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Photoshop Q&A

by | 2 years ago

Q: How can I copy just a selection area (not the pixels) to another document?

A: You can do this by using drag-and-drop with any selection tool (rather than the Move tool). With a selection tool (such as the Marquee tool), click-and-hold on the selection and then drag it onto the other document. If you’re using tabbed documents, drag it onto the other document’s tab, and then wait for that document to become active. Once you can see the other document, drag it from the tab onto the image area and release.

Q: Someone told me to use Image Processor to save a bunch of PSD files as JPEGs. It looks like that option is in both Photoshop and Bridge. What’s the difference? Where’s the best place to use it? And how do I use Image Processor?

A: It’s the same command, but there’s one important difference between using it in Photoshop (File>Scripts>Image Processor) and in Bridge (Tools>Photoshop>Image Processor). When you use it in Photoshop, you can choose to process either the open images or a folder of images (every image within that folder will be included, along with the images in any subfolders, if you choose that). So, if you have a folder that contains images other than the ones you want to save as JPEGs, you’ll have a problem. When accessing Image Processor from Bridge, you can visually choose the images in Bridge with which you want Image Processor to work. For that reason, I prefer using Image Processor in Bridge.

As for how it works, the beauty of Image Processor is its simplicity. Assuming that you use Bridge, select the images you want to save as JPEGs, and then go to Tools>Photoshop>Image Processor. Bridge will automatically switch to Photoshop for the rest of the operation. In the dialog, choose the location to save the images. Note: It’s okay to choose the same location, as a folder called JPEG will automatically be created. Then check Save as JPEG, choose the quality setting you want to use, and if you don’t want to change the size, leave the Resize to Fit box unchecked. If you want to resize the images, enter the value you want for the longest measurement; for instance, if you enter 900 for both W and H, for landscape images, Photoshop will make the width 900 and the height will be whatever the math works out to. Click Run to process all the selected files.

Q: I must have pressed something by accident because suddenly my Toolbar and panels no longer show. What did I do?

A: The Tab key is the shortcut for hiding all the panels, and it’s a toggle shortcut: Press it again to show all the panels. If you want to keep the Toolbar and hide the other panels, press Shift-Tab.

Q: I have a photo of my son dressed as a ghost. How can I make him look see-through in this photo?

A: To make something see-through, it has to be on its own layer and, in this case, you also have to cover up the original subject. First, make a selection of the ghost and press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selection onto a separate layer. Hide that layer by clicking its Eye icon in the Layers panel.

Now, with the Background layer active, make a rough selection around the ghost, and then use Edit>Content-Aware Fill to cover up the original ghost. The results don’t have to be perfect, as you’ll be showing the ghost layer again, but of course you want to make it look as accurate as possible. To preserve the original background, make sure that Output To is set to New Layer in the Content-Aware Fill panel.

Next, turn the copy ghost layer back on and lower the layer’s opacity until you get the look you want.

Tip: If you were moving the selected ghost to a different image, you wouldn’t have to include the Content-Aware Fill step.

Q: Is there a way to toggle back and forth between two brushes using a keyboard shortcut?

A: As long as the brushes are adjacent to each other in the Brush Picker, there is a way to use the keyboard to switch between the two brushes. Press the . (period) key to go to the next brush and press the , (comma) key to go to the previous brush.

Tip: One easy way to remember this is to look at the Greater Than (>) and Less Than (<) symbols that appear above the Period and Comma keys, and think of these as arrows to remind you of the direction for brush selection.

Q: When I increase the leading in a paragraph of text, it increases the spacing between all the lines of text. But how do I add more space just between each paragraph, without adding another Return?

A: First select all your text and then go to the Paragraph panel (Window>Paragraph). At the bottom of this panel, you’ll see two options for adding extra space above and extra space below a paragraph. This is “live,” so you can experiment by entering different values to get the effect you want. Note: Like many text settings, this one is “sticky,” which means the setting will remain as you set it until you edit it again.