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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
We're going to start things off with a fairly elaborate project, in which we're going to build up a layered composition using just two Selection tools; the Geometric Selection tools right here: Rectangular Marquee and Elliptical Marquee, two of Photoshop's simplest tools, but also quite underrated, as you will see. We'll build the composition using three base photographs, including Fire in the sky.jpg, Full moon.jpg, and The wide road.jpg, all found inside the 08_selections folder.
They come to us from Laur, as well as David Woods, in the case of the moon, and LVI, all associated with the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. Now I want these image elements, including The wide road.jpg and Full moon.jpg, to be centered against this Fire in the sky background. So I need to mark the horizontal center of my image using a guideline. You might wonder, well, how in the world do you find that horizontal center? I will show you in this exercise.
This is a great, simple technique that you will use time and time again. I'm going to go ahead and Zoom out here by pressing Ctrl+Minus, Command+Minus on the Mac, and then I'll press Ctrl+R or Command+ R on the Mac to bring up the rulers. Now, to mark the horizontal center of the image, you need a vertical guideline, and you'd create that by dragging a guideline out from the vertical ruler. You can even press the Shift key as you're dragging, in order to snap to those tick marks up there in the top ruler. However, that doesn't do me much good, because I don't know where the heck the center of this image is.
So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to Undo the addition of that guideline. I'm going to go up to the Select menu and choose the All command. You can also press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select this entire image. Then go to the Move tool right there, which you can get by pressing the V key, as in Move, or you can think of it as being a down- pointing arrowhead, whichever works for you. I'll go ahead and grab that Move tool. Then I'll turn on this checkbox up here in the Options Bar that says Show Transform Controls.
As soon as you do that, you will see a target right there at the exact center of the image. Now, at that point, you can drag out a vertical guideline and snap it into alignment with that target. You can even drag a horizontal guideline down from the top ruler and snap it into alignment as well. In my case, I'm not going to do that, because I don't want to clutter out my image with too many guides, one guide is sufficient. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. I am now done. I can go ahead and switch away from the Move tool back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, for example, and then I can go to the Select menu and choose the Deselect command or press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect my image.
And then finally, I would press Ctrl+R or Command+R in order to hide my rulers, and Ctrl+Plus or Command+ Plus to Zoom in on the image. I now have a vertical guide right in the center of the image. Now, one more thing I want to show you is how to hide and show that guideline. Go up to the View menu and choose the Show command, and then you'll see this Guides command right there. The thing is, you may be coming to it a lot, because I find that when I have a guide in my image, I want to hide it, I want to show it, I want to hide it again. It all depends on what I'm trying to see.
Generally, I only want to see the guide as long as I'm using it. So you'll probably want to remember this keyboard shortcut, which is provided along with the program. It's Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon on the Mac. It's kind of weird, but it works inside a lot of the Adobe products. So here's how it works. I'll go ahead and escape out of the menu. Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon hides the guideline, Ctrl or Command+Semicolon brings it back. That's all there is to it. Now, you can go to the File menu and choose the Save command and save this guide along with your JPEG image.
So you don't have to save to a special file format; JPEG is just fine. It accommodates as many guidelines as you like. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to select the moon using the Elliptical Marquee tool.
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