Feb 7, 2007

34 Photoshop Tips for Filter & Style - By Trevor Morris

Blending Modes

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1. You can cycle through layer blending modes by using Shift+Plus ( + ) (cycle forward) and Shift+Minus ( - ) (cycle backward). Also try Alt+Shift+Letter (where Letter is one of the letters listed below) to quickly change the blending mode.
N = Normal K = Darken Q = Behind 1
I = Dissolve G = Lighten L = Threshold 2
M = Multiply E = Difference R = Clear 3
S = Screen X = Exclusion W = Shadows 4
O = Overlay U = Hue V = Midtones 4
F = Soft Light T = Saturation Z = Highlights 4
H = Hard Light C = Color A = Saturate 5
D = Color Dodge Y = Luminosity J = Desaturate 5
B = Color Burn P = Pass Through 6

Only applicable to: 1. Paint tools, 2. Indexed mode, 3. Dodge and Burn tools,
4. Line and Bucket tools in multi-layered images, 5. Sponge tool, 6. Layer sets
Note: The above hotkeys also affect the blending mode of the currently active paint tool, so if you wish to change the blending mode of the active layer, be sure to switch to the Move tool [V] or one of the selection tools first.

Adjustment Layers

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2. By default the Curves dialog box [Ctrl+M] (Image » Adjust » Curves) is only 171 pixels wide: however, you can click on the maximize ( Maximize ) / minimize ( Minimize ) button to toggle the grid size between 256 pixels and 171 pixels wide. For greater accuracy, use the larger grid, since you have control over all 256 shades of gray in the image (compared to 171 shades by using the small grid).

Tip: Hold down the Alt key to change Auto button into an Options button (and the Cancel button into a Reset button).

3. Updated! The table below details some of the features and equivalent hotkeys available in the Curves dialog box [Ctrl+M] (Image » Adjust » Curves):

HotKey Result
Alt-click on grid toggle grid between 10% and 25% gradations
Ctrl+Z undo last change
Ctrl-click delete selected point(s)
Ctrl+D deselect all points
Shift-click select multiple points
Ctrl+Tab / Ctrl+Shift+Tab activate next / previous point
Arrow keys ( , , , ) move curve point(s) by 1%
Shift+Arrow keys ( , , , ) move curve point(s) by 4%
Ctrl-click on image add color point to the composite curve
Ctrl+Shift-click on image add color point to all curves
P toggle preview on / off
L load curve
S save curve
M smooth curve
C activate channel menu
Ctrl+Tilde ( ~ ) select composite curve
Ctrl+Number select individual curve (e.g. Red, Magenta, etc.)

4. In the Levels dialog box, hold down Alt while you drag the black (left) or white (right) Input Levels sliders to adjust the levels in Threshold mode. This is also referred to as a "clipping display", since it visually demonstrates which colors will be clipped.

5. Here is a real time-saver for adding adjustment layers (Layer » New Adjustment Layer » Adjustment Layer): simply click on the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon menu ( New Fill or Adjustment Layer ), at the bottom of the Layers palette, and select the type of adjustment layer you wish to add.

Tip: Hold down the Alt key when choosing a fill or adjustment layer to display the Layer Properties dialog box.

Tip: You can shave a few bytes off the size of a PSD by deleting any unused channels associated with Fill / Adjustment Layers – which are added by default.

6. New! In the Hue/Saturation dialog box [Ctrl+U] (Image » Adjust » Hue/Saturation), you may:

* Move the current range to a new location by Ctrl-dragging the color bar in the dialog box.
* Add colors to the current range by Shift-clicking or dragging in the image window.
* Subtract colors from the current range by Alt-clicking or dragging in the image window.
* Edit all colors by pressing Ctrl+~ (tilde).
* Press Ctrl + 1 6 to edit a predefined color range.

7. To limit the influence of an adjustment layer, place it (and any associated layers) into a set and change the set's blending mode from Pass Through [Alt+Shift+P] to Normal [Alt+Shift+N]. The adjustment layer will only apply to the layers within the set.

8. New! Adjustment layers may be used to emulate a duplicate layer. Choose an adjustment layer to add, and when the dialog box appears, accept the default values by pressing OK. Then, change the blending mode of the adjustment layer for the desired effect: Multiply [Alt+Shift+M] to darken, Screen [Alt+Shift+S] to lighten, or Hard Light [Alt+Shift+H] to increase contrast. If the effect is too extreme, simply lower the opacity of the adjustment layer.

Note: To add an adjustment layer, use the New Fill / Adjustment Layer button ( Add new fill or adjustment layer ) at the bottom of the Layers palette, or choose Layer » New Adjustment Layer » Adjustment Layer from the menus.

Note: Emulating duplicate layers with adjustment layers produces a file that is approximately 30% smaller than one that contains a "real" duplicate layer!

9. New! In the Curves dialog box, you can use the Pencil tool ( Draw freehand curve ) at the bottom of the dialog box to draw a freehand curve. Shift click with the Pencil tool to draw straight lines. Use the Smooth button [M] to remove any abrupt changes in the curve.

10. New! Click on the double arrow ( Toggle percentage / intensity ) in the Curves dialog box to toggle between percentage (0-100%) and intensity (0-255).


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11. To reapply the last filter, use Filter » Last Filter [Ctrl+F]. To reapply a filter with new settings, add the Alt key (Ctrl+Alt+F or Alt + Filter » Last Filter).

Tip: Fade the effects (and change the blending mode) of the last filter (or adjustment), by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F (Edit » Fade Last Filter).

12. To achieve better results with the Unsharp Mask filter (Filter » Sharpen » Unsharp Mask), try applying it twice using a smaller Amount (%) setting.

Example: Instead of applying Unsharp Mask once at an amount of 150%, use an amount of 60% twice.

13. A common sharpening technique is to convert an image to Lab mode and then sharpen the Lightness channel. Instead, try the following technique to achieve nearly identical results without the image degradation associated with mode conversion. Apply Filter » Sharpen » Unsharp Mask and then choose Edit » Undo [Ctrl+Z]. Then, choose Edit » Fade Unsharp Mask [Ctrl+Shift+F] and choose Mode: Luminosity to reapply the filter.

Note: You may also wish to check out Robert Barnett's Ultra Sharpen Pro plug-in.

14. Unfortunately, if you try to apply the Lens Flare filter (Filter » Render » Lens Flare) to a new (empty) layer, you will get an error. So, instead of duplicating or flattening your image, try the following technique:

1. Add a New Layer [Ctrl+Shift+N] (Layer » New » Layer)
2. Fill [Shift+Backspace] (Edit » Fill) the layer with black (by choosing Use: Black in the Fill dialog box)
3. Set the blending mode of the layer to Screen (at the top of the Layers palette)
4. Render the lens flare on the new layer (Filter » Render » Lens Flare)

Note: The above technique also works when applied to a layer filled with 50% gray (R128,G128,B128) and a blending mode of Hard Light.

Precise Flare Center Tip: To specify the exact origin of the Lens Flare (in pixels), Alt-click anywhere in the Lens Flare dialog box to display the Precise Flare Center dialog box.

Tip: If you increase the canvas size, apply the above technique, and then return the canvas to its original size, you will be able to move the lens flare layer around on the canvas.

Tip: To render a lens flare at a specific location (or size) on the canvas, draw a selection before applying the filter.

15. Hold down the Alt key when choosing Filter » Render » Clouds to increase the contrast of the clouds.

16. While applying a filter, you can click on the proxy view (preview window) in the filter dialog box to toggle between the before and after views.

Tip: Ctrl-click in the proxy view to zoom in, or Alt-click to zoom out.

Note: Unfortunately, the above tips do not work in all filter dialog boxes.

17. Use the following tips for enhanced control within the Lighting Effects dialog box (Filter » Render » Lighting Effects):

* Alt-drag a light to duplicate it
* Press Delete to quickly delete a light
* Shift-drag a node (on the light's perimeter) to change the area of influence without changing the lighting angle
* Ctrl-drag a node (on the light's perimeter) to change the lighting angle without affecting the area of influence

18. New! Like so many other filters, the Lighting Effects filter only applies to the active layer. To have the filter affect the entire document, Alt-click on the New Layer icon ( Create a new layer ) [Ctrl+Shift+N], choose Hard Light from the Mode drop-down and turn on the option labelled "Fill with Hard-Light neutral color (50% gray)". Finally, choose Filter » Render » Lighting Effects and the filter will appear as though it is affecting all the underlying layers.

Note: This technique also work well with other filters (e.g. Lens Flare).

19. New! Use Filter » Other » Maximum to decrease the width and height of an object on the current layer. Similarly, use Filter » Other » Minimum to increase the width and height of an object.

Styles & Effects

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20. With the Layer Style dialog box open, drag in the image window to visually adjust the distance and angle of the layer style.

Note: Hold down the Shift key while dragging to constraint the distance and angle to 45º increments.

21. Effect Light Source Angle Hold down the Shift key while rotating the Angle wheel (in the Layer Style dialog box) to constraint the light source angle to 15º increments.

22. Image operations such as scaling and rotating the canvas have no effect on any associated layer styles. Either flatten the image prior to performing these operations, or manually adjust the styles afterward.

23. New! If you scale your image using the Image » Image Size command, your styles will not be scaled (i.e. all numerical values will remain constant). To scale the styles in your image, choose Layer » Layer Style » Scale Effects and enter the percentage by which you scaled your image.

Note: You may scale your image and styles simultaneously by changing the image's resolution in the Image » Image Size dialog box.

24. To remove all layer effects from a layer, hold the Alt key and double-click on the layer's effect icon ( Effects ); or, from the menus, choose Layer » Layer Style » Clear Layer Style.

Tip: To disable an individual effect, do one of the following:

* hold down the Alt key and select the style by name from the Layer » Layer Style submenu
* hold down the Alt key and select the style by name from the Layer Style icon menu ( Add Layer Style ), at the bottom of the Layers palette
* uncheck the style's Apply flag in the Layer Style dialog box

25. Use the following technique to apply the same layer style (effect) to multiple layers simultaneously:

1. Link all layers to which the layer style is to be applied
2. Define (or choose an existing) layer style for one of the linked layers
3. Right-click on the layer's style symbol ( Layer Style ) and choose Copy Layer Style from the context menu
4. Right-click again (on any of the linked layers) and choose Paste Layer Style to Linked

26. Drag-and-drop effects to quickly copy them from one layer to another. To copy all effects from one layer to another, drag the topmost "layer" (labelled Effects) and drop it onto the desired layer. To copy an individual effect, drag-and-drop only the appropriately named effect (e.g. Drop Shadow, Outer Glow, etc.).

Note: Dragging-and-dropping all effects (via the Effects "layer") will replace any existing effects on the destination layer. Dragging effects individually (by name) will add them to any existing effects on the destination layer.

Note: You may also delete effects (individually or all together) by dragging them onto the delete icon ( Delete Current Layer ) at the bottom of the Layers palette.

27. New! To adjust the fuzziness for the layer blending options (on the Blending Options page of the Layer Styles dialog box), Alt-drag the Blend If slider triangle(s). Once a triangle has been split, the Alt key is no longer required to move the fuzziness sliders.

28. New! To save only specific styles (or brushes, gradients, etc.), choose Edit » Preset Manager, then select Styles from the Preset Type menu. Select a style (use the Shift key to select more than one), then click the Save Set button to save the selected style(s) as a preset.

29. New! Use Fill Opacity (accessed from the Advanced Blending options in the Layer Styles dialog box) to change the opacity of the pixels on the current layer without changing the opacity of the actual layer. This useful for controlling the opacity of the pixels on the current layer independent of any applied styles.

30. New! The link status of a layer mask (or clipping path) may be used to influence the behaviour of layer styles. When a layer mask is linked to the current layer, the associated style is only applied to the visible pixels (i.e. the layer mask affects both the layer and the style). Alternatively, when the mask is unlinked, the style affects the entire layer (i.e. the mask has no influence on the layer style and, as a result, some of the style may appear "clipped" by the mask).

31. New! Press Ctrl+Z in the Styles dialog box to undo the last change made using a slider (e.g. Opacity, Size, etc.).

32. New! Drag a layer style (Effects) from one layer and drop it onto another to replace the style of the destination layer. Drag and drop an individual effect to add it to the destination layer.

Drag-and-drop styles
33. New! To add multiple styles to the active layer, Shift-click on the desired styles in the Styles palette.

34. New! The default behaviour of the Paste Layer Style command is to replace the current Style. However, if you wish to add a previously copied layer style to the current layer, hold the Alt key and choose Layer » Layer Style » Paste Layer Style from the menus.

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