Author Archive for AJ Wood

Instructor • Photographer • Life Enthusiast. A former Adobe Community Professional, A.J. currently works as an Adobe employee a testament to his dedication to the creative community. Connect with A.J. on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ & Twitter

Blending Options for Photoshop Smart Filters

Icon to show smart filter settings.

Here’s a quick tip regarding Smart Filters. In my travels I’ve met many folks who use Smart Filters, and they enjoy the ability to non-destructively apply filters. The capability to adjust filter settings and/or mask a filter provide for a number of creative possibilities. However, I’m surprised at the number of folks who don’t know that Smart Filters also have blending options.

Photoshop’s Forgotten Clone Source Panel

Photoshop Clone Source Panel

If you’re not taking advantage of this useful panel, it doesn’t surprise me. I consistently come across folks who use the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, etc., in their daily workflow, but have never heard of the Clone Source panel. Let’s discuss what you’re missing:

Adobe Tutorial Player for Photoshop

Adobe Tutorial Player Opening Screen

Today I want to share a little known app called the Adobe Tutorial Player for Photoshop. Built with the Photoshop SDK, this app isn’t simply a video player, but an interactive way to practice some quick Photoshop tutorials. It works by using the Remote Connections feature found in Photoshop CS5 & higher. Rather than reading & following the tutorial instructions, you can have the app show you the steps directly in Photoshop.

Quick Fast Adobe Bridge Tip

Adobe Bridge CS5

Photoshop CS5 introduced the Mini Bridge panel as a means of accessing your images. While useful to have on hand, Mini Bridge requires the full Adobe Bridge application to be launched. If you want quick access to Adobe Bridge AND you want a panel that can float between ALL your desktop apps, then you need to starting using Compact Mode. Best part, this is a tip that you can use with Adobe Bridge CS2 and above.

Ten More Things About Lightroom


AJ Wood returns with a follow up to his popular post Ten Things Beginners Should Know in Lightroom with an updated Lightroom 4 edition.

These are AJ’s ‘must know’s’, do you have any of your own you want to share? Drop them in the comments and we’ll compile them for a future post.

The Navigator Panel in Photoshop


While there are various tools, and plenty of methods for panning & zooming an image my favorite is still the Navigator Panel. If you’re not in the habit of customizing your workspace or moving the panels around, you’ve probably never given the Navigator Panel much thought. At first glance it doesn’t look all that impressive, but the trick is using it with a second monitor while sizing it really large.

Using Non-Linear History in Photoshop



The History panel within Photoshop is something most users have made us of in their workflows. One of the most common things I see happen with beginners is accidentally erasing History Steps (aka History States). This generally happens when someone clicks a Snapshot not realizing that can erase History, or more often someone chooses a previous step and does something new. If you add non-linear history to your workflow that’s a quick way to keep as much of your history as you’ve set in your preferences. Enjoy!


Lightroom 3 – Watermarks

Lightroom 3 Watermark Dialogue

Recently it was brought to my attention that there are a number of folks who aren’t using the Watermark feature inside of Lightroom 3. I was surprised to find some folks didn’t know about it, or more importantly weren’t aware of the ability to create custom watermarks. For today’s article I have two items-first I’ve embed my video tutorial on how you can create your own custom watermark in Lightroom 3. Second, based on a number of requests, I’ll walk you through the steps to edit an existing watermark.

Ten More Things About Photoshop


As my good friend J. Schuh aka The Texas Animator likes to say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Photoshop certainly is an elephant of a program to wrap your head around. Keeping with my Top Ten series, here are ten more things you can use in Photoshop.

Photoshop Quick Mask


Greetings all! Hope your week has been brilliant, and you have plenty to look forward to this weekend. Today I’ve made a video on how to use Quick Mask mode in Photoshop. Quick Mask mode, something rarely seen these days,…

Ten Things Beginners Should Know in Lightroom


10. The “F” key cycles through screen modes just like Photoshop. Your menus have gone missing? Press CMD+OPT+F (CTRL+ALT+F) to immediately return to the normal screen mode.

9. Side panels keep disappearing? Turn off Auto-Hide for Panels. Right-click the triangle icon on the side panels and change the setting to “Manual”. Works for top & bottom panels as well.

Apply a “Pinch Curve” to Tighten a Layer Mask

RGB Pinch Curve

Howdy & Hello! As Photoshop continues to improve, our digital workflows become more efficient as we replace old techniques with new features. How many of you have embraced the Refine Edge dialogue commands, or the Adjustment & Masking panels? If you’ve been reading Michael Hoffman’s articles here at TipSquirrel there should be no doubt about the usefulness of those improved features. What happens when you’re put in front of an older version of Photoshop WITHOUT those cool new features? A smart person has TipSquirrel bookmarked because you never know when you’ll need an old school technique. Let’s take a look at how to use a “pinch curve” to choke in a layer mask in Photoshop.

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