Adobe Photoshop for Beginners

Updated on October 18, 2016
Source

Learning the basics of Adobe Photoshop Software

Adobe Photoshop is a tool that is incredibly complex and can do amazing things. A lot of graphic designers and photographers use this software as a staple in their arsenal of tools, and it can take years to fully learn the software. It is helpful to learn software by using it, but it can be a daunting task when you first launch Photoshop. This article will guide you through some of the main tools that Adobe Photoshop offers, as well as creating a new document, saving in different formats and working with swatches.

How To Create A New Document

Creating A New Document:

When you launch Photoshop, you will notice that a lot of windows and tool bars appear, but a document will not appear. You need to create a new document (or canvas) to work with in the software. To do this go to File → “new” and you will see a new box pop up with several options.

To start, there are only a few things that you need to pay attention to in this prompt screen. The “name” is where you will type the name of your file. Remember, Apple computers have a max of 32 characters for any file names; keep you file names as short as possible, but relevant enough that you know what they are and where they need to be filed. The width and the height fields are where you type in what size you want your canvas to be; you have a choice on the what kind of metrics you would like to use. Primarily “inches” are used for any print projects and “pixels” are used for web projects. Resolution is how clear the image will appear in print or on the web. Primarily if you are printing a photograph you do not want the resolution any lower than 300ppi. For any editorial images 170ppi is normally used, and for the internet and web based projects a resolution of 72ppi is normally expected. Color mode again will depend on where you intend to publish your photoshop project. Any printed projects should be created in CMYK color, and anything being created for the web should be RBB Color. Once you have all of your options set up, choose “ok” and your canvas will be created for you.

Using Photoshop Tools:

Adobe Photoshop is a very useful tool, and as I said earlier it can take years to fully learn the capabilities of the software. There are a few basic tools that are important to know how to use and understand why they are important to be able to further learn the software. You can find all of these tools on the main tool bar that should automatically launch with the software. If it doesn't automatically prompt for you, go to “window” → “tools”, and this will launch the tool bar for you.

Rectangular Marquee Tool

The first tool is the “rectangular marquee tool” which is used for selecting things within a specific shape (in this case either a rectangle or a square). To make a selections, click your curser on the canvas, hold down and drag to create a square or rectangle. Release the mouse when you have created the shape that is needed.

Polygonal Lasso Tool

Polygonal Lasso Tool

Another form of selection is by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. This tool is available in the tool bar and is right below the rectangular marquee tool. When you click and hold down you will be presented with three options – choose the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

This tool will allow you to select more than just four sides, such as a rectangle and allows you to place your own anchors while still drawing straight lines.

Magnetic Lasso Tool

The magnetic lasso tool which is found in the same tool bar does a similar job, except it has a little more selection power. This tool is great for images that have prominent blocks of color or specific shapes.

This tool once you set your first anchor will follow the outline of a color automatically placing anchor points. It automatically adheres itself to the seam of two colors, and follows that shape / color until the lasso is completed.

Magnetic Lasso Tool

Magic Wand Tool

Another way to select by color is to use the magic wand tool, which looks just like a magic wand in the tool bar. It is to the right of the lasso tool in the tool bar images I am using as examples. This is the easiest approach if you have large chunks of color in the image that you are manipulating. You simply click on a color and it will select all of that color that touches. If you wan to continue selecting, hold down the “control” key and continue clicking.

Eraser Tool

The eraser tool is just as it is named. It will erase using whatever color is selected in the background swatch (highlighted in example). If you are working within a layer it will erase to invisible, and there will not be a background color.

Eraser Tool

Brush Tool

The brush tool is a tool that you are able to write or draw with in the software. Adobe photoshop offers a wide variety of brushes as well as others that create their own and allow you to download and use.

To access all of the brushes go to “window” - “brushes” and a new window will option with several options. You can choose calligraphy tips, artistic, grunge and so on... the list is really endless. Since there are several artistic brushes you will find that a lot of digital artists use these brushes for their illustrations. You can also create your own brushes and clone brushes to continue editing.

Brush Tool

Eye Dropper Tool

Sometimes when you are working on special projects, such as overlaying text onto a photo, you want to match your text to one of the colors in the image. You can do this by using the eye dropper tool for color selection. When you click on a color with the eyedropper tool it automatically becomes your top level swatch as shown in the example. If you want to save this color as a swatch to come back and use again, click and drag the main swatch in the tool bar and drag it to the swatch palate. You can then double click on it and rename it something that is relevant to you and your project.

Eye Dropper Tool

Paint Bucket and Gradient Tool

Paint Bucket and Gradient Tool

You paint bucket tool will fill the selected space with the swatch that is shown in the tool bar. If nothing is selected, the paint bucket will fill the entire canvas. Your gradient tool will fill the same way, however it will be a gradient between two or more colors.

To use the gradient you click and drag a line on your canvas and it will gradually fill the color according to the space you have between your two points. You can change the colors of your gradient in your swatch palate as well as the swatches in the main tool bar.

The Blur Tool and The Sharpen Tool

The blur tool allows you to do just that – blur specific parts of your photograph. There are filters that will affect the entire image, but this tool allows you to work on small specific areas.

To use this tool all you need to do is click and drag. You can choose the size of the brush as well as the strength of the blur depending on the project at hand. When you click and hold the blur tool in your toolbar you will see that you have other options. The smudge tool allows you to “push” and “pull” parts of your photograph distorting it from it's original form. The other choice that you have is “sharpen” which allows you to specifically sharpen parts of your image. You may here people say that a photo has been “over sharpened”. You will see this when you push the photo farther than it's original state to a point where you will see the contrast be blown out of proportion.

File Formats

Adobe Photoshop is a very powerful photo editing tool and it can take years to fully learn the in depth capabilities of the software. There are several options to save your photos as various formats.

There are a few main formats that are most common in both print design as well as web design. Photoshop is a .psd, and allows the user to save the layers as separate layers so that they can go back in and edit. A photoshop eps is the best version for publications that are printed to a post script printer or any industrial printer. Last is the jpeg which is the most common image type. This is best used for multiple platforms, some online content and image sharing.

Save Options

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • dappledesigns profile imageAUTHOR

        dappledesigns 

        6 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

        jravity1 - I am happy to hear that this came in handy for you. Thank you for the kudos!

        Peggy W - I'm glad you find this useful, and am happy to hear you will be working with the software. I'm sure you will find that it more fun than "work" :)

        debbiepinkston - excellent news! I am so glad to hear this was worth the effort.

        johnjfernado - I am happy that this is useful for you. I am currently working on a series that will hopefully make it easier for users to begin using the software without feeling overwhelmed.

      • Johnjfernando profile image

        jkchandra 

        6 years ago

        This has been very helpful because I'm also trying my hand at working with photoshop. I hope you can post another on how to work with live-shot pictures of people or face as well. Anyway, I really admire the basics that you have put into the article. Thanks and voted up!

      • debbiepinkston profile image

        Debbie Pinkston 

        6 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

        Very helpful!

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        6 years ago from Houston, Texas

        I'm also going to print this to be able to easily refer to it when trying to learn Photoshop. Thanks! Voted up and useful. Hope that I am smart enough to figure this out.

      • jravity1 profile image

        jravity1 

        6 years ago from bellevue, MI

        thank you..this was very useful for me. Great job.

      • dappledesigns profile imageAUTHOR

        dappledesigns 

        6 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

        thank you for reading barryrutherford - I think you will find that it is not only a powerful tool, but it is a lot of fun as well.

        Brian Slater - thank you for your kind comments. It took me years to get a good grasp on the program, and I still learn something new all the time!

      • BRIAN SLATER profile image

        Brian Slater 

        6 years ago from England

        Thanks for writing this, photo-shop is quite tricky to learn and your hub makes it easily understandable. Looking forward to your next article on this topic, voted up well done.:)

      • barryrutherford profile image

        Barry Rutherford 

        6 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Very useful. one day i'll find time for photoshop

      • TToombs08 profile image

        Terrye Toombs 

        6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

        My pleasure, dappledesigns! :) I look forward to reading more of your tutorials and hubs. :)

      • dappledesigns profile imageAUTHOR

        dappledesigns 

        6 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

        thank you for reading this - I am so glad it will come in handy in the future! Happy photoshopping :)

      • TToombs08 profile image

        Terrye Toombs 

        6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

        Great hub! I'm actually going to print this out and keep it handy! Thank you! Voting this up and everything else. :)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)