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The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

Photoshop

The No-Name Photo Effect

I really tried hard to name today's tip, honestly I did. I know I've seen the effect, but I've never heard it referred to in a specific way. I thought of calling it High Contrast Greenish Tinge, or Gen X Extreme Photo Effect, or a number of other catchy titles that didn't quite gel. (Copy editors, being all the wiser, know better than to try and write something catchy and cute, because it will just sounds corny to everyone but themselves.)

Tips for Better Text, Pt. 1

With so much time spent focusing on photo manipulation, I thought I'd spend a little time on text, and explore a very important option living deep inside the Character palette: kerning. Those of you skilled in the art of page-layout using Quark and InDesign know all about kerning, but did you know you can do it in Photoshop? Before I show you how, let's define this odd little word.

What the heck is kerning?

Simply put, kerning is tightening the space between letters. For example, note the distances between the letters circled in this screenshot.

Lines of All Kinds

Sometimes it's the simplest stuff that proves most challenging.

Take drawing lines in Photoshop. Sounds easy enough, if Adobe hadn't buried the Line Tool (yes there is one). But what if you need a line with arrows? Did you know there's a tool for that too? Today I'll introduce you to Photoshop's hidden Line Tool and the secret to customizable arrows at either end. As a bonus, I'll show you how to draw those handy little red circles you see in some of my tutorial screen shots. As luck would have it, the steps are identical in Photoshop Elements.

Cropping to the Rule of Thirds

Finding Photoshop's hidden cropping grid

Today I'm going to share with you a trick the pros use for composing truly visually pleasing photos. It's called the rule of thirds. It's a wonderful guideline to follow when composing a shot with your camera, and when cropping. If you're familiar with this rule already, you might be interested to know that there's a way to crop photos to this rule *perfectly* in Photoshop.

Wrangling Web Graphics, Pt. 1

Tips for creating small web graphics

To JPEG, to GIF, to PNG... that is the question. Each time we create a web graphic, we engage in the "quality vs. file size" dance. To make nice and tidy, quick-loading web graphics, they need to be small in file size; however, making them small in file size reduces quality.

The trick lies in knowing which file format to use when to give you the best quality, and knowing a few tricks about each format to squeeze them down to size.

Easy Clipping Groups

Place a photo inside text

Here's a fun, neat little effect that, surprisingly, doesn't seem too overdone. It's called creating a clipping group, and all it takes is an image and a word in which you want to bring that image through. The trick is in the placement of the text and image layers, and the holding down of a special modifier key to make the magic happen.

Fall Leaf Photo Frame

There once was a photo of maple leaf. It was a lonely little leaf, until one fortuitous day when it came upon a photo of young lovers frolicking on the crisp, fall ground. The lonely leaf carefully measured its width, then scrutinized its height. The lonely leaf realized it was big enough to hold the young lovers, and thus offered itself up as a frame. The lovers were thrilled at being cradled inside such creativity and they all lived happily ever after. The End.

Photoshop Brush Cursor

Last week I had the pleasure of catching one of my idols' sessions at PhotoPlus in New York City. Her name is Julienne Kost and when I grow up I want to be just like her. She's one of the best teachers on the instruction circuit and if you get a chance to catch one of her sessions, beg, steal or borrow to get yourself there.

Therefore, here's a little QuickTip plucked from her session which I believe you'll find most useful.

Simply Statues

How to turn friends and loved ones to stone (or a zombie--you pick)

If I could have my pick of superpowers, turning someone to stone would be near the top of my wish list. Especially today. Oh come on, you know you've thought about it too. It's the perfect revenge when someone tries to steal your taxi, take the last seat on the subway, stubbornly debates the reason behind global warming (we're on the tail end of an ice age people) or COMPLAINS that you didn't ASK them if they were hungry BEFORE you made them a delicious ham, mushroom, and swiss omelette... sigh.

Eyes of the Otherworld

The magic of iris enhancement

The idea for this week's tutorial came from an ad for the TV series named Lost (you may have heard of it). I came across a full-page ad in Entertainment Weekly featuring the main characters, and while I'll admit that all of them are reasonably attractive (except the evil Benjamin), there was something about this ad that made them particularly stunning and somewhat ethereal.

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