Hello Scarletbits readers,
Photoshop CS4 Tools
The Selection tools select pixels, the Brush tools paint on pixels with the foreground color, the Type tool typesets text, and so on. As you might know most tools have hidden tools behind them, indicated by a small black triangle just below and to the right of the tool. Access hidden tools by clicking the mouse button on a tool and selecting it. Tool keyboard shortcuts are shown to the right of the tool name.
Lets start with Move Tool (V)
Any time you want to move image pixels (not selection borders alone), you need the Move tool, unless you want to nudge pixels a little at a time with the arrow keys. With the Move tool active, click the mouse button and drag the pixels to move them. If a selection is active, the Move tool moves only the selected pixels on the active layer. If there is no selection active, the Move tool moves all the pixels on the active layer when you drag in the image window.
Tip: If the layer is linked to other layers, the linked layers content also moves.
Marquee Selection Tools (M)
Use the Marquee selection tools to select rectangular or oval shapes, or single rows of pixels. Press Shift while you drag with the Rectangular Marquee tool to drag a square, or press Shift while you drag with the Elliptical Marquee tool to drag a circle (release the mouse button first, then release Shift). You can re-size these selection borders (not the image pixels) by choosing Select ➪ Transform Selection or by choosing Select ➪ Refine Edge.
Lasso Selection Tools (L)
Use these tools to select pixels by dragging or clicking around objects. Use the Lasso tool to select rounded or irregular shapes that don’t have to be precise (drag around the shape until you get back to the starting point to close the shape). For precise selections, you can make a Pen tool path and load it as a selection or manipulate duplicates of channels to help you make a selection.
The Polygonal Lasso tool is good for selecting objects with straight edges (click on each corner until you click on the first corner again to close the selection). If the edges are really straight, you can be pretty precise with this tool.
The Magnetic Lasso tool finds the edge of an object as you drag near the edge and the selection snaps to the edge as you drag (drag to the starting point to close the shape). The Magnetic Lasso tool works best on objects whose edges have a lot of contrast with the background. If you don’t want to complete the Magnetic Lasso selection, press ESC.
Quick Selection and the Magic Wand Tools (W)
The Quick Selection and Magic Wand tools select pixels by examining their colors. Use the Quick Selection tool to select multiple different colors that are adjacent to each other but enclosed in a surrounding color that contrasts with all the colors you want to select.
Drag across the colors you want to select. The Magic Wand tool selects colors that are similar to the color you click on with the Magic Wand. The number of colors it selects depends on the Tolerance setting you enter in its Options Bar.
Tip: Add to selections by pressing Shift while you make an additional selection with the same or a different selection tool. Subtract from selections by pressing Alt while
making an additional selection. Or choose Select ➪ Save Selection or Select ➪ Load Selection) to add to or subtract from selections. Load Selection gives you the option of adding or subtracting the loaded selection from an active selection.
Crop Tool (C)
Use the Crop tool to crop an image to its intended size. Drag with the Crop tool, and then move any of its handles to adjust the crop. Press Enter when you’re finished. If you don’t want to complete the crop, press ESC. You can use the Crop tool’s Options Bar to enter the exact dimensions and resolution of your selection, but this can cause undesirable re-sampling if you are enlarging and don’t have enough resolution. If the dimensions and resolution boxes are blank, you don’t have to worry about resolution resizing problems.
Slice and Slice Select Tools
These tools are used to create and select parts of images that have been sliced up in different sections for better display on the Web. The Slice tool is used to drag through an image to create slices; in other words, to cut the image into grid sections that can be saved with different settings. This way, you may be able to make each section a smaller file. If a large image is left whole and saved for the Web, it might be so large that viewers have to wait for it to load. The Slice Select tool can
be used to select slices.
Eyedropper Tool (I)
Use this tool to find out a colors numbers; to do so, hover the Eyedropper tool over a color in the image while you look in the Info panel. This is helpful when color correcting or if you need to share color number information with someone. You can also use the Eyedropper tool to click on a color in the image to make it the foreground color. Drop the foreground color into the Swatches panel by clicking in the gray area inside the Swatches panel.
Color Sampler Tool
Click with this tool in your image to set permanent color samplers in your image. The sampler and its color numbers appear in the Info panel until you delete the sampler. To delete a color sampler, Alt-click or right-click on the color sampler with the Color Sampler tool and press Delete.
Use the Ruler tool to measure distances from one object to another or to straighten an image. To measure, drag the Ruler tool across what you want to measure, and check the Info panel for the measurement information. Click the Record Measurements button in the Measurement Log panel to record the data, which you can then Export with the Measurement Log panel menu. You can also set the Measurement Scale in the Measurement Log panel menu. To straighten an image with
the Ruler tool, drag with the Ruler tool along the edge of something you want to straighten, then choose Image ➪ Transform Canvas ➪ Arbitrary. Photoshop automatically calculates the angle of rotation and straightens the image.
Use the Count tool when you need to count objects in an image. Click once on each object, and a serial number, starting with 1, is placed on each object. Click the Record Measurements button in the Measurement Log panel to record the data, which you can then export with the Measurement Log panel menu. Click the Clear button in the Options Bar to start over with a new count or click the Count Group Color button to change the color of the numbers.
Healing Tools (J)
Use the Healing tools and Patch tool to fill in bad spots, flaws, cracks, or damage with a good nearby texture or a texture in another part of the image, while matching the color that surrounds the flaw. These tools are often good at maintaining texture, but since they pull in some of the surrounding color, it’s usually best not to use the Healing tools or Patch tool when there is an undesirable color nearby.
To repair a flaw with the Spot Healing Brush, make this tool at least a little bit bigger than the flaw and either click on the flaw or drag across it. The flaw should magically disappear. The Healing Brush tool works similar to the Clone Stamp tool, discussed below, in that you Alt + click with the Healing Brush to sample a good place in the image that you want to copy from, then release the mouse button, move the cursor to the flawed area in the image, and start painting over the flaw. The Healing Brush paints from the good area to cover the flawed area. It’s a good idea to make the Healing Brush at least a little bit bigger than the width of the flaw. You may need to re-sample from different spots often if the good spots are small or if you find you are starting to see repeating patterns in the flaw repair area.
Use the Patch tool to drag a complete shape around a flawed area, then put the cursor inside the selected area and hold down the mouse button while dragging the selected flawed area on top of a good area (even if the color doesn’t match). The flawed area should seem to be magically repaired, with color that matches its surrounding area.
Red Eye Tool
If a person in a photo has red-eye, simply click with the Red Eye tool on the red part of the eye, and it should fill the red part in with black. If it doesn’t work quite right the first time, undo and try it again with a different Pupil Size and/or Darken Amount (in the Options Bar). But my favorite thing to do if it makes too large an area of black is to paint out the part of the black you don’t want from a previous state of the image with the History Brush.
Brush Tool (B)
The Brush tool can be used to paint on an image. It uses the foreground color as the paint color. There are many options you can apply to brushes in the Brushes panel.
The Brush tool has to be selected for the options to be available. When you change the options, you can see what a brush stroke looks like with those options in the bottom of the Brushes panel. One exception to the brush using the foreground color exclusively is that if, in the Brushes panel, you choose Color Dynamics and use foreground/background color Jitter, the brush alternately paints with the foreground and background colors when you drag it. To make a new brush preset, you can choose an existing preset in the Brushes panel, change some options in the Brushes panel, click the New button at the bottom of the panel, and give the new brush a name. You can also drag a rectangular selection around pixels in an image that you want to use for a brush shape, then choose Edit ➪ Define Brush Preset.
Use the following tips for tools that use brushes (such as Brush tool, Clone Stamp tool, and Eraser):
- Use bracket keys to re-size a brush.
- Press Shift+Bracket Keys to change the hardness or softness of a brush’s edges.
- When a brush is active, press the number keys to change the brush’s opacity (2 for 20 percent opacity, 3 for 30 percent opacity, and so on).
- Press the X key to switch foreground and background colors.
- To paint a straight line, click once in an image with a brush tool, release the mouse button, and move the mouse to a different part of the image, then Shift-click with the mouse.This should connect the two areas by painting a straight line.
Use the Pencil tool to paint hard-edged lines. You can’t make the Pencil tool have soft edges.
Color Replacement Tool
Use the Color Replacement tool to replace a color in an image with another color. Drag across a color to change it to the foreground color.
The Options Bar settings are critical for this tool:
- Mode: Color. Use this setting to change the color of the sampled area (but not the luminosity or lightness).
- Sampling: Continuous. This tool continually takes samples of the color to replace as you drag, so you can only let the cross-hairs of the brush go over colors you want to change.
- It’s usually best if you make a large brush in this case.
- Sampling: Once. This tool samples the color to change when you first click the mouse button and hold it down to drag across a color.
- Sampling: Background Swatch. This tool changes a color in an image if it is the same color as the background color.
The Clone Stamp and Pattern Stamp Tool (S)
The Clone Stamp tool can be used to fix areas in an image and copy one part of an image over another part. To sample a good part of an image, Alt-click (PC) or Option+click (Mac) with the Clone Stamp tool on a good place in the image that you want to copy from. Then release the mouse button, move the cursor to the flawed area in the image, and start painting over the flaw. It’s good to re-sample often to avoid repetitive patterns. Use a very soft or semi-soft edge on the brush so that there won’t be a hard edge between the cloned areas and original areas.
The Clone Stamp tool copies exactly from one area to another, but since you have to use a soft edge, some of the textural detail is lost. The Healing Brush tool maintains texture better, but mixes in colors that surround the flawed area, which may be undesirable. You may need to try both tools to see which one works best. The Clone Stamp tool can be set to blending modes other than Normal in the Options Bar for very useful retouching techniques.
Pattern Stamp Tool
You can paint patterns onto an image with the Pattern Stamp tool. Choose a pattern preset in the Options Bar. To make a new pattern preset, make a rectangular selection of image pixels you want to use as a pattern, and choose Edit ➪ Define Pattern.
The History Brush and Art History Brush Tools (Y)
The History Brush tool is one of my favorite methods for undoing things, especially just parts of things I don’t want. With the History Brush active, click in a box to the left of a previous History State in the History panel that you want to paint from and drag in the image to paint the previous state of the image.
I especially like to use this to paint out halos when I’ve over-sharpened a bit. That way, I can get a lot of extra sharpening in other areas that I might not have been able to if I had stopped before halos appeared. This is useful when sharpening for print, since images tend to soften up on press. You can use reduced opacities with the History Brush, just like other brushes.
The Art History Brush paints from a specified History State just like the History Brush, but it adds a painterly effect.
The Eraser, Background Eraser, and Magic Eraser Tools (E)
Eraser tool erases to transparency the pixels you drag over a regular layer. If you use it on a background layer, it paints with the background color instead of transparency. If you use it on a layer that has locked transparency (see the transparency lock button at the top of the Layers panel), it paints with the background color instead of transparency wherever you drag over pixels, but it leaves transparent pixels transparent (because they are locked).
Background Eraser Tool erases sampled colors of pixels on any kind of layer to transparency as you drag over them with the tool. Samples are taken by the cross-hairs in the center of the brush.
The Magic Eraser tool erases to transparency the sampled colors of pixels on a regular layer when you click on the pixels. If you use it on a background layer, it changes the sampled pixels to the background color instead of transparency. If you use it on a layer that has locked transparency (see the transparency lock button at the top of the Layers panel), it changes sampled pixels to the background color instead of transparency, but it leaves transparent pixels transparent (because they are locked).
Tip: To erase or select objects with intricate or wispy shapes, use the Extract command or another selection method.
The Gradient and Paint Bucket tools (G)
Use the Gradient tool to make gradients in a layer that contain gradual transitions from one color to another color or between many colors. You can choose different angles of a gradient, such as linear or radial, in the Options Bar. With the Gradient tool active, click the “Click to edit the gradient” button in the Options Bar to get the Gradient Editor.
Click a preset gradient or make a custom gradient by clicking just under the horizontal gradient bar to put a new color in the gradient or click just above the gradient bar to add a different opacity to part of the gradient. To make the custom gradient into a new gradient preset, enter a name in the Custom box and click the New button. Click OK to set your gradient and close the Gradient Editor. To apply the gradient to a layer, drag in the layer with the Gradient tool. You can drag different angles and distances to get different results.
Paint Bucket tool
When you click to sample a color with the Paint Bucket tool, it fills the sampled color with the foreground color.
The Blur, Sharpen, and Smudge Tools
You can paint with the Blur tool to blur portions of an image. The Sharpen tool allows you to sharpen portions of an image. You can drag the Smudge tool to smudge parts of an image, as if you were dabbling in finger paint
I prefer to use other methods that have more control over blurring and sharpening. Choose Filter ➪ Blur Filter for other blur options, and Filter ➪ Unsharp Mask or Filter ➪ Smart Sharpen) for other sharpening options. You can use masks or the History Brush to blur or sharpen only certain areas.
Part 2 Soon!
I will cover the rest of the tools in Part 2 of this Guide, keep tuned for more!