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Photoshop Q&A

by | 2 years ago

Q: Is it possible to use Content-Aware Fill on a smart object?

A: Unfortunately not, but you can take advantage of Content-Aware technology by using the Patch tool. Add a blank layer above the smart object layer, and in the Options Bar settings for the Patch tool, set the Patch menu to Content-Aware and check Sample All Layers. Make a selection around the problem area, and then drag it to the area you want to use as the patch. When you release the mouse button, the selected area will update with the patch information.

Note: If the results are not ideal, you can adjust the Structure and Color settings. For Structure, enter a value between 1 and 7 to specify how closely the patch should reflect existing image patterns. If you enter 7, the patch adheres very strongly to existing image patterns; if you enter 1, the patch adheres very loosely to the existing image patterns. For Color, enter a value between 0 and 10 to specify the extent to which you want Photoshop to apply color blending to the patch. If you enter 0, color blending is disabled. A Color value of 10 applies maximum color blending.

Q: How do I make a rectangle with only one rounded corner?

A: Use the Rectangle tool and set the tool mode in the Options Bar to Shape. Drag out a Rectangle and then go to the Properties panel. Toward the bottom, you’ll see four icons, each one representing a corner. By default, these are linked together, so to change the settings of just one corner, click on the chain link icon in the center to unlink the settings. Then position your mouse over the icon of the appropriate corner and drag to the right, using the scrubby slider to change the setting of that corner. This is a live setting that you can come back to and edit, if necessary.

Q: Some applications, such as InDesign, let you save a template so it opens an untitled copy of the template. Can you do that in Photoshop?

A: Photoshop doesn’t have the option to save as a template (as you can in InDesign); however, simply saving a file as a PSD file is, in effect, the same as saving a template. The only difference is that it won’t open an untitled copy of your file, so there are a few solutions, for example:

  1. Open the PSD file and immediately go to File>Save As and save it with another name. This will preserve the original PSD file, but the onus is on you to remember to Save As.
  2. Find the file outside Photoshop and make the file Read Only in Mac Finder’s Get Info dialog or the Windows File Explorer’s Properties dialog (Right-click on the file in either and choose Get Info or Properties from the pop-up menu).
  3. Find the file outside Photoshop and manually change the extension from .psd to .psdt.

Q: I want to use my existing Foreground color in a Photo Filter adjustment layer, but when I try to use the Color option, it defaults to some orange color. How do I use my Foreground color in Photo Filter?

A: There’s a simple trick you can use to do this: click on your Foreground color swatch in the Toolbar to open the Color Picker and, you’ll see the hexadecimal (#) field at the bottom of the left column. There, you’ll see a combination of letters and numbers known as a hexadecimal code that should be highlighted. Copy the contents of that field and close the Color Picker. Now add a Photo Filter adjustment layer and click on the Color swatch. In the Color Picker, highlight the same field and Paste, and then click OK. Voila!

Q: I tried recording my first action, but when I try to play it on another image, I get an error that says: “The command ‘Select’ is not currently available.” What did I do wrong?

A: The steps you record in an action are very specific and literal. So, for example, if you clicked on a layer called “Layer 1” while recording the action, it will work only on another document that also has a layer called “Layer 1.” You’d get the same error message if when you recorded your action, you clicked on the Background layer, and then tried to run it on a document with an unlocked bottom layer (therefore, no longer called “Background”).

One way to avoid this is to have the appropriate layer selected before you start recording. That way, the action only records whatever operation you’re doing, and doesn’t try to select the layer called Background.

Q: In Select & Mask, what’s the difference between the View modes Onion Skin and On Layers?

A: Onion Skin view has a Transparency slider: Set it to 0% to see the full-opacity original; use 100% to preview your selection with only the selected area visible; and use any percentage in between to see your selection at full opacity and the area outside the selection as semi-transparent. This last option can be very helpful when determining where to paint with the Refine Edge Brush tool.

In contrast, On Layers is the equivalent of Onion Skin set to 100%.

Q: I want to create a grid made out of guides. Is there a simpler way than repeatedly dragging out guides?

A: Yes! Under the View menu, there’s an option called New Guide Layout. In the dialog, make sure that Preview is checked so that any changes you make are shown live. Then, enter the values for Columns, Rows, and Margins. Hint: If you want a simple grid, make sure that Gutter has a value of 0; otherwise, you’ll have extra guides, as the Gutter is the space between columns (as in page-design software such as InDesign).

Note: You can also save and then use presets for commonly used guide layouts.