Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

The panels


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Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

with Tim Grey

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Video: The panels

One of the things I really appreciate about the Photoshop interface is that you can move the panels around to suit your particular workflow and your particular preferences. For example the default setup which you see here, includes the color and Swatches panels which I pretty much never use. I also never use Styles. I don't use Paths all that often. I don't really need History and I don't really use Mini Bridge or the timeline. So, many of these panels I could get rid of, which would leave more room for some of the panels that I tend to use more frequently.
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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers
2h 14m Beginner Apr 23, 2012

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Often photographers who want to learn to use Adobe Photoshop just dive in and figure out how to do what they need to do. This is all well and good, but with this approach you're likely to miss out on features that could help you, ways of working more efficiently, and an overall understanding of how Photoshop works. In this course Tim Grey takes you systematically through Photoshop's interface and tools, then shows you how to make basic adjustments and output your work for sharing. Whether you've been using Photoshop for a little while or you're just getting started, this workshop will make sure you always know where you are and where you're headed.

Topics include:
  • A guided tour of Photoshop
  • Setting up your environment
  • Color modes, bit depth, and image resolution
  • The Histogram
  • File formats
  • Basic adjustments
  • Saving
  • Output workflow
Subjects:
Photography video2brain
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Tim Grey

The panels

One of the things I really appreciate about the Photoshop interface is that you can move the panels around to suit your particular workflow and your particular preferences. For example the default setup which you see here, includes the color and Swatches panels which I pretty much never use. I also never use Styles. I don't use Paths all that often. I don't really need History and I don't really use Mini Bridge or the timeline. So, many of these panels I could get rid of, which would leave more room for some of the panels that I tend to use more frequently.

So let's take a look at how we can customize the panel layout. Which in many respects means we're customizing the overall Photoshop interface to give us easier access to the features we use more frequently. You'll notice that the panels over on the right side of the Photoshop interface are docked. That means they're essentially part of the Photoshop interface rather than being free floating. And so, for example, if I were to zoom in on my image. These panels would not actually be blocking the photo itself. Now obviously I've zoomed in so far that I can't see the entirety of the photo. But the panels aren't covering up any portion of the photo that I can actually access at the moment.

I'll show you how the panels are able to block the image in just a moment. Generally, I prefer to have the panels docked over on the right-hand side. It makes it a little bit easier to work in Photoshop in my view. But I want to clean things up a little bit, now we can have floating panels and that's actually how I tend to get rid of panels that I don't want. You'll see that I have a couple of other panels which are collapsed at the moment. And the're docked in a secondary dock. You can actually have two docks available. But at the moment the History panel here for example is collapsed. I can click on the button to bring up the History panel or click again to remove the History panel from view. But I really don't need either of these two panels. So I'm going to click into order to bring the panel up, and then drag and release the mouse out over the Photoshop interface.

Essentially over my image. So that that panel becomes free floating. I'll do the same to the other panel here. And you'll see that now I no longer have that extra space being consumed by these panels. I'll go ahead and close each of these by clicking the x at the top right. And I can do the same then for the other panels that I don't need. So Color, Swatches, I don't need Styles, I don't need Paths. And I can also get rid of these panels down at the bottom of the interface. I'll go ahead and click the X for each of these in order to close them.

Notice by the way, with these panels out over the image. Now as I zoom in and out you can get a better sense that these panels are actually blocking part of the image. They're able to cover up part of my working space. And that's part of the reason that I really prefer to have my panels docked at most times. I'll go ahead and close these final two panels. And then I can think about what other panels I might want to have available. I tend to make use of layers rather frequently with my photographic images. So I certainly want the layers panel to be available. And every now and then I access the channels panel so I'll leave that available as well. Note, by the way, that both of these panels are docked into one pane. That means that only one of the panels is visible at any given time. And so I'm not using up quite as much space.

But I also want to have the Properties panel available. When I use Adjustment layers, the Properties panel. Is where I'll make actual adjustments to the settings for the adjustment. And so that panel is very, very helpful for me. I'll go ahead to the Window menu, and you can see a list of all the panels that are available. Those with a checkmark indicate panels that are currently visible. And those without a checkmark indicate panels that are not visible. So I'll go ahead and choose the Properties panel, and that will make the Properties panel visible. You'll see that the Properties panel is collapsible at the moment. So if I click the button it will collapse, but I want to dock this panel into the right side of the interface.

so I'm going to point to the tab for my Properties panel, and then click and drag, and I think I'll drop this at the top of the right dock. So I'll move my mouse up to the top of the dock. Now notice that if I have my mouse over the tab for the Adjustments panel then you can see a blue box indicating that if I release the mouse now. The Properties panel will be placed into a group with the Adjustments panel. I think that'll work well in this case so I can switch between adjustments and properties as needed. But I could also have the Properties panel all by itself docked above the Adjustments panel.

That would leave less room for the Layers panel, but I certainly could have multiple panels in that way if I'd like. But for now, I'll just drop the Properties panel into a group with the Adjustments panel. At times, I'm meaning to have more space for one or the other of these panels. And I can adjust that spacing by pointing to the line that separates these groups of panels, and then dragging up or down as needed. In this case, I'll go ahead and leave a little bit of extra space for the Properties panel since once I add an Adjustment layer. There's likely to be a fair number of controls that I'll likely want to access there.

I think this arrangements of panels will work very nicely for me. And so I am going to save it so that I can always get back to it if I make any changes. For example, if I open up another panel and then want to get back to my original starting point, I can simply load my work space. So from the Window menu I'll choose Workspace, and then New work space, that will bring up the New Workspace dialog. I'll go ahead and just type my name as the name of the work space, identifying this as my own personal workspace. I'll click the Save button, and that workspace has now been saved.

So now if I were to switch to a different workspace, for example I'll switch to the Photography workspace. You'll see that I have a different arrangement available. But I can always get back to my own workspace by simply choosing Window, Workspace, and then the name of my saved workspace. So as you can see, the ability to move panels around, dock them as needed, and basically arrange them in a way that makes more sense to you. Can really allow you to customize your own environment in Photoshop, which makes things a lot more comfortable, and efficient.

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