There were two main skills I learned in photoshop which REALLY helped in constructing the STDs: using layer masks & using actions. If these are brand new terms for you, I strongly suggest you check out the mcp tutorials which explain both of these skills in detail. Below is my very quick explanation to get you started. 🙂
Layer Masks: These are just what they sound like: masks that act as a layer over your photo. Think about what happens when a person wears a mask; you can see through the holes for their eyes but not through the mask itself. This is the SAME for a layer mask- except that you also choose how opaque the mask is. Let me give you an example:
Above you see the “before” photo. While I loved the coloring and composition here (so pretty!) I needed to make it darker so that I could place my monogram and wedding date on the photo and have them not fade into the background. So, I used a layer mask:
What I did to make the “after photo” above was layer a “texture” mask over the original photo, making the texture opaque enough that you could see the photo underneath.
Now, it may sound realllly simple above- and that is because I actually used the MCP “texture applicator” action to create and apply the layer mask. Which brings me to…
Using Actions: Actions are simply a collection of tasks that are automated. Huh? Well, when you create an action what you are doing is telling photoshop “every time I push this action button, I want these steps to happen”. So, actions aren’t magic- they are simply a collection of steps that are compiled in one easy automation. Here are two good examples:
Again, see the MCP website for instructions on how to install and use actions. For someone like me (with litttttle artistic ability), actions are a great way to do really cool graphic work…with little knowledge. 🙂
Do you have any tips or tricks for photoshop? Any helpful tutorials you found which “saved the day” like the MCP tutorials did for me?