My AppTip Sheets and Why I Bring Them Up

I have a new format that I use to help me do certain tasks on my computer or other devices. I named this format AppTip Sheet. For example, these AppTip Sheets may be the steps involved to accomplish a particular Photoshop editing technique, or how to use a particular Photoshop tool. Or, they may deal with various steps I need to perform in flying my DJI Mavic Pro drone, or how to perform a particular calibration on it.

In general, I write these AppTip Sheets to document any thing that I do not do routinely enough to remember each and every step, but yet do them often enough that a quick cheat sheet helps me avoid pulling out the manual or other document to complete the task. The key is that I try to keep these AppTip Sheets as short as possible.

Occasionally, I may decide that a particular AppTip Sheet may be useful to others, and so I will post it here.

Right now, I am experimenting with using my Mavic Pro flight modes to take 360-degree Spherical panoramas for posting on social media. Once posted, you can use your mouse to zoom in on the subject and pan around throughout the entire scene. That is the subject of this post.

This particular AppTip Sheet deals with posting a spherical panorama on Facebook using from the browser on your PC. This is only one of the several ways to accomplish this, and I will explore others in the future. So click on the figure below to get a better idea of what these AppTip Sheets are like.

360 Pano posted

Until next time.


Are You New to Your Camera?

Did you get a new camera for Christmas? Is it your first digital camera, or is this your second or even a third one? Even if your camera is not that new, are you making the most of its capabilities? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you should consider taking a course devoted to how to use your camera.

The second section of my camera class at the South Bay Adult School, begins Wednesday, February 15th. To find out more about this class, CLICK HERE.  To register for the class, you can go to the South Bay Adult School’s website.

Due to the several holidays in January and February, I am teaching only one camera class at Torrance this term. This class starts in about a week, on Monday, January 23rd. To find out more about it, CLICK HERE, and scroll down. You can register for the class by going to the Torrance Adult School website. In fact, this is a good term to take the class. Normally the class is five, or on occasion six 2-1/2 hour sessions. However, this term there are seven sessions, which means more instruction time for the same price. If you plan to sign up for the class, you will need to do so the very first part of this week.

Remember, the classes at both schools cover the compact camera models, as well as more advanced models, including digital SLRs.

Finally, if you found this post helpful, please rate it accordingly using the star rating system above. Thank you.

Check Out My New Photoshop Elements: The Organizer eBook

As many of you know, I have been using Photoshop Elements from its beginning, which must be over ten years now. I began using its Organizer when it was first introduced in PSE 3. To manage my images before that, I used  Adobe’s Photoshop Album, which became the Organizer with PSE 3’s introduction.

Over the years my photo and video collection has grown to over 33,000 items. PSE’s Organizer is not perfect (no software program is), but it has served me well for a long time. Although there have been many excellent Photoshop Elements books over the past ten years, almost all of them devote most of their coverage to its editing capabilities. Michael Slater wrote what I feel to be the definitive book covering the Organizer (Organize Your Photos With Adobe Photoshop Elements 3), but it was written when PSE 3 was first introduced.

I decided last summer to write an eBook strictly devoted to the Organizer. I have been using and teaching it for the past ten years. Don’t get me wrong, my intent was not to replace Slater’s book. I do not cover every detail and feature within the program. Instead, I have tried to focus on those things that I have used over and over throughout the years, and which I feel are the most important.

That being said, my eBook ended up taking longer to complete and grew in size more than I had envisioned. It ended up containing eight chapters, consisting of over 160 pages and 200 illustrations. Please click on the following link to find out more about my eBook and how you can purchase it.

Photoshop Elements: The Organizer


More Than One Way to Skin a Cat or Dupe a Layer

As you have discovered by now, there are multiple ways to perform the same command in Photoshop Elements. And for almost all of them, there is a keyboard shortcut. This quick tip addresses simply duplicating a layer.

The long way from the Menu bar is to click on Layer > New > Layer Via Copy. Doing it this way names the new layer a copy of the original layer, e.g. Background Copy.

The commonly used shortcut key for this is Ctrl+J. This results in the duplicate layer being named Layer X, e.g. Layer 1.  This shortcut is also great for copying selections to their own layer.

If you want to give the duplicated layer a different name from the default, you must do that as a separate step. But if you use the shortcut key, Ctrl+Alt+J, a dialog box appears (as shown below) giving you the option to change its name, as well as Bending Mode. This is true whether you are duplicating a layer or copying a selection to its own layer.

Ctrl Alt J

If you like this tip and would like to see more, please rate it at the top and also click on the Like button below. Also, please add any comments you have about this post in the Comments section below.


Exploring Blending Modes

Whenever you create a new  layer or duplicate a layer, you can control how the two layers will interact. You use the Blending Mode to do this. Often you will use the Normal blending mode, which basically stacks the two layers with no interaction between them. But there are 24 more in Photoshop Elements. One quick way to cycle through them and see their effect is to first select the Move Tool. Then click on Shift+ to work down the list of blending modes, and Shift- to work up.

As an experiment, stack two images, for example a portrait over a textured background. With the portrait on the top layer, and the Move Tool selected, cycle through the blending modes as described above. The figure below shows an example. In this case, the Blending Mode was Hard Mix. Remember you can vary the effect by adjusting the top layer’s Opacity.

Hard Mix Blend Mode

Happy Holidays!


Use the Magnetic Lasso with Caps-Lock On

I still find the Magnetic Lasso in Photoshop Elements to be my selection tool of choice at times. There are times when the newer semi-automatic selection tools don’t work as well for me. Recently I learned that if I used it with Caps-Lock turned on, the cursor becomes a circular brush with a + sign in the center. Zoom in sufficiently to see this symbol, and it is much easier to trace along the edges of your selection. Try it. It really does improve your tracing accuracy. This also works in Photoshop.


Control Plus and Minus in the Photoshop Elements Organizer

I have used the keyboard shortcuts, “Ctrl++” and “Ctrl+-“ routinely to zoom in and out on an image incrementally when I am in the Photoshop Elements Editor. In fact these are two of the first keyboard shortcuts I teach my students. I just learned today that the Ctrl++ and Ctrl+- do the same thing in the Organizer. Remember, the interpretation of the Ctrl++ , is press the Ctrl key “and” hold it down (that’s the first + sign), then press + (the second + sign).

I don’t feel so bad that I never knew this before. Using the slider in the Organizer and the two square icons at its ends makes zooming in and out on the thumbnails quite easy.

Pressing Ctrl++ repeatedly incrementally makes the thumbnails larger until you get to that point where single photo fills the available area in the thumbnail view. Going the other way, repeatedly pressing Ctrl+- makes the thumbnails smaller until they get to the minimum size the Organizer allows.

As near as I can figure out Ctrl+0 and Ctrl+Alt+0 do nothing in the Organizer.

I would like to say I discovered this on my own, but I can’t. I saw it while internet surfing today.