Using Photoshop CS5's HDR Toning Adjustment as an Image Correction Tool

There are so many different ways to adjust an image in Photoshop: Curves, Levels, Brightness/Contrast and more. CS5 introduces one more way to adjust images: HDR Toning. HDR toning can be used to create artistic photographic effects but applied at low settings on high contrast images it works to preserve highlight detail while illuminating the shadow detail.


  1. Open your image in Photoshop. Select Image > Adjustment > HDR Toning.

  2. Set the Method to Local Adaption (it may already be set on this setting). Tip: if the saturation default is high, set it to 0 first and then adjust the rest of the settings.

  3. If you want your adjustments to look realistic, keep the settings low and don't make drastic adjustments. For this specific image, I used: Radius 50px, Strength .50, Gamma 1.14, Exposure 0, Detail +30, Shadow, +10, Highlight -20, Vibrance 0, Saturation 0.

  4. Click on the down arrow by Toning Curve and Histogram and make any necessary Curve adjustments.

  5. If artistic/drastic adjustments is what you're looking for, go wild. Making major adjustments in the HDR toning settings will yield images like this:

Thanks to sxc.hu user mossholder for the photo

Torn Paper Art


I like the texture and variety of colors in these torn art collages. Man - CD cover, T.I. Paper Trails album. Woman - collage by Derek Gores.

Conserve Rain Water Poster


An eye-catching poster. I like the contrast of the bold umbrella icon and the subtle cloud texture.

Trimming, Expanding and Revealing in Photoshop

A few of my favorite useful little Photoshop commands reside under the Image menu.

Image > Trim. Crops out all transparent pixels. Favorite use: No more eyeballing it! Using Trim crops to the exact edges of an image. Trim preserves drop shadows too.

Image > Canvas Size (Cmd-Opt-C). Expand the canvas size. My favorite part of this dialog box: Checking 'Relative' and typing in an amount is a speedy way to evenly add white space on all 4 sides.

Image > Reveal All. Expands the canvas to show all pixels hidden off the edges of the image window. Especially useful when layering multiple images and something gets lost off canvas.

Screenshots on a Mac - Good, Better, Best

When I worked on both Macs and PCs, I always appreciated the extra ease of use and control in taking Mac screenshots. Now that I'm always on a Mac, I usually take screenshots for granted. However, today I'm excited to add a new keyboard shortcut to my screenshot repertoire. The basics:

Cmd-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of your entire screen.

Cmd-Shift-4: Take a screenshot of specific area of your screen. Select the area by drawing a box around the area with the crosshairs.

The new (to me) shortcut: Cmd-Shift-4 + Spacebar
Press the first 3 keys together and then, when the crosshairs appear, press the spacebar. The cursor will turn into a camera. Using the cursor/camera, select a specific window or panel to take a screenshot of only that panel. The screenshot image will appear on a transparent background if you open it in Photoshop.


For even more detail on Mac screenshots, see this guide.

Dagoba Chocolate


I like the bright and natural look of Dagoba's website. There are lots of special touches that make this website sweet: the little waving leaves on the right margin, the vintage plant sketches, the rough edges on the textured paper border, the beautiful central photograph.

Straighten a Photo in Photoshop CS5

One of my most appreciated one click features in Photoshop CS5 is the Straighten button. It's so easy to use. Open a photo with a crooked horizon.


Select the ruler tool and draw a line along the horizon. Click the Straighten button and Photoshop will straighten and crop your image automatically.



Photo courtesy of jawcey