Category Archives: Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop tutorials.

Layers Panel

How to Use Dingbat Vector Graphics to Create Images

You’ve probably seen dingbats before.  As you scroll through fonts looking for just the right one they suddenly appear.  You may even laugh when you see them.  Why would anyone use images for a font?  No one could ever read that.  This is true, but since most people don’t understand how dingbats can be used they miss an amazing graphic resource.

Although they are categorized with the fonts, dingbats are just graphics that can be used for a variety of reasons.  Think about it.  What are the characteristics of fonts?  They are vector images which means they maintain their integrety at any size, you can make them any color, and once you have installed the font on your computer you can use it in any program that recognizes fonts.

Since discovering dingbats I have started using them for just about every graphic project I do.  I am going to show you how you can use these free vector graphics to enhance your artistic projects in Photoshop CS3.   We will be using 7 skills in Photoshop.  All of these fonts can be found for free at

First, I will be using Aierbazzi.  This font is composed of various wildflower images.  I will start with a white background and use black for my font.  I am going to type a different letter in each layer as you can see by my layers panel.  This allows me to move each image around individually.

Layers Panel 

I now have a black and white bouquet. 

Black Bouquet

But I want to add more color.  So I am going to go back into each layer and change the colors so I have a multi-colored bouquet.

Colored Bouquet

I am going to hide all but one flower for this next example.  Say you want to change a dingbat so that it is several colors, or has effects on it.  Right-click on that layer in the layers panel and choose Rasterize Type.

Rasterize Type

Click on Select in the Main Menu and choose Load Selection.  Click OK in the box that appears.  This will select everything in the layer you are currently  in. 

Load Selection

With your image now selected you can choose a color in the Color Palette and paint a portion of the image.

Colored Flower

I am going to switch to a different font for this next example.  This font is called Printers Ornaments One.   I am going to type the letter M.  Duplicate this layer by right clicking on the layer in the Layers Palette.  I am now going to arrange this image to create a repeatable background image for a website, wallpaper, or digital scrapbooking page.

Dingbats Background

Now select one of the M layers and click on the fx logo (add a layer style) at the bottom of the Layers Palette.  I am going to add a Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss each with their default settings.  You can add other effects in this same manner.  The image on the left is the original dingbat.  The image on the right has the above mentioned effects applied to it.


I am going to switch to another font called Christmas Debbie.   Using these last two methods, I am going to create an image of two candy canes in a stocking.  Type the letter c for the stocking.  Rasterize this layer.  Now choose Select in the Main Menu, select Load Selection, and click OK.  Go to Select in the Main Menu again and choose Modify>Contract.  Contract the selection by 5 pixels.  Choose a red color and fill the selected area with red using the Paint Bucket Tool.  Select the transparent portions of the stocking and fill them with white.  Right-click and choose Deselect.  You should now have a red and white stocking. 


Change the foreground color back to black, create a new layer, and type the letter o.  This creates a candy cane.  Make the candy cane red and white by following the same steps used for the stocking.  After you have deselected the candy Ctrl+T to free transform the image.  If you hold the Shift key down as you resize the image it will maintain its proprotions.  Right click forf additional transforming options such as Filp Horizontally.  I duplicated the candy cane layer and transformed the new candy cane additionally to make the image below.

Stocking and Candy Canes

Drag the candy cane layer to the top of the Layers Panel so the candy canes are hidden behind the stocking.  Follow these steps to add additional items to the stocking.  This is my completed stocking image.

Full Stocking

Now that you know how to use dingbats, have fun creating.  You might actually start collecting dingbat fonts.

To find out how to install a font go to:


Installing a Font For Use In Photoshop

Word processing and graphics program come with a selection of fonts that give you some flexibility for displaying text.  The default fonts that can be used with programs such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop are determined by your operating system.  Windows XP, for example, includes a few dozen fonts ranging from blocky athletic fonts to scripty craft fonts to symbol fonts.  Many other fonts are available besides the most common ones that are packaged as part of an operating system.  Typically these fonts have .ttf, .otf, or .fon extensions.  To see what’s available, you can do a web search for “free fonts” , “download font”, or something similar.  When searching for fonts, you’ll find that, besides the free ones available, there are many available for purchase as well.

Continue reading

Completed Template

Tutorial – How to Create a Blogger Template Using Adobe Photoshop – Part 2

This tutorial is the second part of a two part tutorial on creating a Blogger template.  The first tutorial covered how to design a template in Adobe Photoshop.  This tutorial covers how to implement your new Blogger template.

Completed Template

Open your template design in Photoshop.   Hide the header image by clicking on the eye next to the header image layer in the Layers Panel. 

Layer Visibility

You are left with the background image for your blog.  Go to File>Save for Web & Devices.  Choose JPEG for the file type and Very High for the quality.  Click Save to save this image on your computer.

Save for Web

Now you need to save the header image as its own file.  Turn the visibility of this layer back on.  Make sure the header layer is selected, draw a rectangular marquee around the header image and press Ctrl+C to copy this image.  Open a new document in Photoshop and paste the image in the new document.  Save this image for web or device just as you saved the background image.

You will need to find a place to host your images online.  I use because it is free to create an account and upload images.  After you have created an account with select Reduce to: 1 megabyte file size and click Choose files.

Upload Image

You can browse to where your background and header images are saved on your computer.  Select these files and click Open to upload them to Photobucket.  You will now see these images in your Photobucket photo gallery.

Photo Gallery

Sign In to your Blogger account and select the blog you would like to change.   Select the Layout tab and choose Pick New Template.   Select the Minima template and click Save Template. 

Pick New Template 

Now click Edit HTML under the Layout tab.  We will be changing some HTML code.  If you make a mistake during this process just reselect the Minima template to restore the template to this point.  It is a good idea to save changes to your template as you go through these steps.  Pull up your blog in another browser and refresh it F5 each time you save your template so you can see the changes you make.

Press Ctrl+F on your keyboard to pull up the Find window.  Type the word body and press Enter twice.  The second “body” in the document should be the body tag which looks like this:

body {
  font:x-small Georgia Serif;
  font-size/* */:/**/small;
  font-size: /**/small;
  text-align: center;

Change the code to look like this:

body {
background-image: url(‘the address for this image’);
  background-position: center;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-attachment: fixed;
  font:x-small Georgia Serif;
  font-size/* */:/**/small;
  font-size: /**/small;
  text-align: center;

You will find the address for the background image by hovering over the image in Photobucket.  Click in the field next to Direct Link and press Ctrl+C to copy the address.  You can then paste the code for the address where it goes in the HTML.

Direct Link

Now add the image for the header in the header-wrapper.  Your code should look like this.

#header-wrapper {
  margin:0 auto 10px;
  border:1px solid #000000;
  background-image: url(‘the address for this image’);
  background-position: center;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;

Your blog should now look like this:

Stage 1

In the next step you are going to add backgrounds to the text.   Toward the top of the HTML code there is a section called  /* Variable definitions.  Inside this section is where all the fonts and colors in the blog are controlled.  Here is an example of the code you will find:

<Variable name=”bgcolor” description=”Page Background Color”
                   type=”color” default=”#fff” value=”#ffffff”>

This code tells you that the Page Background Color is being defined here.  This variable may also be used to define other items on the page that are the same color.  These will all be shown in the code as $bgcolor.  The value is a # followed by a color code.  We are going to change the fs to zeros.

<Variable name=”bgcolor” description=”Page Background Color”
                   type=”color” default=”#000” value=”#000000“>

Changing this code changes the background color from white to black.  Now we are going to add the code background:$bgcolor; to four tags:
#header h1
#header .description

An example of adding this code is shown below:

#header h1 {
  margin:5px 5px 0;
  padding:15px 20px .25em;
  font: $pagetitlefont;

This is how your template should look at this point.

Stage 2 

You can make additional changes to your blog template if you desire by adjusting the colors in the variable section, or adjusting the HTML code further if you know how.   You can find the color for a particular color at the bottom of the Photoshop Color Picker Palette. 

Color Picker

In addition to the changes covered in this tutorial, for this template I added padding to the sides of the sidebar and main sections and made additional color changes to the text.  This is the final template.

Final Template

Final Template

Tutorial – How to Create a Blogger Template Using Adobe Photoshop – Part 1

This tutorial goes through the process of creating a Blogger template.  Although these steps are catered towards creating a specific theme, the lessons in this tutorial can be used to create a wide variety of templates.  Have fun getting creative with your own blog!

Final Template

Create a new document in Photoshop using these settings.  Width 1440px, Height 720px, Resolution 72 pixels/inch.  Start with a transparent background.

New Document

Creating an appealing background is key to a great looking blog template.  For this template we will use 3 layers for the background.  First, select the foreground color by double-clicking on the foreground color box.  The Color Picker Pane will pop up allowing you select black.  Now select the Paint Bucket Tool located in the Tool Panel and fill your new document with black paint. 

Foreground Color

Color Picker Palette

Create a new layer by clicking on the second icon from the right in the bottom of the layers panel. 

New Layer

We are going to add a gradient to this layer.   Right click on the paint bucket tool in the Tool Panel and switch to the Gradient Tool.  In the Gradient Tool Bar select Black, White and Linear Gradient. 

Gradient Tool

Gradient Options

Zoom out (Ctrl+-) to 50% and maximize your document.  To apply the gradient, click below the image and drag upward beyond the top of the image.  Hold the Shift key down as you do this to make the gradient straight.

Apply Gradient

Now make sure the gradient layer is highlighted and change the opacity to 43%.  The highlighted layer will be blue in the layers panel.  The Opacity slider is in the top right of the layers panel.

Opacity Slider

Lowering the opacity of the gradient layer will allow the black layer to show through softening the gradient.  Your document should now look like this.

Background with Gradient

Now we are going to take a picture of a football and use this as a background image.  I chose an image for my background that has a large file size.  By doing this, I will not have to enlarge the picture causing it to pixelate and can instead maintain the original picture quality.  This image is 1800px x 1174px.

Football Image

Open the image as a new document and extract the football from its background.  There are many selection tools that can be used for extracting items.  In this case, I used the Magnetic Lasso.  This tool works well for this example because there is a big contrast between the football and the background in most of the image.  You can find this tool in the Tool Panel by right clicking on the lasso tool.

Magnetic Lasso

Click around the football until the football is selected.  You can tell the football is selected because it will have alternating black and white dashes around the outside. 

Magnetic Lasso

Right click on the image and choose Select Inverse.  The dashes will now be around the white background.

Select Inverse

Press Delete.  Only your football should remain.  At this point you can touch up the edges if necessary with the eraser or paint tools.  Now highlight the football by drawing a Rectangular Marquee around it and copying it Ctrl+C.

Only Football

Create a new layer in your original document and paste the football in it Ctrl+P.  If your image is too big or too small you can transform it by pressing Ctrl+T.  Position the football in the middle of the document and change the opacity of this layer to 21%.  Your image should now look like this.  Your background is complete.   


To add the smaller images to this template we need to place Guides on our document.  Guides are temporary lines you can use to line objects up in Photoshop.  Your document will be more visually appealing if objects on the template are exactly lined up.  To add guides we should first make sure rulers are visible across the top and down the side of our document.  Go to View in the File menu and make sure there is a check next to Rulers.  If rulers are present you can click on the ruler and drag a guide to where you need it to go.  If you would like to be more precise about placing your guides go to View>New Guide and specify where you would like the guide to be.  If you select View>Snap To>Guides, when you place object close to the guides Photoshop will automatically line the object up with the guide for you.  For this example I placed guides horizontally at 1.15in, 3.15in, 5.15in, and 7.15in, and vertically at 2.5in and 17.5in.

New Guide

Now we are going to add four small images down both sides of our template.  Depending on the type of blog you are trying to create, you can use images such as family pictures, product images, etc.  Since this is a football blog, I will be using football pictures.  I found these images online by doing an image search on Google.  Google is a good place to find images, but be careful not to use images that are copyrighted unless you have permission.

For this layout I will need eight pictures.    Find the images you want to use and open them in Photoshop.  Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to draw a square around the portion of the image you want to use.  Hold the Shift key down as you draw your square to make sure your marquee is a square instead of rectangular.


Press Ctrl+C to copy the selected portion of the image.  Open a new document in Photoshop and press Ctrl+V to paste the selected image into the new document.  You will notice that when you open a new document in Photoshop after copying an image, Photoshop automatically changes the size of the new document to match the size of the copied material so you don’t have to worry about sizing issues.

Go to Images>Image Size.  We want to standardize the size of these images.  Make sure Constrain Proportions is selected and enter the width as 121 pixels.

Resize Image

Use the rectangular marquee tool again to select the image.  Click on your template and press Ctrl+V to paste your image.  Photoshop will automatically put this image into a new layer.  Position your image up against the guide lines as shown and repeat this process until all eight images have been added to your document.


Hide the guides when you are done using them.  Do this by going to View>Clear Guides.  Your document should now look like this. 

Small Images

We are going to frame the images on each side of the template with a black border.  To do this we will create a black rectangle behind the images.  Since we want the images to be visible on top of the new shape, we need to create a new layer below the image layers.  In the Layers Panel, click on the large football background image.   Add a new layer and select this new layer.  Use the rectangular marquee tool to draw a rectangle.  Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to center the rectangle around the images.  Select the Paint Bucket Tool from the Tool Menu and fill the area in the marquee with black.

Black Marquee

Right click on the layer with the black rectangle in the Layers Panel and choose Duplicate Layer.  Use the Move Tool to move the new rectangle behind the second set of images.

Duplicate Layer

The last step for creating our template is to find an image to use as the header background.  Again find a large image and use the rectangular marquee tool to select a portion of the image.  In the Marquee options menu select Fixed Size next to Style and set the size to Width: 700px, Height: 105px. 


Marquee Options

Copy the selected image and paste it into the template in the middle towards the top.  Your template design is now complete.

Completed Template

Continue with the second portion of this tutorial to learn how to use your new template for a or blog.

Photoshop Tutorial: Separating Colors for Screen Printing


About the author:  Lisa is a part-time graphic (etc.) designer when she’s not being a mommy and helping her husband sell ultrasound therapy machines in their online store.


If you are new to screen printing, you may not know where to begin when it comes to getting artwork ready for printing.  Separating images into colors is an important step.  Luckily Photoshop makes this pretty easy.  I am going to show you how in just a few easy steps.

Separate Color Original Image

Open your picture in Photoshop.  Now select the magic wand tool in the tools panel.  Use this tool to select all of one color in the image.  If you need to select more than one area, hold the shift key down as you click on the picture.  You will see “dancing ants” around the selected areas.  If you click on the wrong area, simply press Ctrl+Z to undo the last move, or right click and select Subtract From Selection. 

Magic Wand Tool

I am going to select the red color first.  Then I am going to right click and select Layer via Copy.  This will create a new layer with just the red color in it.

Layer via Copy

If you look at the layers panel now you will see two layers.  Unclick the eye icon next to Layer 1 to hide the layer.  You should be able to see just the red layer left in the image.  I am going to change the name of this layer to Red by double clicking on the name and replacing the text.

Hide Background

Red Layer

If everything looks right, click the space where the eye icon was before to make Layer 1 reappear.  Follow the steps of selecting a color and Layering via Copy again until all colors are represented in their own layers.  Each time you select a new color for layering, you will need to make sure Layer 1 is active.  You can tell because that layer will be highlighted in blue in the layers panel. Layer 1 needs to be active because this is where all the colors reside originally.  If a different layer is active then when you try to use the magic wand tool to select a color, it will not work correctly because the color you are selecting is not present in the active layer.

Separated Colors

The blue layer is a little more complicated than the other layers.  First of all, I need to make sure I don’t forget the areas inside the letters of STONY BROOK.  I will zoom in when I select these areas to make sure I don’t miss anything.  Also, if I use the magic wand to select TM it will probably not look crisp when screen printed.  So I am not going to select this when I layer the rest of the blue.  Instead I am going to create a new layer and use the text tool to rewrite TM.  I am going to select Arial font and sent the type at 10pt.  Write TM in black and move the TM to the correct location on this image.  I am using a different color than the TM was originally written in so it is easy to see if the font is the right size, etc.  It looks like this font is a perfect match.

I am now going to hide all the layers in the layers panel except the blue layer and the TM layer.  Right click in the layers panel and select Merge Visible.  TM and the blue color are now together in one layer.

Merge Visible

I need to create registration marks now so the layers are easy to line up when screen printing.  Use a thin font like Arial and write the + sign in black in three corners of the image.  Use a font size that is easy to see but not too thick or it will be hard to line up.  The registration marks need to be far enough away from the image that they do not interfere with printing, but still close to the picture.  Once you print a few logos you will get a feel for how to create and place these marks.  In this example I used a 48pt font.

Registration Marks

Now select the blue layer.  In the file menu go to Image>Adjustments>Levels.  The levels options window will pop up.  Under Output Levels: there is a black and white bar with two arrows underneath.  Click on the white arrow and drag it all the way to the left end of the bar.  This will turn the blue layer black.


Adjust Output Levels

Do this with each layer until each layer is black.  Now you are ready to print.  You will want to print each color layer separately in black with the registration marks on each print.  Below are picture of how each printout should look.  Good luck printing!

Separated Colors

Final Tip: In this example it would actually be a good idea to use the entire logo to print the dark blue layer.  This is the layer I would print first when screen printing.  If you choose to do this, it will prevent the shirt you are printing on from showing through even if the screens are registered slightly off.


Photoshop Tutorial: Color Matching

We had a customer who wanted to see how a pair of basketball shorts looked with a particular jersey.  The only problem was that we did not have the jersey and shorts on hand in the same color.  Instead of losing time and money shipping the correct color to our main office, we took this picture with mismatching colors and changed the color of the jersey in Photoshop to match the shorts.  I am going to show you how to replace and match colors in pictures so you can use this awesome tool yourself.

Color Matching Original Image

Open your picture in Photoshop.  Save this picture and give it a new name, then open the original picture again.  You should now have two copies of the original image open.  First we are going to work with the copy that is not going to have any color changes.  We are going to call this image the Source Image.  Select as much of the shorts as possible using a selection tool.  You can use the Magic Wand, Lasso, or other selection tool.  I used the Magnetic Lasso to make my selection.  I clicked around the main section of the shorts to get as much of the red color as I could.  As you can see, it is not necessary to select all of the shorts, but you do want to get the full spectrum of color so the new coloring will be accurate.

Magnetic Lasso Tool

Selected Red Shorts

Now go back to the other image.  This is the image that you will be replacing the color on.  It is the Destination Image.  Right click on the background layer in the layers panel and select duplicate layer. 

Duplicate Layer 

By default this new layer will be called Background copy.  I am going to rename this layer Color Replace and click OK to complete the step. 

Rename Layer 

We will be working with this duplicated layer to preserve the original image. Use the selection tool of your choice to select the entire area where the color should be replaced.  Again I used the Magic Wand Tool.

Selected Blue Jersey

Now go to the file menu and choose Image>Adjustments>Match Color. 

Match Color 

The Match Color Options Window will pop up.  For this example we do not need to worry about the the three sliders under the Image Options.  Under Image Statistics, make sure the two boxes are checked.  Checking the top box means that only the area selected in the Source Image will be used for color matching instead of colors from the entire image.  The second boxed is checked indicating that only the selected area in the Destination Image will be affected.  Next to Source: select the Source Image.  You will be able to see a small picture of the Source next to the Source Image name.  Click OK.

Match Color Options

You can see that the jersey is now red instead of blue, but there is still some work to be done.  We are going to adjust the contrast of the new red jersey.  Make sure this layer is still selected in the layers panel.  In the layers panel click on Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and select Levels. 

New Adjustment Layer

New Layer - Levels

A Histogram will appear.


There are three arrows at the bottom of the Histogram.  A black one on the left that controls the darkness of the shaded areas.  There is a gray arrow in the middle, and then a white one on the right that controls the highlights.  I am going to slide the black and white arrows inward until the contrast in the red looks how I want it to look.  If your image looks faded, this is how you fix it.  Now, in the layers panel I am going to select Luminosity so the overall color is not affected by this new layer, only the brightness of the color.


There you have it.  Here is a perfect sample picture to send to our customer.  It will be much easier for our customer to decide if they like how the jersey and shorts look together now.  With a blue top and red bottoms they were almost certain not to like the match.

Final Color Match Image



Photoshop Tutorial: Color Accents Method 2

A fun technique to use in PhotoShop is color accenting.  You can add emphasis to your pictures by making a photo black and white and then letting the true color show through on select items.  You can accent your child in a photo by making everything but them black and white, or bring out the bright colors of a single flower.  Bright colors work best.  I am using Adobe Photoshop CS3 to do this tutorial, but you should be able to follow the same instructions for all versions of Photoshop.

Open your photo in Photoshop and use the crop tool if needed.  Here is the original image I started with and the cropped image I decided to use.

Color Accent Original Picture

Cropped Image

In the Layers Panel right click on the background layer and select duplicate layer.  Follow this step two times so you have two new layers in addition to the original background layer.  Since the original layer is often locked (indicated by the lock on the layer), you will not be able to make changes to this layer.  If your Layers Panel is not visible go to Window in the menu bar and select Layers.  By default this new layer will be called Background copy and Background copy 2.  You can change the name of a layer if you wish by double clicking on the name of the layer in the Layers Panel.

How to Duplicate Layer

Select the top layer in the Layers Panel. 


The selected layer will be blue.  In the menu bar, select Image>Adjustments>Black & White.

Make Layer Black and White

A window will pop up that allows you to adjust how the black and white layer will look.  For this example I left the default settings, but you can play around with the available preset options or adjust the color bars to make your picture just the way you want it.

Black and White Adjustments

Black and White Image

Turn off the visibility of the black and white layer by clicking on the eye next to that layer in the Layer Panel.  Select the colored layer by clicking on this layer in the Layers Panel.  The layer will be blue in the panel showing that it is selected.  Now select the Magic Wand Tool from the Tools Panel.

Magic Wand Tool

Select the color you want to keep in the final picture with the Magic Wand Tool.  You will probably need to adjust the tolerance of the wand in the Magic Wand settings bar.  The higher the tolerance the more color variation the magic wand will select with each click.  Hold the Shift button down as you click on the image to select several areas.


Now turn the visibility of the black and white layer back on by clicking where the eye icon was in the Layers Panel.  The eye icon should reappear.  Select the Eraser Tool in the Tools Panel and erase where the color should show through.  You will notice that the Eraser Tool will only work inside the selected area.

Deselect the image by choosing the Magic Wand Tool again and right clicking on the image and selecting Deselect.


Your image is now complete.

Final Image