June '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M J U N E 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 8 9 T H E D I G I T A L E Y E | S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O Stephen Romaniello is an artist and educator who has taught computer graphics since 1990. He is Professor Emeritus and the founder of the Digital Arts program at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. Stephen is a certified instructor in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Premier and the author of numerous books, articles, and media on the creative use of graphics software. Stephen is the founder and CEO of GlobalEye Systems, a company that offers training and consulting in graph- ics software and creative imaging. Applying Color the Smart Way Working with fill layers I n the digital workflow, there are always a million paths to one particular end result. Similar effects can be applied with a multi- tude of methods to achieve the same out- come. at being said, the mantra I've been chanting over the years is, "Keep the work- flow dynamic!" ose four words make the difference between producing an image that is fluid and flexible and one that is static and immutable. In graphics, fluidity means, above all, to make changes that are reversible with the intent that any command can be reversed or changed at any time without compromising the entire image. One of the most important reasons to produce images in a digital environment as opposed to an analog one is that choices are always prevalent in every phase of the design process. In this Digital Eye, I'll discuss options that provide greater flexibility when filling areas with color, gradients, or patterns. I'll be using the latest version of Photoshop B U S I N E S S S T R A T E G I E S Fig. 1: The Fill dialog box. 2023 to demonstrate these techniques, but of course, similar features are available in Corel PaintShop Pro. Fill 'er up Filling an area with color is super easy. Select a region with one of the selection tools and choose Fill from the Edit menu. A dia- log box is displayed that applies the current foreground or background color or a variety of other choices to the area (Fig. 1). A blend mode or opacity can also be specified. If you want to avoid the dialog box altogether and just apply 100 percent of the color, a key com- mand worth remembering is Option + Delete (Mac) or Alt + Backspace (Windows). ese techniques are simple and straight- forward, but they are not dynamic. Once the fill is made and the image is saved and closed, the fill cannot be easily altered without rese- lecting the area and modifying it, which usu- ally affects the areas around it — an editing process that can be quite labor intensive. Layer it A far better and more dynamic method for applying color is to create a fill layer. Fill lay- ers combine the potential of the Fill com- mand with the flexibility of layers. As a layer, the color is independent from the rest of the image and accessible at any time during the workflow. You can create and edit fill layers with solid colors, gradients, or patterns. Solid colors To create a solid-color fill layer, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color, or click the circular icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (Fig. 2). e New Layer dialog box is displayed with the layer named Color Fill 1 by default. Type a custom name for the layer to better identify it and click OK.

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