It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the wide variety of tools offered by Adobe Photoshop. Given the broad range available, chances are, there are probably even a few regular Adobe Photoshop software users that have not yet learned all the controls and menu options.
In a bid to save you some time and effort, here is the first of a 5-part series, where we’ll take you through various Adobe Photoshop features you need to know about. Fortunately, many of them are available in earlier editions of Photoshop so you can benefit from them even if you haven’t made the decision to upgrade to Photoshop CC yet. To save you even more time, we’ve included the version of software in which each of them debuted next to the headings.
Content-Aware Scale (Debut: CS4)
This feature makes it possible to change the image shape without cropping the features or distorting the contents. To begin, select the part of the image you’d like to scale and then select “Edit”, then “Content-Aware Scale” and drag the handles to reshape the image. Keep in mind that not selecting anything will result in the entire layer being affected. Unimportant detail will automatically be trimmed away by Photoshop, but if this isn’t done right, you’ll have an option to specify what needs to be protected, by masking it on the alpha channel and selecting that channel from the Protect dropdown, which can be found in the options bar.
Camera Raw for JPEGs (Debut: 7)
You may have heard of this feature, but did you know that the “Photoshop Camera Raw” importer works with JPEG and TIFF formats too? This feature can be found in the “Filter” menu on certain versions. For other versions, select File | Open As | Camera Raw as the image type. Alternatively, you can right-click in “Bridge” and choose “Open In Camera Raw”. You’ll find a few handy tools in “Camera Raw”, some of which are not in the main Photoshop interface. These include the “Clarity” slider that can be found at the bottom of the main view, “Noise Reduction” sliders to remove blotches and specks from your images, as well as the “White Balance” too to fix colour casts that you don’t want.
You can learn more about this feature here.
Puppet Warp (Debut: CS5)
This feature makes it possible for you to give an image element a new pose, by making a “skeleton” for it and dragging it to the desired position. For example, should you wish to move someone’s arm, copy the person onto a new layer, then cut away any unnecessary elements around their body, leaving the rest of the layer empty. Select Edit | Puppet Warp for Photoshop to create a mesh. Pin it in place by clicking on the parts you want to pin. Now you’ll be able to change the pose by dragging the pins around. This can be fine-tuned to your satisfaction and there’s the option of creating a hierarchy of pins to ascertain which parts of the mesh move with the others, using the options bar.
We’ll be adding more Photoshop features you need to know about in upcoming posts, so be sure to check in.