Photoshop Layers: Properties

Here’s the latest Photoshop tutorial from my collection.

I’ve also prepared a written transcript for those who find that easier to follow.

I want to show you a little bit about working with some of the layer properties in Photoshop. The first thing I’m going to do is to show you how these shapes that I’ve created are done. Basically, once you create your shape tool you can use any of these options up here – depending on the type of layer or shape that you want to create. And this particular icon up here – if you roll-over it says “Shape Layers” – it’s going to create a shape on a brand new layer. So anytime I use that tool over here on my layers palette it makes a new layer for that particular shape. So if I change this to green and then I create another shape you’ll see that I have a green layer.

The nice thing about these is that I can scroll through each one of these layers and decide to change the color just by clicking in this box here, and then I can click and move these around. Because if you use this other tool you can only create shapes on the current layer – so if I create a new shape it’s going to create it on the same background layer. So I’m going to work with these three layers – the green, dark red and brighter red colors. I would recommend that you turn on auto-select, which allows you to switch very quickly between layers – it automatically selects the layer, whereas if I have that disabled it will only move the currently selected layer, in my case the bright green layer, and I would then need to use the layers menu to select the current layer before moving a particular layer. If you don’t have auto-select enabled then you can use CTRL on your keyboard to enable auto-select temporarily, for as long as you have the CTRL key pressed.

Moving on, the next thing I want to show you is that if you double click in this blue area you will get the layer styles dialog. This is an extra menu that will allow you to do extra things like inner glow, drop shadow etc – and you can do some really cool 3D effects with this specific tool – especially when you get in to using some other shapes you can use it to create some inner glows, like this. It’s also really cool when you’re trying to design buttons for the internet, or any icons for a website you can use this to quickly create button type effects. You can also do a color overlay pretty easily to change up the color. And the nice thing is that you have all your blending modes right within this palette, so if you want to mix some of the colors – e.g. this purple with the existing color you can use the different modes to switch between and change the opacity. You can do the same thing with the gradient overlays, if you want to do a quick gradient on one of the buttons you can do that as well – you have various options: linear, radial, reflected gradients. And by clicking the color you get this option menu where there are some preset gradients, and you use this little arrow to load some additional gradients that photoshop have – you can either append to the current list or just hit okay to replace the existing list of gradient types. So once you select a gradient that you like you can use the scale to change the size of the gradient up or down – if you want to leave the existing color underneath you can change the blend mode to something else, so that original green color that I had is still there – I’m just applying this metallic look to it.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Play around with all those blending modes, the shape layers and auto-select, and see what works best for you. Thanks for watching.


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How to use Photoshop CS3: Tutorials for Beginners

There’s a lot of material on my website, so in this post I want to pull together some of my best photoshop tutorials for beginners, so people who are looking for easy tutorials have a good place to start without getting overwhelmed by the more complex material.

So here are a few of my favorite easy photoshop tutorials.

1. Create a new document

Let’s start at the very beginning. This photoshop video tutorial explains all the options available to you when you create a brand new document (new image) in Photoshop CS3. If you don’t know how to create a new image you’re not going to get very far. :)

2. Photoshop Tools and Menus

This is another good tutorial for beginners, giving an overview of all the tools and menus available with Photoshop CS3. Of course, one short video tutorial can’t do more than scratch the surface of all the function available, but it’s a good video if you’re just getting started.

3. How to use the Pen Tool

Now that you’re familiar with creating a document and the various menus available, this easy photoshop tutorial shows you how to get started actually creating something – using the pen tool, one of the simplest tools available within Photoshop CS3.

I hope you enjoyed this selection of easy Photoshop tutorials.


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How to Crop an Image in Photoshop

Welcome to this Photoshop demo. This is Aaron from PhotoshopDemos.com. I’m going to be showing you how to crop an image. This Photoshop CS3 tutorial is primarily available in video format, but there’s also a transcription below.

So whenever you have an image that you wish to select a section from or you just want like a specific area to show up, you can start by clicking on the Marquee tool here, the rectangular Marquee, and you can select a section of your photograph. And then come up to Image and then just do Crop.

That’s the most basic way. That will allow you to get the exact area that you want. Now, I’m going to undo this. And there’s another tool that you can use. This is actually the Crop tool. And what the Crop tool will allow you to do…I’m just going to make this selection here…is it actually lets you see, with this kind of darker background, exactly the area that you’re going to crop. So you have a little bit more of a preview of how that’s going to look.

Now, you can make that as dark or as light as you want just by simply clicking and dragging up here. And then that way you can see exactly how your photo is going to look when it’s finished. You can also just put this back to the default at 75 and just do it that way.

So now when I hit Enter on my keyboard, I now crop that image exactly how I just previewed it. So that’s the second way to preview.

Now with this Crop tool there’s a couple things you can do. You can actually set height and a width. So if you know you want an aspect ratio that fits a 5×7 image, you can simply do 7 pixels in the width and 5 pixels in the height.

And so then when I click and drag, you can see that this is now constrained to a 5×7 image size. So no matter what I do with this area here, I can’t actually change it without first changing those settings. So I’m going to hit Enter and you’ll see that now I have this really, really tiny image here. And you’re probably wondering, “Well why did that happen?”

Well, the reason that actually happened, and I’ll just kinda zoom back out here because I just undid all that, is that when I used the Crop tool, I did set a 7 pixel by 5 pixel aspect ratio. But in the resolution I didn’t change resolution. So it just assumed and it basically made 7 pixels by 5 pixels.

So that’s not exactly what we want to do. So here you are going to want to specify, actually, inches. So if you want a 7×5 inch image, that’s what it’s going to give you. Because this tool, it doesn’t just crop to the exact size that you’ve specified. What it actually does it is resizes at the same exact time. That’s what I wanted to show you that.

So once again, here we are working inches and I have 7 inches by 5 inches. Now when I go to Crop, I’ll actually crop that exact image that I have.

So you can do a similar type of effect where you use the Crop tool, 7 inches by 5 inches, but let’s say we want to change the resolution to, say, like 180 pixels per inch. OK, now we’re going to see something different that happens.

So this is actually going to take this area that I just created, and because I have a 72 pixel per inch image, I am now going to actually scale up this image to be larger in size. So when I hit Enter you’ll see that it actually got larger. The reason being is because even though I stayed within this 7×5 inch aspect ratio, I’ve actually increased my resolution from 72 DPI to 180 pixels per inch.

So just keep in mind if you do that and you do it excessively, like, for instance, if I was to do the same thing but this time I made it 300 pixels per inch and I did the same kind of Crop, and let’s say I went a little bit smaller, you will start to get some blurriness going on here. So you’ll start to see that this is getting a little bit blurry, and that’s because we’re scaling the image up beyond its actual physical size.

And so this image, if we come up to Image now and we go to Image Size, you’ll see that this is now a 7 inch by 5 inch image at 300 pixels per inch. So in pixels that’s actually 2,100 by 1,500 pixels. So that’s just something to just be aware of, is that this Crop tool can be powerful in a lot of ways because you’re not just actually using like the Marquee tool, selecting a size, and then cutting that exact size.

What you’re actually doing is you have the ability to scale with this tool and get very specific about how you actually want to crop your image. So that’s just an additional functionality that I wanted to show you with the Crop tool here.

And there’s some other things that are sort of unique about this, and some of these features may not be available on previous older versions of Photoshop. But with this Crop tool you can also use this Perspective button. And when you turn Perspective on, it will actually allow you to crop an image by tweaking these handles in any way that you like so that you get kind of almost like a 3D effect in a crop.

So if I wanted to, say, crop that section just like that, and let’s say I wanted this out a little bit further just to get a little bit of this mountain in here, kind of almost like a panoramic, and then hit Enter, I now get that image as I cropped it out. And you can see it’s somewhat distorted. If I hit Control+T and actually transform that, I’m going to go into my layers here for a moment and unlock that. You’ll see a little bit of white space up in this corner. I don’t know if you can see that. I’ll zoom in just a second and you can see that where the image kind of got chopped a little bit.

But you can see that it kind of tweaked this image, if you will, based on that perspective that I chose. So that’s just an additional feature that’s available that may not be the effect that you’re going for. I just wanted to show you that it is available.

So I’ll do that again. This time I’m going to actually unlock this layer and I’m going to use that same effect there. I’m going to put that in the center and I’m going to leave the perspective on. And then this time I’m going to go ahead and tweak this again here, make it a little bit more maybe extreme this time so you can kinda see what’s going on.

Then go ahead and hit Enter. And now it’s really stretched that image out. And if I come up to my layers here, hit Control+T, you can see that it still stayed within that size. It actually doesn’t go beyond the borders. But it gives you this kind of funky kind of stretched out look, kind of perspective look based on that perspective that you choose.

This is an extreme example, but you can actually use it to straighten out images just by kinda tweaking the perspective a little bit in case you’re maybe scanning in some photos or maybe the angle that you took the shot you used a wide angle lens and it kinda stretched things out a bit. You can actually correct a little bit of that when you’re doing some cropping.

So anyway, that’s really the basics of cropping in Photoshop. There’s some other advanced techniques that you can do. But definitely play around with this technique and play around with the Crop tool that’s over here in your toolbar. Very easy tool to get to and access. And just remember all your options are up here in the top section of the menu bar.

So have fun with that and we’ll see you in the next video. Thanks for watching. This is Aaron from PhotoshopDemos.com.


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Photoshop 3D text tutorial video

Today’s Photoshop CS3 tutorial is a video tutorial looking at how to make a 3D text effect. I hope you enjoy the video.

Here’s a transcript of the photoshop tutorial video.

Aaron: Hi, this is Aaron from PhotoshopDemos.com and I’m going to show you how to do a basic 3D effect for text in Photoshop. One thing that you can do here is I’m going to go ahead and create some text, and we’ll go ahead and make this a black text just so you can see it a little bit. And we’ll go ahead and just type in the word “text”.

Now I’m going to go ahead and just hit the Selection icon, go ahead and move this around, and then Control+T on my keyboard. I’m going to transform this, go ahead and make this large, go ahead and hit OK.

So then what you do is you come over here to the text layer, just double click it and that will allow you to, then, be able to edit the text. I don’t want this specific font. I’m going to try something else. I’m just going to kinda scroll through here, scroll through a couple fonts till I find the one that I want. I’m going to actually pick this one. I like this one because it’s nice and block. It has a nice solid look to it.

This might be a cool effect too if you use a pixel font. But you can do it with any font and that’s what I wanted to show you.

So you have your layer. What you’re going to do is just come over here and just double-click that there and you’ll get your Layer Styles box. We’re going to add a drop shadow. We’re going to add an inner glow. And we’re also going to take this inner glow and we’re going to turn that white, and we’re going to hit OK.

Then what we’re going to do is increase the size of that inner glow just a little bit so that it stands out on the text just like that. Then we’re going to take the drop shadow and we’re just going to move it out just a little bit like that. That’s looking pretty good.

If you want, you can do a couple other things like Double Emboss, just to kinda give it a little bit of a 3D look. That’s totally up to you. And the drop shadow, I’m going to go ahead and just kinda soften that just a little bit. I don’t want it to be too intense. That looks OK. I’m going to take of that inner shadow that I accidentally clicked on and just make sure that our inner glow…I’m going to actually go ahead and bump this to 100 just so we can kinda get a nice soft effect just like that.

And then we’re going to go ahead and hit OK. So that’s all I’m going to really do. I mean you can play with this a little bit more. You can add any effect that you want. Actually, I’m just going to go ahead and add one more thing. I’m going to go ahead and do the gradient overlay. I’m going to leave that as well as default, maybe change the opacity down just a little bit, just to get some of those edges coming through.

So then hit OK. We end up with something like this. Now, this is not the 3D effect that I’m looking for because anybody could do that. Anybody could do the next step as well, but that’s just using the default in Photoshop.

So the next thing that we’re going to do is I’m going to collapse that. I’m going to create a new layer and I’m going to go ahead and merge these two layers together. The way you do that is you can actually do Rasterize Type, or you can just combine these two layers just by selecting these two objects up here, coming over here, and then doing Merge Layers.

So I’m going to go ahead and do that. I want to just flatten everything down that I have. Then what you’re going to do is with that layer still selected, you’re going to press the ALT key on your keyboard which will actually duplicate the layer. You’ll notice the icon, your little arrow here, changes into a double little arrow. Basically, that’s going to duplicate the layer.

So then all you’re going to do now is you’re going to hit the down stroke and then left, down stroke, left, down stroke, left. And you can see what’s starting to happen. You’re starting to get a little bit of depth in the shadow and stuff.

Well, if you leave it flat you’re not going to get a whole lot of…you’re not going to see the depth as much if you’re looking at it straight on. I mean just imagine like a regular object. If you were looking at something straight on, you’re not going to see the edges of that object.

So what we’re going to actually do is we’re going to right-click on the object now that we have this flattened layer. I’m sorry, we’re going to hit Control+T and that’s going to transform the object. And then you’re going to right-click. And then you’ll see this tool, either Perspective or Warp. And you can use either one.

I’m going to go ahead and use Perspective to kind of get it started. I’m going to shrink that down. I’m going to bring this a little bit up here, and I’m going to bring this up a little bit like that. Then I’m going to hit OK. Then I’m going to do the same thing. Then I’m going to hit Control+T and right-click again. And this time I’m going to do Warp. Then I’m going to kind of work out this text a little bit. You can kinda transform it however you like. Just kinda tweak it up a little bit there. Bring this maybe up a little bit. You can bring this up a little bit as well, kinda get some interesting stretched effects here.

Just play around with this. This part of it, the more you kind of like get an angle on your text, the better your 3D text is actually going to look. So kinda stretch it around however you like it. I’m just going to kinda bend it around a little bit just to kinda make it a little bit more dramatic so you can kinda see what’s going to happen here. Gonna bring that up, then bring that just a little bit more.

You can also grab the points in the center here if you want to kinda like tweak the center of the text. Go ahead and hit OK. And so now we have this text that’s kinda bent. So now, since we have some angles, some large edges here, we’re not looking at it directly straight on. We’re going to go ahead and hit ALT and then your down arrow and your left arrow, down and left, down and left, down and left, as many times as you like. And as you start to do that, you’ll start to see that your text actually is turning. You have several layers and it’s giving you a 3D type of effect.

Once you have that, you can go ahead and merge your layers together. So I’ll select all the layers and then right-click, and now I can go Merge Layers or Merge Text. So now I have this kinda 3D looking layer. And if I change the background to a different color, like let’s make it like this kinda faded blue, you’ll notice that the top of the text, actually, it has like a rendered 3D type of effect.

And now that you have that sort of in place, you can actually select just your text layer and go up here to Image Adjustments and you can do a hue and saturation if you want to, and just do a colorized, and then change the color of your text. You can change the hue as well.

I’m just going to make this red against that blue just to make it stand out. Go ahead and hit OK. And so now you can see we have this nice 3D effect on the text.

So there you go. Play around with that effect. It’s just something really easy to do, an easy quick way to get like a 3D look in Photoshop very quickly just using the concept of perspective and duplicating layers.
Thanks for watching. This is Aaron with PhotoshopDemos.com.


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