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Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.
There are number of tools and features that use color in Photoshop, so you'll need to know how to select a color. Down at the bottom of the toolbox we have two fields, the foreground color field and the background color field. Whatever color is showing in the foreground color field is the one that the Brush tool and other painting tools will use. So, right now if I come into this image and draw with the Brush tool, I get some red paint. There is also a background color here and that's used in combination with the foreground color for things like gradients. So here, if I select the Gradient tool and then I click-and-drag in the image, I am going to get a red to green gradient.
I am going to undo that by pressing Command+Z, which is Ctrl+Z on a PC. If you want to get your colors back to their defaults, which are black and white, there are two handy shortcuts. The first is to press the D key on your keyboard, which gives you black as the foreground color, and if you want white as your foreground color, you press the X key on your keyboard. Now how do I get a color into the foreground color box? There are three different ways. I can use the Color Picker, the Color panel, or the Swatches panel. First the Color Picker.
To open the Color Picker I'm going to click once on the foreground color box. The foreground Picker is a big dialog box. There is a lot to it. I usually start here with this bar in the middle. Right now the bar is showing color arranged by Hue. As you can see here, the H for Hue button is selected. So, if I wanted to use say a blue, I would click-and-drag one of these handles on the bar up to the blue area and then I'd move over to this larger field and choose a shade of that blue. The color I've selected appears here in this large square on top of the last selected color.
And if I wanted that color, I could just click OK. But before I do let me show you that you can arrange the colors in other ways. If you prefer, you can see them arranged by Saturation, both here in the bar and here in this large field, where the colors are more saturated at the top than they are at the bottom. I can also arrange them by brightness of color and now you see the brighter shades of colors at the top and the lighter shades at the bottom. And we have some other ways of arranging colors here. RG and B stands for the RGB color mode, which is one system of describing color, and the system that is most often used when you're working on photographs in Photoshop.
Another color mode you may find yourself using is CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is the color mode that is used in commercial printing presses. You must often be working in RGB mode and if you want, you can click the R, the G or the B button to see colors arranged in different ways. Sometimes I'll do this just to get some ideas about which colors might look nice together. Once I've selected a color I'll just click OK here in the Color Picker and the color appears here in the foreground color box and I can now apply it to an image.
So for example, I might click on the Brush tool and just make a stroke here of blue. Another way to choose color is from the Color panel over here in this column of panels. Because this image is in RGB color mode, the color panel displays three sliders, one for each channel in this image, the red channel, green channel and blue channel. I can just drag these sliders until I see a color selected that I like. The color shows up here in the foreground color box in the Color panel and also down here in the foreground color box in the toolbox.
I can use the spectrum at the bottom of the Color panel to get in the general right here. So, if I am looking for a yellow I'll click here and then I'll now fine tune using these sliders. Finally, let me show you the Swatches panel, which provides another alternative for choosing a color. To use the Swatches panel, you just click on one of these color swatches and when you do, the color in the foreground color box in the toolbox changes. If you click the panel menu on the Swatches panel, you see that there are lots of other preset swatch collections here that you can load.
So, I'll just choose one at random. Do I want to replace the swatches that are here or add to them? I'll say okay, we can replace them and we have now some other less saturated colors to choose from. There is one more way to choose color that I really like and that is to use the Eyedropper tool. The Eyedropper tool is located over here in the toolbox. I am going to click on it and now when I come into this open image and I click anywhere in the image, I am sampling the color from underneath the point of the Eyedropper. The color I clicked on now appears here in the foreground color box.
This is a good way to choose colors that go with whatever image you are working on at the moment. So, those are four different ways that you can choose color in Photoshop to use with any of Photoshop's color related features. You have the Color Picker that you access from the foreground color box. You have your Color panel, the Swatches panel and your Eyedropper tool.
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