Signs of the Times - December 2013 - (Page 32)

SOFTWARE UPDATE By Theresa Jackson Theresa Jackson operates Orchard View Color (Escondido, CA) and has more than 20 years' experience in prepress, graphic design, color management and photography. Email her at Photoshop Vector Graphics Vector-based designs are resolution-independent and scalable to any size. Wikipedia describesgeometrical vector graphics as, "... the use of primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics." "The world's most advanced, digital-imaging software" is Adobe's own Photoshop description. Photoshop's vector function handles bitmapped and pixel-image data, but also contains some powerful vectorgraphic tools. What matters to signmakers is that design-based, vector graphics are resolution-independent and scalable to any size, without imagequality losses. option from the top tool bar (Fig. 2). By default, this option will add a new vector layer to your Photoshop document when you click and drag it onto the canvas. Before you create the shape layer, you can set the shape size and fill color; you can also select stroke width, attributes and color. Shapefill options include solid colors, gradients or patterns. Stroke options include Align, Caps and Dash lines; all are well-known to Illustrator artists. By default, you can insert additional shapes as new shape layers, or add them to the existing shape layer by changing the path operations (top tool bar). Illustrator artists will also recognize these path operations - they're similar to the Illustrator Path Finder tools (Fig. 3). The same creative-layer effects (in Illustrator) that you use for image layers can be applied to Photoshop vector layers. Every layer-blend mode is available, and you can also apply shadows and glows. Further, you can mask by alphas, or group with other layers. Vector shapes Before Photoshop CS6, vector-shape layers were actually solid-fill, adjustment layers with vector masks. Photoshop CS6 replaced shape layers with actual vector layers that are comparable to the vector-graphic applications found in Adobe Illustrator. You can create a new vector layer by choosing any vector-shape (CMD or CNTRL U) tool: Rectangle, Rounded-Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, Line or Custom Shape. The Rectangular-Shape tool is the default vector-shape tool. You access the other vector shapes by clicking and holding on the Rectangle tool (Fig. 1). Prior to dragging or drawing a new shape layer into your Photoshop document, choose the shape Fig. 3: Path operations Live shapes in Photoshop CC With the introduction of Live Shape Properties in Photoshop CC, vector shapes became even more powerful and flexible. You activate Live Shape features with the Ellipse, Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle shape layers. In Photoshop CC, the Properties panel opens immediately after you create a new shape layer, and it offers all of the Live Shape editing properties (Fig. 4). The most useful Live Shape property is the rounded-corner option. It lets you independently round corners that remain scalable and editable for future changes. Fig. 2: Shape options Fig. 1: Vector shapes Most importantly, you can move and scale vector layers infinitely, without data or image-quality loss, as long as the layer remains vector data. 32 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / DECEMBER 2013 / Text layers Text layers are also vector graphics; thus, vector-based fonts - text - are infinitely scalable, without degradation. The text tool has been a Photoshop segment since the beginning, but, with the addition of Character and Paragraph styles, Fig. 4: Properties panel

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - December 2013

Signs of the Times - December 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Universal Laser’s ILS9.75 and ILS12.75 platform lasers
Technology Review - CET Color’s 500K X-Press flatbed, UV-cure printer
New Products
The Hands Have It
Digital Print Update
The First Neon Sign in America
The USSC Design Awards
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - December 2013