Create Non-Destructive Filters using Smart Objects in Photoshop

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 26, 2015

We all know about the tremendous benefits of Photoshop. It offers a solution for editing photos, designing logos, mocking up websites, and refining vector graphics all in one location. But while Photoshop can handle a number of different tasks it is most well-renowned for photography editing. Every graphic designer or photographer can find dozens of tools directly related to enhancing and retouching images.

For this post I’d like to demonstrate how to create smart filters applied onto any digital image. Smart filters behave just like regular filters but are more fluid and flexible in long-term work. Not every project has a need for smart filters, but understanding how to use them properly is yet another tool worth adding into your graphic editing tool belt.

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The Basics of Photoshop Quick Masking

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 19, 2015

Selecting and rendering objects from their background can be a difficult skill to master. Nobody is inherently born with an understanding of Photoshop – it takes years of practice and lots of screw-ups to become even remotely good. Yet it seems that rendering and selecting an object always remains one of the most difficult tasks to incorporate into regular workflow.

photoshop featured quick mask preview

In the past I covered a method of selecting objects using the Photoshop pen tool. Although it’s always an option, the pen tool is traditionally considered to be the most complicated method. Excellent for advanced users but not perfect in every situation.

For this post I’ll cover how to get into quick masking with Photoshop by creating selections around objects. Much like the pen tool, quick masking will feel a little wonky at first. But stick with it and soon you’ll be rendering out images like it’s nobody’s business.

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Build a Custom Photoshop Swatch from an Image

by Jake Rocheleau
on December 29, 2014

Sampling from a photo is an excellent way to pull colors for painting, digital design, or any creative project. However manually sampling each color is time-intensive and only useful when you really need a precise color match. Otherwise it’s a whole lot easier to build new swatches dynamically through Photoshop.

featured image - custom swatch palette in photoshop

I’ll be showing you how to open an image in Photoshop and pull a large sample of colors into a new swatch. The process is relatively automatic and just requires flicking through a couple menus. Once you’ve built a new swatch you can use that as a baseboard for creating a digital interface, icon, logo, or anything else you might need. Color swatches are very useful once you learn how to control them and put together a solid color scheme library.

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