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Photoshop 7.0: Top-7 Tips & Tricks

A guide to some of the hidden features in Photoshop 7 By Julieanne Kost
So by now, you've probably heard all about the major features of Photoshop 7.0. You've been awed by the Healing Brush and Patch tool, impressed with the File Browser and Painting engine, thrilled with the enhancements to Liquify and the ability to easily create seamless pattern with the Pattern Maker. Not to mention the ability to define tool presets and workspaces, automatically correct color and publish images to both print and web with terrific ease.

You're no doubt speechless. Well, the reality is that, as with any new version of Photoshop, there are far more features than you'll find on the box. You just know the Photoshop engineers have adjusted and tweaked, honed and shuffled. But wait, how can you possibly learn them all before your next major deadline? Simple. I've put together my top-7 tips to make the transition from Photoshop 6.0 to Photoshop 7.0 as easy as possible. So let's take the insider's look at all of the enhancements that didn't make the front page, but will make a dramatic difference in your workflow. Some are obvious, but others are more subtle. Others are so smooth, you might miss them.

Batch Ranking
Well, after looking at the File Browser for a while, I knew that there must be a way to quickly rank or "tag" more than one image at a time. Certainly we can't expect you to tab through each file when you have hundreds of them!!! But alas, when I checked the menus, there didn't seem to be any way to accomplish this. The secret? Well, this option is only available using the context-sensitive menus. To batch rank, select the files that you want (by clicking on one, then shift-clicking to add others that are contiguous, or use Command (Mac)/ Control (Win) for adding discontiguous images) Then, Control (Mac)/ right mouse (Win) click in one of the image thumbnails. From the context-sensitive list, choose one of the rankings (A, B, C, D or E). I know that it seems like a limited list, but, remember, the batch rank sorts files alphabetically, so keep that in mind when ranking files.

Creating New File Presets
In addition to being able to choose from a new selection of predefined new Document sizes, you have the ability in Photoshop 7.0 to create your own. To create your own, navigate to the Presets folder in Photoshop 7.0, open the New Doc Sizes.txt file and follow the instructions to add custom sizes. When finished making your edits, save the New Doc Sizes.txt back as a text file. Your new presets will appear at the bottom of the pre-defined (built-in) list. In addition, you can net a New Document Preset Resolution in the Units and Rulers preferences for either Print or Screen work. FYI, check out the instructions for building your own custom Picture Packages as well! (Photoshop 7.0 > Presets > Layouts > found in the ReadMe.txt file)

When running an action (a series of prerecorded commands) on multiple files, the File Browser can now be chosen as a "source" in the Batch dialog box. If you have rotated files in the File Browser, when the batch command opens the files to run the action, it will automatically rotate them, eliminating the need to include recording the rotation step in an action. This is especially useful if only a select number of images in the folder need to be rotated.

The Layers Palette
The Fill opacity command in the advanced blending area of the Layer Styles dialog box was so popular in Photoshop 6.0, we decided to make it more easily accessible by including it on the Layers palette in Photoshop 7.0. The Fill opacity command differs form the Layer opacity in that it only affects the inner contents of the layer. For example, if you assign a layer effect to a layer and decrease the opacity of the layer, both the layer and the effect are changed. If, on the other hand, you decrease the Fill opacity of the layer, only the contents of the layer is affected, the layer style applied remains at full opacity.

The Preset Manager
You can now reorder any of the items in a palette by simply dragging them to a new location in the presets manager! Hello? Did you hear that? Ever want to change the order of your brushes? This is huge.

Multi User Environments
For those of you who teach Photoshop or work in a shared or multi-user environment, if you Control (Mac)/ right mouse (Win) click on the tool presets icon in the Options bar, you can choose to reset the current tool or all of the tools to their default settings. You can also choose to reset your preferences and scratch disks on launch by doing the following:

--On MacOS systems, press Command-Option-Shift, and then start Adobe Photoshop. A prompt appears, asking if you want to delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File. Click "Yes" to restore Photoshop 7.0 to its default settings.

--On Windows systems, launch Adobe Photoshop 7.0, then hold down Ctrl-Alt-Shift. A prompt appears, asking if you want to delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File. Click "Yes" to restore Photoshop 7.0 to its default settings.

Copying and Pasting Paths from Illustrator to Photoshop
I loved the new option to paste as paths, a shape layer or pixels when moving back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator. However, when I tried this in Photoshop 7.0, I didn't get the options, and, instead, it appeared as if I had used the place command. What happened? Well, it's actually not a modification in Photoshop; it's a change that was made to Illustrator 10, and I just hadn't noticed it before I upgraded to Photoshop 7.0. You see, by default, Illustrator 10 copies and pastes using the Adobe PDF format. More than likely, this is not what you're looking for if you're trying to maintain the vector shapes! To force Illustrator to retain the paths, you'll need to modify Illustrator's Preferences. In Illustrator, go to the "Files and Clipboard" preferences, and, in the clipboard area, select copy as "AICB."


But wait, there's more ... here are three additional shortcuts. (I just couldn?t let you get away without knowing these as well!)

Sampling Colors
If you've ever tried to sample a color from the desktop without any luck, well, you're destiny has changed! Photoshop 7.0 can sample colors off of the desktop with the eyedropper tool

The Crop Tool
When using the crop tool, you might need to toggle on and off the shields option to hide and view the area that you are discarding. (I find this especially useful when using the Perspective option.) The forward slash key in Photoshop is the shortcut to toggle on and off the shields in the crop tool.

The Healing Brush
Using the Healing brush with the blending mode set to Replace makes it behave more like the Clone Stamp tool (in that it doesn't automatically try to blend the source and destination) and blends noise more effectively while cloning. These are great settings to try if you notice a slightly mushy or soft area near the parameter of your brush when using the clone tool in grainy or noisy images.

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