101 Photoshop Tips


51) Avoid using too much blur in the background
A novice mistake is to totally eliminate the background by manually tracing a figure and blurring everything else. It does make the figure more prominent and makes it appear more distanced from the background, but it creates white noise which draws the viewers' attention as soon as they see the picture.

52) Isolate subjects by using blur
Blurring of far away items is common in photography, so it is expected – both in pictures and in video (TV). You can fake that distance between objects by blurring everything but one object. Even though they are very close, they will look many feet apart.

53) Avoid using mundane photos
Oftentimes people opt to use mundane photos that achieve an undesired effect. In those photos people look at the ground, their eyes are hidden or they look stone-faced. It looks like a behind-of-the-scenes shot, and it achieves the wrong effect, even after improving it in Photoshop.

54) Join criticism websites
In order to know if you have improved, and in order to know how far you are from improving in Photoshop, you need to post some of your "Photoshopped" pictures online at websites designed for criticizing works. You can also use those websites to learn what you can do with Photoshop.

55) Sell photos in websites for a nominal fee
Publish your photos in websites that allow you to get a nominal fee for your pictures. When you're a novice it allows you to support yourself, and to get exposure to your "Photoshopping" skills. It will also be a taste test of the general public, which will help you improve.

56) Use Photoshop as a coloring tool
You can use Photoshop as a coloring tool – both for drawings and for photos, which helps you get the desired effect, and gives you more control over the results – you don't have to compromise the original to modify it.

57) Fix problematic photos using the blur tool
Whenever you are facing problematic photos – photos that have holes in them, blemishes or other problems, you don't have to crop them or throw them away. You can blur the part in which the blemishes and problems are in, and merge the now blurred part with another photo.

58) Create custom brushes
Sometimes you need to do a certain action over and over again. To do that you can use brushes, but finding the right one amongst the thousands is tough. It's sometimes much easier to just create a brush,
and reuse it whenever it's needed.

59) Build 3D models
Sometimes you want to have more than a photo – you want a 3D frame of an object, which you can make and animate using Photoshop. It will allow you to offer your Photoshop services for 3D projects as well – things like concept cars and buildings.

60) Use Photoshop to paint from the source
It is now known that some high-end artists used lenses to copy what they saw to the canvas. You can do the same. When trying to create a painted-looking version of a certain photograph, you can use the original photograph as a direct source, with layers, which will save you time and hassle.

61) Create a fake 3D feeling
You can create a 3D look in 2D photos by using trickery, but without having to crop the images. You can just make the thing in the foreground bigger and more prominent, and make the thing in the background look smaller and far from the foreground, which will trick the eye.

62) Create websites in Photoshop
Instead of having to deal with CSS early on, you can design websites in Photoshop, by using layers. You can create a template which will enable you to change settings and locations of things like in a WYSIWYG editor, and it will help you decide on a color scheme as well.

63) Take smaller jobs to increase experience
When starting to bid for jobs as a professional, it is best to take smaller jobs that will allow you to obtain skills, so when larger projects arrive they will be less menacing. Also, you will be able to better estimate the time-for-completion that way. Plus you'll get a longer resume.

64) Use shadows to enhance text
When text is used as is next to a photo, it makes it seem very amateurish – as if the person didn't design it himself or herself, or that no thought was given to the design. You can easily fix that by copying the text to another layer, changing its color and making its edges blurry.

65) Make buttons look realistic
When making buttons for websites it is better to make them actually look like buttons, so that people will know they are clickable. A quick way to do that is to add shadows and reflecting light to it, which will give the illusion of a 3D object.

66) Brighten and darken the background
You can cause attention and focus on a certain part of a photo or website, by making the background it is on more and more bright as the eye progresses – usually from left to right, because of the reading direction. It will assist people in finding the beginning of a page.

67) Use shadows to make things seem indented
You can add reality to a website or photo by making things seem indented into the page. You choose the border, make it visible, and cast a shadow inwards, in two connecting sides of the border, which fools the viewers' eyes, and creates a nice stamping effect.

68) Use Photoshop to create moving images and text
Moving images and text – or GIFs as they became known, got a bad reputation due to the level they were created in – which resembled a child's drawing. But with Photoshop there is a lot of freedom and possibilities, and making animations that repeat will help create an attractive and interactive website.

69) Use Photoshop to create backgrounds
You can use Photoshop to create backgrounds, which will enhance the photos and text that is placed on it, and make them easier to see and read. You can do that by using a photo or just using tools, to create a background that resembles a certain material – like wood or paper.

70) Resize text to make it eye-catching
Sometimes you want to make a line or a word in Photoshop eye-catching, which the regular tools don't allow you to do. A way to overcome those limitations is to resize the text – the text will start small
or big and will slowly increase or reduce in size.

71) Make text easier to read by feathering
Sometimes you want to add text to a website, but you don't want to take the attention away from other parts of the website. One way to do that is to use a white text with a feathered background, which makes the text much more pleasant on the eyes.

72) Darken or lighten photos to change mood
Sometimes the effect you want to get from someone who's viewing the image can't be achieved by using the image as is. A good example is a house or a small church with a cloudy sky in the background. To make it ominous you need to darken the image.

73) Make post easier, by using makeup
When you're trying to change someone's face, you can make it easier to change by placing makeup on the person's face before taking a picture, or if it's a well-known figure, using a picture of him wearing makeup for a costume. It will make color separation easier.

74) Add interest to photo by layering it
Sometimes when you want to make a photo interesting, the best thing to do is to add things to it, using various layers, and making them look distanced from each other – as if in a pop-up book. Add people to the background, shooting stars to the sky, etc.

75) Use photos to create black & white icons
You can easily create icons with Photoshop, but instead of going the regular route where you create a button-like square, you can use photos, crop parts from them, turn them completely black, and put them on a white background. This will create an iconic and memorable icon for a software product and for other uses.

76) Turn any image into a psychedelic and artistic one
You can easily make any photo change colors, and look artistic and psychedelic. It is a nice ability to have when trying to create posters for bands and other types of products. You can simply change the RGB values – either uniformly, or one color at a time, and get various results.

77) Make text more attractive by placing it on photos
It might sound like a bad idea – to ruin a good photo with a regular font and text, but you can make both the photo and the text more appealing by warping the text to fit the contours of the photo – like a wall, a ripple in the waves, etc.

78) Create a 3D look
You can create a 3D look for both photos and text by duplicating the photo or part of it, and coloring it in a red and green color, and placing it on top of each other, but a little off, so it will receive that old printed 3D look.

79) Change the texture of objects by using Dodge & Burn
By using the tools Dodge & Burn you can easily change textures of either people or objects, and make them look more CGI-like – more plastic-like. You can also use the Dodge & Burn tools to refurbish old photos or badly lit photos, which look grainy and dirty.

80) Easily exchange backgrounds in photos
When you have a photo – either of an object or a person, and you want to change its background to several different things, you can simply turn the background into either green or blue, get rid of loose hairs, and now you can place a photo in a certain background easily, and it'll be much more believable.

81) Create interesting photos by merging them
You can create interesting photos by taking two different photos and merging them partially – like turning a part of someone's head into a skull, but with features from the head. You can easily do that with a manual tool, which lets you "erase" parts of the photo and show the layer below it.

82) Turn texts into a neon sign
You can easily turn any text into a neon sign, to make it more interesting. You just need to write using a big enough font, copy the text to a different layer and get its margins, increase the border size, and place it on the photo, but not entirely overlapping.

83) Mix black and white with color
You can turn new photos into very old looking photos, by copying a photo into a new layer, turning it into black and white using the built-in tool or do it manually, and placing the original photo in a layer above it, and choose the parts you want to be colored. It will look like you colored a black photo – the old way to create colorful pictures.

84) Make things pop by making them colorful on black and white backgrounds
If you want to create an artistic vibe or to create an advert for something, you can use an old technique that people use, to make a photo interesting. You can turn the photo into a mellow black and white photo, and brightly color something in it – a person, their lips, etc.

85) Use several photos to show an object's movement
If you want to show an object's movement and simply copying it, stretching it and blurring it isn't enough, you can take several photos showing it at different locations, choose the object in them, and in the original photo turn the area of the photo they are in into a transparent area.

86) Turn photos into cartoons
You can easily turn photos into cartoons by manually tracing their borders, copying them and coloring them in a uniform color, which you will, later on, add highlights and shadows too. Do that with each portion of the photo, and you'll get an interesting cartoon version of the photo.

87) Creating interesting GIFs by layering images
You can create interesting small animations – instead of moving an entire photo, you will take several photos, trace the section you want to be move, and layer the photos on top of each other. You'll get a regular photo that blinks or moves its eyes, etc.

88) Fix really damaged photos by using light sources
When you are presented with badly damaged photos of people, you can use light sources to make them interesting. You can cast a big blinding white light at the background of the photo, which will essentially "erase" the faults with the photo and will make the subject visible.

89) Turn photos into caricatures
You can easily turn photos into comical photos that resemble what caricaturists draw, by extenuating the facial features of a person's photo. It can be easily done by distorting parts of the image and adding lights and shadows, which will make the photo much more expressive. The changes can be subtle or extreme.

90) Enhance your portfolio, and save space
You can easily enhance your portfolio and save space at the same time, by taking each photo you have – or a select few, and turning half of it into black and white, so clients will be able to see the difference between the different techniques.

91) Eliminate distracting portions of a photo
Sometimes when you want a person to focus his attention on something, that effect gets ruined by a certain portion of the photo. You can easily fix that by deleting everything above the subject and turning it white. Such as a shadow, the sky, etc.

92) Change the effect of shadows and lights on the photo
Sometimes you have a photo you took, that you're not entirely happy with. An easy way to fix that is to play with the shadows and the lights. For example, if you have a footprint in the ground, you can add shadows to make it look deeper, or add light to make it seem shallow.

93) Match text to the contours of someone's face
You can make text much more interesting by matching it to the border of an object in the photo – such as someone's face, or a light-bulb, etc. You just need to select and copy the object, leave just the border and make the border bigger. Now make the letters stand on the bigger border.

94) Turn 3D photos into 2D
You can make some photos more interesting by eliminating unneeded noise – such as the sky, the grass etc. You just need to select the object you want, copy it to a new layer with a white background, and get rid of some of the shadows, and you'll have a flatter looking picture.

95) Darken parts of a photo to make it pop
It might sound weird, but you might want to darken parts of a photo, to make it pop more. Especially in mild black & white photos with lots of grays. You can do that by creating a darkened border around the object, and the contrast will make it leap off the page.

96) Enhance a photo with a photo
It might seem obvious or weird, but you can enhance photos of boring buildings and walls, by taking photos, decreasing their size, adding some sort of frame to them and pasting them on the photo of a building or wall. You don't have to add a frame, but it looks more realistic with one.

97) Turn several photos into a comics strip
When you have mundane photos of people, you can create cartoony versions of the photos by messing around with the hues and the saturation, and you can add word balloons or thought balloons, and turn it into a sequential strip. That way you'll turn boring photos into interesting and entertaining ones.

98) Create backgrounds that contain features
Sometimes clients ask you to change certain features in a person's photo – such as his or her hair, facial hair, etc. You can avoid having to do this again and again by creating a background that contains those facial features. You'll just need to use a brush to make certain parts of the background layer visible in the "Photoshopped" photo.

99) Create an ominous feeling by selective resizing
You can create an ominous feeling in a photo by taking a standard photograph – of a staircase or of a wooden house, and you can stretch it a bit, and make the font bigger – and make it reduce in size as it moves backward. As if the object is looming over the viewer.

100) Use specific brushes
Some brushes are created in order to create a certain effect on a photo or a piece of text, but there are also brushes for very specific uses – such as creating blood splatter, coffee stains, etc. When you want a good effect, they can make life easier.

101) Use Reset instead of Cancel, when applicable
Instead of canceling something you did entirely, due to over tinkering with things, you can just reset it and start over. All you have to do is press Alt and the Cancel button will turn into a Reset button. It saves a lot of time and hassle when you add that time up.

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