Setting Up Photoshop

A Wacom tablet.

Keep your Pantone color book in its sleeve and in the drawer. Exposure to light speeds up fading (and reduces accuracy).

Success takes preparation. I cannot promise you overnight success, although I can tell you that this book can make you faster and more confident with each chapter you complete. To get the most out of this book, it will help if you and I are operating in a similar environment. I will make suggestions on how to configure Photoshop to operate more like the video editing system that you are used to. So please take the extra time to reset Photoshop.

Keep your Pantone color book in its sleeve and in the drawer. Exposure to light speeds up fading (and reduces accuracy).

The LCD (Least Common Denominator) Test

Pick up a combo TV/VCR unit for checking your graphics. These low-cost consumer models are helpful to give you a real-world view of your graphics.

However, if you are strongly opposed to any of these cosmetic changes, skip them. These are merely suggestions to prepare you for success.

Photoshop has its roots as a video and film application. The print—and more recently, Web—industries have claimed it as their own. Now it's our turn. Digital video has emerged as the fastest growing technology area; more and more books and applications are popping up on the shelves, promising solutions for all skill levels. It is my goal to help you reclaim Photoshop and learn to harness its diverse imaging abilities to enhance your video projects.

Video #1 Setting Preferences

See the Setting Preferences video tutorial on the DVD-ROM.

Setting Preferences

Photoshop has all the tools you need (and many you don't). Let's get started by setting up Photoshop to work with our video applications. First, we'll modify its preferences that control how the application functions. To begin, call up your Preferences panel by pressing jj-a+0 (^0+0). These Preferences suggestions are based on Photoshop CS3. Most of these options exist in earlier versions of Photoshop, but naming conventions may vary.


In the General category, choose:

• Adobe Color Picker, which is a consistent, cross-platform color selection tool.

• Image Interpolation set to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients).

• UI Font Size set to Medium or Large depending upon the resolution of your primary display.

• Dynamic Color Sliders checked.

• Save palette Locations checked.

• Use Key for Tool Switch unchecked.



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• Zoom Resizes Windows checked.

• Resize Image During Paste/Place checked.

• Zoom with Scroll Wheel checked.


The Interface category is new to Photoshop CS3 and groups several important preferences together.

• Leave Show Channels in Color unchecked. This option affects how your channels and images are viewed and diminishes the on-screen viewing quality.

• Check Remember palette Locations to keep your palette arrangements after a relaunch.

What about Tool Tips?

^ Older versions of Photoshop have an option called Tool Tips, which you will want to leave on. In Photoshop CS3 this option is automatically enabled under the Interface group.

File Handling

In the File Handling category, you need to make some changes to ensure cross-platform functionality. Even if your shop only uses Macs or PCs, you will work with others who are different. Trust me. Be cross-platform compliant when saving your Photoshop files.

• Always choose the Save an Icon and Macintosh and PC Thumbnail options. This will allow you to quickly locate files through visual cues.

• Always append file extension with lowercase tags.

• Set Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility to Always.

Scratch Disk Logic

A Already maxed out your RAM slots? A dedicated drive or partition makes the perfect scratch disk. This will greatly improve Photoshop's efficiency in opening large images.


The performance category is new to Photoshop CS3. It groups several options together tied to managing your installed RAM and graphics card.

• Memory Usage identifies how much RAM you have installed. Photoshop has a minimum requirement of 320 MB, but it's a good idea to choose a number in the ideal range that the program identifies.

• Allow at least 20 history states (levels of Undo). You will vary this number based on RAM and personal experience as you grow less (or more) dependent on undos.

• Memory will generally not be a big deal because you'll work primarily with low-resolution sources in this book. However, if you have extra (local) drives, make Photoshop aware of them. Set your emptiest drive as the First Scratch Disk. Ideally you will choose a drive that is not the system (boot) drive.

• If you have a robust video card and will be doing a lot of image cleanup, then check the box for Enable 3D Acceleration.


• Set Painting Cursors to Normal Brush Tip. I personally prefer to check Show Crosshair in Brush Tip. (The ^^^^^ key disables this preview feature.)

• Set Other Cursors to Precise. This way, you can actually see your sample point for your Eyedropper and Stamp tools.

Help! I Can't See My Cursors

"^—i This is the #1 tech support 1 1 call to Adobe. If you have the ^^^^^ key on, Brush Size painting cursors are disabled.

Transparency & Gamut

Under Transparency & Gamut, you can generally leave these options alone. However, personal preferences do vary.

• You can change the grid color if you despise light gray. You can also disable the grid altogether. Remember, the grid will not print or show up in your video graphics.

• Do not check Use Video Alpha unless you have an advanced video card and intend to use Photoshop as a live keyer. Chances are there are only a few of you reading this book that are doing this.

Units & Rulers

Under Units & Rulers, modify Photoshop's measuring system to match video. If you work in a print environment, you can quickly jump back and change your measurement units by double-clicking on the ruler.

• Ensure that screen resolution is set to 72 pixels/inch.

• Ensure that the Point/Pica Size is set to PostScript (72 points/inch) so that type acts like other video applications.

Guides, Grid, Slices & Count

• I find that a Light Red guide is easier to see than the default Cyan.

• Set up a grid using Lines with a gridline every 40 pixels and 4 subdivisions.

• Pick a color such as a dark gray by clicking on the color swatch. You can now turn the grid off and on from the View menu or from the keyboard using iX+O (^B+O).

• Disable Show Slice Numbers unless you are doing a lot of Web work. Slices are used with rollover graphics to trigger button effects on Web pages.


• If you need to travel with your plug-ins on a removable drive (for example a freelance assignment) then you can specify an Additional Plug-Ins Folder.

Get Smart (Quotes)

it^v Use Smart Quotes will 1 * 1 automatically insert true, curly quotation marks when you press the (feet) or the (inches) key.


The Type category consolidates several important type options into one area.

• Check the box next to use Smart Quotes if you'll need true quote marks and apostrophes more than foot and inch marks.

• Leave Enable Missing Glyph Protection checked.

• Choose to show Font Names in English.

• Check Font Preview Size and specify a size that you like. The Huge size is helpful if a producer or client frequently sits over your shoulder.

Color Settings

Now it is time to modify how Photoshop handles color and color management. Press +0

(M+L+rai to bring up the Color Settings dialog. The default configuration is optimized for Web and print graphics, which can result in color shifts when opening video frames.

• Click the More Options button first.

• From the Settings list choose Color Management Off for consistent results with video graphics.

• Click OK. Photoshop stores preferences when it shuts down. Quit Photoshop and relaunch in order to write your preferences.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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