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C ongratulations on buying one of the most complicated pieces of software ever created. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most rewarding. No other program on the market lets you massage, beautify, and transform images like Photoshop.

It’s so popular that people use its name as a verb: “Dude, you Photoshopped the

heck out of her!” You’d be hard-pressed to find a published image that hasn’t spent some quality time in this program, and those that didn’t probably should have.

The bad news is that it’s a tough program to learn; you won’t become a Photoshop guru overnight. Luckily, you hold in your hot little hands a book that covers the program from a practical standpoint, so you’ll learn the kinds of techniques you can use every day. It’s written in plain English for normal people, so you don’t have to be any kind of expert to understand it. You’ll also learn just enough theory (where appropriate) to help you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.


Adobe used to offer two versions of the program: Photoshop Standard and Photoshop Extended,

which included extra features such as 3D tools. However, they combined the two versions in CC.

3D tools. However, they combined the two versions in CC. What’s New in Photoshop CC Adobe

What’s New in Photoshop CC

Adobe has added some nice new features to Photoshop CC and, as noted above, they rolled all of the features that used to be in Photoshop Extended into the CC version. The inclusion of 3D tools aside, Photoshop CC isn’t the most feature-packed upgrade the program has seen, but it’s still got some good stuff in it, especially in the realm of actions and filters. Here’s an overview of the new goodies (don’t worry




if you don’t yet understand some of the terms used here—you’ll learn what they mean as you read through this book):

Retina ready. Both Photoshop and Bridge now support Retina displays, Apple’s super-high resolution monitors (called HiDPI on PCs) and as such, you’ll spot a new 200 percent option in the View menu (which lets you see web graphics at the size they’ll appear in a browser). Several plug-ins also support these mind- bogglingly crystal-clear displays including Liquify, “Save for Web,” “Merge to HDR,” Vanishing Point, Adaptive Wide Angle, Lens Correction, and the Filter Gallery. While the new Adobe Camera Raw 8 isn’t yet Retina-happy, it should be soon (probably in version 8.1).

Conditional actions. This super useful new feature lets you record a conditional action (see Chapter 18) that chooses among several previously recorded ac- tions in order to meet criteria that you set. You’ll learn all about it on page 768.

Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt-Shift filters now work with Smart Filters. Some of the most useful new features in Photoshop CS6 were the Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt-Shift filters, which make creating blurry backgrounds easier than ever. Here in CC, those filters now work with Smart Filters, so you can run ’em non- destructively without having to duplicate your Image layer. These filters also take advantage of OpenCL, a technology found in newer graphics cards that lets Photoshop tap into the card’s processing power. As a result, previewing and applying these filters to your images is noticeably faster.

Camera Raw filter and other Camera Raw enhancements. One of the most

useful changes in Photoshop CC is that the Camera Raw plug-in is available as

a Photoshop filter (it works as a Smart Filter, too). Camera Raw also has a new Radial filter that lets you apply adjustments in a circular fashion either from the inside of your image to its edges or vice-versa (it’s like a circular Gradient Filter). You can now heal areas that aren’t round using Camera Raw’s Spot Re- moval tool, and the new Upright feature lets you correct perspective problems. Last but not least, when merging multiple 32-bit image exposures using the “Merge to HDR Pro” dialog box, you can have Photoshop automatically create

a Smart Object out of the result and then open it in the Camera Raw filter for fine-tuning. (Camera Raw is discussed throughout this book, but the bulk of the coverage is in Chapter 9.)

Shake Reduction filter. In previous versions of Photoshop, there wasn’t much hope of making a blurry image look sharp (aside from using the Emboss filter). However, Photoshop CC’s new Shake Reduction filter analyzes your image and traces the pattern of the blurry parts in order to eradicate it. It does an incred- ible job on images that are slightly blurry due to camera shake. You’ll learn all about it starting on page 462.

Redesigned Smart Sharpen filter. Rounding out the improvements in the sharpening realm is the completely redesigned Smart Sharpen filter. It sports

a new and improved sharpening method that keeps from introducing halos

around high-contrast edges, a new noise-reduction slider, as well as a simpli-

fied, resizable dialog box.

Faster Liquify filter that works with Smart Filters. The Liquify filter also takes advantage of your graphics card’s processing power, so it runs up to 16 times faster than it used to (especially when you’re working with big files). It now works with Smart Filters (page 632), too, which lets you use it nondestructively on any kind of layer including Shape, Type, and Video layers. Its masking controls were also simplified, it sports a new Smooth tool, and the new Load Last Mesh button lets you summon the last mesh you made.

Minimum and Maximum filter improvements. Both of these filters were notori- ous for making round things appear square, though by choosing Roundness from the new Preserve drop-down menu, that won’t happen. And when you choose Roundness, you can enter decimals into the filters’ Radius fields, letting you be a lot more precise when you’re using ’em to fine-tune a layer mask.

Brand-new Image Size dialog box and interpolation method. The Image Size dialog box has been simplified and redesigned to include a resizable image preview that helps you see the results of your settings before applying ’em, which is incredibly helpful in choosing the right interpolation method. The new Preserve Details interpolation method sharpens areas of fine detail in your image in order to produce higher quality enlargements (this new method includes a noise-reduction slider, too). All interpolation methods now have keyboard short- cuts , and there’s a handy list of size presets in the new Fit To drop-down menu.

Rounded Rectangle tool has editable properties. One of the problems with using the Rounded Rectangle tool was that you had to guess at the Radius set- ting in order to produce the corner roundness that you want. That’s all changed now. When you use the Rounded Rectangle tool (or the plain ol’ Rectangle tool) in Photoshop CC, the Properties panel that opens includes four fields that you can use to alter the roundness of each corner individually, after you’ve drawn the shape.

Path improvements. You can now activate multiple paths in the Paths panel by Shift- or -clicking (Ctrl-clicking on a PC) them, which lets you delete, duplicate, and change their stacking order en masse (you can also Shift-click to activate ’em in your document). And speaking of paths, Photoshop CC also lets you use the space bar to reposition an anchor point while you’re drawing a path.

Selective layer filtering. This option lets you view only the layers that are currently active in the Layers panel. It’s really handy when your Layers panel is long and you’re editing layers that don’t necessarily match any of the other layer-filtering criteria, as well as when you’re editing vector shapes. Page 73 has details.

Default character and paragraph styles. Once you’ve saved frequently-used text formatting as character or paragraph styles, you can use the new Save As Defaults option to make Photoshop automatically add them to new documents, as well as to existing documents that didn’t previously contain any styles. You can also activate multiple styles in the Character or Paragraphs panel and delete ’em all at once.









CSS support. To the delight of web designers worldwide, the new Copy CSS command lets you copy color and formatting info into your computer’s memory as fully functional CSS code, so you can then paste it into your favorite HTML editor. You’ll spot the new command in the shortcut menus you get when you Control-click (right click) Type and Shape layers. Also new is the ability to point the Swatches panel to an HTML, CSS, or SVG file and have it automatically generate swatches from the color info inside those files (the Tip on page 494 tells you how to accomplish this).

3D. The experience of painting 3D objects in Photoshop has been improved and live previews are up to a hundred times faster than in previous versions of the program. To help you get a grip on 3D, this book sports a brand-new chapter (Chapter 21) that shows you how to start creating and working with 3D text and objects.

There are also tons of little changes in Photoshop CC, too, that are the direct result of Adobe’s customer feedback initiative called Just Do It (JDI). Here’s a partial list:

the Crop tool now includes a setting that brings back the resolution field in the Options bar, you can save more than one Photoshop document at the same time, the Color Range command is better at detecting faces, a new anti-aliasing option makes text look like it will in popular web browsers, the Type tool new supports Indic languages, the Migrate Presets feature now copies over presets that aren’t currently loaded in Photoshop and doesn’t require a restart, metadata and ICC profiles are now saved with PNG files, Shape layer thumbnails now accurately preview the whole document, the Color Picker’s hex field is automatically highlighted when you open the dialog box, and last but not least, the Brush Preset picker now includes a brush tip preview as well as angle and roundness controls (which are also accessible from the Brush tool’s shortcut menu).

are also accessible from the Brush tool’s shortcut menu). About This Book Adobe has pulled together

About This Book

Adobe has pulled together an amazing amount of information in its online help system (see online Appendix B, available from this book’s Missing CD page at www., but despite all these efforts, it’s geared toward seasoned Photoshop jockeys and assumes a level of skill that you may not have. The explana- tions are very clipped and to the point, which makes it difficult to get a real feel for the tool or technique you need help with.

That’s where this book comes in. It’s intended to make learning Photoshop CC tolerable—and even enjoyable—by avoiding technical jargon as much as possible and explaining why and when you’ll want to use (or avoid) certain features of the program. It’s a conversational and friendly approach intended to speak to beginners and seasoned pixel pushers alike.







Meet the Creative Cloud

Dude, what the heck happened to Photoshop CS7? What on earth does “CC” mean?

Great question. For the first time ever, Adobe isn’t shipping perpetually licensed, boxed versions of their products; instead, your only option is to subscribe to—and then download—the software.

Using a service called the Adobe Creative Cloud, you can sub-

scribe on an annual or monthly basis to one or all of Adobe’s products. For example, a Single App Creative Cloud subscription for Photoshop CC costs about $20 a month and gives you access

to both Mac and PC versions of the program that you can install

on up to two machines (say, a desktop and laptop). If you use

two or more Adobe programs (say, Photoshop and InDesign), you might want to subscribe to all of their products which, as of this writing, includes 24 programs and services (both Mac and PC versions)—including the entire Adobe web font collection and the ability to share your projects with the collaborative Behance community (see the Note on page 2)—for about $50

a month. (Of course, these prices could change; check with Adobe for current pricing.)

Whichever option you choose, you simply download the software to your machine and install it, just like you normally would. However, once a month your Adobe software phones home via the Internet to validate your Creative Cloud account;

if Adobe can’t validate your account, your software stops

working (along with your fonts). In other words, if you don’t

pay, you don’t get to play with the software (though there is

a 30-day grace period if, for whatever reason, your computer can’t connect to the Internet).

Once you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you get 20 GB of storage space, which you can use to hosts websites and sync documents between computers and tablets (think iPads), and

to back up documents or share them with others (regardless of

whether or not those folks have Creative Cloud subscriptions). You also get the ability to sync custom settings to the Cloud so

they’re accessible on other machines, such as actions, prefer-

ences, brushes, styles, and so on. For example, when you subscribe to the Creative Cloud (even if it’s just for Photoshop) and then install the program, your Adobe ID appears in the Photoshop menu (the Edit menu on a PC) with a submenu that contains Sync Settings Now and Manage Sync Settings options. Choosing the latter opens the Sync Settings preferences (page 21) so you can decide which presets to sync. You’ll also see a new sync icon near the status bar at the bottom left of an open document (it’s labeled in Figure 1-1 on page 2); give it a click to sync your goodies.

You can also sync documents between devices. For example,

you can designate a folder on your hard drive for syncing, and then any items you put into it automatically sync to the Creative Cloud for access elsewhere (say, home or work). Subscribers also get their hands on new features as soon as Adobe rolls ’em out. (To learn the current version number of your copy of


You might ask, “Is this a good deal?” Well, if you typically upgrade your copy of Photoshop every other year, then sub- scribing to it costs more than twice as much as you’d pay to upgrade it over that period of time (though doing so is no longer an option). However, if you upgrade yearly, then you’ll pay a mere $40 more per year for Creative Cloud but gain access to new features as soon as they’re released, as well as the syncing and sharing services mentioned above. The bottom line is that now the only way to get Photoshop CC is to subscribe to it. Adobe will continue to sell and support Photoshop CS6 for a while; however, that’s the last licensed copy you’ll ever get (and there’s nothing wrong with keeping it on your machine if you already own it). Like it or not, we’re in the realm of rental software now.

If you’re in North America, you can purchase a Creative Cloud subscription through,, or Staples. com. Folks in other countries should go through

And that, dear friends, is why the program is now called Photoshop Creative Cloud (a.k.a. Photoshop CC).

CC, choose

Help System






Some of the tutorials in this book refer to files you can download from this book’s Missing CD page on the Missing Manuals website ( so you can practice the techniques you’re reading about. And throughout the book, you’ll find several kinds of sidebar articles. The ones labeled “Up to Speed” help newcomers to Photoshop do things or explain concepts that veterans are probably already familiar with. Those labeled “Power Users’ Clinic” cover more advanced topics for the brave of heart.


Photoshop CC functions almost identically on Mac and Windows computers, but the screenshots in this

book were all taken on a Mac for the sake of consistency. However, the keyboard shortcuts for the two operating systems are different, so you’ll find both included here—Mac shortcuts first, followed by Windows shortcuts in parentheses. In a few instances, the locations of certain folders differ, and in those cases, you get the directions for both operating systems.



What Does “64-bit” Mean?

The cool phrase in computing circles for the past few years has been “64-bit.” While that term may sound pretty geeky, it’s actually not that intimidating. 64-bit programs (a.k.a. “applications” or “apps”) simply know how to count higher than 32-bit programs.

So what does that mean in practice? 32-bit programs can open and work with files that are up to 4 gigabytes in size—which is already huge. 64-bit programs, on the other hand, can open files that are way bigger than that, as long as your computer’s operating system can handle 64-bit apps. (Mac OS X 10.5 [Leop- ard] and Microsoft Windows Vista [the 64-bit version, anyway] and later are up to the task.) 64-bit programs can also make use of more memory than their 32-bit counterparts, which is crucial when you’re working with big honkin’ files. For example, the 64-bit version of Photoshop lets you use more than 4 gigs of RAM, which makes it run faster. (You can change how your

machine’s memory is allotted by tweaking Photoshop’s prefer- ences as described on pages 22–23.)

The bottom line is that, if you work with gigantic files, you’ll want to use the 64-bit version of Photoshop. And since most third-party plug-ins (Chapter 19) and filters (Chapter 15) have now been upgraded to work in 64-bit mode, there’s little reason to cast a single glance backward. In Photoshop CC, the 64-bit version is all you get on a Mac; however, when you install Photoshop on a PC, you get two full versions of the program in two separate folders: one for 32-bit mode and another for 64-bit mode (located in Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CC and Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Photoshop CC, respectively). Simply quit one program and then launch the other.

You can still share Photoshop files with both Mac and PC folks, just like you always have.