Class Exercise 4: On Photoshop

Basically what we learnt in tutorial class today were mainly how to do:

1. Adjustment Layers

2. Destructible/Non-destructible editing – Convert to Smart Object

3. Magic Wand/Lasso/Refine Edge – Merging of 2 photos

Sounds tough? Yeah….it wasn’t really.

I learnt a lot though, never knew the adjustment layers on the right side were different from that on the taskbar. And it’s so much better now that I know! I won’t always have to worry about saving it in so many different files just because the levels or curves are a little different from the last edit.

So basically, the adjustment layers on the right, usually above the layers option, allows the user to change the levels, curves, colors, saturation and whatnot, with the EXCEPTION of changing it permanently, or so we call ‘destructible editing’.

By clicking on it, for example ‘levels’, changing the levels of the background photo will create a new layer that has only the affected photo, therefore the background photo is untouched, and if the user wishes to revert back he/she can just delete the layer.

Sounds cool?? YEAH I THINK SO TOO.

Well it works for all the options you can see there. Such as Curves, Saturation, Color Balance and more… And the technique works for more others as well, as long as it’s a new layer, it’s editable/revertible. Love it. So much more convenient.

Apart from that, we learnt the idea of converting the photo into a Smart Object, where it becomes non-destructible, and therefore the changes non-permanent.

From the layer’s taskbar, right-clicking on the layer will provide the user with a “convert to smart object” option, and by clicking on it, any editing or zooming in/out will not render the pixels damaged. This often happens to many using photoshop and once the pixels are damaged the image becomes blurred and is no longer in its best condition. Useful!


Finally, the usage of magic wand or lasso or magnetic pen was the most useful in my opinion. It makes merging of 2 photos into one super easy! I’ve always wanted to copy and paste myself into the photos of celebrities to make myself look like I was there. Now I can do it! 🙂

Lasso was the hardest to use I gathered. Your hand had to be really steady (without usage of a stylus pen) and it’s hard to gauge. Magnetic lasso is much better, it gives you points to click on and it automatically detects for you the outline. One con is that it tends to give you a more edgy/sharp/pointy outline. Then there’s the pen tool, which is kind of like magnetic lasso as well, but one bonus is that it allows you to create curves, kind of like illustrator, therefore creating a much smoother outline.

Magic wand/Quick selection tool is by far the best, it automatically detects the difference in colors and helps you gauge the outline. If the area outlined is too much, there’s also an option to minus off just the area you do not want outlined. To make sure the area is approved by the user, he/she can also click on the Quick Mask Mode, where the area NOT outlined will be shaded in red, and any areas that the user wants to erase, he/she can just paint it with the paintbrush (in black, but will turn out red on the quick mask area), and tadah, the outline is edited.

Another form of editing the outline is to click on ‘Refine Edge’ where there’s options like radius, feather, smoothness, contrast and more that can smoothen out the edges of the outline giving it a more realistic cut. After editing the outline and approving of it, the user can then copy and paste the new cut/layer into a new background and edit it from there. And tadah a new merged collage/montage is formed!

All the techniques will be of super great help to my 3rd assignment. So here I’ll go off to look for more inspirations for the assignment.  🙂


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