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Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques

Lesson 4 of 25

Tool Presets and Actions

Dave Cross

Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

4. Tool Presets and Actions

Lesson Info

Tool Presets and Actions

if you looked in the history of creative life classes I probably talked about this five different occasions because I still feel it's incredibly important and I still find a lot of people don't do this and it's such a time saver and its tool presets so it's not advanced from a standpoint of how you do it but it will definitely speed up your work and it's one of those things where at the part of the reason I chose to show this again today is because I ran into someone a while back who'd been at one of my workshops and he came up during a break in the case that I need to apologize to you because you showed me to a priest that's like a year ago at that time I went oh that's so awesome and I've never started using them so now I know you're going to talk about them again like you're right I am and this is why because it takes like five times of hitting people over the head with a tool presets before they actually start using them so the concept of tool priest is very simple and almost every...

tool on photo shop when you go to use the tool you have to go and change some settings like in the case of a brush which brush which mode what opacity if we talk about type what fond what style what size we're talking about the crop tool what with what hide all the kind of stuff if you're filling those in over and over again with the same numbers that's definitely working too hard so instead what we do let's use I always use type because it's the example that has everything in it I just type some random text in here and then I form at the way I want to be centered on I wanted to be let's just shoes around number like eighty five and this font and this style whatever it is but I want to use this over and over again so rather than try and remember how did I do that I go over here beside whatever tool I'm using there's a little drop down menu and these air showing all the current tool presets I have this little page icon means make a new one and then I call it whatever I want and you can either this is up to you how you use this I tend to be very specific and call it fought style size alignment or something like that some people call it like main heading subheading or what they're using it for that's completely up to you the one thing I will say is it's currently calling this tool preset horizontal type tool one which is not really the most valuable name you could ever give a preset because I wouldn't tell you anything later on make sure you call it like too you know what I would do instead is I would call my own name like for mata medium eighty five and I have little things I use like a c for a line center or whatever it might be whatever you want to do and you click okay now that I have that preset here's how I use it before and this is important before I click with the tool I don't use the tool yet that's why it's called a preset because you do it ahead of time or pre is I before I start typing I go to this menu and I just click some other one to show you this is what it did look like was a different fawn and everything else so let's get to that now I think wait that's the wrong one I just go to this listen say there's the one I just made and as soon as I start typing it already has that in there so I showed the type told us because it's easy but imagine every time you go to press c for crop and you go to type something in here why not just pick from one you've already done that'd be so much easier to say I want a four by six and three hundred then type that in every time some of these are made for you ahead of time by adobe some of them are quite useful others not so much but they're really showing you this is what you could do normally for me what I do what I suggest is when you're using up here in the tools have it set to current tool on ly because then you'll only see the ones that are applicable to whatever tool you're using but here's an interesting function I think this is actually really smart was a student at once suggested this to me I thought it was a brilliant idea use it all the time now there is a panel called tool presets I already have mine loaded it shows up right here so currently I'm on the move too and you'll see it says no tool presets divide to find for current tool that I don't I only use the move to a certain one ways there's really no reason but if I uncheck current tool on lee now it shows me all of my tool presets so for example let's say for the sake of argument that I'm on the move tool but I want to switch to the type tool and to a particular preset what I used to do was press tea for type and then go on the pull down menu and pick the preset but keep in mind what's happening I'm on the move tool currently if I go and say this is the type that I want as soon as I click on it on this tool preset to things happen it switches of the type tool but already has the right preset so I didn't have to do it in two steps so you can use this tool preset panel is an interesting way to switch between tools and pick a preset in the same motion so you're not having to do first go get the tool then go pick the preset now if you're just ran only typing tex you don't have any preset mind then you could just as easily press t for the type but this is a really nice way to switch between all these functions I'm not going to get into any great detail here but in case you haven't used any of these presets as I said many of the ones we're seeing here were provided by adobe if there are pre sets that you look at you would say I would never use this particular preset then you go to the edit menu sorry I have to finish with my type tool under edit presets the preset manager is the keeper and organizer of all things presets if I go to my tool presets and realize in here there are certain functions that I've already actually done this but if there weren't there once that I saw I could go in so I never use that pre set I could click on it and then press delete so then they'll have a smaller list you can also back up your presets and do some other things in this way as well okay one of the tools that pops up all quite often on people's radar is the pen tool and I have a love hate relationship with the pencil I love using it but I hate that a lot of people think they're obliged to learn how to use it as a selection tool let me be specific because a lot of people say in fact I just saw post on the web site the other day that how should I say this I disagreed with its sentiment because it said the pen tool will give you the most accurate selections possible and to me that's simply untrue the pen tools another selection tool but eventually he will have to turn the pencil into a marquees are marching aunt selection the advantage of the pencil is it has its editable so you can go through and getting notes we're not gonna talk about it today or I'm not gonna talk about as a selection long talk about it as a both a creative tool and an editing tool in some interesting ways that aren't perhaps the obvious and that is weaken when you make a path out of the pen tool in photo shop you have to do something with it you don't just make a path for the sake of making a path because nothing what happened you either turn the path into a selection or something like that I'm going to show you a way that I would take advantage of so in this scenario here I want to make a curved let me start again I want to end up with a curved path and eventually I will paint to make it look like it's kind of spinning around this person so special effect but if you've ever tried using the pencil and tried making curves you'll know making curves can be one of the more challenging things the duke's yet do this whole clique and hold on drag and drag another one and drag another one and just it's kind of like yeah that's too much effort especially since for what I want to do I just want a bunch of curved lines all joined together this would be easier and I deliberately used the term end up with to know that I'm going to do a number of steps what the end result will be a nice curr path so with the pen tool every time I click once is going to change direction so I'm just going to kind of go back and forth like this gradually moving down like this maybe so now I just have this straight line what I really want is these to be curved well I deliberately did this way because to me this is so much easier to do click click click and then convert them to curse and the way you do that the long way would be to come over and use the tool called convert point tool or there is a particular key I could hold down which would make this better case you haven't guessed already it's the option or all key and all I do is I click and drag I get a curve and I click and drag another curve and I'm just going through and converting this straight point to a curve point in a way that's for me so much easier than trying to draw a path especially when in this case I wasn't trying to trace around something I'm just trying to draw this path that kind of will eventually hopefully look like it's curving around her so one of my philosophy using photoshopped I'm always thinking about ways where I can make my life easier by thinking end up with a result now this point ultimately I'm going to end up with paint whenever I paint something I need to put it on zone layer so I add a new layer and then I go and get my brush to also be for brush right now it has this star shape I don't want so let's use our little method here and I want to find one of these kind of unusual brushes something like this needs to be a little bit bigger all I'm doing is moving this and then moving back over so I can kind of get a sense I want you to be able to see it's going to make it bigger here okay then I need to choose the color that I want and I want to make sure you can see it's all use something really bright and vibrant now this point what I want to do is have photoshopped paint this for me instead of me take my paintbrush because obviously if I tried to paint curved lines they would not be smooth like this so I'm gonna have paint the path basically what have photoshopped do all the work for me the way I do that I have the layer to say this is the result of where the paint will go now before I do anything I'm going to go to my brushes here and here I can see some of the options that I can choose for this for example size jitter and scattering I'm just going to play around a little bit here think I wanna go back to the beginning and just do some spacing this give me a little preview in the corner here and honestly when I'm doing something this is probably not going to be perfect the first time I may have to switch a little bit but I'm just playing a little bit to try and see what I get I think I'll go with that now if I just had a quick sample brush that's kind of what the brush looks like it first but again I don't want to have to try and paint this myself so I got the layer as the place where the paint will go I go to the paths panel there's the thing called work path now right down the bottom here the second button in is called stroke path and it will stroke it with whatever tool you currently have now if I just pressed it it will just go there go there some paint and while that's maybe okay I would like to simulate what would happen if I used the pressure sensitivity on my tablet so the way you do that is sound like a broken record there's a particular key you hold down when you click on the stroke path with brush button the changes or makes it better in this case when I optional click on it it says what would you like to stroke the path with and there's a whole bunch of options it defaults to whatever tool I just had which was my brush tool but you'll see when the ox it is also simulate pressure so now when I click okay see the difference of the brushstroke was very thin it gets thicker because that was a setting I set up with my brush now if I click off the path the final part of this I'll do this very quickly but just to show you would be to go back to a more standard kind of brush and just go through it and say whatever I want it to look like it's behind her that probably wasn't good choices now in front of her face but well for now so I'm just kind of following through here and trying to make it look like it's going behind her and back again and so on now if I took more time I would play around with the opacity and things like that and add blending and all that kind of stuff but you can see given the alternative I tried to paint that myself just by using my brush the chances are it would not look that smooth if I decide I still don't like it I still have that path it's still there in the paths panel so I wouldn't have to delete this paint make some tweaks and then run it again each time however if I did that I just deleted that went back to the paths panel each time I have to optional click to make sure it's still set to simulate pressure so this is an example of a kind of a different way of using the pen tool is not just to make a selection but to ultimately make it something I'm going to stroke it with so at first I always used to just click that button and it would just stroke it with paint and then one day probably by either accident or some sort of random experimentation I started pressing other keys and saw this dialog box and was completely surprised when I saw things like stroke with clone stamp our stroke with spot healing brush and I was like want why would you ever want to stroke and I went wait a second if I could do that that might solve problems like this where I have these wires in the photo in this particular one is really annoying to me because it's so droopy maybe there's two or three of those I could try to trace over that very carefully with the spot healing brush or I could use a similar concept where I make a path I'm just holding down the command key here when I want to start to adjust this path to make it fit in case anyone ask no they still haven't improved the display of the path so it's easier to see on certain colors because it's still not then the same theory I would go at a blank layer I go get my spot healing brush and I haven't set to always content aware sample all layers which means put the results onto the blank layer the only thing I would do he's moved my mouse over here and see maybe the brush sizing beatle hair bigger something like that then I go back to path option or all click on that I want to tell it stroke with the spiraling brush don't simulate pressure click okay and it's done I did a bad job obviously up there with matching the line you can see overall it's not bad now imagine I had four drooping wires were all slightly different now I would just take my path selection tool which is this one over here click on that path and move it up to the next one and do it again so this was obviously didn't work out very well because I was rushing a bit but you get the idea that stroking the path with different tools there actually are some interesting possibilities in there that aren't kind of the obvious ones of you know I want to paint a circle or anything like that and particularly when you to me the biggest part I wouldn't do this with this healing brush but for a lot of other ones thie ability to simulate pressure means that's the same as if I took my pen on my tablet and did it by hand and pressed with different levels of intensity this just doesn't randomly but it does it for me so I still have not yet used all of these because there's some of them like yeah why would ever stroke with the art history brush but someone out there might come up with a method to go hey that will work so it's an interesting way to be creative especially since to be honest with you you don't have one hundred percent certainty of what exactly you're going to get because one says simulate pressure it just does it itself it doesn't say I will start here and they're just kind of says well let me randomize it someone today I'm not going to talk a whole lot about actions because there are lots of other classes here on quite of live we're going to much more detailed actions but I want to stress a couple of things about actions especially for those of you that are still let's just say somewhat reluctant to use actions or you tried it hasn't really worked out for you or something of that nature that I think there still plenty of occasions where it's worth taking a look at because it can save you a lot of time especially and this is aimed at those people that have really not done much of anything with actions is here's why would start the problem many people I think have with creating actions is they try and do too much the first time too many steps too many operations gets too complicated too quickly so instead they give up on it because it's just becoming too complicated so what I would suggest is a great place to start is think of functions in photo shop where there may be is only one step but it's kind of hidden away for example if I just simply want to add a stroke to a layer right now I have to go under laywer styles to stroke and I have to go change make sure this is set to inside and the size is this and the color is that you have to do that every time instead I might just record an action that does that one thing or another example would be if I simply want to rotate this ninety degrees counterclockwise right now I have to go in her image didn't think where it is because I do it by hand I'm sorry edit transform rotate nine degrees clockwise or counterclockwise so that's going down to a couple of sub menus just to do that so instead what I did is I recorded in action and all it does is just that one thing so for example I have a folder or they call it a set but I have a set already made for this which I'll show you in a second I just make a new action and I call it rotate and if I could type road taped one eighty hit record then I go to that edit menu and I choose transform rotate one hundred eighty degrees and stop recording now obviously didn't do anything to my image because it was a rectangle but all I wanted was record that so now in this set of actions I have all these little things here that are just simply each one just does one thing and you can see one says rotate ten degrees clockwise counterclockwise flip horizontal flip vertical now have one says rotate one eighty scale ten percent smaller duplicate layer all these operations which are found somewhere and a few cases even have a shortcut but the reason I do this is now one of things we can do with the actions panel has changed the display to this thing called button mode I'm going to move this layer over here so you can see it better and now these all become clickable actions instead of me having to memorize a keyboard shortcut I just click on a button so if I want to make this smaller I just click on it now it's ten percent smaller if I wantto rotate it ten degrees each time I click it is rotating a ten degrees if I wantto add a black stroke it adds a black stroke but when adlai air mask work in this case because the way order which I did it and sometimes that will happen to you but what this means is that now everything I'm doing is just a serious of single clicks we talked about tool presets before maybe there's a tool preset used so often that you don't even want to go click on it he just wantto click a button or press a keyboard shortcut like f five and it will activate that tool preset so you'd have to record a one step action of going and clicking on that pre set and then it would become one of these so all of these it just took me I don't know ten fifty minutes one day I just that's what things did I do I do all the time so I went and recorded a siri's of these one step action you don't have to use but mode it's just easier if you had keyboard shortcuts for each one like f to f three f or you could do that as well but here's another thing that's kind of interesting about this as sort of a side bonus if you record a siri's of actions that only have one or maybe two steps you can then record in action that plays those actions so you can actually say for this one action I want do these three things that recording them from scratch you say oh I already have them do rotate and then add a mask and at a stroke or whatever it might be you can just so you can make an action that plays other action so that's sort of a nice little side bonus here the next day I want to show you that's tied into this a little bit I'm going to preface is by saying this is the cautionary warning label for this next technique it's pretty cool but you have to think of it in the right context and that is if you ever find yourself thinking I wish there was a way that every time those are the key words right there every time I say open the document or quit photoshopped or launch photoshopped this would happen so for example every time I open a document I'd like to convert to a smart object would like to duplicate the back earlier or something like that but the key there is every time this is the warning part of this there's a way to do this it's really quite interesting but just have to keep it in that context that it's until you turn off again it will keep doing it and sometimes it could just be you might forget and it hap honey just the other day where I went to demonstrate this I forgot turn back off again and then it kind of messed me up for the next few minutes goes on like what is happening here so what you do for example here I haven't action and all it is is called convert to smart object so I previously recorded in action that I simply recorded the step that's called convert to smart object okay so you have to do that part first then you go to the under file two scripts and there's a thing here that's called script events manager looks much more intimidating than it really is so first of all I need to say yes make sure it's unable to run scripts or actions and here are all these things called events which are things like start the application make a new document open a document all these kind of things so I'm going to say every time I open a document I would like it to do this thing where did I put it I didn't pay attention that was bad okay one more time nope so tip number one is make sure you remember where you actually put it because this just in my that's why I need to let me put it in cancel this for one second hold on this wasn't a good choice I should have put it in a particular set will be much easier to do it all right let's review script script event manager open document take the script and choose thie uh make smart object and then I add it and click done so what this means now is every time I open a document let's use this one see how it saying just title one j peg if I double click on it it opens it and it's instantly a smart object now the reason why this isn't the most fantastic thing ever invented that you should always do without thinking about it is this is exactly what happened me the other day I demonstrated that and then forgot to turn it off so then I opened a smart object which had been made into a smart object so instantly and we'll talk about this later on it's actually a potentially useful function where you nest smart option inside itself but it did that automatically and completely messed me up so script events manager is interesting but you have to keep it in that frame of reference that literally means from now on until I turn off again every single time you do this one function make something happen so as long as you use it with caution for example what I worked with a group where they had to people that shared the same machine and one of the problems that we're having is that one person would leave in a certain way another person would change the defaults so they set up a script this script event manager said every time I quit photoshopped put it back everything back to default so the next user wouldn't have someone else's defaults so in there case it made perfect sense to do that because they wanted that to happen every single time the reason I show this is because I use this for situations where I think for the next twenty minutes I want this to happen so what's every time for a very significant or specific a portion of time if you just leave it on forever it'll come potentially ruin your life because you'll be like what is happening here especially not that we would ever do this of course but on april fool's day they want to someone else's machine and say every time you open a document flip it one hundred eighty degrees it'll just mess him up completely because I'll be like don't ever do that that would be really bad but you could okay one last thing I want to show for this segment and I showed you before thee what I think is the importance of using keyboard shortcuts like the letters for the keys here's how you can take that a step further I showed you a few moments ago how used the pen tool for specific things like putting healing brush along a path but realistically for me I don't use the pencil very much anymore I use it very specific things but I do constantly going over here the color picker to choose a color so I decided that I would much rather that it had a keyboard shortcut than the pencil that's just me personally so you can change the keyboard shortcut you just go under edit and then keyboard shortcuts and in this case you'll see it says tools if I scroll far enough down there is nothing that says foreground color picker and I'm one and this is the choice I'm personally making us I'm going to make it pee and it's gonna warn me and say that's already in used by the pen tool and will be removed if you accept this now my personal feeling was I use the color picker way more often than I do the pen tool so for me I'm ok with doing that for people who are heavy uses the pencil well don't do this but if you if I choose except it means from now on if I'm working and I had the color picture I just press p and it pops up and to me that makes perfect sense the other option would be for example I spent half my life going in clicking on this button that says add layer mask I thought why on earth is there not a keyboard shortcut for adlai or mask I do it so often well the good news is you can make one the challenging part is finding a shortcut that's not already in use because the dhobi uses but every conceivable combination of letters so here's what I would suggest try and again this is a personal preference I'm not advocating should all go out and do this but this is the thought process you would go through eventually I find so here's the place where I can add a shortcut for adelaide mask so I'm thinking what could I use how about command shift l or control shift ellen see what that is so I put that in it tells me this is already in use will be moved from otto tone well my personal feeling is I never have ever used auto tone nor will I ever like they use it so I'm personally perfectly okay was saying you bet I will accept that now if it pops up and says this will be moved from save or something santa will then don't use that one but look at it and say do I even know what that is that well I ever likely use it and so I'm going to choose except and as soon as I do that now I can press that shortcut bang that layer mask so much faster than having to go and click on something now again I'm not suggesting we should all run out and make add this specific keyboard shortcut but that's the thought processes you say I wish there was a short cut for this function that currently doesn't have one let me put in what I would like it to be and see where where that's currently being used now we're gonna talk about this in one second but in this handout that I have created I went through and I looked really quickly fallon see one two three four five six seven eight nine ten I found ten short cuts that are currently being used by something in photo shop that I looked at and went you know these four are never going to use these other six I use them so infrequently I'd rather apply them to something I use so that's in this handout it's things like auto tone auto contrast auto color print one copy why we just used print I just print and then make sure it says one so that to me is a shortcut that's being used there's other things I use occasionally like safer webb I don't use that that often so that's a shortcut that could be available file info color balance vanishing point they're all things that I might use occasionally but I'm thinking there are probably more valuable uses that I could make out of them so that way and that's what you have to do is go through and look at it from a perspective of do I ever used the shortcut and then it's I think you're much more likely used a shortcut if it's one you have created as opposed to one that photo's officers said hey guess what this is a shortcut for this function make it your own and this is the way you do do the pdf that you were just talking about I would love for the guys because that is only available for folks that purchase it's going to be over sixty pages and nico has put it up on the boar on the screen there you're you're going to be covering everything really soup to nuts as folks like to say every little bit of stuff that we're talking about we're going to be putting into this workbook it's only available with purchase and it's over sixty pages but of course I didn't know what the final number is you because it's working forget it that's what I wanted that and I wanted to mention it is a work in progress correct so well and and the reason I do that is because what I realizes once before when I was teaching her and creative live by ahead of time did a handout and enjoying the class because it organically kind of changed some questions I realize well now I don't have those in the handout because I didn't plan on talking about those so with this hand out I started it and then about halfway through thought you know especially for the second day I think it's going to be a little more freeform so I'm gonna wait and make mental note and then make the handout that based on what I actually show and the reason I other reason I do that as I know what it's like to be someone sitting trying tow watch and take notes and look up and go what just happened yeah you know and you miss one step so these aren't bullet points the's are it's like a book I mean it says in this technique you will do the following step one it goes through it has a description all full color screen captures using mostly the same images of I remember that I'm using throughout the class but it's like I said it's currently at forty five pages and I'm still have the whole day to go big

Class Description

There is always a better way to edit in Adobe® Photoshop® – learn new, advanced techniques from expert instructor Dave Cross and develop a faster, more effective post-production process.

In Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Dave will introduce you to a wealth of little-known and under-utilized techniques that you can use to make your photographs really pop. You’ll learn new ways to work with:

  • Layers and masks
  • Composites
  • Type
  • Camera Raw
  • Color grading

Dave will show you how to speed up your work with luminosity masks and how to be more creative using the Blend If sliders. You’ll see how non-destructive methods – including smart objects, adjustment layers, vector shapes, and smart filters – can boost both productivity and creativity. You’ll also get lots of great tips on automating your work.

Open up a world of creative possibilities – join Dave Cross for Advanced Adobe® Photoshop® Techniques.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dave's Detailed Course Notes

Using Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I am an experienced photographer and retoucher and this Advanced Photoshop class with Dave Cross was exactly what I was hoping to find. I know how to accomplish everything I need in Photoshop, but was looking for the ways that I could update my workflow with the new features that have been added by Adobe. The complete use of Smart Objects and libraries is already changing my life and is incredibly useful and time saving. Dave gave a great explanation about the coarse at the beginning as to the fact that he just wanted to help users make their workflow better and he did just that...and in an enjoyable way. I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

While not highly experienced in PS I'm also not a newbie. I've done a few other online courses and am a member of other training sites but very quickly found I got information here that I hadn';t yet come across. Nesting smart objects and the non-destructive editing abilities they give me was one of those light bulb moments. Lots of other useful information in this course. Had to try the CC Library as a result. Very useful..... wish it saved the layer comps with your file though. Put some of these new learnt skills into a composite straight away.... did I say I'm loving nested smart objects!! A great course Dave.


Brilliant, love Dave's clear presentation style which is easy to follow, simply had to buy this one. I thought i had a pretty good grasp on photoshop but I'm delighted at how some of these seemingly simple tips and tricks have improved the quality of my final images and the speed at which I can work.