As always, we’ll start the column with a quick look at the news, and what’s happening in the graphics arena. Then I’m going share ten of my favorite Adobe Photoshop 6.0 tips.
New Photoshop Plug-in
Human Software introduced a new Photoshop effects plug-in called MagicTrak Version 1. It’s designed as a special effects engine for creating type effects, but it’s most compelling feature may be it’s ability to put type on a path — which up till now, could only be done using Extensis PhotoGraphics, another great plug-in. More than that, they’ve tried to create a full-featured Illustration/Draw program in a plug-in (I haven’t reviewed it yet, so I can’t tell you if they hit their mark). MagicTrak Version 1 comes with a library of over 250 built-in special effects, and you can create your own custom effects as well.
The software sells for $79, but they discount it if you buy it online “unboxed” and download it, rather than having them ship it to you.
Easy come, easy go, and back again. Just in case you missed it, Adobe did release a free downloadable update to Adobe Illustrator, bringing it to version 9.0.2, which addressed a number of bugs. However, just a few days after they posted it, they pulled it back down. Then last week the update made it back up on the servers for you to download.
Want to learn Flash? Get this book
If you’re one of the bazillion Web designers who wants to learn Macromedia Flash, I just finished reading a Flash book I think you’ll get a lot out of. It’s called “Foundation Flash 5” by Sham Bhangal, Amanda Farr, and Patrick Rey. It teaches you Flash using projects, starting with some very simple movement, and continuing until you’re building your own Flash-based Web site. The authors write in a very readable fashion, and they interject their personality along the way, making it an easy, fun read. I must warn you, there are a few Windows screen captures, but not enough to chase you away. You can find it on Amazon.com or at your local bookstore.
PlanetPhotoshop.com to co-sponsor PhotoshopWorld
In my last installment, I told you about the re-launch of Planet Photoshop the Ultimate Photoshop Site, and how they were posting daily Photoshop tutorials, news, etc. We’ll, they’re now one of the official media sponsors of PhotoshopWorld (which has become the largest Photoshop-only event in the world) and they will have a booth on the PhotoshopWorld Tech Expo show floor.
PhotoshopWorld 2001 will be held April 27, 28, 29 at the LA Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. PlanetPhotoshop.com joins other show sponsors including Platinum sponsors Adobe Systems, Wacom, and Agfa, and Gold sponsors Alien Skin Software, Apple Computer, Media Lab, Color Vision, and nikMultimedia.
Get Dreamweaver and a Wacom tablet for a deal
OK, here’s your excuse to finally get that Wacom graphics tablet you’ve been waiting for. Wacom and Macromedia are running a bundle deal right now where if you buy Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Fireworks 4 Studio, and a Wacom special edition Intuos 6×8 (or 9×12) graphics tablet (in graphite, to match your G4), you save anywhere from about $250 to $350 clams (depending on the particular bundle you choose). Not too shabby! It’s their ” Bundle up for the New Year ” promo.
Martin Evening posts free article on Photoshop 6.0 color management
Martin Evening, author of the book, “Photoshop 6.0 for Photographers” has posted a couple of very useful articles on his Web site regarding Photoshop 6.0’s new color management. The articles, downloadable in PDF format, including an “Introduction to Photoshop color management”, which discusses color management basics, and “Photoshop 6.0 color management”, which takes you step-by-step through the Photoshop 6 color settings. You can download it, along with other articles at the Web site.
Got $190 bucks? Want a digital camera and a scanner?
Don’t know if you caught this one, but it gives you an idea how fast technology is moving, and how fast prices are dropping. Microtek has a bundle deal where you get their ScanMaker 4600 42-bit flatbed desktop color scanner, and their MN100 digital camera, for only $189.95.
That’s it for the news. Now, it’s Photoshop 6.0 tips time. I picked 10 of some of my favorite 6.0 tips. I hope you like ’em. (they’re in no particular order)
1. Make that Brushes palette float again — for a second or two anyway. You may have already heard that you can move the Brushes pop-up menu to a new temporary location by holding Shift-Control and clicking within your image area. It temporarily parks the open Brushes menu there, where you can then choose a new brush tip, but then you’ll have to either press Enter, click once in the Options Bar, or click (paint) on your image to make it go away again. Four steps to choose a brush is just too much. Try this instead: Shift-Control-click and drag in your image area, drag to the brush you want, and then just release the mouse button (all one movement). It’s really just one step, and is much faster. Try a few times and you’ll be hooked.
2. Don’t know which font you want? Try this: once you’ve entered some time, highlight it, then click once in the Font field up in the Options Bar. Now use the Up/Down arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll through your different typefaces, and you’ll see them change live on screen, making it easy to choose the right face.
3. Want to change your unit of measure? Control-click within one of the Rulers and a pop-up list of measurement units will pop-up for a quick change.
4. Can’t find Adobe Gamma anymore? That’s because in 6.0 Adobe moved it into back into your Control Panels folder, so now you can access it from there.
5. Sometimes it can be a pain to highlight some of the fields in the Options Bar. Instead of trying to drag your cursor in those tiny fields, just click on the name of the field and it will automatically highlight the field for you.
6. If you ever wanted to know the HTML Web color of a color within a Photoshop image, just hold the Control key, and click the Eyedropper tool on any color in the image. A pop-up menu will appear where you can choose “Copy color as HTML.” Then you can insert that color as HTML text in your Web app’s HTML editor. It will appear like this:
7. If you highlight some type so you can change its color, the highlight colors covers the color change, and you can’t see what your type looks like until you remove the highlight. Here’s the tip: after you highlight the type, press Command-H to temporarily hide the Highlighting, so you can see the type color as you change colors.
8. Need a bigger brush? Make a temporary one in seconds. Here’s how: If you’re working with a brush just click on the brush thumbnail icon in the Options Bar and a new brush dialog will appear. Move the slider to the size you want and start painting. When you switch brushes later, the temporary brush you created is gone, and best of all, you didn’t affect the original brush, it’s still intact.
9. Want to copy a Layers Style (Layers Effect) from one layer to another? It’s easy — in the Layers palette just drag it from one layer to the next.
10. Do you miss GIF89a Export for creating background transparency? You do. As far as I can tell, the version back in 5.5 still works in 6.0. I just make a copy of it (At the Finder, under the File menu, choose Duplicate), dragged it in my Photoshop 6.0 Plug-ins folder, under Import/Export, and it’s back! Works fine so far. But in reality, you don’t need it. Just convert your image to Index color (from the Image menu, under Mode) then go under the Image menu again, and choose Color Table. Use the eyedropper tool to click on the background color you want to appear transparent.
Well, that’s it for now. If you’ve made it this far, all the way to the bottom of the page, I have to admit, I’m proud of you. 🙂
If you have any graphics news, product news, or ideas for tutorials, or know a great Italian restaurant in San Francisco (besides the Garlic Rose), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you have any idea what happened to the offense of the Tampa Bay Bucs or the Florida State Seminoles in the past week, please let me know, because we sure can’t figure it out.
See you soon.
For more columns by Scott Kelby, click here.
Scott is Editor-in-Chief of Photoshop User magazine, and President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), the leading resource for Adobe Photoshop training, education, and news.
Scott is author of the new book ” Photoshop Down and Dirty Tricks ” and is one of the co-authors of the book “Maclopedia, the Ultimate Reference on Everything Macintosh” from Hayden books, and “Adobe Web Design and Publishing Unleashed,” from Sams.net Publishing.
Scott is training director for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, Technical Chair and Educational Director of PhotoshopWorld, (the annual convention for Adobe Photoshop users), and is a speaker at graphics tradeshows and events nationwide. Scott is also featured in a series of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Web design video training tapes and he has been training graphics professionals across the country since 1993.