Layer Comps

What does Photoshop’s Layer Comps feature do and why you may need it…

Layer comps will store different layer visibility, position and appearance (layer styles):

New Layer Comp

Here’s an example (with layered PSD file below)…

Continue reading…


In Photoshop, go to Edit > Fade… or Command-Shift F

Of millions tools you can use in Photoshop, Fade is my third most used tools for one simple reason: it will make your work look subtle and professional. When you does an one time change to your layer that you liked but felt that it was too strong and bold, you can get it to halfway between original one and changed one by just setting Fade opacity to 50% in Fade window pictured below.

The best example I can give you about the effectiveness of this tool is by comparing two same images, one’s original and other one’s sharpened (PS Filter). Sharpened one is too much to my eyes so I went for 50% to get details to stand out while not looking too abused:

It doesn’t have to be for pixel art only, it can be for anything such as digital photograph:

Or more extreme example using Texturizer (Burlap) Filter to create crumpled photograph paper:


Fade opacity is set to 30% and Mode is set to Overlay.

You can use Fade tool with almost every filters, adjustments, etc. Mode option found in Fade window is rarely useful for me since I prefer to do it via separate layers with layer mode on so I can change layer mode anytime I want to in the future instead of it being permanent.

One thing worth noting is that the usefulness of this tool will be less with upcoming Smart Layer in Photoshop CS3 but Fade will always have its place in Photoshop for a quick and dirty job.

Shadow/Highlight DialogRequires Photoshop CS

So you want to brighten your photo without doing complex manipulations?

Meet Shadow/Highlight. You can call him “The Light Man”. He can create lights out of nowhere and like to eat shadows for breakfast. Got some dark photo? ‘The Light Man’ to the rescue…

Original Photo enhanced by Shadow/Highlight1. Choose Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight…

2. In the Shadow/Highlight dialog box, set Shadows Amount to around 30%. Darker photo = higher Shadows Amount.

Highlights is not always necessary but it’s good for reducing the amount of whiteness in photo.

I don’t use this feature that often but it’s essential to all kinds of photographers.

Uncropped DocumentSo you want to perfectly crop the document without damaging the graphics or transparency mask?

Meet Trim. She’ll be your official haircutter. She can trim away blank areas on top, bottom, left or right. The image isn’t transparency? No problem, she has experiences in trimming away plain color. Textured background, on the other hand, is out of her résumé.

Trim Dialog1. Choose Image > Trim

2. In the Trim dialog box, choose either:

• Transparent Pixels: If there is no background image, use this one

Cropped Document• Top Left / Bottom Right Pixel Color: If there is a background image in any of the colors, use this one. Top Left / Bottom Right are options to let you decide which corner to use as a start point for trimming

3. If you don’t want to trim one or more of the sides, unselect the checkboxes in Trim Away.

Your document is now perfectly cropped up. No more wasted space and file size

Open Source Photoshop Files
They’re free for you to download, view and modify but they cannot be redistributed in any form without written permission from me.

The main purpose of open-sourcing the photoshop files is that you can see how I did the work with layers and layer effects. However they’re pretty old and doesn’t represent my current skills anymore, I just thought that I should share some of my works.

If you’ve modified the file to make it look better or something, I’d really love to see the result :)

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