Pew Pew Laser Blog

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Blogs about photoshop

Photoshop CS6 - The Little Things.


There are some awesome little things that I've noticed in the first week or two of using Photoshop CS6. They're super useful in my web developer workflow, and they're just little things that really add up to save me a ton of time.

These small improvements to my everyday workflow are far more important than whopping huge new features that I (the web developer) probably won't ever use.

Installing CS3 From Hard Disk


My desktop computer recently crashed, so I've had to spend some time getting it back up and running. I've just about got it, but my DVD drive is only working in Safe Mode. This caused me trouble when I tried to re-install Adobe C3 (for Dreamweaver and Photoshop, mostly). In the end, here's what I had to do:

  1. Copy the contents of the first disc to my hard disk, in any folder.
  2. Copy the contents of the payloads directories from each of the other discs into the payloads directory on my hard disk. No files were replaced.
  3. Run the installer (setup.exe) from the Adobe CS3 directory on my hard disk. From this location, setup looks for all of the files on the hard disk, instead of asking for the next CD.

Photoshop - Seamless Background Photos.


Seamless Background Photo I used my own photograph of Dale Chihuly's glass installation at ceiling of the Bellagio as the base for this seamless background. The number of objects and variety of color in this photograph made it quite an ambitious choice, but the transparency inherent in the glass artwork mitigated some of the odder blends.

I created this background in Photoshop. Here is a summary of the steps I used:

  1. Leaving a wide margin, copy a new image from original. This margin will give you extra source data for the blending the seams, so make it a little wider than the objects in the original photograph.
  2. Use the Offset Filter (Filter> Other> Offset) to shift the image 50% of its total dimensions both horizontally and vertically.
  3. Save your .PSD.
  4. Create a new layer.
  5. Use the clone tool to paint a large area into the new layer from the original layer.
  6. Align the new layer directly on top of the original layer. Set the layer blending mode to "difference" and nudging with the arrow keys will help.
  7. Add a layer mask to the new layer.
  8. With a soft brush, edit the new layer to blend nicely into the original layer. Paint black to "erase" the new layer and white to paint it back in.
  9. Go back to step 3 and repeat until the seams are gone.

Some notes:

Here's a more thorough tutorial of turning photographs into seamless backgrounds.

The "What Changed" Method of Troubleshooting.


Last month at the office, Photoshop suddenly became very very slow to launch and open new documents. It was really quite unbearable. In fact, I had even noticed that Word was slower to launch, but that wasn't as much of a problem as Photoshop, which I use all the time. I happened to complain of this to our Creative Director, and he said that it was the new printer driver for the brand new office copier/printer, and I should set my default printer driver to the PDF Writer.

I never would have figured out that the new printer driver was causing all of my trouble. Even when I was doing tech support for printers, if a customer had complained to me of a slow computer, I never would have thought to try a different driver.

But I did switch the default driver to the PDF Writer, and then Photoshop continued zipping along as it had in the past. Until the next day, after I rebooted the computer. Sadly, it turns out that our IT group sets a user's default printer each time a user logs in. So I had to remember to re-set the default printer to the PDF Writer each time I logged on, or suffer with a very slow Photoshop.

After two weeks of this, I wrote a ticket to IT, asking that if they could not fix the new printer driver, to please stop messing with my default printer setting. The response I got back indicated that fixing the issue was a low priority item, and I should not reboot my computer so often. Sigh.

The good news is that just yesterday (3 or 4 weeks after I wrote the ticket), we have a new company printer driver. I am happy to report that both Photoshop and Word launch acceptably fast with this new driver.

Experiments with IE6 and Alpha .PNG Solutions.


One of the things that I've been busy doing is working a new article. IE6 (and lower) .PNG Experiments is a series of tests of various solutions for the grey background that appears on .PNGs with alpha transparencies in Internet Explorer 6 (or lower).

The really important part of this article is the major drawbacks to any solution that is based on using the AlphaImageLoader filter. In short, doing so caused hard lockups of IE6 that some serious Microsoft ninjas were unable to resolve. My very strong recommendations is that you use a graphic-based solution such as using Fireworks to add an alternate color palette to the image, or simply re-matting the image against the desired background color.

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