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!

HandyActions-AOM-full-487-2Photoshop Elements is simply incomplete without your Swiss Army Knife for Elements: Graffi's Handy Actions! Handy Actions includes all the tools and extras only found in Photoshop - including Adjustment Layers like Exposure, Vibrance, Black and White & Selective color - more than 60 extra actions, tools, processes and timesavers!

Handy Actions includes a self-installing action pack set for Windows versions of Photoshop Elements and also includes a manual-install edition for Mac & Photoshop users

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):


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.

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.

Fake Perfect Fall Colors Using the HSL Tab in Lightroom

It can be extremely hard to predict when and where the peak colors of falls will hit. If you’ve ever been a week or two early you’ll know the frustration of seeing little splattering of color when you were hoping for full on peak color. Well, using a little bit of post-production magic, you can add some life to those early fall shots and get it closer to the vision you’d hoped mother nature would’ve given you in the first place. Let’s see how we can fake fall color using the HSL tab in Lightroom!


As a side note: I do want to mention that while this article is about faking the colors to create a vision that didn’t exist in the first place, a lot of these techniques can be applied to enhancing fall colors that do exist. Even if you’re completely against the idea of changing the world in post-production it might be worth reading through it to see how you might be able to use these techniques in a way that retains a more true to life look in your image.

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:

Creating a Foggy Morning with Photoshop or Elements

Aclear, crystal cool autumn morning by the lake. What a great way to start the day, sipping coffee and gazing across the water…

The only problem is that the weatherman called for light to heavy fog this morning, and we sure don’t want him to be disappointed. Here’s how to help Mother Nature out a little bit…

It really is pretty simple to turn a clear day into a foggy day with Photoshop. Here’s two different methods to try:

I’m starting with the image to the right – I already did a little bit of adjusting already – I added a Layers Adjustment and pulled down the Saturation a little. I also added just a bit of yellow to it, using the Variations tool, under Image>Adjustments.

For the first method of adding some fog, I’m going to paint a large stripe right across the middle of this image using the waterline as a guide.

Create a new Layer, and name it “Fog” (or name it “Earl”, or name it “Loretta” – it doesn’t really matter….).

I chose a large (very large!) brush so I could add my fog in one pass. This is important for this technique, since we’re using one of the additive blend modes on our paintbrush…

You can see how large my brush was when I started; I actually wound up redoing it after I took this screenshot, and made the brush even bigger:

Select the paintbrush tool and get a large round soft-edged brush (to increase or decrease the size of your brush on the fly, press the ] or keys on your keyboard; to soften your brush, press or {). Change the blend of this brush in the tool area along the top of the work area to Dissolve, and lower the opacity to about 50 or 60%.

Now choose a medium – to – dark grey color, and while holding [Shift], paint a single line across the center of the image:

The Dissolve mode makes it sort of “speckly”, which is good, and holding [Shift] helps us draw a straight line (I have a little trouble with straight lines, especially later on into the evening…):

Now it’s just a matter of adding a Gaussian Blur to this fog layer:

I added a mask, and ran the Clouds filter on it to break up the clumps a little bit (Photoshop Elements users could do this by adding a Levels Adjustment, leaving the levels sliders alone, and running Clouds on the mask – then clip the two layers together.)

I also dragged a Reflected Gradient across the mask to make the fog fade away at the top & bottom – again, PSE users can do this on the Levels Adjustment layer’s mask.)

I grabbed the Eraser tool and a soft brush and erased a few places here & there, then went back over them with the Smudge tool. A final pass with the Dodge and Burn tools in a few areas finished it off:

For the second technique, I first made a rough, feathered selection where I want the fog to be:

You can do this on the same image without having to open another copy of it – just turn off the “Fog” layer you created, and create another new layer above it.

Press to reset your to your default foreground & background colors – Black & White.

On a new layer, run the Filters>Render>Clouds filter a few times until you get a good “foggy-looking” blend.

It doesn’t look like much now, but change the blend mode of this layer to Screen and reduce the opacity to 60% or 70% or so, and see how it looks…

Hmm, well, OK, it still looks a little bit not-like-fog. But that can be fixed:

Fog generally lays across the water, not in big puffy blobs on top of it – it needs to be flattened out.

Press [Ctrl]+T to open the Transform tool, and then press [Ctrl]+- a few times to zoom way out.

Grab the middle side handle on either side and pull it way out. Now pull the middle side handle on the other side and pull it way out. Press to accept the transformation:

A little more Gaussian Blur and it’s getting close:

I duplicated this layer, and added a bit of Noise to it (Filters>Noise>Add Noise, using gaussian, monochromatic, and the slider at about 15).

I reduced the opacity of this new layer, and ran a Filter>Blur>Motion Blur on it, to add a little density to the fog. I wanted it to be subtle, so I kept the opacity down, and the strength of the blur fairly high.

How to Create Creamy Black & White Images in Lightroom

Don’t let your black and white images fall flat. Bring out the true beauty of your photographs by adding vibrancy and creamy tones. Zach & Jody show us how a few quick fixes in Lightroom can make your images sing:

In some cases, turning down your saturation may leave you with a nice black and white image. However, the image may fall short, leaving you with muddy tonal definition and lack of detail. Use Lightroom’s HSL Black & White module to define black and white color tones to bring back vibrancy and life to your image.

Be sure to have a look at Graffi’s Action sets in the Graffishop for more Black & White options: 

Hey Graffi Blog Readers:   for more looks like this especially created for Photoshop Elements, you might want to check out the PhotoLab Photo Effects action pack with an installer compatible with Elements



HipsterDo you like getting that Retro Lo-Fi, Vintage look for your images? Then you might really like Graffi's Hipster Kits for Photoshop / Elements and Lightroom!

How To Add Life to Your Black And White Images

Create an Epic Metal Text Effect From Scratch

Learn how to make epic text effect, by simple steps. You will learn, how to make beautiful background to your typography by brushes and stock images. This tutorial will teach you, how to play with layer styles in awesome way.

What you’ll be creating

You will start from creating background. You will know how to load brush and how to use Cloud filter in Photoshop. Then, you will see how to make epic typography, which can be used in games, covers or flyers in simple steps. At the end, you will learn how to make glow on things. You’ll need Photoshop CS5.5 or newer to follow this tutorial.final-results

Free Download: Hipster [Durham] action for Photoshop / Elements

Hipster-VintagelargerHere is a free action download for Elements & Photoshop: these two actions are from the upcoming Hipster [vintage I] set for Elements.

The download includes all the files you’ll need to get them working in Elements: the action (.atn) files, the .xml metafiles and a thumbnail for each. Installation instructions are also included.


Durham I Action


Durham II Action

Bonus – there’s a link below for the Mayberry action, which is also from the new set!

Like them?  Check out all the Hipster effects here

Hipster [Durham I & II] Wow! Downloaded 142 times so far!