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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1

Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing asortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this first part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite, (Sams, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn how to use masks, layers, filters, feathers, and more.

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By: Sams Publishing
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November 23, 2004
  1. · Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1
  2. · Opening, Creating, and Importing Files
  3. · Creating a New File
  4. · Importing Images
  5. · Working with Selections
  6. · Lasso Tools
  7. · Selecting a Range of Colors
  8. · Modifying Selections
  9. · Channels
  10. · Creating a Clipping Path
  11. · Layer Opacity and Blend Modes
  12. · Working with Masks
  13. · Painting and Drawing
  14. · The Brush and Pencil Tools
  15. · Photoshop and the Web

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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Creating a Clipping Path
(Page 10 of 15 )

A clipping path is basically a mask for an exported EPS image (although the newer TIFF format supports clipping paths as well). You can save a path with an image that will define how the image appears in a page layout application, such as InDesign or QuarkXPress (see Figure 5.44).

Figure 5.44 An image as it appears placed in InDesign, with (left) and without (right) a Photoshop clipping path applied.

Back in Chapter 3, "The Game Plan: Developing a Workflow,"we discussed how InDesign can understand Photoshop's native transparency, so clipping paths aren't really necessary in a full Adobe workflow. Regardless, it's important to know about clipping paths in case you need to work with QuarkXPress or send files to other people.

Begin by creating a path. If you're uncomfortable using the Pen tool, use the reverse method we mentioned earlier, in which you start with a selection and then convert it to a path. After the path is created, save it. Then choose Clipping Path from the Paths palette flyout menu and choose the path you saved. I normally use2for my flatness setting (see Figure 5.45).

Finally, for the path to be recognized in a page layout application, choose to save your file in either Photoshop EPS or TIFF format. See the discussion later in this chapter for information on how to save files.

Figure 5.45 Specifying clipping path settings.

Layers and Effects

Trying to imagine what Photoshop would be like without layers is like to trying to imagine what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is like without the bread (everything is just one gooey, sticky mess).

Imagine painting in the traditional method. As you use the brush on the canvas, you're adding paint. If you decide to paint a white cloud over a blue sky, the white paint covers the blue paint under it (some paint might show through, and we'll get to the subject of opacity soon). Theoretically, if you wanted to move that cloud to a different part of the sky, you'd have to cut it out and then glue it elsewhere, leaving a gaping hole in your canvas. It's no different in Photoshop. Let's say I create a blue sky, and then draw a white cloud over a part of it. If I try to select and move that cloud elsewhere, I'll have a hole cut out of the sky where the cloud was originally (see Figure 5.46).

Figure 5.46 Moving pixels leaves a gaping hole behind.

Now let's talk about layers. Going back to the canvas, imagine that you first painted the sky, and then covered your painting with a clear sheet of acetate (plastic). You then painted the white cloud on the acetate. Think about it: You'd see the same composite result, but if you moved the acetate around, you'd be able to position the cloud independently of the sky under it (see Figure 5.47). In Photoshop, think of a layer as a sheet of acetate-only better. Layers can have opacity values, blend modes, and even special effects such as drop shadows and bevels. As you'll see, Photoshop uses layers extensively to make files more editable and easier to work with.

Figure 5.47 Using layers, you can reposition pixels easily.

Layers 101

Let's start with the basics. Layers are controlled via the Layers palette. Every Photoshop file starts with one layer, called a Background layer, which can only be the bottom-most layer in the document (see Figure 5.48). This layer does not support any kind of transparency.

To convert the Background layer so that it acts like any other layer, double-click on it to rename it Layer 0and click OK.

Figure 5.48 The Background layer of a file.

To add a layer to a file, click on the Create New Layer button in the Layers palette. Alternatively, you can drag an existing layer on top of the Create New Layer icon to create a duplicate layer. You can drag layers up and down to shuffle them within the hierarchy of the Layers palette. Layers at the bottom of the palette are stacked behind those that appear at the top of the palette (see Figure 5.49).

Figure 5.49 The same image with different layer hierarchies, demonstrating how layer order affects the stacking order of objects in the document.

Viewing and Locking Layers

Besides being able to shuffle the stacking order of objects by moving layers up and down in the Layers palette, you can also choose to show or hide any layer at any time. The little eye icon to the far left of each layer indicates whether a layer is visible (see Figure 5.50). Click once on the eye to hide the layer; click again to show the layer. If you (Option-click) [Alt-click] an eye, Photoshop will automatically hide all the other layers in your document, allowing you to see just the layer you're working on.

Figure 5.50 The visibility icon indicates whether a layer is shown or hidden.

Using the Move tool, you can move the items around on a layer, but sometimes you'll want to move several items together at once-and those items may be on different layers. Because you can select and work with only one layer at a time, one would think that each layer would have to be moved independently. But you, the smart one who is reading this book, know differently. Just to the right of the eye icon is a link box. An icon of a paintbrush indicates that the layer is selected and that any edits to the document will occur on that layer. But when you have a layer selected, you can click on the link boxes of other layers. When you do so, a link icon appears on those layers, indicating that the transform edits you make will occur to those layers as well (see Figure 5.51). Transform edits consist of moving, scaling, and rotating, as well as using the Free Transform tool.

Figure 5.51 Several layers linked, indicating that they can be transformed together, all at once.

This chapter is from Adobe Creative Suite, by Mordy Golding (Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.

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