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4.5 Ways Handy Actions are Cooler than Johnny Depp


Handy Actions 13 with 64 tools and tweaks

Sure, Johnny Depp is cool. Sure, Johnny Depp is versatile. But if you are a Photoshop Elements user, did you know that Graffi’s Handy Actions are even cooler than Johnny Depp?

Here are a few ways I came up with – you can add yours in the comments or in the product review page (and get a 10% off coupon! Share your review, and get an additional 10% off!):

1:  For numerous roles in many movies, Johnny Depp has portrayed a variety of characters that are on the screen for about 2 hours. That’s pretty cool, but Handy Actions gives you a variety of tools that you can use with Photoshop Elements for as long as you want. In less than 2 hours, you can create Smart Objects, edit all three RGB Channels individually, apply Adjustment Layers only found in full Photoshop, and choose from several different Sharpening actions to get your images looking just right.
Coolness edge: Handy Actions

HandyActions13Effects2:  Johnny Depp may know all about changing things up in order to create believable characters, but Handy Actions lets you change things up to help you create awesome images. You can use the Channel Mixer action to change up color blends, use the Curves action to fine tune contrast and tone, use the Black and White Adjustment action to convert to B&W with total control, or use the Exposure Adjustment action to change up how your shot was taken in the first place. So right there are several ways to change things up while working on a single image.
Coolness edge: Handy Actions

3:  It takes a lot of work for Johnny Depp to get into character: there’s character research, set design and construction, lighting setups, testing, rehearsals, makeup application, and a lot of waiting around before the acting actually starts. Handy Actions installs with just a few clicks, and then you’re ready get started using the cool tools with Photoshop Elements.
Coolness edge: Handy Actions

4:  Johnny Depp staggered around semi-oblivious, half drunk and clumsy in all of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean flics – kind of funny in a movie, but if you’re trying to get your images processed and use some tools not regularly available in Photoshop Elements, it’s just not funny at all. Handy Actions has 64 tools that help speed up your workflow and let you get back to doing other things in your life (like maybe staggering around semi-oblivious and half-drunk).
Coolness edge: Handy Actions

5:  Johnny Depp is better looking than Handy Actions, though. But that is still a pretty snappy looking logo over there to the right, and who cares how good Handy Actions looks when it can do so much more to help you get your images looking their best? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so I’ve read, so, behold! Here is Graffi’s Handy Actions!
Coolness edge: tie

So there you have it – the facts can’t be wrong. Clearly, Graffi’s Handy Actions are cooler than Johnny Depp in at least 4 different ways (and one that has not yet been definitely decided).

Your thoughts?

If you click to the Graffishop, you can share Handy Actions on most social media platforms (using the sharing buttons on the left side of the page) – and get an instant 10% off coupon code!

If you just want to get it now without going through the checkout process, simply click the link below to have Handy Actions 13 emailed to you after completing purchase (unlike Johnny Depp – so yet another way Handy Actions is cooler):

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3 Creative Uses of the Drop Shadow in Photoshop


Layer styles are a great way to add effects to your images in Photoshop. In this article, you will learn about the Drop Shadow. A typical example of the drop shadow effect in Photoshop is to add a 3D look to your text. Another example is when working with multiple images in the same document, the cutout elements should appear seamless in the background. A drop shadow effect can also be used in a creative way to make your image stand out.

You get into the layer styles in Photoshop, by clicking on the fx icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Then, click on Drop Shadow, this brings up the Drop Shadow Dialog Box.

How to Correct Purple Fringing in Photoshop

A couple years after starting my business, I received a large print from my lab. Upon checking it, I noticed a problem with the print that was so blatant I couldn’t deliver it to my client. At first I thought the lab made the mistake, but nope. It was a problem created by my digital camera when I took the shot! It’s more than likely you’ve already noticed it in your images.

The problem is called purple fringing. In this article I’ll go over what it is, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it.

What is Purple Fringing?

Purple fringing is when you get purple color in high contrast boundary areas in an image that was most likely taken in low light situations with a brighter background. It is most often attributed to a chromatic aberration that occurs commonly with digital cameras, but purple fringing can also be caused by lens flare.

How can you prevent getting it?

  • Avoid shooting with your lens wide open in high contrast situations.
  • Get a UV filter for all of your lenses.

Unfortunately, these actions don’t always resolve fringing problems, but it can prevent it from happening some of the times.

Create Delicious Donut Text That Will Make You Hungry

In this tutorial, I will walk you through the process of making a yummy sweet text in Photoshop. We will use the basic tools and effects along to achieve the final outcome in short time. So let’s begin!

Final Image

What you will be creating


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Tutorial Resources: http://www.dafont.com/joint-by-pizzadude.font

Step 1

Open a new file (File > New) in Adobe Photoshop with the following settings.

How to Correct Skin Blemishes Using the Patch Tool in Photoshop

There are many articles that discuss the overuse of skin smoothing in portrait photography. Photographers strive to find a balance between realistic skin and fixing the imperfections. Obviously, one way to minimize the use of Photoshop for skin issues is to hire a phenomenal makeup artist who can make the skin look realistic and flawless all at the same time. For the times when there are issues with a client’s skin I try to not go overboard and fix every little thing. I want my client to still look like themselves when I am done editing.


Some photographers use the spot healing brush religiously. I never use it. Instead I use the patch tool. My reasoning is that the Patch tool actually takes samples of the pixels and closely matches them to what you are trying to fix. If the results are not quite right, you can tweak them to suit your needs.

Step 1. Open your image

As you can see my model is absolutely beautiful, but she does have a few blemishes on her skin and we are going to fix those before we give the image to her.

How to enhance a sunset in Photoshop: download our start file and follow along

Discover how to enhance a sunset in Photoshop using Adobe Camera Raw’s range of tools. In this photo editing tutorial we show you step-by-step how to enhance the colours* in your sunset photos.

*before you all comment at once, we pushed the enhancements a little further than we’d normally do to a make the effect obvious and account for people viewing on different types of screens!

How to enhance a sunset in Adobe Camera Raw

When you’re shooting sunsets you could use your camera’s picture style options to boost the scene’s colours, but this can produce garish, unnatural tones – and if you shoot JPEGs you won’t be able to make heavy colour edits without introducing banding or other artefacts.

But if you shoot uncompressed Raw images, you can push your colour adjustments further without compromising quality.

How To Easily Match Skin Tones In Photoshop

Use this simple Photoshop process to match skin tones in uneven areas. This method also works particularly well for matching lighter facial tones to the rest of the body’s color. Aaron Nace uses just a few adjustment layers and levels to quickly create a cohesive look:

How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop

  • Start by analyzing your colors. Create a new layer. Grab a paint brush and sample (alt/opt+click) the colors of the skin—from darks to lights,  from both the desired color tone area and the one to adjust.
  • Paint each color in between selections, creating a sort of swatch. This will create a simple visual representation of the color tones to help you determine what adjustments need to be made in terms of warm and cool, light, and dark tones.

match skin tones in photoshop

  • When using this procedure to match face tones to body tones, you will need to darken and add warmth (with oranges, usually a combination of yellows and/or magentas). However, all skin tones are different and it’s best to experiment with your image.
  • Create a new layer. Go to adjustment layer and create a new Levels adjustment layer.
  • In properties, change the channel to Blue. The opposite of blue on the color spectrum is yellow. Pull the right hand side of the slider inward (to the left). This will slightly darken and add yellow to the highlights. Play around with the slider to get the desired tones.

Two Quick and Easy Photoshop Head-Swapping Techniques


Sometimes you get that photo that is almost perfect. If all it takes to make it great is a little head swap, well, today is your lucky day! I’m going to show you two techniques, for quick and easy head swapping. I’ve even included a demo video at the end, if you want to watch the tips in action. I am using Photoshop CS6 for this demonstration. If you are using a different editing program, these methods may not work for you. If you are using an older version of Photoshop, the techniques should work the same, but your screen may look slightly different.


Changing the Sky in an Image Using Photoshop Elements

(Photoshop Elements users:

to use some of the techniques in this tutorial, including Layer Masks & Channels, click over to the Graffishop and grab Graffi’s Handy Actions! . This pack is like your Swiss Army Knife for Elements, and will give you the power of Layer Masks and Channels – a lot of additional bits of functionality to power up Elements.)


Sometimesthe image you have to work with doesn’t really fit with the mood of the article or story it’s to accompany.

For example, an article about the evil and brooding Count Oscar, who resides in an old abandoned warehouse on the “other” side of town really doesn’t call for an image like the one below – a bright, sunny cheerful converted warehouse in the redeveloped & renovated part of town. But it’s also the perfect locale for the setting of our story, so we’ll have to do what we can to make this image fit it.

Start with an image you want to darken and make a bit more moody…

To start, the entire image needs to be darkened to make it look like a stormy night – or at least a darker, more brooding type of atmosphere..

Create a new layer and fill it with black. The fastest way to do this is to press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[N], then press the D key to reset the palette to black & white, then press [Alt]+[Backspace] to fill it with black.

Quick & easy, huh?! Took more time to read it than it would to do it.

Now change the blend mode of this new layer to Soft Light. You can adjust the opacity of it a bit if you feel the need, but it’ll probably look the best just as it is right now:

That sky is entirely too bright, blue & cheerful – not at all the look we need for our dark, sinister cigarette warehouse. It’s got to go….

Make a selection of the sky using the Magic Wand, the Select>Color Range command, a Threshold Adjustment layer, or using one of the channels. I’m using channels because of this really cool technique I got from a DVD by Photoshop Guru Russell Brown.

Choose the Blue channel in your Channels palette and drag it into the “Create New Channel” icon at the bottom ( it looks exactly like the “Create New Layer” icon in the Layers palette) to duplicate it – you don’t want to work on the original blue channel, as this will really mess up your image….

With this new channel active, use the dodge & burn tools to create your mask.

Select the Dodge tool, set the range to Highlights with an exposure of about 50%, and brush away the highlight area – all the sky parts. Then choose the Burn tool with the Range set to Shadows and paint away the darker areas. You will probably need to switch to the midtones exposure a few times to get rid of some of the more stubborn areas.

You should, after some dabbing and brushing, wind up with a channel that looks similar to this:

Now for some clouds:

Still in the Channels palette, create a new channel. Press to reset your foreground & background colors, and choose Filter-Render-Clouds (duh – what else would you use to make clouds…?)

Now the cool part: Hold [Ctrl] and click the channel thumbnail of the clouds you just created to select the luminance of them. This selects the grays of the channel with all the levels of opacity present.

Click the RGB channel at the very top to bring back all colors to your image, click back over to the Layers palette, click the “Create New Layer” icon (or press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[N]) and, with your clouds selection still active, press [Ctrl]+[V] to paste it in place (yes, you could also just click over to Edit-Paste, but keyboard shortcuts are for the REAL users… !).

Deselect ([Ctrl]+[D], or Select-Deselect) and click back over to the Channels palette again.

Make a selection of the Blue copy channel you dodged & burned earlier by [Ctrl]+Clicking the channel thumbnail. Click Select-Modify-Expand, and choose a value based on the size of your image (this image started out at 1712 x 2288 pixels, so I Contracted it by 3 pixels – for smaller images, you may not need to contract at all….)

Click the RGB channel again to bring back all your colors, then highlight the clouds layer. Click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette to create a mask based on this selection.

The clouds need to have their perspective changed, but you don’t want to transform this mask. To accomplish this, turn OFF the link between the clouds and their layer mask by clicking the little link icon between them.

Now transform the clouds: Press [Ctrl]+[T] to open the Transform tool, right click inside the bounding rectangle and choose Perspective from the menu.

Drag the top corner handles out as far as you need to to get the perspective of the clouds looking right; you may need to zoom out in order to see the whole thing.

Change back to Free Transform by right clicking inside the bounding box and choosing it from the menu; then drag the bottom of the clouds layer up a bit to create the effect of clouds fading away into the distance.

Before Transforming Clouds

After Transforming Clouds

Add a layer style to the clouds layer – a Gradient Overlay (from dark blue to a very light blue, or a black to medium gray) and a Drop Shadow. You could also play around with the Bevel & Emboss styles, with a Shadow Mode of Color Dodge, and try the color red or green or gold…)

Finally, click the Bottom layer (the Background layer) and add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer.

Pull down the Saturation slider until you reduct the amount of color in the background to an acceptable level, and also pull the Lightness slider down a bit.




My final image image came out as dark and forbidding as I had hoped – a far cry from the sunny blue skies I started out with:

Quick Folder Organizing Hacks in Adobe Lightroom

Sometimes our hard drives become a mess of misnamed folders and misplaced images. We don’t know how it happens, but it does. Luckily, Lightroom gives us a few options for quick and easy folder discovery and organization. Ben Willmore shares a few of these hacks:

Before you begin, make sure the little square or “light” beside the hard drive is colored.

  • A green light means the drive is hooked up.
  • An orange light means the drive is hooked up but nearly full, resulting in potential difficulties while importing.
  • No light or a grey square means the drive is not hooked up.

How to Find a Missing Folder