Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a high-contrast GIF image


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Creating a high-contrast GIF image

In this movie, I'll show you how to save a highly graphical file to the GIF format. I'm going to switch to this graphical image down below. This was a file I created for an Illustrator technique and you can see that it has a lot of sharp transitions. But not many colors. So we've got some black and some white, as well as, some orange and some yellow. And then, a little bit of a gray drop shadow interacting with the background and a soft drop shadow around the letters. Now we could save this image as a JPEG file, but JPEG is ill-suited to high-contrast graphics.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 4s
  2. 1h 1m
    1. The best of Photoshop automation
    2. Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation (CC 2014)
      7m 44s
    3. Combining two layers with a layer mask (CC 2014)
      5m 37s
    4. Content-aware healing (CC 2014)
      10m 17s
    5. Introducing the Patch tool
      3m 43s
    6. Using Content-Aware Patch
      7m 17s
    7. Retouching with Content-Aware Patch
      3m 45s
    8. Using the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 41s
    9. Using Content-Aware Extend
      2m 4s
    10. The Content-Aware Scale command
      6m 35s
    11. Scaling in multiple passes
      2m 22s
    12. Protecting skin tones
      3m 31s
  3. 32m 55s
    1. Editing the histogram
      1m 50s
    2. The new automatic Levels adjustment
      4m 33s
    3. Customizing a Levels adjustment
      4m 53s
    4. Understanding the Gamma value
      2m 7s
    5. Opening up the shadows
      2m 48s
    6. Previewing clipped pixels
      3m 40s
    7. Retouching with Output Levels
      4m 25s
    8. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      2m 19s
    9. Faking a gray card in post
      2m 51s
    10. Assigning shortcuts to adjustment layers
      3m 29s
  4. 57m 43s
    1. How sharpening works
      1m 38s
    2. Introducing the Smart Sharpen filter
      6m 56s
    3. Understanding the Radius value
      5m 20s
    4. Gauging the best sharpening settings
      5m 45s
    5. Addressing color artifacts and clipping
      5m 49s
    6. The Remove and Reduce Noise options
      4m 22s
    7. The Shadows/Highlights options
      7m 36s
    8. Correcting for camera shake
      6m 47s
    9. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      5m 45s
    10. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      4m 44s
    11. Painting in sharpness
      3m 1s
  5. 1h 12m
    1. Vector-based type
      1m 35s
    2. Creating and editing point text
      8m 8s
    3. Font and type style tricks
      7m 58s
    4. Type size and color tricks
      6m 42s
    5. Kerning and tracking characters
      8m 9s
    6. Creating and editing area text
      3m 50s
    7. Selecting and formatting paragraphs
      6m 50s
    8. Setting text inside a custom path
      5m 34s
    9. Creating text along a path
      6m 12s
    10. Adjusting baseline shift
      4m 45s
    11. Creating and stylizing a logo
      6m 49s
    12. Masking text into image elements
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. The other vector-based layer
      1m 39s
    2. Dotted borders and corner roundness
      8m 14s
    3. Drawing and aligning custom shapes
      3m 55s
    4. Creating your own repeatable custom shape
      5m 43s
    5. Selecting and modifying path outlines (CC 2014)
      6m 5s
    6. Isolating selected layers (CC 2014)
      6m 39s
    7. Combining simple shapes to make complex ones
      6m 31s
    8. Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes
      8m 49s
    9. Creating a soft, synthetic sparkle
      6m 22s
    10. Saving a resolution-independent PDF file
      6m 42s
    11. Turning a small image into a huge one
      8m 38s
  7. 1h 14m
    1. Depth, contour, and texture
      1m 28s
    2. Imparting depth with a layer effect
      9m 9s
    3. The power of the drop shadow
      7m 37s
    4. Modifying a layer and its effects
      6m 21s
    5. Saving custom default settings
      4m 12s
    6. Creating a custom contour
      8m 5s
    7. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      8m 8s
    8. Multiple effects and multiple layers
      7m 45s
    9. Global Light and rasterizing effects
      8m 5s
    10. Gloss and surface contour
      6m 4s
    11. Adding texture to Bevel and Emboss
      7m 21s
  8. 34m 48s
    1. Styles store settings
      1m 38s
    2. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      3m 41s
    3. Redefining a style and styling a word
      5m 38s
    4. Creating and styling a placeholder style
      5m 43s
    5. Applying and creating layer styles
      5m 45s
    6. Loading and customizing layer styles
      5m 42s
    7. Merging and saving layer styles
      6m 41s
  9. 56m 48s
    1. Meet the transformations
      1m 55s
    2. Transformations and Smart Objects
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting the interpolation setting
      5m 10s
    4. Rotating a layer with Free Transform
      5m 22s
    5. Scale, duplicate, and repeat
      4m 30s
    6. Creating a synthetic star field
      5m 20s
    7. Warping a logo with Arc and Flag
      5m 34s
    8. Distort, perspective, and skew
      4m 15s
    9. Using transformations to draw and correct
      7m 0s
    10. Bolstering text with layer effects
      5m 43s
    11. Adding highlights with Lens Flare
      6m 13s
  10. 43m 36s
    1. Removing the weight that the camera adds
      1m 7s
    2. The Warp and Reconstruct tools
      6m 44s
    3. Brush size, hardness, and opacity
      4m 29s
    4. The Pucker, Bloat, Push, and Twirl tools
      7m 12s
    5. Saving and reapplying Liquify settings
      4m 9s
    6. Lifting and slimming details
      9m 42s
    7. Warping legs, arms, and fabric
      5m 33s
    8. Improving a model's posture
      4m 40s
  11. 58m 46s
    1. Shoot in color, convert to black and white
      1m 55s
    2. Three ways to grayscale
      5m 36s
    3. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 31s
    4. Simulating an infrared photograph
      6m 39s
    5. Creating a sienna-infused sepia tone
      5m 38s
    6. Creating a hyper-saturated image
      5m 26s
    7. Introducing the Black & White command
      3m 16s
    8. Customizing the Black & White settings
      4m 50s
    9. Black & White meets the Channel Mixer
      7m 29s
    10. Infusing an image with tint and color
      5m 9s
    11. Grayscale and Split Tone in Camera Raw
      5m 17s
  12. 41m 34s
    1. The many ways to print
      1m 41s
    2. Using the test document
      3m 18s
    3. Print, position, and size
      5m 57s
    4. Description and printing marks
      3m 3s
    5. Establishing a bleed
      3m 44s
    6. Getting reliable color
      5m 54s
    7. Special printing options
      5m 1s
    8. Previewing an image at print size
      4m 16s
    9. Creating contact sheets
      4m 49s
    10. Creating a multipage PDF
      3m 51s
  13. 31m 9s
    1. Making Internet imagery
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing Save for Web
      4m 39s
    3. Creating the perfect JPEG image
      5m 14s
    4. Creating a high-contrast GIF image
      6m 23s
    5. The two varieties of PNG
      3m 57s
    6. Downsampling for the web
      5m 59s
    7. Adding copyright and contact info
      3m 51s
  14. 1m 3s
    1. Until next time
      1m 3s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
10h 37m Intermediate Aug 19, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CC One-on-One is back, and this installment teaches you how to build on your basic knowledge and achieve next-level effects with this premiere image-editing program. Industry pro Deke McClelland shows you how to seamlessly move and patch areas of a photo with the Content-Aware toolset; stretch the brightness of a scene with automatic and custom Levels adjustments; create intricate designs with text and shapes; and morph an image with layer effects and transformations. Deke also shares his techniques for sharpening details, whether addressing noise and highlight/shadow clipping or camera shake, and converting a full-color image to black and white. The final chapters show you how to best print and save images for the web, making sure all your hard work pays off in the final output.

Topics include:
  • Performing automatic retouch, scaling, and more with the Content-Aware tools
  • Editing the histogram
  • Customizing a Levels adjustment
  • Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
  • Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
  • Working with vector-based type
  • Kerning and tracking characters
  • Creating text on a path
  • Drawing and customizing shapes
  • Creating depth, contour, and texture with layer effects
  • Liquifying an image
  • Simulating an infrared photo
  • Adjusting print position, size, and color
  • Creating the perfect JPEG image
  • Downsampling for the web
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Creating a high-contrast GIF image

In this movie, I'll show you how to save a highly graphical file to the GIF format. I'm going to switch to this graphical image down below. This was a file I created for an Illustrator technique and you can see that it has a lot of sharp transitions. But not many colors. So we've got some black and some white, as well as, some orange and some yellow. And then, a little bit of a gray drop shadow interacting with the background and a soft drop shadow around the letters. Now we could save this image as a JPEG file, but JPEG is ill-suited to high-contrast graphics.

Let me show you what that looks like. I go up to the File > Save for Web. I am going to go ahead and zoom in as well. Now remember that the original graphic appears on top, the compress version of the image appears at the bottom. The file format is JPEG. The quality setting is high, just as in the previous movie. And while the bottom image looks okay, I mean we do have some rough transitions here and there. I'll go ahead and zoom in even farther, so you can see what I'm talking about. Notice these weird artifacts around the edge of the B.

But generally speaking, it's okay. And those artifacts will be less recognizable when we're zoomed out. But my image size is 67K, which is pretty darn large. And the image will take 2 seconds to download at a connection speed of 1 megabit per second. So I might be tempted to reduce the quality to medium, at which point we get the size down to 40K, but look at all the artifacts inside that file. It looks just terrible at this point. You're better option with low color, high contrast graphics like this is the GIF format.

Now you'll hear a lot of people pronounce this format as gif, which is fine. But the reason I call it GIF is because that's what the original creators of the format at CompuServe called it. It stands for Graphic Interchange Format, for what that's worth. And what it does, instead of applying lossy compression the way that JPEG does, it reduces the number of colors from a potential 16.8 million colors, which is the standard maximum for your everyday average 8-bit per channel image, to at most 256.

And it creates this index table, which allows it to generate smaller files. And notice, in fact, that even the biggest version of this GIF graphic will be just 64K, which is smaller than the high quality JPEG we saw a moment ago. And it looks much better. But, of course, we want to get the file smaller. And where you start is with this Colors option right there. now, notice it goes from 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32, and so on colors.

And the reason for these increments is GIF is saving file size by devoting so many bits of information to each and every pixel. So at 256 colors, you have 8 bits per pixel. At 128, you have 7 bits per pixel. At 64 colors, you have 6 bits per pixel, and so on, all the way down to 1 bit per pixel for two colors. So what I typically do, is I'll start things off at 8 colors. I just know anything lower than that is going to look terrible. And sure enough, eight colors looks pretty bad.

And then, I'll go ahead and bump it up to 16 and see how that looks. That's still too few colors. I'll try out 32. That's not all that much better. We have all this noise around the number for example. That's known as Diffusion Dither, and we'll come back to that in a moment. Whereas, if I take the number of colors up to 64, things are starting to look good. So, basically, you want to take the number of colors down as low as you can stand. Notice now we end up with an image that's almost 46K. Just a little bigger than the medium quality JPEG image, but it looks a heck of a lot better.

They can save transparency along with that GIF image. If you turn Transparency off, then the transparent areas will be filled in with a matte color. Not an issue for us, because there is no transparency in this file. You can go ahead and snap the colors to the web-safe palette. There's no reason to do that these days. And you can add lossy compression, which rather defeats the purpose of the format. I don't recommend you turn interlaced on, because that will cause the image to appear in two passes. Now these other options are a little more useful. Notice that we have the option of turning off the Dither, which is the noise pattern.

But if I do that, even though I do drop the file size slightly. So, I drop pretty much a K. By turning the Dither off, we get more jagged transitional pixels. So you generally want some kind of Dither pattern. The Pattern pattern ends up creating a regular pattern of noise, which I think has too much of an automatic quality to it. If you want to go with the most random Dither pattern possible, then switch to Noise. Or, you can stick with diffusion, which is generally the best way to go. And if you want to get rid of some of the noise, then take the Dither value down to 50%.

Next, we have these methods for generating the color table. If you switch to Perceptual, then notice that Photoshop goes ahead and reinvents the color table, so it picks different colors. And what it's trying to do is better represent the transitional colors, the gradients and the continuous tone inside of a photograph, for example. Whereas, Adaptive is on the other end of the spectrum. It's going with a strict popularity contest. So the most popular colors end up winning and the least popular colors end up losing, which is bad for the transitional areas.

Whereas, Selective tries to strike a balance in between the two. Frankly, it's the one that's most likely to give you the best results which is why it's selected by default. And then, finally we have Restricted, which goes ahead and snaps all the colors to the web-safe palette. You only need that if the person on the other end of your website has a 256-color monitor. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and it really ruins the colors inside of the image. So I'm going to switch back to Selective here. And that's my graphic. Looks pretty good to me especially if I zoom out, I can hardly see the effects of the reduced color palette at all.

So I'll go ahead and click on a Save button and notice that Photoshop goes ahead and automatically generates a save filename, so all I need to do is click the Save button in order to save out a GIF version of that image. And that's how you save a high contrast GIF image using Save for Web.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate .

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Q: This course was updated on 09/18/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Photoshop CC. The updates are concentrated in "The Content-Aware Collection" and "Creating and Formatting Text" chapters, but there are new movies sprinkled throughout the course as well.
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