Five Tip Friday ~ your Mac’s Display, Numbers and even make an animated GIF in Photoshop


1/ Adjust your Mac display’s resolution settings — Macs ship with the display set at a certain resolution, and Apple defines this in the technical specifications for each model. But with Retina displays, these numbers can get confusing: there is the display’s resolution and the “looks like” resolution used on the Mac. Resolutions on Retina Macs look like half the actual number of pixels measured vertically and horizontally because of pixel doubling.

RezTo change resolution (ie, make things look bigger, or smaller and more detailed, on your screen), you must first check Scaled in the Displays pane (circled, above). Then see five options. These range from larger text to more space, with the Default setting in the middle.
If you have aging eyes or just want to see less on your display, try one of the settings to the left of the Default option. If you want to see more on the display — with smaller fonts, menus, etc — then try one of the settings to the right. When you hover over one of these options, the Displays pane shows a text saying that “Using a scaled resolution may affect performance.” This is because your graphics card might not be able to keep up with a higher resolution (ie when things look smaller), or that some of your apps may not display correctly.

2/ Do quick sums in Numbers — With just a couple of clicks, you can add a formula that totals up a series of cells, whether your numbers are down a column or across a row. To do this, click on the cell where you’d like to put the sum, and select the Formula button in the toolbar.
Choose “Sum” from that list, and Numbers’ll automagically do just that.
As you can tell, though, you can also use this handy toolbar button to do averages, products, and more, quick as a wink. And if you need advanced options, pick “Create Formula” from under that button, and you’ll see all of the functions you can use (there are a lot!).

3/ In Numbers, use Conditional Formatting — This feature works a lot like rules in Mail: ‘if this thing is true, then do this, but if this other thing is true instead, do a different thing.’ For example, you can set up some conditions on a range of cells to say “If the number within you is greater than 1000, colour the cell green; if it’s less than 500, color it blue.”
Select the cells you want to apply the formatting to, then click “Format” in the toolbar to slide your options out if they aren’t already visible.
Under those tabs on the right, choose the “Cell” one, and there you’ll see “Conditional Highlighting.”
Set your parameters for what rules you want your cells to follow there. Try “greater than, less than”. Use text conditions to find cells that start with or end with certain words.
Make conditions by date, even, and be sure to keep adding on those rules until you’re satisfied with the formatting options you’ve set. Then you’ll be able to visually screen your data faster, and your budget will thank you. [MacObserver has more info and pictures explaining this.]

4/ Use keyboard shortcuts to add rows and columns — Option plus any of the arrow keys will add things in for you. Here are the choices:
Option–Up Arrow: Adds a row above the one you’re on
Option–Down Arrow: Adds a row below the one you’re on
Option–Right Arrow: Adds a column to the right of the one you’re on
Option–Left Arrow: Adds a column to the left of the one you’re on.

5/ OK, for the real power users, how to create an animated GIF in Photoshop— Fire up Photoshop (CS6 Extended or any version of CC) and choose File > New. In the resulting dialog box, enter the animation width and height (say, 300×250 pixels). Enter 72 for resolution, set the Color Mode menu to RGB, and choose sRGB from the Color Profile menu.
Next, create the content using layers. To add images to the document, choose File>Place Embedded (File>Place in earlier versions of Photoshop). Photoshop surrounds the image with resizing handles; Shift-drag any corner handle to resize the image and then press Return. Repeat for each image. Be sure to include a layer for branding (say, your logo) and a “call to action” layer (say, “click here to get 50% off your first sitting”). The latter gives your audience an action to do, and lets you gauge the ad’s success rate. Once your content is complete, turn off the layer visibility icons (circled) for everything except what you want visible on the first frame.
This Layers panel shows all the animation content. As you can see, only the layers for the first frame are visible.
Now choose Window > Timeline. In the resulting panel, click the down-pointing icon to the right of the Create Video Timeline button and choose Create Frame Animation. Click the Create Frame Animation button that appears and Photoshop creates one frame representing what’s currently visible in the Layers panel. Each frame serves as a placeholder for the content you want to show onscreen, which you control using layer visibility.
To add a new frame, click the “Duplicate selected frames” button (circled). Since frame content is determined by layer visibility, the new frame is identical to the first one. In the Layers panel, use the visibility icons to display only the layer(s) containing the content for the second frame in your animation. Keep adding frames and adjusting layer visibility until you’ve completed the animation. Here the call to action frame appears after the final costume photo, followed by a “blank” frame containing only the background.
After clicking the duplicate button (circled), use layer visibility to display the content you want to appear in the second frame (top). Adding a blank frame between two text frames (the first and last) helps keep text readable once the animation loops during playback (bottom).
You can also add a fade transition between frames, which is called tweening. To do it, activate the frame you want to fade into the next one (say, the “call to action” frame) and click the Tween button (it looks like a diagonal row of squares and it’s at left of the duplicate button). In the resulting dialog box, tell Photoshop which frame to tween the active one with (Next Frame was used here) and enter how many frames of fading you want in the Frames to Add field. Click OK and Photoshop adds the new frames.
Use the frame delay menu beneath each frame to control how long it’s visible. Keep your branding and call to action frames onscreen long enough to be read (say, two seconds) and speed up tweened frames (0.5 seconds). Next, click the looping options menu (circled) and choose 3, so the animation repeats itself three times. Click the Play button (also circled) to preview your handiwork.
You can set the delay for each frame individually or en masse by Shift- or Command-clicking to activate frames and then changing the duration of one of them.
When you’re finished, choose Optimize Animation from the Timeline panel’s fly-out menu (circled). In the resulting dialog box, leave both options turned on: Bounding Box closely crops each frame to its content and Redundant Pixel Removal makes unchanged pixels transparent in subsequent frames). Choose File > Save As and pick Photoshop from the Format menu to preserve your layers so you can edit them later.
Choose File > Save for Web in Photoshop CS6 Extended or File > Export > Save for Web in CC and choose GIF from the format menu at upper right (circled). If you’ve included photographs with gradients in the animation, set the Dither menu to Diffusion and experiment with the amount setting to its right (also circled). If your animation doesn’t include full-color photos, try lowering the Colors field to reduce file size. Use the Animation section at lower right (circled) to preview your piece before saving it.
The resulting GIF will play in any web browser: use the browser’s File > Open command or drag and drop the GIF onto a browser window. You can also preview it using QuickLook: simply click the file name and press your keyboard’s spacebar.
(From Lesa Snider at Macworld).