Archive for November 2016

In Detail: New Content-Aware Crop Tool in Photoshop CC


With the launch of the new Photoshop CC came many new and exciting features and enhancements. One of the most talked about is the new content-aware crop tool. This tool is super exciting because is so intuitive that it can actually help to add additional space in the cropping of photos by expanding the boundaries of an image with matching detail.

What will it do?

This is a tool that can be very useful if you are attempting to crop an image after you have already straightened it, or if you need to add more space on the sides, above, or mellow to create a better layout. It will also allow you to be able to move the horizon be expanding the ground or even adding more sky. You will also be able to fill in any of the corners when rotating the image so that you do not have to sacrifice any valuable pixels.

How do you use Content-Aware Crop?

Of course, the very first thing that you will have to do to be able to use any of these features will be to go and download and then install the update to your previous version of Photoshop. It is always recommended that you also restart your computer before you begin if the software doesn’t already prompt you to at the conclusion of the installation. The update is available on either app store or on the Adobe website.

As previously stated, this feature will allow you to do a few different things to your images; so let’s break it down a bit further. First, we will look at what to do if you need to use the feature to rotate your image and make it perfectly straight. Begin by clicking on the crop tool and make sure that you have the “content Aware” option checked on the toolbar at the top. Then click on your picture to activate the Crop Shield. Drag your cursor to the outside edge of the picture and be sure that a curved double arrow appears. That is the cursor used for rotations. Once you see that appear, click and drag that cursor to rotate your picture to its desired angle and hit enter. The tool will now rotate your image and actually fill in the corners with the information that it has taken from the other portions of the image.

That is pretty impressive, huh?

Now let’s take a look at how the tool can be used to extend your images further. Again, clicking the “Content-Aware” checkbox on the toolbar at the top of the screen will be key. Begin this process my selecting your image to activate the crop shield, as you did in the cropping process. Next, move the cursor to one of the sides of the picture so that you are able to see the double arrow. Now you can click and drag the mouse to outwardly in the direction that you want to extend the canvas. Keep in mind that the tool will work best for simple images like a beach scene.

Adobe’s ‘Collabograms’ Campaign

In the art and design world, there is nothing that is more dangerous than to constantly play it safe. The best art and most notable designs come from those that are willing to think outside the box and push the envelope. Often times, some of the best pieces come out of artistic duos or collaborations. Adobe has decided to help push artists in a new way by challenging them to come together in order to create something that they may never have been able to do on their own and share it with the world through social media.

According to a recent article published by Adweek, there has been an exciting, and unexpected new collaboration in the art world as a result of Adobe’s campaign. Tattoo artist Robert Klem, and gold leaf artist Ken Davis have decided to team up in the name of creative collaboration, inspired by the challenge from Adobe being called “Collabograms”. The challenging campaign intended to help promote their products on social platforms has brought the unlikely duo together in the hopes of “creating something awesome together”.

What Does Adobe Say About the Challenge?

“This series is about Photoshop supporting creativity and highlighting the incredible results that can come from unexpected pairings and collaboration,” Lex van den Berghe, principal product manager of digital imaging at Adobe, tells Adweek. “The audience is what we like to call the New Creatives – artists who don’t limit themselves to one medium, but pull from multiple influences and materials to express themselves.”

The Work Speaks for Itself

The dynamic duo has certainly arisen to the challenge by designing and crafting an unusual and spectacular tribute to rock artist Lemmy. Their work presents a stunning image of the rock god rendered in stained glass, as you might see done with a saint. Additionally, there are LED lights, votive candles, and song references. The result is not just beautiful and unique, but it is special because it is something that probably never would have come together without the launch of this campaign by Adobe. Although the duo themselves are rather strange, given the nature of their respective works, the result of their collaboration is not due to that fact that they managed to mesh and work so well together.

The Reason for the Campaign

Creators from Adobe say that the campaign was meant to inspire artists to work together in a new and fresh way, but also to help enhance their company’s spotlight on social media; particularly on Instagram. The intention is for the artists to create longer visual story-like platforms where artists can expand upon one another’s creations while also absorbing the enhanced benefits of the products. They believe that these “Collabograms” will hold strong value and presence on social media and also be very “shareable” to help further increase the exposure and ultimately increase sales both inside and out of the artist community.

New and Innovative Photoshop Blending Modes


Yet again Adobe has released a new and exciting feature to its Photoshop software that comes with more than just a few questions. Blend modes are one of the many features that has brought out a plethora of user questions. Here I will break them down into more basic terms so that you will be able to better understand them and implement them into your work.

How do blend modes work?

Before you can really understand what to do with blend modes it is a good idea to get a better grasp on how they actually work. By using the Opacity slider located in the Layers Panel, you will be able to blend the active layer and any layers that are below it by making the active layer more or less translucent, which will allow the other layers to become more or less dominant. Each version of the software will carry different blend modes. For example, Photoshop CS5 has 27 different mathematical calculations that translate into different blend modes. You can alter your blend modes through the use of a variety of different mathematical equations involving addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.


In order to make the process of using the blend modes faster and easier to use, Adobe has implemented keyboard shortcuts. In order to be able to use them you will need to make sure that your current tool is something other than any of the tools that are located in the painting and editing section of the Tools Panel where you see the Stamp, Eraser, Brush Tool, etc. This is due to the fact that these tools actually have their own set of settings and if you have them selected their settings will end up taking precedence over those of the blend mode. Therefore, you will want to make sure that you are paying close attention to what you are doing each step of the way. Some of the keyboard shortcuts will allow you to do things like navigate, change the standard opacity and fill opacity settings or scroll through different layers.

Understanding the Blend Mode Math

As previously mentioned, there are 27 different blend modes and in order to be able to fully understand them you need to understand how the math works in Photoshop. Since the blend modes affect the darkness and brightness levels and the values of luminescence is based on a scale of 0 to 255, you might assume that the math that is performed by Photoshop is based on those values. Instead, Photoshop has standardized the values prior to the application of the math. Those values are placed on a scale from zero to one as follows: white (1), Gray (0.5), and Black (0). All of the formulas and math are then based on those numbers which means that the resulting values are not necessarily what you might expect.

If you would like to see a set of examples to further your understanding of how the mathematics works, you can visit photoblogstop. There are excellent examples and illustrations that further break down how each formula will work for all of the blend modes.

Breaking Down the Individual Blend Modes

Again there are a lot of different blend modes and it is wise to make sure that you have an understanding of how each one works. For example, the normal mode does not have any math applied at all. The Dissolve mode functions on partially transparent and fully transparent pixels and treats transparency as a pattern of pixels then applies the diffusion dither pattern. If you would like to see a more complete list of all of the different blend modes, you can visit the link above. There is a very useful chart with the complete breakdown and description. It may be a good idea to print that chart out for the purpose of studying or to keep at your desk as a quick reference until you have been able to fully understand and memorize them all. It is a lot of content so do not feel discouraged if it takes a while to feel like you have a full grasp on all of it. The more you work with each of the 27 blend modes, the more comfortable you will feel with them.

25 years of Photoshop – Part of History


It would be easy to argue that Adobe’s Photoshop has been the most influential design software of our generation. For more than 25 years, Photoshop has been the right hand to illustrators and graphic designers. It is one of the most powerful pieces of software on the market today. However, Photoshop did not start out as the sophisticated creation and illustration software that it is today. In fact, it has come a very long way over its lifespan. In celebration of the anniversary of the magnificent software, let’s take a look at just how much Photoshop has evolved since its creation more than 25 years ago.

The Birth of Photoshop

It all began back in 1987 when brothers Tom and John Knoll were doing some work on their father’s Apple II Plus computer. Thomas, a photography enthusiast like his father, decided that he wanted to do some alterations to a photograph image. He ended up writing a subroutine for the computer which enabled him to be able to translate the monochromatic images through a grayscale. Of course it was a very primitive version of the software, but the Knoll brothers continued to tweak and work on the program and found that they were able to create several different processes that allowed them to be able to perform different alterations on their images. Just like that, Photoshop was born.

At the time, John was already working on the development of special effects for George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic. He was the one that recognized the true potential in his brothers programing to turn the applications into a revolutionary image editing software program. Although, it is highly unlikely that either one of them really had any idea just how successful the program would be or how much of an impact it would have. The two teamed up combining vision and expertise and finally in 1988 released the first version of the software which they named Image Pro.

Stepping Stones

Once the program was out on the market, the Knoll brothers recognized the potential for growth if they were to partner up with other companies to launch additional software and expand awareness of their product. Their First partnership was with Barneyscan, a manufacturer of scanners that first purchased Image Pro to ship out with 200 of their scanners. Under that partnership the software was actually named Barneyscan XP. Due to the success of the initial partnership with Barneyscan, the Knoll brothers thought it would be easy to obtain additional partnerships to further launch their program. They were wrong.

It took them months of bids and proposals to a variety of different companies, where they saw rejection after rejection, before they finally pitched their product tot Adobe for partnership. Finally, they were able to win over the affections of the Adobe executives and convince them to rerelease the Image Pro software under the Adobe brand name. Finally in 1990, Adobe released the very first version of Photoshop known as Photoshop 1.0.

Changing Landscapes

The initial launch of the first version of Photoshop was met with tremendous success. It was the first time the software or any of its kind was released for sale to the general public as a standalone software program rather than being bundled together with the Barneyscan scanners. Due to the success, Adobe decided to proceed with further development and expansion of the original software. The following year in 1991, Adobe released Photoshop 2.0 with a plethora of new features to excite users. As the years went on, the brothers alongside with the engineers at Adobe continued to grow and develop the software, constantly adding new features. They saw some bugs and kinks along the way in the early 90’s due to problems with the amount of RAM needed and the transition from being offered exclusively for MAC computers to Windows computers, but their commitment to the products success showed in the software. By the end of the century, Photoshop had become an institution of all its own among the digital design and illustration industry. It was a staple for professional artists of both small and huge proportions and it was changing the shape of the way imaging was created altogether.

Fast forward to today and Adobe Photoshop has become one of the most powerful and instrumental software programs on the market. It boasts a number of features that the Knoll brothers probably never could have imagined when they began working on Image Pro back in the 80’s. It is constantly changing at a rate of never before, which despite causing some frustration among users, allows artists and illustrators to further develop their work in new and exciting directions that were never before possible. The software has become so complex that most people will need to take classes to be able to get started with the program and its many layers. However, it is an absolute must for any modern designer. Just as it has been exciting to watch Photoshop come to life and develop over the last quarter century, it will be even more exciting to see what the developers have in store for the future of the program in the years to come.