Photoshop Top 40, Feature #21: The Gradient Tool

Feature #21: The Gradient Tool

As regulars to this weekly podcast know, Photoshop Top 40 is a reverse-order countdown of what I consider to be the best, most essential, can't-live-without-'em features in all of Photoshop. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are sizzling cool. And then there's this one: the gradient tool.

I mean, every program offers a gradient tool, right? But Photoshop's is special. Not only can you paint a soft transition from black to white, or between any two or more colors for that matter. But you can also soften the transition from one image to another. The gradient tool fades, swipes, tapers, and more. It is, simply put, one of Photoshop's simplest and most powerful masking functions. Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #22: The Healing Brush

Feature #22: The Healing Brush

We all suffer blemishes that we wish we didn't. Pits, pock marks, pimples. Wrinkles, eye bags, crow's feet. Black heads, white heads, pustules, carbuncles. Moles, skin tags, full-on witch's warts. Edward James Olmos-style acne scars. Frido Kahlo-style female mustaches. Frido Kahlo-style unisex unibrows. And my personal favorite: big, hurky, festering, oozing cold sores. (No, I don't suffer those. Why would think such a thing? What a crazy leap of logic.)

Fortunately, our photographic portraits don't have to exhibit any of those imperfections. All thanks to Feature #22: Photoshop's healing brush. This amazing tool grafts good skin onto bad and heals the seams in between. Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #23: Color Range

Feature #23: Color Range

I have returned from Southern France. And with the exception of a few exciting airport debacles--never ever try to return your car to the "French sector" of the Geneva International Airport!--I had a great time. Avignon, Les Baux-de-Provence, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Mouth-watering cheeses, world-class wines, and chocolates like you've never tasted. Plus everyone's super polite and the speed limit is >80 mph. You can't get a decent martini, but I did manage to parlay a glass of 15-year Laphroaig, which'll tide me over in a pinch.

In the meantime, I'm in Toronto. In fact, this very day I'm teaching a full-day, super-intensive Channels & Masks seminar at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, at which every attendee gets a copy of my book Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One.

So it's only fitting that today's feature is Photoshop's most successful automated masking function, Color Range. To say it's good is an understatement. Like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, it is soigné. Check out the free high-quality streaming video to learn more. Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #24: Curves

Feature #24: Curves

Normally, I write these Photoshop Top 40 posts from my home or office in Boulder, Colorado. But this week finds me in the pastoral countryside of Côte du Rhone, France, enjoying a little time off. Alas, the nature of a weekly podcast is that, even on a break, I have to give it the gas.

So I hope you'll forgive me if I keep this post short:

After sixteen Photoshop Top 40 movies, you may wonder what's next. While now you needn't, because here it is.

See? That was short. Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #25: Selection Calculations

Feature #25: Selection Calculations

Most of Photoshop’s top features are expressed as tools or commands. But some are more conceptual, meaning that they have almost no interface associated with them. Seriously, it goes from your mind to your hands to the mouse to the keyboard to Photoshop.

Selection calculations are a fantastic example. Want to make a new selection? Just drag. Add to an existing selection? Press the Shift key and drag. And that, my friends, is only the beginning. Read more » 

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