I’ve been using Photoshop for more than two decades now. I started with the version three sometime in the mid 90’s. We were so thrilled that we can change the color of the hair and remove unwanted elements in the photo. Surprisingly, the same basic editing function of Photoshop is still the core engine of the application after twenty five years.
Here’s a few functions you might not know or have been using but failed to maximize its use. Here we go:
Curves – this is an adjustment tool that lets you edit the tones of an image. You can add as many nodes as you want in the line between highlight and shadows. From there you can increase or decrease the tone on every nodes.
Curves can also be used to edit tones based on color channel. If you’re working on an RGB file, you can individually edit the Red, Green and Blue channels to fit your desired color. I normally use this when editing skin tones.
Adjustment Layers – this feature allows you to apply color adjustments temporarily. Photoshop started without this feature so most of the editing before is final every time you press the OK button. If later after series of adjustment you decide that you didn’t like result, you’ll have to do everything all over again.
When combining many adjustments, sometimes the result need more tweaking. With adjustment layers, you can float these adjustments in a layer. All adjustments made is temporary and can be re-adjusted individually anytime in your work sequence.
Cloning in new layer – if adjustment layer can temporarily float all adjustment, cloning or cleaning up your images can do the same. By adding a blank layer on top of the image, you can apply your cloning in a separate layer without damaging your original image.
The key to this feature is by setting the tool in the control panel and choose sample current and below or all layers. This means that the clone tool will sample the color from another layer and apply it in your new layer. This also applies to healing tool.
Mask – In my class, this feature can either be the most difficult to understand or the easiest. Some people just find it naturally easy to understand while others scrape the bottom of their brain to make sense of it.
This feature allows you to apply your adjustments only to a particular part of the image by covering the image and opening it up only on areas you want the adjustment to apply. Mask is part of the selection tool so you can access all the functions of selection and apply it in your mask.
Like photography, editing softwares takes time to master. There’s so much to learn. Since you embraced the digital technology in taking pictures, you might as well learn the digital process of editing your digital image. Keep on shooting everyone!
Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa