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10 Things You Could be Using Photoshop For, But Probably Arent

Most people don't use Photoshop to its fullest capabilities. Here are just ten uses to which you could put this highly versatile software.

1. Restoring Old Photographs. Have a look through that old family photo album - the really old one from up in Grandma's attic. Inside there are probably a few photos from way back when that haven't stood the test of time so well. They've got cracks and tears that really spoil their appearance. Scan them into Photoshop, and then set to work with the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, and Patch tools. The Healing Brush in particular is a great tool for this purpose as it samples data from one part of the picture and blends it in with what's already there.

2. Correcting Mistakes. We've all done it: Had an attack of "finger over the lens syndrome," or got too close with the flash, so our subjects suffer from "red eye" and look like extras from a horror movie. Use the crop tool to salvage something usable from your obscured photo, and the enlarge wizard to blow it up to a reasonable size. For "red eye" and "pet eye," use the eyedropper tool to sample color from around the iris, and a brush to paint away the red.

3. Adding Graphics to Videos. It's a little known fact, but many domestic and professional nonlinear editing systems (especially the Mac based ones like Avid or Final Cut) enable you to import Photoshop .psd files directly into the timeline.

4. Creating Text Effects for Print and Web. There's an almost unlimited amount of things you can do with text in Photoshop. Use the Type Mask Tools to create picture filled text, then upload the results to your web page - or print them out for a one of a kind T-shirt.

5. Turning a Photo Into a Work of Art. Everyone likes to have nice things to look at. Most of us like to have pictures on the wall, and something that looks different from what other people have on their walls is a definite plus. Unless you're blessed with artistic talent, though, this can be very expensive - until now. Use one of Photoshop's many Artistic or Brush Stroke filters to turn your photos into "new masters," then print them out on quality art paper.

6. Designing Web Banners and Buttons. Photoshop comes with a predefined web banner sized canvas. Photoshop's sister application, Image Ready, comes with several - and lots of tools for animating text and pictures. You can also create interactive buttons that enhance a web browsing experience.

7. Adding Text to Photographs. Impress your boss by putting the company name on the side of an airliner, building, or racing car. Use the Move Tool to skew the text to fit the contours of the picture, adjust the opacity a little, and hey presto! The text will look like it's always been part of the photo.

8. Combining Pictures, Text, and Graphics to Make Covers for Books, Reports and CDs. Photoshop contains many of the image manipulation capabilities of high-end DTP applications that cost thousands. Use the "Layer via Cut" command to make your title text go behind part of the picture - just like on the cover of "Rolling Stone."

9. Designing Web Pages. Did you know that Photoshop and Image Ready can turn your photograph or artwork into a web page? Use the slice tool to cut your work into easily downloadable pieces, then the rollover function to embed website URLs.

10. Combining Pictures to Make the Impossible Possible. Come on! You didn't seriously think that Michael Moore and President George W. Bush really stood hand in hand on the White House lawn for the Fahrenheit 9/11 poster, did you? I don't know for certain that they used Photoshop to fake that picture, but they certainly could have done. With Photoshop you can remove the background from one picture, take some elements from another, and combine them with the background from a third to create a picture that could never have been taken for real. Who says the camera can't lie!

Shaun Pearce is a writer and video maker. His latest production "Photoshop Master" shows you how to get the most from Photoshop, and can be downloaded from http://www.learnphotoshopfast.com.

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