Front On Profile

Our friends at DOCMA, Germany’s leading magazine for creative photo editing, have shared their expertise with us. Here we’re showing you – with a little help from Doc Baumann – how, with only a little effort, you can create a double portrait effect – of yourself, your loved ones, or using images from Fotolia, as we have here.

Two fundamental elements are essential to this clever optical illusion: a frontal shot and a profile shot, which should be simply cropped and lit as similarly as possible.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Original frontal photo

Both original photos should fulfil the following conditions: First, an even background providing sufficient contrast to the model’s skin and hair is necessary (even if this leads to the occasional glossy spot). Such a background makes it significantly easier to crop the profile later (in steps 4 and 5).


  1. Original profile photo

Second, the face should be equally lit in both photos. The orientation point for the camera should be the viewer – not the model! In other words, the model should remain in the same spot and turn 90 degrees on a vertical axis, while the lighting and camera position remain the same. You can’t just re-position the camera.


  1. Scaling and positioning

It’s basically irrelevant which of the two photos ends up as the background layer and which is the top layer – here the profile photo is used as the background. Reduce the opacity of the top layer to 50%. Draw two guide lines through the pupils and the mouth. Pull up the transformation panel and move/re-scale the top photo so that the eyes and mouth are cut by the guiding lines.


  1. Background: Select the color range

When you’ve used an appropriate color for the background of the photos, it should be simple to select the background – and only the background – with low tolerance by going to “Select” → “Color range”. In our example, it’s nearly pure white. If the tolerance is too low (here, under 24), fine hairs will be cut off. It’s better to revise unwanted parts (nose, shoulder) after conversion in Quick Mask mode using the Burn tool.


  1. Finished profile mask

In most cases, it doesn’t affect this project much if hairs break off or not – the contour of the face is most important. After you’ve retouched the mask in Quick Mask mode, you can either save it as a new channel or immediately assign the top level as a layer mask by clicking on the icon that says, “add layer mask” on the bottom of the layers panel.


  1. Masked Portrait Overlay

Generally this view corresponds to the one from step 3, with the important difference that the front-facing face is only visible in the area of the profile view. If you discover that the positioning of the top face isn’t quite right, toggle the “link layers” button (the chain) between the layers icon and the layer mask icon off. That way you can move the picture around, while the mask remains fixed.


  1. Final retouching

Set the top layer at 100% opacity. Pull up the layer mask as your selection by clicking and holding the <Ctrl/Command> button so that you won’t accidentally un-mask it beyond the contours of the face. Edit the mask with the solid black brush so that the sides of the nose are visible in the profile outside the border until a believable combination of the two faces remains.


  1. Alternate example: Man

The method should now be clear – for the best results, step 7, in which you mask a specific area, is the most important. The fundamental techniques in this step – and the two to follow – are identical, but this time will be based on a man’s face. The result will be presented in two variations, with one taking on a slightly more artificial appearance.


  1. Overlay

Here’s a quick overview of the steps once again: combine a frontal picture and a profile picture into one file, reduce the opacity of the upper layer, scale and position the upper layer so that the pupils as well as the lines between the upper and lower lips line up on one level. Then select the background of the profile photo, make the layer mask the top layer, and retouch the result to make the combination convincing.


  1. Combination possibilities

In the example of the woman (step 7), the finished picture looks comparatively realistic (if a little unsettling). The two variants presented here, however, have a different character – the left contour corresponds to the profile, while the right takes its shape from the frontal photo (the hair was arranged with a special brush). The right variation, on the other hand, is easy to recognize as an overlaid montage combination.



We really appreciate Doc Baumann sharing this great tutorial with us!

Top Tips for Food Bloggers

Top Tips for Food BloggersThe first rule of food photography, and realistically the most important, for those of you looking to take snaps of your home-cooked dishes, is to invest in a microwave. Food photography can be an addictive pastime, one that often leaves you obsessing over a the correct angle of your pizza slice, or trying to precariously balance an onion ring on top of your burger. As a result, food can get cold. A microwave is a surefire way of ensuring you can still enjoy your meal once you’ve got your perfect photo.

dampfendes Hähnchengericht mit Nudeln

Remember, if you want to add some authentic look steam to a supposedly piping hot dish you can find out how to in TipSquirrel’s tutorial here.

On top of this here’s some of our top tasty tips to get your food photography looking even more appetising:

Adding Colours and Textures

risotto zafferano pomodori secchi

Herbs and other toppings are your best friends when it comes to food photography. Mushroom risotto may be delicious but a grey plate of sloppy rice is not the most attractive.  A sprinkling or parsley for example adds a pop of colour, drawing attention to the dish by the colour contrast. Similarly condiments such as mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce rescue plates of meat which although delicious, aren’t the most photogenic. A drizzle of sauce around the plate frames the centrepiece adding intrigue to the photo.

ice cream sundae

Set the Scene

Natural light is the optimum brightness for food photography so near a window in the daytime is best for getting the best set up. Consider your plates when dishing up your food. If you have a food blog or are contributing to stock then invest in some interesting plates. White is a classic but black as well as vintage, patterned or themed dishes will always differentiate your photos from other’s. For a cool, modern look try a different background such as a slate or wood board which gives an edgy effect.

Raw seabass fish on the graphite board.

It’s also worth noting to have a cloth on hand to wipe away any little spillages on the plate as they can distract from the focal point itself.


Decide upon your dish’s main feature and try out different angles to highlight it. If it’s a dish such as eggs Benedict, the egg yolk freshly oozing out is really the heart of the shot so therefore it may be best to zoom in to really emphasis the brightness of the yellow. Whereas a full English breakfast doesn’t have a hero, the plate itself is deserved of the whole attention so an overhead image can work nicely.

rustic full english breakfast

Feed the Atmosphere

Food shot on an isolated background is great when you want details of the ingredients themselves to really stand out however there are times when the addition of people in the shot can really enhance it. Dishes such as nachos, fondues or canapés were made to be enjoyed with other people. When you’ve got a dish that is perfect for a group to tuck into with their fingers, include the dipping and the picking – it adds to the authenticity allowing someone to feel part of the party.

A tasty lunch all together

Friends having a toastRestaurants pose a perfect opportunity to capture shots of food you may not have in your own culinary repertoire. Our best tip is although of course discretion is important, in some restaurants more than others, unless it clearly states not to, taking photos of your food is part of the experience, one that you should not be unsure of. Camera flashes are best avoided as they can often lead your photos to have overly harsh contrast.

Liquid nitrogen treated salmon and chili pepperCrayfish on wooden background

Smartphones are a great way of subtly taking photos in restaurants although as with all smartphone filters, they’re best avoided – particularly when it comes to food photography. However you may want to increase saturation, sharpness and brightness which may otherwise be dulled.

The most important thing however, in light of all of these tips, is to tuck in, and enjoy!

Kleine Dame beim Essen :-))

Cloud Service Integration

When you go for cloud service integration, there will be the inclusion of data, process and use cases. The service-oriented architecture will also be integrated in this manner. There are two popular cloud integration services. These include iPaaS and dPaaS. In case of iPaaS, customers will be able to develop, execute and govern integration flows in a very efficient way. Customers will drive the development. There is no requirement of installation of hardware or middleware.

Cloud-based integration

dPaaS is a cloud-based integration which is also called as a fully managed service. In this case, the cloud platform is developed and managed by the service provider. The execution and integration will be done in the best possible way so that there will not be any issues.

xendesktop cost is low and you will enjoy great convenience. The technical complexity is reduced when you choose the best cloud solutions. The cost will be lowered due to economies of scale.

Regardless of the location of data and applications, the integration is required so that businesses will be able to move to the next level in a very efficient way. There are tailored cloud-to-cloud integration solutions offered by reputed companies. You will get support from experts at so that your needs will be fulfilled in the best possible way.

SharePoint solutions

If you are interested in SharePoint solutions, you can go for trial offer so that you can taste services in a very efficient manner. The collaboration and communication will take place very efficiently by choosing the SharePoint solutions. You can sign up for a service very easily. If you can spend few minutes, there will be great benefits. As you build a SharePoint site, there will be access to data from any location and any device without any issues.

You can upgrade to any plan as per your business needs and it is possible to get access to SharePoint online support as well. A leading provider of SharePoint will go through your requirements and the best services will be offered to enhance your business operations. It is possible to migrate to another environment by taking the technical support from the service provider.

There are various SharePoint versions which include 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. You can also go for the latest online of Office 365. Most online plans are Hosted SharePoint 2016, Foundation and Online. The features and benefits vary from one plan to another plan.

Reliable virtual desktops

The server will never go down when you choose the best service provider in the market. You can go through the link, to understand about various kinds of solutions offered by the reputed company.

The best service provider will invest internet connection, fallback options, backup and power supply. The daily backups will be configured to run automatically. In the absence of your IT engineer for many days, there will not be any interruption to services. As per the subscription, software will be updated and necessary patches will be installed to help you avoid all kinds of conflicts.

As you go for Microsoft hosted exchange plans, your in-house staff will not want to focus on low-level issues. The focus will be on core business so that best results will be delivered on a daily basis. The computing efficiency will improve through the consistent efforts played by the IT team. Certified cloud experts will come to your rescue so that the design, implementation and planning will be done in the best possible way.

Selection of cloud service provider

The cloud service provider should be selected based on the features. You should have access to best deals so that there will be great savings on an annual basis. A company that offers hosting solutions to thousands of clients will certainly look after your needs. You can go through the reviews so that these features can be understood without any difficulty.

There will be access to secure and reliable high-performance infrastructure and support will be offered on 24/7. The support is extended through phone, email and chat. If your business is moving to hosted virtual desktops, you should take calculated approach so that your needs will be fulfilled in the best possible way. The total cost of ownership should be minimized in this process.

New ‘Lightroom for Mobile’ Update for Android Supports RAW Image Editing

pslrandYesterday Adobe announced Android version 2.0 of Lightroom for Mobile, and they added a number of fairly significant features (bringing into parity with the Apple IOS version of Lightroom for Mobile), but the big news is support for RAW image editing (as long as your Android smartphone can capture in RAW DNG mode using it’s built-in camera).

According to Adobe’s own Lightroom Journal Blog, here’s what they added:

  • An in-app camera, supporting the capture of images in DNG raw format
  • Shoot-through presets, also available within the in-app camera, enabling previewing and capturing images with a series of built-in presets providing non-destructive editing
  • Dehaze tool to adjust haze and fog in an image
  • Split Toning enhancement, enabling the addition of a color cast to the highlights and shadows of an image, creating a uniquely stylized color image or replicating the look and feel of a traditional toned black and white image
  • Target Adjustment Tool functionality in the Color/B&W editing tool, providing direct, on-image editing controls
  • Point mode in Curve tool providing complete control over the tonality and contrast of an image
  • Enhanced sharing with one-tap access to Adobe Premiere Clip for crafting video stories.

Hope you have a great Tuesday everybody!


25 Creative Tips from the #Ps25Under25 Artists

As our 25th year of Photoshop draws to a close (our 26th birthday is tomorrow… hint, hint), I want to take a moment to celebrate the creative minds who helped make this year so inspiring. Many of you followed along as we introduced 25 artists under the age of 25 on our Instagram channel.

This group represents such a diverse set of young creatives: illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, textile artists, animators, 3D artists and everything in between. They’re from all around the world: from right here in California, to Germany, South Africa, Canada, Indonesia, and other places I can only dream of visiting.

To reflect on last year’s creative journey, we checked back in with each of these artists to further pick their unbelievably creative brains:

What is one thing you hope to accomplish creatively in 2016?

I hope to transpose all the ideas and imaginations that are going through my head. I want to meet more creative people, get inspired by them and grow as an artist. And of course I hope 2016 will also be a year full of spontaneous journeys. – Mehran Djojan, Age 20, Germany

There’s always a lot to learn and experience, that’s why I love to travel around the world, that’s why my dearest project for 2016 is the creation and weekly publication of a comic based on my adventures, experiences and persons I met during my travels in South America and also about the ones that are coming. – Christian Benavides, Age 23, Colombia

As I am currently pursuing my Masters in Textile Design at Philadelphia University, I want to gain every single bit of knowledge that this field has to offer and absorb my learning in my day to day practice as a designer as well as an individual. I wish to continue learning new things, find new inspiration, travel to the utmost and most of all keep designing. – Insiyah Shahpurwalla, Age 24, India

I’m still exploring different styles and want to find the one that represents my personality in the best way. Graphic design is a never ending journey for me – and that’s the thing that I love most about this industry. – Peter Tarka, Age 22, Poland

I hope that my solo exhibition will be held in China in 2016. – Teddy Kang, Age 24, Canada

What do you do when you hit a creative block to get back to your creative zone?

I usually just look at other artists’ work with a pencil and paper in my hand. I find that I get really inspired to draw when I see other illustrators’ creative output. Sometimes if the block is too big to get around, I just stop and take a break. I go out for a run, take a nap, watch a movie or read a good book.  – Geraldine Sy, Age 23, Philippines

The most important and most difficult thing we have to do every day is to take a step back and have a new look at our work. Maybe by doing something totally different for a moment, you can then appreciate what you’ve done with new eyes. I also like to ask someone who’s not familiar with the project at all to know what is their first feeling and if it’s what I wanted to transmit. – Alice Bouchardon, Age 23, France

When I hit a creative block I usually go for a walk, and when I come back I start drawing in my sketchbook with no rules, no limits. That sense of freedom helps me see new ways of exploring things that I am trying to achieve and I can then transfer that mindset to my projects. – Fredy Santiago, Age 24, USA

For inspiration, I mostly look around, wherever I am, observing various little pieces of typography that catch my attention, like shop logos, old newspaper headlines, etc. – Mark van Leeuwen, Age 16, Italy

If I got this question in my early days as an illustrator, I would have said: “Get out of your workroom and read some books for a while.” But my present self would answer, “Push your limits.” For me, creative process in illustrating is like taking part in a marathon run — once I decide to slow down and walk when the pain comes on, my rhythm would unravel. So, don’t stop, but don’t be too hard on yourself. – Evan Raditya Pratomo, Age 24, Indonesia

Who are your favorite artists right now?

No doubt, the guy who inspired me from the beginning was Erik Johansson. I even managed to talk with him. He told me that if I do things with love, I receive that love back. Besides him, I have followed the trajectory of other #Ps25Under25 artists, eventually becoming friends with some of them. They inspire me a lot and I plan to meet them all one day. – Thiago Garcia, Age 15, Brazil

There are many artists that I like right now, I don’t want to miss anyone, but I can mention Flora Borsi. – Ahmed Emad Eldin, Age 18, Egypt

A lot of the other 25 under 25 artists have become real inspirations creatively, but designers such as Tobias Van Schneider still take the biscuit. – Tom Anders Watkins, Age 20, UK

One of the most inspiring for me right now is Tim Burton. A giant catalog of his drawings is sitting on my shelf, ready to get picked up whenever I need some inspiration. You can clearly see his influence in my recent illustrations. – Martin Schneider, Age 19, Germany

I really love Geoff McFetridge’s and Moonassi’s work. I find them both so inspiring and I love the way they treat their subject matters in their illustrations. – Jocelyn Tsaih, Age 22, China

What piece of your work best represents you and why?

Probably my photo “crash“.  Model aviation is another passion of mine, and the spectacularness of the failure in the picture somehow seems representative. – Zev Hoover, Age 16, USA

The piece that represents me the most is a multiple exposure I did of my friend. It utilizes one of my favorite art forms and art that uses original photos is a lot closer to me as a whole. – Brandon Saunders, Age 15, Cayman Islands

I think the piece I did for the #PS25under25 project is a good representation of who I am. The brief was to look inward and to create something that truly represents you as a creative; as tough of a challenge as that was, that’s what I tried to achieve. – Sonia Dearling, Age 23, South Africa

The pieces that best represent my work are the ones that show travel. Theme-wise, I like playing with the idea of being lost and found. – Leonard Peng, Age 23, USA

This portrait gets close – it’s open, but somehow strong in it’s vulnerability. I feel like that’s very me. – David Uzochukwu, Age 16, Belgium

What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to other young creatives?

Make a lot of art. Make a lot of art that you love. It has to be fun, and it should mean something to you. Simply enjoying it is meaning enough. Don’t sacrifice your comfort in your art for something superficial. Stick to what you love doing. – Reylia Slaby, Age 22, Japan

Start with doing things almost on a daily basis. Find your niche, learn new techniques, develop your style and practice what you enjoy the most. – Rron Nushi, Age 23, Netherlands

Don’t give up, it takes time to make it to the top. If you are really interested in this occupation you will never be satisfied with your work, but that doesn’t mean your work is not good enough. Give time to yourself. – Flora Borsi, Age 21, Hungary

Watch other people work, ask yourself which technique they have used, why they picked the colors they use, lighting, details, etc. And learn. Find your own techniques, experiment and have a lot of fun. Then share it with the world and have a good time! – Bram Vanhaeren, Age 24, Belgium

Take risks. Practice as much as you can. Step out of your comfort zone. Have a personal manifesto – it will get you far and establish your core values, abide by it. Another thing that I would always recommend is doing personal projects. They always kept me motivated and moving forward. – Shaivalini Kumar, Age 24, India

Adobe Photoshop: Tips for Web Layouts

There are many resources readily available to help design web interfaces, and a lot of them allow you to do a great job. I personally prefer using Adobe Photoshop due to the vast variety of tools provided from the get go. Below I am going to share some really simple, quick tips that I find very useful when designing web interfaces:

1. Selecting Individual Layers

Discovering the Auto-Select tool is a game changer, being able to select on individual layers without interacting with the layers panel will make your life in Photoshop so much easier, and as a result can help speed up your workflow. If you are pretty familiar with Photoshop, it’s likely that you are already aware of this little tool, but for those who are not, here you are:


While the move tool (v) is selected, simply check the ‘Auto-Select’ box, change the dropdown option from Group to Layer, and if you like, check the ‘Show Transform Controls’ to view the control grid on the selected layer. You can now click individual layers to interact with, without selecting them within the layers panel.

2. Copy & Paste – Layer Styles

Being able to copy and paste layer styles is not only fast and convenient, but it allows for a more consistent use of styles. Lets say for example you have a set of styles applied to a layer, you then later create a new layer but want to apply the same styles. Instead of recreating the styles to match,  you can simply copy the styles from the existing and paste them onto the new. You can even copy a set of layer styles from one document and paste them into another.

To copy styles, right click the layer with styles, and select ‘Copy Layer Style’.


To paste styles, right click the new layer you wish to apply the styles to, and select ‘Paste Layer Style’


Note: Pasting styles onto a layer that already have styles applied to it will replace the existing with the new. 

3. Actions

One really cool thing Adobe Photoshop allows you to do is record a set of actions, save them within a group, and then call this group of actions at the press of a function key. My main use for this feature is when I want to export an image from a single or group of layers without messing around with the slicing or cropping tools.

In the example below, Photoshop will make a new document using the layers I have selected, group them, trim all of the transparent surroundings, then export the document using ‘save for web’ and finally return to your web project. All in the blink an eye. 


4. Stay Organised

This might seem like a simple one, but keeping all of your layers organised is important, especially when you are working on a complex layout. It’s easy for your layers panel to get a little out of hand, so it makes sense to give folders/groups relevant names. I choose to use names that relate to the build process, for example if I have a group of layers that are apart of the website header, I will name the folder ‘Header’’ and prefix with a ‘.’ or ‘#’ to define the class or ID.

Here is an example of my organised layers panel:


A nice little tip is to select layers you want to group using the Auto-Select (discussed above), press cmd + G (ctr + G) to group into a folder, and simply name that folder within the layers panel.

This is just touching the surface for how useful Adobe Photoshop can be for creating Web Layouts, if you have any tips or tricks to share, please do get in touch and share them with us, we would love to hear from you!

28 Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Adobe Photoshop CC

In this video and post I’ll cover 28 great features, tricks, hacks, and more of Adobe Photoshop CC 2015. Some are simple, some are difficult, some are well known, and some are more like Easter eggs.

If you want to learn about multiple layer styles, layer mask tricks, whitening teeth, black and white photos, precision with the Brush tool, and a bunch more, this is the tutorial for you!

1. Quickly Whiten Teeth

Go Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Vibrance and reduce the Vibrance to “-60”.


Next select the Vibrance layer in the layers panel and specifically choose the layer mask. In the Properties Panel (Window->Properties) select the “Invert” button to fill our mask with black to hide the desaturation that we just imposed on the Vibrance layer.


Next select the Brush tool (B) and I’ll grab a small, soft edged brush and look to the control bar across the top of the screen and set the Opacity to “50%”. Paint over the teeth you’d like to whiten for a realistic and beautiful smile!



2. Merge All Layers to New Layer

When we’ve got a Photoshop document with lots of layers — or even just a few layers — you may have the need to merge all of these layers into one layer while still retaining your original layer structure. There is no menu feature to do this in Photoshop, only a hidden hotkey. Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt/Opt + E.


This will combine everything and pop it onto a new layer in one fell swoop.


3. The Rotate View Tool

When retouching or any kind of shading, or dodging and burning, the Rotate View tool is one of the most useful little features I can think of in Photoshop. This tool will rotate the view of your image, but not actually flip the image. It’s quick and easy to use! Click and hold on the Hand tool in the tool box to reveal the Rotate View tool (R) and then drag side-to-side to rotate the image clockwise or counterclockwise.


Look to the toolbar and hit the “Reset View” button to instantly level off the image and bring things back to normal.


4. Change Layer Opacity Hotkey

Instead of using the opacity slider in the layers panel, you can quickly change layer opacity by simply selecting the Move tool (V) and press any number on your keyboard. “1” will set the layer to “10%”, “5” will set it to “50%”, etc… hit “0” to reset the layer to “100%”. I set my text layer to “50%” opacity. TIP: Hold down the Shift key and press any number to adjust the fill opacity.



5. Choose Layers Trick

Look at your layers panel and choose any single layer. You can quickly choose any layer above or below the selected layer by holding down the Alt/Opt key and pressing the right square bracket to choose the layer above, or the left square bracket to choose the layer below.



6. Move Layers Trick

Much like the last tip, you can move entire layers by holding the Cmd/Ctrl key while pressing either one of the square bracket buttons. Left square bracket moves the layer down in the stack and the right bracket moves the layer upward.



7. Change Unit of Measure

You can change the units of measure that show up in your info panel, or that show up when you drag out a selection, or the units of measure in the rulers that you can pull up around your document (Cmd/Ctrl + R).

Turn the rulers on by going Window->Rulers and then simply right click the ruler anywhere and choose the unit of measure you prefer.



8. Undo More Steps

You can add many more possible undo steps to Photoshop so you can keep hitting Cmd/Ctrl + Alt/Opt + Z to step back, back, back up to 1000 times! Go Photoshop->Preferences (Edit->Preferences on Windows) or hit Cmd/Ctrl + K to open the Preferences panel.


Choose “Performance” from the vertical menu on the left and drag the “History States” slider to whatever number you like. NOTE: More history states can slow down Photoshop. Use this feature wisely.

9. Apply Pattern Along Path

This is a cool little feature that is semi hidden in Photoshop. Draw out a path using the Pen tool (P) and then hit the letter (A) to grab the Direct Selection tool (either the black or white arrow works) and simply right click the path and choose “Fill Path”.


Set your “Contents” to “Pattern” and choose a pattern and then check on “Script:” and choose “Place Along Path” and hit “OK”.


Next, the Place Along Path dialog box will pop up. Play around with the settings (the choice of pattern is most important to getting an amazing or usable result) and then hit “OK” when you like what you see.


10. Apply Layer Mask Trick

Adding a layer mask is as simple as pressing the new layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. The default, however is to have a mask filled with white which doesn’t hide the layer.


If we want the mask to be filled with black (and therefore hide the layer it’s applied to) the trick is to simply hold the Alt/Opt key while pressing the new layer mask button.

11. Instantly Find Center of Photoshop Document

To instantly find the center of your Photoshop document, go View->New Guide Layout and tick on “Columns” and “Rows” and choose to have “2” columns and “2” rows. Also, be sure to set the “Gutter” to “0”.


Lastly choose the “Preset” drop down menu and select “Save Preset”. I’m going to name this preset “Center of Document”. Save the preset and check out the drop down menu to see your sparkling new preset. You’re now ready to use this in any document that you wish.



12. Quickly Change Colors

When you have a colorful surface you can do some amazing things in Photoshop with a couple simple Blend Modes. Create a new layer and paint over that area with the color you wish. Next simple change the Blend Mode to either “Hue” or “Color”. Both interact with underlying color differently, so try both and see what you like best.



13. How to Paint a Selection

Hit the letter “Q” to enter Quick Mask mode and then double click the Quick Mask icon at the bottom of the toolbox to bring up the Quick Mask Options.



Choose “Selected Areas” in the “Color Indicates” section of the dialog box. Hit “OK” and grab the brush tool and set your painting foreground color to black. Paint over whatever you want to selection and watch the pink/red color get painted onto your image. Hit the letter “Q” to exit Quick Mask mode to convert your red paint to a selection. Boom!



14. Beautiful Black and White Photos with Channel Mixer

You can create beautiful and interesting high contrast black and white images using the Channel Mixer adjustment layer. Go Layer>New Adjustment Layer->Channel Mixer and tick on “Monochrome” in the Channel Mixer dialog box. Slide the red, green, and blue sliders around to get great contrast without blowing out your highlights.


15. Quickly Fill Text and Color/Shape Layers

You can quickly set the color of any type layer,solid color adjustment layer, or shape layer to your foreground color by selecting that layer and hitting Alt/Opt + Backspace/Delete.


16. Scale Layer Styles with Layer

You can ensure that your layer styles scale up and get bigger or smaller with your layer contents. I have selected my “New York Post” style drop shadow/stroke text here. Go Layer->Layer Style->Scale Effects. I’m going to set the “Scale” to “175%”.


Next I’ll just free transform my text (Cmd/Ctrl + T) and set the width and height to “175%” in the control bar across the top of my screen and position my text where I want. Our styles will look just perfect.


17. Precise Painting with the Brush Tool

For the moments that you’re doing very specific painting work, or you are working with a tablet and pressure sensitivity, you can add a crosshair right right to the middle of the brush by opening the Preferences dialog (Cmd/Ctrl + K) or go Photoshop->Preferences or on Windows Edit->Preferences.


Select “Cursors” from the vertical menu on the left. Then choose “Normal Brush Tip” and check on “Show Crosshair in Brush Tip”.


18. Duplicate Anything You Want

You can duplicate virtually anything in Photoshop by simply selecting it and dragging it while holding down the Alt/Opt key. From objects in the Photoshop document, to layers, to layer styles, to darn well anything you want. Give it a try!


19. Before/After Preview in Layers Panel

If you’re working with PSD that has many layers and you quickly want to hide all layers and get back to the original image, or just hide all layers except one layer, hold down your Alt/Opt key and click the eyeball of the layer you wish to view. Alt/Opt click the eyeball to bring all the other layers back.



20. Straightening the PSD

Grab the Ruler tool (I) and drag a line across an edge in your photo that should be level. Look to the control bar and click the “Straighten Layer” button. Then grab the Crop tool (C) and trim away those transparent edges.



21. Bird’s Eye View

This one is a fun and useful little trick for when you’re zoomed in on a document. While zoomed in, simply hold down on the “H” key and drag your mouse anywhere and the document will temporarily zoom out and give you a box to show where it will zoom back into when you let go of the mouse button. You really have to try it to see what I’m talking about. It’s pretty great though!


22. Clip Image to Type Layer

You can quickly add texture to a layer of type by clipping another layer of content to that type. This technique of clipping masks can be used to target an adjustment layer just to one single layer, or keep something automatically limited within the pixels of the layer it is being clipped to. I have dragged in a subway photo above my text layer in this PSD example.


I’ll turn on the subway photo layer and then hold my Alt/Opt key as I hover between the two layers. Notice the little icon that appears. Click that to clip the photo to the shape of the type.



23. Instagram “Fade” Effect

To quickly add an Instagram style fade effect to an image, grab a Selective Color adjustment layer Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Selective Color and choose the “Colors” drop down menu and select “Neutrals”. Set the “Blacks” slider to “-20”. Then jump over to the “Blacks” from the same drop down menu. Set the “Blacks” here to “-15”. That’s it!



24. Hacking Your Selection Placement

You can move your selection while you’re dragging it out to ensure that it lands exactly where you want it to by simply dragging out a selection using one of the Marquee tools and holding the space-bar while dragging it out to move the entire selection where your heart desires.


25. Quick Retro Color Style

To quickly add a touch of the past into your photos go Layer->New Fill Layer->Solid Color and choose to fill the layer with a bright blue. Set the layer blend mode to “Exclusion” and reduce the Opacity to somewhere around 20%.




26. Extract Assets

This feature of Photoshop allows you to select multiple layers in your document and save them each out as individual images to be used in other projects and more. Begin by selecting multiple layers by Shift clicking the layers that you would like to export and right click and choose “Export As…”


You can check out the individual layers in this dialog box and choose the file format you wish to save with and then just hit the “Export” button and choose the folder where you’d like to save the images.


27. Multiple Drop Shadows and Strokes

With the latest release of Photoshop, you’re now able to add multiple layer styles to your layers. Double click any layer to open the Layer Styles dialog box. Note the little “plus” next to some of the styles. Use that to add multiple styles as you wish. In my screenshot I’ve placed three strokes on this bit of text. Have fun and go wild with this trick!


28. Interface Color Easter Egg

Open the Photoshop Preferences by going Photoshop->Preferences or Edit->Preferences on Windows. Select “Interface” from the vertical menu on the left. Hold down the Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt/Opt and click any one of the color swatch options to make them change.


That’s it! Do you know any cool Photoshop CC tips or tricks that you think need to be shared? Post a comment below and share them with the world!

9 Tips and Tricks for Your GPS and Heart Rate Monitor

A few tips and tricks regarding your GPS watch and heart rate monitor that you may not have known:

GPS run distance is now very accurate. We have noticed minimal distance differences between simultaneously running GPS watches or phones, at least on the open road. They are all very accurate these days, and most when connected to app or computer, now update current GPS signal satellite locations. Yes, their orbits do change. Up-to-date satellite location information is key to acquiring as many satellites as possible to fine-tune GPS accuracy. With fewer satellites in the mix your captured path may drift from actual. While your GPS may say you are good to go, give it a few minutes to acquire as many satellites as possible, orienting yourself with an open view to the South sky.

Trail running can result in less accurate GPS distances, usually shorter than actual, due to many turns not completely caught between GPS sample points and obstruction of the satellite signal by terrain features. Some of the same issues can apply when running in cities with tall buildings.

Race courses are measured on the shortest tangents, so your GPS distance may vary. Always look ahead and run the shortest tangent if you safely can. Your GPS-tracked race, due to traffic not allowing you to run all tangents, or if you are not focused on running the shortest line, can over-measure the “official” distance. This is particularly the case on looped courses with many turns. Plan ahead for a faster than actual GPS pace on such race courses.

To get a good chest heart rate read, always wet the monitor straps before wearing. After acquiring heart rate to your device, jog a bit to let things settle down. Rinse chest straps using mild soap after use.

All heart-rate monitors can have variations and dropouts. In particular we have found this to be the case with chest straps that yield high readings in the first 10 or so minutes of a run. Low temperatures and humidity, hair, synthetic fabrics, etc., all can cause issues for heart rate monitors. Stopping for a few seconds can sometimes settle the rate down to more accurate levels.

It can be problematic to maintain accurate heart rate readings with wrist-based monitors while lifting weights, clenching bars, etc.

Shield wrist heart rate monitors from very bright sun, which can sneak under the band and interrupt the signal. Look for bands with a good light and cold air-free seal to your wrist. Wear wrist heart rate straps about an inch away from your wrist bone and tightly cinched.

When you first pair a heart rate or another sensor to a device, keep the two as close together as possible. The pairing wake-up signal can be weak.

If you have paired a sensor to a phone, keep the phone on the same side and plane of your body as the sensor. This will help avoid dropouts. This also applies to wrist heart-rate monitors and Bluetooth wireless headphones.

“Corrupted Hard Drive?” What Did I Do Wrong?

corrupted volume groupsHard drives often contain a lot of information and have a huge capacity to store valuable data. But no one is interested in is to safeguard its data or important files so that they can be easily recovered after a failure or corruption of the hard drive. A failure of a hard drive can occur at any time following a bad power supply, to a virus attack, a block and damaged areas to files from corrupted operating system, e.g. NTLDR, boot.ini, msdos.sys etc.

Here is a list of main reasons behind the Corrupted hard drive, that will surely help users recover data in such situations, and it easily and without affecting or changing any data. Whatever the conditions, below mentioned solutions are able to solve the problem, then move to harddrive recovery software immediately to prevent further damage at the system or data.

Firmware failure or manufacturing defect:


  • The hard drive is undetectable or it is not at all recognized by the system.
  • The system fails to start or remain stuck in the middle of the process.

This problem could mainly affect a new hard drive and prevent it from functioning properly. If this occurs only days after purchase and there is a high probability that the manufacturers have provided the failed drive. These types of drives are provided to customers without being subjected to any testing.



  • The fans move too slowly or do not move at all
  • Rattling or noises are heard from the hardware
  • The computer (portable or not) heats quickly after start

This is the most common problem among the causes of hard disk failure, and it occurs too frequently. Due to poor ventilation or a CPU fan fails, the system will heat up to a climax and will lead to a sudden hard drive crash or serious damage that will affect the material and will be irreversible. The environment can also have a serious impact that can cause the system to distribute the heat properly.

Electronic failure or power outage:


  • The system BIOS is unable to detect the hard disk
  • The hard disk is unable to turn
  • sudden failure at startup

The UPS may not be able to provide the required power, the latter is either too high or too low. This can also occur if unreliable power source providing power intermittently.

Mechanical or internal failure:


  • Rattling or squeaking from the hard drive
  • Files and folders sometimes become invisible.  Corrupted hard drive folders and files and you may not be able to access it.
  • While the system crashes
  • A black screen after the splash screen that prevents you from booting the system.


The hard disk contains moving parts that can deteriorate over time and can eventually lead to a damaged hard drive mechanically. A virus attack can also erase data from the hard disk, impair the operation of the latter, corrupt system files, etc. which will ultimately contribute to the mechanical failure. Many rootkits were placed earlier and become active as soon as you start the system, and they generate a corruption that prevents it from operating at the BIOS level. However, the Windows operating systems the most recent as Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 has the ability to detect the malware and remove them using the technology UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface / Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

Desktop Hard Drives – A Great Investment

desktop hard drivesIf you use a computer to play your music, you have an onboard storage device in one: usually, it is a hard drive, but if your computer is new you then perhaps the chance to enjoy the benefits of SSD.

Which differences between an SSD and a hard drive?

Already start from the beginning, meaning SSD Solid State Drive: so to oppose the classic hard drive even if it has not the air is nothing that the stack of magnetic disks that rotate to allow a pickup to extract content.

The SSD is purely electronic thing: it is roughly the same as a USB key but both much faster and larger capacity.

What are the main advantages of SSD?

The advantages of SSD over HDD are many, but you will gain speed mainly including:

  • The access time: 0.1 milliseconds on one side, 20 milliseconds of each other, it does not look like much but it’s just 200 times faster!
  • Debits read / write: about 50MB / s for a hard disk against 250 (entry) to 2500mo / s (high end) in reading, SSD sprayed again its predecessor and enables performance completely metamorphosed.

These are the two main advantages of the SSD, and although this may seem a bit extreme technique or can (after all it is not to the millisecond right?) The consequences will be very visible to the user: more fluid, no waiting time when launching applications.

In fact, 9 out of 10 times it’s the best improvement you can offer a computer that shows signs of weakness.

What are the advantages of SSD desktop hard drivesfor my music?

In a context audiophile installation dedicated to music dematerialized, DSS benefits are many:

The noise

A hard drive it to desktop or laptop format consists of magnetic platters that rotate continuously at high speeds: from 5400 to 7200 / min, i.e. the red zone of the rev counter of your car!

Therefore results fatally noise operation, a “scratching” slamming and especially a permanent breath, as a small fan in short. These rotations also generate vibrations which in turn generate noise if the hard drive has no specific fasteners that absorb the vibration.

DSS benefits in this context are obvious: no noise, no rotation, no vibration, it generates just 0dB, so ideal because let us not forget: all music begins with silence.


Unlike a hard drive that is based on a mechanical operation, an SSD desktop hard drive is entirely electronic: no moving parts, therefore no wear, no fear of against shocks, differences in temperature, the surrounding magnetic fields (on a pregnant eg)

Result: an SSD is much more reliable over time than a hard drive that has a life span rarely exceeds 15 years. Your music will be better protected without fear of losing everything one morning for no apparent reason.

Access times

Especially when accompanied by the ritual of a hard drive that wakes e. g it hisses, it blows it scratches and, finally, three months later the first notes are played. Among the advantages of SSD, as we have seen above, the access time: you click and 0.1 milliseconds later, the first notes are played. Again, it does not look like much but in everyday life, it changes everything!