Photoshop: Tips & Tricks & Magic Tools
In this session, we'll learn:
- How to automate tasks using Actions
- How to create Droplets for Actions you use regularly
- How to make Animated Gifs (including multi-photo and video versions).
- How to use Magical Tools like perspective crop and content-aware fill
Do you find yourself repeating many of the same tasks again and again? You're working too hard. Make an action! In this example, we'll set up an action that converts a bunch of large files (of Oscar-nominated movie poster images) into a smaller size of 200px wide and 72px/in resolution.
Download this folder of images. Open an image in the Best Picture folder: File > Open...
Still recording, go to File > Save As, and save to new folder (I've called it Best Picture New). You can also do File > Save for Web.
Close the image without saving your changes.
Now we need to choose which folder of images we want to apply this action to, and where we want our new images to be saved. Choose your Source folder (Best Picture) and Destination folder (Best Picture New).
NOTE If you end up with an image full of empty folders or are seeing a "Save Image As" popup box when you try to apply the action, you may have missed the "Save As" step. This might help.
Droplets make Actions even simpler to use by making them executuable with a simple Drag and Drop.
The Droplet menu is much like the Batch menu. Select a location for the Droplet icon to appear, and a folder in which you'd like your files to save (I just saved my droplet to the Desktop, and picked the same Destination folder, Best Picture New.)
- You should end up with a little icon like this on your Desktop. (Older versions of Photoshop used to have an actual droplet icon, no idea why they replaced it with an arrow.)
- Now, instead of going the all the trouble of selecting Batch from the Automate menu, just drag your Best Picture folder on top of the droplet icon. That's it! You're done!
Now let's apply our droplet-making skills to solve a real-life problem that you may encounter if you cover politics. I want every single member of congress's photo, but not in color – in black and white. There are 879 photos, so manually opening up each photo in Photoshop is out of the question. What to do?
Now, open one up in Photoshop.
Now let's save it. File > Save for Web, and save it to a new folder (I called it Congress Photos New)
Stop recording this action by hitting the "Stop" button
Now let's go straight to making a droplet. File > Automate > Create Droplet...
Now I'll drag my Congress Photos folder onto the droplet, and wait for my computer to do all the work! You should end up with a bunch of newly sepia-fied images. Hurray!
Animated Gif: Simple 2-Photo Animation
Do you have an interactive graphic you'd like to promote on the front page? Animated Gifs are a great way to draw attention to interactive work.
We're going to use these two delightful before-after photos, which you can download here: Image 1 and Image 2
Full back story, and a related something you should read on the trip home from IRE.
The animation frames reflect the current state of your layers, so we've just set the second frame to show the second photo. If you look closely you should see that the frame indeed looks different (it's full of taxidermy).
Now, contemplate all the much more useful combinations of photos you can now make into gifs.
Animated Gif: Multiple Photo Animation
- Let's say you want to do more than animate between 2 photos, you want to show a progression of many photos, like this example from the Wall Street Journal.
- Let's try it! Download this folder and open one of the images from the Ukraine folder in Photoshop.
Like we did before, select Window > Timeline from the toolbar to open up a new panel in Photoshop.
- From the Timeline panel, click on "Create Frame Animation".
Select File > Save for Web
Select Gif as your save format. At the bottom of the window, you'll also be able to set the number of times you'd like the animation to loop. For a homepage promo, it might not be appropriate to loop infinitely, but we'll pick "Forever" for now.
Save and you're done. Woot!
Animated Gif: Video Animation
Sometimes you want to convert a short segment of a video to a gif, whether that's a YouTube clip or a screen recording. You can do this easily with QuickTime + Photoshop. Let's try it out on this Guardian interactive on measles.
More Magic in Photoshop: Perspective Crop and Content Aware Fill
Download this photo, and then open it up in Photoshop.
- Good, now it's right side up. Now, say we want to get rid of the "and" in War and Peace (scandalous, I know). Select the "and" with the selection tool so it looks like this.
- Go to Edit > Fill, and do a Content-Aware fill.
- MIND BLOWN
- Contemplate all the other uses of the perspective crop tool and content-aware fill tool.