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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
- Hey there! Welcome back to Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seeley and in today's video, I'm going to be talking a little bit about how I annotate or call attention to specific things inside of a screen shot, when I'm working with someone. So traditionally when someone sends me an email asking me a questions about something, and then I want to develop some sort of imagery to send back to them to explain a problem or issue, or a question that they might have, I often times annotate that screenshot in some way to make it a little bit more meaningful. I'm going to show you how I do that inside of Adobe Photoshop, which is probably the quickest and easiest way to do so.
So for instance, if I want to highlight a specific area inside of a screenshot, so this is a screenshot of the lynda.com mobile application, and what I want to do is I want to sort of highlight this area up here with this Creating Icons with Illustrator course. Maybe I'm pointing it out to someone, or something like that. So, the easiest way for me to do that is to grab the Shape tool, by pressing the letter u on my keyboard, or selecting it right here. Generally what I do is I select No Fill, and then I give it something kind of like a sort of a really rich orange or red, depending on what type of screenshot I have.
Then I'll also increase the size of that to somewhere around like five or six points. So, let's do six points. There we go. Then what I'll do is just draw a rectangle around the object or objects that I'm trying to highlight. That's going to create something like this. I will then change the positioning of those to make sure that it is on the inside. If I want to increase the size of it a little bit, I can. So this one might look better at about 10. That actually does look better. Then from there, I'll click away from it and take a look.
Now, from this, I really don't get a sense of what exactly I'm pointing at. That could be an anomaly inside the app itself. So, how do I draw attention to this very quickly and very easily without having to draw a whole bunch of lines and arrows, and things like that? I come over here to the Layers panel and inside of the Layers panel, you'll see this Rectangle 1, right here. What I'll do is hold down the Command or Control key and click on that thumbnail. That's gonna give it a selection. Once that's selected, I now have that shape selected with a dancing marque, here inside of Photoshop.
Then I'll go to the Select menu, and chose Inverse, and that's gonna select everything but that rectangle. Then I;ll come down here to the Adjustment Layer icon, and I'll chose something like Levels, and then inside of Levels, what I'll do is just take this slider right here and drag it inward, and I'll darken the UI around that particular object. Generally I'll take this to about 100. Something like that. So this output level right here, goes to 100 instead of 255. Just significantly darkens it.
Now, I haven't actually done anything to this besides create a rectangle and then run the levels. But now, that part of this object just jumps out at you. Now, what if I wanted to highlight something else a little bit later on? That's okay too. Image, Duplicate, OK, then all I do here I throw the Levels adjustment away, move the rectangle to the next object that I want to highlight. So maybe this is step two, in a process I'm showing them, or something like that, and then I will go ahead and select it again.
Select the Inverse, you can do it with a keyboard shortcut, Shift, cmd, i, on the Mac, shift, control, i on the PC, and then I can do my levels adjustment. Then it's a simple 100. You could also set all of this up inside an action, as well, which would be very simple to do. And that is basically how I will annotate or highlight different aspects of a screenshot that I send back, whether it be to a client, to someone who's asking me a question, or even if I'm just explaining something to a coworker, a lot of times I will do this as well.
It's a great way to easily call attention to whatever it is you're talking about without having to do a whole lot of work.
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