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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
give me credit and link to my blog when using it on your site. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photoshop & Illustrator Tips: Terrific CS5 Features and Tools

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 have added some major VERY useful commands and tools to the software. For instance, Photoshop has new commands that will do a much better job of extracting images (including hair and fur) from art than the methods described in "Photoshop Tip: Four Methods to Extract Images / Icons from Scanned Art." And Illustrator has a perspective drawing command and a variable stroke tool that gives illustrations some very interesting effects. View the excellent videos listed below by Adobe software expert Terry White for demonstrations of these and many more commands to save time in extracting, altering, and creating images for patterns & backgrounds for art collections.

"Compositing and Selecting Hair in Photoshop CS5"
[getting rid of backgrounds by using refined edge command with edge detection & smart radius commands]

"Adobe Photoshop CS5 - My Top 5 Favorite Features"
[cropping images, using healing brush with content aware, using puppet warp to change and bend position of images, getting rid of color and grainy noise in photos]. Note: HDR that is referred to in the video means high dynamic range photography. Hint: I used the puppet wrap tool to bend a straight candy cane into the star shape as shown at the top of this article. After bending the shape with puppet wrap, the result was not perfect (a little jagged in places) but it was easily cleaned up with the eraser and smug tools.  The cane was shaded after it was bent and cleaned up.

"10 Random Photoshop CS5 Tips"
[using mini bridge in PS to drag files into PS without having to open the files, removing the parallax distortion in photographed or scanned art, using crop tool to add a border around images, using the spot healing tool with content aware to fill areas of removed images, combining several layers without losing the original layers, etc.]

"Adobe Illustrato CS5 - My top 5 Favorite Features"
[using the perspective drawing feature, the variable stroke tool, the shape builder tool, constrain drawing inside objects, and bristle brush painting technology to simulate pixel painting]

"Using the New Width Tool in Illustrator CS5"

The above videos demonstrate only a few of the new commands and tools in Photoshop CS5 and Illustrator CS5. Videos demonstrating other new commands and tools in CS5 are available on,, and

I welcome any comments or suggestions. Please write them in the comment section below.


  1. I have been pondering when to upgrade to CS5. This article was a great resource regarding CS5 and the new features. Thank you Joan. Mary Lou

  2. Joan, thanks so much for your perspective on cs5 from a license artist perspective. Is there a general rule about how frequently to upgrade? I first bought CS4 back in june of '09. Do you think the upgrades from 4 to 5 are worth it? I must say the puppet warp sounds lovely : ( as does the border crop...sigh. I love technology too much.

  3. Marci- It irks me that upgrades occur so often. I didn't upgrade to CS4 because I had just purchased CS3 three months before CS4 came out. So I'm not the right person to ask about going from CS4 to CS5. But the new features and tools in CS5 are amazing. CS5 also has new brushes and the ability to smear paint which I really like as well as other features that I haven't even tried yet. It sure was worth upgrading from CS3 to CS5! Joan