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Adobe Photoshop is more than just an image editing application—it is a foundational staple in all the visual arts, from print design, to photography, to web design, to motion graphics and 3D graphics. In this course, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins covers the basics of Photoshop. Learn about the components of visual images, making selections, color correcting, fixing images, outputting images, and much more. This course uses Photoshop CS6, but the information presented is applicable to all versions of the application.
Another one of the most common Photoshop task is actually just moving objects around. It sounds simple, right? But there's actually a lot of cool secret tricks here that I wanted to show you. So, what we're going to do is take this night scene, and we're going to make some trees and arrange them, and kind of play with them a little bit. The making of the tree is kind of tendential to the actual project. So, if making the tree is too much for you, I've actually included a Tree layer here, that is invisible, that you can use instead. But for the adventurous, we're going to make a tree from scratch.
So, we're going to scroll down in the tools panel. Actually not scroll down really, just kind of look. And you'll find the Rectangle tool, it looks like that. And hold your mouse button down on it, and grouped with the Rectangle tool is the Custom Shape tool. This allows you to create all kinds of custom shapes. So then, we're going to go up to the top in the Options bar, and we're going to click this little drop down arrow. Chances are, you won't find the tree here. So, you'll need to go to this icon. Click that, and what we're going to do is load the Nature set here, from this drop down.
Again, we want to click the drop down arrow next to the shape here, whatever that shape is for you, click that. And then, click the little drop down here. And then, choose Nature and click OK. And the upper left-hand shape will be a tree. So, go ahead and click that to select it. And you could click on the interface, somewhere outside of this bar, to just kind of close that there. And then, we're going to click and drag, to create a tree. And if we want the proportion to be constrained, again we hold the Shift key.
So, go ahead and click and drag to make the tree as you like it. And go ahead and release the mouse to make the tree. Now, your tree will have this really ugly, kind of gray outline around it. That just means it's selected. So, if we were to click on any other layer or click in a blank area of the Layers panel here, to deselect that layer, we would see that it goes away. Now, I want to actually select this layer, and I actually want to actually change its color. I don't want it to be pure black because it's a little bit too dark.
So, what I want to do is, on the Layers thumbnail here, just double-click that. That will open up the Color Picker. So, I'm going to give you the colors here, the RGB colors to dial in. And I want you to put in four for the red channel, and then tab over to green, and then tab over and four blue. It's faintly brighter, but it does make a difference. So, we'll go ahead and click OK. Or you could use whatever color for the tree you wanted, that's, that's the color I just happen to use. Now, we have this tree. And I want to make a whole tree scene here, a lot more trees going on. So, I go to my trusty Move tool, at the top of the tools panel right here, and I select that.
And by the way, anytime I'm working in Photoshop, I have the Move tool selected as my default. So, if I'm not specifically doing something else, like painting or what have you, then I will have the Move tool selected. I find it's the most useful to have in general in Photoshop. So, what I can do now with this tree we just made, I'm just going to actually double-click the name of it and rename it tree really quick. Good habit to get into. And I'm going to click the tree with my Move tool, and you'll see I can move it anywhere I please.
Simple enough, right? Well, here's another cool trick. If I wanted to duplicate this layer, we know we can drag this layer to the New Layer icon. Or if I want to duplicate an object like this, I can hold down the Option key on the Mac, or the Alt key on the PC, and drag it. And that makes a copy. So, with the Alt or Option key held down, I'm just going to drag and make a few more trees. And you could put them all over the place. And I will put them in space, I don't know, whatever. But I want to show you that often times, when you're duplicating objects, you don't always line them up the best way that you could.
But there's great tools in Photoshop to help you do that. That's what I want to show you here. So, I'm going to select the top tree that I've copied. And hold the Shift key and select the original tree at the bottom of the stack there, so all of these trees are now selected. Now, you have a bunch of objects selected, and you have the Move tool currently selected. Then you could go up here to the Options bar and there are Align and Distribute options, and these are incredibly powerful. So, what I'm going to do is I am actually going to use this button here, which will align the bottoms. You can see that there's two objects here, and they're aligned on the bottoms. Since, they're all the same size, I want to align the bottoms, the tree trunks. So, I click this button with all of them selected, and boom, they're all instantly aligned.
I didn't have to go measure anything out, automatically done for me. And now, I want to distribute them, so that they are even across or evenly spaced. It's great for, like web design, if you're doing buttons or something like that, very effective there too. So, this is the align area, if you're going to align up some parts of the object. But if you want to distribute them, that's what these six buttons are for over here. So, this is the button I want in this case. This is Distribute Horizontal Center, which just basically means it's going to distribute it evenly on the horizontal axis. So, I'm just going to click this button, and boom, now we have a nice, orderly, aligned and distributed row of trees. Now, the downside of this of course is that trees in nature don't typically look like this.
So, what I want to do is I now go back in and add some randomness. So, I'm going to click in this blank area of the Layers panel to deselect these trees. And what I want to do is I want to click these trees to select them, so I can adjust them. I don't want to have to go back to the Layers panel to figure out which tree is which. So, what I can do with the Move tool selected, is I can choose this Auto Select, and that will select everything that I touch. So, you could see that as I touch something it gets selected, that's really cool.
But at the same time that can be dangerous if you have layers that overlap one another. So, if I click here, that might not be the layer that I'm trying to select. I might want to select this tree, so that can be a little tricky. So, what I do is I deselect Auto Select in the Options bar. And then, if you hold the Cmd key on the Mac, or the Ctrl key on the PC, and then you click, it will Auto Select. And if you don't hold Cmd or Ctrl, and if Auto Select is deselected, then no matter what I click on, I won't deselect a selected layer.
So, that's typically the way I want to work. And then, if I want to Auto Select, I add the keyboard shortcut. Again, that's Cmd on the Mac, Ctrl on the PC. So, with this tree selected, for example, I'm going to hit Cmd+T or Ctrl+T on the PC or choose Edit > Free Transform Path, in this case. And using the techniques we've looked at elsewhere in this training series, we can scale this down. We'll hold the Shift key. And then, make a little bit smaller tree here, and go ahead and hit Enter on the numeric keypad to accept that. And then, I will Cmd or Ctrl click on another tree, Cmd+T or Ctrl+T on the PC, to Free Transform.
And again, I will hold the Shift key to constrain proportions. Let's make it even smaller here. And go ahead and hit Enter to accept that change. And I'm just going to keep going through here, as demonstrated. And I'm going to just kind of resize these trees to add some randomness. And I guess we could not constrain proportions on some of these. We might want some of them to be a little bit more narrow. And I'll just go ahead and change this one up a little bit.
And put this one on the end here. And I scaled that a little bit smaller, go ahead and accept that. So now, I have some great randomness. Unfortunately, a lot of these trees are kind of floating in space like this one. So, I'm going to do one last final alignment of these trees by clicking the Top Layer. Shift-clicking the bottom layer of trees. And then, I'm going to align their bottoms, again, by clicking this button. And there we have, our final tree scene.
A lot of randomness here, and there's a lot of also evenness here. And all of this was done super fast and easy because of these great tricks in Photoshop.
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