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Inverse selections in Photoshop – Easily select complex objects

In Photoshop, you’re sometimes faced with the problem of making a complex selection, but none of the available tools gets the job done. The object you’re trying to select may have varying colors and tones and fuzzy edges, making the selection very difficult. In this excerpt from my video course Mask It Like a Pro!, I will show you that there is a surprisingly simple solution in many cases. Instead of trying to select the object itself, it is often much easier to select the background of the object and then invert the selection. You will learn how to use the Color Range tool in combination with the Lasso tool to get this done quickly and easily.

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Why to shoot in Raw mode – Two compelling reasons

When I started out in photography, I set my camera to JPEG mode and that’s where it stayed for quite some time. Just like every beginner, I did not know what Raw images really were and that caused a lot of confusion in me. When I did my firsts tests, the Raw images I opened looked terrible. So, I did not really see any reason why I should use this strange image format. Looking back, I wish I had known better as that would have saved a lot of photos that I eventually deleted. In this article, I will give my killer reason(s) for shooting in Raw format, and I will back this up with a real-world example.

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Focus stacking in Photoshop – How to get any depth of field you need

In this featured video, Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes shows you how to apply focus stacking to a series of images that was shot at a very shallow depth of field. The resulting image has a much larger depth of field than any of the source photos.

Focus stacking is probably one of the unknown gems in Photoshop. At first glance, it really seems like this is a highly specific tool that you probably never need, right? Well, not so fast. What this tool allows you is to take a series of photos with a shallow depth of field and varying focus (different elements are in focus in each of the images) and combine them seamlessly into a single image where everything is in focus.

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How to create HDR images using only Photoshop layer masks

Creating an HDR image is typically involved with a quite time-consuming workflow that consists of merging, tone-mapping and post-processing, possibly spanning several different software programs. But especially if you are creating a night HDR, there is a much simpler and quicker way of doing it, and your final image will also look more natural. In this excerpt from my video course Mask It Like a Pro! I will show you this technique that works by creating luminosity masks straight from the images themselves and using these masks to reveal only the well-exposed parts of your exposure series.

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How to fix your underexposed photos in Photoshop

Yes, we should all try to get the exposure right for every single photo we take. But hey, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Maybe you’re in a hurry or you just weren’t ready for the moment when it happened. What can you do? Well, if you have Photoshop, you can still try to save your image if it’s underexposed. In this featured video tutorial, Howard Pinsky shows you how it works if you have a RAW image and what you can do if you only have a JPG.

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Shooting fast motion – Three different techniques explained

The guys from DigitalRev have put together a mini series of videos about shooting different fast-moving objects using different techniques. This is a really fascinating genre of photography, but it is also a genre that you will fail miserably at if you do not have the required know-how. The main difficulty is obviously to freeze the motion and eliminate motion blur despite the fact that objects move fast. But it is equally important to synchronize your shooting properly with the fast-speed event you want to photograph. As always, there are different scenarios and subjects to require different techniques, and there are different ways to tackle these problems, ranging from a brute-force burst-mode approach, via using rediculously expensive high-speed flashes all the way to a clever low-cost sensor-driven approach. Here are the three techniques explained in detail by the DIgitalRev guys in their Speed Shooter series.

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When to Save As What – Photoshop file formats explained

When it comes to editing your photos, Photoshop might already seem complex enough. But have you ever given any deeper thought as to which file format is best for which occasion when you’re saving your work? You surely know JPG as that’s the de facto standard for uploading and viewing photos on the web. Maybe you know that the alternative PNG format allows you to have transparency in your images but is not as good at compressing photos. But there are many other options to choose from that are far better suited for a variety of cases. In this video, Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes explaines the most important of these formats and answers the question as to when to use which format.

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500px Groups just launched – Initial thoughts

Over the last few hours, you probably got a number of emails inviting you to all kinds of groups on 500px. Wait! Groups? …on 500px? Yes, they just launched this brand new feature on their popular photo sharing platform to spice it up some more. But is this new feature worth it, and should you spend your time exploring it? In this article, I will give you my initial thoughts.

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How to recover highlight details using luminosity masks

Luminosity masking is a technique by which you can create layer masks from a photo based on the brightness (luminosity) values of its pixels. Such a mask can be used to add adjustments only to the bright parts of an image without touching the dark tones at all (or vice versa). In this excerpt from my video course “Mask It Like a Pro!” I will show you how to use luminosity masks to get back the details in a washed-out sky. We will first create a luminosity mask. Then, we will use a Levels adjustment and the Lasso tool on the mask to refine it so that it only reveals the sky. Finally, we will add a targeted Curves adjustment layer with that mask to really pull out the details in the sky.

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Cheetyr – Find any Photoshop shortcut in a split second

Cheetyr is a new website created by William Leeks that lets you search and find the right keyboard shortcut for Photoshop (and other tools) in a split second. No more searching on lengthy websites! Cheetyr is one of those tools that makes me think “Why didn’t I think of this? Hmmmm…”. It’s so simple, but yet so useful. It’s an extremely simple website (no clutter, no unnecessary information) that presents a list of keyboard shortcuts and lets you search that list very efficiently.