Prepare for the Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CC exam
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Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
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Prepare for the Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CC exam

The ultimate guide on how to successfully prepare for the Adobe Photoshop Expert exam by an Adobe Certified Instructor.
4.2 (477 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,104 students enrolled
Created by Martin Perhiniak
Last updated 6/2014
English [Auto]
Current price: $65.99 Original price: $94.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 7 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of this course you will be prepared to take the Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CC exam
  • Finishing this course will provide you a complete understanding and deep knowledge of all the tools and features of Photoshop CC
  • Previous Photoshop knowledge is useful
  • Adobe Photoshop CC software (30-day free trial is available from

This course offers you the unique opportunity to prepare for the Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CC Exam. Meaning that you will feel prepared and confident in your knowledge and abilities when it comes to taking the exam.

Becoming a Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop is the highest official certification you can acquire and can really help to further your career in the creative industry.

Adobe suggests you have at least two years solid experience working in Photoshop before taking the exam. Learning from this course you will be able to prepare and pass the exam with far less previous experience and it has been created with all levels of user in mind. So if you want to get certified you are in the right place!

Martin is an Adobe Certified Instructor who has taken and passed this exam and is able to offer unique insight into how to prepare for it. The examples and techniques used in this course have been developed over time to deliver the most efficient, enjoyable and thorough approach to teaching and learning.

More about preparation for the exam:

  • It is made up of 10 large topics, all of which are covered in great detail in the video tutorials that make up this course.

  • At the end of each topic you will find a test. These tests are designed to help you prepare for the real exam and summarise what you have learnt in each topic. So you feel confident you have understood everything that was covered before moving on.

  • Then once you reach the end of the course there are 5 larger tests/exams. Each of these has 40 random questions from all 10 topics covered in the course.

  • These questions mimic the type of questions you will be asked in the exam and taking all 5 tests will help improve your confidence as well as cement everything you have learned in the course.

  • It will probably take 1-2 weeks to work through all of the videos, tests and exams depending on your Photoshop skills.

This course includes:

  • 72 Videos

  • 6 Hours of learning content

  • 11 Quizzes

  • 2 Texts

Who will find it useful:

  • Intermediate and advanced Photoshop users looking to maximise their abilities and become more efficient

  • Anyone looking to get an official Adobe certification proving highest technical abilities in Photoshop

  • Useful for those looking to work within the creative industry

  • Anyone who wants to impress employers with their CV

If you wish to thoroughly prepare for the exam it’s a good idea to spend time practicing what you have learnt throughout the course in Photoshop.This way you can also refer back the course for anything you might still not feel 100% on.

‘This course focuses on exactly what I want to accomplish—becoming a certified Photo expert. Instructions are clear and the goals set forth are challenging yet realistic.’

Ryan Lockhart

Martin is an Adobe Certified Instructor who has years of experience teaching  in both and online in classroom environments. He has also worked professionally in the creative industry for over 10 years on a wide range of projects. The examples and techniques used have been developed over this time to deliver the most efficient and enjoyable approach to teaching and learning.

Currently this is the only online course available which offers a complete preparation guide for the Photoshop CC Expert exam. Watch the videos in the first section to find out more about the exam plus you can also cover the whole first exam topic for free.

This course will get you up to speed to pass the exam with flying colors, enroll today and let’s start preparing!

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone planning to improve their chances to find a job as a designer
  • Photoshop users wanting to get the highest certification available proving their mastery of the software
  • Anyone planning to become a Certified Photoshop Expert
  • Anyone planning to teach Photoshop as an Adobe Certified Instructor
Course content
Expand all 78 lectures 05:52:10
+ Everything you need to know about the Photoshop ACE exam
10 lectures 21:59

The aim of this course is to guide you through the topics of the Photoshop CC Certified Expert exam with video tutorials explaining each of the areas and tools covered in great detail. At the end of each section I also provide a test for practicing what you have learnt. You can go through the topics in any given order you prefer as the questions in the exam will be also randomised. Once you completed all the topics and done all the tests for each section you can also rehearse and exercise what you have learnt by completing the test exams in Section 12. These are the closest that you can get to experience a real exam situation with questions randomly coming up from all the topics. You can retake these exams and also the tests for each topic as many times as you want and you will be able to monitor how your results improve.

Finishing this course won’t give you a 100% guarantee that you will be able to pass the exam, but it will definitely save you a lot of time for preparing for the exam. It is a very difficult test and you have to know a lot about working with Photoshop, so don’t expect to pass without hard work. Adobe recommends to take at least 3 weeks for the preparation for this exam and I completely agree with them. Your advantage by taking this course is that you have a personal trainer providing you clear explanations and insights to each of the topics in the form of easy-to-follow video tutorials. I compressed years of experience teaching Photoshop in classrooms and online into my examples to make them the most efficient way to prepare you for this exam.

You can learn a lot about Photoshop from this course even if you are a beginner, but I won’t explain basic concepts here as I want to focus on the topics of the exam. If you are new to Photoshop I recommend you to first watch my other courses and free tutorials online and come back to this course when you are familiar with the basics.

Preview 02:20

It can be difficult to stand out and be noticed in today’s job market. Becoming an Adobe Certified Expert gives you a clear and focused way to tell the world about your expertise and communicate your proficiency in leading products like Photoshop.

Being a designer myself I can assure you that this certification is useful to have. I managed to get jobs where I was told that my Adobe Certified Expert title helped a lot in deciding to pick me from all the other applicants.

Being certified also gives you confidence in your software knowledge, which can be limited even if you are a graduate with a design related degree. Let me get one thing clear though. An Adobe Expert Certification won’t give you the same knowledge as a design degree. It won’t prove your understanding of art history design principles like composition, typography, colours and so forth. You can pass this exam without being creative at all as you won’t need to do any practical examples. The ACE exam is only a proof for your mastery of Photoshop’s tools, features and workflows.

So to summarize, the main reason to take this exam is to show your proficiency in working with Photoshop, but not to prove your creative skills. The best way to present those is to have a great portfolio. Being a Photoshop Certified Expert won’t guarantee a job for you in the creative industry, but it will be a big plus in your CV and it will give you and your employers or clients the confidence in your Photoshop knowledge.

Preview 01:48

You can already guess from the name of this exam that it is not for beginner users of Photoshop. Let me quote what Adobe’s statement is about the necessary level of knowledge:

“A typical candidate would have a minimum of 2 years’ experience using Adobe Photoshop in a digital imaging/design environment. You may be responsible for digital asset management, production, and execution of projects in the fields of (but not limited to): photographic art, advertising design, photojournalism, news and media production, new media (Internet, Social, Mobile), and video. Candidates should also be familiar with Camera Raw, Adobe Bridge and Mini Bridge.”

The reason why Adobe recommends to have 2 years experience using Photoshop is because in the exam you will have to reply to complex multiple choice questions without seeing anything from Photoshop. You have to remember where you find things and how to solve problems. The best way to be prepared to answer these correctly is to have a background working in the creative industry and years of experience using the application daily.

But don’t worry if you have none of these. I managed to get lots of people to pass this exam and many of them never worked in any creative field and they only knew the basics of Photoshop. With dedication and hard work anyone can pass this exam, but being an experienced Photoshop user will definitely make the preparation much easier.

Preview 01:41

- You have to book your exam and take it in person at a Pearson VUE exam center.

- 51 multiple-choice questions, covering a range of topics including Getting Images into Photoshop, Creating and Working with Layers, Creating Selections, etc.

- The exam has a time limit of 65 minutes, and includes a timer to mark the remaining time.

- Currently you can only take the exam in English.

- You can get an extra 30 minutes, extending your exam time, if you can prove that you are not a native English speaker.

- The certification consists of achieving the minimum passing score, which is 66%, on a multiple choice test. After completing the test, candidates will be immediately provided with the official score for the exam. They will also receive an email with the official exam result.

- You can’t use any help during the exam. You won’t be allowed the take anything with you to the exam area. Your phone, your wallet, your books and any other personal items will have to stay in a safe outside the exam room and you can only access them once you finished the exam.

Preview 01:47

- Click on Schedule at Pearson VUE:

- create an account on Pearson VUE (make sure your name is written correctly)

Please be prepared to show two (2) forms of personal ID. The name on your photo ID must match exactly as the name on this letter. If it does not, contact Adobe immediately. You will not be accepted into the exam center if the names do not appear the same.

- find an exam center close to you

- book a time for your exam

If you wish to reschedule or cancel your exam, you must contact Pearson VUE 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.

- get to the exam center 30 minutes before your exam

- take photo identification with you

- take the exam

Preview 04:07

Adobe recommends to spend at least 2-3 weeks preparing for the Photoshop Expert exam, but what is the best way to use this time and make sure you will be able to pass?

There are 10 topics in the exam, so if you decide to spend 3 weeks on them that means you have around 2 days for each topic. But you should also leave a couple of days for revising everything you learnt plus it is good to have some break before you take the exam to let it all sink in.

The best way to prepare in my opinion is to go through one topic a day from my course and take the test at the end of the topic a couple of times until your score is around 90%. Doing this should take only a couple of hours, but then you should spend the rest of the day practicing what you learnt in Photoshop. It is very important to practice over and over the tools and features mentioned in the topic until you know where to find them by heart, even without seeing Photoshop.

If you finish one topic a day, that means you will get to the end in 10 days. Of course you can have some days in between to rest and then you will still have at least a week to revise all the topics by taking the test exams at the end of the course. Again I would recommend to retake them as many times as you need until you reach a minimum 90% score. When you are taking the test exams you shouldn’t have Photoshop open, because you won’t be able to do that in the real exam either.

If you want to try preparing for the exam you can go through the first topic for free.

It is also useful to take notes while you are going through the topics as writing things down with your own words can help to memorize them.

Try not to rush the preparation or leave it at the last minute. It is a really difficult exam and you have to be very confident with all the topics to pass.

Preview 02:06

Once you get certified as a Photoshop Expert you can present your credentials everywhere, on your business card, website, CV, etc. but you should keep in mind that you have to stay up-to-date with your knowledge of Photoshop.

Since the introduction of the Creative Cloud or CC version of Photoshop, Adobe made some changes to the recertification system. There won’t be any new version titles like CC2 and CC3 and instead of holding back on new features Adobe will continuously release updates to Photoshop. To make sure you keep up-to-date with these changes you will have to recertify every year. Once your certification is expired you will have 90 days to recertify. After the recertification window you will have to go back to a testing center and take the full exam.

Fortunately the recertification process is easier and cheaper than the first exam. These exams only consist of the new features and you can take them online, so you don’t have to book a time or place for them. You can do them from the comfort of your home and at any time you wish. The price of the Recertification exam is currently $60, which is the third of the normal exam.

Preview 01:23

Now that you know everything about the Photoshop Expert exam it is time to test your knowledge and see how close are you to pass. Take the test at the end of this section and check whether your score is above 66%, which is the official passing rate. These question are not exactly the same question you will find in the real exam, but they are very similar and their difficulty level is the same.

If your score is above 90% that means you have a sound knowledge of Photoshop, but that still doesn’t mean that you don’t need to prepare for the exam. You will probably be able to go through this course much faster and prepare in less than 2 weeks. If you are below 50% that means you definitely need to go through all the topics in this course in great detail.

Make sure you don’t use any help and don’t have Photoshop open while taking the test. You won’t be able to use any help while taking the exam either.

Remember that you can cover the first exam topic for free in this course, so make sure you check that out too.

I wish you the best luck for preparing for the Photoshop CC Expert exam!

Preview 01:25
Test exam
10 questions
+ Getting Images Into Photoshop
18 lectures 48:10
  1. Favorites
  2. Changing panel sizes
  3. Loupe tool
  4. Thumbnail size
  5. Recent files
  6. Return to Photoshop icon
  7. Go Forward and Go Back
  8. Grid
  9. Full screen view
Preview 06:47
  1. Workspaces (create new workspace)
  2. Slideshow options
  3. As Thumbnails, As Details, As List
  4. Show Thumbnail only
  5. Sort order
  6. Jump to file by pressing a letter or number (first character of file name)
Preview 04:55
  1. images with a set resolution (All Metadata critera)
  2. images shot with a specific camera
Preview 03:00
  1. it can be set to use Bridge or computer search engine
  2. Bridge engine looks for file names and keywords in the current folder and all its subfolders
  3. OS engine looks for file names, folder names and keywords in the current folder or on the whole computer
Preview 01:24
  1. drag and drop to add to Collection quickly
  2. Smart Collection for automatically view files with certain criteria
Preview 02:52
  1. Labeling folders and files
  2. Assign custom text to labels
  3. Shortcut for adding labels
Preview 02:07
  1. Adding rating
    1. Ctlr+1-5
    2. Ctlr+,/.
    3. Choose rating from Label menu
    4. Click on of the five dots below the thumbnail
  2. Show rated images only
    1. Click star icon on the Path bar
    2. Use the Filter panel
    3. Shift click on star in Filter panel to show that rating and higher
    4. Ctrl+Alt+1-5 to show a rating and higher
Preview 03:24
  1. Choose it from Label menu
  2. Alt+backspace
  3. View > Show Reject Files to make them visible
Preview 01:08
  1. Filter by File types
  2. Inverse filtering: Alt click on criteria in the Filter panel
  3. Filtering Stacks
    1. in case of open stack filtering will find all file meeting the cirteria
    2. in case of closed stack filtering will look only at the top item of the stack
  4. Keep Filter When Browsing icon (bottom of Filter panel)
  5. Clear Filter criteria: Ctrl+Alt+A
Preview 02:43
  1. Categories in the Metadata panel
    1. File Properties
    2. ITPC Core
    3. IPTC Extension
    4. Camera Data (Exif)
    5. GPS
    6. Camera Raw
    7. Video
    8. Edit History
  2. Show Metadata Placard from the Metadata panel menu
  3. Metadata
    1. typeface size in the Metadata panel can be changed from the panel menu
    2. in case of multiple selected files only common metadata is will be presented
    3. Thumbnails can show additional metadata
    4. View As Details to show metadata next to the thumbnails
    5. View As List to show metadata in columns
    6. icon showing Metadata has been changed outside of Bridge
  4. F5 to refresh (also refreshes Metadata)
  5. Video metadata that can be edited in Bridge
    1. Tape name
    2. Alternate tape name
    3. Scene
    4. Shot/Take
    5. Date shot
    6. Log comment
Preview 03:08
  1. Change copyright status
    1. Tools > Replace Metadata
    2. File > Info > Description tab
    3. Metadata panel
Preview 01:24
  1. Apply keywords to multiple files
    1. Keywords panel
    2. Metadata panel > IPTC Core > Keywords text box
    3. File Info > Description/IPTC
  2. Organizing keywords (sub-keywords, drag and drop)
  3. Automatically add parent keyword: Shift click on sub-keyword
  4. Append Metadata to add instead of overwriting
  5. Search for a Keyword in the Keywords panel (with options: contains, equals and starts with)
  6. Batch create keywords, by dividing them with commas in the Search field at the bottom of Keywords panel and then click on New Keyword
  7. Import and Export keyword catalog from Keywords panel menu
Preview 03:36
  1. Tools > Photoshop commands
    1. Batch (batch rename as well if Destination is set to Folder)
    2. Contact Sheet II
    3. Image Processor (it can’t batch rename the files)
    4. Lens Correction
    5. Load Files into Photoshop Layers
    6. Merge to HDR Pro
    7. Photomerge
    8. Process Collections in Photoshop
Preview 01:17
  1. Stacks > Auto-Stack Panorama/HDR
    1. it is considered HDR if the timestamp is within 18 seconds and the content overlaps by more than 80%
    2. run Process Collections in Photoshop to merge all auto-stacked panoramas and HDRs
Preview 01:01
  1. Place or drag and drop an image from Bridge to Photoshop
    1. new layer
    2. centered
    3. resized to fit
    4. Smart Object (this can be turned off in the General Preferences)
Preview 02:06
  1. Preserve vector artwork move from Illustrator to Photoshop
    1. drag and drop
    2. Copy and Paste
    3. File > Place
Preview 01:46
Getting Images Into Photoshop test
20 questions
+ Navigating and Customizing the User Interface (UI)
6 lectures 30:54
  1. parts of the interface
  2. brightness
    1. color theme
    2. background color from context menu
  3. customisation (panels, menus, shortcuts)
  4. Application frame on Mac (prevent accidental switching to desktop)
Overview of the topic
  1. panels are in the Windows menu
  2. definitions are important
    1. panel tab, panel tab area, panel menu
    2. docked - floating - iconic states of panels
    3. auto-collapse iconic panels option in Preferences > Interface
    4. minimized and maximized panel states
    5. panel group
  3. rearranging panels
    1. blue highlight indicates the target
    2. the mouse has to reach the target, not the panel
  4. you can dock to left, right, bottom but not to the top of the screen
  5. hold down Ctrl/Cmd to prevent docking
  6. minimizing and maximizing panels
    1. double-click on panel tab or panel tab area
    2. click on the panel tab to maximize
  7. resizing panels (exceptions are Histogram and Clone Source panels)
Working with panels and menus
  1. also called as Tools panel
  2. one column / two columns
  3. hold onto tools with little triangles to reveal more tools
  4. hold down keyboard shortcuts to temporarily switch between tools
  5. press the same Tool shortcut several times to cycle through the hidden tools with the same shortcuts
  6. swatches shortcuts
  7. screen modes
  8. quick mask
  1. great when sharing a computer with a colleague
  2. it can increase productivity and help communication when working in a team
  3. it saves: panel locations, menu options and keyboard shortcuts
  4. save a customized workspace
    1. Window > Workspace > New Workspace
    2. Workspace switcher menu
  5. reset individual default workspaces from Workspace Switcher
  6. reset all default workspaces from Preferences > Interface
Using workspaces
  1. Float in Windows / Consolidate to Tabs (show also in case of multiple documents)
  2. Switch between documents with shortcuts
  3. Arrange options
    1. Tile for Tabs
    2. Cascade for Floating Windows
  4. Match Zoom, Location, Rotation
  5. New Window
Document windows
  1. Panning, Flick Panning
  2. Zooming, Drag-zooming, Animated Zoom (Alt reverses), Zoom with scroll
  3. Type in zoom level on Status bar
  4. Bird’s eye view
  5. Navigator panel
  6. Fit to Screen
  7. Pixel Grid (over 500% magnification)
  8. Rotate view
View options
Navigating and Customizing the User Interface test
20 questions
+ Understanding Tools and Tool Settings
5 lectures 36:53
  1. Anti-alias to smooth jagged edges
    1. on selection tools: Elliptical Marquee, Magic Wand, Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Polygonal Lasso tool
  2. Blend modes for drawing tools
    1. shortcut to switch: Shift+ +/-
    2. Alt+Shift+letters to jump to specific blend mode
    3. Multiply is like drawing with marking pens
    4. Screen mode to restore highlights
    5. Darken replaces pixels that are lighter than the blend color without affecting pixels that are darker than the blend color
    6. Lighten is the opposite of Darken
    7. Behind and Clear allows painting only on the transparent part of a layer
    8. Color for coloring monochrome images or tinting color images
    9. Luminosity for using the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color
  3. Tool presets
  4. Preferences
    1. General
    2. Cursors
Overview of the topic
  1. Quick Selection tool with adjustable brush tip
  2. Magic Wand tool for selecting consistently colored areas without having to trace the outline
  3. Lasso tools
  4. Shape Selection tool shortcuts
Selection tools
  1. Dodge and Burn tools with Range settings for changing the brightness of areas on specific tonal ranges
  2. Non-Destructive way of using Dodge and Burn
  3. Clone Stamp tool for duplicating objects and removing flaws in images
    1. Aligned option: single or multiple copies
    2. Sample All Layers for non-destructive retouching (applies to Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, Content-Aware Move, Smudge and Blur tools as well)
  4. Patch, Healing Brush and Spot Healing Brush tools for matching the texture, transparency and shading of the target pixels
    1. Replace mode for Spot Healing Brush tool to preserve noise, film grain and texture on soft edged brush strokes
  5. Content-Aware Move tool to expand or contract objects
    1. Move mode: selected object is moved and blended and hole is filled
    2. Extend mode: copy is made of selected object
Retouching tools
  1. Brush tool
    1. shortcuts
      1. size and hardness
      2. eyedropper
      3. HUD color picker
      4. brush tip shapes
      5. opacity and flow
    2. Airbrush to gradually build up paint (also for History Brush and Mixer Brush tools)
  2. Background Eraser tool for extracting objects by sampling colors and identifying edges
  3. Sponge tool for increasing/decreasing contrast locally on Greyscale images
    1. available options: Saturate/Desaturate, Vibrance
    2. Vibrance avoids clipping as colors approach full saturation
  4. Mixer Brush tool to simulate realistic painting techniques including paint wetness and mixing colors on canvas
  5. Gradient tool for gradual blend between colors and transparency (photographic filters in the Neutral Density presets)
  6. Pencil tool
    1. hard-edged lines (no anti-aliasing)
    2. Auto-Erase option to paint background color over areas containing the foreground color
  7. Blur and Sharpen tools to soften and sharpen edges
  8. Smudge tool for blending details
    1. Finger Painting will use the foreground swatch at the start of each stroke
Drawing tools
  1. Shape tools
    1. Align Edges: to prevent anti-aliasing along horizontal/vertical edges
    2. Preferences > General: Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid
  2. Type tool
    1. Convert to Point/Paragraph type
    2. Convert horizontal/vertical type
    3. Convert to Shape
    4. Placeholder text
    5. Copy CSS
  3. Pen tool
    1. drawing modes
    2. definitions of paths
Vector tools
Understanding Tools and Tool Settings test
20 questions
+ Creating and Working with Layers
6 lectures 35:18
  1. Types of layers: Background, Standard, Shape, Type, Smart Object, Video, Adjustment
  2. Layer menu (get familiar with all the options)
    1. Layer Based Slice
    2. Hide/Show layers to change the visibility of multiple selected layers
  3. Thumbnail settings (size and clipping)
  4. Shortcuts
    1. Alt-click on eye icons to show only one layer
    2. Click and drag over eye icons to change visibility for multiple layers
    3. Ctrl-click on New Layer icon to create layer below active layer
    4. Alt-click on New Layer icon to set Layer properties (also works with Ctrl+Shift+N, where adding Alt skips the dialog box)
    5. create a new layer from multiple selected layers (stamp): Ctrl+Alt+E
    6. stamp all visible layers into a new layer: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E
    7. Ctrl-click on top level Layer Group arrows to open/close all top level Layer Groups
    8. Alt-click on Layer Group arrows to open/close all Nested Layer Groups
    9. Control+Alt+click on on top level Layer Group arrows to open/close all top level Layer Groups and all Nested Layer Groups.
Overview of the topic
  1. Move multiple layers up/down
    1. select and then Ctrl+square brackets (add Shift to move to top/bottom)
    2. select and then drag
    3. Layer > Arrange > Send to Back/Bring to Front (stops before Background layer and at the bottom or top of Layer Groups)
  2. Duplicate layers
    1. Ctrl+J
    2. Layer > Duplicate (Destination allows to copy to other documents)
    3. Alt+drag in Layers panel
  3. Smart Object
    1. can be transformed without directly affecting the quality of the pixels
    2. show rotation example
    3. editing source of Smart Object (add new layers)
    4. Smart Object via Copy
    5. Smart Object in a Smart Object
  4. Shape layers
    1. merge shape layers with Ctrl+E
    2. Path Operations
    3. Path Arrangement
    4. put/duplicate an object on its own layer: Ctlr+J
    5. cut an object into its own layer: Ctrl+Shift+J
  5. Adjustment layers
    1. limit effect to the layer below
      1. Clip to Layer icon in Properties panel
      2. Ctrl+Alt+G
      3. Alt+click between layers
    2. limit effect with Layer Group’s blend mode set to Normal
Understanding layer concepts
  1. Blend Clipped Layers As Group - deselect to prevent bottom-most layer overwriting the blend modes of clipped layers
  2. Fill opacity: changes opacity without changing the opacity of layer effects
  3. Shortcuts:
    1. Alt+Shift+letters for specific blend modes
    2. Shift+ +/- to switch between blend modes
    3. Numbers to change Opacity
    4. Shift+Numbers to change Fill opacity
Working with blending modes and opacity
  1. black hides, white shows in layer masks (grey for partially reveal/hide)
  2. hide a selected area: Alt+click on Add Layer Mask icon (or Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection)
  3. mask from layer transparency: Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency (or Ctrl+click on thumbnail and then click on mask icon)
  4. Lock Transparency
  5. Ctrl+click on mask icon will add Vector Mask (or in case a path is selected: Layer > Vector Mask > Current Path)
  6. use the content of a layer to mask the layers above it: Clipping Mask
    1. Ctrl+Alt+G
    2. artwork inside type
  7. use the Gradient tool in linear mode to create a transition to transparency in a Layer Mask
  8. change Density in Properties panel to reveal masked contents
  9. Feather blurs the edges of the mask
  10. Shortcuts:
    1. Ctrl+I to invert layer mask
    2. Alt-click on the mask's thumbnail to enter/exit Mask view
    3. Shift-click on the mask's thumbnail to disable/enable it
    4. Shift+Alt/Option-click on the mask's thumbnail to enter/exit Quick Mask view based on the mask
    5. Command/Ctrl-click on the mask's thumbnail to create a selection based in the mask edges
    6. Command/Ctrl+Shift-click on the mask's thumbnail to add to a selection based on the mask edges
    7. Command/Ctrl+Alt/Option-click on the mask's thumbnail to subtract from a selection based on the mask edges
    8. Command/Ctrl+Shift+Alt/Option-click on the mask's thumbnail to create an intersection with your original selection and a new one based on the mask edges
  11. Multiple masks for a layer by using Layer Groups
Using layer masks
  1. Filter Type options:
    1. Kind
    2. Name (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F to quickly select the layer filtering search box)
    3. Effect (Layer style)
    4. Mode (Blending mode)
    5. Attribute (visibility, locking, etc.)
    6. Color (labels)
    7. Selected
  2. layer filtering options under Kind: Pixel, Adjustment, Type, Shape, Smart Object (more than one can be selected at once)
  3. Select > Isolate Layers to single out layers (turn off with same command or right click on layer and choose Release From Isolation)
  4. Layer Comps panel
    1. save Visibility, Position and Appearance of Layers
Filtering Layers and working with Layer Comps
  1. Changing Distance and Angle of effects by click+drag over the image
  2. Copy Layer styles onto new layer with Alt+click and drag
  3. Global Light
    1. keeps effects consistent in document
    2. in case it’s turned off and you move layer to another document your effect’s appearance might change
  4. Knockout (example: punch text through an image to reveal background color)
    1. 3 layers needed (one on top will create the shape of the knockout)
    2. select a knockout type from the Advanced Blending options for the top layer
    3. lower Fill opacity of top layer
    4. Shallow knockout will only work inside Layer Group
    5. Deep knockout will go through Layer Groups too
  5. Blend If
    1. Alt+click will split This Layer and Underlying Layer sliders
  6. Contour to control the shape of some effects (Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, Outer Glow, Bevel and Emboss, Satin)
    1. modify the mapping in the Contour Editor
  7. Layer/Vector Mask hides effect in Advanced Blending options
Applying layer styles
Creating and Working with Layers test
20 questions
+ Adjusting Images
4 lectures 22:31
  1. Status bar to show dimensions
  2. Change measurements on Rulers
  3. calculating necessary pixels based on print size (10x8 inch print with 300ppi resolution will need 3000x2400px size)
  4. Canvas size (Ctrl+Alt+C)
    1. Relative (when turned off it will be absolute measurement)
    2. Anchor
    3. Canvas Extension color
    4. Shift+click on measurement units to change them separately
  5. Rotate Image
  6. Trim
    1. Transparency
    2. Top left/Bottom right Pixel Color
  7. Reveal All
Overview of the topic
  1. Crop Guide Overlay (cycle through options with O)
    1. Rule of Thirds (helping with composition to predefined 1/3rd increments)
    2. Grid
    3. Diagonal
    4. Triangle (cycle orientation with Shift+O to rotate)
    5. Golden Ratio
    6. Golden Spiral (cycle orientation with Shift+O to rotate)
  2. Change Crop orientation with X
  3. Hide cropped areas with H
  4. P for toggling to Classic mode of Crop tool (crop moves instead of image)
  5. Auto-Center Preview in options
  6. Delete Cropped Pixels
  7. Aspect Ratio > Use Front Image (or press I) to match dimensions and resolutions between documents quickly
  8. Accepting Crop
    1. double click in crop area
    2. Enter
    3. Tick icon on Options bar
    4. Context menu > Crop
    5. Image menu > Crop
  9. Perspective Crop tool
    1. correction for keystone distortion (camera’s sensor plane is not parallel with subject)
Cropping images
  1. Image Size (Ctrl+Alt+I
    1. Width and Height (Constrain Aspect Ratio)
    2. Resolution
    3. Resample
      1. when selected dimensions and resolution change independently of each other
      2. when deselected Photoshop will automatically adjust the width and height to changes on resolution and vice versa
      3. when deselected holding down Shift can change measurements separately
    4. Interpolation (switch between them with Alt+1-7)
      1. Automatic (chooses best algorithm)
      2. Preserve Details (has additional Reduce Noise option)
      3. Bicubic Smoother (enlarging continuous tone images=photos)
      4. Bicubic Sharper (reducing photos)
      5. Bicubic (resizing images with gradients)
      6. Nearest Neighbor (resizing images without anti-aliased edges)
      7. Bilinear
    5. Scale Styles (only with Resample on)
Resizing images
  1. when Crop tool is selected:
    1. click on the Straighten icon and draw a reference line
    2. hold down Ctrl and draw a reference line
    3. rotate crop by dragging outside of corner handles and align to grid overlay
  2. with Ruler tool:
    1. Straighten Layer button
    2. Image > Rotation > Arbitrary
    3. Alt-click on either end of a measuring line can create a protractor measurement
      1. L1: total length of the measuring line
      2. L2: total length of the protractor measuring line (the other side)
Straightening images
Adjusting Images test
20 questions
+ Applying Global Tonal and Color Adjustments to Images
4 lectures 35:57
  1. Adjustment Layers
    1. apply the same color and tonal corrections between images
    2. clip Adjustment Layer to limit its effect to one layer
    3. reduce intensity by lowering Opacity
    4. create local adjustments by using masking
    5. hide or delete adjustment layer to see original image
    6. deselect Add Mask by Default from panel menu if no need for masks
    7. white (empty) masks don’t significantly increase file size
    8. Clip to Layer option in panel menu
    9. confine effect of Adjustment Layer by placing it in a Layer Group and set the group’s blend mode to Normal
  2. Histogram
    1. Histogram panel options
    2. example with Shadows and Highlights
  3. Adjustments that cannot be used as layers only as Smart Filters
    1. HDR Toning
    2. Shadows and Highlights
Overview of the topic
  1. Levels
    1. compensate a color-cast with the Set Gray Point Eyedropper tool by clicking on a neutral gray part of the image
    2. understand Input and Output values
    3. Presets
    4. Show Clipping for Black and White points option (or hold down Alt)
  2. Curves
    1. also good for compensating color-casts
    2. great for precise adjustments to individual color channels
    3. adding contrast with S-curve
    4. Targeted Adjustment Tool for sampling from image and adding points onto the curve
    5. Draw to modify Curve
    6. Smooth Curve
    7. Curves Display Options (light/pigment)
    8. Alt-click on background to switch grid overlay
Levels and Curves
  1. Vibrance vs Saturation (Vibrance increases saturation without clipping colors as they approach full saturation.)
  2. Hue/Saturation
    1. good for fine-tuning colors for CMYK images that are out of gamut of an output device
    2. Colorize: image is converted to a red hue if foreground color is black or white otherwise it is converted to the current foreground color
    3. Targeted Adjustment Tool (hold down Cmd/Ctrl to adjust Hue)
  3. Black & White
    1. Targeted Adjustment Tool
    2. Tint can create a tinted monochrome effect
  4. Color Balance
    1. change the overall mixture of colors
    2. focus correction on range of tones (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights)
Other Adjustment Layers
  1. Content-aware
    1. CA Fill:
      1. Spot Healing Brush and Patch tool has the option
      2. Remove wires and thinner details with Spot Healing Brush+CA
      3. Fill in empty areas around a panorama created with Photomerge
      4. Extend slightly into the area you wish to clone from
    2. CA Move tool modes: Move and Extend
      1. Extend mode is good for expanding and contracting objects, like making a building taller or shorter
    3. CA Scale
      1. option to protect skin-tones (auto-mask people)
      2. only works in RGB and Grayscale color modes
      3. works on layers and selections
      4. works on 8-bits, 16-bits and 32-bits per channel images
      5. to use it on a Background layer create a selection first
      6. use an alpha channel (saved selection) to protect areas of the image
      7. Amount slider can control the ratio of CA to normal scaling
  2. Patch tool (similar to Content-aware fill)
    1. option to choose the source area
  3. Using separate layers for retouching
    1. control opacity and blending
    2. heal and clone non-destructively
Content-aware tools
Applying Global Tonal and Color Adjustments to Images test
20 questions
+ Working with Filters
2 lectures 15:43
  1. Difference between available filters in RGB and CMYK
  2. Advantage of Smart Filters to normal Filters (Fade is the only way to reduce their effect immediately after they are applied)
  3. Ways to apply Smart Filters
    1. Filter > Convert for Smart Filters
    2. Layers panel menu > Convert to Smart Object
    3. Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object
    4. layer context menu > Convert to Smart Object
  4. Use Smart Filter mask
    1. effects all Smart filters together
    2. Mask Edge is not available
  5. Change the options, Opacity and Blend mode of Smart filters
  6. Change the order of Smart Filters by dragging them up and down
  7. Alt+drag a Smart filter to another Smart Object to copy it
  8. Smart Object options
    1. Replace Contents (replace placeholder image with High Res version)
    2. Export Contents
      1. if it was created in Photoshop from a layer it will be saved into a PSB format
      2. if a file was placed as a Smart Object then it will be exported with the original file format
Overview of the topic
  1. Camera Raw Filter (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+A)
    1. correct keystoning on buildings with Lens Correction
    2. Radial Filter
    3. Clarity for contrast + sharpening
    4. some options are not available in the filter version of Camera Raw
      1. Crop or Straighten the image
      2. save edits as Snapshots
      3. Lens Profiles and Process Versions
      4. Saving Image
      5. Opening image as Smart Object
  2. Blur Gallery
  3. Adjustments that cannot be used as layers only as Smart Filters
    1. HDR Toning
    2. Shadows and Highlights (will flatten layers and won’t work as Smart Filter)
Understanding and working with Smart filters
Working with Filters test
20 questions
+ Using Pixel and Vector-Based Tools
4 lectures 21:40
  1. Advantages of using vector-based tools:
    1. scaled without losing crisp edges (resolution-independent)
    2. Custom Shape libraries
    3. ideal for web design
    4. require less storage space
    5. they can be exported as paths to Illustrator
    6. shape attributes: fill color, stroke and style
  2. Advantages of pixel-based layers:
    1. subtle gradations of color and shading
    2. ideal for continuous-tone images (photographs)
  3. Merge Vector Shape layers
  4. Definitions of paths
Overview of the topic
  1. Drawing modes for shape tools:
    1. Shape - new shape layer
    2. Path - work path
    3. Pixels - rasterized shape on existing standard layer
  2. Saving a Work Path
  3. Turn a path into a Selection
    1. Cmd/Ctrl+Enter or use the Context menu
Vector Drawing modes
  1. Rounded Corners are available for Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle tool
    1. changing radius by scrubbing the icons
    2. copy and paste all radius values from the text field
    3. combining rectangles and rotating them will disable the radius options
  2. Path Operations and shortcuts (it can be changed at any time)
  3. Merge Shape Components
  4. Isolating vector shapes
    1. Select > Isolate Layers
    2. Layer Filtering pop-up > Selected
    3. Double-click on the shape with the Path Selection tool
    4. Double-click on the shape with the Direct Selection tool
  5. Path Selection tool Select options - Active/All Layers
Working with Vector Shapes
  1. Smooth point / Corner point differences and conversion
    1. Convert Anchor Point tool
    2. Pen tool with Alt
    3. Direct Selection tool with Cmd/Ctrl+Alt
  2. Pen Tool options
    1. Auto Add/Delete to add and remove anchor points without changing tools
    2. Rubber Band
Working with the Pen Tool
Using Pixel and Vector-Based Tools test
20 questions
+ Creating Selections
6 lectures 26:39
  1. Selection tools
  2. Selection options - Color Range, Refine Edge and rest of Select menu
  3. Saving and Loading selections (alpha channels)
  4. Quick Selection - Brush and Gradient tools
  5. Saving selections as pixel masks
  6. Turning masks and layer edges into selections - Cmd/Ctrl+click on thumbnail
Overview of the topic
  1. Marquee tools
    1. Shift to constrain a selection border to circle or square
    2. Alt to draw selection from its center outwards
    3. Style options:
      1. Normal - scale as you create it
      2. Fixed - fixed in size
      3. Fixed Ratio - have a fixed aspect ratio
  2. Lasso tools
    1. Polygonal Lasso for straight-edged segments
    2. Alt to temporarily switch to freehand mode
    3. Magnetic Lasso
      1. good for quickly selecting objects with complex edges against high-contrast backgrounds
      2. doesn’t work in 32-bits per channel images
      3. press Delete to erase last fastening point
    4. Cmd/Ctrl+Enter to close selection border
Basic Selection tools
  1. Magic Wand
    1. Tolerance: the range of color values to be included in the selection is increased
    2. Contiguous: only adjacent areas composed of colors that fall within the set tolerance are included in the selection
  2. Quick Selection tool
    1. don’t expect perfect selections
    2. only selection tool with adjustable brush size
  3. Selection based on image’s luminosity
    1. Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+2
    2. Cmd/Ctrl+click on the composite channel’s thumbnail
Advanced Selection tools
  1. preview options
  2. auto detect faces with Skin Tones option
  3. to limit selection use Localized Color Clusters and decrease Range
  4. Out of Gamut option is not available in CMYK mode
  5. use it on an active selection to only sample from the enclosed area
  6. Shift+click to add to selection
Color Range
  1. Preview options
  2. Shortcuts
  3. Radius - control the size of the selection area in which the edge refinements take place
  4. Smart Radius
    1. good for selections with varying soft and hard edges
    2. deselect it if you need more precise control for the Refinement Brush and the Radius setting
    3. increase Radius in case you have soft edges
  5. Shift Edge
  6. Decontaminate Colors
    1. replace unwanted colored pixels around the edge
    2. requires the result to be output to a new layer
  7. Output options
Refine Edge
  1. Grow - expand to include all adjacent pixels within the set tolerance range
  2. Smooth - reduce unwanted elements in selection like sharp corners and jagged lines
  3. Feather - creates a transitional boundary on the edges of the selection
    1. Select > Modify > Feather
    2. Context menu > Feather
    3. Shift+F6
  4. Inverse - reverse active selection (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I)
Editing selections
Creating Selections test
20 questions