Chris Mattia walks you through the five major elements of the Photoshop User Interface that every teacher, trainer, instructional designer, and student needs to know to be successful at using Photoshop for teaching and learning.
- [Instructor] Whenever you embark on learning something new, it's always a good idea to begin by orienting yourself to the most common conventions, tool, and concepts. That's exactly what this first chapter is all about. To get you quickly up and running with Photoshop. Well, let's start with a quick tour of the user interface. Now, Photoshop's main application window is organized into five basic components. The first and most obvious is the canvas. Now this is where your image appears.
It's front and center so you can easily focus all of your attention on your image. If you have multiple images open, they'll appear as tabs up here near the top and you can quickly jump back and forth between your different images by clicking on the tabs here at the top. At the bottom, you have some basic data about your image size and the current level of the zoom that your image is being displayed at. It has zoom levels of 166, 50, and 33 percent. It may appear a little sharper on your canvas than other levels of zoom.
Now on the left of the application are your tools. If you hover your mouse over any tool you'll get a preview of what that tool does and the keyboard command for that tool. If you see a small tick mark in the lower right corner of any tool or button in Photoshop, like this, then that indicates that there are other tools stacked underneath of the main tool that will perform similar or related functions. You can access those by clicking and holding down on that tick mark and then selecting the tool from the fly out menu.
Now near the bottom of the tools are the foreground and background color swatches. Double-clicking on one of these will open up a detailed color paper window with a lot of precise color selection tools. You can swab the foreground and background colors using this hooked arrow here or by pressing the X key on your keyboard. You can reset back to black and white with this tool here, or by pressing the D key on your keyboard.
Two tools that you'll find yourself using quite often are the zoom and the hand tool. But rather than clicking on these tools, just learn a few quick keyboard commands. To zoom into your image, press Cmd or Ctrl + + and then to zoom out, press Cmd or Ctrl + -. When you're zoomed into your image, hold down the spacebar on your keyboard to temporarily call up the hand tool and then click and drag around your image to reposition it.
I'll press Cmd + - to zoom back out and then press the spacebar, click and drag to recenter my image. Then I'll press the M key to select the marquee tool here near the top. Whenever you have a tool selected, this top options bar shows you the specific properties for that tool. And this options bar is context aware so if you choose a different tool, the bar will automatically change to the property settings for that new tool. On the right of the interface are your panels.
And there are a lot of these. Panels are often grouped together in panel groups with multiple tabs containing different panels. Panel groups are then docked together. Dragging on one of the vertical lines you can resize your panels. If you drag on a line that has some of the icons in it, then you can change between icon and list view. Clicking on an icon or a name will cause that panel to fly out so you can access the content inside of it.
Then clicking on the icon again will cause that panel to collapse back down. You can drag a panel out of the dock in order to convert it to a floating window. You can close a panel by clicking on the X at the top of the panel. You can also regroup panels by dragging them to a new location. If you drag a panel over top of an existing icon and you get a blue highlight around it, if you drop the panel in that location you'll dock those two panels together. If instead you drag a panel and you see a horizontal line appear in front of it, you'll create a new panel group.
You can resize the vertical split between panels by dragging those as well. The small hamburger menu in the upper right of a panel will let you access some specific settings for that panel. I'll change my color panel to HSB Sliders. Now I mentioned there were a lot of panels. If you go up to the Window menu, here at the top, you can see a list of all of the currently available panels. So if you can't figure out where, say, the Actions panel is, you can find it here in the list, select it, and that panel will appear in your interface.
If you go back up to the Window menu, any panels that have a check next to their name means that that panel is already open. If you select that panel again, it'll cause the panel to close. When you find a workspace arrangement that works for you, go to Window, Workspace, and then select New Workspace. You can then name your workspace, I'll call mine @csmattia, which is my Twitter handle, and then make sure you check all three boxes for Keyboard Shortcuts, Menus, and Toolbars, and then click Save.
You can now quickly reset to a default workspace such as the essentials, by going back to Window, Workspace, and reset back to default Essentials workspace. Now if you don't see a change happen, you may need to go back and then go down the Reset Essentials. That'll reset it back to the default, or you can jump back to your own custom workspace by going back to Window, Workspace, and selecting your name. This is the workspace that I'll be using throughout this course. While we're looking up here at the menus, take a few minutes to click through and read all of the menu items up here.
Now it's not important for you to know exactly what each of these items does right now. But begin orienting yourself to the terms of what's available. Now as with all applications, on the right side of any menu item is the keyboard shortcut for that command. And I'll be calling out the common ones that they use that you'll likely find really helpful in working in Photoshop. Now if you'd like to customize your own keyboard shortcuts, then go over to the Edit menu and down near the bottom select Keyboard Shortcuts and you can customize them in here.
I'll close that window by clicking Cancel. Okay, that's the basics of Photoshop user interface. Just remember the five regions of the app. The canvas, the tools, the options bar, your panels, and your main menu items.
- Mastering the Photoshop user interface
- Making selective adjustments
- Using actions for repetitive tasks
- Fixing common image problems
- Repairing an image with masks
- Preparing images for use on the web
- Creating 360 VR panoramas
- Making an animated GIF