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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we're going to change the color of this light gray area that falls outside of the image. So basically, we're looking at an image that's too small, at least the way it's zoomed out right now, to fill up the entire image window. So we have this excess area out here that I call the pasteboard. Technically, it's not a pasteboard, because you can't put stuff on it. But you can actually have pieces of layers out there if you want. You're just not going to see them the way you would on the pasteboard in something like InDesign. But now, when I prefer to do, notice there is a Drop Shadow around it.
I don't necessarily approve of that Drop Shadow. And the color is just too darn light in my opinion. This gray is too light in order to really see the image effectively onscreen. So I like to darken things up and potentially get rid of the Drop Shadows. So here's how you work. First of all, I clicked OK out of the Preferences dialog box in order to accept my changes. You should know that. And ow I'll press Ctrl+K or Cmd+K on the Mac to revisit the Preferences dialog box. I'm going to click on Interface in order to move one panel forward.
Notice that gray is my Standard Screen mode color. You can switch between screen modes by pressing the F key, and I'll show you how that works in just a moment. So it's set to this light gray, and then for the Full Screen mode it's set to a light gray. And then for the really super Full Screen mode, it's set to Black. And there's no Drop Shadow on that last mode. Well, tell you what. Here, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to turn off the Drop Shadow for the Full Screen with menus, so that we can tell the difference between the two modes. So we'll know we're in the Standard mode, because they have the same color background.
We'll know that we're in the Standard mode when we see a Drop Shadow. We'll know we're in the Full Screen mode when we have no Drop Shadow. And that way, you can just change your mind back and forth between, yeah, I'd like to see the Drop Shadow, no, I would not like to see the Drop Shadow, by pressing the F key. Now I could also change the colors here, but there's a better way to darken up that pasteboard. So I'll click OK. Now let me just show you what I meant by the screen modes here. If I press the F key, so right now we're seeing the Standard Screen mode, incidentally. If I press the F key, then notice that we're in this Full Screen mode, where we just got rid of the scrollbars.
They just totally disappeared. We also have more flexibility in terms of where we can pan the image onscreen. And we're not seeing the Drop Shadow anymore, because I just requested it go away. Now, if you just want to get rid of everything and just see black in the background, you press the F key again. Now, you're in the super deluxe Full Screen mode, where there is nothing else going on. Now, it may cause you a little bit of panic, the first time you do this, because then it's like, Oh my gosh! How do I get the rest of Photoshop active? I have to restart the program? You can just press the F key again, or - and this is something just to know about Photoshop, in general.
If you get into a place, and you're not sure how to get out, try pressing the Escape key. That works in this case, and it takes us right back to the Standard Screen mode. All right. But what I want to do is I want to change the color of this pasteboard out there, as I was saying. Couple of different ways to work, one is you right-click out there in that big open area. And then you can choose from Gray, which is what we're seeing, very light gray, Black, which is the Full Screen color or Custom. Custom, you never know what it's going to come up as. For some reason, it comes up as blue.
I don't understand the reasoning there. You do not want a color associated with your pasteboard. In other words, you just want a shade. You want it to be dark or light, but you want it to be neutral gray. Anyway, you can choose a color. You can decide what that custom color is going to be by right-clicking and choosing Select Custom Color, like so. Then you would dial in a color, or - and this is just a really cool technique that I'm about to show you. It's a nifty trick. Show it off at dinner parties. What you do is you go ahead and grab yourself the Paint Bucket tool, which you can get from the Gradient tool slot there.
I also gave you a keyboard shortcut if you loaded dekeKeys of K for Paint Bucket. That used to be the old keyboard shortcut for it years ago. Anyway, this tool isn't all that useful on a day-to-day basis, but it's great for changing the background color. What you do is you dial in a color that you want to use. I suggest you go to the Color panel. If you don't see the Color panel, then go to the Window menu and choose the Color command. F6 is your keyboard shortcut. Then I recommend you click on this little menu icon, see that little guy right there in the upper-right corner of the panel.
Click on it, brings up a menu. Choose HSB sliders. That way you can just dial in a brightness value. B stands for brightness. And you're not going to introduce any color using the H and S values. So I assume you're looking at black as your foreground color. If not, press the D key. D is for Default colors. That'll switch the foreground color to Black and background color to White. And then I'm, going to the dial up this B value to my favorite, 35%, works out beautifully.
It's going to be kind of a dark gray. Then you move your little Paint Bucket cursor into the pasteboard, and you press the Shift key and you click. So you've got to Shift-click in that pasteboard area, in order to fill the pasteboard with the foreground color using the Paint Bucket. We have one more opportunity to try this out, because if I press the F key, notice I switch to the Full Screen mode, the first of the two Full Screen modes. And it has its own color, which is this light gray. Let's so ahead and press the Shift key and click again in order to switch it to a dark gray, like so.
Press the F key to go into the big old Full Screen mode. Leave that one black, is what I recommend, And then press the F key again in order to return to the Standard mode. And that's all there is to it. And we have now managed to change the pasteboard color here inside Photoshop.
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