|A quick series of mini tutorials introducing tools and basic Photoshop techniques|
The key to easily aligning layers in Photoshop is to first link together all of the layers that you want aligned. To link a layer to the active layer, simply click on the blank box to the left of the layer’s thumbnail in the layers window [between the thumbnail and the eye icon, see Image below], so that it shows a link icon. If you click on any other layer that is linked, the previously active layer will now have a link icon as well, indicating that that layer is also linked.
Now from the menu select "Layer>Align Linked", and you will see six options: Top Edges, Vertical Centers, Bottom Edges, Left Edges, Horizontal Centers, and Right Edges.
In my example below, I chose to align the three layers by their left edges. The layers are aligned to the active layer, so in my example the active layer was “line 1”. If I had used “line 3” as the active layer, “line 1” and “line 2” would have both been moved over to the right so that their left edges were aligned with the left edge of “line 3”.
Creating A Sphere
Creating a 3D sphere in Photoshop is deceptively easy. To begin with; set your foreground and background colors to whatever colors you want your sphere to be — I would suggest a very light color for the foreground and a very dark color for the background for the most realistic effect. In my example I used white and black.
Next, select the Elliptical Marquee tool, and under "Style" on the marquee toolbar select "Constrained Aspect Ratio, " and enter 1 for both Width and Height. This will constrain the width and height of your selection to create a perfect circle with equal height and width.
After making your circle selection, select the Gradient tool, and select "Radial Gradient" on the gradient toolbar. Also select the "Foreground to Background" gradient from the drop-down list of gradients on the toolbar.
Then select a point in the circular selection that is approximately 1/3 of the way in from the left, and 1/3 of the way down from the top, and drag diagonally down and to the right out of the circle to apply your gradient — instant sphere!
The Eyedropper tool can be used to sample and compare the colors from up to four different places in your image. Shift-clicking will select the point in your image that the color will be sampled from, and the RGB values will be shown in the Info palette.
Each shift-click will leave a selector icon on the image showing where the colors are being sampled from; to move any of these to sample from a new point Ctrl-click and drag, and to get rid of any of these Ctrl-click and drag them out of the image window.
Jenna Hoffstein [bluevenus],
Front Page News Staff Columnist
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October 24, 2005