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Photoshop Q&A

by | 3 years ago

Q: Is it possible to scale the size of pattern when you apply it?

A: As long as you use the Pattern Overlay Layer Style you can change the scale of the pattern (Other methods such as the Fill command and the Pattern Stamp tool do not have the a sizing option). Add a new layer and fill it with any color, then add the Pattern Overlay Layer Style. In this settings for Pattern Overlay there is a Scale slider. Choose the scale you want, knowing that as a Layer Style you can always come back to this setting and change it. If your pattern contains transparency, change the Fill Opacity of the layer to 0.

Q: How can I put a white border around the outside of a photo?

A: There are two possibilities depending on the thickness of the border and whether you need to border to be added completely outside the original photo or if the white border can be within the original document. If you want a border to be added to the outside of your photo and are okay with the overall document dimensions changing as a result, use Image>Canvas Size. Check the Relative button and enter the amount of extra canvas you want. The dimensions of the photo will increase to allow for the extra pixels that have been added, but none of the original photo will be covered. (If the Background layer is unlocked, or you’re working with a Smart Object, the extra canvas will be transparent. Then you‘d have to add a new layer below filled with white to achieve the same look).

The other option is to use the Stroke Layer Style, recognizing that there is a maximum size you can use (250 pixels), and the border will cover up the original edges of the photo. Add a new layer filled with any color and then open the Stroke Layer Style. Enter the size you want, set the Position to Inside and click OK. Change the Fill Opacity to 0. In this case the original dimensions of the photo remain the same, but a portion of the photo is covered up. On the other hand since it is a Layer Style, it’s easier to edit the width of the border at any time.

Q: How do I change the display order of brushes?

A: It depends on the version of Photoshop: in Photoshop CC 2019 you can drag brushes (and brush groups) in the Brush picker and Brushes panel to change the order. In earlier versions go to Edit>Presets>Preset Manager, choose Brushes and drag to change the display order of the brushes.

Q: I’d like to put the Lens Flare filter in a specific location. Is that possible?

A: It’s a hidden option, but yes. First view the Info Panel (Window>Info) and then position your cursor in the location where you want the lens flare to appear, and make note of the X Y coordinates. Add a new layer and fill it with black (this will allow the lens flare to be moved if necessary). Use Filter>Render>Lens Flare to open the filter dialog, and then hold down Option (PC: Alt) and click in the preview window. Enter in the Precise Flare Center dialog the coordinates you previously noted. Change the Blend mode of this layer to Screen.

As mentioned, putting the lens flare on a separate layer means it can be moved, however depending on your settings and the photo you’re using, you may see an edge. This happens when the lens flare is close to an outer edge so the area around the flare is no longer pure black. Here’s a way to avoid that: after add a new filled with black, use the Move tool to reposition the layer so that there’s some transparency and then fill with black. Repeat this until you have extra pixels around the layer (as illustrated here by the size of the Free Transform handles). Repeat the previous steps to apply the lens flare, but now you have a little extra room to move the layer.

Q: There are some functions in Photoshop that require a value, but there’s no indication of the range of numbers I can use. How do to determine what the range of possible values is possible for these settings?

A: The simplest way is to enter an unusually high value and click OK. For example, enter a value of 5,000 and when you click OK a dialog will appear that says “A number between X and Y is required. Closest value inserted”. Of course the X and Y value will vary with the function, but now you know the range of values you can use in that setting.