Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting started with Photoshop, part of Introduction to Graphic Design.
- [Voiceover] This next module is all about Adobe Photoshop and before I actually get you into the application and using it, I thought it was important for you to get a brief overview of the app and how it works. So first things first, we're here inside of Photoshop, we've got the gettingstarted.psd document open and what we're going to do is we're going to go through a brief tour of the user interface. So for instance, up here at the top, let's start up here. Where it says File, Edit, Image, Layer, et cetera, these are called menu items. So when you hear me say let's go to the Layer menu and choose Layer Mask, this is what I'm referring to.
You'll also notice that to the side of some of these items is a little triangle icon. This indicates that there are more options within that option to choose from. So when I go to Layer, Layer Mask, I can choose inside of there Reveal All, Hide All, and the rest of these. If you see something that's grayed out that means currently you're unable to perform that action. So if you see this during the course and I'm telling you to click on it, if it's grayed out that probably means that you need to go back and repeat the steps so that everything is working properly, otherwise this is just the navigational pattern you'll need to get used to when I'm calling out menu commands.
So for instance, I might say go to the Filter menu and choose Blur and then select something like Gaussian Blur. Again, it all depends on what type of layer we have selected and what operation we're trying to perform during the course. To get out of these menus, just click away and they will automatically disappear. Directly underneath them is something called the options bar. The options bar is where different options will show up for specific tools that you have selected at any given time. This is also a contextual menu bar, meaning that it will change every time you change tools.
So for instance, right now I've got the Move tool selected so everything corresponds to movement and alignment. However, if I were to switch to the Crop tool, you would see that all of this switches to show you things related to cropping images. If I switch to the Brush tool, it would show brush options and if I switch to something like the Marquee tools, it would select different options for selections like feathering and that kind of stuff. If you don't know how I'm switching tools right now to show you this, that's okay, we're going to cover that a little bit later on, but just know that every time that you switch tools, the options bar up here at the top is going to change to show you the options associated with that tool.
Over on the left-hand side, this is your tools panel. This is where you manually change from tool to tool. So for instance, I started with the Move tool awhile ago. If I wanted to jump to the Crop tool or the Brush tool or the Type tool, all of those are located there inside of the tools panel. You may also be interested to know that as you're working with tools, you can hover over them and they will actually show you the name of the tool and then in parentheses the keyboard key that corresponds to that tool. So for instance, you would say B for Brush or C for Crop.
Learning these makes it super easy for you to switch from tool to tool. Oftentimes throughout this course, I'll give you the reference. So for instance, if we were working on a layer mask and I needed you to paint on the layer mask, I would say go ahead and grab your Brush tool by pressing the letter B on your keyboard. That automatically steps you up to the Brush tool and allows you to continue working. Memorizing these little shortcuts is a great way to maximize your productivity inside of Photoshop. The tools panel itself we'll get to in a minute, but for now let's talk about the big document window out here in the middle.
This is where your document lives. It's also called the canvas. So every time I tell you to put something on the canvas, this is what I'm talking about. This is where you'll see a visual representation of all of your layers combined into one. Now the layers are over here on the far right-hand side, inside of this group called the panels. If you hear me say "Let's go to the swatches panel," that means find the tab that says Swatches and click on it. If you hear me say "Go to the adjustments panel," it's that, styles, layers, channels, paths, et cetera.
Any time you hear me say "Go to X panel," just click the name of the panel that I tell you to click on and that panel should become active. If you feel like this is a little too crowded over here, you can bring this out into the window and you can readjust the size just like so. Let's bring the Layers panel out just like I did here and let's start exploring the Layers panel because the Layers panel is where you're going to do a lot of the heavy lifting in Photoshop. So as you can see, in this document we have several different layers already set up.
As a matter of fact, we have layers and layer groups. Layers are just the individual objects that you see that have a thumbnail with a photo or something next to it. Like this, two, three, four, five and six. Layer groups are the things with little folder icons. That means they contain one or more layers inside of them. So for instance, in the Getting To Know Photoshop group, you would have Getting To Know, Photoshop, and a background layer. Collapsing that up just collapses them in the Layers panel, it does not do anything to the layers out here in the document.
If you want to turn layers off, you click the visibility icon, which looks like a little eyeball. So for instance here, we're going to turn off Getting To Know Photoshop and every time we want to start working with a specific layer, we make sure we select it or the group by clicking on it in the Layers panel. Now, layers are a pretty unique concept, but they're starting to make their way into other applications and more and more people are using them in different applications so I want to explain exactly what they are. Think about layers as different sheets of paper stacked on top of one another.
What you see on screen is a direct correlation to what is going on here in the Layers panel. So for instance, if I open up this layers group and look at layer three, layer three is this big picture of food. It's the only thing we can see because it's at the top of the stacking order, it's the top piece of paper. If I were to take this and move it underneath the layer called layer two, you would see layer two is now at the top of the stack. And I could take layer one, drag it up above layer two, and now we have layers one, two and three.
See what I mean, pretty easy. Layers are nothing more than a stack of objects and you control how they stack and what they look like at all times. Let's say you wanted to rename layers, that's actually really easy as well. Double-click where it says layer one, call this something like skater. Double-click where it says layer two, call this camera. Double-click where it says layer three and call this food. Very simple. Again, you can turn these on and off by clicking the visibility icon and you can change their stacking order just by dragging and dropping just like so.
Alright, let's collapse up the layers, turn those off. Let's talk about tools. Here are all my tools hanging on the wall, but in the Tools panel, we have lots of different things going on. So let me bring this out into the window and if you want to get back to the original workspace so that you don't have to reposition everything, use this jump menu and choose Reset Essentials. That's going to put everything back in its place and then I'll move the Tools panel over here and then I'll put it in two column mode so it's easier for you to see. So the Tools panel has several different tools inside of it.
Let's go over those really quickly. We have the Move tool here, which basically allows you to click and drag things around. We've got the Rectangular Marquee tool, which also houses the other marquee tools, which allow you to make basic selections. Any time you see a tool with a little triangle in the bottom right corner, that means click and hold and you'll be able to see the other tools. We have the Lasso tools. We have the Quick Select and Magic Wand tools, which we'll get plenty of practice with later on. We also have a Crop tool, including the Perspective Crop, Slice tools, We've got the Eyedropper tool, which contains a lot of different what I call information tools, so things like the Ruler, Note and Count tools.
We've got the Healing Brush tools, which include Spot Healing, Healing Brush, Patch tools, Content-Aware Move and Red Eye Removal tool. All of these are of course pointing to a retouching workflow. We've got the Brush tools, including Brush, Pencil, Color Replacement and Mixer Brush. Clone stamps. We've got the Art History Brush and the regular History Brush. Eraser tools, gradient tools. We've also got the Blur, Sharpen and Smudge tools. Dodge, Burn and Sponge.
Here's our vector tools including the Pen tool, Freeform Pen tool, Add, Delete, and Convert Anchor Point tools. We've got our type tools. You've got your vector selection tools including Path Selection and Direct Selection. And then we've got our shape tools, Rectangles, Rounded Rectangles, Ellipse, Polygon, Line, and Custom Shapes. Towards the bottom we have a Hand and Rotate tool, we have a Zoom tool, and then finally we have the Edit Toolbar button. This is where you can go in and actually customize the appearance of the toolbar.
I'm not going to go into that in this course though, so you might want to check out the Photoshop Creative Cloud Updates course or Photoshop CC Essential Training. Directly underneath here we have your foreground and background colors. By default they are black and white. If you ever have these colors not be black and white and you want them to be black and white again, you can default them by clicking this little icon right here. If you want to switch between foreground and background colors, hit this little toggle switch right here. Finally at the bottom we have Quick Mask mode and the different screen modes of Photoshop, which include Standard Screen Mode, which is what you're seeing here, Full Screen Mode With Menu Bar, which basically gets rid of everything around the outside except for the menu bar, and then finally Full Screen Mode, which just basically gives you a black background and your image.
It's great for on the fly presentations. Alright so that's the toolbar. Let's go ahead and move that back over. And notice I can dock it by waiting for that blue line to appear and then letting it go. And I'll bring back up the Layers panel here. Inside of the Layers panel, let's turn off layer two, go into layer three, painting and brushes. You activate the Brush tool by pressing the letter B on your keyboard. That's going to give you a brush. Let's go ahead and switch our foreground and background colors to black. Up here at the top, you can choose the size of your brush.
So by default it's probably pretty low. Something like this. All you have to do to start painting is just draw with your mouse, very simple. Now if you don't want it to be as soft as this, this looks very much like an airbrush, you can go up here and you can change the hardness of the brush. So when I do that, see how much more like a marker it looks. You can also change the opacity of the brush right up here. On the word Opacity, just put your mouse over that and scrub, click and scrub to the left or to the right.
So to the left reduces the opacity. As you can see, it makes it lighter. And to the right increases opacity, making it darker. You can also use keyboard shortcuts for the brush. The right bracket key on your keyboard increases the size of the brush. The left bracket key decreases the size of the brush. If you hold down the Shift key and press the left bracket key, it makes the brush softer. If you hold down the Shift key and press the right bracket key, it makes the brush harder.
Filter, filters are another area that are very important in Photoshop, ones that we aren't going to use all that often in this course, but it might be helpful to know where they are. So go to the Filter menu and then go down to Filter Gallery. This is a great place to come in and get familiar with how filters work. There's not necessarily anything special in this dialogue box, in fact I don't use a vast majority of these filters, but I think this is a good place to start if you've never used a filter before because you can just click on any filter that's available and then see the corresponding options that you have rather than going up to the Filter menu time and time again to see each one.
So take a few minutes here if you want, pause the video and you can go through and play with any of these filters that you want. When you select a filter, notice everything changes over here on the right every time you switch filters. You can, of course, change all of these settings to try and get the look that you want. That look is totally up to you. So like I said, take a few minutes, play around in here. When you're finished, we're not going to commit to any changes so just hit Cancel. This should give you a better understanding of how filters work though. I find that filters are best if you just give them some hands on practice time rather than me giving you a set of parameters to follow.
Filters are all about finding the look you want, not the look that I want you to get. Let's turn that off and take a look at number five here. Number five is Adjustment Layers. Adjustment Layers live down here in the bottom of the Layers panel. It looks like a little half moon. If I click on this and hold, you'll see all the different adjustment layers that we have here. The easiest way to apply one is find the one you want, like black and white, and click on it. Once you have it applied, you'll see the effects of it automatically show up on the image. You can also change all the parameters here.
Basically, for instance if we're trying to do black and white, the colors in the image correspond to the images in these sliders and you make them darker by dragging to the left, lighter by dragging to the right. If that doesn't make much sense, this method should make sense. Just click right here on this little finger and then out here, click and drag to the left to make an area lighter, click and drag to the right to make an area darker. See how I'm able to brighten and darken the dog just by moving my finger. You're holding down your mouse the whole time.
Click, drag, click, drag, and that's how you do that, very easy. You can also choose from different presets here in this preset menu as well. When you're done with the Properties panel, collapse it with this little arrow here. You'll notice in the Layers panel we have a new layer called black and white one. Currently that is affecting all layers underneath it. If you only want an adjustment layer to affect the current layer it's on top of, go right in between the two layers, hold down the Option key on Mac, the Alt key on PC, it'll turn into a little arrow, just click and now that is clipped directly to that layer.
So that means even if I turn off this layer, I still see the underlying layer in color because the black and white layer is clipped directly to it. If you want to modify an adjustment layer, the good thing about that is all you have to do is double-click on the little thumbnail there and then you can make changes to it once again. So if I want to darken up the puppy, maybe brighten up the boards, you get the idea. Then what if the client comes back and says "No, we don't want black and white at all." It's very easy, all you have to do is select the adjustment layer, hit the trash can, confirm and it's gone.
Alright, number six is probably the most important one. This is Smart Objects, which allow us to do something really cool called Smart Filters. Basically a Smart Object is wrapping the underlying layer in a sort of protective film, if you will, and you can do whatever you want to that film and it won't harm the image that's inside of it. The first thing you have to do though is convert it to a Smart Object. You can do that one of two ways. Right-click the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object or go to the Filter menu and choose Convert For Smart Filters.
Either one is the exact same operation. You'll know that you've done it correctly when you see this little icon appear on the outside of your layer thumbnail. If you double-click on that icon, it's going to launch a completely separate document. See how I have two documents open now. This is called smartobjects.psb, which is a file format for temporary Photoshop files. Once I have this open, I can do whatever I want to it without adding extra bulk to my other Layers panel. So for instance, let's say that we wanted to add a black and white adjustment layer.
We'll do that. We'll choose, let's see here, something like, there we go, the green filter should work nicely. We'll collapse that up. And then also what I want to do is move the Layers panel down back again so we can see all this stuff. And from here, I'm ready to make the change. So what do I do? Well, I have two options here. I can click the Close button right here or I can simply hit Command S on the Mac, Control S on the PC.
That's going to save the current changes I've made and then I can close the document. When I get back into this other document, you'll see that the black and white has already taken effect, but in my Layers panel I have no more layers than I had before, it's just been applied to the Smart Object. So Smart Objects not only allow you to nondestructively edit photos, they also allow you to clean up your Layers panel by nesting specific things inside of them, which is kind of cool. Now, when I have this as a Smart Object I can also run Smart Filters.
So for instance, if we go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, Motion Blur, inside of this dialogue box I can change some of these parameters. Like for instance, let's change the angle to something like five degrees. Let's change the distance to something like oh 100 should be okay. And then hit Ok. Once I do that, it applies this blur all over the image. But you'll see here I have something called a Smart Filter Mask, which enables me to actually remove parts of this blur.
So here's what we're going to do, we're going to click right here on this big white square, make sure you have your Brush tool selected and your foreground color set to black, increase the size of your brush by pressing the right bracket key, make sure it's a soft edge brush, and then just kind of paint out the different areas that you don't want the blur to show up in. Now, I may want the blur to be right there on the tires and also just kind of right there on the front end of the car.
And then in the Layers panel, let me reset my workspace here. Reset Essentials, there we go. In the Layers panel, I'm going to look for this Smart Object layer, I'm going to find the Smart Filter right here and then right here, see this little slider icon? Let me move this out so you can see it. So slider icon right here underneath where it says motion blur. I can double-click on that and it opens up the blending options for the motion blur. We're going to take the opacity of that by clicking right where it says opacity and dragging to the left. We're going to take that down to something like 70% just to give the illusion of motion right there and we'll hit Ok.
So there we go, just a little bit of motion blur added to that. Dock my Layers panel back in. And the best thing about this is in the Layers panel let's say the client comes back and says "Nope, we don't like the blur." Okay, I can just take the Smart Filter, drag it down to the trash can and release it and I have not done any harm to the original photo. That's the beauty of Smart Filters. Alright, those are the basic things that you need to be aware of as you get started inside of Photoshop. If you want to deep dive a little bit more, I've included some course references in here for you.
For instance, Photoshop CC Essential Training with Julieanne Kost. This is a great soup to nuts overview of Photoshop CC and it should get you up to speed on just about everything you need. Introducing Photoshop: Photography with Deke McClelland. This is a great course that covers Photoshop from a photography perspective, doesn't force you into any unnecessary rat holes or anything like that, it just focuses on photography. Introducing Photoshop: Design. Again, pretty much the polar opposite of photography, it focuses on things that graphic designers need to get done in Photoshop and it helps you get there.
Photoshop CC One-on-One. This is the ultimate series from Deke McClelland. This is the one that covers several hours worth of content and it goes from fundamentals all the way up through advanced. If you haven't checked out these series of courses, you really should, especially if you're looking to learn everything there is to know about Photoshop CC. Okay, hopefully now you have a better grasp on Photoshop as an application. We've gone through these layers. If you need to repeat this exercise a few times to get familiar with it, that's perfectly fine. But now we're ready to actually start putting Photoshop to work.
Note: These tutorials were revised in 2016 to make sure they are current with the latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud. Mini Bridge was retired this year, so Justin uses alternate methods to open and organize assets.
- Understanding the impact of color
- Sketching your ideas
- Removing unwanted objects from images
- Cropping and editing photos in Photoshop
- Resizing and saving images for print
- Drawing basic shapes in Illustrator
- Creating a custom color theme with swatches
- Setting type
- Building wireframes
- Creating tables in InDesign
- Preflighting documents
- Packaging files for print