Thursday, February 16, 2012

Learn The Basics of Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Environment
In the following tutorial you will learn about the overall scope of Adobe Photoshop CS5 . This program is used mostly to manipulate images. People that do web development, graphic design, and photography will probably prefer the use of this program to edit their images. Once you have grasped this basic knowledge of the software, you will be able to dive into Adobe Photoshop CS5 and quite possibly Adobe Fireworks CS5 , which works in a similar way. Adobe Fireworks CS5 is just a little simpler and has less features. Adobe Fireworks CS5 was originated as Fireworks MX 2004 . Enough of the chit-chat, lets get down to business!

When you first enter the Adobe Photoshop CS5 environment you will see a plethora of features and plug-ins to mess with. Fortunately, with a little training from me you won't have to be confused by these things. Go to the top left of the screen and select file/new.  Now you should see the picture above. This is the basic variables that you are able to change when you start a new file. You can change the name of Photoshop document to whatever you please. This is best suited when you are trying to organize stuff during your Adobe Photoshop CS5 training sessions on the web. The preset window lets you select what type of paper size, resolution, and color mode that you would like to have to start out with. Of course most will just go with custom so that they can personalize their specific project. Most of the time, the project you are working on won't fit into a category. Adobe has specifically put custom as the first on the list because of this fact.

For today session, let's change the preset to Web.
Following these steps will present you with a black window with the name of the file, percent of the resolution it is viewing at, and the color mode you have chosen at the top of the window.  From here we can learn about what some of the things you see on the left and right of the screen are.

We will start on the left side of the screen because this is the first thing you should learn when you starting to make and edit images in Adobe Photoshop CS5 . I am using Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended for windows , which is an older version, but has some of the same features as Adobe Photoshop CS5 . I will go over these briefly to educate you.

The first on the top left is the "move tool" It is an icon that has a cursor and crosshair on it. You can use this tool to move objects on the screen around to your liking.

The next tool is the rectangular Marquee tool. You can also just use this tool to make squares around areas in an image to cut them out easily. You can use that feature to cut out a piece of a picture and paste it somewhere else. I personally use this image a lot when I am working on images for my website or editing my digital photos.
This tool has four variations to it. Two of them are relatively new and you may know them or not. The second variation is the Elliptical Marquee tool that allows you to trace circles. The third is the Single Row Marquee tool. The fourth is the Single Column Marquee tool. These are great when you want to slice out the image of an excel spreadsheet and only post that specific data too an audience. It is most likely it will end up looking like an "L" shape and you will be able to write information around the image within a website. This is very useful for website designers with the proper knowledge of Adobe software products.

Next up is the Lasso tool. This tool allows you to highlight an image that you have made in an image or an image you have opened in Adobe Photoshop. This marquee tool likes to have smooth hard edges to follow. If you have a photograph that doesn't have an easy to follow edge around objects you will find it hard to use this tool. You have probably seen this when people cut their heads out of a picture and paste it onto somebody else's body. It is a very funny feature and this is the tool that does it!  The lasso tool has three different variations. The second version is the Polygonal Lasso tool. This tool can make different shapes and curves when tracing around or cutting out a piece of an image. The third variation is the Magnetic Lasso tool that only works on images that have defined edges. The tool will clamp onto an edge and give it anchor points to shape the corners. This is good when you don't have that steady hand you used to have back in high school. I use this myself because I am not the man I used to be!

The next up is the crop tool. This feature does exactly what is says. It is like a marquee tool except it is made specifically for cutting square pieces out of images. That is pretty much all it does. However, this simple feature is used quite often to developed website images.

The next up is the Slice tool. This tool allows you to slice an image into smaller pieces. This is usually used in web design with the use of tables to display formatting on a webpage.

The next in line is a list of four tools that provide ways for the user to fix problems in images. The Spot Healing Brush tool first appeared in Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 . It was implemented into Adobe Photoshop CS2 after that. This tool allows you to fix areas of an image by replacing or blending the colors in an area so that it is like growing a new piece of skin over a bad rash. The Healing Brush tool allows you to fix problems in the image by sampling the surrounding area around the problem and trying to replicate the pattern in the area that is problematic. The patch tool is pretty much a mix of the Healing Brush and the Lasso tool. It is allows you to highlight the area that is scratched or empty and sample the surrounding area to fix the problem.

Lastly, the Redeye tool allows you to select the common problem of red eyes and correct them with sampling a piece of the black pupil area and replacing the red eye with the natural pupil color. This is a widely used tool by many consumers.

The next tools are made for painting on the canvas freestyle.

The first one of them is the Brush tool. The Brush tool is an old favorite for people that want to free hand draw things like they had a brush which they can decrease and increase the size of the contact point. You can also change the hardness of the stroke as well. This will show differences in contrast.

The Pencil tool is just like a real pencil with some added tricks. The modes can give you complete freedom or help you make straight lines when you are trying to make objects.

The last one is the Color Replacement tool. This handy tool allows you to select a color scheme on an image and replace it with something else. Unlike the bucket tool that will cover the complete area, this tool will allow you to draw in the replacement by hand as if you had a brush. Let's say if you had a blue cup in a picture. You can sample the blue color and decide to make it green. Then you just draw over the area of the cup and anything that is of the sampled color will turn green!

The stamp tools are a very nice addition to the Adobe Photoshop regime for photographers. Specifically it is great for editors that write tabloids and want to doctor the pictures. With the Clone Stamp tool they will be able to edit out an area of a picture and make it look like it was never there. They can do this by sampling the area around the object they want to not be there and adding it into the portion of the picture they want it too be in. The Pattern Stamp tool allows you to stamp a specific pattern at your desired brush hardness onto an image to make something unique. Like you can take a brick wall patter and make a complete building.

The History brush tool and the Art History brush tool are unique and sometimes overlooked. You can use the History Brush tool to restore the original image in only just section or part of an image. It is usually used when you take a color picture to black and white and then convert a part of it back to color. It's kind of like finding a dusty painting and then wiping it off to see the beauty that it holds underneath. It is a true treasure for the graphic designer or photographer that uses Adobe software product regularly. The Art History Brush tool allows you to copy the texture of an image through the use of art specific styles. Unlike the History Brush tool the Art History Brush tool takes the data from the image and creates something new out of it. It allows you to put a different style of art to an image without it losing its originality.

The next feature is the three types of Eraser tools. The most basic is the Eraser tool itself. You can change the size of the area that the eraser returns to the original background. The Background Eraser Tool does exactly what it states. It is able to erase the background without any use of changing layers. Once you have done this you can add in colors to make a new background at will. The Magic Eraser tool acts like the Magic Wand tool. It will erase an area based how it is clicked and verified.

The next up on the list is the Gradient tool and the Paint Bucket tool. These are old favorites from the long line of Adobe Photoshop releases. However, for all the new Adobe Photoshop CS5 users out there these items are something that may not be so familiar after searching through the web for image editing software. The Gradient tool provides the user the ability to make colors stretch in all directions from high to low in intensity. It is similar to the way you would view the sunset as the colors transition from light to dark. You can also use this feature to apply to certain types of patterns and textures. These features are also available in Macromedia Studio 8 Win/Mac and Adobe Fireworks CS5 . The Paint Bucket tool is capable of filling in a space or a space inside of the Magic Wand tool to a certain color, patter, texture, or stamp. This is used as a quick way to change colors in a predefined area.
The following set of tools previously were found in another section of Adobe Photoshop, but are now offered conveniently on the left side of the menu. All three of these do pretty much what they say they do. I will still give you a brief explanation of their capabilities though. The first of them is the Blur tool. The Blur tool blurs the area where you paint. The Sharpen tool increases the contrast in the areas you paint. The Smudge tool blends the pixels where you paint. This is similar to when you drag something through wet paint that has various colors.

Oddly enough, three more features that were previously hidden to the human eye are now available for you to view on the left menu. This time though the names have almost nothing to do with what they do.

First up is the Dodge tool. This tool lightens an area on the image.

The Burn tool darkens an area on the image and the Sponge tool changes the level of saturation on an area in the image. These all have their special purposes that you will come to find out about. Burn and Dodge are usually used for making shadows or erasing shadows.

The next feature has a wide array of variations to it. This feature is the Pen tool. The pen tool allows users to create paths, curves, and anchor points to move lines around in weird shapes without the use of freehand drawing. Ironically enough, this leads to the rest of the tools.

The next is the Freeform Pen tool. Unlike the pen tool that automatically makes anchor points where you draw, the Freeform Pen tool lets you draw as if you really had a pen. After you have used either of the tools you can use the next feature, which is the Add Anchor Point tool to create anchor points for new lines or freeform drawing. This helps when you want to attach a line to another line that has already been drawing without overlapping incorrectly. The Delete Anchor Point tool gives you the ability to delete an anchor point that you are not satisfied with. The Convert Point tool changes vector shape masks and paths. This allows different types of anchor points to connect to each other even if they are composed of different types of corners.

The next tools are the Type tools. They specifically describe the Horizontal Type tool and the Vertical Type tool. These pertain to the angle that you are able to write in (Horizontal or Vertical). Unfortunately, when you use this you must turn it into a bitmap and that makes it non-editable after you are finished. The Horizontal and Vertical Type Mask tool allows you to write with text that is filled with a patter or an image as the font color. It can be a nice addition if you are writing against an odd background.

The Path Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool are both used for paths. The Path Selection tool will allow you to select a path component even if it is surrounded by many different paths. The Direct Selection tool will only select a segment of a path. This is a way to reshape a segment to a different path after it has been created and saved.

The following tools are some of my personal favorites. I have started one too many images with these objects. If you look at my website you can see almost exactly where I started when I created it. The first of these is the Rectangle tool that makes a rectangle of various sizes. The Rounded Rectangle tool makes rectangles that are rounded. I used to use this exclusively in Macromedia Fireworks before I purchased the Adobe CS series. The Ellipse tool allows you to make seemingly perfect circles. The Polygon tool allows you to make polygons. The Line tool makes lines with anchor points at the end so that they can be managed by the Pen tool if you want to get fancy.

Below these more popular features are some cool features that you may or may not find interesting. I believe these have been in all the Adobe CS releases, but I am not sure about the Macromedia MX series.

The first up is the Notes tool that allows you to add small notes to your images in the background. Also there is an Audio Annotation tool that allows you to add verbal notes to an image.

The tools described below are a set of useful features that you may find useful in addition to some of the other options. I believe some of these tools are used in conjunction with the other tools. However, this makes it a little simpler if you want to do it the old fashioned way.

First is the Eyedropper tool that helps sample color from an area. The Eyedropper tool is pretty basic though. The Color Sampler tool has a few more features that allow you to gather the color data from any layer without calling that layer. You can see levels of gradient or replace colors and shapes back to an image.

The Ruler tool helps you measure things inside of an image if you are trying to be precise about how you do things. This helps if you are a web developer and you are trying to make every symmetrical and in order. I personally try to do this sometimes and have to slap myself. I like to be organized myself, but I don't want my websites to look so fine tuned that they would be passed up as not being original. The Count tool helps you count.

The Hand tool is used to move objects that are in a layer in anyway that you would like that is 2d in fashion.

The Zoom tool helps you zoom in on a picture or object so you can do fine tuning.
The Default Foreground and Background Colors tool lets you return back to black and white when you have gone totally out of whack with you colors you are thinking you are in the 1960s!

The Switch Foreground and Background Color tool lets you switch the colors you using at will. It is almost like have a painters tablet to hold your saved colors on.
I forgot to mention that each of these features has its sub-features displayed at the top of the program when you click on them.

You have probably noticed by now though. By now you have gained enough knowledge of the Photoshop CS3 for Windows and Macintosh basic features to jump in and start creating your own stuff. You will be able to find further information on each of these features in use with illustrations soon. I can tell you this because I am writing them right now. I believe the visitor will take from you if they can look at one person and know what type of information he is giving rather than it coming from a million different people that may or may not know how to effectively write information to people. Please check back often to view further updates to the website and even more great tutorials in various disciplines in Adobe Software.
Some of you may be looking for even further guidance or special programs that will help you through every step of the process. I would love to be there standing behind you pointing to everything you need to do, but that is just not feasible..... yet! However, my website has a growing amount of unique content written by yours truly and not randomly dispersed from random websites where you are not sure of the credibility of the author or not. The complete tutorial with picture of this tutorial is available at my webpage below. Remember, you can unlock the Adobe Guru in you!

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