googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: TIPS FOR A QUICK START TO USING PHOTOSHOP & LIGHTROOM


Friday, July 14, 2017


Over several years I found a large number of public domain images that I could use to illustrate a series of kids books I was planning.

I needed to alter the images to fit the  storylines, and used the free Photoscape program, and then the paid Adobe Elements 12 one.

Neither gave me the quick and effective tool I needed, so I subscribed to the Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 program (an annual fee is paid).

Photoshop is Unhelpful to Beginners:

I downloaded them and was stunned by how unhelpful the program was for a beginner of Photoshopping. Googling for help, I found several good tutorials, and then jotted down How To notes for myself, which I now pass on to beginners of Photoshopping and Lightroom.

The Beginner’s Salvation:

These hints will take you from staring at the blank screen, to loading some of your pics into Lightroom (LR), and then using LR and Photoshop (PS) to edit your images in ways you never dreamed of before!

Just follow these hints and you will be well launched on the road to becoming an expert Photoshopper of your own and other images.

The Big Two Learnings:

Two key learnings: I found how to save my images into LR so that I could start playing with LR and PS, and I also stumbled on an easy way to simplify my life by using LR as my basic program, and moving from LR (which allows you to make a lot of changes that work), to PS (which is the best program to make detailed changes to individual images), and then shifting back to LR to continue your work.

This saves time and is easy to do, so I recommend that you do this.

How do I start?

Just start with the General Hint #1 below, move on to General Hint #2, and then dip into the LR and PS hints.

Have fun, and amaze your friends and family with your in-depth expertise!

Please share this with your friends, and ask them to do the same.

GENERAL HINT #1: The Quick Start on Lightroom

This takes you from staring helplessly at the screen after downloading Photoshop CC 2017, to loading some of your images into Lightroom, and then being able to start experimenting with changing the looks of your pics.

The way to do this is summarized below, and came from this helpful website: Google Total Beginner’s Guide to Lightroom Step by Step Simon Ringsmuth to get there.

Just do take these steps to load up LR:
1.      Open your Lightroom program by clicking on the Lr image.
2.     It will ask you where to store the Catalog (the place you store your pics in LR). Just press Continue to choose the default directory (which is in your Users directory). LR will find your pics there.
3.     The next screen is the Library module – a gray, almost blank screen.
4.     Click on Import button in the lower left corner and go to the directory on your hard drive where you stored the pics you want to move to LR to modify.
5.     Your screen fills with images – your pics.
6.     Select Copy at the top of your screen.
7.     Now you choose a Destination for your files on the right-hand side of your screen. You can indicate a directory you have already made on your hard disk to store your Photoshop files (I formed one using File Explorer, named Photoshop). LR can also find one for you.
8.     Forget about all the choices now open to you (such as renaming your images, adding keywords etc). You can come back to this later. I added a keyword PSTest1 just for fun).
9.     Choose your pics you want to import by making sure they all have the checkmarks (the tick sign) in the top corner of each thumbnail preview on your screen. Click Check All to choose all of them.
10.  Now click on the Import button in the lower-right corner of your screen. LR will import your files and let you know when it is done.
11.   Then go to General Hint #2 and start experimenting with LR and PS. And have fun!

GENERAL HINT #2: Simplify your life by moving from Lightroom to Photoshop and back to Lightroom

You can modify your pics in both LR and PS; LR allows general modifications to a whole list of pics at the same time, while PS lets you take one pic at a time and modify it.

If you start with LR and then stay there but move to PS to modify one of your pics, your life will be simpler and faster than going out of LR to PS. LR allows you to move from LR to PS to treat one pic and then move back into LR again.

Google Supercharge your photography by using Photoshop with Lightroom Adobe Support tutorials for the website post on this.

To use LR as your base and move into PS for individual images, take these steps:
1.      While in LR, use the Edit In command to go to PS and work there and then return.
2.     To do this, right click the pic you want to work on (or use Ctrl Click) to go to Edit In, and then click on Edit In Adobe Photoshop; then click Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments, and then click Edit.
3.     You will be taken to PS. Make your changes here, using the PS tools (such as the lassoo tool to draw around an object in your pic that you want to remove), then click on the File command in PS and click on Save. The pic is saved as a Tif file. Then Close in PS and you will be taken back to LR to work on this or other pics.


1                 Go to Develop to Edit pics – or press D on keyboard to get there.

2                 Crop is the square icon under the Histogram (type R); press Enter when done.

3                 Develop to Basic  to use these tools on your pic and use them in this order: WB (white black); Exposure; Highlight and Shadows; Contrast; Tone; Presence.

4                 Go to File and click Export for the edited pic (= Save As).
a.     Check Jpeg
b.     quality slider set to 85
c.     color spectrum RGB
d.     Width and Height of 2014 pixels to get a 5 by 7 inch pic
e.     click After Export to Show in Windows Explorer. 

5                 How to go through lots of pics in LR as easily as possible? In Library enable Auto Advance of pics by clicking Caps Lock. Then use P = pick; U = skip; 1-5 for stars per pic; 6-9 for color label for each pic.

6                 Lights Out to focus on the image – use L in Library; click L twice more to exit.

7                 Presets are one-click settings. Go to the Preset Panel then drag and drop to reorder the Presets; put them in a New Folder to reorganize them; name the folder (e.g.: B&W or Favorites).

8                Go to Preferences then File Handling and then make the Camera Raw Cache 30 GB to speed things up in LR.

9                 Fade Presets with The Fader plugin. You can get good results with this!

10             Autohide the left and right panels so as to clear the screen for working on without distractions – go to Auto Hide and click on left and right panels; to restore just hover over each panel.

11               Solo Mode – in Develop right click on one of the palettes and select Solo Mode; this shows each adjustment palette one at a time, instead of all of them being visible on the screen and you having to move up and down to choose one.  

12              Slideshow is easy to create. Drop down menu; select pics; use palettes to adjust on the right;  you can add music and make an mp4 file.

13              Presets – Presets are simply combinations of individual adjustments to images that people have made using Lightroom or Photoshop tools, and then saved, so that you can  use them by clicking on each preset. It means you benefit from the work of others, and don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Save your own presets; near the Develop Preset panel; name it and give it a folder (default folder is User Presets). Google Lightroom free presets for a selection to start with.

14              Books – you can make books in Lightroom.

15              Basic Lightroom Adjustments – 3 groups of sliders: WB (white balance); Tone (make image or portions lighter or darker) and Presence (grittiness and color).


1                 Go to Edit then to Transform then use size / rotate / flip / distort (or use Ctrl + T); right click mouse to flip; cursor on corner of the image and drag it to distort it).

2                 Magnetic Lasso Tool
a.     very important tool to separate your target product from its background. It makes the target image in your pic that you want to show up without a background, easy to achieve. A very flexible tool.
b.     Click on Lasso Tool until fly-out menu shows; the last one is the Magnetic Lasso tool (a magnet in an icon).
c.     Click, release and drag it around object to outline it.

3                 Magnetic Wand Tool
a.     use to change background colors if they are consistent colors.
b.     Click on part of the background, go to the top and choose Add to Selection.

4                 Custom Shape Tool for adding to your pic speech bubbles, arrows and others. Go to Options Bar and click on the one that looks like a puzzle piece.

5                 Adjustment Layers are used for color and hue in a new Layer:
a.     Go to Layers Panel; the black and white circle icon – there are 4 options: brightness / contrast, Levels, Curves and Exposure (don’t use last one).
b.     To change (edit) an Adjustment Layer just click on the layer twice.
c.     Use the Opacity Tool to reduce impact of changes to a Layer.
d.     In Brightness, set layer blend mode to Luminosity to avoid unintended color shifts.
e.     Auto button is most useful thing about the Brightness / Contrast layer.
f.      Don’t use the Use Legacy option.
g.     Use Levels to adjust Contrast rather than the slider.
h.     Curves is most powerful way to adjust the brightness and contrast. Add more points to the single line to create more handles for your changes.

6                 Layer Styles for more pizazz (e.g.: glow, shadow etc.) Double click on the layer. Click on Windows in Menu at top and choose Layers or hit F7 on keyboard. Click on eyeball to toggle its visibility.

7                 Spot Healing Brush & Patch – best known Photoshop tool!
a.     Use Brush just a bit bigger than the thing you want to remove (use [ to reduce it and ] to increase brush size);
b.     replace thing with surrounding areas.
c.     Use Patch Tool (it looks like a band aid on left panel) to remove a logo or blemish:
                                                    i.     you double click on the band aid to find Patch in drop down menu.
                                                  ii.     Increase size of image.
                                                iii.     Circle the spot to be removed.
                                                iv.     Click mouse on the encircled spot and drag it to another area that you want to replace the blemish with, then let go.
                                                  v.      Patch looks for texture more than color. So then use the Clone Tool (on the left, looks like a postage stamp), to make sure  your colors match. Use a size 7 brush tool with it. It clones both texture and color. Move mouse over desired spot, press ALT and click mouse to select your color of choice. Go to area you want to change and click on it. Voila! The texture and color change to your choice!

8                Dodge Tool lightens pixels for removing tired eyes etc:
a.     use a soft brush;
b.     go to Range and choose highlights;
c.     set exposure to 20%;
d.     brush over the area.
e.     Go to Layer then New then Layer;
f.      set Mode to Overlay;
g.     tick box Fill with Overlay – neutral color.
h.     Use Dodge on that Layer.

9                 Blur Tool – the fine lines in face tool. Easily take them out!

10             Clone Stamp – create a new Layer; pick the tool; go to Options and then Sample (to Current & Below); it edits on the empty layer. This tool repeats (that is, clones) part of your pic into another part of the same pic. So you might have one little piggy in your pic, and can clone it to end up with three little piggies. Now all you need is to add a wolf (see below for how to do this).

11               Curves – adjusts brightness and contrasts (as the Levels Tool does too). To brighten, make a point in the middle of the sloping line and drag it up; to darken, drat it down. To add contrast create a point in the shadows and drag it down, and a point in the highlights and drag it up.

12              Spot Color

a.     Like making pic black and white but bunch of roses in hand bright red.
b.     Go to Layer then to New Adjustment Layers then  to Hue / Saturation and slide slider of Saturation all way to the left to take color out of the image.
c.     Rename the Layers e.g.: B&W for this result, in panel on the right side.
d.     Then Mask out the roses on the B&W Layer using the button Mask on the bottom of the palette that looks like a camera or washing machine.
e.     Then use a Paint Brush Tool and paint black onto the roses. White reveals and Black conceals.
f.      Then go to Layer, and then if you want to, go to Levels and Curves to add pop to the pic.

13              ALL images probably need Levels and Curves treatment:
a.     Levels sets Tone of the pic.
b.     Go to Image then Adjustments then Levels or Curves.
c.     Drag the three triangles for Levels to change; move the points in the Curves line to change.
d.     Use the 3 eyedroppers (black, gray and white) . Black dropper in the blackest part of the image; then white dropper in whitest spot; then gray dropper in the middle gray part.

14              Use Filter to get Liquify to Bloat or increase a part of your pic (for example, the eye of a bird), and the Pucker Tool to reduce area inside circle. You can use the Forward Warp Tool in Liquify to remove bumps on side of a pic – you move the tool against the pic side and it caves  inwards.

15             Combining Pics:

a.     This is a very popular PS tool. It lets you add one image from one pic to another pic. So you could add a moon to a landscape pic. I use this a lot in creating an illustration for a kids book, by adding a character to one pic and then adding text or a speech balloon as well. Play with the choices in this tool to see the wide range of options that PS gives you. Let your creative juices flow!
b.     You should be working from Lightroom (LR) into Photoshop (PS) to work on this combination, and then back to LR (see above GENERAL HINT #2 for how to do this).
c.     Open the two pics in LR (the Moon pic and the Landscape pic).
d.     Now you move both pics from LR into PS into ONE file in PS, to combine them, and then move the combined result back to LR.
e.     To do this, select both the pics in LR (use Shift plus a click on the second one to select it)
f.      Now right click one of the 2 pics (say, the Moon pic) and then click on Edit In and then click on Open as Layers in Photoshop. This is how you end up with one combined pic in PS, to work on. The two pics show as two separate layers in the panel to the right of your PS screen.
g.     You can move the bottom layer to the top to replace the one there, if this makes more sense (if the Moon pic is below the Landscape pic and it is easier to work with the Moon one, click on the Moon pic and hold it and shift it up until it slides into place above the Landscape pic.)
h.     Now reduce the size or increase the size of the Moon to the size you want it to appear in your combined pic, and move it to where you want it to be in the Landscape pick. You do this by clicking on Edit then on Free Transform. Hold down Shift and reduce the size of the Moon by clicking on a corner of the Moon pic and moving it so that the Moon gets bigger or smaller, as you want it to be. Then, to move the Moon, click on the inside of the Moon pic and drag it to the spot in the Landscape where you want it to be.
i.       Now, click the Checkmark sign (the tick mark in the menu above the screen), so end the resizing and moving of the Moon operation.
j.       Let’s assume that the Moon pic has its own background color, and you want to take that out of the combined picture.
k.     To do this, you use the Layer Blend Modes. Select the Moon layer in the Layer Panel, then go up to the Normal block in the menu above the pic; click on Normal; then work your way through the list of blend alternatives you can use in the menu of blends that now appears.
l.       Experiment with the blending modes now open to you in the menu, and see how each one impacts your Moon and your Landscape combined pic. The blends show how the color of the Moon fits in with the colors of your Landscape.
m.   Now, to further tweak your Moon, click on Edit and then Free Transform, to change the size and location of the Moon if you think it needs change. Then click the Checkmark above the pic to select the result.
n.     Now, click on File and then on Save.
o.     The combined pic is saved as a Tif file in Lightroom.
p.     Close the image and note that you now have 3 pics on the bottom of your LR screen – your Moon, your Landscape, and the new and improved Combined Moon and Landscape, which has the word Edit added to its name.
q.     You can add more than one pic to another pic. Experiment with adding several figures or objects to one landscape, to get the hang of it. How about a Moon and a Sun? Or 3 Moons, each a different color and size?


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