Adobe Photoshop Tips
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Adobe Photoshop Tips

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Adobe Photoshop May Hang System with Mouse Driver Version 9.01

When you are using the Microsoft Mouse driver version 9.01 for Windows in Windows version 3.x or Windows for Workgroups version 3.x, running Adobe Photoshop may cause your computer to hang (stop responding).
Photoshop replaces the Windows mouse and keyboard drivers with its own versions.
Run the Windows Setup tool in Control Panel. Remove the Adobe drivers for the keyboard and mouse. Replace them with Microsoft drivers.
Click here for the kb article.

Airbrush tool tips in Photoshop

When using the Airbrush tool in Photoshop you can achieve a traditional airbrushed appearance by adjusting the tool options. To do so, double-click on the Airbrush tool. In the Airbrush Options palette, change the Painting Mode to Multiply and set the brush pressure to 6 percent. This allows you to gradually build up layers of color, and you'll have more control of the final outcome of your piece.

Weighted Optimization

One of the more intriguing new features of Photoshop 6.0 is the ability to selectively optimize certain areas of an image for GIF or JPEG compression. Web designers who like to squeeze every last byte out of an image without sacrificing detail in key areas will love this feature.
To use weighted compression, you must add an alpha channel to your composition:
  1. Call up the Channels palette and select New Channel from the Palette menu. We used the default color options, Color Indicates: Masked Areas and the classic 50 percent opacity red mask.
  2. Make sure the RGB channel is turned on so that you can see your composition as well as the red mask.
  3. Erase the areas that you consider important, or that you would like to see minimally compressed. If you prefer, you can turn off the RGB channel to see exactly what the mask shape looks like. The white areas on the alpha channel will receive little compression, while the black areas will get the most compression. You can also use various tools--brush opacity, fade settings, feathered selections, or gradients--to create gray areas on the mask, which will be compressed in a range between the levels set for black and white areas.
  4. Select Save For Web from the File menu. On the right side of the dialog box, you'll see a number of options. Clicking this button lets you set compression levels for your alpha channel. There are a number of possible weighted compression options:
    • For JPEGs, you can have less compression (better quality) in the important areas and more in the unimportant ones.
    • For GIFs, you can also set low and high compression for the white and black areas if you turn on the glossy settings.
    • For GIFs, with dithering on, you can use an alpha channel to use less dithering in the important areas and more in the unimportant ones.
    • For GIFs, the alpha channel will prioritize the colors in the important areas. When the GIF palette is created, the colors inside the white area will be included, making it less likely that they'll be shifted to another color.
For the first three options, you have to set the minimum and maximum compression you want applied to different areas of the image. The white areas mentioned above will be set at the minimum compression, the black areas at the maximum compression, and the grays somewhere in between.
You can count your savings by watching the file size in the lower left corner. Don't expect any miracles. In general, you'll only shave a few kilobytes off of what you would have gotten if you had applied the minimum compression to the whole image. For large images or situations where heavy compression is acceptable, you can save more--and in some cases, every kilobyte counts.
Weighted optimization isn't a Web panacea that will let you create high-quality images at half the size, but it does have a number of excellent applications. Many Web designers like to squeeze GIF palettes nearly to the point of causing the appearance of flat blotches of color in critical areas. By giving weight to critical areas, you can prevent the color blotches in the most important areas of the composition and relegate color bleeds to the background. Now that Photoshop offers fine-tuned compression control, you can also expect to see designers using compression to create new visual effects.

Vector Graphics

Photoshop, king of the pixel-pushing programs, has finally started making extensive use of vectors. Even if you've used vectors in Flash, Illustrator, or another drawing program, the quirks of the Photoshop vector system will take a little getting used to. If you're going to be doing any heavy-duty vector work, you should stick with one of those dedicated drawing programs, since Photoshop's vector tools are handy but ultimately limited.
Photoshop's Pen tool is still around and extremely versatile, but version 6.0 adds the Custom Shape tool, a common feature of many graphics programs that lets you create rectangles, rounded rectangles, ellipses, polygons, and lines. Photoshop 6.0 also comes with a selection of more wacky shapes, from stars and hearts to footprints, check marks, and something that resembles a cartoon speech bubble. There are a number of options available to control how the shapes are drawn; you can find these options by clicking the drop-down menu on the Shape tool option bar.
When you create your first shape, you also have three mode options to pick from in the option bar:
  1. Create Filled Region fills an area of the shape you select with pixels of the foreground color--much easier than making a selection and using the paint bucket.
  2. Create New Work Path will make the shape you create into a work path, which doesn't exist on any layer and has no pixels associated with it. Work paths, the most common kind of vector in earlier versions of Photoshop, can be used to create precise selections.
  3. Create New Shape Layer , the default, is where the new features are found. A shape layer consists of two parts: a fill layer that's completely filled with the foreground color, and a clipping path that follows the outline of the shape you draw. The clipping path is positioned over the fill layer so that the fill color shows up only inside the path: voilà, you have a blue moon, or whatever other shapes you desire. If you delete the clipping path that creates the blue moon, the layer becomes a simple field of blue.
You're probably wondering how to manipulate and delete shapes. Because shapes aren't pixel-based, the standard selection tools don't have an effect. For shapes and other path-based objects, you must use the aptly named Path Component Selection Tool . Once a shape is selected, you can move it, delete it, or apply transformations such as scaling and distorting. Transformations are especially handy for shapes, because vectors stay smooth regardless of how you bend and twist them. You can apply transformations without selecting a shape, but then the transformation will affect all shapes on a layer.
You can also select part of a path using the Direct Selection Tool , or use all of the classic Pen options to manipulate a shape. If you have multiple shapes on a layer, you can use the Shape option bar to choose various methods of combining and aligning shapes. You can add or subtract shapes to create more complex shapes or shapes with areas of transparency. When you've finished tweaking a shape, you can save it to the Custom Shapes menu by selecting Edit·Define Custom Shape. You can export and trade a set of custom shapes, just like brushes or palettes, with your Photoshop pals.

Shapes in Action

Several of Photoshop's new features, along with speeded-up integration with ImageReady, can help you rapidly crank out Web graphics. Not that you should make a habit of rushing Web design--but sometimes your alarm clock doesn't go off on the day that you were supposed to deliver the site, right? And those clients just won't believe that your dog ate the Zip disk.
  1. The new vector shapes can be a good starting point for buttons, logos, and other geometric graphics. Click the shape tool and pick out one you like--even the custom shapes can be used creatively by editing them and combining them with other shapes.
  2. For this shape, we used the custom arrow shape, then curved the back of the arrow by using the Convert Point tool and the Direct Selection tool. Then we created another shape--a small circle--aligned it with the arrow, and combined the two into one shape. The alignment and combining tools become accessible in the option bar when the Path Component Selection tool is highlighted.
    If you come up with a shape you like, be sure to save it by choosing Edit·Define Custom Shape. This way you can always pull it up again later or create more copies in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
  3. If you want to create a graphic with a hollow center, add a second shape and use either the Subtract or Exclude option.
  4. To quickly add some life to the image, apply a Layer Style. Photoshop 6.0 offers many new and highly flexible Style options. Choose Blending Options from the Layer palette menu or the Layer menu to see the available choices. Be warned, though: Beveled buttons and glowing graphics with drop shadows are one of the hallmarks of a cheesy Web site. We're not saying you can't ever use them, we just know a good deal of experimentation and imagination is necessary to avoid a clichéd look. Fortunately, there are numerous Style combinations at your disposal, which you can increase by importing or designing your own textures.

Nearest Neighbor Resampling

Most Photoshop users first learn how to resize an image, an essential feature that appeared in the earliest versions of Photoshop. Any experienced user can tell you that it's easy to make an image smaller, but if you try to make one bigger, you're going to end up with something that looks chunky and pixelated, or oddly blurred at best. Even though Photoshop can resample images, allowing you to try to preserve their original look, you can't just enlarge an image and expect it to look the same.
Well here's something many Photoshop users don't know: sometimes you can. Creating easy-to-resize graphics isn't a magic trick; it only works with certain kinds of images that are treated in a special way. If you've been surfing the "hip" Web sites that all the kids dig these days, chances are you've seen a sort of retro-blocky style in graphics. For example, check out the lettering on (and in its television ads), or the backgrounds on Adobe's Splatterpunk showcase site, or the '80s video game graphics of sites such as Sissyfight 2000. The blocky look may be a passing fad, but on a deeper level it makes a nice statement by calling attention to the pixel, the elementary building block of digital design.
We haven't even mentioned the coolest part yet: once you create a mini-pixelated graphic, whether it's some chunky, jagged text or a faux Atari video game character, you can enlarge to any size without changing the look of your image. Here's a quick rundown on how to make this sort of image with Photoshop or ImageReady. If you've ever used MacPaint or other old-school paint programs, it'll be a trip down memory lane.
  1. Create a new, small file (to get the hang of this tip, try starting with a canvas that's just 50 by 50 pixels). Zoom in really, really close, until you can edit individual pixels. We zoomed in to our image 500 percent. The pencil, with a 1-pixel brush, is the natural choice to create your image, dot by dot. If you really want the feeling of the original Mac pencil tool, turn on Auto Erase, which lets the pencil act as an eraser too. It's a lot faster when you're drawing pixel by pixel.
  2. When you're done drawing, zoom back out and admire your tiny picture. Saved as an eight-color GIF, this little image is only 220 bytes.
  3. Now you can resize the image so that it can be seen on high-resolution monitors without a microscope. This is where the trick comes in. Many novices make the mistake of always using the default settings in the Image Size window. You need to make changes to the Resample Image menu (the Quality menu in ImageReady). For the blocky look, select Nearest Neighbor. This option doesn't give you any fancy tricks for making enlarged images look better. If you enlarge something to 200 percent, it just replaces every pixel with four identical pixels, which is exactly what you want in order to retain that blocky look.

If you use Bicubic resampling, you'll end up with a fuzzy, antialiased edge on your macro-pixels that will detract from the effect and bloat the size of your GIFs. Images blown up with Nearest Neighbor, on the other hand, have clean, straight lines that compress very well under the GIF algorithms. Combine that with the limited palette of retro graphics and you can see another attraction of the macro-pixel style: fast download times.

Making an Action

Click on the little triangle in the upper right hand corner of the action palette. Choose the first choice, New Action, Give it a name, and a shortcut key and color if you want. Then just do the series of command that you wanted to do then hit stop. For example if i want to make an action that twirls an image, i would start a new action then go to filters>>distort>>twirl then hit stop. Most action are more complicate then this. If you want to be able to set the amount of twirl each time you have to click the little box (as in the first and third action) otherwise it will use the same number for the twirl each time.
Most of the action that I have made are only one command long, thing that i wish had shortcut keys like brightness and contrast, or Index Color, or contract, or even new layer, I can now give a shortcut. You should also really think about anything that you do alot and is complicated is also a good candidate.

Info on Actions...

  • Actions made in Photoshop 5.0 CAN be used in Photoshop 6.0
  • Photoshop 6.0 Actions generally cannot be used in earlier versions of Photoshop
  • Actions can be played on any open image/shape...simply close the window that pops up when the action is running and hit play when your own image is selected.
  • Photoshop Actions are saved as SETS...a set can contain one or more actions.
  • Button Mode is easier to use (simply click the button), but edit mode allows you to see the process the action is going through to create the effect. Edit mode is a great way to learn!!!
  • When saving an action, you must have the SET name selected, and not the ation name.
  • All these text effects can also be applied to shapes for interfaces, buttons, etc. When told to enter your text, enter your shape instead!

Info on Selections...(5.0)

  • hold down the Alt key to start a selection from its center (elliptical and rectangular selection)
  • hold down Shift key during the selection process if you want to constrain the selection (elliptical and rectangular selection)
  • transform your freeform lasso tool in polygon tool when needed by pressing and holding Alt key - useful especially when you forget to keep the mouse button pressed during the selecting ,'cause it won't disappear.
  • add to selection by pressing Shift and remove from it by pressing Alt
  • for multiple selection, always press shift after you made the first selection, then continue by selecting other areas
  • for a blurred edge effect and a smooth integration of the selected area in the global image, feather the selection (ex: the vignette effect)
  • for more exact selection, use pen tool, make path and transform it into selection by clicking on the small interrupted circle icon at the bottom of path window
In Photoshop 6.0 you can now join selections, cut out selections,create inverse selections and use the old standby selection tool with a buttons located in the options bar. This also works with the type mask tool... very cool!

Info on Stroke...(5.0)

  • use stroke:you'll find it in the pull down menu under edit. First select what you want to stroke and you have a neat border around your selection.
  • that's the way to make perfect circles too...use ellipticall marquee, stroke and you have a perfect circle. Basically this works with any selected shape to create a nice outline!
  • you can use stroke in a new layer also...for example, type text, select, make new layer without deselecting and stroke in the new layer the selection you've made...Isn't this a very cute and simple outline? Great for doing layered outline effects, as with the Wire Actions in the Photoshop 5 menu.
  • use stroke to make all, make new layer, stroke inside, select layer transparency, stroke outside and stroke again and again 'till you'll have the wished border select layer transparency and apply any effect you wish.
  • hold down the Alt key to start a selection from its center (elliptical and rectangular selection)
  • hold down Shift key during the selection process if you want to constrain the selection (elliptical and rectangular selection)
  • transform your freeform lasso tool in polygon tool when needed by pressing and holding Alt key - useful especially when you forget to keep the mouse button pressed during the selecting ,'cause it won't disappear.
  • add to selection by pressing Shift and remove from it by pressing Alt
  • for multiple selection, always press shift after you made the first selection, then continue by selecting other areas
  • for a blurred edge effect and a smooth integration of the selected area in the global image, feather the selection (ex: the vignette effect)
  • for more exact selection, use pen tool, make path and transform it into selection by clicking on the small interrupted circle icon at the bottom of path window
In Photoshop 6.0 you can now join selections, cut out selections,create inverse selections and use the old standby selection tool with a buttons located in the options bar. This also works with the type mask tool... very cool!

Info on Channels/Bevels...(5.0)

  • work with your channels... - first , to be sure nothing goes wrong, duplicate the channel you have in mind to work on.
  • next, select the white stuff and try some filters on it
  • blurring the selections edges helps you to give a smooth embossed look when you apply lighting on that selection.
  • the amount of blur determines how gradually the surfaces of emboss or deboss are rounded
  • after you applied lighting, (which is better to be applied in a background copy...and BTW-always work on a copy of the target layer - everybody's making mistakes, and even if the new photoshop has a beautiful history, why bother?... to merge afterward the layers take only 0.001 sec, so...better work on a copy), you'll need the original channel selection...load it,contract 1-2 pixels,select inverse and delete
  • and because we're talking about bevels too, another way to make them using only the photoshop filters is to duplicate the layer with the text, selection or whatever, load layer transparency selection, feather it (try out different sizes) fill with black and emboss. Now set this layer mode to Overlay, that's it! and that is because the 50% gray is invisible in overlay mode
In Photoshop 6.0 you can apply all your bevels to specific layers using the Layer Styles.

Info on Shadows...(5.0)

  • load layer transparency selection
  • save it
  • duplicate layer and fill with the shadow color with preserve transparency checked - if you want a simple shadow,uncheck preserve transparency and offset how much you wish, blur, load the saved selection and mask with hide selection, or delete or, more simple, change layers order, by dragging this new layer beneath the original one
  • if you want a perspective shadow, edit/free transform and stop when you're satisfied with the shape. Blur now how much you wish (you can use motion blur too-gives a moving effect to the shadow) and then, as I said, load the saved selection, invert and delete, or add mask (in pull down menu layers/add mask) with hide selection or change the layers order.
In Photoshop 6.0 shadowing is such a snap, you can save a setting for a drop shadow as a layer style, and with one click apply that shadow to any layer you desire. I'm telling ya, is you work with text, Photoshop 6.0 is the Big Dog on the block now!

How To Debug a Newly Created Action

  1. Before recording, clear the Actions palette so that all you are working with is the new action. Makes things easier to deal with. (Be sure to save any actions you may have already created.)
  2. Think through the steps carefully. Avoid executing commands that will pick items like layers and channel by name. Try to use the commands that create generic methods for doing these. For example, using Option+[ will record selecting the layer below; clicking on the layer in the palette will record selecting that layer by name. In the former example, the layer below the current target will be selected no matter what. In the latter example, if the layer name doesn't exist, the action will bail.
    (Exploring many of the actions on the CD, like the Text_efx.atn set should show places where this is done to make actions work in a generic model.)
  3. Record the action.
  4. After recording the action, open a dummy file to test it out on.
  5. Expand the newly recorded action, and select the first command. Now you are ready to debug.
  6. Hold down the Command key and click Play. This will only execute the selected command.
  7. Watch the results on screen, and on *all* neccessary palettes to make sure the result is correct.
  8. If everything is correct, hold down Command and click Play again, this will play the next command in the action and stop again.
  9. Watch the results on screen, and on *all* neccessary palettes to make sure the result is correct.
  10. If at this time something went wrong, like a channel was named improperly, or the incorrect layer was selected, now would be the time to either re-record the step (double click the command to re-record it) or replace the offending command entirely. To replace, click Record, perform the correct operation, stop recording, then delete the offending command leaving the correct one behind.
  11. If you have to make repairs, you should now start over. Revert the image. (F12 is the shortcut for this unless you replaced it.)
  12. Repeat steps #5 through #11 until the action is correct.
Save the action!
The Command-Click behavior was implemented to duplicate how a programmer steps through code to fix problems. While not entirely the same thing, it's close enough, and debugging actions through this method is the most effective way to make sure everything works as needed.

How to use Actions

Download the *.ATN file to a directory of your choice. Note to Netscape Communicator users: Netscape Communicator renames .ATN files to .EXE files. Just rename them back to .ATN and continue.
Then select "Load Actions" from the Action Palette flyout menu.
(If you don't see the Action Palette, go to the menu bar and select Window | Show Actions.) The action(s) contained in the *.ATN file should be appended to the list of actions.
  • It might be a good idea to create a directory specifically for your Action files.
  • If there are a few actions that you use a lot, you can save them in a new action file. Clear the palette, Load ones that you need, and Save them as a new action.
  • A common misconception is that actions need to be installed, like a plug-in, or that action files need to be placed in a specific directory. Don't think of action files as filters, to be added to your copy of Photoshop and kept there; they're more like clipart, where you keep a whole lot of them and load only the ones you need at the moment.
Download free actions at

Save For Web in Photoshop

Conveniently located in the File menu, Save For Web is the improved method for optimizing and saving graphic images. It includes a live preview of your optimized image and also exports your image to the file format of your choice without closing or changing the original.
To use Save For Web:
  1. Open an image and choose Save For Web from the File menu. By default, the app displays the 2-Up view, which shows the original and one optimized preview. The 4-Up view shows three optimized previews at one time. While the previews are not ideal, they provide a great starting point for adjusting the optimization parameters.
  2. Adjust the optimization parameters according to your criteria, such as quality, file size, or a balance of the two. Each optimized file format offers different parameters. New parameters under the GIF format are: Saved Sets of Optimized Settings: This parameter allows you to save optimized settings in a drop-down list. Choose the Optimize menu on the right-hand side of the Saved Sets list and save. A saved set can be used as a default setting the next time Save For Web is used. Lossy: This parameter helps to reduce the file size of a GIF image by adding noise to the image. Use it sparingly, because it degrades the image quickly. Web Snap: This parameter allows you to adjust the degree to which the optimized image palette conforms to the 216 Web Palette. The unit of measure is in percentages, which allows for very subtle adjustments.
  3. Use the Color Table to lock certain colors into the optimized image palette. If a color is not Web safe, simply click that color to bring up the Color Picker and adjust the value. After you click OK, the appearance of a small square-and-plus-sign icon indicates that the color is locked in place.
  4. Check the Image Size information. After finalizing all the other optimization parameters, reduce the dimensions of the image as needed.
  5. Finally, click OK to save the optimized image file under Save For Web. The standard dialog box appears and allows you to save to any directory.

Optimizing in ImageReady

The new optimization features found in Photoshop 5.5 under Save For Web are integrated into ImageReady 2.0. The functions and steps are identical, but the tools are located in different areas in the application instead of in a single dialog box.
  • When an image is opened, the view tabs are integrated into the canvas window of the image.
  • The optimization parameters are located in the Optimize floating window palette. By default, the standard parameters are displayed. Click the Optimize tab to reveal additional parameters.
  • The color table is located in a floating window palette.
  • To save the optimized image, in the File menu choose Save Optimized As.

One additional optimization feature in ImageReady is Styles. Styles contains a library of preset drop shadows and bevels that can be used for creating button images. For users who are not adept at graphic design, these options come in handy in order to treat certain graphic elements that need to have some extra visual depth. Otherwise, we do not recommend Styles because they are typical of amateur, second-generation Web site design.

Instant Editing

If your design layout has the same text that will be used in the final HTML page, you can update and alter the text on the fly, as long as the file isn't saved as a bitmap graphic. This feature saves a lot of time, especially when you're presenting to clients who keep making changes but who want to see a design layout that accurately reflects what the end product will look like on the Web.
Select the layer containing the text element that requires editing. Double-click the image, and the text dialog box will appear. Edit the text and click OK.

Accurate Typesetting

Utilizing the Type Tool's powerful kerning, leading, and sizing parameters, Photoshop can easily represent HTML text. For instance, Photoshop's size 11 in Arial is comparable to the HTML font size of 1. This feature will help designers create layouts that accurately reflect how HTML text appears in a browser.
If you want to be even more precise, you can also address cross-browser and cross-platform issues. With the use of Cascading Style Sheets on the rise and the 4.0 browser community growing, an HTML font size standard to consider is pixel units, rather than point units. Pixel units are supported across browsers and computer platforms, but they can only be manipulated in CSS--and in the Type Tool for Photoshop.
To change the size units from point to pixel:
  1. Click the Type Tool icon in the Tool Box.
  2. Click your image to create a new type layer and bring up the Type Tool dialog box.
  3. Before typing any letters, change the size units from points to pixels.
  4. Type in your text and click OK.

Applying Dynamic Effects

Dynamic effects provide quick ways to apply drop shadows, bevels, and glow to text. These effects can provide attractive details to graphic titles and typography. We recommend that you use dynamic effects sparingly, since it's very easy to get carried away and compromise the integrity of design and legibility of the text. Further, we recommend using dynamic effects only on display or title text, since some results will make copy text unreadable.
To use dynamic effects, text must already be generated in a layer:
  1. Select the text layer in which the dynamic effect will be applied.
  2. Right-click (Mac users, hold down the Option key while double-clicking) the layer and select Effects.
  3. Choose the desired effect from the main drop-down menu.
  4. Explore and adjust the parameters.
  5. Click the Apply check box to see a live preview of the effect.
  6. Click OK to finalize.
To remove an effect, right-click on the small effects icon in the layer and select Clear Effects; Mac users, hold down the Option key while double-clicking.

Web Photo Gallery

This powerful tool automatically collects a directory of design layouts and builds a mini-site to view them as thumbnails or as an ordered slide show. Web Photo Gallery is the primary presentation tool, which makes posting design mock-ups for clients quick and easy. The tool not only generates the icon thumbnails for each image, but also generates the HTML and keeps everything together in a hierarchy of directories.
To create a Web Photo Gallery with a directory of organized images:
  1. In the File menu, go to Automate and choose Web Photo Gallery.
  2. In the Web Photo Gallery dialog box, choose the source directory in which the design mock-up images are located.
  3. Choose a destination directory where the optimized files and HTML pages will be saved.
  4. Give the mini-site a name, an owner, and a date.
  5. Choose the size of the thumbnail images. These thumbnails represent the actual images as icons, so they don't have to be too large.
  6. Decide how the images will be optimized; the default format is JPEG format. Select size and quality, then click OK.
Your browser will automatically launch and display the Web photo gallery.

Contact Sheet II

When you need to display a series of stock photographs, Contact Sheet II can assemble a directory of images into one canvas. While the images are small and serve only as thumbnails, Contact Sheet II can be a very useful tool for comparing these types of images.
To make a contact sheet with an organized directory of images:
  1. In the File menu, scroll down to Automate and select Contact Sheet II.
  2. In the Contact Sheet II dialog box, choose the directory of images.
  3. Choose the paper size (for printing on standard 8.5-by-11-inch up to 11-by-17-inch paper) and orientation. A landscape orientation will provide more space to show two design layouts side by side.
  4. Arrange the images in rows and columns. Keep in mind that the fewer the rows and columns you choose, the larger the images will be.
  5. Decide whether or not to use captions, select the font style, and then click OK.

Picture Package

Picture Package is ideal for displaying one stock photograph in multiple sizes on the same canvas. While its use is limited, this tool can tell you how well an image will hold up at smaller dimensions. This option can be useful when you use the same stock photograph more than once and in different dimensions--for example, with product images for an e-commerce site.
To make a picture package:
  1. In the File menu, scroll down to Automate and choose Picture Package.
  2. In the Picture Package dialog box, choose the desired image.
  3. Choose document layout, resolution, and color mode, and then click OK.

History Brush

The History Brush brings back pixels from a chosen state in the History palette. When used in conjunction with other tools or procedures, it provides flexible and almost limitless options. In this example, you'll see that it can work well with the Magic Tools. Try using the History Brush after running some filters. For interesting results, experiment with a lower opacity and different brush modes.
To use the History Brush:
  1. Open your image.
  2. Use any of the Magic Tools to isolate your subject. (See below.)
  3. In the History palette, click to the left of the original state of the image.
  4. Select the History Brush Tool from the Tools palette.
  5. Paint back the edges of the image until you're satisfied with the edges. Changing the opacity will give you softer edges.

Magic Eraser

Use this eraser to quickly delete the background from your image. The tool differs from the standard eraser button. When it deletes the pixels, it leaves a transparent background rather than the chosen background color. You also use the Magic Eraser by clicking rather than dragging. When you click, the tool deletes pixels within a certain range of color. The Magic Eraser comes with options for fine-tuning the deleting process. Unchecking Contiguous in the Magic Eraser dialog box, for example, will delete all the pixels with similar values. If you set a high tolerance value, the Magic Eraser will delete more pixels within that wider range.
To use the Magic Eraser:
  1. Open your image.
  2. Select the Magic Eraser tool by clicking and holding down the eraser button on the Tools palette.
  3. Click areas to delete pixels of similar color. Use the palette of Magic Eraser options to fine-tune the tool.
  4. Clean up the edges of the subject with the History Brush or the regular eraser.

Background Eraser

The Background Eraser tool is similar to the Magic Eraser, except that you drag this eraser around, deleting pixels as you go, rather than clicking and deleting large chunks of the image. The most powerful option is found in the sampling drop-down box in the Background Eraser palette. The Once command erases only areas containing the first color you click, making it easy to remove solid color backgrounds. As with the other tools, if you designate a higher tolerance, a greater range of pixels will be deleted.
To use the Background Eraser:
  1. Open your image.
  2. Select the Background Eraser tool by clicking and holding down the eraser button on the Tools palette.
  3. Click and drag the eraser around the image. The initial click will register the tool to that color of pixel. As you move around it will delete pixels of similar color according to the values you have chosen in the Background Eraser dialog box, and leave pixels out of that value range untouched.
  4. Clean up the edges of the subject with the History Brush or the regular eraser.

Extract Image

This handy tool is ideal for rescuing a subject surrounded by complex textures, in this case the mulch and shrubbery behind this fine bear carving. Rather than working with a brush from the Tools palette, you're masking inside a dialog box with three menus of options. All you have to do is click and drag a border around your selected image, and then fill in the area you want to extract. Experimenting with the brush size, the sharpness of the border, and the preview mode allows you to work with the border until even the tiniest detail, such as a blade of grass or a strand of hair, can be included or excluded in the final image.
To use Extract Image:
  1. Open your image.
  2. Select Extract from the Image menu.
  3. Use the pen to highlight the border of the object you are trying to mask.
  4. Use the bucket tool to fill the area that you want to keep. In the example, we filled the inside of the green outline to protect the bear.
  5. Click preview and tweak the options to get the best results. You can preview your extracted image on backgrounds of different colors by choosing from the drop-down menu next to Show.
  6. Click OK and the chosen image will be isolated.
  7. Clean up the edges of the subject with the History Brush or the regular eraser.