How to Adjust Saturation with the Sponge Tool in Photoshop [Solved]

How to Adjust Saturation with the Sponge Tool in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop LogoThere are several ways to adjust color and saturation in Photoshop. You can completely desaturate an entire image (i.e. take all the color out) by choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. This strips all of the color out of the image but gives you a fairly wishy-washy grey image. This is NOT a good method for converting a photograph to black and white.

You can also choose to work on very specific areas of the image by using the Sponge tool (O). With the Sponge tool you can desaturate or saturate specific areas of an image by choosing a brush tip and then painting onto the image. Here’s how to use the tool.

1. Open a colorful image.


When you change the saturation of a color, you adjust its strength or purity.

2. Select the Sponge tool (clip_image003), hidden under the Dodge tool (clip_image004).


3. On the tool options bar, do the following:

  • Select a medium, soft-edge brush, about 65 pixels, from the Brush pop-up palette.
  • Choose Mode > Desaturate.
  • For Flow (which sets the intensity of the saturation effect), enter 50% so that it’s not desaturated too quickly.


4. As I drag the sponge back and forth over the center of the flower to decrease the saturation. The more you drag over an area, the more desaturated the color becomes until it eventually turns gray.


5. As already mentioned, you can also saturate an image using the Sponge tool. This can work well if you want to brighten or make a specific part of a colored image look more vibrant.

Back on the tool options bar, do the following:

  • Again select a medium, feathered brush, about 65 pixels, from the Brush pop-up palette.
  • Choose Mode > Saturate.
  • For Flow (which sets the intensity of the saturation effect), enter 50% so that it’s not Saturated too quickly.


Drag the sponge back and forth over the area you want to add more color to. For the purposes of demonstration, I’m going to over-saturate some of the petals and the stem on the flower.

It’s very easy to oversaturate an image, so that’s why the tool options such as Flow are helpful for controlling how much of an effect there is.


How To Use The Liquify Tool In Photoshop [Solved]

How To Use The Liquify Tool In Photoshop

Advanced-PhotoshopSay you took pictures of someone who is not that happy with their weight and they ask if you can slim them up some in Photoshop, well the tool you would use is the Liquify tool. Make sure to NOT use it on a picture of someone without them asking as that could cause great offense.

The tutorial today is very basic and just how I have used the tool myself. If you Google “liquify tool Photoshop Elements” you will find many video tutorials, especially on You Tube so you can see how else to use this wonderfully handy tool. Just know that the majority of those videos are using Photoshop and not Photoshop Elements, and there are some options in the PS Liquify box that are not available in PSE.

Step 1: Open your image in the Full Edit Mode in Photoshop Elements and make a duplicate layer (control+j or command+j on a Mac). I am using a picture of yours truly. I am carrying some extra weight and am not opposed at all to being “Photoshopped” some to look a little lighter. :-)

Step 2: Go to the main menu bar and click on Filters, then Distort and Liquify.

Below is the Liquify image box that pops up.

Step 3: On the left side is the liquify options you can choose from. I like to use the Pucker tool (the box that is white in the image below).

Step 4: On the right side is the brush options. The bigger your brush, the more area of the image you are going to affect. The brush pressure is how strong the effect will be. I used 66, strong but not too strong.

Step 5: Click where you would like your slimming-down to start and slowing move downward. For some images/body parts, it may be best just to click and pull gently in each spot and not drag, just try both ways and see what works best for your image.

After working on both sides of the face, my earrings ended up a bit distorted. I managed to get one earring fixed but not the other. I quit messing with it and decided I could fix it another way.

Step 6: If you have some distortion like I did, add a mask and see if you can cover it up with the original image in that spot. If you have Photoshop Elements 8 or older, use a layer mask action. If you have PSE 9, just click on the mask icon in the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Step 7: Activate your brush tool (b on your keyboard) and make sure it is a black brush and that the mode is normal and opacity is at 100%

Step 8: Brush only over the earring. This will cover the distorted earring change and let us see the original below it.

Step 9: Right click on a layer in the Layers Palette and choose Flatten.

Here is a before/after of my liquify change:

I see two spots I would like to have fixed better, but I decided not to obsess over it. Too much else to do this time of year.


How to Use Photoshop Channels and Color [Solved]

How to Use Photoshop Channels and Color

photoshop-CS6-Icon_WebLet me explain to you how digital color works. As you know, monitor displays are made up of pixels which are little squares that emit light. Each pixel can emit red, green and blue light in various amounts. These amounts are measured from 0 for no light to 255 for maximum light.

So in order for the blue color to be displayed the pixel will emit 255 amount of blue light and so on for red and green. But what if we want some other color, like yellow? Well, like I told you before, RGB is an additive color model which means that color is created by combining different lights. So for yellow the pixels will emit 255 amount red light and 255 amount green light for a pure yellow color. For a magenta color then the pixels will emit 255 red light and 255 blue light. Of course it is not necessary to have exactly 255 of each light in order to create color.

We could have a reddish yellow by using 200 red and 100 green light. But what happens if we add some blue light to our yellow color recipe? Will the color became bluer? Not exactly, because we are dealing with light if we add a little blue then the color will became brighter. As you can see figuring out how color works from the numbers it is difficult so that’s why the HSB color model exists. Think of it as a chart, a reference which will help you understand digital color better.

Photoshop Channels and Color 1

You can see from the chart that hue is the actual color while saturation is the intensity of that color. Brightness is the lightness of that color. Let me explain to you how I see the chart. Think of color as recipes and lights as ingredients. Each recipe has to have at least 1 ingredient (1 light) in order to work except for black which is the absence of light. So in order to get yellow I will have to add to my recipe red and green and I will have a fully saturated yellow. If I add blue to the recipe then the color migrates towards the center of the color wheel making my yellow less saturated.

Let’s do an exercise. Let’s suppose that I have 50 red, 100 blue and 10 green. Can you guess which color will be displayed? It will be a bluish magenta, not fully saturated. That’s because its 2 main ingredients are red and blue which results in a magenta color while the third ingredient, in our case the green color determines the saturation. The less of the third ingredient the more saturated the color will be. The complete lack of the third ingredient will result in a fully saturated color.

Let’s take another example. Let’s say I have 150 green, 100 red and 80 blue. What color it will be? The 2 main ingredients (or the first 2 largest numbers) are 150 green and 100 red. The secondary ingredient is blue (the smallest number of the three). So we will have a greenish yellow very desaturated because the blue is pulling the saturation towards the center of the wheel. You get it? To resume let’s say that the main ingredients determine the hue (red + green = yellow, red + blue = magenta, blue + green = cyan), the secondary ingredient determines the saturation (more of the secondary ingredient means less saturated colors) and the sum of all numbers is the brightness.

This discussion brings us to channels. Think of channels as black and white representations of an image. For example the red channel of a picture is the black and white version of an image. If this black and white image is bright then we have a lot of red light in our image and if it is dark then we have a little red light. If there is 255 red light then we will have a white image and if there is 0 red light then we will have a black image. Think of channels as visual representations for each main color (red, green, blue). If the green channel is light then we know that we have a lot of greens. If the green channel is dark then we know that we have little green light in our image.

Photoshop Channels and Color 2

Observe the reddish image above. Can you guess which color channel will be predominant? If not, look at the channels of this image below:

Photoshop Channels and Color 3

As you can see the Green and Blue channels are fairly dark but the Red channel is so white it is almost translucent. This means that we have a lot of red color in our image. You may wonder how this will help you with your own images. Well, I do a lot of photo retouching and when I first open an image, before doing any adjustments whatsoever I do the “Channel Walk”. No, it’s not the “Moon Walk”, it’s the “Channel Walk”. If you are imagining some kind of strange dance movement you’re wrong! The “Channel Walk” is the process of quickly viewing each Channel in part and analyzing the information I get from there. You may think that there’s not so much information in a black and white version of the image but you’re wrong.

Let me give you a practical example. Take a look at the image below. Can you tell what adjustments need to be made? If you are thinking that this image is noisy and needs color correction then you are right. But how should I color correct it? One could simply add a Curves Adjustment Layer and play with the curves until some (apparently) good looking results start emerging. Then a Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise would be the next logical step. But this is not the approach a Photoshop professional like yourself should take. Let me show the professional, right way to use your newly acquired knowledge about channels to tackle this problem.

Photoshop Channels and Color 4

Open photo. First, do the “Channel Walk”. This means to press Ctrl + 3 (Red Channel), Ctrl + 4 (Green Channel), Ctrl + 5 (Blue Channel) and use the information for further adjustments.

The Red Channel seems ok, except for the little black patches. Those little patches of dark are nothing else but noise. Hmm, I think to myself, I have a little noise in the red channel. Let’s move on.

Photoshop Channels and Color 5

The Green channel looks alright, and is less noisy than the Red Channel. Let’s move on.

Photoshop Channels and Color 6

Oh my. What an ugly thing to see. The Blue Channel is noisy as hell (this is common in digital imagery, the Blue Channel is usually the noisiest channel of all) and has some big, and I mean big areas of total darkness. This is not ok. How can I interpret this information? Because I (we) know that the darker the channel the less specific light it will produce, this means that where the image is dark in the blue channel there will be no blue color whatsoever. This means that in those areas the Red and Green channels will be the main suppliers of the color information. We know that Green and Red colors are the recipe for fully saturated Yellow so the conclusion we draw is that we have a yellow color cast.

If you don’t get this the first time know you’re not alone. Channels and colors are a hard nut to crack at first, but once you experiment on you own a little bit this will be a walk in the park.

Let me quickly recap. The red channel is a bit noisy but ok. The green channel is less noisy, that’s good. The blue channel is very noisy and it has big black areas. Lack of color from the Blue channel means that that the color will be formed from the Green and Red channels and because Red + Green = Yellow we conclude that we have a yellow color cast.

Photoshop Channels and Color 7

In order to color correct this image we add a Curves Adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) and slightly drag both the Red and Green curves downwards to lower the amount of light these channels contribute to the overall image.

Photoshop Channels and Color 8

So this is the image before adjustments. Now you can see that it has a pronounced yellow color cast.

Photoshop Channels and Color 9

And this is the image after the adjustment. The difference is subtle but noticeable.

Photoshop Channels and Color 10

In the next steps we could maybe use the Reduce Noise filter on the blue channel alone or we could make a new layer from all visible layers (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E) and then apply Reduce Noise filter to this layer alone and change the blend mode to Color so only the Color noise would be affected. However, noise reducing is a different topic so I won’t be covering it here (I am a fan of Lab color mode and this allows for some amazing manipulations of color and noise removal without affecting the luminance integrity of the image. But I digress.)


How to Enhance and Retouch Image using Photoshop [Solved]

How to Enhance and Retouch Image using Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop LogoSometimes we have a precious moment in our lives captured in the wrong way. This is where Photoshop is used to fix this problem — to enhance and retouch our precious, yet less-than-perfect image to become precious perfect ones.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 1

In this tutorial, I will share some of my favourite enhancing and retouching techniques. You may know some of my techniques, and others, you may not. So, let’s get started.

Step 1

Open the Cosplay Girl image. Special thanks to Priestess Shizuka for her permission to use this image. You can find the image here. Crop it (Ctrl + C) to get rid of those black edges at the top and bottom.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 1

Step 2

Notice that the image isn’t smooth enough, especially the hair, so I want to make it smoother by increasing the amount of the pixels. Choose Image > Image size, or hit Alt + Ctrl + I on the keyboard. In the resolution column, change the value to 200 pixels/inch or more. And then click OK.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 2

Step 3

Now I want to level it, to make this image better. As you can see when we open the histogram (Window > Histogram), the histogram tells us that this image suffered an ‘unbalance’ tonal range. The gap at the light area (right side) means the highlight areas are not as bright as they could be. Thats why the image looks rather dull.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 3

It will be good if we can trace the brightest, darkest and midtone pixels of this image to apply proper level adjustment on it. This is so Photoshop can convert the brightest pixels in this image to become pure bright (pure white), darkest pixels to be pure dark, and the midtones as well, for ideal tonal distribution.

To do that, duplicate the background layer by hitting Ctrl + J. Create a new layer under it by hitting Ctrl + Shift + N, and then, fill it with white color (Ctrl + Backspace).

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 3

Step 4

Target layer 1, and double click it to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. On the Blending Options window, drag the white triangle to the left, until it almost meets the black triangle on the left post. The remaining spot is the darkest pixel in this image.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 4

Step 5

Take the Color Sampler tool, change the Sample Size to 3 by 3 Average, then point it to one of those remaining spots in this image. We’ve got sample 1 here — the darkest pixels.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 5

Step 6

Repeat step 4, but this time in the Layer Style window, do the opposite by dragging the black triangle to the right.

Again with the Color Sampler tool, point it to the one of those remaining spots. We’ve got sample 2: the lightest pixels.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 6

Step 7

This time we want to trace the midtones. Repeat step 4, and in the Layer Style window drag the black and white triangles to the center, around 127.5 (= 255/2). However, when we drag it close to 127.5, the spot sample becomes too narrow, with a focus on the girl only, not the background, thus we should drag the black triangle to 121, and the white triangle to 134 (6.5 units either way of 127.5).

That will be the ‘equal’ value for both of them. Then, with the Sampler Color tool, take a sample from one of those remaining spots. Here we’ve got Sample 3: the midtones.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 7

Step 8

Now target Layer 1, double click it to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and then reset those triangles to the original post. Now, with the Sampler tool still active, you should indications as shown below:

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 8

You can use actual pixel mode when tracing those spots, to get more accurate results, but in this case, I think what we did before is enough.

Step 9

Now, create a Levels Adjustments layer above layer 1. On the Levels Adjustments window, use the eyedropper to set the black point. Click on the eyedropper, at black, then on Sample 1 that we made previously.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 9

Step 10

For the midtones, click the eyedropper for gray point, point and click it to Sample 3. And last, click the eyedropper for white point, then point and click Sample 2.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 10

Now, what we’ve got here is an image with an ‘ideal’ tonal and color range. We’ve got pure black, pure white and the tonal spans mathematically ideal. With a quick visual check, you can see that the image is indeed getting better. That’s the best I can achieve for this image so far.

Step 11

Now let’s add some details and emphasize some parts of the image. Of course, Photoshop can’t create any details, but it can reveal or enhance it. First, hit Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to merge the layers without flattening all layers beneath it. Target this new layer, then go to Image > Calculations. This will bring us to the Calculations dialog box.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 11

Step 12

After taking a closer look at each channel, you will see that the green channel contains the most details, so we’re going to use that channel as a ‘patch’. We’re going to multiply it to get a more significant result. In the Calculations dialog box, set the value as shown below.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 12

Step 13

The result will be located at the bottom of the Channels palette, name it ‘Alpha 1′. Click it, select all (Ctrl + A), copy (Ctrl + C), and then go back to the Layers Palette and paste it (Ctrl + V) on top of all the layers. Then set the Blending Mode to Soft light. Name it ‘Basic’.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 13

Step 14

The dark details distribute nicely, but there seems to be too much light. Let’s decrease it a little. Double click the Basic Layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, then while holding the Alt key, move the white triangle to the left; it will separate the triangles to give us a smooth transition.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 14

Step 15

On step 13, we may have lost some details on her clothes; so let’s fix that. To do that, add a layer mask for this Layer (Basic Layer), and brush that area with the soft black brush, to get back some detail from the underlying layer. I use a Soft Round Brush with size 50 px, Hardness 0%, and Opacity 20%. Make sure you target the Layer Mask Thumbnail on the Layers Pallete before brushing.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 15

Step 16

Now let’s smooth out the skin especially the right shoulder. To do that, hit Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E again and apply the median filter. Choose Filter > Noise > Median. Set the radius to 10 pixels. Again, apply a layer mask to this layer, Hide All by holding the Alt key when you click the Add Layer Mask button. Use a white smooth brush to cover the rough areas, but leave the hair and edges. Name this layer ‘Smooth Skin’.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 16

Step 17

Now let’s sharpen the image. Like before, hit Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E, and name it ‘Sharpen’. Copy this new layer by hitting Ctrl + J. Hide the copy by clicking the eye icon on the Layers Palette. And then target the original Sharpen layer, go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Set the radius to 2 pixels, and change the Blending Mode to Vivid Light.

We can see now, how the details become more vivid in this image. However, the hair has also ‘sharpened’ and looks rough, which is not wanted, so, let’s add a layer mask again, reveal only some parts: eyes, nose, lips and clothes using a smooth soft brush.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 17

Step 18

Now target the Sharpen Copy layer that we’ve made before. Make it visible. Name it ‘Smooth Hair’, because this time I want to smooth out the hair using this layer. Go to Filter > Stylize > Diffuse. Select Anisotropic, and then click OK. Add a Layer Mask, and hide all areas except the hair. Zoom in to see the result.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 18

Step 19

Finally, create the Hue/Saturation adjustments layer on top. Set the Saturation value to 20 to give this image more color. You can compare this final result with the original image, by simply holding the Alt key, and clicking on the eye icon of the original layer image.

Final result

And walla, here’s our final image! You can download the PSD here.

Enhance & Retouch an Image - Step 19


How to Make a Clipping Mask with Text using Photoshop [Solved]

How to Make a Clipping Mask with Text using Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop LogoThis article was written in 2009 and remains one of our most popular posts. If you’re keen to learn more about Photoshop, you may find this recent article on getting started with Photoshop of great interest.

A clipping mask is created in Photoshop when you use the content of one layer to mask the layers above it. You are basically clipping around the artwork to fit to the shape of the object on the layer. In this tutorial, we’re going to use some text as a clipping mask and the image from another layer will appear through those letters. This is a popular effect both on the web and in graphic design.

1. In Photoshop, open up an image that you want to use. I’m using a snowy scene. (Note the screengrabs here are from Photoshop CS2, but you can do this with versions of Photoshop 7 (possibly before) onwards.)

2. Select the Horizontal Type Tool and choose the font properties you want on the tool options bar. Below you can see the options I chose.

Font Family – pussycat, Size 250 (you will need to type this into the Size field and press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac)), Text aligned Centre and Anti-aliasing set to Strong.

3. Click on the document window and type the word Snowfall.


Use the Move Tool, to centre the word in the middle of the image.

4. Click on the background layer in the Layers Palette to select it and then click on the Create A New Layer button.


A new empty layer will appear in the Layers Palette.

5. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill the new layer with white.


You now need to rearrange the stacking order of the layers to create your clipping mask. At the moment the background layer is locked.

6. Double-click anywhere on the background layer to open up the New Layer dialog box. Rename the layer as Trees and click OK.


7. Click on the Trees layer in the Layers Palette and drag it to the top of the layers so that Trees are hiding the words Snowfall.


8. Click on the Layers Palette menu (the little triangle in the upper right corner) and choose Create Clipping Mask.


The clipping mask, kicks into action and you will see the letters forming the word Snowfall are filled with the image of the snowy trees.

The nice thing here is that you can move your text around and the image coming through varies.

Adding A Drop Shadow

To complete the image we will add a drop shadow to the text. It adds a little extra impact!

1. Select the Snowfall type layer to make it active, and then click the Add a Layer Style button (clip_image018) at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Drop Shadow from the pop-up menu.


2. In the Layer Style dialog box, change the Opacity to 100%, the angle to 180 and the distance, spread and size to 3.



And that’s it. You can do this with any shape on a layer. It doesn’t have to be text. Hope you find it useful.


How to Use Filters in Photoshop CS6

How to Use Filters in Photoshop CS6

Photoshop LogoIf you apply filters to a Smart Object, you can easily change the settings—and will feel more free to experiment. If you come up with a filter formula that you like, record your steps in an action. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Filters tend to make an image more abstract, reducing recognizable elements to line work, or to fewer or flatter areas of color. Start with an image that has a strong composition. Look for shapes that contrast in scale and have interesting contours, which will carry more weight once you apply filters.
  • Use an adjustment layer above the filtered layer to fine-tune the resulting luminosity levels or colors.AD
    349fig02.jpgB We applied Filter > Filter Gallery > Diffuse Glow.

    349fig03.jpgC We created a Black & White adjustment, then lowered the opacity of the adjustment layer to 52%.

    349fig04.jpgD This is the final image.

  • Apply filters separately to a Smart Object one by one, then via the Blending Options dialog, lower the opacity of the topmost filter and/or change its blending mode. You can also apply filters to separate layers, then change the layer opacity or blending mode of any layer (AE, next page).
  • For less predictable and “machine made” results, apply two or more filters that have contrasting or complementary effects. For instance, you could apply one filter that reduces shapes to line work (such as Poster Edges) and another filter that changes the color or applies an overall texture, such as Grain > Texturizer.
  • For a personal touch, apply some paint strokes (AC, page 351).

Filters, an Adjustment Layer, and Blending Modes

350fig01.jpgA We converted a duplicate of the Background to a Smart Object.

350fig02.jpgB We applied Filter > Other > Minimum (Radius 1), then Filter > Stylize > Find Edges.

350fig03.jpgC We changed the blending mode of the Smart Object to Linear Burn.

350fig04.jpgD We created a second duplicate of the Background, moved the duplicate to the top of the Layers panel, changed the blending mode of that layer to Divide, and lowered its Opacity to 50%. Finally, we used a Vibrance adjustment to boost the colors slightly.

350fig05.jpgE This is the final image.

A Texture Filter and Paint Strokes

351fig01.jpgA This is the original image.

351fig02.jpgB This is the Layers panel for the final image.


How To Use The Magic Wand Tool In Photoshop [Solved]

How To Use The Magic Wand Tool In Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop LogoIn Photoshop there are various ways to make a selection and also various reasons why you’d want to make a selection. You may want to remove something from its background, replace a sky or simply apply an edit to one part of a shot but not the other. Some of the selection tools are better suited for certain tasks than others are, however what tool you use can also be down to personal taste. In this series of tutorials we’ll give a brief overview of all the selection tools on offer, showing you what they can be used for and how to adjust them.

Magic Wand Tool

Magic Wand Tool


How it works

The Magic Wand tool looks for pixels which are of the same colour and tone. This means it’s great for selecting large, solid blocks of colour but when working on images where the difference between colours and tone isn’t as obvious it can seem, to start with, that the Magic Wand tool isn’t a great tool. However, by making a few minor adjustments, you’ll see it can be a useful tool to know how to use.

How to use it

The tool simply works by you clicking in the area you want selecting. For example, in the example with the selection around the black rectangle, we clicked in the middle of the black part of the shape.

Magic Wand Selection


How to adjust it

To make the tool more useful, adjust the Tolerance which you can find in the option bar towards the top of the screen.

Magic Wand Tool Bar

The tolerance tells Photoshop how many pixels it needs to select that are the same colour as what you have clicked on and the shades which are darker or lighter by whatever number you’ve typed in the Tolerance box. So if you type 100 Photoshop will select any pixels which are up to 100 shades lighter and down to pixels which are 100 shades darker.

Above: ‘Broken’ selection before any adjustments made.
Above: The same image with the selection complete. (Tolerance adjusted)

Contiguous is automatically selected by Photoshop but this option stops any pixels that fall into the tolerance range you’ve chosen getting selected if they have a pixel in between them that doesn’t fall in to the range.

To explain this, take a look at our shape. There are two black sections separated by a white line. We want to select both black areas so we select the Magic Wand tool and click on the one on the left but as Contiguous is ticked, Photoshop only selects the shape on the left as the white pixels in the centre are stopping the right black shape becoming part of the selection. Untick Contiguous and both shapes now become part of the selection when we click on the left shape.


Anti-alias helps smooth out the selection and by ticking Sample All Layers you are telling Photoshop you want it to include all of the layers in your document within the selection. Leave it unticked and it will just make the selection on the layer you have selected.

The four shapes found to the left of the same option bar allow you to adjust your selection but after you’ve used the first option (New Selection) Photoshop will automatically select the second (Add To Selection) as you’ll want to keep adding parts of the image until all you want selected has running ants around it.

Selection Options

So, looking left to right at the shapes: the first option lets you create a New Selection and the second option, Add To Selection, lets you expand / add the selection you’ve just created. The third option, Subtract From Selection, lets you remove some of the selection and the final option, Intersect With Selection, will look at your original selection then at the new selection you’ve just made and only keep the selection where both adjustments overlap or intersect.

Finally there’s Refine Edge which will give you a menu of options that you can further adjust your selection’s boundary with. It also allows you to view the selection against various masks and backgrounds.


How to Apply Stamp Visible Effect using Photoshop [Solved]

How to Apply Stamp Visible Effect using Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop LogoThe Stamp Visible command is a great option to know about. The reason it’s so great is because if you have a document that you built using several layers, it can become impossible to run a filter or some other effect on the whole image at once.

Of course you could flatten your image or merge visible layers first, but then you lose all your other layers. Sometimes you want to preserve your layers so you can go back and easily make changes to the document and preserve the original state of the image.

Stamp visible in Photoshop Elements

Take a look at the Layers palette in the image above. If I wanted to sharpen this image I would have to first select one layer, run the Unsharp Mask filter, then do the same thing to each of the layers for a total of seven times! And some files can have a lot more than seven layers.

I have the same problem if I want to apply layer styles. I could select each layer one-at-a-time or I could just turn the eyeball off of the layers I didn’t want the effect on and then stamp visible and run the filter on the new layer.

So how do you get this Stamped Layer? First turn visibility on for the layers you want to merge by making sure the eyeball icon is clicked on in the Layers palette. Then do one of the following:
Press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Windows) or Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac).
– OR –
Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac), and choose Layer > Merge Visible. Photoshop will create a new layer containing the merged layers.

Be sure to remember this tip to save time and frustration.

Stamp visible in Photoshop Elements
The Layers palette shows the new stamped layer at the


How to Add Drop Shadow in Photoshop Elements [Solved]

How to Add Drop Shadow in Photoshop Elements

Photoshop LogoAdding a drop shadow to a photo or object gives it depth and makes it stand out in your photo creations and scrapbook layouts. In Photoshop Elements, it is easy to add drop shadows using layers and layer styles. In this lesson, we’ll add a drop shadow to an object and adjust the shadow effects.

Before After

To add a drop shadow:

  1. Open two image files: a background image and the photo or photo object to which you want to add a drop shadow. This example uses a digital paper as background and a cardinal applique as the photo object.
  2. Copy the photo into the background image so that the photo or photo object appears in the layer above the background layer.
  3. In the Layers palette, select the layer that contains the photo or photo object to which you want to add the drop shadow.
  4. From the Windows menu, select Effects to open the Effects palette.
  5. In the Effects palette, click the Layer Styles icon, then select Drop Shadows from the drop-down list.

    Select layer styles

  6. Select the Soft Edge shadow (or any type you want) and click Apply. The effect is applied and a small fx symbol is added to the layer in the Layers palette.
  7. To edit the drop shadow, double-click the fx symbol on the emboss layer. The Style Settings dialogue is displayed.

  8. Adjust the settings as desired and click OK.


How to Create Channel Masks in Photoshop CS6 [Solved]

How to Create Channel Masks in Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop LogoPhotoshop CS6’s channel masks are probably the most time-consuming masks to use because they require a lot of manual labor. Not heavy lifting, mind you, but work with the tools and commands in Photoshop.

It is, however, time well spent. Channel masks can usually accurately select what the other Photoshop tools can only dream about — wisps of hair, tufts of fur, a ficus benjamina tree with 9,574 leaves.

You can create a channel mask in a lot of ways, but here is one that works most of the time. To create a channel mask, follow these steps:

  1. Analyze your existing channels to find a suitable candidate to use to create a duplicate channel.

    This is usually the channel with the most contrast between what you want and don’t want. For instance, in this example, the Blue channel provided the most contrast between the windmills and the sky and the background, allowing easier masking of the windmills and sky.

    To duplicate the channel, drag your desired channel thumbnail to the New Channel icon at the bottom of the Channels panel. After you duplicate the channel, it then becomes an alpha channel and is named (channel) copy.

  2. Make sure the alpha channel is selected in the Channels panel and choose Image→Adjustments→Levels.

    Using the histogram and the sliders in the Levels dialog box, increase the contrast between the element(s) you want and don’t want selected. Click OK when you’re done to close the dialog box.

  3. Select a tool, such as the Brush or Eraser tool, and paint and edit the alpha channel to refine the mask.

    The combo of the Brush and Eraser set to Block mode cleaned up the mask.

    [Credit: © Image #16953126]

    Credit: © Image #16953126
  4. When you complete the mask, click the Load Channel as Selection icon (the dotted circle icon on the far left) at the bottom of the Channels panel. Then, click your composite channel at the top of the list of channels.

    This step loads your mask as a selection, giving you that familiar selection outline. You can also use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-click (Command-click on the Mac) directly on the alpha channel to load the mask as a selection. Make sure your marquee selection is surrounding what you want selected. If not, choose Select@→Inverse.

    Your selection is now ready to go.

  5. You can leave it within the original image, or drag and drop it onto another image with the Move tool.

    If you’ve done a good job, nobody will be the wiser that the two images never met in real life.

    [Credit: © Image #16953126 and AlexMax Image #7458774]

    Credit: © Image #16953126 and AlexMax Image #7458774