour in the line layer.)
    7 cont...
    Create New Layer

    Move Line Layer to the top so that it is always visable
    Rename New Layer
    (call it something like "COLOUR")

    Select an area to colour in the line layer with magic wand
    Make colour layer active
    Fill with colour or Graduated tint.
    (A Graduated tint makes a very usefull underpainting)
  8. GAPS BETWEEN LINE and FILL?: To repair the leaky holes between the line art and the fills.
    from this
    to this
    Make Line layer active
    Try making a selection around the line work
    where the gaps are

    Go to Paths window
    from the pulldown arrow go to "Make Work Path"

    Go to Colour Layer
    Adjust the brush size and colour to suit the repair work needed
    (select colour by holding down the option key and clicking on colour)

    Then from same pulldown as above...
    "Stroke path with AirBrush"

    With any luck.... the gaps R now filled =)

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Basic Tips

  1. NEW VIEW: If you can't see what you are doing to the main image when zoomed in, create a new view from the View menu. Now you can keep a 'fit in window' view in the background while you work on the details.
  2. MOVE SCREEN: Press the space bar, and the cursor becomes a hand with which you can move the image, within the window.
  3. STRAIGHT LINES: Draw in straight lines with any tool. Choose your tool, and click on the image anywhere to define a starting point. Now hold down the Shift key and click anywhere else - the tool will draw a straight line between them. You can continue drawing straight lines by keeping the Shift key down, and clicking wherever you want.

    Move things in straight lines by holding down the Shift key to constrain movement - very handy for moving text and aligning web buttons.

    FINE ADJUSTMENTS: with the object cursor (top right) U can carefully move things with the arrow keys.
  4. DIMENSIONS of NEW FILE: If you have an image in the Clipboard and you choose to create a new image from Photoshop, it will pick up the exact dimensions from the image in the Clipboard.
  5. CROSSHAIR CURSOR: If you are doing detailed work, you can force the cursor to appear as a crosshair by just putting Caps Lock on. This comes in very useful for tricky fills, selections and precise drawing.
  6. DUPLICATE: Duplicate parts of your image with ease. With an area selected and using the Move tool, just hold down Option (Alt on the PC) to drag a copy of the area rather than the original.
  7. COLOUR MATCH: Want to match a colour used in another document? The Eye Dropper tool works across all documents, so you can pick up a colour from any open image, even when it isn't active.
  8. CLONE PATTERN: You can also use the clone tool to clone parts of a different image. Just Option click it on the image you want to clone while the image you are cloning in is still active. If you want to save yourself loads of time touching up areas of an image, select a good area, define it as a pattern and create a new image. Fill the new image with the pattern, and you’ll have a nice large image to clone from without having to worry about cloning the wrong bits.
  9. HIDE PALETTES: If the floating palettes are getting in your way, click on the Tab key to toggle them all on and off. Photoshop will remember where they all were and everything!
  10. SWATCH: create your own set of colours by dropping each colour you like into the swatch palette.
    eg. a set of skin tones
    Save a new palete for each collection of colours you want to reuse.
  11. TOOL SELECTIONS: Switch between tools easily. With all the Drawing tools, you can momentarily get the Move tool by holding down Control, or the eyedropper by holding down Option (Alt on the PC)
  12. MORE TOOL SELECTIONS: Use the keys to pick different tools too! A is airbrush, B is brush, Y is the pencil, E is the eraser, C is the crop tool and so on. It sort of makes sense.
  13. INFO RULERS: Using the Info window, you can turn the line drawing tool into a useful measuring device. Create a new layer, and use the tool to measure the distances and angles between elements of your image.
  14. INFO: Use the info window! Not only does it give you colour values for the pixel underneath the cursor, it can tell you how far you have moved an object, what angle you are drawing your lines at, and plenty more. You can open up the info palette by selecting Show Info from the Window menu.
  15. SELECTIONS: When selecting OBJECTS, the "Shift Key" works like a plus or minus key. Selecting or unselecting this + this + this.
    When selecting AN AREA with any of the selection tools, the "Shift Key" acts only as a plus... adding new bits to the selection.
    The "Option Key" is the minus
    or... ... ... ...
    by inverting the selection
    (Shift-Command-I) (Shift-Control-I on a PC)
    (the Apple key is the Command key on a mac)
    then adding the unwanted selection bits with the shift key, then (Shift-Command-I) (Shift-Control-I on a PC) again.
    Sounds more complex but I find it much more flexable
    . =)
  16. HIDE SELECTION: If those pesky 'marching ants' are making it difficult to see what's going on, hide them! You can toggle them on or off with Command-H (Control-H on the PC). Whether they are visible or not, the selection still works.
  17. SAVE SELECTION: Save your selections! What's the point of spending ages selecting something if you are going to have to do it again later
  18. UNZOOM: Don't waste time zooming out, just double-click on the Magnifier tool at any time to return to a 100% view.
  19. ZOOM TOOL: No matter what tool you are using, Command-Option-Space (Control-Alt and Space on the PC) will select the Zoom out tool.
  20. SWAP COLOUR: Swap the foreground and background colours easily by pressing the X key.
  21. SCRATCH DRIVE: If you can, select a different physical drive for your scratch disk from the one containing your virtual memory swapfile - this will decrease the amount of time it takes to access both of them.
  22. IMAGE SIZE: The easiest way to check the active image's size and colour mode is to click the Image File Size gauge at the lower left corner



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