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Ask the Goddess Archives

Sent: Friday, November 08, 2002 7:05 PM
Subject: colorizing B&W photos

I love your stuff . Do you have a tutorial about colorizing grayscale photos? I really would like to try colorizing a picture of myself.

Thanks for all you put out there! I have so much fun with it.

Hi there, Lana!
Thank you so much for writing. I’m happy you like my work!

I just wrote a bit in a book chapter about that and they made me switch my example from one photo to another. So here I am with this photo all recolored… I really do need to write this up into a tut, because, with all this practice, I’m pretty good at it! <g>

What you do is this:

  • Make a new layer above your desaturated photo.
  • Put the new layer into Color blending mode.
  • Use an opaque brush, and colors that are not as saturated as you think. Something that is just a little blue, will do fine for blue eyes, for ex. If you go overboard on bright colors, it won’t look right.
  • Don’t leave anything alone that appears GRAY. Anything that appears gray is SOME color, not white. Teeth… are not white, they are not gray.. they are actually a very light shade of brown! White blouse? Make it a very light blue or tan.

And have FUN! Do let me know how it goes!
Always me, Janee

Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 12:16 AM
Subject: softening question

I love your tutorials. Could you help me with this simple one?

I want to soften portraits. Often when I take them, they are too harsh. What is the best way to soften these portraits?

Thanks in advance.

Hi there, Bob!
Sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you. This happens to me when I am covered up in work and deadlines are pressing. I do really love the work, though, so it is a good thing that I’m busy, I guess!

I’m really happy that you like my work! Let’s see what we can do about your harsh portrait problem.

In Photoshop, there are many ways to do everything, as I’m sure you know. For this softening idea, here’s one way:

Duplicate your working layer.

On the top layer, apply a strong Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur.

On that layer, change the blending mode to screen, soft light, hard light, or luminosity (or another… try ‘em all)

Reduce the opacity of this layer to adjust the amount of softness.

Experiment with different amounts of blur and different opacities for the layer till you like what you have.

Add a layer mask to that layer and, using a brush with low opacity, paint black on the mask for any parts of the image that you want to have clearly focused.

Hope this helps!
Always me, Janee

Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 1:56 AM


Subject: Ask the Goddess

Hi Janee... Love your site... I've had it bookmarked for quite some time now, from way back when I was working with a limited edition of PS 5, and frequently browse your tutorials as well as the Ask the Goddess section.

My question... My brother passed away three months ago and I am working on a memorial website. I have so much "stuff" to put on the site and have separated the site into three different sections: His Life, His Passing, and His Legacy. Within each section, as I said, there is so much to add, and I've been stumped as to creating an easy navigational system ( I don't want to resort to a simple table menu system - I love fooling around on PS way too much for that!). I love your cork board at the top of your site and have been working like a madwoman trying to recreate a similar one on my own. I am not having any luck. I have the basic cork texture worked out, but am having a hard time with the frame surrounding it. Everything I've tried just doesn't seem to look right. I've tried your frames tutorial a number of times but can't get the gradients to look right.

To get to the point, I would appreciate it if you could set me on the right path. I know you don't have a tutorial for the cork board, but if you could offer up some hints or pointers, I would appreciate it. Sorry for the long e-mail, but I guess I wanted to communicate that this website is a labor of love and I want everything to be the best as a tribute to my brother, and would greatly appreciate your help.

Thank you so much!


Hi there, Traci!

I'm happy that you are giving your art to your family in this way. What a neat tribute, not just in the art itself that will be on the site, but in the time and love you are putting into its creation. I believe that this work will help you, too, in remembering and realizing where your brother's place was in the world... and still is... in your heart.

Now.. to the point :) Site navigation, as I'm sure you know, can mean the difference between a site that is fun to be in, and a site that is just cumbersome. I suggest that, if you have many pages, a system like mine should work well for you. My system has evolved quite a bit over the 3 years that my site's been up, and as my site has grown, but I'm really happy with what I have now, and my visitors like it too. Having a main "Site Index" page where you have EVERYTHING that is on the site in tabular form, as I do at, is a good way for you to organize yourself, and also, there will be some people who want to navigate just from that, believe it or not.

Then it is a good idea for you to have like Life, Passing, Legacy for main headers and then when you click on Life, you could get, perhaps, Childhood, Teenage Years, Adulthood, Retirement (or something) or you could classify it as Work, Family, Recreation, Hobbies. Then once you get those categories you could have more pages within those categories. It may sound cumbersome now, but, believe me, it is MUCH easier for your visitors (and you!) to find things if you have MORE layers of categories than if you have just a whole mess of things from which people can go to from the start.

For example, if you wanted to get to "Photoshop Red Eye tutorials" on my site, you would go to Photoshop Resources ... then you might look in Janee's PS tuts and see that, right now, there isn't anything there. So you would go back to Photoshop and click on PS Resource Links. From there, you see Tutorial and Tip Sites... Then on that page, you see the list of things at the top, all of which have navigation tabs or bookmarks down in the body of this (too long) page. Click the one for Red Eye Removal, and there you are! So in this site of mine which now has 386 pages (!), from the main page, you click 4 times to get to something so specific as links to red eye removal tips!

Another thing to consider, while I'm on that tutorial sites page, is how much stuff you want on each page. Common wisdom says "two type-written pages," and that is a good guideline. If stuff just goes together, though, or you think that your viewer would not want to click back and forth, it is ok to make it a bit longer, imho.

For this frame, I used the method in my tutorial for the mitering. However, for the texture to look like that stained wood, I used some noise and then a motion blur to make the edge pieces. Then I did the moving and cutting.

I hope that this helps you in your construction of your site. I wish you the best!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Monday September 02, 2002 11:35 PM
Subject: PS question

Hi Janee,

I have a picture that I want to make the whole thing grayscale except for one part of it, a girl's dress. It would be like in Schindler's List where he made the dress pink and the whole rest of the film was in black and white. I want to do that same thing. How do I do this?

Hi there, Wendy!

I love that movie and that effect can be, as it was in the movie, very effective.

One way of doing it would be to use an adjustment layer. Now.. this only sounds hard. Actually, with an adjustment layer, it is more forgiving in case you screw up or want to go back and tweak something later. Adjustment layers are VERY cool.. and VERY useful. Here's how to do your project with an adjustment layer:

Click the Create a New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette. (black and white circle.)

When the box comes up, tell it that you want Hue/saturation.

Ok.. now notice that you get a dialog box for Hue/Saturation. Also, in the Layers palette, you have a new little fancy looking layer there with 2 squares. You are going to be doing stuff with both of these squares. One is the adjustment and the 2nd is a little mask.

In the Hue/Saturation box that came up, move saturation all the way to the left. Your dress will go gray too, but don't panic! Click OK in that box.

Now, in the adjustment layer, click the mask box, the one to the right. The little circle next to the eye tells you that you are working on the mask now and not the adjustment itself. Mask sounds pretty weird, but you are about to see how cool it is.

Choose your brush tool and a brush tip and make sure that your foreground color is black. You will be painting black onto your white mask. This makes no sense, really, till you do it.

Now .. paint the color back into your dress!

What this does is to sort of cut a hole into the adjustment layer, so that you see the original color through it. If you want it to be sort of faded, you can color it in with a light touch. If you get too much color in, you can paint white around the edges. If you want kind of a water color effect, you can reduce the opacity of your brush or check Wet Edges in your brush options. Lots of cool possibilitites here! Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Always me, Janee

Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2002 6:12 PM
To: Janee
Subject: Please Rush Your Wacom Secrets

Hi. Do you have tutorials on using Wacom tablets?

It was all I could do to keep from buying another low-priced AIPTEK tablet but your endorsement of Wacom swayed me. I couldn't afford your larger tablet so I bought the Wacom Graphire2 a few minutes ago. Just took it out of its box.

At your earliest convenience, please clue me in to your Wacom tablet tutorial.

Hi there, Joe!

Congratulations on your purchase! The Wacom Graphire is a sweet tablet and will do all you need it to do. I have, in addition to the Intuos in the picture, a Graphire, too. I use the Graphire with my laptop computer when i travel. I have some tips to help you to get used to your tablet.

Right now, you are feeling like a pig on skates with it, right? You move the pen and nothing happens the way you think that it should. Well, you may not remember, but when you first started working with a mouse, you were probably every bit this awkward!

The way you get used to your tablet is the same way that you got used to using a mouse. You have to USE it. Put away your mouse. Get it off your desk. Put it in a drawer, in fact. Use only your tablet for 3 full days.

During these 3 days, do all kinds of things with your computer. Write emails, play solitaire, maybe even do a little work on Photoshop. But don't dwell on the Photoshop. You have to get used to the tablet/pen as an input device, not just as a drawing tool. During the 2nd day, or possibly the 3rd, you will realize suddenly that you love your tablet.

As you use your tablet for these everyday tasks, you will get onto things like clicking, double-clicking, selecting text, dragging and dropping, and tracing/drawing.

  • For clicking, you tap the pen on your tablet.
  • For double-clicking, you have a choice: You can either tap twice quickly, OR you can click the top half of the rocker button in order to double-click. Practice using your thumb on that top part of the rocker button. Then you can use your index on the bottom half of that rocker button to right-click.
  • Dragging and dropping is a matter of putting your pen tip on the tablet where the thing is you want to drag and pulling your pen across the tablet till your object is in place. Then pick up your pen tip.
  • Tracing/drawing? Just do it. :)

This will get to be second-nature to you.

During your first day of working with your tablet, go to your Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Wacom Tablet .. and look over the settings. Click on all of the tabs and explore all of the options. You will have choices about things like click speed and pen angle. Try all of these out and find settings that work for you. You can always go and fix them back later if you don't like what you change.

Do NOT use mouse mode, unless you just want to drive yourself really nuts! If you do happen to get it into mouse mode and are unable to get your cursor back to where you need it to fix it back, (does it sound like i have done this? ;)) dig your mouse out of the drawer and hook it up just long enough to correct your tablet setting back to PEN mode. Then put your mouse back in the drawer.

Again.. a hearty congratulations for your purchase. May you like yours as much as i like mine!

Always me, Janee

Posted At: 13 August 2002 05:35

Posted To: photoshop

Conversation: Simple beginner question: Adding Bitmap with transparent color to layer

Subject: Simple beginner question: Adding Bitmap with transparent color to layer

How do I make a layer display a bitmap, then how do I set a transparent color key in that bitmap so that the layer underneath shows through?

I'm working with Photoshop 6.0 here. I have 2 bitmaps, one is my entire background and the other is an image of an identical size with much of the picture erased to the color white. I want to insert the edited bitmap onto the original. I want the white on the new image to be transparent, set the background darker (original bitmap) than the foreground (non-whited out portion of the new bitmap), and put a red glow around the boundary of the new forground bitmap.

I opened my main bitmap, I select "New Layer" and I can't find anything that will let me put an image into this new layer. The help is no help at all and I am extremely frustrated right now.

Thanks for any advice

Not offended by beginner questions at all! Those are the ones that I know the answers to! <g> What you are wanting to do involves several different operations:

  • Putting the 2 images into the same document.
  • Taking out the background of the one.
  • Change the color on the other.
  • Adding your red glow.

So here we go:

1. Putting the 2 images together:

  • Open both files in PS and have them side by side on your desktop.
  • Type V to get the move tool (or click it in the toolbar).
  • Click on the new image and drag it over to the background.

2. Taking out the background of the one.

-- There are many ways to do this, and the method you choose will depend upon your subject. There is a good tutorial on this subject on my site at .

3. Change the color on the other.

  • If you want the option of editing the coloring later, use an adjustment layer. This is a good thing to learn about anyway, so go on and do it that way. :) With the background layer clicked in the Layers palette, click the Create a new Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of that palette.
  • Choose whatever it is you want to work with. You will likely want to experiment with these things at some point. Adj layers are very flexible and cool. For a discussion and an exercise involving adjustment layers, i have a tut on that too at
  • Move the sliders in the Adj layer dialog box and then click ok. You can go back and double-click the little icon to the left for that layer later, if you need to, to readjust it.

4. Adding the red glow.

You will want the glow to be on its own layer, in case you want to mess with it later, such as adjusting its opacity or blending mode, or changing its color. Therefore, proceed as follows:

  • With the background layer clicked in the layers palette, click the Add a new layer button at the bottom of that palette. This puts a clean new layer above your background.
  • Choose a wide, soft, airbrush. Set your opacity to 25% or so, and your flow to about there, as well. Choose the red you want in the color picker.
  • With a light touch, "blow" some paint around your subject. Since it is on its own layer, you will not get paint on the background or on your subject!
  • You may want to soften the edges of your subject, or darken them or something, to make them blend in better with the rest of the pic.

Oh.. and as for books, do some online tuts first. Learn your way around the program enough that you know what it is that you WANT to know. Then go book shopping. Don't base your needs on what other people tell you your needs are. :) And, as you are shopping for books, don't forget to consider mine!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Monday, August 12, 2002 2:35 PM To: Subject: myJanee's tutorials

Hi Janee, Do you have a tutorial for making the torn edges like you use in the heading of your website? Thanks, Dana

Hi there, Dana! I don’t have a tutorial online for that exact effect. I did write it and some other cool edge effects up recently for a book though. (Chapter 3 of the book at the bottom of my email.)

I’ll run through the steps here:

1. Make your background layer. Mine is the dark blue.

2. Above this, make your paper layer. Mine is the lighter lavender/blue.

3. Make a selection around where you want the edges of your paper. For the torn part, make it jiggy jaggy, but you don’t have to worry about that fuzzy look yet.

4. With the paper layer selected in the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. Ta-da! Your paper should be apparent now against your background.

5. Now for that “torn” look, click on the layer mask in the layers palette and use the smudge tool to smudge the edges of your mask. (You will be seeming to smudge on the actual image, but you will be just working on the layer mask.)

I’m glad you like that look. Let me know how you do in recreating it! Always me, Janee

P.S. I do now have a tutorial for that effect! You can see it HERE.

Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 10:01 PM
Subject: myJanee's tutorials

Hi Janee,

I visited your AWESOME web site ( photoshop tutorial )
You did a superb job it's fantastic !!!

I read everything ( links and all ) it help me as you can not imagine !! ( especially for a newbie like me lol )

I especially "studied"the "photo retouching" of your family ( mom ;mother in law & sister ) I am wondering if you can help me with a ( for you ) tiny problem that I have ?!

I have a photo of my oldest doughter but here face looks yellowish (not a natural skin color it ought to be) is there someting you can suggest to me?

kindest regards,
--Raoul Mercier

Sent Wed 21 August 2002
(Mail returned to me, though, because .. no one at that address. That will teach me to write out a long answer without testing the email addy! Argh! Well.. i'll post this here so that maybe someone can gain something:)

Hi there, Raoul!

I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I have a list of excuses, though! Wanna hear them? Ok.. here you are. First.. right after your email got here, I was working on my 2nd book and had some really tight deadlines. Then after that, just a week or so later, I had a hard drive crash. Lost all my photos for the past 2 years. Also lost a bunch of email. Not yours.. but a lot of them. Then we went on vacation for 2 weeks. Then I got back and got a new computer and had to move into another part of my office to make room for my new puter. Finally I’m all moved in and .. here I am!

Anyway.. so I’m really glad that you like my site!

Your daughter is a beauty! I know what you mean about a yellowish tinge wrecking the photo, though. You want her to look like… her! Here are a couple of things to try:

A good place to start is to duplicate your layer and then do Image -> Adjustments -> Variations. You can find out that way what it will do to adjust colors and brightness. This is kind of fun. Not really precise, but definitely fun.

Next, try making a Color Balance Adjustment Layer. Click on the Add new Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Choose Color Balance. Then explore that dialog box and adjust the sliders. Sometimes this works just great and is all you need to do. You can paint black on the layer mask (click it in the layers palette) for places that you do NOT want the color to be adjusted. You have to try this. Very fun and powerful stuff!

If you do not get good results with this, you can try a Curves Adjustment layer. Curves are pretty touchy though, and so .. well it takes some practice to get good at them. I’m not good at them.

Next, you can try a Selective Color adjustment layer.

If that isn’t enough for you, then .. Take another picture of her in better light, if you can. Actually, you sholud be able to fix the pic using one or more of those methods. Hope this helps!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Friday, June 7, 2002

by ICQ Pager:

Hi there! I'm trying to make a color look glossy or wet? Is there any way to do this in Photoshop?

Hi there, C!
I'm going to answer your question with another question. When you see something "glossy," what is it that you are seeing that makes you think that the object is "glossy?" Close one eye and look at something glossy. Look, then, at something that is simply wet. What is the difference?

Look at a photo of a model with "glossy" lipstick or "glossy" nail polish. What is it that defines what you interpret as "gloss?"

When you have your answer for this, you get, free of charge, the answer to how to draw lots of other surfaces. Everything we see is pixels, and we can draw them! We just have to learn to see them! Very powerful and exciting stuff! Good luck!

Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2002 7:45 PM


Subject: Looking for help!!

Hi! I really like your page. Your instructions are easy to follow and detailed. I am having SO MUCH TROUBLE with 'channels'. I am a beginner in PS and can't seem to get the channels to work for me. I tried your Antique Gold Text effect and when I go to the part about "my background turning red", it didn't. I have tried to do many text effects tutorials on line and, even though I follow the directions to the point, THEY DON"T WORK!! Maybe I'm totally missing the point. Can you suggest any websites that might give detailed tutorials on channels? Very frustrating! I have the idea but can't make them work! Thanks.

Hi there, Jeanie!
Thank you for the kind words re my site. I’m happy that you are enjoying the tuts. Channels are VERY cool things and they are one of the things that differentiate Photoshop from the little guys, so you need to learn to use them! Besides that, once you get onto them, you will find lots of uses for them, and you will be running around telling everyone else how cool they are.

Since you are stuck on the Antique gold one, give up on it for just now and, instead, do Heart 3. Don’t worry so much about the shape of the heart or even what you draw. Just pay attention to the stuff with the channels and the lighting effects. This one explains it in a bit different terms. PLUS, you don’t have the added bit of TEXT to deal with, as you do in the Antique gold one. (With text, the different versions handle it a bit differently, too.)

What Channels are is very basic ways of selecting pixels. And by “basic” I do not mean that they are easy or trivial or anything. I mean that what you are doing with channels is that you are getting into the very fundamental building blocks of what your image IS.

The RGB channels.. I think of them kinda differently than I do the others.

Alpha channels are channels that you make which save a selection in a special way. They are really the same kind of basic (that word again) selection as masks. With channels (and masks) black stuff is hidden (not selected) while white stuff is showing. Gray stuff is kinda half showing. Now.. do NOT expect to understand this from just reading my blabbering. You will get it after you have worked with it some, but it won’t be like just all of a sudden, if you are anything like me. I learned to use channels WAAAAY before I had any idea what I was doing with them!

Anyway, give the heart3 a look and let me know how that one goes.
Always me, Janee

Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 10:42 AM


Subject: Linked Letters

Hi, I am a newer photshop user. I hav printed out the monogram project with linked letters. Since I am having difficulty, I need to know about saving the file.

Do I save the file as the same name throughout all steps and all 3 letters? If so, it will ask at each stage if I want to replace the file and I click yes.

When I complete the first letter (the center one) then I am asked to repeat from step one again for each new letter Do I save each letter in a new filename for each letter or is it all a contunuous save. For instance, If I start by naming my original file and letter"monogram" do I save this and keep replacing it at each step--including all 3 letters? Of course, I would name each letter and texture etc. on the layers and channels pallete.

Thanks for any help you can give.
--Tom M.

Hi there Tom!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Photoshop!! I'm glad you found my tutorials. Many people say that they are quite helpful to them as they begin with the program.

Saving the file. This is something that I'm really a stickler on. In my more recent tuts I do a better job of telling you how to save. For now, let this be it.

When you FIRST begin a new project, File -> Save as... and give it a name, a location that makes sense to you, and save it in PSD format. This format will not degrade as you save, won't ask you if you want to replace the file, etc. It keeps all your layers intact, all channels, adj layers.. everything.

As you work, Ctrl-s to save... OFTEN. I save after everything that I do that looks right. Honest. If you crash, you just don't EVEN want to have to wonder when your last save was. It is not a fun feeling. KEEP this psd file.

When you have your work to the point that you want to save it to do something with it (put it on your website, send to a friend, print), you do File -> Save for Web or File -> Save as.. As a copy. Here you will choose your file format, gif, tiff, or jpeg. (probably jpeg for photos, unless you need to send it to a printshop or something. They like tiffs) You won't be replacing your psd file. You will be ADDING this new jpeg or whatever.

I have a tutorial that I've put together on Save for Web. It is pretty good, full of neat info on this. You can find it here. .

Hope this is helpful to you!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 11:12 PM
Subject: photoshop help for a newbie

I noticed you dispense a lot of good advice in the photoshop usenet groups. I asked this question in the groups but the responses I got were beyond my limited comprehension of Photoshop 6.

My problem concerns editing photos with a wide range of brightness. I have a lot of shots that were taken with a camera that had a less than desirable algorithm for determining f-stop. It seemed to put inadequate weighting on the light around the middle of the picture.

As a result, a lot of shots come out with dark subjects and a lot brightness in the background. Is there any way that I can simply increase the brightness of the subjects while maintaining the back ground brightness at existing levels? Suggestions given to me involved using layer, masks... Too difficult for me to understand, unless it was written in full detail like press this button, dummy.

TIA for any help you can provide.

<chuckle> Ok.. press this button, dummy!

Ok, William, first off, thank you for your confidence in me. I do try to help out where I can. Though my knowledge is not limitless as seems to be true for some of the hotshots on the ng, I'm a fair teacher.

I thought at first that you were going to ask me something about photography. I basically am a hack at photography, which is one reason that I love Photoshop! Your problem reminds me of one that I have had a lot. I relatively recently discovered how to deal with this and I would love to teach this to you. This is a technique that will really change your life. Though it is not terribly difficult, it *sounds* hard, I know. I put off learning about this for a long time. The topic... yes... layer masks!

I have two tutorials that I want you to do which will give you a peek into how layer masks work, and, I hope, get you on your way to solving your particular problem. First of all, have a look at "Using Adjustment Layers." This takes you through a whole lot of really useful stuff. Though the tut looks long and complicated, it is written for YOU. If you have difficulty that 10 minutes or so of banging your head on your desk does not fix, email me and I'll walk you through it. Do use my example picture. And DO take it slowly, do all the parts, and DO enjoy it. :)

After you are done with that one, and feeling like a hotshot, try one of your pictures. Try it first without looking at the tut at all. But if you get stuck, look back at it. Your result may not be great on your first attempt. This is ok.

Next, I want you to do "Fading Images together." Use whatever pictures you want to for this, but preferably photos chosen at random. <g>

You can find both of these tuts by clicking on Janee's tutorials at . I want to know how you did with this, so let me know, please.

Always me, Janee

Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 5:03 PM
To: Janee
Subject: Question About Resizing Layers


I would like to know if there is any way in Photoshop to resize a layer irrespective of all other layers? In Paint Shop Pro there is an option in Image Resize that allows you to resize all layers or just the layer you have selected. I don't see this option in Photoshop and I am wondering if and how that can be done.

Your site is so educational. Thank you,


Hi there Paulette!

Yes, there certainly is! In PS it is called a Transformation. Here’s how to do it:

  • Edit -> Transform -> Free Transform. (or Ctrl-t) This brings up the transformation bounding box.
  • Now you can drag the sides in or the corners.
  • If you hold the Shift key, you will maintain your proportions.
  • If you hold the Alt key, you will transform keeping your center … centered.
  • If you hold the Ctrl key, you can grab any of the corners or a side and distort it in any funky way you want!
  • If you bring your pointer to outside of the bounding box, you will see that it turns to a curved arrow. This means you can rotate it by dragging it around. Holding Shift constrains you to 15° increments.
  • Looking at the Options bar when you are transforming, you see lots of options if you want to rotate something exactly 60 degrees or something. Also you can scale something exactly too.

Hope this helps some. This is a big topic. You can really learn the most about this stuff by taking a file you don’t care about and playing around with the transformation stuff. Edit -> Transform -> Perspective, or Distort, or flip horizontal.. or .. or.. Fun stuff with lots of possibilities!

Always me, Janee

Click here to Ask the Goddess a question of your own!




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Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 4:55 AM
Subject: need some help

I want to ask you (again) for some Photoshop aid.

I want to make a doghead (see file) in the colors of the American flag, but it will not work the way it is in my mind. The flag must show through the head instead only the contour (layer 3) of the dog in the American colors. Hope you can/will help me.

Have a nice Easter Sunday,
-MW, the Netherlands

Hi there Mario!
Thank you .. and I hope you had a happy day today too!

There are a couple of ways that I can think of to do this. One is the attached dogflag1.jpg. What I did here was to have your cutout dogflag (layer 3) and I set it atop the dog image and changed its blending mode to Color.

For dogflag2.jpg, what I did is this:

  • I made a custom gradient of blue, red, and white. I made it so that there was very little actual gradient between the colors.
  • With the dog layer selected, I did Image -> Adjust -> gradient map. Then I found the new custom gradient.

For dogflag 3, then, I took the layer 3 that you had and laid it atop the dogflag 2 dog and left layer 3 in Color mode.

Try this yourself and let me know how it goes. Neat project!
Always me, Janee


Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 1:43 PM

To: Janee Aronoff

Subject: myJanee's tutorials

Hi, Janee -
I'm working on a client's site and need to slice the main banner image, both for faster loading and to link several of the slices to other pages in the site. I'm able to do all the slicing, but apparently my slices aren't saving individually. Do you have, or know of, a good tutorial on slicing images? I have a multitude of Photoshop 6 books, all of which explain slicing, but for some reason, the instructions for saving the slices aren't working for me. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, or missing a step somewhere, but I can't figure out what. I'm ready to pull every hair out. Can you suggest something?


Hi there, JS!

Well I didn’t know the first thing about slices till just NOW when I got your question and figured that I’d better learn something so that I could answer you!

The secret is in the Save for Web dialog box. After you have made your slices, you will see the little rectangles with the image number for each slice.

Click on File -> Save for Web.

Over to the left, you will see a hand for dragging the image around if you need to, and a slice selection tool right below that. Click that and then click on one of the slices.

Then you can adjust its quality or make it a gif instead of a jpg or whatever.

Then click on the next slice and do the same thing..

Continue till all of your slices are done. Then hit OK.

Down at the bottom of that dialog box, click the arrow by file type. If you choose images only, you will get.. shazam! Images only! It puts them into a folder inside your destination folder. This folder is labeled “images” and the slices will be labeled with the file name and a number dot jpg. If you choose html and images, then you will get the images put into the images folder and an html page set up with your images tabled appropriately. Just html.. guess! :P

Let me know if you run into any difficulties. And thank you for the forced lesson! <g>

Always me, Janee

Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 7:49 AM
To: Janee
Subject: need help

Hi Janee,
I will be very grateful if you will direct me to your tutorial to help me figure out how to do something. Here is my problem:

First of all, I am using Photoshop 6.5 (Just bought it in December), and am using Dreamweaver 4. Used the Magnetic Lasso and tried the Polygonal Lasso to cut an image out. Then I had to erase some of the edges and fill in others.

Now comes the problem. When I put that into Dreamweaver, put a background behind it and look at it with the browser, there are white spots where I used the eraser.

If you can please help me here, I would be ever so grateful. If it is something so simple as you can tell me, please do so.

Thank you for all your time and effort you go through for all of us out here.

Hi there, Deb!
You are probably making a transparent gif, right? Ok.. well if so, what is happening is that your edge pixels are light and so appear white against your darker background. To get rid of these, there are several options. One (prolly the easiest) is to use Layer -> Mattting -> remove white matte.

Another thing you can do which might work out better if your background is a solid color, is to put your image on that color in PS, erase all of the funky white pixels, and then save it as a jpeg. Hope this works out for you!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2002 4:44 PM
Subject: myJanee's tutorials

HI Janee,
Thanks for the excellent resource site! Obviously, a lot off effort went into that!

I have a particular problem and question. I use PS 6. When using the SELECT ---> COLOR RANGE function, I often times obtain what LOOKS like a clean selection, based on the marquee, but when I try to process the selection, there seems to be a "casting" of sorts that fall outside the percieved selection area, appearing to be using some sort of transparency or alpha channel? I can't trace it. And sometimes what is contained INSIDE of the selection area resulting from COLOR RANGE is not paintable / fill-able at 100% even though 100% is set in the fill requestor.

I am guessing that somehow when youuse COLOR RANGE select, that it is making selections which may be somewhat dithered based on the color and density ranges and somehow using a form of transparency to blend the selection with the underlying background.... But I have NO clue how to convert such selections to be totally opaque, since I can't trace the problem to any specific function.

Any hints or tips you could offer would for sure be appreciated. Thanks again for your excellent resource site and your time.
--Robert C.

Hi there Robert!
I’m happy that you like my PS resources! And yes. I do work very hard to bring you the very best resources I can.

I think that what you have going on with your Color Range selection is sort of like that fringing that you get with feathering. I think that when color range is going to work best is if you have a good deal of contrast between your colors. Then you have to adjust your fuzziness down till you get it as sharp as you need but not pixelly on the sides.

When I do selections like that, once I have the part selected that I need, I click the add layer mask button at the bottom. This masks everything but the part that you have selected. Then if I put a black background behind it.. and then change that background to white, I can see what my problem areas are. I can then either redo the selection from scratch, or I can use a paintbrush on my layer mask to touch-up the selection.

None of the many selection methods is perfect for every situation. If you are running into too many problems with this one, you may do best to try a different one. If you have not looked at it yet, have a go at my “Selections and Removing Backgrounds” tutorial.
Always me, Janee

Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 10:20 PM
To: Janee
Subject: Clone tool

Hi Janee,
Got a simple question but just cannot figure out the answer on my own. I am using Photoshop 6 but I kinda miss the clone tool in version 4. Here is what I need to do.

I have a RGB image in the background layer and I copy this image into a new layer. In the new layer, I blur the image and I want to use the clone tool to clone part of this blurred image back to the background layer. I need to have the blurred image and the orginal image perfectly registered during the cloning. I know in photoshop 4, I could take a snapshot and do the cloning. But I cannot figure out how to do this in version 6.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Hi, Terry!
Ok.. STOP pining away for version 4! <g> You will soon fall so in love with v. 6 that you will not even remember how you did stuff in v. 4.

Actually, the way you do it in version 6 makes more sense than what you were doing in 4, and is a lot simpler, actually, allowing you full control of what you are doing and .. well lemme tell you about what you are going to do. You will be using what is called a "Layer Mask" which, to me, is a dumb name and it sounded complicated and hard, so I postponed learning about these things for a long time, struggling along and doing things the hard way and having less-than-optimal results.

You are going to have 2 layers you will be working with, just as before. You will blur the bottom one and then you will make semi-transparent holes in the top layer for your blurred part to show through! VERY cool and very powerful tool.

Follow along here and then try it, working through my steps and I think you will agree with me that this is cool.

1. Drag your image layer to the New Layer icon in the layers palette to dupe it. Turn off the eye in the layers palette for the top one.

2. With the BOTTOM one selected in the layers palette, Filter -> blur -> Gaussian blur to a level you like.

3. Turn the eye back on for the top layer. You should see no blurring at all now because that is in the layer below.

4. With the TOP layer selected in the layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette. This is where you are going to paint the "holes" so you can see through this layer to the blurred one! Click this layer mask in the layers palette. Notice that the brush that is next to the eye changes to a mask icon. This tells you that you are working with the MASK, not the actual layer.

5. Choose a soft airbrush and make sure your foreground color is black. Zoom in if you have to.

6. Paint away your flaws on your canvas. Notice when you look at the layers palette, your mask gets little black markings. This represents the "holes" you are painting. If you mess up and overdo it, you can choose white and fill the "hole" again! You can even refill the whole mask with white again and start over.

Let me know how this goes for you.

Always me, Janee

Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 5:11 AM


Subject: myJanee's tutorials

I am preparing a composite picture of 14 pictures to be placed on a printed page. They need to be separated from each other but I don't want hard edges on each picture.

I understand how to use layers a bit and am able to create the page and place the images where I want them.

They will be aproximately 3 x 4 on a background page that is 13 x 16.

I tried doing some feathering but get it all bolixed up. I tried using airbrush and am not satisfied with the results.

I hope you have some great suggestions.
--Bill W

Hiya Bill!

I DO have a great suggestion for you. In fact, I have it all written out into a fine little tutorial that should address this perfectly for your situation. It is my "Fading Images Together" tut and you can find it at . You will have more layers and masks with which to deal, but if you label your layers from the outset (like.. yes, actually do this!), you should be able to do it without too much difficulty.

When you go through the tutorial, take it with only 3 or 4 images as I have done in the tut, till you get the hang of what you are doing. You will be VERY good at working with layer masks by the time you are done with your project though! Let me know how it goes.

Always me, Janee

Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 8:25 PM


Subject: template for 4(4x5's)on 8x10 canvas and Copyright notice


1.Just as stated above, only each 4x5 will need a small photo on top, and text below. Background is white. (Making cards for my clients) I will need to change photo and text for each client, and can't seem to do it w/o lots and lots of layers.

Also, it would be nice to have guides for photo and text placement .

2. Adding Copyright to photos? Is there a way to program the cloning stamp with text/transparent background? (too many steps the way I do it now.)

Thanks in advance,

Hi there Kathy!

Ok let me get the 2nd question first. Use a custom brush! This is an idea that was original to me and .. well it is one of my better ones, if I do say so myself. I wrote a tutorial on it which you can find at .

For your first question, PS 6 has a feature built into it that will do this for you, most of it. Open PS and then go to File -> Automate -> Picture Package. Choose your source image and then follow the wizard. I just now did it with a snapshot of mine and it worked beautifully.

For the text, make a template that you can drag onto your Picture Package once the automate thing has made it. You can make the template by making a layer on top of the first attempt you make at the picture package. Make some text, copy it 4x and then put it where you need it to be. Same for any matting or whatever else. Save the file as 4x5 template.psd or something. Get rid of your photo layer if you need to and just have your template so you can drag it onto any new photo package you make.

Let me know how this goes. Sounds like fun!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 7:33 PM


Subject: Search for a tutorial...


I'm looking for a tutorial about changing the color of a car. I remember seeing one about a year ago, but can't find it. Do you happen to have any idea where I might find something like that?


Hi there Lee!

I don't know of a tutorial off the top of my head, and rather than search through , I'll just tell you how I'd tackle this (a fun way):

1. Duplicate your picture onto another layer by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

2. Click the Add Adjustment layer icon at the bottom of that palette and choose Hue/Saturation.

3. Now click "colorize" in that box and use the slider there to find a good color for your car. The rest of your picture will go that color too; don't worry.

4. Click the layer mask (the white thumbnail) for that adjustment layer. Choose a brush and color any parts of your picture that are NOT your car in black. If you mess up, you can touch up with your eraser or by painting in white.

One very cool thing about this method is that it is totally flexible! You can, after you are done masking out that background, click on that hue sat thumbnail and CHANGE the color. If, after you are all done, you have a model there and you want her hair to match the car, you can click on that mask again and paint her hair with the white brush. And since this is an adjustment layer, you still have all of the textures and shading of your original picture.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Always me, Janee

Sent 18 Feb 02

I am enjoying your site very much. I have this customized art picture. It has 3 or 4 colors with big text on the top. Now, I want get rid of text, at the same time I want to keep all colors and size of picture. I don't want to crop it because of text.

My question is how can I get rid of only text in the picture. Would you give me a secret for this matter?
-- Ashlee

Hi there, Ashlee!
I'm happy you are enjoying my site! :)

Ok, you want to get rid of the text, but not lose any of the image. The thing is, though, you can't just ... erase the text, because that would leave holes where it was, right? So you have to essentially paint over your text. How to do this?

Well, if your image is solid colors with straight lines, it would be a relatively simple matter. You would make a selection with the polygonal lasso and then filli it with the appropriate color which you can sample with your eyedropper from the neighboring region.

Most of the time, our problems are not this clear-cut, though. Once i had to build a guy's legs back from behind some text. Urf. It can get really tough sometimes, and involve a bit of artistry on your part.

In situations where you have lots of colors and they are forming textures, you are usually best off to use the clone tool. Be careful to sample pretty close to the area where you are working, but sample frequently from different surrounding spots to avoid patterning. Zoom in and use a small brush for better accuracy.

I hope this helps, Ashlee. Good luck!

Always me, Janee

Mon 18 Feb 02


Would you please provide instructions (or hints) on making the "scratched gold" background you used for the letter W in your Antique Gold Tutorial. I'd sure like to be able to do that.
-- BH

Hi there BH!

That is a pretty cool background, and I'm glad you asked about it. Here's how i did it:

Choose Janee's gold in your color picker. You get this by typing BEAD90 into the hexadecimal blank there at the bottom of the picker, where you see "#." For the background color, pick black.

  • Drag a linear gradient across the canvas from upper left to lower right. You will need the foreground -> background gradient chosen in the Gradient Picker.
  • Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise. A medium amount is good; you can play with this after you see what it does. You will probably want monochromatic here.
  • Filter -> Brushstrokes -> Crosshatch.

And there you are! Have fun!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 7:49 AM

Subject: Adding a person to a picture

Hi Janee
I just found your website, and loved the tutorial on restoring and retouching pictures....Don't understand much of it, but hope to in the near future...This is a great site....I have 3 photoshop 5.5 books, and I have learned more from your tutorial than all of the books.

Here's my problem:
I have a family photo with parents and ten children in it. The eleventh child died about a year before the photo was made.....I want to add her to the picture. I have the picture to add, and reduced it to a size comparable to the size of the persons in the picture.....The problem.....when I add the person to the picture, somehow the size of the picture increases and her image in the picture is larger than the others....

Please give some details about adding a person to a picture....Where do I start.....I'm guessing....working with the image I want to add.......HELP.

Many thanks, Janee.....Any help appreciated

J.C., Photoshop 5.5 beginner

Hey there, Jack!
Welcome to the wonderful world of Photoshop! I'm happy that you found my site early in your search. :) I have a hard time sitting down and reading books, myself, though I do have a few that I use for reference and browse through now and again. I do much better, myself, with online tutorials. So as a teacher, it came naturally for me to write them as I learn new things, myself. I'm happy that you are enjoying them.

Now let's attack your photo problem. What is going on here (my guess) is that the photo that you are moving is of a different resolution than the other. Go to Image -> Image size .. on both of them and see what the resolutions are.

Before you change the resolution on either one, though, be SURE that you do File -> Save as .. and name it something DIFFERENT. This way, if you mess something up then you can still be a happy camper. Just open the pristine version and do over, beginning, again, with File -> Save as...

I hope this helps. Let me know how this goes for you!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 7:12 PM


Subject: Some help from a Goddess?

Hi Janee,

Judging from the enormous amount of material on your site, i guess you must be a very busy person, but I still hope you can free some time to perhaps give me some hints for a problem I'm struggling with. I tried some of your tutorials too, but I don't think it's there. Then again, there is a lot of stuff too that for me, an absolute beginner, was great learning material.

Let me get to the point. I'm working on a little assignment my parents gave me: they want me to manipulate a picture for there Christmas greeting cards. Yes, that is veeeeeeery early indeed, but then again, I have a lot to learn between now and December.

On this picture is our dog on the beach. I'm not sure whether or not to send you the picture, because I have been monitoring a newsgroup where binary attachments will do you no good, but sure wil get you a fair amount of name-calling, so I'll try to describe first.

The dog is lying down on the sand, and she's been digging or running and then braking by putting her front paws in the sand, causing those to get covered in little piles of sand. Behind her is more beach, and eventually sea. What I want is to turn the sand into snow. The structure seems very snow-like to me, so what I would like to do is to just change the colour of the sand from sandy brown-yellow to white. But I have not a clue how.

The problem I stumble on is this: When I select the beach without the dog, and try to change the colour, somehow the structure gets lost. The little piles by her paws turn into white smudges. I guess its not the method that is wrong (or can't it be done?) as is the way I execute it. And I was kind of hoping that, now you bothered reading this far, you would be willing to give me some pointers or have some suggestions where I could find a solution. I am using Photoshop 5.0, by the way.

Hope you can lend me a hand and, if so, then thanks in advance.


Hi there Cris!

Thank you for your kind words re my site and all of the work that I continue to put in on it!

Yes you are getting a head start on Christmas, but better late than never and that is what lots of people do, ending up ultimately buying cards. Urf! I thank you for not sending me the picture, because sometimes people send me these HUGE files and sometimes they are in unrecognizable file formats and stuff, and, after surviving one each of a virus, worm, and a trojan, I never open any attachment that I'm not expecting anyway! But now that you have kindly NOT sent it to me, I will say that if you want to send it to me (file size less than 100K please in a jpeg or gif) that will be fine.

Ok.. now as for your doggie in the sand I'm trying to imagine that beach and making it look like snow. I would bet that you could do it by desaturating the sand and lightening it, perhaps lowering (or increasing) contrast using levels in an adjustment layer. In any event, quite do-able, even for a beginner, though not a trivial exercise. Here is how I would proceed:

File -> Save as.. and make it a psd format and give it a different name from the filename you have now. This is in case you mess it up and need the original file again.

Double-click your image so that it is not the background layer. Drag this layer to the New Layer icon in the layers palette to dupe it. Click the eye on your bottom layer to hide it.

Now you are going to put a Layer Mask on the top layer which will hide the background, leaving only your dog visible. With the top layer selected, click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.

Choose a brush and color away your background with black on your layer mask. If you need some help with this part, you might want to have a look at my 'sepia toning' tutorial (I do some masking there) or my 'Selections and removing backgrounds.' Your goal is to make it so that your dog is on his own layer.

Dupe that bottom layer now and do the same thing with the sand. Add a layer mask and get rid of everything that is not sand.

Next you will want to use an adjustment layer above your sand layer and see if you can get it to look like snow. Check out my 'Using Adjustment Layers' tutorial for the how-to's and some practice with this.

If this all leaves you with unsatisfactory results, then you can paint your own snow, especially if you have some trampled snow that you can photograph or a photo of some. This will help you to get the shading right and stuff.

Keep in mind that, once you have saved your file as.. another name.. you cannot wreck your original photo. You will not break anything by just messing about with stuff, and you have till like November before you have to do this. Take your time and work through some of my marvy tuts in the meantime and have fun with this project. I'm telling you that I will bet that you can come up with something you like, and even if you don't, you can have some fun and learn a lot in trying. Please let me know how it goes!

Always me, Janee

Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 9:17 PM

Hi Janee,
What can you tell me about formats for saving photos? I've read all about them in the PS help but got totally confused. I usually use jpeg for sending photos via the internet and psd for saving photos in PS for future printing. Thanks
-- Jim

Hey there Jim!

That is a very sensible way to do things. I would only add that you should always keep your psd's unflattened, in case you want to do something later. And keep an unedited copy of any photos, just in case you want to do something different later. Thanks for writing!

Always me, Janee

Thursday, January 17, 2002 2:06 PM


Subject: logo

Hi Janee

I dont know much about Photoshop but would like to create a logo that I can super- impose over photos like you see in advertisements. How can I do that?

-- Mike

Hi there Mike!

It depends on some things. Do you have a logo already that you are hoping to just superimpose? Or are you going to make a logo for only this use? Or are you making a logo that will be used for this and for other things as well?

If you are making a logo for anything other than this use, then you really should create it in a vector program like Adobe Illustrator rather than in Photoshop. The reason is scalability. In Illustrator you tell it to make a square of a certain color.. then you scale that as you import it into PS (or whatever) to finish it. PS will just make the square of a set dimension, whatever you make it, and it will assign those pixels and those pixels only, to that square. When you make it bigger then, your program has to fill in the places between pixels, resulting in a jaggy or blurred edge, not what you want in a logo!

Ok.. now if you want it just for this, then make or get your logo and have it in one file on your PS desktop. Then open the file for the picture. Now if the logo is in gif format, you will have to go to Image --> Mode -> and make it RGB. Then choose your move tool and drag it onto your picture. If there is some background on the logo, you will have to remove it, but that is another question.

Be sure to save your picture/logo combination UNFLATTENED in psd format in case you need to change something later. When you are ready to save it for your use then you just do File -> Save As.. or File -> Save for web.

Hope I answered that for you. Let me know how it goes!

Always me, Janee


Subject: Question

Hi Janee I really am enjoying your site on Photoshop and am learning lots. Could you please help me if you can, I want to know the best way to retouch faces on photos. My mom wants me to take a pic of her now at 67 and take 20 years off (wrinkles etc.) I have seen it done and can't remember how. (using quick mask?) Thanks in advance

Hi there Candy!

Thank you for saying nice things about my site! I'm happy that you are getting good use out of it.

Ok here is one way to take those years off your Mom that I think you (and she!) will like! First thing to do is do File -> Save as.. and name your file something different so that if you mess it up, you will not hurt anything. Save it in psd format.

Drag the picture layer to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette to duplicate it.

Ok.. now this part is kinda weird, but stick with me. With the top layer selected, Filter -> blur -> Gaussian blur... give it enough blur that you see .. really no detail at all. You may need to experiment with this.

Now drag that layer down below the other one in the layers palette. If the other one is a background layer, double click it so that it becomes a normal layer.

The clear pic should be on top now. Drag IT to the new layer icon just to make yourself a dupe in case you screw this up. Turn off the eye on the dupe copy. (This is just cheap insurance) File -> Save (and get into this habit) You already made your psd file for this file and so saving is nothing, yet critical to do often.:)

Ok now.. and this part is very cool. Zoom in enough that you feel like you are working on your mother's actual skin here..

With the sharp pic selected, click on the Add layer mask icon in the layers palette. Click the mask now in the layers palette to make sure you are painting on IT, not the picture.

Take a feathered small paintbrush with black and draw on the picture to erase the flaws.

You are actually coloring black on the mask.. and this has the effect of erasing it. Yes! The blurred will show through .. and the nice smooth skin will be the result.

If you mess up, just grab white and paint white back on the mask.

Let me know how this goes!

Always me, Janee

To: Janee

Subject: Question

THANKS soooo much that works excellent you saved me hours of trying to remember how to do that.
L. C.


Subject: I need help!

13 Jan 02

I am a Photoshop novice – and want to do what I think is so very basic – but the program is so complicated I think I am going to commit hari kari. I do work with a number of programs – and know just enough to be dangerous. Can you help PLEASE!

I want to add a gradient bar to the left side of a flyer that I am making. The top of the gradient is very dark, so I can add some reversed text – meaning white on top of the of dark area. So the bar gets lighter as it goes toward the bottom of the page. Now – and this is the big question – I want to fade the gradient into the page so the gradient gets lighter as it fades into the page. HOW DO YOU DO THIS???

Thank you so much!

Hi there Nancy!

Well don't commit hari kari just yet! Let's see if we can't work this out!

What you want to do to fade the gradient into the page is to use a Layer Mask. Hey, don't panic; it isn't as weird as it sounds! Here's what you do:

Make your gradient on its own layer and put your page layer beneath it in the layers palette. It is easiest to see what is going on here if you have something ON your page layer at this point.

With the gradient layer selected in the Layers Palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of that palette. You will see a little white box appear beside your gradient in the layers palette.

Now.. just to see what this does, click on the mask in the palette. Now grab a paintbrush and black and paint around on the mask. Notice that your page shows through where you painted. Also notice in the layers palette (the little thumbnail pictures), that your layer itself (the gradient) is not changing. All that is changing is the mask. Ctrl-backspace to fill the mask with white again.

Ok now you want your gradient to gradually fade to nothing as you go from left to right. That is.. you want your page to show through partially.. then a little more then completely. What are you going to paint on your mask to get this to happen?

After you try this and mess about with it for a few minutes, if you have not figured it out, ask me again. I'll be on for a couple more hours (till about 10 EST). Even if you do figure it out, write me and let me know. :)

Always me, Janee

In the tutorials for Heart #3 and Transparent Capsule when you show the opening of a new Alpha Channel the background is black. In my Photoshop 6.0 it is always white. So far I simply used black to fill selections instead of white but will I run into problems this way? I have tried resetting all of the defaults when I open the program but that does not change the background color of the Alpha Channel. I imagine there is something very simple I am overlooking.

By the way, I am a bicycle rider and .Monroe and Brown counties in Indiana are beautiful in the fall. The Hilly Hundred ride that starts at the Bloomington High School is my favorite of the whole season.

Thank you again for the Tutorials. I am doing about two a day and having a ball.


Hey there D.H.!
Hmmm.. pondering that alpha channel question. I don't know why it would default to white background for you. Maybe there is some option thing that we don't know about. Here is a fix for you though. After you open your alpha channel and it is white, do Ctrl-i which inverts your colors. I think that it does matter which part is white because I think that white will be the selection. If your default is backwards though, I could be wrong.

You do the Hilly 100? Cool! I've never ridden in it myself, but I do work Communications and first aid for it as a volunteer every year for the past 4 or 5 years. I'm always at the lunch stop on Saturday and at the last stop on Sunday. This past Hilly, we brought our little black lab puppy and people were petting her all day. She is a real dog now. <g> You will have to stop by the First Aid tent and say hi to me!

I'm happy you are liking the tuts! I keep thinking that I'm on the cusp of producing another, but I keep getting more email! <g> I do have a couple of ideas though which are clamoring to be written up, so I may just have to summon the muse. Can you think of anything off the top of your head that you would like me to write about? Techniques, effects, tools?

Always me, Janee

This is a letter that i tried to send in answer to this person but it came back undeliverable because the mailbox was full! I hate when this happens because i don't ever want someone to think i ignored their letter.


Subject: problem in tutorials

12 Jan 02

Sir i am reading ur tutorials very carefully and it very interesting and i like all of yours tutorial. But i have a problem in solving some of ur tutorials. I am reading ur tutorial in which u teach how to make a snow flakes and in most of ur tutorials u use this command that i am going to describe for u. Actually i am using Adobe 6. U say go to Edit>Transform>numeric. But i didn't find this option in 6. What is the alternate of this option in 6. plz tell me.

Greetings, K.H.!
I am actually not "Sir," but am "Madam," or actually I would prefer "Janee." :)

In the snowflake tutorial I have directions for version 6 written just below each direction in purple, where applicable. For this one, you have a couple of ways of doing it in version 6.

One is to do it as I describe in my tutorial, "For v. 6, Edit -> Transform -> Free Transform. Hold the shift key and put your arrow outside of the bounding box to make that curved "rotation arrow." Hold the shift key and drag to rotate two clicks."

OR you can also do Edit -> Transform -> Rotate.. and then put in the degrees under the angle in the options box.

Thank you for your question about this. I welcome any questions you have about my tutorials or anything. I am very happy that you are enjoying my tutorials!

Always me, Janee

Ask the Goddess Archives

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How I became the "Graphics Goddess"



I've done a lot of things. It is as if I've been searching for who I really am. I got started in graphics and web design .. this is kind of a funny story in a way, and offers a little peek into the sort of goofy person that I really am. I had a bakery, a little catering operation and I did cakes and cookies and pies and stuff which I delivered locally. Wedding cakes got to be a huge part of my business, and of course they were all on weekends. It occurred to me that I wanted to change things so that I wasn't working every weekend and so I thought of the idea of putting coffee cakes and brownies on the web. I developed and tested some recipes, coming up with a couple of awesome recipes. Then I ship-tested some on some friends of mine around the country and they shipped/lasted well. Cool.  

So I needed a website. I, of course, running my biz on a shoestring, didn't want to spend any money. <g> So I asked my nephew who was in computer science in college and he said that he'd do it in his spare time. Well, college kids, as you are well aware now, have NO spare time, so the site didn't get done. I had a domain and everything just sitting there. Then I got really sick and had to close down the biz for 4 months. During that time I didn't do much of anything except try to get better, which I ultimately did! Then I had been reading computer mags and such about how easy it is to build your own site with the software that makes it easy. I went to the CompUSA and the salesman told me not to get just hokey template software (Get your site online in less than an hour!) but instead to go a step above that and get MS FrontPage. Ok, so I did.

My first site was my own personal site. I had 4 links off my homepage: Hobbies, Photos, Links, and Blackberry Hill, which was the name of my business. Eventually I made a page for each of my hobbies, which, in those days, did not even include art! Photos became a photo album. I wrote an article and some other stuff and added a Writings page. And so it went. In those days I was just taking graphics from other sites.

Then one day in the fall of '99, a friend of mine told me that I ought to be doing some editing of my photos because they needed editing. I said that I didn't know how to do that at all and she turned me onto the fact that MS FrontPage had a program bundled with it called Image Composer, a simple photo-editing package. I discovered that I could make myself into twins, that I could give my sister green hair, and that I could take paintings of flowers that I'd taken from other sites and make them into "virtual gardens" which I used, that fall, to decorate my site. 



For Halloween, I was still using borrowed graphics. For Thanksgiving, I borrowed a turkey from a site and tried to animate it using Image Composer. He was supposed to be dancing, but he didn't do very well. <g>  

That November, too, my mother fell ill and died in December, so I was afk (away from the keyboard) for much of those two months. In January, I made my own snowflakes with Image Composer and used them to decorate my site. The method that I used is the same one, essentially, that is in my snowflake tutorial  now. In fact, I wrote up a tutorial for how to do it in Image Composer. That was my first tutorial.

My husband got me a digital camera, a very nice one, that Christmas of '99 and then in January, he replaced my computer with a fine big new one, the one that I still have. I got MS Photodraw as part of Office 2000 with my new computer and that icon for it with the paintbrush just .. well I had to try drawing. I painted some flowers, I mutated a picture of peas into sand dunes, and the artist was born!

In April of 2000, I was ready for a new image program and I'd heard about Photoshop. One of my friends said that it was the one that the pros used and so I thought that would be something to check out. I was amazed at the $600 tag on it but intrigued too. You know that effect that a very high price has. I read the box and just had to have it. I ordered it from Adobe the next day and got it on the 20th. I hated it at the start. Hard to get used to, things didn't work as I thought, and I was thinking that I'd made a terrible mistake. My friend told me about the newsgroup and so I started lurking there. 

As I learn new things in Photoshop, I write tutorials as a way of documenting and remembering my procedures. As with everything else in my life, I put these on the web. These have caught on in a big way with Photoshop learners from all over the world. One of these learners began to address me in email as Graphics Goddess, so the nickname was born!



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