Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Layer comps dos and don'ts


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Layer comps dos and don'ts

I'm calling this final exercise Layer Comps Don'ts and Dos. I'm going to tell you about things that layer comps can't save, that you think they would save but they can't, just because Adobe hasn't gotten around to updating layer comps in a while. Basically, there is a few gotchas associated with layer comps, and I want you to know about those. So just little bit of sort of wrap up. I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Family feud.psd. So called because Emperor Scratch and Bronco, the Plaster Dinosaur are somehow related. I'm little vague about what that relationship is, but now let's start off with the don'ts.
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  1. 22m 25s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 9s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 5s
  2. 2h 44m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 35s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 18s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 35s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 19s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 57s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 24s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 3s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 20s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 34s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 44s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 6s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 52s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 43s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
20h 57m Intermediate May 01, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
  • Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
  • Creating and editing type in Photoshop
  • Using blur effectively
  • Using adjustment layers to add color
  • Combining layers into a clipping mask
  • Working with Camera Raw
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Layer comps dos and don'ts

I'm calling this final exercise Layer Comps Don'ts and Dos. I'm going to tell you about things that layer comps can't save, that you think they would save but they can't, just because Adobe hasn't gotten around to updating layer comps in a while. Basically, there is a few gotchas associated with layer comps, and I want you to know about those. So just little bit of sort of wrap up. I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Family feud.psd. So called because Emperor Scratch and Bronco, the Plaster Dinosaur are somehow related. I'm little vague about what that relationship is, but now let's start off with the don'ts.

We've seen how layer comps save Visibility; whether the layer is turned on or off. How they save position; they can save the physical position of the layer, XY coordinates, and then they can save appearance, meaning blend modes, opacity, advanced blending stuff. Layer Effects, whether they're turned on or off and specific Layer Effect settings. So that's a heck of a lot that you can save. Oh, oh, by the way, you could also save whether a layer mask is on or off. Credit me for that one, because I requested it and got my way, way back when. So Visibility of a layer mask is also saved.

However, Arrangement is not saved. So in other words, if you change the stacking order of the layers that does not get saved with layer comp. So all layer comps are affected by the stacking order, which is a real drag in my opinion. I wish it weren't that way. It's something it could save, but it doesn't. Clipping masks. If one layer is clipped inside of another layer, it isn't saved. So you clip, you unclip, doesn't matter to the layer comps, they don't track it. Scale and Orientation, I already told you about that. So if you transform the size of the layer or the angle of the layer, that's not something that layer comps can track. This is just things I'm listing out for you by the way. There is no visual so you can close your eyes if you want to.

Pixel Level changes. If I go into one of these layers and I paint inside of it, well, then I'm painting inside of that layer across all of the layer comps. Adjustment layer settings. This is another thing you would think that layer comps would track. If they can track specific Layer Effect settings; and I'll go ahead and twirl open duckbill, for example, and I'll double click on Bevel and Emboss; we haven't discussed this dialog box yet. But if I was to change the Depth of this effect to something just enormous and I was to change the angle of my effects to something; I've got Global Light turned on so that it affects all of the layer effects inside of the document, and I clicked OK, and I go, heavens to Murgatroyd, what was I thinking, I could go back here to my Layer Comps palette and then I could click in front of Dinosaur depth once again to reinstate those good old settings that I had before.

It's capable of tracking that numerical data but it can't do it for adjustment layers. So if I change the Opacity or the blend mode of an adjustment layer, that gets tracked, but the specific adjustment layer settings, like the fact that I rotated the Hues 105 degrees in that one case, if I changed that setting that would get changed across all of the layer comps. What else? Smart Objects and Smart Filters? This is very disappointing in my opinion. When we get to Smart Objects and Smart Filters you would get a sense of why the disappointment is there, but if you turn on and off Smart Filters, for example, then they get turned on and off across all of the layer comps. So that doesn't get tracked.

Also, Smart Objects, one of the great things about Smart Objects is that you can transform and scale and rotate them parametrically, so that you can change your mind anytime you like without harming the image one iota. Well, layer comps are completely unaware of that. So it is kind of a mind-boggling list there, but that's all the stuff that's really parametric and it really should be saved by the Layer Comps palette, but isn't. All right, that was a don'ts list. Let's check out this little do gotcha thing. So we know that layer comps can track, for example, the XY coordinates of a layer, so the movement of a layer. But I've turned it off for Talk bubble.

Remember, if I double click here on Talk bubble, you can see that Position is turned off, so I'm not tracking it. Then Dinosaur depth, same thing, Position is turned off. I was telling you that's by default a good thing to do, and I'll show you why. I'm going to go ahead and cancel out of there. Let's go ahead and collapse the Layer Comps palette for a moment. Let's say that I want to move the dark lord here, Emperor Scratch, over to the left a little bit, so that we can see the plans a little better. Right now he is covering up these plans, which is a huge plot element here, and he's got his nose all over it, so we need to back him off just a little.

So I'll click on the group in order to make it active, so that it can move all these things; the duckbill layer, the eyeball, the teeth and the hands, all as one together. Then I've got my Rectangular Marquee tool selected. Fine. I'll press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac to temporarily get the Move tool. Then I'll drag this guy over to the left a little bit to reveal the plans like so, so he's not sort of being the big image hog, and then also press the Shift key. So I've got Ctrl+Shift+N here on the PC or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, so that I'm constraining the movement over to the left. I'll release my mouse and then I'll release the keys. Then let's go ahead and check over here just to make sure his fingers are clipped a little bit, but I'm not concerned about that. It's more important that he does not have his big old nose all over the plans.

Okay. So that's great? No, let's go ahead and collapse those right side palettes and bring this guy. Let's expand him and bring him over to the right, just trying to clean things up, to watch out for that blue when you do this. There is a gotcha for you. I want to keep this guy floating so I'll sort of drag him by the left side of the Title bar. All right. So I can see my composition. Great! Notice if I switch between Talk bubble and Dinosaur depth, no problem. Because that's not getting tracked, so it's moved across all of those two, just those two right there, to layer comps.

But Hadrosaur elements, if I click on it, I mess it up. He goes back to his previous location and that's because, double click on it, you will see Position was tracked with this one. All right. Interesting! So cancel out, and now though, here is the problem, here is the gotcha. Now, I go back to Talk bubble and he is back where he was. So I've got to redo my movement, and same with Dinosaur depth, he is back where he was. Oh, my goodness! Well, here is one way to solve that problem. One way is to have turned on Position so that I don't have that problem, but then I would have to update the layer comp when I moved it and so on. You see how Position can sort of be a gotcha all by itself.

All right. Anyway. I'll bring up my History palette right there. Let's go back a few layer comps here, and I'm just going to back step like so, because I'm not sure exactly where we want to go with this. There is the dinosaur in the proper location. So bad dinosaur here, good, evil dinosaur right there, that's where we want him. Then what I could do, just to make sure that Hadrosaur elements isn't going to mess up everything else, I could double click on Hadrosaur elements and I could say don't track Position anymore, don't do that, and then click OK. Then I can click on Hadrosaur elements, and we just get the flat version of the Hadrosaur and then I can click on Dinosaur depth and we're still okay.

Just something to think about when you're working with layer comps, because you will undoubtedly encounter this kind of thing, where something just kind of like all of a sudden shifts and you've kind of messed it up across all the layer comps and so on. That's one way to sort of track what you're up to. But bear in mind that it's not just the position of the Hadrosaur that now Hadrosaur elements is ignoring. It's ignoring the position of all the layers. So I'm saying, turn off Position when in doubt, turn it on when you need it. I guess that's really the extent of it. All right. Just for the sake of wrap up here, I'm going to go ahead and tab away my palettes and fill the screen with the image. Zoom in just a little bit so that we can see it that much bigger on screen. This, friends, is the conclusion to my exploration of advanced layering inside of Photoshop CS4.

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