Dayton PHP Meetup Tomorrow – Git and Gitflow

GitLogo-FeaturedImageOmniSpear is excited to host Dayton PHP and their upcoming meeting on Git and Gitflow.   The presentation will take place tomorrow at our conference room from 6:00-8:00 p.m. with special guest speaker, Nate Denlinger.  Nate has been a developer for over 9 years and will be giving us an overview of the ins and outs of Git and workflow processes.  We are excited to learn the basics of streamlining with GIT as well as learning about real life experiences during the round-table.  For more information , or to RSVP, check out the Dayton PHP’s event site.

Photoshop Tutorial – Using The Curves Tool

Photoshop Tutorial – Using curves to adjust image tone

The curves tool is very powerful for image manipulation. We use curves to precisely adjust the tonal characteristics of an image. In this tutorial we will explore the curves tool in its simplest form to adjust the contrast of an image.

curves-photo-original

The original photograph was taken in a room with natural lighting and it looks acceptable. However, we can add an adjustment layer to it to give the photograph a precise contrast making it warm and rich in color.

curves-photo-adjusted

The curves tool is very precise and a small adjustment goes a long way! Here is a side-by-side view of the photograph before and after the adjustment.

curves-photo-side-by-side

So how did we get to the finished product? It’s really quite simple. We start by adding an adjustment layer to our original photograph. From the top menu: Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Curves… There is also a shortcut in the layers window for this as well. We could also change the image directly without the adjustment layer however this allows us to see our effects without corrupting the original photograph.

curves-adding-adjustment-layer

Once the new adjustment layer is inserted we manipulate the tone of the image by adding points to the “curve”. The curves window displays a histogram representing the distribution of light throughout the image. The left side is the dark the right side represents the lightness. Take note of the black to white gradient at the bottom of the chart.

curves-settings

Points may be added by simply grabbing the line at any point and moving it around. Once you have created a single adjustment point you may add others to gain the exact levels you require. Points may also be deleted as necessary just select the point and press your delete key.

This is a small sample of what can be achieved with the curves tool. Add additional adjustment layers and play with it, you may find combinations of different effects that make your image a work of art.

Photoshop Tutorial – Custom Shapes

Custom shapes are vector-based objects which add an endless array of possibilities to your designs. Photoshop by default has a basic set of shapes which includes arrows, star-bursts, speech bubbles and other random objects. These items are handy but on occasion we need something completely unique.

In this tutorial we will explore the creation of our own custom shapes. For this example we are going to take a rather small raster icon and convert it to a vector shape. We start by opening up our image and selecting the pen tool. The pen tool has a few options once selected. Make sure the “paths” option is selected otherwise the shape you create will automatically “fill” with the selected foreground color making the process more difficult.

Pen Tool

Create the initial object outline using the pen. You should make this outline as detailed as possible since the shape you are creating will be a vector object which may be scaled to a very large size showing any inconsistencies. Our first path outline illustrates how a basic shape may be created. Although for this particular item it needs more detail.

outline-basic

Here is an example of the shape that would be created if we had just stopped here:
shape-basic

Take note of how it resembles the original but really lacks the detail which defines the object as a microphone.

outline-advancedWe now revisit the object and outline additional parts of the microphone which will add the detail needed to make our shape resemble the original more closely. You may add as much detail as needed to accomplish your specific needs. For this microphone, we decided to outline all of the “ribs” and parts of the stand including some of the reflections.

The resulting custom shape is considerably more complex which makes a better representation of the original item.

shape-advanced

You may be asking “how did it go from a path to a shape?” That part is actually quite simple. Once you have created your paths make sure the layer containing them is selected. Go to the top menu: Edit -> Define Custom shape…

shape-select

Name your new shape and it will be added to your shape library for use in any project you may need it. Select the custom shape tool from the hidden menu under the rectangle and have some fun with it!

Here is an example of our new microphone shape re-sized and colorized.

microphone-shapes