How do I get back to the old (legacy) New Document dialog box in Photoshop?

The New Document dialog

If you’ve updated Photoshop to CC 2017, you will have noticed a fairly big change in the New Document dialog box.  (You can learn how to create new Photoshop documents with the new Start Screen here).

Photoshop New Document Dialog Box

Some long-time Photoshop users are finding the new New Document dialog box to be a bit clunky and would prefer to get back to the streamlined “old school” version where you just type in the dimensions and resolution you want, without wading through presets and templates.

Here’s how you can change back to the more familiar dialog box.

  1. On the mac, choose Photoshop CC > Preferences > General (shortcut is Cmd + K)
    On the pc, choose Edit > Preferences > General (shortcut is Ctrl + K)
  2. Click in the checkbox beside Use Legacy “New Document” Interface to enable it.Photoshop General Preferences
  3. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog box and next time you create a new document, you’ll see the more familiar legacy New Document dialog box.Legacy or old version of the New Document in Photoshop
  4. If you decide at a later time that you would like the new New document dialog back again, just go back into the same option in Preferences and uncheck it.

Hope you find that useful 🙂

How to create a new file with the *new* New Document box in Photoshop CC

The New Document dialog box has been completely redesigned in Photoshop CC 2017. It allows us create new documents from presets, or from our own custom settings, and it also lets us save our custom settings as new presets so we can reuse them. Another new feature in the New Document dialog box is the ability to create documents from templates, but we’ll look at that in a separate post.

Creating A New File In Photoshop

To create a new document in Photoshop, we use the New Document dialog box. There are several ways to get to this dialog box.

1. When you launch Photoshop you can click on the New… button on Photoshop’s Start screen



2. Click File > New on the Menu Bar along the top of the screen.


3. Use the keyboard shortcut, Cmd + N (Mac) / Ctrl+N (Win).

Any of these options open up the New Document dialog box.


The New Document Dialog Box

Along the top of the New Document dialog box, you’ll see a row of categories – Recent, Saved, Photo, Print, Art & Illustration, Web, Mobile, and Film & Video. By default, the Recent category is selected and you will see a set of document sizes that you’ve used recently. If this is the first time you’ve opened Photoshop, or if you have reset Photoshop to factory settings, there will be nothing in this category.

Any recently-used document sizes appear in the Recent category.

Creating New Documents From Presets

A handy time saver when creating new files is to use a preset. A preset is simply a set of pre-determined width and height dimensions, a choice of portrait or landscape orientation,resolution and colour mode. There are other options but these are the options you are most likely to be interested in.

  1. To choose a preset, first pick the type of document you want to make, for example, is it for web, print, a photo? Click on that category name along the top. For this example, I’ve chosen Print.


2. A set of four presets appear in the dialog box. To see more presets click on the View All Presets + link.

3. You’ll see an extra bunch of thumbnails representing various Print presets. Use the scroll bar along the right to scroll through them.

4. Click on the A5 preset. Notice how the Preset Details change on the right hand side to match the A4 details.

5. If you’re happy with this preset, click Create. The New Document dialog box closes and your new document opens in Photoshop.


How To Create A New File In Photoshop With Your Own Custom Settings

Let’s say that you want to make a document at a size that is not already available as a preset. It’s easy to add your own custom settings.

1. Choose File > New in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen.

The same New Document dialog opens as before.

2. On the right hand side, in the Preset Details section,  type in the values 10 inches for width, 3 inches for height and change the colour mode to CMYK.

Now, let’s say that this is a document size that was may want to use again, then it’s a good idea to save it as a preset.


3. Click the Save Preset icon (circled in red).

4. Give it a name by typing in the Preset name field at the top. (It will say something like Untitled initially). Give it a descriptive name to make it easier for yourself to remember what the preset is. I called mine Jen – Banner – 10 x 3.

Then click Save Preset again.

Your new saved preset now appears in the Saved category. This means you can come back to it at any time and it will speed up your workflow by not having to type in the values each time you want a document of that size.

5. Click on the Create button and your new file opens.

And that’s how you make new files in Photoshop.

If you’ve found this post useful, I’d be so grateful if you would please share it.  Thank you!

How to quickly straighten a photo in Photoshop using the Ruler Tool

The Ruler Tool

The Ruler tool is an often overlooked tool hidden beneath the eyedropper on the Photoshop toolbar. You can use it to to measure lengths, straighten photographs and place objects exact distances apart. In short, it’s very handy. Here’s a video showing you how to quickly straighten a lopsided photo.


How to Straighten A Photograph With The Ruler Tool in Photoshop (Notes)

1. With your photograph open in Photoshop, select the Ruler tool. Ruler-Tool Photoshop

The Ruler tool is hidden under the Eyedropper tool in the toolbar. Press and hold, or right-click on the Eyedropper to reveal the hidden tools, then select the Ruler tool.


2. Click, then drag along the edge of something in the photograph that should be perfectly vertical or horizontal.

2. Click the Straighten button in the Options bar. If you’ve made a mistake when drawing a line with the Ruler, hit the Clear button instead of Straighten and start over.

3. To crop away the areas that have become transparent, select the Crop tool, and use the handles to drag an area that encompasses the part of the photo you want. Then hit Enter/Return on the keyboard or press the Commit button on the Options bar.

You should now have a nicely straightened and cropped photo.

A Quick Guide To Bitmap And Vector Images In Photoshop

When you’re getting started with image editing, there are some technical concepts that you need to know that will help you decide which tools you can work with. I won’t bog you down with tons of boring technical jargon, but rather give you a brief introduction to Bitmap (also known as Raster images) and Vector images and the differences between the two. By taking a few minutes to learn about it, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to work with both of these image types in Photoshop.

In Photoshop you’ll create and work with images that fall into two categories:

  • Bitmap images – made from pixels
  • Vector images – made from paths and points

Bitmap images

A Bitmap image, which is also known as a raster image, is made up of pixels.
What’s a pixel I hear you ask?

A pixel is simply a block of colour. It is the smallest individual part of a digital image. Every digital photograph is made up of a grid of pixels and the number of pixels in the image will depend on the device used to create the image i.e. a digital camera or a scanner.
With a typical image taken from a modern camera, the pixels are so tiny and numerous that you don’t see them individually. However, when you zoom in and magnify your view of the image, you’ll see the image starts to look blocky. Those blocks are the individual pixels.
In the example below, you can see a picture I took of one of our dogs using my camera phone.  Viewed at 100% (or actual size) the individual pixels are not visible and they give the impression of blending together to form the overall image.


Viewed at 800% though, you can clearly see each colour box or pixel.


If you’re creating a brand new image in Photoshop, you determine how many pixels it has by entering the information into New Document dialog box. The image resolution of your file affects the image quality and how large the file is.

  • For graphics for the web or screens, use 72 pixels per inch (known as low resolution)
  • For high quality colour printing, use 300 pixels per inch (known as high resolution)

Rule of Thumb for choosing a resolution

If you know that you are creating graphics or editing photographs that will be used for print AND web, start your new file at a high resolution (300 ppi) . You can always lower the resolution of an image from 300 to 72 ppi. It is not a good idea to try and go from low to high resolution. Very occasionally it might look “kinda ok” on screen when you go from low to high, but generally the quality will be poor and your design will look rubbish. It’s always better to start with a high res image and reduce its size and quality if needed rather than vice versa.
If you know that you are creating graphics or editing photos that will ONLY be used for web, then you can start your new file at a low resolution of 72 ppi.

New Document - Photoshop

Photoshop Raster Tools

Most of the tools in the Photoshop toolbar work by manipulating pixels. For example all of the tools that work with brush tips, such as the painting tools, the clone stamp tool, the blur tool and so work by changing or affecting the individual pixels in your image or design.

Pixel-based File Formats

When it comes to saving your files, JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs and TIFFs are all raster image file formats. Raw files from your camera are also raster images, and you can edit them in Photoshop using Camera Raw.

Vector images

Vector images are composed of points and paths. They are shapes and lines created by mathematical equations. The shapes can be filled with solid colours or gradients or they can have strokes (basically an outline) or they can have both a fill and a stroke.
The really great thing about vector images is, any object you draw or create this way can be scaled up without any loss of quality. Unlike raster images which can look blocky and distorted as you scale up in size, vectors keep their beautifully smooth curves and crisp lines. That is why vectors are used frequently in graphic design, especially for logo design.

Shapes with stroke and fill - photoshop
In the image below, you can see two versions of Mickey Mouse, the one on the right is a raster image made up of pixels, while the one on the left is created using vectors. At 100% both look fine. (Mickey Mouse is copyright of Disney)

Vector Image at 100 percent

Now if each version of the image is enlarged, the vector version (on the left) keeps its beautiful smooth curves and precise lines, while the raster version looks horribly blocky and pixelated.


Photoshop Vector Tools

Photoshop has a smaller number of tools which work specifically with vectors. They are the Pen tools, the Path and Direct Selection tools, the Shape tools and the Type tools.

Photoshop Vector and Type Tools

Is Type Raster or Vector in Photoshop?

Type in Photoshop consists of vector-based type outlines that describe the letters, numbers, and symbols of a typeface. When you scale or resize type, save a PDF or EPS file, or print the image to a PostScript printer, the vector outlines are preserved.  As a result, it’s possible to produce type with lovely crisp, resolution-independent edges.

Scaling Up Text in Photoshop

That concludes this short guide to Raster and Vector images. I hope you’ve found it useful. If you have any questions or comments please add them below.
I’d also be really grateful if you would share this guide. Thank you!

How To Make A Double Stroke Text Effect In Photoshop

In this quick tutorial for beginners, you’ll see how to use Photoshop’s Stroke layer effect to create a simple and cute text effect.

The Layer Effects in Photoshop allow you to easily add effects such as Drop Shadows, Glows, Stokes, Colour Overlays and more to any layer. By combining effects within the Layer Style dialog box you can create interesting looks which can be applied to text, shapes, blocks of colour and so on.  In older versions of Photoshop, you could add one Drop Shadow, one Stroke and so on.  However, a new feature in Photoshop CC allows us apply the same effect more than once and that’s what we’re going to do now. You’ll add two strokes to the same piece of text to create a cute text effect. Here’s how to do it!

Create a new file and add text

  1. Create a new blank file in Photoshop with a size of 1000 x 500 pixels. For this example, we’re creating a simple graphic for web use, so set the resolution to 72 ppi. If this graphic was required for print purposes, you would set the resolution to 300ppi.
  2. Now to add some text to your new document. I’m using a free font I love, called Folk. You can download it here.   You can use any big fat bold font for this exercise, but it works extremely well with a heavy hand drawn font like Folk.
    Select the Type tool by pressing T on the keyboard, or click on the Type Tool on the Toolbox.  Text-Tool- Photoshop
  3. In the Options Bar at the top of the screen, set the type size to 280 pt (you may need to make this bigger or smaller if you’re using a different font). Set the colour to bright blue – Hex #0099ff.4 - Type Tool OptionsTo change the font colour, just click on the colour swatch on the Options Bar and the Colour Picker opens automatically.5 - Photoshop Colour PickerOnce you’ve set your options, click once on your document and type in some text.

    1a - Text on image
    When you’re finished adding text, either click on any other layer in the Layers panel, or click on the Commit button Commit-Button Photoshop on the options bar.

    Using Layer Effects

  4. Now you’ll add the strokes to the new text layer you’ve just created. Click on the Type layer to make sure it’s selected, then click on the Layer Effects icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. A drop down menu will offer lots of different effects, click on “Stroke”.6 - Add A Stroke Effect
  5. The Layer Effects dialog box opens and will show options for adding a stroke to your layer. Make sure the Preview checkbox is clicked so you can see your changes as you make them.Set the size to 5px
    Set the Position to Inside
    Leave Blend Mode as Normal and Opacity as 100%
    Click on the colour swatch and change the colour to white.7 - Stroke Layer Effect

    Now it will look as though your text has gone a bit wierd because it’s sitting on a white background and you’ve add a white stroke around it. Next we’ll add another stroke and it will look much more interesting.

  1. Click on the word Stroke on the left hand side of the Layer Style box, underneath the Stroke you’ve just added (which will have a tick in the checkbox).Set the size to 8px
    Set the Position to Outside.
    Leave Blend Mode as Normal and Opacity as 100%Click on the colour swatch and change the colour to the same bright blue – Hex #0099ff8 - Add Second Stroke

    We could finish this effect at this stage, it looks nice, but I want to show you how to continue in the Layer Style box to add a drop shadow.

  2. Don’t click OK yet.  Click on the word Drop Shadow in the bottom left hand side of the Layer Style box. You’re going to add a subtle shadow in the same colour as the text, but with just enough drop shadow to lift it slightly off the page.Now you’ll see the drop shadow options.Blend Mode is Multiply by default, but if it’s not currently set to Multiply, change it in the drop down menu.Set the colour to the same bright blue – Hex #0099ff – this will give a subtle shadow rather than a heavy dark one.
    Set Opacity to 100%
    Any Angle is fine for this example
    Set Distance to 10px
    Set Spread to 10%
    Set Size to 10%9 - Add Drop Shadow

    Click OK. Your text effect should look something like this:

    10 - Final Text File

    As I mentioned earlier, this effect works well with chunky hand drawn style fonts but you can create interesting effects using these styles with any font.

    I hope you found this Photoshop tutorial useful and I’d be really grateful if you would share it. Thanks you very much! 🙂

How To Create A Colour Palette From A Photo Using Adobe Color (And Use It In Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign)

How To Create A Colour Palette From A Photo Using Adobe Color (And Use It In Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign)

If you find it difficult to come up with color schemes or palettes for design work, or if you’re looking for inspiration on colour themes to apply to your designs or photography, then you’ll find the Adobe Color website to be a helpful tool. It’s actually a brilliant tool, as it allows you to create both your own colour schemes and also explore and save other people’s colour schemes and swatches.  Just as a side note, Adobe Color used to be called Kuler. The name has changed but not much else.

When exploring other people’s color themes you can filter them by Most Popular, Most Used, Random, themes you’ve published, or themes you’ve appreciated in the past. Once you’ve found a theme that you like; you can edit it and and save it to your themes, or add it to your swatches in Photoshop.

The really nice thing about it is, when you’ve created your own, or saved someone else’s color theme, as part of the Creative Cloud plan you can use those themes immediately through the Color Panels in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and after I show you how to make a color theme on the website, I’ll show you where you can find them and use them in the individual apps.

Make A Color Theme From A Photograph

This is one of the features I really love. I’m going to show you how to create a set of colours using just one photograph, but produce several palettes which can then be saved and used in Photoshop or any of the other Adobe Creative Cloud products that use swatches.

Let’s say you’re working on a website or design project and you have a particular image that you want to use in the header or as a major part of the overall look and feel. By using colours from that photograph you will be able to create a nice, cohesive colour scheme that works well. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to the Adobe Color website.
  2. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, log in.
    If you’re not a subscriber you can still sign up for free. If you have CS6 or earlier, you can use the “Kuler” panel to access “public” colours and use them in your application.
  3. On the home page of Adobe Color, you’ll see a colour wheel and five giant colour swatches beneath it. On the menu bar on the top left there are options to Create, Explore or view My Themes.  You want to Create, so stay on this page and click on the small white camera icon on the right hand side to choose Create from image.

Create Colour Scheme From Image

4. When the File Upload dialog box opens, choose the photography that you want to upload. I’m using a photograph of a thatched cottage in a town called Adare. If you live in Ireland, or visited from overseas and have been there, you’ll know Adare is a very picturesque town with a lovely row of thatched cottages and beautiful old buildings in the main street.

Adare Cottage by Jennifer Farley

Adare Cottage by Jennifer Farley

5. Once your image is uploaded, you’ll see that right away Adobe Color has chosen five colours from your image. By default it picks five colours to create a “Colorful” theme.  The colours it picks are highlighted in circles on the image and appear as giant swatches underneath your image.

Create A Coloful Colour Scheme

6. If you don’t like this particular set of colours you can change them by choosing from suggested “Color Mood” options on the left hand side. For example, by choosing Dark, the colour swatches look like this:

Create A Dark Colour Scheme

The colours are obviously much darker but are still tied together to form a theme.

7. If you don’t like any of the colour themes produced by the Color Mood suggestions, you can create your own custom theme. To create a custom theme, either click on the word Custom or simply click on one of the five colour circles and drag it around your image. You’ll see how only that particular colour swatch is affected. You can choose to change as many colours (of the five available) as you want.

As you drag each point, the colour palette changes. The thing I really love about this is that often there are colours in images that you don’t even realise are there and you can put together some really lovely colour schemes.

Create A Custom Colour

8. Ok, so when you find a scheme you’re happy with. Click on the Save button on the top left of the screen. Give the theme a name and give it some tags so that when people are searching, they may find your theme based on one of those tags.
You can choose your cloud (mine is just Creative Cloud) and also your library. This will usually just be called “My Library“. In the example below I am saving my new theme into one of the libraries that I have called Brushes, so don’t worry if you don’t see that as an option.
If you don’t want to share your themes (and why wouldn’t you 🙂 ? ) then turn off the checkbox that says Publish this theme to Explore. Click Save again.

Save Colour Theme To Library

9. Once you press Save, your picture disappears and you’ll see the five colours that make up your new palette move to the top of the screen. Below that you have options to Publish, Edit Copy or Delete. The other thing that happens is that your new colour theme will now be available to you through your library in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign CC editions.

Note: If you have an older version of Photoshop or Illustrator they will be available through the Kuler panel.

How to use your color theme in Photoshop

  1. In Photoshop, select Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes. The Color Themes panel opens. Click on My Themes. You should see your new colour theme listed.
  2. Photoshop Color Themes Panel
  3. Click on the three dots under the theme and choose Add to Swatches. Now your new theme colours are available from your Swatches panel and you don’t need to be connected to the internet to use them.
    Swatches Panel With New Colour Theme

How to use your color theme in Illustrator

  1. In Illustrator CC, choose Window > Color Themes to display the Color Themes panel. As is the case with the Photoshop Color Themes panel, themes you created and are synced with your account on the Adobe Color website will be visible in the panel. You’ll also see public themes that you have marked as a favourite theme on the Adobe Color website.Illustrator Colour Themes Panel
  2. To add the colours in your theme to the Illustrator Swatches panel, click on the Color Themes panel menu (circled above) and choose Add to Swatches.Illustrator Swatches
  3. Another cool feature in Illustrator is that when you choose your colour theme by clicking it in the panel, those colours appear in Illustrator’s Color Guide panel. Choose Window > Color Guide to open the panel.Illustrator Color GuideYou can use the Color Guide panel as a handy tool for colour inspiration in your artwork. It suggests harmonious colors based on the current color in the Tools panel. When you add your color theme (simply by clicking on it in the Color Themes panel), you’ll see each colour appears with a range of tints and shades either side of it. So this is giving you further variation on your initial theme.

How to use your color theme in InDesign

  1. In InDesign, open the panel by choosing Window > Color > Adobe Color Themes.
  2. To add the colour themes to your swatches panel, click on the word Actions and choose Add to Selection and voila! There are you colours in their own folder in your swatches panel.
    InDesign Colour Themes Panel

That completes this guide to using Adobe Color to make a colour palette from a photograph, and how to then open the themes in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I hope you’ve found it helpful and will make tons of new colour themes for your designs!

If you found this guide useful, I would be really grateful if you would share it. Thank you so much! 🙂



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