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Top 3 Tips from Photoshop World

I’ve been to Photoshop World 26 times, and I have a really great job there. As a conference moderator, I get to introduce speakers and watch the classes. It’s long hours, and I have to do some paperwork and respond when a problem pops up. But along the way, I get to chat with lots of friendly people and learn lots of cool stuff about Photoshop, Lightroom, photography and lighting.

Last week was the 30th Photoshop World. Here are my top three tips from the week.

Duotone Presets Using Gradient Map

From Richard Harrington’s class Color Correcting Video In Photoshop, Photoshop has some nice presets for changing the tones and color values of an image. And these presets are hidden away.

  1. Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer by clicking the adjustment layer button on the layers palette and choosing Gradient Map.
  2. On the properties pallet, click the triangle next to the gradient.
  3. Click the settings icon (the little gear).
  4. Choose Photographic Toning. (This will load more gradients to pick from.)
  5. Click either Append to add the new gradients or OK to replace your current set of gradients.
  6. Select one of the newly loaded gradients to apply it to your image.

Photo Toning Using Gradient Map Layer

Noise Reduction in Low Light Images

This one is from Alan Hess‘s class on Photoshop processing of low-light images.

When processing images with Adobe Camera Raw, you can use the Masking slider (on the Detail tab) to mask the sharpening so it applies to edges only but not to areas of gradients and solid colors where noise is most noticeable. That way you don’t sharpen and accentuate the noise.

Here’s Alan’s cool tip. Hold the Alt key when you click and drag the Masking slider to see the mask. It’s like magic…when you hold the Alt key and click the Masking slider the preview displays the mask in black and white.

Hold the Alt key while clicking and dragging the masking slider.

And some good advice from Alan’s low-light class: Only other photographers see noise the same way we do. Photographers are more sensitive to technical imperfections than non-photographers. For most purposes, we can back off the noise reduction a little.

Copy-Paste Vector Graphic From Illustrator to Photoshop

From Dave Cross‘ class Using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

You can copy vector objects in Illustrator and paste them into Photoshop as scalable Smart Objects. You can also paste them as vector shapes or pixels, but Smart Objects have an advantage—you can double click them in Photoshop to edit them in Illustrator, save them and automatically update the Smart Object in Photoshop.

  1. In Illustrator, select the vector objects you want to use in Photoshop.
  2. Type Ctrl-C (Cmd-C on a Mac) to copy the objects.
  3. Go to Photoshop
  4. Type Ctrl-V (Cmd-V on a Mac) to paste the copied objects.
  5. Select Smart Object in the Paste dialog box.

That’s it. You now have a Photoshop Smart Object layer that contains your Illustrator vector graphics. To edit it, double click the thumbnail in the Photoshop layers panel. It opens in Illustrator where you can edit it and save it. Once saved, you can return to Photoshop where you’ll see the updated graphic.

Technically, this isn’t a new tip. I learned this from Dave Cross’ class years ago and saw it again last week. I use it regularly. It’s a great tip.