Photoshop Q&A

by | 1 year ago

Q: Photoshop 2021 has something called Version History. How does that work? 

A: If you save a document to the Cloud (rather than your local drive), you have the option of working with Version History. Open a cloud document and choose either File>Version History or Window>Version History to open the Version History panel. This panel keeps track of any changes you make and lets you revert back to a previous version, even after you’ve saved and closed the document. 

You can browse and view thumbnails of saved versions of your cloud document. Click the Mark version icon (bookmark) to save that version of your cloud document, and access your saved cloud document versions under the Marked Versions section at the top of the Version History panel. To revert back to a previous version, click on its three-dot icon, and choose Revert to this Version. The chosen version will move to the top of the version stack and allow you to edit from there. 

Q: I’d like to automate adding my logo to a series of photos, but there are both landscape- and portrait-oriented photos in the same folder. Is there a way to do that with actions? 

A: It can be done with actions, thanks to something called a Conditional Action. First, start with one of the landscape-oriented photos open, click on the Create New Action icon (+) at the bottom of the Actions panel (Window>Actions), name it “landscape,” and click Record. Now, you’ll record these steps: 

  • Go to File>Place Linked, navigate to your logo, and click Place. 
  • Use the Free Transform bounding box to scale and position the logo, and press Enter. 
  • Go to File>Save As, and save the file as a JPEG. 
  • Click the Stop Recording button at the bottom of the Actions panel. 

Note: It’s important that you never change the location or name of the logo, as the action will remember the path to the location from which you placed it. 

Next, open one of the portrait-oriented photos, make a new action called “portrait,” and record the same steps as with the landscape action. 

Then make a third action called “add logo.” Once you start recording, go to the Actions panel flyout menu and choose Insert Conditional. In the resulting dialog, from the If Current drop-down menu, choose Document is Landscape; for the Then Play Action drop-down menu, choose Landscape; and for the Else Play Action drop-down menu, choose Portrait. Click OK, and then stop recording. 

To run the conditional action, go to File>Automate>Batch. In the Batch dialog, make sure that your newly created conditional “add logo” action is chosen in the Play section. Select Folder for the Source, click Choose, and then navigate to the folder that contains your photos. Select Folder for the Destination and navigate to the folder where you want to save the images (it’s always a good idea to create a separate destination folder). Check the Override Action “Save As” Commands to ignore the saving location that was recorded and only use the file format that was recorded. Click OK. 

Hint: Try running the batch action on a small number of files before attempting to use it on a much larger number of photos. 

Q: How can the new Pattern Preview option help me create seamless patterns? 

A: Found under the View menu, Pattern Preview fills your screen with the pattern as you create it, so you can see how it will look as it repeats in a larger area. If you’re working with separate graphics, for example, as you drag to change their position, you’ll see a preview of how it looks as a repeating pattern. (It’s recommended to use smart objects for better results.) Or, use the Offset Filter (Filter>Other>Offset) to move the seams to the center of the canvas (enter values that are approximately half the canvas size). Then, as you use retouching tools, such as the Spot Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tool, the Pattern Preview helps you to evaluate how the repeating pattern will look. (To create a new pattern, first use Select>Select All and then, from the Edit menu, choose Define Pattern). 

Q: When would I use the Trim command rather than cropping? 

A: One situation where it might be easier to use Image>Trim is when you have a document that has a very thin border that’s either transparent or a color (such as white). Although you could try to use the Crop tool, it can be challenging to crop out such a thin border. By using the Trim command, you can trim away the transparent area or color based on either the Top Left Pixel Color or Bottom Right Pixel Color. 

Q: The Sky Replacement function in Photoshop 2021 comes with a series of skies, but can I use my own? 

A: Yes you can. Go to Edit>Sky Replacement, and then click on the sky thumbnail at the top of the Sky Replacement dialog to view a list of the preset skies. At the bottom of that list you’ll see three icons: Create New Group, Create New Sky, and Delete Sky. Click the Create New Sky icon, navigate to your sky image, and click Open. Assuming that you’ll eventually want to add more than one of your own new skies, you’ll probably want to create a new group and then add your skies to this folder. Once you’ve done that, your folder of skies will appear in the list of presets, and if you like you can drag your group to the top of the list. [For more on Sky Replacement, check out “Photoshop Proving Ground” in this issue.—Ed.]