PshopFor years now, I’ve had a free tip e-mail list where I distribute my Photoshop tips. Now I’m going to start answering Photoshop questions as part of this blog. The first installment is below:

Elizabeth Sher asks:  I returned home excited to explore working with camera RAW images, but have not been able to get the full dialog box to open in CS. I am shooting with a D70 and when the images open, it opens with Nikon’s very limited dialog box. Nikon documentation says there is a photoshop filter installed that will open the image in photoshop and I have even tried throwing out the Nikon filters so that it might pull up photoshops, but no luck so far. Any suggestions?

Answer: If you use a Nikon camera and you’ve installed the software that came with your camera, then that software will usually overide Photoshop’s Camera Raw dialog box. If you’d rather use Camera Raw, then navigate on your hard drive to the Photoshop CS > Plug-Ins > Adobe Photoshop Only > File Formats and remove the file called ‘Nikon NEF Format’. Or, if you’d rather keep that file and temporarily disable it, then add a ‘~’ in front of the file name. Any file with that symbol in from of it will not be loaded when Photoshop is launched.

Wayne Rau asks: I was just recently at the New Orleans Seminar and let me say it was fantastic. I really enjoyed everything. I had a question about another hot key. I know you can jump back and forth from tool to tool by hitting a letter on the keyboard (i.e. M for marquee, B for paint brush, etc…). But when you are in the text tool, how do you jump to another too using the keyboard?

Answer: When a text box is active, any keys you press are entered as text. You can press the Enter (not Return) key to finish entering text and then use the standard keyboard shortcuts to switch tools.

Fracita de la Casita asks: I have been reasonably ok with restoring my old family photos.  Now, I want to print them for framing. My problem is sizing for an 8×10 or 5 x 7 photograph. I am using an HP 7500 series and using HP premium paper.  The image never centers itself on my page and I am pulling my hair.

Answer: Try choosing File>Print with Preview and turn on the Center Image checkbox… but be carefull… It will center your image within the *printable area* of your printer. If your printer has a larger unprintable area on one side of the paper than the other, then you’ll have to turn that checkbox off and manually position the image in the middle of the paper.

Will Johnston asks: Please help. I am trying to centre a layer within an image, but keep getting the following error message: "Could not complete your request because non of the pixels in the target layer are more than 50% opaque"

Answer: Photoshop treats any areas that are less than 50% opaque as if they don’t exist when performing certain functions (like centering). The first thing I’d do is to look at the Opacity setting at the top of the layers palette. If it’s below 100%, then bring it all the way up to 100%, center your image and then adjust the Opacity setting back to its original setting. If the Opacity is already at 100%, then duplicate the layer a few times and merge the duplicates into each other to build up the opacity (but leave the original layer intacted), then link the merged duplicates with the original layer, center them and then throw away the merged duplicate.

Crystal Young asks: How can I most speedily set up a background to appear in all my images?  I am working an event where they want to have the theme of a beach – and I would like to shoot people in front of a blue screen and have the ability to have ‘fake’ background but very quickly as I am printing on the spot.  Can you please help?

Answer: If you don’t feel like spending any money and would rather spend a little time, then you’ll need to learn about Photoshop’s Background Eraser or Extract Command. If you really want to make the process fast, easy and as automatic as possible, then you’ll want to look into Chromakey software. The two programs I like the most are Primatte and AdvantEdge.

Kath Gillies asks:
Hi Ben, I am having trouble with the crop tool, I cannot make it longer or narrower. I comes as a set size and I have to use the marque tool, which is annoying as I like to make the size and then press enter but with the marque tool have to go to image crop.

Answer: When the Crop tool is active, take a look a the Options Bar that extends across the top of your screen. There are most likely some numbers entered in the width or height fields. Click on the Clear button in the Options Bar to clear out those numbers and reset the tool to allow it to create any sized cropping rectangle.

To submit your own questions, visit the Photoshop Question Clinic.