Subscribe to our feed
  • About

    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

    Other Profiles


    My Twitter Tweets



  • Archive for the ‘Photoshop’ Category

    Dynamic Spelling is Watching You

    Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

    Yesterday I was doing an InDesign demonstration for some newspapers and magazines in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. A block away from the hotel I was speaking at is an old Kremlin, with its huge walls surrounding the government offices, churches and commons areas.

    As I was going along, a woman in the audience asked if it was possible to have InDesign highlight any words that were spelled incorrectly.

    “Of course,” I told her, and proceeded to demonstrate InDesign’s Dynamic Spelling. I showed her how to turn it on by choosing Edit> Spelling> Dynamic Spelling and how it underlines in red any misspelled words.

    I also showed how if you see a misspelled word underlined, you can right click, or ctrl + click (Mac) on the word and it will pop up a list of alternate spellings or you can add it to your dictionary and it won’t be a typo anymore.

    I was demonstrating on a document I have used for years that highlights the words RGB, CMYK and two words without a space. So I proceeded to right click on one of the words to show the list of possibilities InDesign offers.

    Well as I right clicked on RGB, up popped a nice long list of choices and right there, between rub and rib was the KGB.

    Quick Color Balance Trick

    Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

    Please Note: In the story to follow there is a reference to the possibility of a Miss Margeret Sturton from Winchester drinking excessively. This rumour has been dispelled by the aforementioned Miss Sturton who, in fact, claims to be a teetotaler. Therefore, it must be assumed she was not drinking excessively, but, more likely, out all night dancing with Germans who had been drinking excessively. We regret any inconvenience the below reference may have caused.

    My new friend Margeret Sturton from Peter Symonds College in Winchester, England emailed me with a question the other day, and it’s worth sharing.

    She attended the Fall Yearbook Conference we host every year and she saw me color balance a photo with a yellow cast very quickly using the eyedropper in Photoshop. I don’t know if I just did it too quickly or if she had been drinking excessively, but she didn’t get the notes down properly. So here is the refresher course for her and perhaps a new trick for the other two people who might happen to read this article.

    It’s all about gray. In a photo studio, when setting up lights for a photo shoot, photographers will use a gray card in a photo to measure the color balance of the set. The logic is this: if the lights are throwing off a yellow cast, the gray card will turn yellow, as well. Then, when developing the photos (or adjusting digitally in Photoshop) if you make the gray card (which became yellowish) gray again by adding filters, etc…the rest of the photo will adjust, also.

    So image a gray card that shifted to yellow ten percent. That means the rest of the shot has taken on a ten percent yellow cast, as well. Make the gray card gray by taking out the ten percent yellow and the same amount is subtracted from the rest of the photo giving you color balance again.


    So here is the problem with photos NOT taken in a studio: where’s the gray card? It’s a little hard to get David Beckham to hold a gray card while dribbling down the field for a shot. Nope…you have to find your own gray card in a shot.

    Look around you…there’s gray everywhere…especially in Seattle. If you have a photograph that has something in it that is supposed to be gray, you’re set. It doesn’t matter what shade of gray. It could be concrete, a metal trash can, a gray car or a dark gray sweater…doesn’t matter.

    Once you find that you’re only a click away.

    Notice this photo of a P-51 Mustang. It has a slight yellow cast turning the sky a bit green. You don’t really notice it in the plane so much, but often in a photo some areas show a more pronounced problem then others. Note: I’ve seen people focus on the problem areas by making selections (like of the sky) and only adjusting that. I recommend you try this solution first and then do selective adjustment only if really necessary.

    Now, select Image> Adjustments> Curves (or Levels, but I prefer Curves). You will see three eyedropper tools. The white one sets the White Point and the black one sets the Black Point (which we will discuss at another time). The middle one sets the Gray Point. Choose that one.

    Now simply click on something in the image that is supposed to be gray and BOOM…Photoshop neutralizes the color of that pixel to gray again, and applies the same adjustment to the rest of the photo.

    If you don’t like the adjustment, keep click on gray stuff until it looks the way you want it to. Just like the airplane photo above…the sky is blue again and the plane looks better after a single click of my mouse.

    I had a lady ask me one time “What if there isn’t anything in the photo that’s gray?”

    Well…then you can’t use this technique. But if there IS gray, you’re set.

    After showing this trick at a conference in Oklahoma, a person in the audience approached the next day and said “I saved about three hours work adjusting photos last night. I had a bunch of photos of old people to adjust and all I did all night was click on gray hair, click on gray hair, click on gray hair….

    A Present from Adobe

    Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

    Presents are fun. Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, presents are a great way to celebrate.
    Our friends at Adobe have given us a good one. They’ve made Photoshop CS3 a public beta, which means we can all play with it…and it’s free.
    Keep in mind there are risks and it’s not the final version (which will not be free). But this time of year, when you’re in the office with nothing to do and all your friends are on holiday, it will be great fun to play with.
    So go to where you can read all about it and download the public beta.
    In the coming weeks, we can all chime in and talk about our favorite new toys in Photoshop, which should release with the rest of a new Creative Suite 3 this spring.
    Happy holidays to all…and have fun retouching the family photos.