Three ways to “FTP” your Photoshop and Digital Files…

FTP Info

Do you need to send a Photoshop file or another type of digital file to someone electronically, and it is bigger than your email provider can handle? Then you need to “FTP” it!

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Generally, when your file is larger than 10 MB, you will need to FTP it rather than email it.

For those times when you need to send larger files over the internet, such as to a potential client (with a proper watermark, of course!) or a photo lab, you generally have 3 FTP choices:

  1. Use the client or lab’s user-friendly FTP service, usually available through their website.
  2. Use a web-based FTP service.
  3. Use your own FTP software.

The first choice should be self-explanatory and costs nothing – Businesses such as Costco will have a user-friendly interface that allow you to easily upload photos for printing.

The second choice would be to use a web-based FTP service such as or – This is great if you FTP rarely or occasionally, or you don’t want to hassle with the extra knowledge that having your own software requires.

Usually, if your file is smaller than 100 MB, the service is free. The only disadvantage to this type of service (unless you sign up for their premium services) is that they generally only allow one file upload at a time, and can be quite slow. Again, these services require no special knowledge: All communication between you and the recipient is done via email, and you use the service’s servers and user-friendly software for the actual FTP.

The third choice is to purchase FTP software for you computer. If you FTP on a regular basis, this is the way to go, and the software is relatively inexpensive. I use Fetch on my Macs, and FTP Shell Client on my Windows machines, but if you Google “FTP”, you’ll see that there are lots of choices.

You will need to learn some specialized knowledge with this method, but the know-how needed is really not all that hard to learn or understand. You will also need to know the recipient’s FTP address, username, and password.

OK, so that’s it! Now let’s hear your FTP recommendations and stories….


John 🙂

PS – By the way, since when did words like “Photoshop”, “FTP”, and “Google” become verbs as well as nouns?

Photoshop Layer Masks – Thinking “Inside” the (Layer Mask Thumbnail) Box – Part II

04/02/20 Updated here:


Layer Mask Tools Photoshop

In the last post, I talked about the purpose of a layer mask: To hide or reveal portions of a layer. If you did not read the last post, I would strongly urge you to do so, and to study the accompanying image. Now I’ll talk about how to create and use a layer mask. So, where do you find or how do you create layer masks? Three places:

  1. When you create an adjustment layer, Photoshop automatically adds a “Layer Mask Thumbnail” to your layer (the white box on the right).
  2. For a new layer or background layer, click the “add a layer mask” button in the layers palette. It’s one of the series of buttons at the bottom of the layers palette shaped like a box with a circle in it. Once clicked, you will see a layer mask thumbnail added to your layer.
  3. You can also go to the “Layer Menu” -> “Layer Mask” -> “Reveal All” or “Hide All“. Your choice will depend on whether you want to reveal or hide the effects of the whole layer.

Okay, so now you’re ready to get started (You might want to refer to the illustration in the last post to see how this works).

  1. Decide which layer that you want to apply the layer mask to, and highlight it in the layers palette.
  2. Now, click once in the layer mask thumbnail, and a thin line will highlight it to show that the layer mask is active.
  3. In your image (not in the thumbnail), you are going to “paint” the areas that you want to hide and reveal with the brush tool. The foreground color is the active brush tool color. Remember, a black brush “hides” and a white brush “reveals” the effects of the layer.

That’s it! You are now a “Layer Mask Guru”! Here are a couple of pointers to help you fine-tune the process and speed things along:

  • You can switch between a black and a white brush color using the “switch” feature in the tools palette, or use the speed key (X). Remember, the foreground color is the active brush color. I find it handy to keep my left finger on the “X” key and toggle the brush color back and forth as needed.
  • You can automatically choose black and white as the foreground and background colors by pressing the appropriate button in the toolbox (see the image above of the toolbox).
  • You are not limited to black-and-white brush colors for hiding or revealing: You can vary the brush transparency by using different shades of gray. Double click on either the foreground or the background color in the toolbox and the “color picker” will pop up. Choose different values of gray as desired.
  • You can vary the brush size and hardness by right-mouse clicking in your image when the Brush Tool is selected or by using the Brush Tool Option Bar at the top of Photoshop. A larger brush size will cover a larger area, a “softer” brush will leave a softer edge, and a “harder” brush will leave a harder edge.

If you have any other questions on how this process works, please feel free to contact me. I’d also like to know if this tutorial has helped you — please leave a comment and let me know!


John 🙂

August 2020
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