Ades Design Blog

Introduction to Photoshop

Note: This tutorial was done using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

1.0 Overview

This lesson is a brief introduction to Photoshop, I will not cover all the topics but I will cover enough of them to teach you how to edit (resize, crop, merge) images yourself without asking somebody else.

Adobe Photoshop is probably the singe image editing program that you need. It is a very comprehensive software, it can meet almost all your needs and solve almost all your problems that you face with the images. You have been hearing about Photoshop all these while, everyday more and more. So here is your chance to get your hands on Photoshop. If you don’t have the software buy one, or download the trial but fully functional version at Let’s get started!

Here is the screenshot of Photoshop Interface

2.0 Tools and Options Panel

Open your Photoshop. If you don’t see Tools Toolbar already then go to Window > Tools.

Below is the screenshot of the Tools panel. If the tool has a small trianlge at the bottom corner it means it has more than one tools. To see these options just click on the tool and hold your mouse for a few seconds, and you will see the options on the popup window as shown below.

Let’s go through one tool from each group and their functions. The letters inside the brackets are the shortcuts for the particular tool, when you are in Photoshop and press V for example it would select the Move Tool.

Move Tool (V): Is used to select and move images (objects) on any active layer.
Rectangular Marquee Tool (M): It is used for making selection on the image (objects) on any active layer.
Magic Wand Tool (W): Used for making selection (similar colors at once for example)
Polygonal Lasso Tool (L): Used for making free selection as you go
Slice Select Tool (K): Used for selecting slices
Crop Tool (C): Used for cropping images
Patch Tool (J): Used for correcting images
Brush Tool (B): Used for drawing freehand
History Brush Tool (Y): Used for restoring specified history state
Clone Stamp Tool (S): Used for selecting a source and copying (drawing) it in another place
Gradient Tool (G): Used for making gradient effect on images
Eraser Tool (E): You are right, this tool is used for erasing 😉
Dodge Tool (O): Used for making images lighter (And Burn tool makes the opposite – darker)
Horizontal Type Tool (T): Yes used for inserting text to image
Path Selection Tool (A): Used for selecting the active path
Custom Shape Tool (U): Used to insert pre-specified (ready) shapes to image
Pen Tool (P): Used for creating vector shapes
Eyedropper Tool (I): Used for selecting color
Notes Tool (N): Used for inserting notes on the image
Zoom Tool (Z): Yes used for zooming in or out
Hand Tool (H): Used for dragging image when you are in the zoom in state

2.1 Options Panel

As you see below from the screenshot below, Options Panel is highlighted with light-red. Whenever you switch from one tool to another, Options Panel will change accordingly. Currently as you can see Brush Tool is selected in the Tools panel, and in the Options Panel you can see the properties of the Brush Tool, namely : Brush Size (Type), Mode, Opacity and Flow.

Just remember to look up to the Options Panel when you choose a particular tool, because sometimes if something is selected or unselected in the Options Panel, you might not be able to use that particular tool properly. For example Opacity of the color might be set to “Zero” in the Options Panel, in that case anything that you draw would not show up since 0 means invisible.

3.0 Working with Images

3.1 Cropping

Download this image or open any image in your Photoshop. Select the Crop Tool (Press ‘C’ to Select or Select it with your Mouse) and draw a selection on your image as shown below. (To make a selection click and drag with your mouse)

Make a selection After you made your selection press Enter Result

Cropping images is actually that easy in Photoshop, just select the area you want to keep and press Enter on your keyboard, and you are done. You can also press on the Move Tool instead of pressing Enter on your keyboard, it will prompt you a window similar to the one shown below. If you are satisfied with your selection just press on the Crop button and your image will be cropped.

3.2 Copying & Pasting

Download  this image or open any image in your Photoshop. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and make a selection on the image as shown below.

Make a selection and press Ctrl + C or go to Edit > Copy Press Ctrl + N to open a new window or go to File > New and press OK And now press Ctrl + V to paste the copied image or go to File > Paste

Whenever you make a selection on the image and copy that area, Photoshop automatically saves the dimensions of that selection in its memory. Thus when you open a new window, dimensions of the image will already be in the Width and Height fields.

3.3 Image Adjustment

I will not explain how to adjust images in this section, but will point out the tools that is used for image adjustment. You can find related tutorials for image adjustment in the Photoshop Tutorials section.

Go to Image > Adjustments. You will see the menu as shown below.

Go ahead and try some of the effects on your image, try to change the Brightness/Contrast, Auto Color…etc. Sometimes using Photoshop’s pre-defined Image Adjustment options will solve your problem, try using Auto Levels, Auto Contrast or Auto Color on your photos before you proceed with other options.

4.0 Working with Texts

Open a new window Ctrl + N (choose a bigger dimensions for the window; width 400 and height 300) and press OK

Select the Horizontal Type Tool (T) and click on the window that you just opened and type something.

If you want to make changes to your text, highlight it and change the properties from Options Panel

After you are done making changes click on the Move Tool (V) and by clicking on your text position it on the top left corner of the window.

Note: When working with Texts it’s important to click on Move Tool (V) after you are done typing. Many newbies make this mistake of not clicking on Move Tool or on any other tool than the Text Tool and are literally stuck in the Photoshop.

To move your text from one place to another choose the Move Tool and just click on your text with your mouse and without releasing your mouse move the text to the desired place.

There is another way to change the properties of the Text, in addition to the Options Panel we have discussed and that is by using Character Panel. If you don’t see the Character Panel go to Windows > Character to bring up the Character Panel.

Below is the Character Panel screenshot, if you change any of the properties in this window it will be reflected on your text. However for it to be effective you need to be on the correct layer, otherwise you will not see any changes on the text. Layers will be our next discussion.

5.0 Working with Layers

Photoshop uses “Layers” for managing multiple (separate) objects in the same file, to open your Layers Panel go to Window > Layers. If you have used other image editing programs that use the same “Layers” concept. Then this should be familiar to you. If you haven’t then it’s an easy concept to understand, just think of the Layers as a “Stack of Books” on the floor, and imagine yourself as looking at this stack of books from top.

Firstly, when you look at this stack from top, you will be able to see the cover of the first book which is on top of all the other books without a problem, however when you try to see the cover of the second book that is below the first book, you will notice that most of it are not visible to you. Because it’s being blocked by the first book. And when you look at the third book’s cover it will be even more hidden from your eyes. So think of Layers in Photoshop as a Stack of Books, one layer representing one book or level in the stack.

5.1 Layer that is on top

As you can see from the image above, the blue circle is located on the Top Layer, I have named the Layer as “Circle”, and red rectangle is on second layer, I have named this layer as “Rectangle”. As we have discussed earlier, book that is on top of the stack will cover the layers below. Thus you see the Circle covering Rectangle. And our background is a white color which is visible from the sides of the circle and rectangle.

5.2 Changing layer positions

Here I have moved Red Rectangle to Top, as you see now Red Rectangle is on top and it covers the Circle. To move the particular layer just click on it with your mouse and while still holding your mouse move it up or down. Or you can click on the Layer that you want to move and use shortcut keys on your keyboard to move it up ( Ctrl+] ) and down ( Ctrl=[ ).

5.3 What is Active Layer

Active layer is the layer which you are working on, for example from the image below we can see that the Active Layer is the Rectangle Layer – active layer will always be highlighted (selected).

Note: And if you want to move particular object you should select it’s respective layer first, then only you can move it. Otherwise you will end up moving something else.

The “Eye” icon on the left of the layers means that the layers are currently visible, if you toggle them off then the object will also dissappear (will become invisible) from our window.

As you can see from the screenshot above, I have deselected/removed the eye icon from the layer Rectangle. We still can see the rectangle in the Layers Panel but it is not visible on our image – we can only see the blue circle.

6.0 Saving for Web (as JPG or GIF)

After you have completed your work I believe you would want to save it as .jpg or .gif (or any other format that Photoshop supports)

To save your image for web go to File > Save for Web or press Alt+Shift+Ctrl+S and you will see an identical window like this one below.

From here you can change the image type to JPG, GIF, PNG and WBMP. You can change the quality of the image as well, the higher the quality the bigger the size will be,

Note: Take the size into account when saving big images for web usage. Because, the higher is the quality of the image the bigger the size will be. And as you know big images will load very slow on internet.

I believe, here our lesson ends, I hope it was fun learning Photoshop. Now that you know how to work with photoshop you can check my other photoshop tutorials here. If you have any questions or comments regarding this tutorial please do let me know. I would be glad to hear them.


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