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Not as sensual as it sounds. This just draws a line round any selection that you have made. This can be used for a range of purposes (e.g. darkening the edge of a tree mask selection in order to mask out the rim of old sky).

Puppet Warp

This is a recent addition to PS's toolset and one that, unlike most of the other new stuff, is actually really useful. To use it to its best advantage on a figure:

Edit 01.png

  1. Remove the figure from the background (via a selection and mask then apply mask).
  2. Do a rough selection round the limb you wish to transform (it need not be exact as the warp will ignore deleted space).
  3. Go into Quick Mask Mode (press Q) and paint with a soft, large brush along the border of the selection where it meets the body. This will soften the border which will make the warped limb easier to visually integrate into the figure later on. Go out of Quick Mask Mode (press Q again).
  4. Enter the Puppet Warp from menu. A mesh will appear round the limb. Every point at which you click a pin will appear. Thee can be removed by Option Clicking on them. These pins are the pivots round which the transform will be configured.
  5. These pivots can be locked by clicking on them. This will set the pins as fixed-position joints (as in the shoulder to an arm move). More than one pin can be locked at a time by Command Shift clicking on them.
  6. Warp away!
  7. In the process of warping, there might be a gap between the body and the limb. the best way you can you can deal with this is to add some join material (via clone or copy and paste) underneath the break in a new layer.As the break edhe was softened in step 3, the join should be practically invisible.

Free Transform

This is one of the most used items of PS's toolset. Commit its keystroke to memory (Command T). If used properly, it can replace in functionality almost all of the Transform variants in the Transform sub-menu that follows it in the Edit menu. Here:

Edit 04.png Pull on a corner to free transform the selection without any constraint.

Edit 02.png Command pull on a corner to move that corner independently from the others.

Edit 03.png Option Shift pull on a corner to scale the entire selection proportionately, constrained from the centre out.

Edit 08.png Option pull on a corner to scale the entire selection proportionately, constrained from the oposite corner.

Edit 05.png Command Option Shift to 'perspective transform' the selection.

Edit 06.png Command drag on an edge to do a skew transform on the selection, constrained in scale (Command Shift to transform unconstrained in scale).

Edit 07.png Hold the cursor a little way away from the selection to rotate around the pivot. Note change in cursor.

Edit 09.png The Pivot can be moved by simply dragging on it.

Edit 10.png Right click on selection will reveal a range of transforms (e.g. the Flip Horizontal used when doing a fliperoo).

There are more variants of these transforms, but I will let your fingers discover them on their own.

Transform sub-menu

Edit 11.png

The only really important thing here is the Warp transform. This presents a grid over the selection which can be freely moved. In use it is often best that the edges are not moved (as this can cause unsightly edges to appear). As in the Puppet Warp, this can sometimes be dealt with by soften the selection in Quick Mask Mode.

Define Brush Preset

A brush is, at heart, just a stamp that is being repeated very quickly. The spacing between this stamps can be adjusted in the Brush Tip Shape pallet. Though there are 1,000,000s of brushes online and in the default install, I have found that it is perfectly possible to get by with just a few (in fact I delete a whole lot from the default set). However, it is sometimes needful to make new brushes that respond to particular needs. A good example is a 'leaf brush', that can be used to make leaves on a tree (though they are not suitable for really close inspection).

From the Edit menu such a custom brush may be defined from a selection of paint. Two things must first be ensured:

  1. That the paint that constitutes your new brush shape is against a transparent background. Sometimes, if you are working on a new file, it is easier to make a new PS doc rather than switch off 100s of laters to get to the transparency.
  2. The brush shape is defined from a grey paint thin / thickness only. So... no colors will register in the new brush, and any non-opaque areas of the stamp will remain as such (e.g. a thinly painted area).
  3. The selection that is drawn round the brush shape must be from the Rectangular Marquee Tool (from the Toolbox).

Painting 10.png

The funky colored ants above have been made with a custom brush and the following settings adjusted in the Brush pallet:

  • Shape dynamics (Size Jitter, Minimum Diameter, Angle Jitter)
  • Scattering (Scatter, Count)
  • Color Dynamics (Foreground/Background Jitter, Hue Jitter, Saturation Jitter)

Define Pattern

A sub-set skill of the Paint Bucket Tool is the ability to fill an area with a pattern instead of a color (in fact this is the only thing I ever use the Paint Bucket Tool for). A pattern is exactly what it sounds like, and too be frank their repeating nature does not make them ideally suitable for the digital painter. However, every now and then they can come in use. I have made patterns consisting of vertical lines which I then used to drive a 'broken TV' like distortion. Sometimes I also make a grid using a pattern, distort it and lay it on top of the side of a building to get its perspective right.