The Wild World of .gifs!

I know that as I’ve been working on my Independent Project, I’ve come across the need for .gifs. And I though, “if I need them, maybe you guys do too?”
They’re actually incredibly easy to make (but very hard to master) in Adobe Photoshop. But a lot of people aren’t aware that Photoshop can be used to make .gifs or if they are they aren’t aware of how to go about doing it.

Your first step:

Create your first frame. Every element that is going to move independently needs to be a separate layer, but that’s as technical as this step gets. Just draw/create/paste some stuff.

Your second step:

Go up to the top. Way up at the top, up in the menu, and select Window. From that list you’re going to select Animation. Did the animation palette pop up near the bottom? Good. If not, it’s probably somewhere else on the screen.

Your third step:

Click on that fancy Add New Frame button.  It should slap your fancy picture, layers and all, into the first frame.

Your fourth step:

Do step three again. Change whatever you want to change. Rinse repeat. Don’t worry about making it really gradual and specific. Photoshop will handle that.

Your fifth step:

Do you have all of the keypoints worked out in your frames? Good. Now you’re going to click on the pop out menu that should be in the top right hand corner of the animation palette. From this, you want to choose tween. Then select the amount of extra frames you want. For the love of God, don’t make the number too large. It’ll take forever for your .gif to load. Now your .gif should have quite a few nice frames.

Your sixth step:

You need to save this masterpiece. Go up to that menu again. The one way at the top. Click File. And then Save For Web & Devices. Make sure you select .gif as the file type. If you don’t, it’s not gonna be a .gif.

Your seventh step:

Show that masterpiece off.


Beauteous Borders

Since our third photo essay has to be a montagey-collagey creation that I suspect could easily turn messy, I thought adding a border would be a nice way to give the illusion of cohesiveness. Or, you know, enhance the cohesiveness your Photoshop skills naturally create =)

I’m starting with a picture of one of my beloved dogs from home, a Doberman lab named Beowulf. Here, she had the misfortune of being too close to my friends and I a few New Years Eves ago.


The mighty Beowulf gamely sports a party hat

Adding a border is really easy and essentially only requires you to know how big you want it and what color. First, go up to the “Image” option on the top menu and select “Canvas Size.”


Note "Image"

Make sure that the “Relative” box is checked, which puts the values in the “width” and “height” boxes at 0.

In those boxes, type in the size of your desired border, normally range from .25-3 inches, depending on how radical you feel. I went with a solid .75 inches.

Alternate colors available in the drop-down menu

And then you can do sexy things like add another boarder for a matted look. A word of caution, however. Do not try and do anything that changes the size of your picture once you’ve added a boarder because the canvas size changes again, effectively ruining or flat out deleting your border. This is purely a finishing touch effect to polish your masterpiece up! Good luck!

Skip the Dye Job; Edit Hair Color in Photoshop

Ever wonder what you would look like as a redhead? Instead of going down to Rite Aid and spending $14.99 on a messy hair dye kit, why not opt for something less permanent and just spend $423 on an Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection?

Through some Internet browsing, I found an easy way to edit hair color using Adobe Photoshop CS5. If any of you have pictures of people in Phase I of your Photo Essay and need a way to manipulate them for Phase II, here’s your chance.

I experimented with this method using a picture of the one and only Michael C. Hall (of Dexter fame) with his natural, magnificent ginger beard, and attempted to match his beard color with his hair color.

To adjust the hair color of your photo –

  •  First open up the picture in Photoshop, and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
  •  Upon selecting the Hue/Saturation layer, you will see a tiny box called ‘Colorize’ to the right of the three eyedroppers – select that, and then your entire photo will turn a shade of red (regardless of what hair color you are trying to achieve, it was only ironic in my case because I was trying to turn him full ginger).

  • Next, adjust the ‘Hue’ setting until you find the color you want to change the hair color in the image to; once you find that, adjust ‘Saturation’ to alter the intensity. This will alter the color of your entire image, but don’t worry – that will be rectified later.
  • The next step is simple, but the concept is quite complicated; just click ‘Ctrl + Backspace’ on a Windows computer or ‘Command + Delete’ on a Mac to change the layer background to black. This gets rid of the colorization, which we will now bring back to the area where we want it – the hair!

  • Making sure your foreground color is white, select the brush tool and begin to paint over the hair in your image to get the colorization you chose back. You can adjust the opacity of the brush to take care of any strands that might be difficult to paint over.

  • Now, Michael is more noticably ginger! Happy dye-ing!

Flooding Your Photo

I recently stumbled upon this tutorial on how to turn a normal city scene into a massive flood. Obviously, no one is going to flood their pictures for their photo essays, but there are a lot of good techniques used in the tutorial.

The tutorial shows you how to turn this London street:

Into this flooded disaster:

The tutorial uses a variety of techniques to alter and enhance the photo. Some of the more relevant techniques used are:

 Removing unwanted entities.

Using the burn tool.

Using transform tools such as wrap.

I attempted the tutorial with a picture of a bridge in Pittsburgh. This was the final product:

Hopefully someone can use some of these techniques to enhance their photo essays.  I won’t go into the details of how to create the scene, but if you want to try the tutorial (or learn more about the techniques) you can find it here:

An Easy Way to Whiten Teeth in Photoshop

Hey guys! If any of you are like me, you want to edit pictures of yourself to make you look better. Normally, I just do it for my Facebook profile pic (real cool, i know). Other times, though, I’ve had to turn in a picture of myself for recognition, print, a website, whatever, and obviously, I want to look good. So here’s a quick tutorial on how to whiten your teeth (without it looking too fake):

I’m gonna use a general picture off of Google Images (pay no attention to the awful stache)


Step 1: Once you open the picture in Photoshop, use the lasso tool to select the area around the mouth. You don’t have to be perfect. Just make sure you get all teeth in your selection.

Step 2: In the bottom right corner, under the layer tab, click on “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” and choose “Hue/Saturation”. The lasso selection will go away, but don’t worry! That’s what it’s supposed to do.

Step 3: You should now see a drop down box that says “Master” under the Adjustment tab. Choose “Yellow”, and adjust the lightness to make the teeth as white as you’d like.

Step 4: Go back to the drop down box, and now select “Master”. Adjust the saturation as you see fit (Depending on the teeth color, you may need to take extreme measures or barely do anything at all). You may start to see the area around the mouth fill in with color. That’s okay too! It’s because you selected more around the mouth than just the teeth. We’ll take care of that next.

Step 5: Next, click on “Edit” at the top, then choose “Fill”. In the box that pops up, choose “Black” under the Content: Use drop down box. If you did this correctly, the teeth should go back to their original color.

Step 6: The final step is simple. Use the Brush Tool to color the teeth back to the white that you created in the “Hue/Saturation” adjustment. Be careful to hit just the teeth with the tool. If you use it on the area around the mouth that you selected, that’ll change color too.

And there you have it! Perfectly, whitened teeth without getting TOO complicated. I hope you have fun with this, because I surely did! 🙂

Liquify Tool in Photoshop (Basics)

Everyone knows how powerful Photoshop is in manipulating images and graphics. There is so much depth to it that it would take a long time of dedication and trial and error to become really familiar with all that it is capable of.

In this post I will introduce one of the tools that can be used to change the shape of a particular object, and was one of the techniques I used to change the following first image to the second. It is actually one of the more complex Photoshop tools and takes some getting used to.


With any document open, go to Filters > Liquefy. The following screen will pop up.

Liquify screen

On the left toolbar are the many actions that can be done in Liquify. From top to bottom, these are Forward Warp, Reconstruct, Twirl Clockwise, Pucker, Bloat, Push Left, Mirror, Turbulence, Freeze Mask, Thaw Mask, and the general Hand and Zoom. I will only be going into detail on Forward Warp, Pucker, and Bloat in this post.

Forward Warp

Forward Warp can be used to push and pull parts of an image around. This is the most common tool to use if you want to deform a particular object but still have it look like what it is. For example, with enough practice you can make a person look fatter or thinner without making the photo look too “fake”.

Fat to Thin

Forward Warping will warp all parts of the image under the cursor. In order to make the warping look natural, it is usually a good idea to make your cursor large so there won’t be sudden unnatural bumps and pits on your subject, like this.

Warp tool bumps


Pucker will make whatever is under the cursor shrink towards the center, like a black hole sucking in whatever’s around it. This can be used to make things smaller or thinner, such as my mouth in my manipulation.

Pucker tool

Pucker needs precise control over the amount of puckering you intend to apply. Just holding down the button will end up with your subject literally disappearing.


Bloat is, not surprisingly, the opposite of Pucker. It expands the parts under the cursor outwards, making it appear larger. This is what is used to make eyes huge and doll-like. An example in the industry today:

Though this was edited on video, the concepts are likely the same.

When using Bloat, keep your cursor size to a maximum of how large you want your final product to be. Like Pucker, precise control is needed if some measure of realism is desired in the final product.

As with most Photoshop techniques, the best way to learn is to have hands-on experience, so play around as much as you want and happy practicing!