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Technische Daten

Dieser Artikel ist leider nicht verfügbar auf Deutsch
August 2008

In this article we’ll look at ways to speed up your workflow by creating customized workspaces to suit your specific image-editing needs. We’ll also discover how to use Photoshop’s amazing Actions palette to combine multiple edits into one-click wonders so you can improve colour, tone and sharpness in an instant. We’ll also investigate the package’s powerful Automation commands and demonstrate how they can perform some of the more tedious image-editing chores for you. But first we’ll kick off with a look at how to separate the wheat from the chaff and show you how to locate the most useful menu commands help you with your photo fixing needs.

Photoshop is a complex and powerful package, but it’s designed to get you up and running very quickly. If you’re unsure where various retouching commands are located you can use colour-coded menus to help you to find our way around the package’s many menus. If you’re interested in menu commands that will help you adjust a shot’s colours and tones go to Window > Workspace > Color and Tonal Correction. Now all menu (and sub menu) commands relating to this topic will be highlighted in red, making it much easier to find the right tools and commands. Alternatively you can tell Photoshop to highlight all the Painting and Retouching menu items in green. Once you’re more familiar with the location of specific menu commands you can remove the colour coding by going to Window > Workspace > Default Workspace.

© George Cairns

Photoshop can display related image-editing commands by tagging them with a colour. This helps you to find the right tools for specific image editing jobs. Green stands for Painting and Retouching commands.

To make your image-editing life easier Photoshop’s workspace is fully customisable. You can re-arrange the position of palettes and hide the ones you don’t need to create an uncluttered and efficient workspace. You can even save multiple workspaces that are geared towards specific image-editing tasks. If you plan to adjust a series of underexposed shots then it’s worth having the Histogram window open (Window > Histogram). You’ll also need access to the ever-handy Layers palette (Window > Layers) so you can add some adjustment layers to the shots to help tweak their tonal levels. When you’ve set up your tone-tweaking workspace you can save it by going to Window > Workspace > Save Workspace. You can have as many different workspaces as you like (which is especially handy if you have to share Photoshop with another user).

In Part 2 of our journey though the key benefits of Photoshop we demonstrated that by right + clicking with the Zoom tool you can invoke a floating menu that gives you access to all of that tool’s options. This context-sensitive menu works with most tools, enabling you to focus on retouching specific sections of an image without breaking your workflow by moving the cursor up to the Options bar. This pop-up context sensitive menu is particularly handy when using one of Photoshop’s brush-based tools. You can use it to quickly change a brush’s size, softness and even chose a new brush tip with the minimum of fuss.

© George Cairns

Each tool (like the Spot Healing Brush) can be modified by tinkering with the attributes in the Options bar. These options can be accessed more easily by right clicking to invoke the context-sensitive pop-up menu.

You can also change a brush’s attributes by using keyboard shortcuts. The left square bracket key ([) will reduce the brush size while the right square bracket (]) does the opposite. By combining the Shift key with the square bracket keys you can make the edge of the brush become softer or harder. Keyboard shortcuts can trigger a variety of handy menu commands and make your image editing tasks flow along much more quickly. There’s no need to rummage through menus and sub-menus when a quick flourish of fingers on keyboard will do the job in a fraction of the time.

If you’re a newcomer to Photoshop then you can pick up keyboard shortcuts by looking to the right of the various menu commands. You can also create shortcuts from scratch by going to Window > Workspace > Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus. Click on the Keyboard Shortcut tab. Now you can explore each of the menu commands, identify existing shortcuts and even add shortcuts for menu options that don’t have one. For example the menu command to Auto-Align Layers doesn’t have a shortcut. If this is something you need to do often then you can create a new shortcut for it (or even pinch an existing shortcut from another menu command). This is another example of personalising Photoshop to suit your individual image-editing needs.

© George Cairns

You can assign keyboard shortcuts to useful menu items that don't have one, and even pinch shortcuts from tools that you don't need!

If you shoot dozens of shots in the same location using similar camera settings then you may end up having to tweak each photo's tones to increase their contrast range. The same group of photos could also benefit from a boost in colour saturation to produce prints with more punch. This repetitive editing process would normally take ages. A much faster way to tackle a group of photos with similar photo-fixing needs is to condense multiple editing commands into a single Photoshop Action.

By creating an Action you only need to perform specific time-consuming tonal adjustment and colour tweaking edits once. You can then unleash these multiple photo-fixing commands on other photographs with the click of a mouse button or the press of a key. Actions can save you hours of boring and repetitive photo-fixing work as you can apply an Action to any shot and then sit back, relax and watch Photoshop do all the donkey work.

© George Cairns

You can condense multiple photo-fixing operations (like colour and tonal tweaks) into an Action, which can be unleashed on other shots in a click!

To create a photo fixing Action that brightens up an under-exposed shot and boosts its colours go to Window > Actions. Click the Create new action icon at the bottom of the Actions palette. In the New Action window label the Action Tonal Tweak. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to activate the Action (like [Shift] + [F2] for example. Click Record.

You can now tweak the shot’s tones and improve its contrast by using a Levels adjustment layer (see part 2 of CPN’s Photoshop CS3 series for more details). A Hue/Saturation adjustment layer can be used to boost the shot’s colour saturation. When you’ve finished editing the image hit the Stop icon at the bottom of the Actions palette. You can now open new files and apply the Action to them to boost their contrast and colour in an instant. You can also create other Actions to fix photos suffering from soft focus so you can sharpen up any shot at the touch of a button.

You can store your collection of photo-fixing Actions in a folder (or set). By organizing your actions in this way you can speed up your workflow and quickly find the right action for common image-editing tasks. The Actions palette already contains a folder called Default Actions. To create a new folder click on the Create new Set icon at the bottom of the palette and label it Photo Fixes. You can then drag photo-fixing Actions (like the Tonal Tweak Action) into the folder.

You can speed up your Action-related image editing workflow even more by turning an Action into a Droplet that lives on your desktop. To create a Droplet go to File > Automate > Create Droplet. Choose a Destination for your Droplet (like the desktop). Select the action from the Play section. Click OK. Think of a Droplet as a photo-fixing genie in a bottle. You can drag a shot onto the Droplet and it will automatically open up Photoshop and unleash the stored action on the image like a magic spell!

To make your image-editing life even easier you can make good use of Photoshop CS3’s Automation menu. The Batch command (File > Automate > Batch) even allows you to apply a specific Action to a folder full of photos in one go. You can specify a destination folder for the converted images and go and do something more interesting like pop the kettle on while Photoshop works through the images for you!

© George Cairns

If your scanned images are a bit wonky Photoshop can automatically straighten them and pop them into separate documents for you!

You may be going through the tedious process of digitizing old prints onto your PC to restore them digitally. To speed up the scanning process you’ll try and squeeze a few shots onto the scanner and digitize them in one go. However this will place all of the shots in the same Photoshop document, forcing you to select each shot, copy it and paste it into a new document of its own. You may also need to rotate some of the scanned shots if they’ve shifted when you closed the scanner lid.

A much faster way to straighten and separate a document containing multiple scanned images is to go to File > Automate > Crop and Straighten Photos. Photoshop will automatically select each image, rotate it and crop out and unwanted background. Each shot will also be placed in its own document, enabling you to edit and save it as an individual file. This is an amazingly efficient timesaver. The Automate menu also enables you to quickly create contact sheets (File > Automate > Contact Sheet II) and it’ll even produce a web gallery of your work (File > Automate > Web Gallery).

© George Cairns

Photoshop's Automated menu can quickly rustle up an animated web gallery (including all the appropriate HTML files) so you can share your shots online.

By panning the camera and taking multiple shots of a landscape you can produce source images that can be merged together to create a composite panoramic image. You could place these images manually into the same document and use the Move tool [V] to align them so that their edges overlap correctly. You could then use the Eraser tool [E] to remove the edges of each shot to make the images blend seamlessly together. Creating a panorama can be a bit of a fiddle when doing it manually, so its fortunate that Photoshop can do most of the aligning and stitching work for you.

To create a panoramic image go to File > Automate > Photomerge. A command window enables you to select your potential panorama’s source files. You can then decide which method Photoshop will use to fit the shots together. You may have a more successful blend of images if you allow Photoshop to automatically distort the shots to take changing perspective and camera tilt into account.

© George Cairns

Photoshop's Photomerge command will happily combine, distort and blend multiple source files into a seamless panorama.

You can also experiment with the Perspective and Reposition Only alignment options to see which methods best suit your source files. If the aperture changed when you captured your panoramic source images then the lighting may vary from shot to shot, leading to noticeable joins when the pictures are stitched together. To fix these joins in a jiffy tick the Blend Images Together box.

Attractive group shots are a challenge to capture - there’s always one person in each photo who spoils things by having their eyes closed or pulling a silly face. You could try taking multiple shots of the group and then popping them into a single Photoshop document on different layers. You could then reduce the opacity of each layer and align them manually busing the Move tool [V]. This would enable you to use the Erase tool to remove the ‘eyes closed’ member of the group shot and replace them with an ‘eyes open’ version from the later below. Manually aligning multiple layers can be a tedious task, especially if you took the shots handheld. By Shift clicking on the layers in the Layers palette you can then go to Image > Auto-Align Layers. This will cause Photoshop to move the shots so that they are perfectly aligned in seconds.

© George Cairns

When auto-aligning multiple layers use the Reposition Only option. Photoshop will then look for matching features in each layer and align the layers without distorting the content.

Life is short, but thanks to Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts, Actions and automated commands you can spend less time photo fixing and more time doing what you enjoy - taking photographs with your Canon cameras.