The Mac Lab

Quick Tips | Short Attention Span Video Tutorials

Official Launch: 011011 (one, two, three)

Watch this First: Intro Video The how, why, and what you’ll need to know about Quick Tips. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Newest QTs are always at the top.

051211: 3D Text from Illustrator to Photoshop A simple way to take your logo from Illustrator to Photoshop to see how it looks in three dimensions. TOTD

051111: 3D Postcard Effect with Reflection Gotchas Watch this before following Kyle’s fabulous second TOTD to avoid a few minor gotchas.

050411: Teacher Displacement Give today’s first-ever, student-created TOTD a try because it works flawlessly. Great job, Kyle!

050311: Revisiting Expectations It’s not really a Groundhog Day because you’ll come at it with renewed, improved, heightened expectations. And that changes everything!

050211: Enhancing a Layered Photoshop File in Camera Raw This quick video just shows you the steps to take; however, it does NOT show anything meaningful about Camera Raw.

050211: The 0.psd File What to do with the 0.psd file after you’ve used it to enhance your layered Photoshop file.

042511: Work Week Reminder While I’m one-on-one with students this week, you’re one-on-one with your projects. It’s a work week. Take advantage!

042511: Feel the Need for a Tip of the Day? Never fear, there are over 100 TOTD videos for you to review as well as hundreds more in CS5 Central.

041211: Learning is a Two-Way Street Don’t sit and wait to be taught. Get up and join in the adventure. Knowledge really is power. Don’t be a 98 pound intellectual weakling.

040811: Continuing to Experiment and Refine There’s something wonderful about making time to have a little creative fun every day.

040711: Don’t Rasterize the Smart Object Before Applying Filters It’s actually much better workflow to use Smart Filters so you have more control over the final product.

040711: More Creative Opportunities with the Eraser Tool Be sure to engage your imagination to discover how you might leverage this technique to create unexpected results.

040111: Making the Mac Lab Better, One Mentor at a Time You don’t have to create tutorials to become a Mac Lab Mentor

040111: Seeing for the First Time It’s amazing what’s waiting to be discovered if only you take the time to look around.

033111: Dazed and Confused Here’s why Skocko doesn’t know what day it is. Be kind. He’s apparently losing his mind.

033011: More Info on Custom Brushes Would you believe there’s additional information available about custom brushes? I wonder where it might be…

032911: Submit Your Folder Containing the Subfolders Please follow this instruction so it’s easy for me to locate and upload your pictures.

032411: Corrections and Important Reminders I’ll be checking for understanding so you need to use this information in your workflow. Show what you know!

032311: Oh Say Can You See? If you can see the vignette, chances are you’re not following instructions.

032311: Selectively Adjusting Blown Out Detail Sometimes it pays to hand touch the problem areas.

032211: Magic Settings for Unsharp Mask Inside information straight from a Mac Lab alumni working at Blizzard Entertainment takes the mystery our of the Unsharp Mask dialog box.

032211: Burn Baby Burn Don’t overlook the subtle enhancing effects you can achieve by intelligent application of the Dodge and Burn tools.

032111: Lights, Camera, Action! A little preview of your part in the upcoming film: What does Mac Lab Mentors Mean to You?

032111: Frame Size Reminder Because I don’t want to see any more disappointed students wishing they’d listened the first time. Frame Sizes.

031811: Specify this Reference Point The easiest way to follow the following video is to make sure you’re using the same reference point I am.

031811: Addressing the Pixel Grid Problem Watch this video prior to today’s Tip of the Day to avoid dealing with the extra 56 ten-thousandths of and inch.

031811: Must Know Info for Newbies and Former Flatliners The beginning of this video contains information for everyone. The rest is essential for newbies and ff’s.

031711: Two Quarters Make a Half A little reminder about the importance of applying these tips so you claim the knowledge as your own

031711: Preparing Work for Print | Frame Sizes What you need to know about the list of frame sizes and a call for volunteers

031611: Cropping and Other Workflow Strategies Take a moment to save yourself some grief later in the process

031611: Does Anybody Know What Day It Is? Just to save you the trouble of telling me that I don’t know what day it is.

031511: Thinking Into the Boxes Consider how white space, applied strategically, might actually enhance your creations.

031511: 031511 TOTD Correction Spend 17 seconds of your life to discover the true source of the imagery used in today’s Tip of the Day.

031411: Is Music a Language? And what, if anything, you are required to do about that post

031411: Using Smart Objects and Filters on a Pre-Existing Project Learn to think in Photoshop to return to and improve your work

031411: Where do I Find the Turtle and Rock? They’re both in Mac Lab Stock (Click the circled M to the left of the date if you want)

030911: Progress Report Set-Up Reminders of how to show your work off while also demonstrating that you’ve been listening and working smart

030811: Use Clipping Mask to Restrict Adjustment Layers For those times when you want the Adjustment Layer to work its digital magic on a single layer rather than the entire layer stack

030711: When Browsing the Galleries… Things to keep in mind as you browse through your classmates’ triumphs in order to feed your imagination

030711: Mac Lab Mentor Additions and Reminders Don’t forget about this wonderful resource your classmates are building for you

030411: Must Know Info For Prints Reminders for the learning-challenged. The full steps and other must-know info in today’s Tip of the Day. Starter File.

030311: Use the Starter File for Today’s Tip of the Day And watch this QT first. Practice for your own enhancement adventures. Starter File. (Thanks, Jenny!)

030211: Cropping Pesky Pixels Must know info! Eliminate all stray pixels before working on your projects. Note: Don’t even think of turning in a file before cropping stray pixels

030211: How Will Your Illustrator File Open as a Smart Object? You’ll have to experiment with this but here are three different results you’ll probably encounter

030211: Save as PSD Rather than PDF You can work with either but saving as a PSD will eliminate possible confusion down the road

030111: Camera Raw Tone Curve Channel Similar to Curves Adjustment Layers in Photoshop but with more fine-tuned control

030111: Open in Camera Raw from Bridge Correction It turns out Bridge cannot open flattened PSDs in Camera Raw but it works just fine with JPGs (save at highest quality) Shortcut: Command+R

022811: Camera Raw and Other Experimental Possibilities When an experiment turns into creative gold, be willing to dig deeper (always working non-destructively)

022811: Adding Additional Textures and Adjustments Be willing to continue to experiment. The only way to make creative discoveries is to try new strategies and combinations of strategies.

022511: Command+Tilde to Cycle Through Windows The second of two important shortcuts you absolutely, positively, need to know and use

022511: Command+Tab to Cycle Through Applications The first of two important shortcuts you absolutely, positively, need to know and use

022411: One Obligatory Flash Project Watch this QT, produce this project by following today’s Tip of the Day, and then tell me if Flash still isn’t for you. No exceptions. Everyone plays.

022311: Mac Lab Mentor Expansion Learn about Photoshop, Camera Raw, Illustrator, what the buttons and switches on the Canon Rebel XTi are for, and how to light paint.

022311: Answering the Question Please cast your vote. Flash = Yes (I want to learn Flash) or Flash = No (I don’t want to learn Flash)

Mac Lab Student Stockers Here’s how to organize your unenhanced photographs for inclusion in our Student Stock collection (please just submit your best shots

Mac Lab Mentors is Growing Like our Student Stock collection, the Mentors have been super busy and I’ll try to catch up today with the 90 new tutorials submitted over the weekend

Mac Lab Mentors are Live and on the Air An invite to use or add to Mac Lab Student Stock and/or Mac Lab Mentors

Intro to Photo Filter Adjustment Layers We don’t have any colored gel filters for our digital cameras but we do have the digital equivalent

How to Make the Brush from the 021611 TOTD Just in case you’re not sure how that evenly spaced brush was created to make this and this and this in this TOTD.

Smart Object and Smart Filters You’ll not only work smart after this QT, you’re not going to believe just how incredibly cool Smart Objects and Smart Filters are!

Transform Selection Understand that Edit > Free Transform (Command+T) will not transform your selection. Go to Select > Transform Selection

Jump and Transform This one takes a bit of thought and experimentation to discover the creative power locked within select + jump + transform

Basic Selection Shortcuts What you absolutely have to know to get rolling with selections Shortcuts: Shift adds, Option subtracts

Regaining Perspective There are so many cool tools, it’s easy to forget one like this (and the others on this page)

Layers, Layers, Layers No matter how experienced you are, this reminder will come in handy from time to time

021111 TOTD Completion v2 Selecting a larger portion of a larger image to create a highly detailed custom background image (different workflow)

021111 TOTD Completion v1 Selecting a small portion of a larger image to create a highly detailed custom background image

Custom Background Images for Print In combination with today’s Tip of the Day and an upcoming video or two, you’ve got more custom image options than you could ever use

Show, Hide, Lock, Unlock A brilliant student-generated idea for using the mouse to access menu items Shortcut: Right-Click on Artboard

Creating Three Dimensional Brushes Well, kinda sorta three dimensional brushes, but oh so cool nevertheless

Save Your Custom Brushes to a Custom Location You might want to establish a new location for your personal custom brush collection (and it’s okay to make multiple custom brush sets)

Use Quick View for Brush Previews An easy way to preview 900 MBs of custom brushes waiting for you to discover

Custom Brush: Illustrator to Photoshop Workflow strategies for one of the countless ways you might use Illustrator to create custom brushes in Photoshop

Remove Unwanted Brushes with a Click Student Tip: Here’s and easy way to trip the fat from any brush set Shortcut: Option+Click

Create Another Custom Keyboard Shortcut Whenever you use a Photoshop command over and over, it’s a good idea to learn the shortcut or create one of necessary

The Mac Lab Custom Brush Collection Try to make your custom brushes between 2,000 and 2,500 pixels for consideration for inclusion in our upcoming hi-res brush library

The 2,500 Pixel Limit Photoshop will not allow you to make brushes larger than 2,500 pixels and that’s why the option is grayed out

Saving Custom Document Size as Preset Learn to save common Photoshop document sizes as presets to speed up your workflow

Color Picker Heads Up Display (HUD) Where to find an incredibly useful shortcut for picking colors on the fly Shortcut: Control+Option+Command+Click

Super Duper Extra Cool HUD Feature Where to find an incredibly useful shortcut for picking specific values of colors on the fly

Don’t Overlook Older Photoshop Tutorials Where to find a whole bunch of older Photoshop tutorials that just might be of interest to you

Remember to Save Your Custom Brushes Photoshop will prompt you to save the changes when switching between sets but it’s better to work smart than to depend on a reminder that may or may not make sense to you

Custom Brush From Type When making a custom brush, remember to make it large so you have a high resolution version of your brush

Adjusting Brush Size, Softness, or Hardness Repeat: The required method to adjust the size and soft/hardness of your brushes Shortcut: Control+Option+Drag (left/right for smaller/bigger and up/down for softer/harder)

Fill with Foreground or Background Color Repeat: A skill you will use again and again and are required to know Shortcut: Option+Delete (foreground) Command+Delete (background)

Exchange Foreground and Background Colors Especially useful when working with masks Shortcut: X (no modifier keys needed)

Reset Default Colors Especially useful when working with masks Shortcut: D (no modifier keys needed)

Brush Tool Blend Mode Shortcut Works similar to the Layers Panel. Shortcut: Shift and + to cycle forward, Shift and – to cycle backward.

Not the Best Way to Paint Out Color Though this Blend Mode will yield results, the better way is via the Black & White Adjustment Layer + Mask

Painting With Blending Modes Brush strokes can interact with existing pixel information by changing the Blend Mode prior to painting.

Painting on a Transparent Layer Harm no pixels with this strategy (remember you can always change the Blend Mode in the Layers Panel).

Changing and Resetting the Default Brushes Discover where to find all the different brushes that ship with Photoshop (and how to find your way back).

illustratorLayer Locking Gotcha Prevention Protect yourself from accidentally deleting artwork off other layers by following this advice from one who learned the hard way.

illustratorLocking Objects in Illustrator Selectively lock and unlock objects to prevent selecting them on accident. Shortcut: Command+2 (lock) Option+Command+2 (unlock)

photoshopAlternate Calendar Layout The inclusion of the days of the week is a matter of personal preference (but the calendar will probably look more familiar with the days)

photoshopRespect the Focal Point Consider the focal point when deciding where to place the calendar. If possible, use the calendar to establish a more balanced compostion.

illustratorMan, Those Looked Familiar The should. The prior three Quick Tips were covered in far more detail in the November 13, 2010 Tip of the Day.

photoshopLeading in Photoshop Manual methods and keyboard shortcuts for adjusting leading in Photoshop. Shortcut: Select+Option+Up/Down Arrows

photoshopTracking in Photoshop Manual methods and keyboard shortcuts for adjusting tracking in Photoshop. Shortcut: Select+Option+Left/Right Arrows

photoshopKerning in Photoshop Manual methods and keyboard shortcuts for adjusting kerning in Photoshop. Shortcut: Insertion Bar between letters+Option+Up/Down Arrows

photoshopSampling Colors from Within an Image Changing the color of the text (or any element) so that it works with your image is just a few clicks away.

photoshopChanging the Auto Select Settings Be aware of your last setting for the Move Tool in the Control Panel. Change as necessary to work smart.

photoshopOrganizing Type Layers A few must-know tips in under a minute. And by must-know I mean this is part of the final. Show what you know!

photoshopOrphan Type Layers There’s no reason to keep layers devoid of content. Throw away the type layers that have no type. Shortcut: Select+Delete

photoshopFun with Gradient Masks Building on the Tip of the Day, learn to use a gradient mask to blend two images together. Shortcut: Command+T (Free Transform)

photoshopFill with Foreground/Background A skill you will use over and over plus a bonus teaser Shortcut: Option+Delete (foreground) Command+Delete (background) and Shift+Delete (Fill Dialog Box)

photoshopBrush Size and Soft/Hardness The quick and better way to adjust the size and soft/hardness of your brushes Shortcut: Control+Option+Drag (left/right for smaller/bigger and up/down for softer/harder)

photoshopJump that Layer Use the keyboard to duplicate layers whenever possible. Here are two reasons why plus a bonus Shortcut: Command+J (to jump) and Option-Drag (to duplicate)

photoshopAll Visible Layers on a New Layer The easiest, most useful way to create a new layer containing everything what you want. Shortcut: Shift+Option+Command+E

photoshopThe Gradient Tool, Masks, and Adjustment Layers I can’t begin to tell you how you can leverage these skills to improve your images

photoshopQuickly Comparing Before and After Compare before and after views to make sure you’re enhancing the image rather than ruining it. Shortcut: Option-Click (on the Eyeball)

photoshopNo Charge for Using the Mini Bridge A better way to find and open your files in Camera Raw from within Photoshop

photoshopOrganize Your Layers A multi-Quick Tip describing how to clean up your Layers Panel.

photoshopMove Tool Must! Believe me, you’ll want to use this tip from this day forward.

photoshopLocking Layers in Photoshop An easy way to work smart, protect your work, and become more efficient.

photoshopDon’t Stretch the Pizza! Trying to make your image bigger is like trying to stretch a pizza; no one is going to believe that the small pizza you bought and stretched is actually a large.

photoshopRevert to the Rescue This command will return the image to its last unsaved state. Use this when you really mess things up. Menu: File > Revert (Works with virtually all Adobe apps)

photoshopPhotoshop Won’t Let Me Resize This Image Right Actually it’s doing exactly what you asked it to do: Constrain Proportions

photoshopUm, These are Thumbnails Click on the little pictures to get to the big pictures. Didn’t we cover this?

photoshopRulers: Pixels or Inches? Tell Photoshop how you’d like to view the image. Are you working for print (inches) or the Web (pixels)? Shortcuts: Command+R (Rulers) and Right-Click to set increments

photoshopMake Efficient Use of Your Workspace Use these strategies to get the most from your monitor. Shortcut: F, (Screen Mode), Command+0 (Fit on Screen), Command+ Space Bar+Left Mouse Button (Reposition)

photoshopUsing the Navigator Panel A third way to navigate around a large image is via Photoshop’s Navigator Panel. Menu: Window > Navigator

photoshopA Better Way to Navigate a Large Image Temporarily activate the Hand Tool and a screen preview rectangle to zoom quickly to specific parts of your image. Shortcut: H key+Left Mouse Button

photoshopUsing the Space Bar to Navigate Around a Large Image Temporarily activate the Hand Tool to navigate around a large image. Shortcut: Space Bar+Left Mouse Button

photoshopHow Big is My Image? If the Image Size Dialog Box is confusing, try viewing the image at actual size (in pixeals). Shortcut: Command+1 or Option+Command+0

photoshopWhy is My Text so Small? Here’s the solution to the latest Mac Lab mystery. (I have absolutely no idea what students are doing to accidentally cause this.)

photoshopImage > Image Size You need to know how to find the size and resolution of your image in Photoshop. How do I find out how big my image is? Shortcut: Option+Command+I

photoshopChanging Photoshop’s Default Background Color Adjust this to suit your needs but do not work with anything other than gray: No black, white, or any colors. Shortcut: Control+Click

photoshopCycling Through Screen Modes There are three screen modes in Photoshop. I would like you to work in Fyull Screen Mode with Menu Bar for the following reasons.  Shortcut: F (Just the F key)

photoshopSave JPGs as PSDs Saving JPGs as PSDs maintains the highest quality file as you work. How do I save a file so the image stays as crisp as possible? Shortcut: Shift+Command+S

finderphotoshop Open all JPGs in Photoshop Set your computer to open all JPGs in Photoshop rather than Preview. Shortcut: Command+I

safari Working with Mac Lab Stock Two ways to save and/or open images from our stock library. Do I save or open the image first?

system_preferences Display Preferences You need to know how to find the native screen resolution of your monitor. How big is my monitor?


Learn it all.