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Break Bad Photoshop Habits

Lesson 3 of 4

The Five Forbidden Fruits: Flatten, & Rasterize in Photoshop

Dave Cross

Break Bad Photoshop Habits

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

3. The Five Forbidden Fruits: Flatten, & Rasterize in Photoshop

Lesson Info

The Five Forbidden Fruits: Flatten, & Rasterize in Photoshop

I want to mention another example of that end up with things since I talked about that all the time, and that is, uh, let's, just something really simple here, where I'm just trying to create a visual effect, and I want tohave a siri's of small squares evenly spread out across it just as a design element for something, whatever it is, I'm doing a logo or a business card or something, so I make a new layer and I take my marquis selection tool and I make a little box and we'll just fill it with some color, ok? They shouldn't be selected, so eventually what I want is x number. I don't know what that number is yet because I'm not a mathematician, so I can look and say, I think I need twelve of those boxes I want to be able to put some number but have them evenly spread apart and in the recent version of photo shop, cc there's a for quite a while for shot there's been a thing called smart guides, but smart guys have got even smarter, so now they're like brilliant guides or something and wha...

t they're called technically, but this so called smart like guys where you could theoretically do it on the fly, but I want to do in such a way that I can change my mind quite easily. So the way I do that is I'm going to use there's a function called free transform allows you to do things like move and rotate with a little twist because you said regular, free, transform here's, what would happen? I do, come on, I think I would do this. I do free, transform, commanding control. T and I would move the position of this closer here and when I let go that's just it's new position. Well, I don't want to move that. I want to make a copy. That's moved that far apart so that the little trick is and I have to do two things. First of all, I d selected it. If this square was still selected and I use this next step, it would put all my squares on one layer, which on the surface might sound like a good idea, but then I can't redistribute them if they're all on one layer. So eventually and this is this end up with recurring theme here. Eventually, I want to end up with what looks like one layer filled with little boxes, but I want to get there by giving myself more opportunity to experiment. So it's, make sure de selected free transformers commander control t or you found under the edit menu. For this trick toe work you throw an option on the mac are all for windows she would either press command option tea on the mac, control alte for windows or hold down the key and then go under here and she was free transport. Either way, it doesn't matter what that does is that gives a little signal to photo shop that says whatever you do next, do it to a copy don't move this layer move another one make a copy so I move it over say that far I have no idea how far that is or you if that's the right amount it's a total guess but that's ok because we were doing it I hit enter now you see I have a second layer that's moved that far apart. Now the only part of this that you have to be careful is don't do anything else after this so the first time you move that special free transporting it enter the next thing you do is a keyboard shortcut that's going to make multiple copies the same distance and it's the simple to remember the short cut his base with the entire left side of your keyboard t so command option shifty or control all shifty means whatever you just did do it again so if I zoom back out and do that keyboard shortcut each time I press and see how it's putting another box that far apart now I've ended up with ten layers which it first looks like a really clunky layers panel but least it means now in the interim I can move things around a side where I want them if I decide for example, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten maybe I want eight boxes instead of ten, so I'm going to delete the last two but now they're not spread out evenly across so this is the last one right here my whole down get my move to allow the shift key I can move it to say there so that's where I want that far end to be the first layers in the right position somehow any of those other ones in the middle to be evenly distributed so if you're again being paid hourly, then manually moved them all by hand with a ruler but now what you do instead as you just the first that layer is already actively selected I moved down, hold downshift and click on the bottom layers. Now all my layers air selected press b for the move tool and all these buttons up here or are a line and distribute options and one of them is distribute by their centers and it goes there we go did all the math for you and it actually makes that noise just like that um so now I have all these layers now some people this point there thought would be so now I can merge them together right? And I'd be like, well, you could but what happens if you show this to recline there? Like I thought we agreed on seven boxes now you're kind of in trouble, so even when it thinks like you think like this would be, the point would be ok to merge these layers together, I would be hesitant to do that just because in the back of my head there's that little voice saying, yeah, but what if so and said, I do one of two things I would either put them in a group command or control g now in my layers panel, it looks like on ly one layer, but it's actually still got all those separate layers inside or the other option is I would convert this layer to something called a smart object, which we'll talk about later on, so I'm going to save this file so I can come back to this later on just to make sure you don't lose anything hammel to save it right in here, okay, so for now, at least this way, so now you see I have this image as a group one technically that's, although separate box layers if I take my move tool and I have the group selected aiken moved them all but then if I decide this one layer right or box right here I can still deleted and do that reduced everything again so as soon as you make the decision to flatten merge emerge downing of those type things you're limiting yourself and so are there times where it's ok to merge probably but I can't think of many because I'd much raw even if I'm a thousand percent convinced at that moment in time that I could merge these layers now I don't know how do you really know one of the joys of photo shop is the ability to come back it's something later and go now I look at it I wish these were this way or that way and you can't do that if it's now back to being one layer I shouldn't say that technically you could but it's way more difficult because I have to cut something off a layer it's just much harder so the recurring theme here is why are we working so hard? We don't have to so end up with I want to end up with x number of boxes on one layer that's the way I want it make it look but to get there I'm going to make sure I do it in a way that's giving me the most opportunity to try different things so this philosophy applies to as I mentioned earlier making a selection try and make a difficult selection well, then don't make a difficult do it into ten pieces we need to so that you end up with that person selected, but you're not trying to do it in one shot that's going to take you twenty five minutes, you said here's, your body here's your arm and then you put it all together so you still end up with the look you want, but you're not struggling so hard to get there and that's one of things that the most common, a lot of things I try to teach our based on comments I hear from people and they say things like, I wish it wasn't so hard to select a person with hair blowing in the wind. Some of us don't have that problem just take photos of ourselves no hair easy to composite, but if you do and I see people again, they're trying to get a selection of her body and her hair blowing in the wind. To me that's two different challenges when I do it in two parts select her body because that's nice hard edges of clothing and then to a separate selection and mask off her hair to the viewer. Those two layers look like one person there, but you know it took less time because you're able do it into pieces. So a lot of times I think people aren't looking, they're not thinking ahead the right way, they're just thinking I need to select her well, kind of what you're willing to do is make it look believable that she's now on a new background, that that means you have to do it in five pieces, so being as opposed to I got to do it in one piece who says no one came down said thou shalt on ly have one layer mask, no, make five layers with massive that makes your life simpler, so that's, probably one of the biggest bad habits that I find people do is they're just thinking of the process of I need to get this done, as opposed to how can I do it? The way is going to make my life simpler. So, um, in this particular case, like I said, we'll show that again, I could either do this group idea or the other option would be for to make this thing called a smart object now a smart object, actually, that me sorry, I'm going to come back to that later, but I don't think I want to touch on that yet till I sort of show you some other things first, okay, so let's do this one first, so here's something I was playing around with and I didn't really have any idea this is one of things a lot of boat photo shop is I did not go into this thinking that would look cool, but as I arbitrarily picked this font for this ampersand, I thought who kind of might be able to make it look like the m and the ampersand are kind of interlinked with each other? Well, the problem is how can you do that if it's a type player because you can't a race or delete part of a type player? Well, ultimately you can, but I'll show you this is the the bad way, so please don't ever do it this way. But this is the thing that people realize that they go to use like, say, the eraser tool uh, he said a racer to pick the wrong to look and it's telling me I can't do that and it says this type player must be rast arise before proceeding it's text will no longer be editable rast arise the type now if it was me this dialog box the it's texted longer be editable should be read and flashing, and instead of prompting a click ok, there should be a button that says, no, thank you I'd rather make a smart object instead, but right now, it's just going now, and the problem is that people think well, if it's probably to say ok, that must be good then so you click ok and sure enough now you can start erasing things, everything else but if you decide later on that's the wrong thought was not type anymore. So that's just not a good idea. So instead so rast arising is on the same keeps the same company as merge and flattened for me just not good ever doing anything and you get a warning that says you have to rast arise, then stop and come up with a plan b and usually the plan b is smart object and this will be a recurring theme we'll talk about the next little while so for example in this case I don't have to make a smart object ball I want to do is make it look like this texas interacting are looping where you want to call it interlacing then I can add a type player here let's get a little closer and I just decided I want to make it look like this. Part of the ampersand is going behind so I take my paintbrush go through my little checklist everything's good and I just did a very bad job my paintbrush was much too big can actually make my life easier if I made a selection like this so now I've got the look that I wanted, but everything is still life type, so if someone now decided, well, I really like the idea, but can you use a different typeface? I could I probably have to redo the mass, but least I haven't done anything where the answer is no, I'm sorry, I can't because I hate that when either for myself or someone else, they say, oh, can you just change this one thing? They're thinking, it's one thing I'm knowing, gosh that's, another hour's worth of work where we're doing it this way. It's not so any time you rastra rise, merge a race, delete, flatten, I call those the five forbidden fruits of photo shop you shouldn't use any one of those because they're very permanent and they don't give you the chance to go back and say, well, I wish I hadn't done that. Now again, I'll be perfectly honest are there times where I just open up a photograph and delete one part? Yes, but more often than not, my little voice ahead is going shouldn't be abusing a layer mass, dave, and I'm like, yes, you're right, dave, you should be using their mask, because just, you know, honestly there's no downside to it had a discussion once with a friend of mine and we were he was sort of being devil's advocate because he knows I'm so into saying non destructive and he says, you know, I get what you're saying, but honestly, if if I'm doing something, I know that I'm ok with deleting max, I'm not going to change my mind, and my response is, well, a how do you really know at that moment time you might never change your mind and be maybe you're doing it, and then someone else comes along and says, well, I'd like to use that can you just change this one thing? But again, I don't want you to think it's on lee, the ability to change your mind, it's also the creative process of being able to experiment more things so let's, take this little step further. Now I'm thinking, I want to do something with this type like apply a filter to it. Well, if I try to apply a filter like, uh, battle let's just to, uh maybe we'll do some texture now this is a smart dialogue box right here I would can't tell you how happy I was when I saw this dialog box in fact, it happened the first time is one things after the creative cloud is you click on say there's an update would you like to update I usually read a quick summary of the key things but doesn't tell you all the little stuff like this size actually the middle of teaching workshop and I expected it to say what I always said this type must be restaurants before proceeding and was about to say or there should be button that says confer to smart object is actually there now I was so happy that it's actually because people who didn't know any different I'd tell him don't rast arise cancel now it says convert to smart objects like hey that's such an awesome dialogue michael so happy well what does that mean? Because the first glance what happens is now I can apply my filter well how can I do that without rast arising because deploy filtered attacks used to have to turn it into pixels well when you look at the smart object layer where it says mike there you don't see that letter t anymore and the tea is always indications the type player so what is happening here? Well let's just do some things you can see it obviously so now I've applied a texture to it well what happens when you convert a layer to a smart object it's like you're taking an object and putting it inside a piece of tupperware that's completely clear you can still see it but technically you can't touch it so technically, I didn't actually texturizing the text the texas still protected as an active type player, is just inside this container, so people describe in different ways. I like to use the container and contact contents concept to say that reminds me I can't I'm not even though it looks like I am touching that type player in some way, I'm actually not so the question becomes, well, what if I decide I want to change the font or something else? How do I get to it? Well, if it wasn't a tupperware container, you'd have to open it and get that contents out and do something to it well, in photo shop, the way you do that, if you double click on the smart object, it opens up a separate document with the original contents I'm looking at the contents of the smart object, okay, so now, for example, I could change to a different font or whoever want let's just pick this really matters look really bad at first, so I changed in here as soon as I save it. Now I've updated the contents, so when I go back the other document, the smart object will update to show that change, so now you see the thai pushing, it still has that texture on it now the downside is as I I knew what happened the mask for that ampersand doesn't work anymore but least I can still change it imagine I had just deleted it now I'd be in trouble because there's no more of that emperors and anymore because I believe the whole thing here it's just a mass so if I turn that off now I have to do more workers honestly that's not the best choice of typeface but at least I have that opportunity so a smart object changes the rules because we can do things like endit type with things like filters without converting it to pixels so rast arising is a term that for me really only comes up when I say don't do it because I haven't had to rest arise anything in a few years because almost any circumstance that I'm faced with where I used to have to be darn it all you have to rest arise now it's making a smart object because when it's a smart object you you are your original information is always there and has always protected me go a little further delve into the world of smart obviously get an idea of the benefits of doing it this way um first of all let's just do this I'm gonna hide these other layers for second ok so here I have this a regular background layer I want to experiment with applying a filter to this background layer now, before smart, obvious, what I always did without exception was I duplicated the background layer and applied the filter to it. That way, the background there was protected unchanged, and the new copy layer had a filter apply, which was a good theory, because at the time that was the only choice. Some people still do it that way, because old habits die hard and on the surface level it seems like a good idea. But here's the problem, if you duplicate the layer and then do some do some obvious filter to see, even see it like motion blur cause it's pretty obvious, and I click ok and let's, say, now I save this document and I come back and look at it three months from now. Looking at that, I would say, well, clearly, I did some kind of blur, but I have no idea what it is because it doesn't tell you, and the only thing I can do is delete that layer and start again. So, on some level that's better than nothing but it's. Still not great, because unless and then this seems really funny to say this right now. But what I used to do before smart objects and smart filters is I actually would have renamed that layer motion blur. Forty seven whatever the settings were so at least I had a way of knowing because that other than that there really was no way of knowing. But even then if you didn't like it the only option was deleted start again now the alternative is I make this background layer into a smart object when I do that the filter also become smart in this case smart filter means reusable editable filter you can check the settings on okay so there's several ways of doing this I could go to the filter menu and she was convert for smart filters or I can right click right on the layer itself and she's convert to smart object or if you watched the previous class you could even make a keyboard shortcut to say convert to smart object because there is not one that exists right now but you could certainly do that either way it's all the same thing the way that you know that this has happened. If you look really closely at the layer, see that little symbol in the bottom corner that's your indication this is protected as a smart object that's the only visual clue that's there and the fact is no lauren called background now it has some other name like layer zero but what that means is now even my background images protected inside that container so now if I go back and choose the motion blur and make it even more drastic and click ok a very important thing happens see down right underneath that it's a smart filters motion blur so as opposed to before where it applied the filter the end and I had no way of knowing now it shows up as an active part of my layer that I can edit in multiple ways I can turn on or off I can change the settings I can change the way the settings air display are affected the image or I could even mask where the filters applied just by making it a smart object so let's talk about that for a second so here you see it says motion blur if I hide it no more motion blur so instead of having have two layers one with one without now it's one layer that has both options built in like in his turn on and off I want to see how it looks if I decide okay maybe went a little overboard on the motion blur I just double click right where it says motion blur and it says well here's a setting to use let's make it less and maybe this angle so as opposed to before right no idea what the settings were nor can I enter them had to start again a smart filter means it in beds right in your layers panel the settings you use that you can effect okay, I click ok that over here on the right there's a little symbol if I double click on this one it brings up a little dollar box has blending options for this filter what this means it's almost like I duplicated the layer put the motion for our lair by itself and I want to lower the opacity of that layer to make it less obvious except it's right in here I'm just lower in the opacity of that layer look at that nice little effect I'm getting now so once you know this works you can actually plan to over blur something knowing that you lower the opacity get this nice kind of soft focus effect it also has blend moz all these things that we've seen in the layers panel like dark and multiply etcetera you can apply that to say make the filter on lee working overlay mode and it completely changes the effect of this filter as a side benefit. What this has done is it means some filters we used to scoff at because they were so silly that we never used them. Now you apply one of those silly filters like find edges ever seen the financials filter it's bizarre like I'm up until recent I never found a reason to use it but now if I use finances in this right mode in this right opacity suddenly it's a pretty cool effect so it's taken a filter that I used to joke about how useless it was and made it slightly useful but that's still better than it was before. And the best part of all is when I click ok and save this as a psd file. Very important because I'm preserving all my layers, including all these layer functions. I could come back six months from now and go that's pretty cool. How did I do that? And I can reverse engineer it by going well. There's a motion blur. How much was that motion blur? Oh, I change the opacity in the blend motive that so everything in there you could dig right down and supposed to before we have that feeling of gosh, I really love that, but I'm not sure how I did it. I never have that feeling anymore because I can always look at the structure of my layers panel and kind of work backwards and double click on things like filters and go ok it's that filter in that setting and that's. Why that's working there's? One more thing I need to show you about this way to put it back to kind of normal for a second and again, this is the benefit in this case, even though I'm clicking ok, unlike adjustment layers where once you click ok, you're done here every part of this is completely remains editable so the other thing that smart filter does, which is really brilliant is this big white box right here is a mask for the filter normally when you have a layer mask, it hides the layer. If you paint with black in this case you're paying with black, it hides the effect of the filter, so now you've been selectively say, I kind of like this filter, but I think I don't want it here on the rings, so as I paint with black, I'm saying, don't apply the filter over here and maybe I want this part also not as filter, so anywhere you paint with black, you're basically saying these were the areas I don't want the filter applied before smart filters people used to again duplicate the layer, apply a filter at a mask, but at a certain point there was still that roadblock ways that you have, but I can't I want to make it less blurry. There was no option today to start again here I could do all this work, you know, filter, blur all that stuff, mask it and then go now I look at it, I want to pull back the motion we're just a bit so I double click and pull it back so I hope you're seeing a recurring theme here because earlier I said, with an adjustment are often deliberately overdo it, mask it and then pull it back. I do the same thing with smart filters deliberately overdo the filter so it's really obvious where the blurriness or whatever it is, mask the filter and then pull it back to a more reasonable setting. The other thing we have to be prepared for, I think a lot of people overlook this is in today's world. Your image could be used for different things to use for print we used for facebook abused for something else and what might look really good as a filter setting for a print this big when you shrink your image down to facebook might look horrible, so I need to have the ability to go back and redo that filter for the new size. And if I don't have a smart filter, I know how you do it. Would you just have to start a cam? And I hate the thought of people having to start again where it's not necessary to do so. So when it comes to filters, people often ask the question, so, dave, do you always use smart filters and my answer is yes. And I'm not I mean, sometimes I kind of jokingly say you should never do this but this case I always do there's no reason not to the on ly reason not to use a smart filter is if you go into the filter menu and the filter you want to use his great out that's because that's a rare example of a filter that's not smart ok doesn't happen that often but there's a few here and there so if he ever trying to do something and you see it's great out, that means that's one of the few exceptions where I'd have to come up with some alternate plan. But for me, as soon as I saw smart filters and the way they work, I'm like why would you not want the ability to go back at any time and adjust them here's a perfect scenario of this let's say I was working on this and the first step I did was I did the blur and I didn't adjust malaria at all these steps and at the end of doing fifteen things I think you know now I wish I hadn't blurted but then a regular filter all those other fourteen steps would have been pointless because I think undo all the way back to the filter in this case I could do fifteen more steps let's go no motion blur and turn it off so from a creativity standpoint, working non destructively to me has been a huge bonus because now I can be willing to go down some path and try ten steps because I know that back here I can still change these filters settings, and it will trickle down through everything as opposed to going poop on doing, doing, doing, doing, doing new and start over again. Now, by the same token, here's another hate to call it a bad habit, but the history panel people often when they're watching my classes, they said, I know it's, you don't use history at all, and I'm like that is correct and there's a very specific reason the history panel keeps track of what you've done, so when you hit the keyboard shortcut, a lot of people call it multiple undo what that's actually being correct term exactly step backwards when you press commander control z is doing one undo if you press command options, ear control all see it's stepping back through your history the challenge is this history is linear, so if I look back up here somewhere, writes that motion blur, I can't just delete that out of the history and have it all effect I'd have to undo all the way to that step to change my mind, so the problem with relying on history is it's very linear meaning if you do steps one through ten, you have to go all the way backto one to get rid of three you can't just school, let me just pull three out of the equation. It doesn't work that way. History is linear, there's, even a function. This is very misleading because there's a function the history panel that actually says somewhere in here, I think it's in here allow non linear history it's not what it seems, it's better, but it's still not as good as we want it to be. So when I see people relying on the history to fix their problems, the other biggest problem with the history panel is it's should be called today's history, because when you save this filing, close it there's no more history it's gone. So if you come back tomorrow thinking a little history panel and no, you won't, because all we'll say is open because that's all you've done today, so unless you keep all your files open forever gonna happen history panel is a short term fix that will come back and bite you later, so please, if you're in the habit of relying on history, don't instead think about layers and smart filters and masks and all those things that are allow you to come back and do all those levels of editing sometimes I look at the history to remind myself of a couple things, but I wouldn't rely on it as a way to improve upon our fix issues, because at some point you're going to run into a roadblock to go. I need to get back to that step. I'm gonna have to undo all those other nice things. I did, especially. It was finicky. Work on painting something. You don't want to do that over again.

Class Description

There are lots of ways to use Photoshop – some are effective and some are...not so much. Are you ready to explore how you could be using Photoshop faster, better, and smarter?

In Break Bad Photoshop Habits, Dave Cross reveals the typical bad habits that hold Photoshop users back. You’ll learn how to work with images non-destructively and how to avoid erasing, merging, and flattening. If you’re ready to take your image editing to the next level, this is the course for you.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dave Cross - Breaking Bad Phtooshop Habits - Reference Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Keith Pinn

I have taken many different courses that Dave Cross has provided, and like all others I have found this course has strengthened my post-processing skills. I am confident that by implementing/changing my 'Bad Habits', I will be much more effective in PS. I am highly recommending this course to beginner and well established PS users. Keith Pinn