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Adobe Photoshop crib sheet:

See also: Short Photoshop Outline and My Workflow Synopsis below.

This is a student-teacher outline for an introductory class in Adobe Photoshop.

Basic Concepts:

A. Author’s Notes: “Menu,” as used below, refers to Photoshop’s uppermost menu items: File, Edit, Image, Layer, Type, Select, Filter, 3D, View, Plugins, Window, and Help. The > sign indicates a submenu selection.

B. Color models. The International Color Consortium or ICC: “The purpose of the ICC is to promote the use and adoption of open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management systems.” ICC profiles aid color processing. All professional printers use ICC profiles. There are even ICC profiles for professional photo papers. See: www.color.org

C. Color and bit depth setup: Choose Menu: Image > Mode > RGB Color, also choose 16-bit/Channel (32-bit if needed). I most often process images in 16-bit “color depth” (as we say). In 8-bit mode we have 16.7 million shades of gray (R 256 x G 256 x B 256) while 16-bit provides us with 281-trillion shades of gray. These “shades” are translated into RGB color channels for display. A computer does not “see” color, but 16-bit color depth provides photographers a lot of digital “room” for editing. All JPEG images are 8-bit, but I also process them in 16-bit depth.

Within the RGB color mode, Adobe RGB, Lab, ProPhoto, and sRGB are “color spaces” used most frequently by photographers in Photoshop. The Adobe RGB color space is twice the size of the sRGB color space. RGB is an “additive” color mode used in color monitors or televisions while CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) is a “subtractive” color mode used in four-color printers. RGB pixels are Red, Green, or Blue (RGB color channels). In Photoshop, pixel hue ranges within an infinite scale from 0 (black) to 255 (fully saturated such as bright red). Most saturated colors cannot be routinely printed (they are out of gamut). See, Menu: View > Gamut Warning. This is why an offset printer may employ an additional plate or two for “spot colors.”

Photographers think in pixels. Every digital image is made of pixels. Example: A digital camera’s sensor of 6000 x 4000 pixels may produce a sharp print of 300 pixels per inch (PPI) measuring: 20 x 14 inches. The math is simple, 6000/300=20. Some Epson printers can use 360PPI. Typical consumer computer monitors can display up to 98% of the sRGB color space but many now employ a larger gamut and can display images created in the Adobe RGB color space. Discuss bitmap image vs vector image in graphic arts.

D. Color calibration: Datacolor Spyder X provides hardware and software to calibrate monitor colors. This requires a suitable video card. Most computer monitors are too bright for accurate photo adjustment and printing. A professional photographer will calibrate a computer monitor to between 90 and 120 nits or candelas per square meter. This is often 30% to 50% of maximum brightness. If the colors are right, the image looks right.

E. Selection: Selections are at the heart of Photoshop. By default, an entire image is selected but Photoshop users may employ selection tools to edit any area of an image. When we use selection tools such as Rectangular Marque tools, Polygonal Lassos tools, or Magic Wand tools, we create a mask for editing using any of Photoshop’s 16 Layer adjustment functions. Clicking any Adjustment layer’s icon (top of layers panel) will create a new Adjustment layer and layer mask embodied with the selection you created. Note: Ctrl I will invert a mask. Menu > Select > Color Range and Select > Focus Area allows us to isolate specific areas of an image. I frequently use Select > Modify > Expand in my workflow. Two selection shortcuts to remember, Menu: Select > Deselect (Ctrl D) or > Select All (Ctrl A). Menu: Select > Save Selection and Select > Load Selection, will also save you time as selections are sometimes lost inadvertently.

Basic Functions:

1. Workspace and Tool arrangement. Menu: Window > Workspace > Photography. Add the following to your workspace — Menu: Window > 1. Adjustments, 2. histogram (Color vs Luminance), 3. Properties, 4. Tools (Tool bar goes to left edge), and 5. Options (individual tool options). Name & save your custom workspace, Menu: Workspace < New Workspace.

2. Working Color Space. Menu: Edit > Color Settings (Adobe RGB at 16 bits). Specific selections greatly affect Photoshop. See the handout for what the teacher uses.

3. Color Picker. Observe the small black (Foreground) and white (Background) boxes below the Tool Bar. Click a box to open the Color Picker panel. Observe hexadecimal notation, CMYK gamut warning, and Pantone colors in Color Picker.

4. Avoid color casts. Discuss black point and white point: To correct some color casts, use the “eyedroppers” in Levels and or Curves Adjustment layers. Use of the eyedroppers is subjective but becomes more manageable with experience.

5. Filter menu. Filters are small programs that aid photo processing. Installed third party filters are located at the bottom of Menu: Filter or in Menu: File > Automate. Using any filter will cause it to be listed at the top of the Filter menu. Clicking this will repeat the effect of the filter.

6. Raw vs Photoshop editing. Adobe Camera Raw provides greater latitude for editing Raw images. Every camera manufacturer uses a proprietary demosaicing (explain Bayer mosaic) algorithm in Raw processing. Adobe Camera Raw can accommodate the vast majority. Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter (Shift Ctrl A) Setup: Options (top right) or Output (bottom). Output is always 300 PPI or as stated by printer manufacturer. Some Raw possibilities, Light > Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks, Effects > Clarity & Dehaze, Color > White Balance. Choose the option to open .tif and .jpg files in Camera Raw for processing. Note: In Raw you can pull tones in the histogram with a mouse pointer. Discuss white balance. An improper white balance is responsible for 85% of all undesirable color casts. Choose Raw Defaults > Global: Camera Settings?

7. Masking. Use selection tools or brushes to create a mask for any layer such as a B&W Adjustment layer or a Fill layer. Click on any Layer mask to make it active on your display. We can draw or paint a mask on our display screen when a layer mask is active (selected). On screen a back brush hides while white reveals. Other colors are somewhere in-between. Note: 1. vector drawings can also be used for masking, 2. Use of Gradient tool, 3. To add a layer mask to any Layer: see bottom of Layers panel for the Layer Mask icon [0].

8. Quick Mask (Shortcut Q. First, Double click the Quick Mask icon (tiny rectangle [0] below the Color Picker squares). From the panel that appears, choose: “Selected Areas.” You should not need to repeat this step. Second, Click the Quick Mask icon. The icon’s center dot will turn white. Now, use Photoshop’s Brush (Tool Bar > Brush tool) to select a brush to paint your mask. Not every brush is suitable for drawing a mask, so some experimentation may be required. Do not forget to feather your brush (from soft, that is fuzzy, to hard). Many brush designs and size configurations are available in the Options bar, located just below the top Menu. But these will only be available if you previously selected Menu: Window > Options. Third, Exit Quick Mask by clicking icon (now the center dot will not be white). Fourth, Select any Adjustment layer… your mask should be visible in layer’s mask. You can always paint over an existing mask (black conceals, white reveals) or use Menu: Edit > Transform to alter the mask’s appearance. Many free Photoshop brushes are available online.

9. Layer Options. Layer transparency can be adjusted from 0% to 100% using the Fill or Opacity options toward the top of the layers panel (Fill effects just the layer vs. Opacity also adjusts layer effects Fx). This is used to subdue the effect of any kind of layer. Not all layers are Adjustment layers. Inspect the horizontal tool bar at the bottom of the Layers panel (Link, Layer Style, Mask, Fill Layer, Group, Layer (new blank layer), or Delete layer). For example, Menu: Layer > Flatten image or > Lock layer.

10. Adjustment layers in detail. Adjustment layers include (my most used are underlined): Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Exposure, Vibrance, Color Saturation, Color Balance, Black & White, Photo Filter, Color Chanel Mixer, Color Lookup or LUT, Invert, Posterize, Threshold, Selective Color, and Gradient Map. To create a Black & White photo from color image, use B&W Adjustment layer and adjust colors as desired. Almost all Adjustment layers come with an inactive mask.

11. Tool Bar. Review Tools and their functions. Discus legacy tools, Dodge & Burn, Spot Healing, and Patch tools.

12. Cropping. Tool Bar: Crop Tool. Cropping as per aspect ratios 3:2 (Golden ratio), 4:5, 16:9 etc. (or select: Clear). Escape key to exit, Enter key when done.

13. Menu items are many. Look deeper at top Menu bar…. Useful edits often neglected, Menu: Edit > Content-Aware Fill & Edit > Transform: Skew. More below.

14. Guides. Drag & drop cyan colored guides from ruler: Menu: View > Rulers, View > Guides, View > Lock Guides, View > Clear Guides.

15. Type a few words. Tool Bar T or Keyboard shortcut T. Adobe includes many free fonts. Font size is measured in points. There are 72 points in one inch. Text leading is also important! For type options see, Menu: Window > Character and/or Window > Paragraph. Use the Move tool to reposition text on an active text layer.

16. Sharpening. Sharpen once or twice? Some photographers sharpen then later use a distinct “output sharpening” technique. For sharpening, select Menu: Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. A possible starting point for a 300DPI image is Amount=150, Radius=1.5, Threshold=1. We can also mask any area for selective sharpening. Some users choose to purchase Topaz Sharpen AI filter by Topaz Labs. Sharpening is an illusion done using fine contrast.

17. Resize. Adjust pixel dimensions: Menu: Image > Image Size. For email or web page use a JPEG or WePb photo resize to 1700 or 1800 (a tad larger) pixels on the long side. Use Photoshop JPEG compression number 11. JPEG compression ranges from 0 to 12 in Photoshop, with 12 being the least compressed (larger file).

18. Preferences. Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers > New Document Preset Resolutions > Resolutions= 300PPI (Pixels Per Inch).

19. File Menu. Save As vs. Save a Copy. Use Menu: File > Save As to preserve original file with layers as a Photoshop or TIFF file. Menu: File > Save a Copy allows saving a “flat” (i.e. without any layers) copy of your image such as .jpg, .WebP, .pdf, .png, etc. Remember Menu: File > Revert!

20. Print. Menu: File > Print (See: View > Proof Colors). I often select “Photoshop Manages Colors” when printing.

Menu items for beginners: Not mentioned above…

A. File > New, Open, Place Embedded (vs. Place Linked), Automate, File Info, Exit (Ctrl Q).

B. Edit > Undo, Redo, Check Spelling, Fill & Stroke, Content-Aware Fill, Free Transform (masking), Transform (Scale, Rotate, Skew, Distort, Perspective).

C. Image > Canvas size, Rotation, Trim.

D. Layer > Arrange layers, Lock layers.

E. Type > More from Adobe Fonts.

F. Select > Focus Range or Color Area, Modify, Select and Mask, Load Selection & Save Selection/

G. Filter > Review filters

H. 3D > For another day

I. View > Proof Setup, Proof Colors,

J. Plugins > (As purchased) See also: File > Automate.

K. Window > History, Brushes, Info.

Keyboard shortcuts worth remembering:

1. Cut: Ctrl X, Copy: Ctrl C, Paste: Ctrl V

2. Duplicate Layer: Ctrl J, New Layer: Shift Ctrl N

3. Flatten layers: Ctrl Shift E

4. Invert layer mask: Ctrl I

5. Show at 100%: Ctrl 1. Ctrl + or – to zoom in or out

6. Invert layer mask: Ctrl I

7. Show at 100%: Ctrl 1. Ctrl + or – to zoom in or out

Photoshop Edit> Color Settings


Below is a clip from Photoshop showing numerous layers and layer masks.

Ed Ruth (C) 2023 may be copied for student or classroom instruction purposes. www.edruthphoto.com

Recognized trademarks include Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Camera Raw, Topaz Labs & Topaz Sharpen, International Color Consortium, DataColor, and Spyder X.


Shortened and Simplified Adobe Photoshop & Camera Raw crib sheet: Basic Concepts:

1. Author’s Notes: “Menu,” as used below, refers to Photoshop’s uppermost menu items: File, Edit, Image, Layer, Type, Select, Filter, 3D, View, Plugins, Window, and Help. The > sign indicates a submenu selection.

2. Setup: Choose Menu: Image > Mode > RGB Color, also choose 16-bit/Channel (32-bit if needed). Within the RGB color mode, Adobe RGB, Lab, ProPhoto, and sRGB are “color spaces” used most frequently by photographers in Photoshop. The Adobe RGB color space is twice the size of the sRGB color space. For “working” color space, Menu: Edit > Color Settings (Adobe RGB at 16-bits). Specific selections greatly affect Photoshop. See the handout for what the teacher uses.

3. Workspace. Menu: Window > Workspace > Photography. Add the following to your workspace— Menu: Window > 1. Adjustments, 2. Histogram (Color vs Luminance), 3. Properties, 4. Tools (Tool bar goes to left edge), and 5. Options (Tool bar options). Name & save your custom workspace— Menu: Workspace > New Workspace.

4. Raw vs Photoshop Editing. Adobe Camera Raw (Shift Ctrl A) provides greater latitude for editing Raw images). Setup: Options (top right) or Output (bottom). Output is always 300 PPI or as stated by printer manufacturer. Choose the option to open .tif and .jpg files in Camera Raw for processing. Raw possibilities: Light > Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks, Effects > Clarity & Dehaze, Color > White Balance. An improper white balance is responsible for 85% of all undesirable color casts. Histogram: In Raw you can pull tones in the histogram with a mouse pointer.

5. Common Functions: Tool Bar: Review Tools and their functions. Discus legacy tools, Dodge & Burn, Spot Healing, and Patch tools. Crop Tool: Cropping as per aspect ratios 3:2, 4:5, 16:9 etc. (or select: Clear). Escape key to exit, hit Enter key when done. Guides: Drag & drop cyan colored guides from ruler Menu: View > Rulers, View > Guides, View > Lock Guides, View > Clear Guides. Type: Tool Bar T or Keyboard shortcut T. Adobe includes many free fonts. Font size is measured in points. There are 72 points in one inch. Text formatting: Menu: Window > Character or Menu: Window > Paragraph. Sharpening: Select Menu: Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. A possible starting point for a 300DPI image is Amount=150, Radius=1.5, Threshold=1.

6. Selection: By default, an entire image is selected but Photoshop users may employ selection tools to edit any area of an image. When we use selection tools such as Rectangular Marque tools, Polygonal Lassos tools, or Magic Wand tools, we create a mask for editing using any of Photoshop’s 16 Layer adjustment functions. Clicking any Adjustment layer’s icon (top of layers panel) will create a new Adjustment layer and layer mask embodied with the selection you created. Note: Ctrl I will invert a mask. Menu: Select > Save Selection and Select > Load Selection, will also save you time as selections are sometimes lost inadvertently.

7. The 16 Adjustment layers. Adjustment layers include Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Exposure, Vibrance, Color Saturation, Color Balance, Black & White, Photo Filter, Color Chanel Mixer, Color Lookup or LUT, Invert, Posterize, Threshold, Selective Color, and Gradient Map. Layer. Almost all Adjustment layers come with an inactive mask.

8. Masking. Use the Tool Bar Paintbrush to paint a mask on our display screen when a layer mask is active (selected). On screen a back brush hides while white reveals. Other colors are somewhere in-between. To add a layer mask to any Layer: see bottom of Layers panel for the Layer Mask icon [0].

9. Finishings.  Adjust pixel dimensions: Menu: Image > Image Size. For email or web page use a JPEG or WePb photo resize to 1700 or 1800 (a tad larger) pixels on the long side. Use Photoshop JPEG compression number 11. JPEG compression ranges from 0 to 12 in Photoshop, with 12 being the least compressed (larger file). Saving a file: Use Menu: File > Save As to preserve original file with layers as a Photoshop or TIFF file. Menu: File > Save a Copy allows saving a “flat” (i.e. without any layers) copy of your image such as .jpg, .pdf, .WebP, .png, etc.

Printing: Menu: File > Print (See: View > Proof Colors). I often select “Photoshop Manages Colors” when printing.

10. Useful Menu Items.

A. File > New, Open, Place Embedded (vs. Place Linked), Automate, File Info, Exit (Ctrl Q).

B. Edit > Undo, Redo, Check Spelling, Fill & Stroke, Content-Aware Fill, Free Transform (masking), Transform (Scale, Rotate, Skew, Distort, Perspective).

C. Image > Canvas size, Rotation, Trim.

D. Layer > Arrange layers, Lock layers.

E. Type > More from Adobe Fonts.

F. Select > Focus Range or Color Area, Modify, Select and Mask, Load Selection & Save Selection/

G. Filter > Review

H. 3D > For another day

I. View > Proof Setup, Proof Colors,

J. Plugins > (As purchased) See also: File > Automate.

K. Window > History, Brushes, Info.


Below: Nikon 7II & F 28-300mm. I used f/13 and f/14 to obtain a greater DoF as these were close to the lens…about 6 or 8 feet. DXO PhotoLab 7 did an outstanding job of providing lens correction and adding fine detail. Camera Raw did an excellent job when using Clarify and Dehaze.



BELOW IS An OUTLINE of MY LECTURE ABOUT POST-PROCESSING…

Although post-production programs can transform a photograph into an image that is unrecognizable from its original form, post-production is typically used to correct distracting imperfections.

1- Correction of lens aberrations and distortions: This is done automatically to a certain extent. Options for correcting horizontal and vertical alignment are common. Discuss chromatic magenta or green fringing.

2 – Remove unwanted distractions: Retouch or healing tools are also common. Select, cut, and paste may also be useful. Remember to “feather” selection tools if needed.

3 – White Balance correction: Up to 85% of color tints in an image are due to an improper white balance. Easy in a Raw image more problematic in a JPEG image. Discus Lord Kelvin and “color temperature.” Handout

4 – Color adjustments: We use saturation to adjust color saturation globally or locally. Discuss “out of gamut” color issues. Discuss monitor calibration. Often it is best to select and adjust one color. Color “balancing” is more complex as adjusting one color channel (RGB) affects the other color channels.

5 – White point and Black point adjustments: This is a histogram centric function. Tones range from black to midtones to white. White space is more “useful” in a graphic than a photograph. A glassy print with a larger area of white will reflect light. Use of “eyedroppers.” Handout.

6 – Contrast: Contrast is often achieved using the ubiquitous Curves tool. Illustrate the classic contrast curve.

7 – Filters: Filters are small programs that may come with a post-production program or be purchased separately. Filters may be applied using brushes or selections of a particular image area. Common filters address digital noise, apply a blur as desired, or apply special effects (DXO FilmPack 7).

8 – Sharpening: Sharpening began in Germany using a darkroom enlarger “trick” by applying an in focus and out of focus negative of the same shot (unsharp mask). All sharpening is an illusion created by applying a tiny highlight along areas of contrast. The art is to sharpen an image without the sharpening technique betraying itself to a viewer. Practice, practice, practice.

9 – Cropping: You may crop an image using various aspect ratios…1:1, 2:3, 4:5, 16:9 or custom. Many cropping tools also allow for rotation adjustments. How will cropping best serve the communication of our subject of interest?

10 – Convert to a color space if different than your working color space as may be needed (sRGB or Adobe RGB), resize the image for print or internet (also email), output as .WebP .jpg .tif or .pdf. Note: .WebP has 25-34% greater compression than .jpg while maintaining image quality. It is intended for “image heavy webpages.”

11 – Ethical considerations….

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