Re: OT (?) Photoshop bummer

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;>
Date: 01/12/05-08:52:05 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Tue, 11 Jan 2005 wrote:
> Judy,
> On sunday i spent an enjoyable afternoon in Woodstock at a gallery talk by
> Dan Burkholter, whose show just opened there ( terrific show, List, go see it

Aiyee -- that's above 14th Street ! I can't even get to the upper east
side to the dentist, tho obviously I'd rather see Dan's show -- but life
is too complicated right now...

> ). Coincidentally, he did a demonstration of removing a boring
> background sky and adding a better one. Like you, i have always used
> the magic wand tool, but Dan's method is to use the "background eraser"
> tool ( found under the

Glad I didn't know he was going to show that, I'd have been too
frustrqated that I couldn't get there. Meanwhile, I did think the wand was
pretty good. Can you explain what's better about the background eraser?
There is nothing in these "backgrounds" that I'm talking about -- they're
perfectly blank. So what would get erased? Many of them are simply the
sky space in the center of a street, between the buildings on each side,
generally a zigzag section that's pure white. Tho it looks on the monitor
as if it's a whitish yellowish, it doesn't apparently have any pixels in
it... When I print it & check with a loupe there are about 3 pixels per

> eraser tool on the tool bar... i've been photoshopping since version 2,
> and never used it, duh... ), to get rid of the offending background.
> It leaves a much better edge, apparently ( i haven't tried it yet, but
> it worked wonderfully in his demo). He then placed the good sky in a
> new window with matching size and resolution, then went back to the
> original image, and used the drag tool to drag the foreground layer
> (which now has a transparent background area where you've erased it),
> onto the new window, and on top of the good sky.

When I do something like that (still improvising) I copy and paste because
the paste lands on a layer & I can move the layer around -- at least until
it locks, which it does by a whim of its own, so then I copy and paste
AGAIN, etc.

I feel like a dope, incidentally, for having ignored the Adobe
manual, maybe because it was free? Now I find several very
explicit pages on the gradient fill. Whether it will oblige (my machine
never produced the menus it shows, but they may be in there somewhere)
remains to be seen, but at least it's grounds for hope.

Maybe the manual has something about *locking* too ! All Blatner & Fraser
have about that is one brief reference in passing... nothing so useful as
saying when and why, and how to undo. It's like -- it's locked, you're

The magic wand edge, BTW, looks fine to me, but these are work prints,
about 5 x 8 inches, so it's possible that larger, especially in platinum,
it wouldn't. Or I may not have the fine eye for this that Dan has. Anyway,
thanks for the info -- I've often said that if you could REALLY do
Photoshop with all its bells and whistles, you could do ANYTHING with a
photograph, like turn Joseph Stalin into Marilyn Monroe ! The one thing I
can't do is get tone at the light end of a contrasty (sunny) scene. But
other than that -- well, if you like the digital photograph look
(everything or almost everything in sharp focus), all that stuff about
exposure and tone range (except for those highlights) are obsolete skills
(assuming you've packed it all into your brain of course).

> i dunno about using a gradient fill layer for a background sky... sounds
> to me like it would look fake, but hey if you get it to work then
> happydance. :o)

Well again it looked fine to me, tho I may not have the expertise to
see what's wrong. But the printout looked real i thought -- paper
white toward the horizon, shading to a pale blue higher up, which looks
very plausible, at least to me.

thanks again

Received on Wed Jan 12 20:52:16 2005

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