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Friday, December 28, 2012

Photoshop Tip: Enhance Images with the Gradient Tool

The gradient tool is very useful in creating backgrounds and patterns and also enhancing text and images. It creates a gradual blend between multiple colors. Persons can choose from preset gradient fills or create their own. Each gradient fill contains settings that control the opacity and transparency of the fill at different locations on the gradient. A noise gradient is also available. It contains randomly distributed colors within the range of colors that a person specifies.

If you do not know how to use gradients, how to adjust the settings, or how to create custom gradients, the following videos are worthwhile watching.

How to use and adjust gradients
• "Adobe Photoshop Tips and Tricks With The Gradient Tool"
Learn how to set your own colors and add some great colors with the noise randomize button.

• "Exploring Gradients 1 - Photoshop Tutorial"
Learn about options bar, the kinds of gradients that are available, how to click and drag to get the gradient exactly where you want it, and what the checkboxes do.

• "Exploring Gradients 2 - Photoshop Tutorial"
Editing a solid gradient; find out how to change the colors and transparency, how to move the midpoints, how to pick up colors from anywhere on your desktop, and how to put the Foreground and Background colors into a gradient so it will change as you change your colors.

• "Exploring Gradients 3 - Photoshop Tutorial"
Learn all about noise gradients.

• "Exploring Gradients 4 - Photoshop Tutorial"
Examples on using gradients - making a vignette using a radial gradient on a mask and showing several center points with radial gradients.

The following videos give useful ideas on how to use gradients for text, and special effects on images using the mask tool and gradient maps.

Gradient Examples
• "Photoshop Top 40 #21 - The Gradient Tool"
Using the gradient tool you can you paint a soft transition from black to white and soften the transition from one image to another. The gradient tool fades, swipes, and more.

• "Photoshop Tools: The Gradient Tool for Graphics"
Shows a couple examples of different ways that the gradient tool creates more interesting graphics.

• "Creating Collages with Adobe Photoshop CS3"
Shows how to create collages (images on top of one another) using layers, layer masks and the gradient tool.

• "Gradient Text Photoshop Tutorial"
Shows using gradients in text.

• "Photoshop Gradient Tool Techniques"
Shows how the gradient tool can be used to create the same effect as a polarize filter on a camera has on a washed out sky.

• "Photoshop: Using the Gradient Map adjustments | tutorial:"
Shows how to tint images with the gradient map.

• "Gradient Maps Photoshop Tutorial - HD"
Discusses how to use the gradient map and photographic toning adjustments to add tinting effects to an image.

Hint: Using the gradient tool for backgrounds is okay but to give the background some pizzazz it needs to be used with a textured or patterned layer. The background in the image (at the top of the article) was created with two gradient layers that were overlaid with a pattern. For information on creating textures, read "Photoshop Tip : Creating Textured Backgrounds with Filters." And, read "Photoshop Tutorial: Using Pattern Overlay, Pattern Stamp, & Pattern Maker to Create Backgrounds" for information on using patterns.

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Software Tip: Resizing Multiple Images etc. via Batch Processing

There are times an artist needs to change the file size, file format, add a signature, logo or watermark on multiple images for the following purposes:
• e-mail attachments to manufacturers for licensing consideration
• a manufacturer request for presentation to their client(s)
• low resolution standard size images for websites
• a marketing slide show for
• iPhoto library that will be transferred to iPad
• photo/image-sharing websites like drop box
• sent to printing services
• sent to a publication for a press release or an advertisement
• auction/sale websites such as eBay and Etsy

Doing these tasks one file at a time is boring and time consuming. However, using batch processing software that allows multiple steps to be applied to many files at once is fast and easy.

Adobe Photoshop allows a person to do custom batch processing by using the Action and Batch commands to program exactly what is needed. Turnkey software (pre-built software for immediate use) performs certain tasks such as resizing images and reformatting files.

Batch Processing with Photoshop:
To learn how to resize images in Photoshop, watch the following videos.
• "How to Batch Resize Photos in Photoshop - Photoshop Samurai"
• "[Tutorial] Batch Resize Images in Photoshop CS5"
• "Photoshop Tutorial - Custom Batch Resize Action"

Note: The videos show resizing the images in pixels and not in inches. Pixels express the resolution and size of the image. In art licensing, low resolution (LoRes) files are usually 72 dots per inch (dpi) and high resolution (HiRes) 300dpi. So if an image is going to be converted to a 5 by 7 inch image, then the width equals 360 pixels at LoRes (5 times 72) and equals 1500 pixels at HiRes (5 times 300).

To learn how to apply a logo, a signature or watermark in Adobe Bridge /Photoshop watch "Adobe Bridge/Photoshop - Batch Processing Part 1 | How to Brand Your Images" and to find out more on using Photoshop batch processing for numerous tasks read "Photoshop Tips: Improve Workflow with Photoshop Actions Command."

Batch Processing with Turnkey Software:
There are many software packages that are programmed to resize images and do other tasks. Some charge a reasonable fee and others are freeware (free but ask for a donation). Read "Batch Processing: 25 Tools and Techniques for Images and Documents" for a description and links to many of them.

Note: I normally do not endorse software but I have found EasyBatchPhoto ($19.99) invaluable in resizing images for specific formats. Yes, I could program Photoshop to do the same type of batch processing but EasyBatchPhoto is faster and easy to assign the tasks. After assigning the tasks all you need to do is drop Photoshop files into the EasyBatchPhoto window and in seconds to minutes later (depending on the initial size of the files) the converted files appear in the destination folder.

EasyBatchPhoto can:
1. resize by fixed width, or height, or fit rectangle, or crop etc. in pixels (see the above note about pixels),
2. adjust scaling quality,
3. sharpen images,
4. format as jpeg, or tiff, or png,
5. assign dpi,
6. add text at beginning or end of file name,
7. save the options for future use,
8. assign files to destination folder,
9. add watermark, signature, logo if desired,
10. add background,
11. rotated images, etc.

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.