7 Things Photoshop Does Automatically

More accurately this should be called “7 Things Photoshop Does Automatically That Aren’t in the Automate Menu”, but I found that title to be a bit lengthy. Of course, Photoshop does many things “automatically”, but these are a few things I find especially useful and easy-to-use, that you may not know about yet. For the example images I’m going to use a few shots my girlfriend took during a trip to Europe using her point-and-shoot. I figure this to be the most ideal scenario for this example.

1 Auto Color

Image > Adjustments > Auto Color or [Ctrl + Shift + B]
For those of us that are professionals in the color-correcting field, this is a great feature to sometimes fix the poor colors a digital camera can capture. This isn’t a perfect fix for all photos all the time, but it can usually get you pointed in the right direction.
Auto-Color Example

2 Auto Levels

Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels or [Ctrl + Shift + L]
This is another quick way to do some minor color-correcting on your images. What this does is correct the black point and white point in your image automatically. It’s looking for the nearest-to-white color and setting that as the white point, then finding the nearest-to-black.
Auto-Levels Example

3 Auto Contrast

Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast or [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + L]
Auto contrast is another quick adjustment for Photoshop to automatically color correct your image. You usually don’t need to use this with Auto Levels, but sometimes it helps for images that look a bit more washed-out than you’d like.
Auto-Contrast Example

4 Auto-Align Layers

Edit > Auto-Align Layers
This feature is pretty cool as it attempts to align the content on your layers as close as Photoshop can figure out. When you run this command you’ll get a set of options as to how you want Photoshop to try to align. You’ll need to have your layers selected in the Layers palette by Ctrl-clicking or Shift-clicking on the layers. This is pretty much your savior for stitching together panoramas.

5 Auto-Blend Layers

Edit > Auto-blend Layers
Like Auto-Align, this feature is probably most useful in photography situations. When stitching together a panorama, it will attempt to match and blend the color across all of your layers to make sure your stitch looks seamless.

6 Vertical + Horizontal Centering (and other alignment)

Layer > Align > (options)...
This one is great when mocking up a new website design. This will allow you to align things vertically and horizontally to the center, left, right and top. Make sure your text layer is higher in your layers palette than the one you want to align with. Click on both layers by control-clicking or shift-clicking.
Align Example

6.5 Vertical + Horizontal Centering (to a selection)

Layer > Align to Selection > (options)...
If you don’t have another layer you want to align something to, you can make a section and align your object to the selection. Just make sure the layer you want to align is selected in the Layers palette before going to the Layer menu.

7 Straighten Crooked Photos

Unlike the other actions in this article, this one takes a few more steps. You’ll want to start with the Ruler tool (located under the Eyedropper [I]) and draw a line for your horizontal axis to be straightened. After drawing your line, go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary. Photoshop will have automatically entered the the angle in degrees needed to straighten your image, so just click OK. After running this you will have white areas in the corners, so be prepared to crop a bit.
Straighten Example

Comments Spill 9 Comments »

  1. June 30, 2008 8:33 amptamaro

    Thanks, really helpful stuff — there’s so much to Photoshop that it’s easy to forget all these things unless you use them frequently…

  2. August 16, 2008 11:45 amPhotoshop Domain » 7 Things Photoshop Does Automatically

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  4. January 19, 2009 7:16 pmJoseph Fabian

    It appears to me, those auto adjustments are not available in my new CS4.

  5. February 19, 2009 2:02 amshankar

    Its just a good idea,I have never thought of it that such common thing results great.It was very useful for me.

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  9. May 23, 2009 8:29 amJaja

    thanks! this is really cool!

 
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