Techniques from the Photoshop pros

Techniques from the Photoshop pros Photoshop gives you a plethora of tools for manipulating graphics, but you can go beyond basic techniques to advanced effects with these secrets from the pros.

Tip 1: Fill for effect
Tip 2: Snap a shot automatically
Tip 3: Cast a perfect shadow

Tip 1: Fill for effect

If you want to create some awesome effects in your images using gradient fill, consider using the Layers palette to change the fill layer's opacity or blending modes. It's quick, easy, and highly effective. To create a fill layer:

  1. Choose Layer > New Fill Layer or click the black-and-white circle at the bottom of the Layers palette. This opens a menu from which you can choose the type of fill you want.

  2. Choose Gradient from the menu to open the Gradient Fill dialog box.

  3. Choose the gradient from the Gradient drop-down menu; then choose the style of gradient you want from the Style drop-down menu. Your choices include Linear, Radial, and more. Now choose the angle and the scale for the gradient with the remaining choices. Play around with these settings to get a sense of how they operate and to see how the sliders and drop-down menus can immediately affect your image.

  4. Click OK. A fill-layer area appears on your Layers palette. If you want to change the position, the color, the scale, or the type of gradient (Pattern or Color) at any time, double-click the layer's icon on the Layers palette.

Tip 2: Snap a shot automatically

If you know you'll be working on a complex image, have Photoshop create a History Snapshot anytime you open a new file. Check the "Automatically create first snapshot" box in History Options, and you're ready to go. You can also choose to take a snapshot each time you save a file. One important thing to remember is that all snapshots are deleted when you close the image file.

Tip 3: Cast a perfect shadow

In Photoshop, Blending modes control the way two layers affect one another. The Blending mode drop-down menu is located at the top of the Layers palette. To make your shadows come to life, use the Multiply Blending mode to make the shadow blend seamlessly with the object upon which it's cast. To apply the Multiple Blending mode:

  • Place the image and its shadow on separate layers, with the image on the top layer, then align them as you'd like.
  • Click the top layer to activate it.
  • Choose a Multiply Blending mode from the drop-down menu. The Multiply Blending mode makes the top layer slightly darker, helping it blend with its shadow.

Kevin McCarthy SUBMITTED BY:
Kevin McCarthy

Designer, teacher, and author

Kevin McCarthy has taught digital media and design for several years. He has created two cutting-edge digital media and design courses focusing on digital film creation and editing, digital photography, and Web design. He is also the author of a number of Web and print design online courses.

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