photo by scyther5 via iStock
Do you think you know Photoshop as well as you should?
Photo Manipulation’s Abbey Esparza doesn’t think you do, because she recently made a YouTube video outlining some really important Photoshop tools she thinks are underused.
After watching the video, I tended to agree with her. I’ve been using Photoshop for years, and have grown my own skills alongside its ever-changing platform.
But, I’m also not one to let pride get in the way of knowledge and believe some of the tools in her Photoshop tutorial could be a lot more useful to me if I let them be.
So, which tools are the underused Photoshop tools that she highlighted? Keep reading to find out.
Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. The Select Subject tool has been a tool in Photoshop for pretty much as long as Photoshop has been around. And, that’s true, but I tended to ignore it for years and still do.
The reason for this is that the Select Subject tool was really shotty for years. It never correctly highlighted my subject, which left me trying to clean up the border anyways. After years of trying to use this Photoshop tool unsuccessfully, I eventually gave up and just started drawing my subjects myself.
But, Abbey pointed out that this Photoshop tool is really quite impressive now. Photoshop uses an AI to keep improving this tool and while Abbey does admit that it can still mess up every now and again, she argued that it saves her a lot of time.
Color Lookup Layers
You can find the Color Lookup Layers Photoshop tool in the adjustment layers panel. It’s one of the most underloved Photoshop tools, I would argue, because of its odd placement. You have to know exactly what you’re looking for.
You also need to know how to use it. The Color Lookup Layers tool allows you to apply different effects to your entire photo in just the click of a button. For photographers who need to apply the same preset to all of your photos, the Color Lookup Layers tool will quickly become your best friend by allowing you to apply different look up tables to your photos.
One of the tips that Abbey gives in her Photoshop guide is to remember to adjust the opacity for any of the LUTs you use because they are all quite stylized and will look over-the-top unless you adjust the opacity on them and then layer them.
Keep in mind that Abbey is a digital surrealist, so she specializes in creating images in Photoshop that don’t represent reality. If you’re hoping to use the Color Lookup Layers tool to create more natural photos, then don’t be afraid to increase the opacity even more.
The Blend If tool comes with two different slider bars, one for “this layer” and one for “underlying layers.” It allows you to adjust your light and color on all of your layers at once. Keep in mind that when you use the Blend If tool to adjust “underlying layers” it will adjust all of your underlying layers.
The Blend If tool is excellent if you want to make your highlights in your photos really stand out, or conversely, it’s really great at making some other elements blend in better to the rest of your image.
New Window For
Abbey included a sneaky fourth tool in her Photoshop techniques video… the New Window For tool. This tool creates a new “copy” of the image you’re currently working on, except it isn’t really a copy because it’s a mirror. When you do something to your original image, your mirror copy will also show those changes.
You can use this to zoom in on your image, while simultaneously being able to see the overall effect on the image at large.
What Do You Think?
photo by jacoblund via iStock
So, do you agree with Abbey? Do you think that these Photoshop tools are underused? Which tools do you regularly use now and which tools do you think you’ll start to use more frequently after watching this video?
I personally know I’m going to start using the New Window For tool more often, since I just got a really large new monitor and it’ll be helpful to me to be able to keep track of all of the changes I’m making as I make them.