These are the cases of the Photoshop 911 ER where Adobe Photoshop and Elements users get tips & tricks and answers to their questions about image manipulation, painting. Since 1990 in the Design & Publishing Center, formerly called: Photoshop Tips & Tricks

Photoshop 911 FAQ and Short tips

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[1.1]   Flat Black vs 4c Black
[1.2]   Halftone in PMS Ink
[1.3]   Borrowing clouds
[1.4]   Fixing Blurred Photos?
[1.5]   Blurring Edges
[1.6]   Work at 72 or 300?
[1.7]   Corel Text to Photoshop
[1.8]   CMYK to Spot Color?
[1.9]   Change night to day
[1.1]   Editing Path Anchors
[1.12]   Best Scanning Tips
[1.13]   Red Eye Redo
[1.14]   Spinning an object
[1.15]   Multiple Prints, single sheet
[1.16]   Too many fonts

Flat Black vs 4c Black
Symptoms: "When I send the job for color saparation the matter of black text comes with in four colour cyan, magenta, yellow that makes problems in printing the Newspaper pleas tell me how i can make black text saparate from cyan,mangeta, yellow at the printing time on computer. thanks"
Patient: Ameenuddin, using photoshop 5.5 and 6, on windows98
Diagnosis: You've got what is called "rich black" which is the combination of all four colors to 'build' black. It does make for heavy coverage and most newspapers don't allow it. "Too much coverage!" What you actually need is referred to as 'flat' black.
   Keep all your black elements on exclusive layers. Just before flattening, gather the black layers to the same layer. Now click the foreground color in the tool bar and specify black as: C:0, Y:0, M:0, K:100. Now Command (Control) click the layer to load the black elements, type, etc., and hit Option (Alt) Delete to fill with your "flat" black.
SEE: "Duotones"
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-pakistan
Halftone in PMS Ink
Symptoms: "I have a grayscale image that I want to replace All the black and gray with a pantone swatch color. I don't want any black or gray, but I do want to keep the white areas. How do I do this? I tried to use the replace color tool but it was sooo confusing that I gave up. HELP! Oh, this is for print and will be exported to an Illustrator file."
Patient: Dana Oliver, using Photoshop 6.0, on MAC, OS X
Diagnosis: Your problem is really not a problem at all, and you don't have to deal with it in Photoshop, but rather let Illustrator handle it during the separation process.
   You should never modify the values in a grayscale image halftone in order to print it as a PMS color. When you import the image in Illustrator, set the layer as a spot color. Illustrator will generate a separate negative for just that halftone, and the printer will use PMS inks appropriately.
   If you feel compelled to generate the separate negative out of Photoshop because of other color subjects or other issues, then set up a new spot color channel. (SEE: "Spot Colors in Photoshop" and "Duotones")
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-California, USA
Borrowing clouds
Symptoms: "Shooting a lot of pictures here in Arizona, with a lot of clear, blue skies. I would like to copy some cloud formations from photos that have some. I used to be able to do this easily in Photoshop 5, but the copy/merge function doesn't seem to work any more. Am I forgetting a step or two??"
Patient: Mike Hallock, using Version 7.0, on Windows ME
Diagnosis: Best thing to do here is select the sky areas of your photo -- use your favorite selection tools -- then select the "new" sky from the separate file, copy, return to the destination file and select "Paste Into" from the Edit menu. Make sure you've 'balanced' the resolution of both files.
   Much trickier: if you want to bring in just the clouds you'll need to make sure the sky color is at least close to matching both files. Then you can use the "Extract" function to remove the clouds for insertion into the destination file.
SEE: "Resolution"
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Arizona, USA
Fixing Blurred Photos?
Symptoms: "I'm a graphic designer for a government contractor and I had to take some pictures at a briefing because the prof. photographer wasn't available. I took about 30 pictures and about half of them came out really blurry and unfocused but the other half came out perfect. I have no idea what I did or what happened but they want to give each person a copy of the picture in a frame. Is there any way I can fix these in Photoshop? "
Patient: Robin Stritenberger, using Photoshop 7.0, on Windows 2000
Diagnosis: Wow. You're in trouble. My only suggestion would be to start very large and sharpen carefully as you reduce to final size. Usually in badly blurred or out-of-focus images there's very little you can do because you really can't invent sharpness. Good luck.
SEE: "Resolution"
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Ohio
Blurring Edges
Symptoms: "Was just wondering if you could tell me how to blur the edges in an image. I use the "blur" button to manualy apply around the edge, but I'm pretty sure there's an easier way of doing it. Thanks, Henry KL "
Patient: Henry , using 7.0, on Windows XP
Diagnosis: The following solution requires a little testing and decisions based on the image, how much blurring you want and how deep into the image you wish the blur to go.
   Select the object to be blurred. (It might be a good idea to save the selection for future use in case it takes several tries. Use: Select > Save Selection.) Once selected, use the Select > Feather dialog to apply feathering to your selection.
   In doing so remember that the width of the feather will be split: half inside the selection and half outside the selection. At this point if you want a wide 'blur' make the feather wider. If you want only a subtle blur, then make the feather more narrow. You may find that expending or contracting the selection will move the 'center' of the feather into a better position. That will depend on the image and your desired results.
   With the selection active, and your chosen feather in place, now invert the selection (Select > Inverse) and apply either a normal blur or a Gaussian blur. You could also try motion blurs, and/or radial blurs depending on the desired results. If the results are not what you want, change settings and try again.
SEE: "Feathering"
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Malaysia
Work at 72 or 300?
Symptoms: "Is it ok to work at 72dpi and later increase to 300dpi for printing. I know its probably better to start with 300dpi in the first place but the file size is very big and everything becomes slow. I do the designings for a magazine and I'm quite new at it so could u please help me out."
Patient: bhunu, using photoshop 6, on winNT
Diagnosis: Refer to our other posts concerning resolution. It's sometimes a bit confusing, however if you always remember that a 300 dpi image is 25% (one quarter) the size in pixel dimensions as a 72 dpi image, you'll be okay. So, if your finished art needs to be 4 inches by 4 inches or smaller, then it's perfectly okay to work at 72 ppi as long as the file actually measures 20 inches by 20 inches. At the end when you set the resolution to 300 dpi, the 20 inches will print at 4 inches.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-india
Corel Text to Photoshop
Symptoms: "When I am placing Text from Corel Draw - done with drop caps and other effects, which you can't do in PS, as an EPS file, even at a high res, say 600 dpi, I still get the text jagged. Is there any other way wherein I get razor-sharp text placed in PS, from Corel. Of course I know I can export from PS my work as TIFF and import into Coreldraw. But precision layer alignment and other things are done effectively in PS and more easily. PLEASE suugest solutions. Thanks in advance Ramani J. V. Iyer"
Patient: Ramani J.V. Iyer, using Photoshop 6.0, on Windows XP
Diagnosis: After styling the text in Corel, save your work file, then make sure the text is converted to paths. Perhaps even work larger than the target size. Once imported into Photoshop the type should be nice and smooth since you're importing vector objects rather than text.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Tamilnadu, India
CMYK to Spot Color?
Symptoms: "My question is how do I convert CMYK colors to spot colors? I have created a Font in Photoshop for a rock band using the marble filter and adding a bevel to the lettering and then I overlayed the text onto some fire. I went to try and have these printed on some T-shirts but the prnting company told me I needed spot colors in order for them to do it right. How would I add spot colors to such a complexed image with so many color variations? The actual font is located at If you have any suggestions or comments that would be great or even a point to the right direction."
Patient: Kris Rogers, using PS 7, on MAC
Diagnosis: Kris, you have one of two choices: get a new t-shirt vendor who can do process color printing, or pair your art down to flat colors.
   If you select the latter of the two I suspect your art will lose dramatically. You would have to break down all your elements into simple, flat color and lose modeling and toning. If you would like to see what this might look like try posterizing the art to around 8 or so colors. Choose Image > Adjustments > Posterize. If you must boil the art to flat, spot colors then you will need to rethink the design.
SEE: RGB or CMYK?, and Spotcolor, and our piece on Channels
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Texas, USA
Change night to day
Symptoms: "I have a picture that was shot at night and therefore is really dark. Most of the features can be made out with no probllem but a lot is hidden. I have seen the tutorial somewhere that explains how to shed light on the problem. Can you help?"
Patient: Gary Mickels, using 5.2, on Mac
Diagnosis: It's going to be tough going in version 5. In all likelihood, the results will be somewhat less than spectacular.
   First, try AutoLevels to see a quick equalization of the image, and where it might go. Next, go to work on it with the Brightness/Contrast dialog, but leave 'contrast' alone. You can also use Levels and work on each of the brightness ranges individually -- which will take much longer.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-OR
Editing Path Anchors
Symptoms: "Suddenly I am no longer able to edit a closed path in a Phshop document. When I choose the path, then choose the direct selection tool, it won't allow me to move anchor points on the path or access the direction lines. All I can do is move the path away from its original location. It's acting as if the path isn't closed, but it is! I've made hundreds of paths before this. What's going on?"
Patient: Connie Biggar, using PhShop 7.0, on Windows 98
Diagnosis: Make sure the path is not selected. If the anchor points are all black then you won't be able to edit any individual anchor. Click elsewhere to deselect the path. Now, with the direct-select tool (hollow pointer) you can select just the anchor you wish to work on.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Wisconsin USA
Best Scanning Tips
Symptoms: "I work scanning photos and various other things for a newspaper and I am wondering if you can help with the best settings and what to be careful of when scanning B&W and color 35mm prints and negatives, digital and paper copies. I calibrated my monitor but i am not sure of the exact lighting. I selected daytime. Thanks for your help."
Patient: Susan, using Photoshop 5.0, on MAC
Diagnosis: Once you've properly calibrated your system, there are really only two rules for scanning:
1) Test everything, and 2) Keep records.
   Since almost all images and situations will present their own unique set of problems, running a test first usually helps sniff out and correct the problems. After a while you learn to eyeball the situation and scan right the first time.
   Keeping some form of record of what worked best is always a good idea when in a production-oriented environment. Perhaps a quick screen capture of the subject and scanner settings, perhaps just a text file with notes. Later when you encounter a questionable image, a quick glance at your notes or 'cheat sheet' will remind you of the best configuration.
   I will strongly advise you keep your eye on contrast when scanning film negs or slides. They always seem to gain contrast.
   Daytime lighting setting is usually a safe bet.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Massachusetts, USA
Red Eye Redo
Symptoms: "It's probably simple but when I want to correct a red-eye problem I have difficulty to select correctly both eyes! The first is ok but then if I did not place my selection at the right spot on the second one I cannot move with the arrow only one selection because both are moving at the same time!!! Help!!!"
Patient: Michel, using PS 6.0, on windows xp
Diagnosis: Michel! Stop. Do just one eye at a time. Or, another method you might try is actually better and more fool-proof: Select a soft edged brush about the same size as the offending red-eye and then use the sponge tool (key 'o') set to desaturate. Dab around the red until it's gone. (This lets you retain the values of the pupils and effect only the color. Remember, pupils should be black, but possible light reflections and highlights should be retained.) You may need to adjust the pressure and size of your sponge in the Options bar above.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Quebec, Canada
Spinning an object
Symptoms: "Is there a way to use photoshop 5.5 to make an object appear as if it is spinning?"
Patient: Julie Hutchings, using 5.5, on
Diagnosis: Drag a copy of the image to a new layer. Now use the "Motion" blur tool (Filters > Blur > Motion Blur) and set the angle in the direction of the 'spin'. Now make another copy of the original image. Select the object, and then scale that object slightly (maybe 80%) in the direction of the spin. Apply the Motion blur to that object as well, and then set the opacity of the layer to 60% or so to superimpose the new version of the object over the previous one. By now you get the concept... experiment with more versions, all with a Motion blue, until you get the effect to the point you like.
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Missouri, USA
Multiple Prints, single sheet
Symptoms: "Just wondering if it is possible to make multiple prints of the same image on one sheet of paper."
Patient: Tony, using photoshop 7, on Win98
Diagnosis: Choose: File > Automate > Picture Package and select options from the resulting dialog box. It's pretty cool, but beware -- printing may take quite a while. PS does all the work resizing and positioning the images. (Elements has the very same function.)
SEE: Batch Printing
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-Virginia, US
Too many fonts
Symptoms: "Hello, My problem is related to Photoshop for Mac. I use photoshop 7.0.1 on Mac OS X. My system contains approx. 750 fonts, all can be seen in Illustrator, Word etc. But in Photoshop only the first 438 fonts can be seen. After that the list just stops. So instead of my fontlist going from A to Z my fontlist goes from A to M, and then just stops? Does anyone know know how I can get Photoshop to see all of my fonts?"
Patient: Paul, using Photoshop 7.0.1, on Mac OS X 10.2
Diagnosis: We have no explanation why this is happening, but believe you've discovered a buffer limit. I've read about this somewhere and will search all the list archives for the reference.
   On a more important note, you really should consider trimming those 750 fonts down to somewhere under 200. Check out any of the font management programs and utilize your font library more purposefully. There should never be a need for 750 fonts online at the same time. Never. It not only lugs the system down but encourages design-on-the-fly, a dead giveaway of amateurs. I've got 11,000 fonts. But never more than about 60 online at the same time.
   (Perhaps Photoshop is trying to tell you something!)
SEE:Font Problems in Photoshop
From Photoshop 911 Case #01.06.2003-the Netherlands
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