Understanding the tool enhancements
Video: Understanding the tool enhancementsAmong the many small changes that Adobe added to Photoshop CS5 are enhancements to some of Photoshop's tools. The Crop tool for example has acquired a new grid. In order to see that grid I'm going to draw an initial crop boundary around this image and if you look closely you can see that there is a grid made up of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines and if you look up in the Options Bar you will see the new Crop Guide Overlay which is set to Rule of Thirds. This particular grid was designed to simulate the Rule of Thirds that artists having been using for centuries to place the most important objects in an image so that the viewer's attention is drawn to them and so that the composition is pleasing.
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In Photoshop CS5 New Features, author Jan Kabili introduces new features and productivity enhancements that include reshaping images with Puppet Warp, turning photographs into paintings, and Content-Aware Fill options. The course examines CS5 enhancements to existing features include significant improvements to High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo processing, selection and mask edge refinement, and lens-related photo corrections. A brief overview of companion applications, Adobe Bridge CS5 and Adobe Camera Raw 6, is included. Exercise files are included with the course.
- Performing Content-Aware Fill and spot healing
- Painting realistic brush strokes with bristle brush tips
- Blending paint with canvas colors with the Mixer Brush tool
- Selecting hair and other soft edges with fine detail or edges with sharp contrast
- Extruding 2D objects in 3D space
- Creating surrealistic and photorealistic HDR images in Merge to HDR Pro
- Simulating HDR imaging in a single photo with the HDR Toning adjustment
- Working with Mini Bridge
Understanding the tool enhancements
Among the many small changes that Adobe added to Photoshop CS5 are enhancements to some of Photoshop's tools. The Crop tool for example has acquired a new grid. In order to see that grid I'm going to draw an initial crop boundary around this image and if you look closely you can see that there is a grid made up of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines and if you look up in the Options Bar you will see the new Crop Guide Overlay which is set to Rule of Thirds. This particular grid was designed to simulate the Rule of Thirds that artists having been using for centuries to place the most important objects in an image so that the viewer's attention is drawn to them and so that the composition is pleasing.
So I can use this Rule of Thirds grid to place the important parts of this image as I make a Crop. I would like to make this image a bit smaller, so I am going to move my mouse over one of the corner anchor points. I will hold the Shift key to retain proportions as I make the crop boundary smaller and I will drag in. When I have got it just about size I want, I will click in the middle of the grid and I will drag it, so that those intersections of the horizontal and vertical lines in the Rule of Thirds grid are over some important parts of the image.
And I will click the check mark to commit that crop. The Rule of Thirds grid isn't the only grid that's new in Photoshop CS5, there's also a Straight grid and that one comes in really handy when I am making a perspective crop. Now Perspective Crop is not new in Photoshop, but it's easier to do a perspective crop, if you have a grid to guide you as you now do in Photoshop CS5. So again, with the Crop tool I will click and drag an initial crop boundary and then I am going to go over to Crop Guide Overlay and change that from Rule of Thirds to Grid.
I am also going to go to the View menu and I am going to uncheck Snap, so that it's easier to crop this image so that the vertical lines in the image like those in the columns for example and in the windows match up with the vertical lines in the Grid. To do a Perspective Crop, I have to go to the Options Bar and click the Perspective checkbox and then I will go to the anchor points at the corners of my crop boundary and I am going to drag those in and what I'm trying to do is to match the vertical lines in the image with the vertical lines in the Crop Grid.
Something like that might do, and then I'll click the check mark and you can see that Photoshop has done a pretty good job of straightening out that image for me and it was a lot easier to do than in previous versions of the program, because I had that new Grid as a guide. The Ruler tool has also got an enhancement in Photoshop CS5. In past versions of Photoshop I was able to use the Ruler tool to straighten a horizon like this. But to do that I had to know a secret handshake which basically was to choose Image, Image Rotation and then Arbitrary and then have to crop away the excess after the image was straightened, but that was hard for people to discover and it also involved a couple of steps.
Now the same task is easier to do and more discoverable. So with the Ruler tool, I am going to come into the image and I'm going to click and drag a line across a horizontal or vertical feature that I would like to use to straighten the image. And then all I have to do is go up to the Options Bar for the Ruler tool and click Straighten, and in just a second the image is made straight and cropped at the same time, all in one step. Now by the way if for some reason you don't want to crop it, you can hold down the Option or Alt key as you click the Straighten button and the image will be straightened, but you will get some extra bits of canvas around the edges of the image.
Here is another new feature. The Eyedropper tool has gotten an enhancement too. I like to use the Eyedropper tool to select colors for my image to use as a foreground color to do further work. When I move the Eyedropper tool over part of this image and click, I get this new color sampling ring. And if you look up at the Options Bar for the Eyedropper tool, you will see that Show Sampling Ring is checked. So let's take a look at the Sampling Ring. The outer grey ring is just a neutral color to help me better see the colors that are selected in the inner ring and the inner ring is divided into two pieces.
The bottom half of the inner ring represents the last color that I had in the foreground color box in the toolbar and the top part of the inner color ring represents the color that I am currently sampling with the Eyedropper. So with my mouse still held down, if I move over another color, you can see the top part of that inner ring change. When I have a color that I like, I will release my mouse and that color appears here in the Foreground Color box in the toolbar. The nice thing about having the Sampling Ring is that it allows me to compare my current color with the color I am sampling and also to do that in context of the colors in the image.
The Zoom tool has also gotten a new option in CS5 and that is Scrubby Zoom. The way this works is that with Scrubby Zoom enabled as it is by default, I can come into the image and pinpoint exactly the area that I want to zoom into by clicking there and dragging to the right. And if I want to zoom out, I click and drag to the left. I really like this feature because it's very responsive and it lets me see exactly the part of the image that I am after. If you don't like it you can disable it by going up to the Options Bar and unchecking Scrubby Zoom.
And then the Zoom tool will behave as it did in the last version of Photoshop. If I click and drag with it, it'll make a marquee and zoom me into the contents of the marquee. By the way if your Scrubby Zoom isn't working, it's probably because you don't have OpenGL drawing enabled in the Performance area of your Preferences. So go into that area of your Photoshop Preferences and make sure there is a checkmark next to OpenGL Drawing and then restart Photoshop and you should be able to use Scrubby Zoom. Let's take a look at one more new tools enhancement and that is one of the extra bits of content that Adobe has added to CS5.
I am going to select the Gradient tool to show you photographers the new Neutral Density Gradient Preset that's been added to the Gradient tool. I am going to go up to the Options Bar and click in the Gradient Bar to open the Gradient Editor. Here in the default set of Gradient Presets, I will select the very last one, the new Neutral Density preset and I will click OK. Now I am going to go to my Layers panel. I could use this Gradient directly on the background layer that contains this photo, but I prefer to do that on a separate layer so that I can control the way that the gradient is interacting with the image.
So I will make a new layer and with that new layer selected I will come in to the image and I am going to start at the bottom and drag up and that adds a gradient that's dark on the bottom and lighter on the top, which is just what I want with this image because if I turn that Gradient off for a minute, you can see that this image is too light on the bottom and needs a little darkening, even though the top is pretty much the way I would like it. Because I did put that Neutral Density Gradient on a new layer, I now can fine-tune the way that it's interacting with the photo on the layer below.
So for example, I can go to the Blend Mode menu and I could choose either Overlay or Soft Light to get a better blend between the Gradient and the Image, and I could lower the Opacity of that Neutral Density layer if I wish. I also could take that layer and duplicate it, which will increase its intensity. So, those are some of the new changes that Adobe has made to various tools in the toolbar, all with an eye to making things easier for you, the user.
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