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Photoshop Top 40 with Deke McClelland

Imaging expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland presents his list of the top 40 features in Photoshop. Some are tools, others are commands, still others are conceptual. All are invaluable. Learn this 40 feature and you'll know Photoshop. Special bonus content: Deke's Photoshop CS5 Top 5, which covers the best new features in Photoshop CS5 in just five easy-to-watch videos!

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Photoshop Feature #2: The Layers Palette

Home to at least eight of the features Deke has mentioned so far in the Photoshop Top 40 Countdown, the Layers palette is command central—the place where most of the action in Photoshop happens. Were it not for this one palette, Photoshop as we know it would not exist.

19mins

6 Apr 2010

Rank #1

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Photoshop Feature #4: Navigation

Photoshop lets you modify your view of an image using a variety of tools, commands, and options. But you don’t need a single one of them. Learn a few shortcuts and you’ll be working at maximum efficiency in no time.

9mins

23 Mar 2010

Rank #2

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Photoshop Feature #11: Opacity Mode and Blend Modes

Changing the Opacity is like mixing a cocktail with, say, 30% active layer and 70% all layers below. Assigning a blend mode is like shining a light or casting a shadow: The active layer infuses those behind it with life.

12mins

2 Feb 2010

Rank #3

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Photoshop Feature #7: Undo, History, and Revert

The safety-net trio of Undo, History, and Revert protect the intrepid image editor from unexpected disasters. But they also let you toggle operations, compare before-and-after images, and move back and forth through time.

13mins

2 Mar 2010

Rank #4

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Photoshop Feature #1: Open and Save

Virtually every Photoshop project starts with Open (how often do you choose New?) and ends with Save. And unlike other apps, Photoshop treats all image formats as native. Open and Save are the alpha and omega of imaging.

12mins

11 Apr 2010

Rank #5

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Photoshop Feature #6: RGB, CMYK, and Lab

Photoshop doesn’t just support multiple color spaces, it supports infinite variations on the device-dependent ones. You can open an RGB photo, process it in Lab, and output it to CMYK, with certainty that the conversions will work.

17mins

9 Mar 2010

Rank #6

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Photoshop Feature #3: Image Size

The essential Image Size command lets you scale an image on screen or in print. Here's your chance to understand resampling and resolution, both of which affect the core quality of your digital photographs.

13mins

30 Mar 2010

Rank #7

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Photoshop Feature #5: The Sharpen Filters

Photoshop doesn’t sharpen focus, it sharpens detail. Using any of three remarkable filters, Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, and High Pass. Apply them as smart filters, and you’re ready for any output scenario.

13mins

16 Mar 2010

Rank #8

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Photoshop Feature #12: Camera Raw

Camera Raw is an independent application that lets you develop your raw photographs and exploit every byte of the vast information captured by your digital SLR. Not just powerful, it is a force unto itself.

14mins

26 Jan 2010

Rank #9

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Photoshop Feature #8: The Eyedropper

The ubiquitous eyedropper is simple in purpose and easy to use. But imagine a world without it, where you had to dial in every one of the 16.8 million+ colors manually. The eyedropper is Photoshop’s color ambassador.

15mins

23 Feb 2010

Rank #10

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Photoshop Feature #10: Color Settings

The Color Settings command is your way of establishing reliable color management policies across the entire Creative Suite. While admittedly techy, it ensures that what you see is what everyone else sees as well.

10mins

9 Feb 2010

Rank #11

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Photoshop Feature #9: Levels

The Levels command, and its cohort the histogram, let you adjust luminance levels on a channel-by-channel basis. The upshot is that you can increase contrast, correct for color cast, and make a bad image good.

12mins

16 Feb 2010

Rank #12

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Photoshop Feature #13: File Info

Want to let the world know who made your photo? Then choose File Info. Here you can assign a title, an author (you!), a copyright, and a Web site. No image should go out without a visit to File Info.

8mins

19 Jan 2010

Rank #13

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Photoshop Feature #14: Gaussian Blur

Gaussian Blur is a filter that blurs an image. But its also the math behind the Feather command, drop shadows, and everything that is soft in Photoshop. Watch this video and learn why GB is so important.

11mins

12 Jan 2010

Rank #14

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Photoshop Feature #15: Alpha Channels

Much can be said of masking: Masking is the art of using the image to select itself. Masking lets you apply the entire weight of Photoshop to the task of editing a selection. And masking, thy name is alpha channel.

13mins

5 Jan 2010

Rank #15

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Photoshop Feature #16: Adjustment Layers

An adjustment layer is an independent layer of color adjustment that can edit any time you like. Plus it affects all layers below it, consumes very little space in memory, and affords the opportunity for selective edits.

12mins

29 Dec 2009

Rank #16

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Photoshop Feature #17: Layer Effects

Yes, layer effects let you make drop shadows. But they also let you create credible compositions, render simple layers in dimension, and add ambient lighting. I cannot imagine working in Photoshop without them.

8mins

22 Dec 2009

Rank #17

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Photoshop Feature #18: Smart Objects

Smart objects aren't all that smart. And they aren't objects. What they are is envelopes. The kind that hold things. And keep them safe. So that everything you do protects the image from harm. This is Photoshop at its best.

9mins

15 Dec 2009

Rank #18

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Photoshop Feature #19: Luminance Blending

Buried deep inside the Layer Style dialog box are two slider bars, This Layer and Underlying Layer, that let you blend pixels according to their brightness. Despite their prosaic names, these sliders rank among the most powerful features in all of Photoshop.

8mins

8 Dec 2009

Rank #19

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Photoshop Feature #20: Free Transform

As powerful as Photoshop is, there is little about the program that is obvious. Case in point: How do you rotate a layer? Right-click on it and select Rotate? Choose Rotate from the Layer menu? Click on the Rotate tool? The answer is no, no, and no. Fortunately, there's the Free Transform command, which rotates the active layer and much, much more.

8mins

1 Dec 2009

Rank #20