Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop CC – Time to get your head INTO the “Cloud”?


So, have you been hearing about Photoshop CC lately?  Welcome to the Brave New World of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and all of the confusion that results from a revolutionary concept.  Since it’s here to stay, it’s time to get your head INTO the “Cloud”.


We’re all familiar with the traditional method of purchasing software, whether from Adobe or another company: install the software on your computer (say, Photoshop CS6), enter a key, and it’s yours to use in perpetuity – a “perpetual” license.

Now Adobe has a new business model:  When buying Adobe’s software, you’re no longer purchasing a “perpetual” license – You’re now going to essentially “rent” the software on a monthly (or yearly) basis -no more CS7, CS8, etc.

By the way, the best I can tell, you can no longer purchase Photoshop CS6 (or a good portion of the other “perpetual” products) from Adobe.

Biggest Myths – What it is NOT:

•  “It is NOT Browser-based / Cloud-based” – you actually install the software on your computer, just like you normally would – the only differences are 1) the licensing, and 2) the initial download comes from Adobe’s website.

•  “You Do NOT have to be connected to the Internet to use the program” –  however, the program does need to “check in” with Adobe’s servers at least once a month – remember, the software is on your computer, NOT on the web, and does not run “in the Cloud”.

•  “You are NOT required to upload your files to the “Creative Cloud” – You can keep your files on your computer or storage device, just like always – or you can upload your files, if you want, to your personal Creative Cloud storage space (20 GB).

Biggest Advantages:

•  “Initial costs” – This is a biggie, as the initial cost of purchasing a “perpetual” license in the past could be steep ($600+), and has been an impediment to those on a budget – – Now you can get a single CC license (say, Photoshop CC) for $20 a month, possibly less (see Adobe Special below).  Yes, you read that correctly:  You can have a completely operational, legal, up-to-date full version of Photoshop for an initial investment of $20 or less, NOT the $600+ that it used to cost!

•  “Latest software version”  – At the moment, Photoshop CC is essentially Photoshop CS6 extended, with some very nice embellishments.  But one of the biggest advantages of the Creative Cloud is immediate access to the latest updates and features, without having to worry about a version upgrade fee (which averaged around $179 per version).

•  “The Creative Cloud” – 2 Advantages here:

1)  If you use (or are thinking of using) other Adobe apps, such as Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, or Flash, you’ll realize some big savings by stepping up to a different pricing plan.

2)   As a Creative Cloud member, you’ll have access to online cloud storage for backup, sharing, etc.

Biggest Challenges:

•  “Long-term Cost” – This is the one aspect of the Creative Cloud that can rankle:  You will be paying a bit more per year than you would if you purchased a perpetual license with upgrades.  But since everything is going up in cost these days, I personally look at this with a jaundiced eye, as the increase is not outrageous, in my opinion.

•  “You are ‘locked into’ the Creative Cloud” – True, but isn’t that the case with a “perpetual” license, in some ways?  For example, you may have purchased Photoshop CS4, but then you upgrade your camera (and shoot RAW) –  you more than likely will need to upgrade your Photoshop version to accommodate the newer RAW file.

•  “Confusion” – No doubt about it: A new concept can generate a ton of confusion, but Adobe has put together a fairly extensive FAQ page, with live chat:

Pricing / Adobe’s Special before August 31st:

•  There are two basic pricing plans for individuals:

1)  Single App plan – If you only need Photoshop (like I do), this is the best way to go – $20 per month (or less!)

2)  Complete plan – all of the available Creative cloud apps, including Photoshop CC – $49.99 per month (or less!)

•  “Adobe Special” – Existing CS customer can save 50% on the single app plan, but you must sign up by August 31st! – The price is $10 per month – it’s billed monthly, and requires an annual commitment.

•  The full individual pricing structure is here:

My Suggestion:

Sign up now, particularly if you are an existing user of Photoshop – how can you go wrong spending $120 for a year of access to the latest Photoshop version?  Besides, this is the future of Photoshop, so be a “trendsetter”!


John 🙂


Photoshop CS6’s innovative new Crop Tool

So, you’ve used previous versions of Photoshop, and now you’ve got CS6.   You’re ready to crop your image, and – – “Whaaa?! #%&*  – Egads! Crop1_CS6_03-13 This new Crop Tool is really different!”  Yes, it is – but once you know how it works and get used to it, you’ll never want to go back.


The Crop Tool allows you to crop to a portion of an image to enhance the subject matter, remove an unwanted object, or improve your composition.

Where to Find:

You can find the Crop Tool in the Tools Panel, or by pressing its Speed Key, which is “C”.


Crop Handles / Crop Box / Aspect Ratio:

Crop3_CS6_03-131)  When you first activate the Crop Tool, you’ll notice the Crop Handles at the four corners of your image, as well as one on each side, creating a Crop Box (the area to be cropped). By default, the Aspect Ratio (discussed shortly) is Unconstrained (not a defined crop size), which is why the Crop box starts on the outside edge of your image.

2)  Click on a handle, hold the left mouse button down and drag the handles to the desired shape.  When a constrained crop size is chosen, such as an 8×10, your Aspect Ratio remains the same, no matter which handle you drag and move.

3)  You’ll notice that your mouse cursor changes to a double-headed arrow when you hover over any handle – you’re now ready to click, hold and drag to create your Crop BoxCrop4_CS6_03-13

4)  In addition, hovering slightly outside the Crop Box at any handle will change the cursor to a 90-degree double-sided arrow – now you can easily rotate your image inside the Crop Box by clicking and dragging.

5)  It’s also possible to “free from” your crop, like in previous versions of Photoshop.  Put your mouse cursor anywhere in your image, hold down the left mouse button, and drag up or down to a diagonal opposite from where you started, such as Top Left to Bottom Right, and so on.  Let off of your mouse button.  This creates the Crop Box.


Moving your image in the Crop Box:

**  Crop5_CS6_03-13Unlike previous versions of Photoshop, the Crop Box remains stationary, and your image moves inside the defined Crop Box, NOT the other way around.

**  Simply click and drag anywhere inside the Crop Box to reposition your image.  You can also use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard for minute adjustments.

**  It’s also possible to move your image outside of the Crop Box, such as the black area to the top and left of the sample image to the right.


What’s in the Options Bar?



**  Presets:  When you click on the Crop Presets drop-down menu triangle, a series of preset crop sizes will show up.  Choose one if you desire, or fill in your desired width, height, and resolution in the “Size and Resolution“ dialog box and create your own (discussed shortly).

**  Aspect Ratio: Crop6_CS6_03-13 Unlike previous versions of Photoshop, filling in the values in the boxes to the right of this drop-down menu does NOT necessarily set your actual crop size and resolution – only the aspect ratio.  I rarely use this, preferring to use the Size and Resolution option instead (discussed next).

**  Size and Resolution:  If you’ve got a particular width, height, and resolution in mind, you’ll get more accurate results using this – It’s found under the “Aspect Ratio” drop-down menu.  You also have the option of saving this as a preset by checking the appropriate box.Crop7_CS6_03-13

**  Orientation: You can switch the width and height values by clicking here.

**  Straighten: Here’s where you can  straighten your horizon (or a vertical) easily.

**  View / Overlay: Crop8_CS6_03-13 Here’s an easy way to judge your crop properly with an overlay.  By default, the overlay is the “Rule of Thirds” (see sample image below) – check out the other views.  If you need to remove the overlay, just click on “Never Show Overlay”.

**  Options / Crop Shield:   The Crop Shield helps you visualize what your final crop will look like before committing to it.  See the image sample below for an example of the Crop Shield enabled with a 50% Opacity.

**  Reset:  Pressing this resets the Crop Box, Aspect Ratio, Width, Height and Resolution settings, bringing your Crop Box back to “Unconstrained”.

**  Cancel: This completely cancels the current crop operation, and you will lose all settings.

**  Crop9_CS6_03-13Commit:  Once you have everything set the way you want it, pressing the “check” symbol commits to the current crop operation.

**  “Classic Mode”:  If you don’t like the new Crop Tool, simply check “Use Classic Mode” from the Options drop-down menu.  You’ll then be able to adjust the Crop Box without the image moving underneath.



Did you find this post helpful?  This is straight out of my new Photoshop CS6 book – Check it out – Click here


John  icon smile Setting up your Photoshop CS6 Workspace with Panels


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