Monday, March 28, 2011

Yes you can: How to install 2 versions of Photoshop on your computer

Starting today, this blog will begin to offer tips for using Photoshop Elements. I've found that many of my artist friends find the price of regular Photoshop too much for their wallet, and I've offered to teach a course on Elements 9 (the latest version as of this date, running about $88 on

Since I still use the Photoshop CS3 for my business, I needed to find a way to install Elements on my computer side-by-side. It's pretty easy, actually. Other reasons a person might want to do this is to have the safety net of the old version while learning the new one.

First, if you have another version of Photoshop running, turn it off for now.

1. Put the installation DVD in your DVD drive. Click on Run Autoplay.exe

2. Choose your language and go through any other screens until you come to the install screen.

3.The install screen will appear. Click on Install.

3. On the Product configuration screen, enter your country and the serial number from the product case.

4. This is where we get to the dual installation part. On the Destination Folder screen, click the Change button. 

5. We'll be making a new folder for the program, so we're not in danger of overwriting our previously installed software version, so click on the Create New Folder icon as shown below.

6. The new folder appears at the end of the list...

7. Overwrite the blue highlighted text with a new name, in this case, "Adobe Elements 9"

8. Now double-click on that folder to open it, and then choose 'OK'

9. The new folder will now show as your new Destination Folder. Click 'Next' to continue the rest of the steps to complete the installation.

From your start menu, you'll now be able to access either version of Photoshop.
This method works with other types of software, too.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Working with Obscure Technology #2: Minolta Slide Scanners in Windows 7

Like many of you who've been at the painting game since pre-'hysterical' times (read: pre-digital), you may have literally thousands upon tens of thousands of slides stored-- and every now and then, you decide you HAVE to access one and scan it.

I have a Konica/Minolta DiMage Scan Dual IV that I bought some years back in the slide-to-digital transition era (my 3rd slide scanner, to date). It does an OK job getting the slides moved onto the computer; i.e., not professional quality but if you need them for personal use. Then you can work them over (using cool tips you found here!) in Photoshop. However, I found the scanner would not operate on Windows 7 as it had on XP. Searching for a solution, I trolled the internet for a couple of hours and located this workable solution.

To get the drivers to work correctly in Windows 7 (also Vista), follow the steps found here (not nearly as complicated as they sound).


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dealing with old file formats: Kodak PCD - how to install Photo CD.8BI so you can open those old photos

I can't think of anything more aggravating than wasting time on the computer trying to solve what should be a minor, minor problem (give me an afternoon sitting around at the DMV, any day). Having wasted a good day on this, I'm hoping I can spare someone else out there some grief.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of computers, I love the digital era. But for those of us (which has to be a WHOLE lot of us) who've been archiving our artwork since the pre-digital days (i.e., old fashioned transparencies and slides), and the early digital days, we may find from time to time that we can't access our old files.

Have some of your artwork (or favorite family photos) stored on a Kodak Digital Science Portfolio II disc? Tried to access it lately, only to find that your latest version of Photoshop (CS3 or up) won't open it? And of course since it's outmoded file format, neither Kodak nor Adobe will offer any support on what can't be an uncommon problem.

Here's the (kinda-sorta) simple solution: locate a copy of a plug-in file, namely Photo CD.8BI and place it in your current make and model of Photoshop plug-ins file.

Here's the rub: You have to have an old version of Photoshop from which to grab the plug in (luckily I did). Supposedly you just need the installation disc, but I had to actually install the old program in order to even locate the plug-in. Which led to error messages galore but I digress.
The truly simple solution: (For Windows users)
Download the Photo CD.8BI plug-in by clicking here and follow the instructions.


If you're an Apple aficionado, try this:
On Mac OS, copy the PhotoCD.plugin file from the Goodies\Optional Plug-Ins\Kodak PhotoCD folder on the installation CD to Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Plug-Ins/File Formats.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New in CS3: Shadow/Highlight Adjustment

Remember, the primary goal of photographing and editing photos of your artwork is to make the final image as visually true to the original artwork as digitally possible.

"Paisans", oil, 9" x 12", the final corrected web image

Wow, where did the time go? Bet you thought I'd never post another tip.

I'm never one to upgrade too quickly; bugs need to be worked out, the price can be high, and are there REALLY cool new tools you can't live without in the upgrades? Maybe yes, maybe no. But when I found Adobe CS3 Master Suite at a sweet discount (and yes, yes, I know that CS4 is the latest thing), I caved, mostly after months of having to beg a 'Mac' friend to revert EPS logos for me for Illustrator (you know who you are, JC, and thank you! By the way, I checked just now; Amazon has Photoshop CS3 for about $150. Not too bad).

As it turns out, as I've been trying out the new tools, I did find a very useful one. If you're lucky enough to have CS3 of CS4, try out this new trick:

Shadow/Highlight Adjustment

Step one:
Really handy for the times when your photo contrast is too dark.
In the case of our step one photo (below), the image is just a bit too dark all around.
so, as we've done in all past tutorials, start by opening your original file, save a copy of it, and make a copy of the background layer.


Step two:
On your toolbar, go to Image/Adjustments/Shadow Highlight
as shown below. Click on it.

Step Three:
A big, long dialog box will pop up. Not to worry, most of the default settings are going to be just fine for now. Tinker if you like, but don't sweat it. At the bottom, if the 'Show Preview' box is checked, you'll notice your image is magically brighter! Maybe Too Much, but we can correct that later. Treat your first few tries at this as experiments, and just click on 'OK'.

Step Four:
Okay, now let's say it's a bit TOO bright. Two things you can do here:
One, always remember that Ctrl + Shift + F (Cmd + Shift + F for Mac users) will always to adjust the opacity of any filter. So try that first, maybe at about 50%, and see how it looks. Ah, much better.

Step five:
If further contrast correction is needed, I'd suggest going back to our old pal,
the Levels function. If the color or hue is off, check through our other tips for ideas.

Every artwork you photograph is going to have its own set of quirks, based on the color and contrast of the art itself, the lighting conditions, and whatever camera you may be using. Often you'll find you need to use more than one adjustment to get the photo looking like the art. With a little practice, you'll find you can do it very quickly. Have fun!

Questions? Always welcome.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cosmetic Surgery with The Spot Healing Brush

This Photoshop tutorial will show how to remove small glare spots, scratches, fuzz, cat hairs, and other boo boos (think of this as the 'cosmetic surgery' of Photoshop).

final edited image at left, Cuppa Black, 10" x 10"

First, a nice compliment: Here's a really great quote (Thanks Doug!) from the very fine painter Doug Hoover:
"R. I just wanted to tell you, as a 20 year recovering creative veteran, your Photoshop posts are spot-on. You know your PSD stuff. For a full-time artist, I think Photoshop is invaluable. And the only way to get good at this is to do it over and over. I started using Photoshop in 1995 and haven't looked back... You rock... D.

So, onto to today's tutorial:
Repairing small glare spots, scratches, fuzz, and other boo boos with the Spot Healing Brush.

First, I've opened the usual set of two matching images, and then used the Zoom Tool to magnify what I want to correct: primarily the cat hair (how'd that get in there??). To use the Zoom tool, click on the icon in the bottom of the side tool box that looks like a tiny magnifying glass. Holding down your Ctrl Key, (Cmmd for Mac users), click on + to enlarge, and - to reduce. (that's the 'plus' and minus' keys respectively.

Photoshop (CS2 and up) has a great little tool called the Spot Healing Brush; it is located on the main toolbox and the icon looks like a little bandaid. For small repairs on photos you can't beat this tool.

The Spot Healing Tool is very easy to use. Click on the tool, and then set the size as needed in the toolbar above: click on 'Brush' and a drop down palette will let you size the tool. To use the tool to take away dust motes, tiny raised spots that caught the light, etc., simply click on the offending spot. It will automatically blend into the surrounding area.

For scratches or hairs on a straight line
, click on one end of the line (the circle below indicated that starting point of the tool); then hold hold the shift key, and click again. The whole line should correct. If you get color crossover, undo the step (Ctrl+Z) and do in shorter segments.

Below is the corrected photo (on the left) line gone!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reducing the appearance of glare in dark areas with Contrast/Brightness

(Final edited image: Parrot Tulips, R. Garriott, oil, 24"x24")

The best way to avoid having to deal with glare in photo editing is to avoid it when photographing. Try some of the photo suggestions posted here to eliminate or reduce this issue.

Occasionally, though, you'll be in a hurry, photograph without checking, the painting goes out the door, gets sold... and the only record you have is a photo with glare-- as in this sample in the tutorial below. For those instances, here's a method that might help minimize the effect of glare a bit.

The Magic Wand Tool

With the Magic Wand tool, select the areas of glare that are most noticeable. (As in past tutorials, I've included a second 'control' image to the right, to help show the change.) In this case, it's the upper and left background. Select 'contiguous' on the upper toolbar to select only pixels that touch each other (otherwise it will select pixels all over the image). You can adjust the tolerance as needed; 32 is the default, it is set at 20 here. You'll see a dotted line around the area as you select it. To select more area at the same time, hold down your shift key while continuing to click on areas with the Magic Wand.

In the top toolbar, choose Image/Image Adjustment/Brightness-contrast. To darken, move the brightness pointer to the left. In this case I've reduced the brightness by -14. This allows the background to blend in with the dark areas at bottom and left with no noticeable line.

Release the selected area, and you'll have your result. If you get a 'line' or the fix doesn't blend in smoothly, undo (Ctrl+Z), try again, and adjust your increments.

If the glare covers a large portion and is noticeable over areas of light and dark, I would suggest rephotographing as a first step.
Here's one more little tip that may help you-- when you use the Magic Wand in an image with mixed shades, it may not pick up all the pixels in an area. So while holding down the Shift Key, click the Magic Wand a few times, moving around to pick up more pixels, and then if you need to pick up strays, switch to the 'Lasso' tool (while still holding down the Shift key)-- it's right next to the Magic Wand. Move your mouse in a loop around the stray pixels, and then make your adjustment with Brightness/Contrast or Levels.
I hope you find this tip useful! Happy photo editing!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Using Templates to Set Up Business cards, postcards, and other printed materials

Ordering business cards, postcards, and other printed promotional material for promoting your art is easy and cost effective. For ideas on printing companies to try, see the earlier post on Affordable Business Cards. Most of the information you need is available on any of these print sites. Look for the terms:
  • Download Template
  • Artwork specifications
  • Preparing Artwork files
Tips for setting up your own invitational postcard.
Note: virtually the same method applies for business cards, with the exception of the mailing information.

    When setting up digital files, check with your chosen printing company for Templates; they will almost always be available for download on the website, often under the term: Artwork Specifications.

    Here's a sample view of a template for a standard size postcard, front. all vital information should be well within the Safe Margin (blue outline)

    ...and here's the template for the back of the postcard. Note that it takes postal regulations into account.

    such as, 'mypostcard2009.psd'
    in a separate document, save the photo of your artwork you'd like to use on your card. You'll want to use 300 dpi, with a color mode of CMYK.
    For best results, make this image the same dimensions as it will print on the final card. See other tutorials on this blog if if you need more information.
    If you want the image to cover the entire card, be aware that some of your image will be cropped off.
    Add your photo to the downloaded template.
    Making sure again that your file is 300 dpi (from the top toolbar, click on image/image size; look for the the number in the 'resolution' box); add type using the Type tool in Photoshop (It looks like a capital 'T').
    Make sure you don't have any type or important parts of your image outside these lines or they may get cut off.
    If you leave this layer in, it may get printed. Oops!
    You may find it useful to save a copy as a .PDF; this is a smaller file but is accepted by most printing companies.
    After you complete both the front and back files, you should be ready to upload your file for ordering. Follow the online directions at the printing company of your choice.

I realize this is kind of a loose overview; please let me know if you think more detail would be useful. As I said, most of this information is available at each printing site, along with their own specific directions.