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By Colleen Wheeler | Friday, May 18, 2012

iPhoto and Photoshop integration: Editing iPhoto images with Adobe Camera Raw

After watching our popular Photoshop CS5 Essential Training course, and hearing all about the photo-developing power of Adobe Camera Raw, one of our members wanted to know how to open her JPEG files in Adobe Camera Raw directly from within iPhoto. With a few Preference-setting hoops to jump through, it is entirely possible to set up iPhoto and Photoshop so that you can use iPhoto as your Photo organizing database of choice and still use Camera Raw in Photoshop to edit your JPEGs. Here’s a quick video tutorial that shows you the path of least resistance:

Note that for quick one-way edits (meaning you don’t have any need to go back to iPhoto with your newly edited image), you can set the Photoshop preferences as shown in the video, then simply drag an image from your iPhoto preview window onto the Photoshop icon in your dock  and the image will open in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Also note, while I recorded this in Photoshop CS5, the preference settings are identical in Photoshop CS6. As a bonus, if you’re already using Photoshop CS6, expect to see some improvements to ACR developing, too.

Please keep the feedback and the thoughtful questions coming, we appreciate it. Do you have any follow-up questions you’ve noted after completing a lynda.com course? We’d love to hear them!

Interested in more? • All Design courses on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Photoshop CS6 Essential TrainingPhotoshop CS5 Essential TrainingPhotoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New FeaturesPhotoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Reflecting type in water with Photoshop

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to make a text reflection appear in rippled water. You’ll start with this miraculously floating text set on top of a photo of gently moving water:

Text reflection step one: text on image of water.

Next, Deke shows you how to create a base reflection by turning the text layer into a Smart Object, copying it, then using the Free Transform command to stretch the copy out and invert it. Then the real magic of this technique happens when Deke shows you how to create a displacement map from the water’s ripples, and how that map can be applied to the reflected letters. In order to ensure that the effect edges are smooth and believable, and that the letters get aligned correctly with the feet of the original text, you’ll need to pay close attention to the fairly sophisticated way Deke goes about building the displacement map in the free video. The end result is this study in serenity:

Photoshop text reflected in water.

For a real study in relaxed reflection, this week’s member-exclusive Deke’s Techniques movie, Reflecting water back into type, shows you how to represent the waves of the reflected letters inside their original source letters. Yes, it’s a reflection of a reflection:

Photoshop type with wave relfection expressed in letters.

See you back next week with another free technique from Deke!

Interested in more? • The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: FundamentalsPhotoshop CS6 Beta Preview

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deke’s Techniques: Rendering type in brushed metal with Photoshop

This week’s free Deke’s Techniques falls into my favorite category of effects—those that create something from nothing. In this case, the ‘something’ is elegant, weighty letters that appear to be made of brushed stainless steel. The ‘nothing’ it takes to create this brushed metal effect starts with a window full of black pixels, and adds a couple of basic Photoshop filters, a few text and shape layers, some layer effects, and a couple of very important blend mode settings.

After transforming his window full of black pixels into a Smart Object, Deke starts by showing you how to create a pattern with noise and blur filters, and how to define your application of those filters as a pattern to be used later in the working document. Next, it’s a matter of applying a series of layer effects including variations on Drop Shadow, Gradient Overlay, Bevel & Emboss, and Pattern Overlay to your text and shapes that you would like to appear as brushed metal. Once you get these effects applied to one layer, you can Alt-drag (or Option-drag on a Mac) your effects to other layers to duplicate them, then tweak to taste.

Inspired by Sunday’s Adobe CS6 release, I decided to try this technique on my own:

Brushed metal text effect made in Photoshop.

Using the Photoshop CS6 public beta for my experiment, during the process I subconsciously stumbled upon one of the quietly awesome new features in CS6—the ability to apply styles to an entire layer group. Because it is the sixth Adobe Creative Suite, I decided to make six hexagonal shapes to serve as bolts in my composition. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted them to go, so I left them each on separate layers and grouped the layers together. When it came time to apply the brushed metal effect, without thinking I just Option-dragged the layer effects onto the entire group, expecting it to apply to each layer. As you can see here in this view of the Layers panel, it was a success!

Applying styles to an entire layer group in the Photoshop CS6 Layers panel.

As I was doing this, it suddenly dawned on me that this kind of process used to be way more tedious. Adobe refers to updates like this improvement as Just Do Its, or, JDIs—I refer to them as ‘so convenient it always should have worked this way’ updates.

Meanwhile, if a brushed stainless steel effect isn’t to your taste, Deke also has an exclusive movie for members of lynda.com that discusses how to add a a brushed copper effect to your objects or shapes.

See you back next week with another free technique!

Interested in more? • The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery• Photoshop for Designers: Layer EffectsPhotoshop CS6 Beta Preview

By Colleen Wheeler | Monday, April 23, 2012

This week’s Featured Five (plus one): New features in Adobe’s Creative Suite 6

In honor of yesterday’s announcement of Adobe’s Creative Suite 6, and the six newly released CS6 New Features courses on lynda.com, I thought this week’s Featured Five collection should expand to showcase six free movies from the lynda.com library. All of our new CS6 New Features courses (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks, plus Premiere Pro and After Effects CS6 which were released on April 12, 2012) are designed to help you discover the latest software updates, and how the new features may fit well with your workflow needs. With the introduction of the new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription model, which allows you to pay a flat fee to access all of the Suite applications, finding out what’s new across the Suite may now be more important than ever as you’ll be faced with new decisions during the upgrading process. To give you an idea of what our CS6 New Features courses have to offer, here are six free-to-everyone movies that discuss some of the interesting new abilities of the CS6 flagship applications. After you’ve checked out the featured six, make sure to let us know in the comments section which CS6 features have you the most intrigued.

1. Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New Features You may have explored the Photoshop version of CS6 already, given that a public beta has been available for a few weeks. In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New Features, Chris Orwig reviews the key features that are going to make a difference specifically for photographers. Some of the new features in Photoshop are pretty significant (not to mention extremely cool), but the one that might actually affect the most Photoshop users is the revamped Crop tool. In this free movie Chris demonstrates how the new Crop tool works in a much less destructive way than Crop tools of the past:

2. Illustrator CS6 New Features Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, Illustrator is a fairly mature product in the software world. Despite it’s industry years, there is no lack of interesting upgrades to the vector graphic program this year. For one thing, you’ll notice that like Photoshop, Illustrator has gone to a dark interface, which gives it quite a modern look despite its advanced age. There are also a few cool new ways to tackle old tricks, including a vastly updated pattern creator. Here’s a free movie from Justin Seeley‘s Illustrator CS6 New Features course that shows how the new Pattern Options panel works:

3. InDesign CS6 New Features When I asked the author of this course, Anne-Marie Concepcion, what her favorite feature from InDesign CS6 was, she said, “I think my favorite feature would be the Auto-Size text frames option. It’s not exciting like the neat-o Liquid Layout, but Auto-Size is something I can use right now and something I will be using every day.” It’s always those features that you use every day and can’t remember living without that make a software upgrade significant, even if they’re not the sexiest new technology options. In this video from the InDesign CS6 New Features course, Anne-Marie talks about the new Auto-Size text frames option and why it makes her life easier:

4. Dreamweaver CS6 New Features Dreamweaver CS6 has a bunch of new features, including interface, optimization, and FTP support enhancements, but it’s the CSS capabilities that have author James Williamson intrigued. By employing the CSS Transitions feature housed in a convenient new Dreamweaver panel, you can easily add and manage your transitions. You don’t need to take my word for it, though, you can hear the enthusiasm for Dreamweaver CS6′s support of CSS transitions in James’ voice in this free movie from the Dreamweaver CS6 New Features course:

5. Fireworks CS6 New Features Fireworks is the Creative Suite app that helps you produce optimized web graphics for any device. In this excerpt from Fireworks CS6 New Features, Ray Villalobos shows off his favorite new Fireworks feature, which is support for creating and exporting CSS Sprites. In the video, Ray demonstrates how you can now use Fireworks to simultaneously help with graphics and the hover state of graphics:

6. Flash Professional CS6 New Features The CS6 version of Flash Professional has new support for 3D, and a new framework for exporting HTML. In this free movie from Flash CS6 New Features, Anastasia McCune focuses on the new Captive AIR runtime option for creating Android, OSX, or Windows apps. You can now decide if you want your Flash apps to run with Captive AIR embedded or if you want to require that users download the AIR runtime. In this video, Anastasia considers why you might want to choose one option or the other:

If you’d like to see more free CS6 tutorials, we’ll have a lot more coming to lynda.com in the next few weeks. While you’re checking out the new CS6 Suite, also keep in mind that 10 percent of all lynda.com content is free to try. Just click on any of the blue links on any course table of contents page in our library to watch unlocked videos.

Free Movies

I’ll be back next week with five more free selections—but in the meantime, I’ll be checking out what CS6 has to offer. Which CS6 features do you have your eye on?

Suggested courses to watch next:Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New FeaturesIllustrator CS6 New FeaturesInDesign CS6 New FeaturesDreamweaver CS6 New FeaturesFireworks CS6 New FeaturesFlash CS6 New Features

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Deke’s Techniques: Creating a smoke text effect

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques, you’ll see how to create text out of thin air—well—smokey thin air. Using a photograph of smoke and some editable text, Deke shows you how to make wispy, ethereal letters using a standard text layer and Smart Objects.

You’ll start by putting your white, soon-to-be smokey, text in front of a plain black background layer, and merging these two layers to make a Smart Object. Next, you’ll work on distorting the text with a smart version of the Wave filter and managing the Randomize setting (which means clicking it until you get something you like) to make your smoke seem properly transient.

Then it’s a matter of adding appropriate Motion Blur, applying the best blend mode (in this case Color Dodge), and finishing up with some more Gaussian blur. Because Color Dodge is one of those blend modes that responds to Fill Opacity better than standard layer opacity, you’ll also reduce the Fill Opacity. The result is this completely editable, ethereal effect:

Photoshop smoke text effect

If this effect seems familiar, it’s because you’ve probably seen it in action in the thumbnail graphic and introductory movie from Deke’s free Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course (a living example of Deke using his effects in his own projects).

See you back next week with another free technique!

Interested in more? • The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery• Photoshop Blend Mode Magic• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending

By Colleen Wheeler | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photoshop CS6: Free beta. Free training. Free insights from our resident experts

Today, Adobe made a beta version of Photoshop CS6 available to everyone, providing an opportunity for you to download and check out the new version of the application for free. The CS6 version of Photoshop includes mammoth updates to the program, and to make sure you get the most from your free test-drive, lynda.com has made our new Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course, authored by Deke McClelland,  completely free to everyone today as well.

Photoshop is used for a myriad of creative endeavors, whether it be editing, manipulating, enhancing, or even creating images from scratch. This Photoshop update has something for everyone from photographers, to print, web, and interaction designers, to video and 3D artists. The list of new features is impressive, bordering on overwhelming. Which new feature will be the most significant for you? Depends on your point of view. To help you decide where to look first during this free trial period, I quizzed some of the lynda.com resident Photoshop experts for their initial reactions:

Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author: “My favorite new feature is the auto-saving. Photoshop CS6 automatically saves a temporary file as you work, so that if the program crashes, you can recover easily. This will be killer for new and old users alike. I’m always flooded with emails from people asking if I know any magic trick to recover unsaved work they’ve lost in a power outage or software crash. Now they don’t have to endure that!”

Michael Ninness, lynda.com VP of Product and Content, and veteran lynda.com author: “I’d say I am most interested in all the changes they’ve made to the Shape tools attempting to provide a real object-based design metaphor.”

If you’d like to see what Michael is talking about in action, check out this video:

Nigel French, author of the lynda.com Photoshop for Designers series: “Loving the new Camera RAW process. The new sliders make more sense and the results are discernibly better than previous versions. The improvements to the Graduated Filter are especially welcomed.”

James Fritz, content manager for the Design segment at lynda.com:  “As a designer, I am happy to see that with the release of Photoshop CS6 graphic designers are finally getting some love. With the addition of new vector layers and layer filtering, comping up web sites, posters, and other complicated designs is easier than ever. As usually is the case, the little ‘just do it’ updates have my favorite new feature—the ability to insert Lorum Ipsum text.”

Deke McClelland, lynda.com author of the free Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course and Photoshop One-on-One series: “Content-Aware Move, which allows you to select an object in your image and move it somewhere else while filling in the old background works extremely well. You’ll still need to have the refinement features at the ready, but Content-Aware Move gets you most of the way there.”

Chris Orwig, lynda.com author of the Photoshop for Photographers series: “I’m concentrating on the features that are particularly useful for photographers, namely the Lighting Effects Gallery, the redefined Crop tool, the Blur gallery, the redesigned Print dialog box, and the improvements to Adobe Camera Raw.”

Ben Long, author of the lynda.com Foundations of Photography series: “The Blur Gallery is cool. In general, if I want shallow depth of field (one of the things the Blur Gallery lets you simulate) I prefer to get it by using a fast lens and a wide aperture. But if I don’t have a fast lens with me—or if decide that I’d like a shot to have shallower depth of field than what I originally captured—it’s nice to have the option. I’ve also found that the Blur Gallery delivers better results than third-party plug-ins that provide similar features.”

Jim Heid, content manager for the lynda.com Photography segment: “It isn’t as glitzy as the Blur Gallery, but Photoshop CS6′s revamped Crop tool is one of those improvements that will make my photographic life better. One Crop tool enhancement in particular stands out: the tool is non-destructive. If you change your mind about a crop after you’ve been working on an image, just activate the Crop tool again and recrop. Unlike previous Photoshop versions, CS6 doesn’t discard pixels that you cropped out. It’s a bit more analogous to how cropping works in Lightroom, and it gives you more freedom to experiment.”

Here’s a video look at the new improved Crop tool from the Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course:

Not surprisingly the new dark interface that you saw in the first video is the most obvious change and the one mentioned most often by our esteemed panel. By default Photoshop CS6 will use a dark gray interface, providing a vastly different look from previous versions. You can of course change back to a more familiar lighter interface by resetting the preferences, as Nigel did: “The first thing I did when I got the beta was make the interface look like what I was used to. But upon reflection, and with some time to get acclimatized, I like the new, lean, mean dark interface.” Deke, who has been using the light interface for over 20 years notes, “Surprisingly, I’m finding the dark interface my preference. It’s much less distracting, and lets me focus on just the image at hand.”

If your interest in the new Photoshop is piqued, you can download the beta for free from Adobe and pair it up with our free Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course. For further exploration, in the coming months, lynda.com will also be creating new courses that provide in-depth, specific information on Photoshop CS6, from a variety of perspectives.

Let us know in the comment section here what you think of the new Photoshop CS6 beta, and what Photoshop CS6 features you are most interested in learning about in greater depth.

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