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How to Navigate the Photoshop Interface


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Touring the Photoshop interface

Let's take a look at the interface. I want to tour you around the Photoshop interface so you have a sense of what all the buttons and the knobs do, because there is a heck of a lot of stuff going on inside the program. Now, right here at the top on the PC is this thing called the Application bar. It's located underneath the menu bar in the Mac. But it looks roughly the same. And what we're seeing here is a group of options that provide access to other functions. For example, if you click on this Br icon there, you'll go to the Bridge, which allows you to browse your images.

We'll see it in a future chapter in detail. Then we've got the Mini Bridge, which is new to Photoshop CS5. So it's a little panel that runs inside Photoshop that allows you to preview your images, open images from disk and so on. This guy allows you to show things like guides, grids and rulers. When I say show things like I mean exactly that. Those are the things you can show. From that icon, there are other ways to get to them from the View menu. You can change your zoom level from this icon if you want to. To zoom in, for example, to the 100% view size or to zoom back out to 50% in my case.

And there is a million ways to zoom inside of Photoshop. Lots more ways available to you. Up here is this option that allows you to arrange your windows. So you have multiple image windows open let's say, you can choose how to arrange them so that you can see multiple images at the same time or ultimately consolidate them all into a single image window that has multiple tabs that you switch back and forth between. And then, this guy right there provides access to the Screen modes. Remember, I was showing you, in a previous exercise, how you can press the F key to switch from one screen mode to another.

You can also choose these options right here, if you prefer. And that's the Applications Bar. The menu Bar, the next one down on the PC, the one above on the Mac, provides access to the commands inside of Photoshop, but that's pretty standard convention across different applications. But I want you to see there are basically three kinds of commands. This is also a standard convention, but I want you to be familiar with it anyway. For example, if I go to this Select menu, here is the first kind of a command. It's what I call the Single Shot command. It just does whatever it's going to do.

It doesn't have any ... next to it. It doesn't have any check mark next to it. So if I choose Select All, Bang! I select the entire image. That happens. The end. Then if I go up to Select menu and choose Deselect, then I deselect the entire image. All right. So that's one style of command, the Single Shot. Another style of command, this guy right here, something that has a ... after it, an ellipses, that tells you that you are invoking a conversation with Photoshop. This is not the end.

And what's going to happen is you are going to bring up a dialog box, like this, and then you are going to interact with the dialog box once you figure out how it works, and then you are going to click Ok to do your thing. So, basically, you're initiating a dialog box when you see the .... And then we have commands that have check marks in front of them like Snap down there. Right now, it's turned on. If you choose Snap, you'll turn it off. Doesn't seem like anything has happened inside of the program. You just turned off snapping. That's it. So it's just a setting, essentially.

And if you want to turn it back on, you go back to the menu and choose the command again, and now, in the future, it will be turned on. So those are your basic three styles of commands. If there was a fourth style, it would be here under the Window menu. These guys should really have ... after them because they bring up panels over on the right side of the screen. And you'd have a conversation with Photoshop inside that panel. But they don't have the ellipses, but that's what they do. They hide and show panels and basically every single panel is represented here on this list.

The other thing I want you to know. I'm working inside Photoshop Extended, which is the massive, big, every single feature, more expensive version of the program. And so, it has things like 3D. It also has this menu right there, the 3D menu. It's got the Analysis menu, and it's got these two tools down here in the toolbox, which are the Object Rotate tool and this guy right there, the Camera Rotate tool. If you're working in the more moderately priced, I would not say inexpensive, Standard version of Photoshop, then you will not see those items.

You will not see the 3D tools, you will not see the Analysis or 3D menu, and you will not see the 3D panel, just so you know. Now, we are not going to be discussing any of those things in this series, because this series is ultimately about the standard edition of the software. All right. Next, we have the Options Bar. You will sometimes hear it called the Control panel because that's what it's called inside other Adobe applications. However, Photoshop still seems to call it Options. Under the Window menu, you see the Options command right there, which hides and shows the panel. And what it does is it provides options that allow you to modify the settings of the active tool.

So it's context-sensitive. It changes around depending on which tool you have selected. Then there's the toolbox over here on the left-hand side. You can move it if you want to, but by default, it's over here on the left. And it provides access mostly, mostly all of these icons. A few of them are little settings icons down here at the bottom. But most of these other icons are tools, meaning you select the tool, and then you do something with it inside the image window, for example, this guy right there, the Dodge tool. If you click it and then paint on a pixel layer, you will lighten the pixels.

Most of the tools work that way, where you select the tool, and then you drag inside the image window to do something. Then over here on the right-hand side of the screen, we have the panels, formerly called palettes, and forgive me. I am still trying to transition from palettes to panels in my head, so if you ever hear me say the word palettes, and the editor doesn't catch it and replace it with one of the hundreds of thousands of times I hope to say panels, then just know I am talking about these things over here. We have a lot of panels available to us inside the Photoshop.

We're going to tweak those panels in a future exercise. We're going to modify our interface. So don't worry if you're not seeing all the panels I'm seeing or all the icons. We'll address that shortly. Inside the panels we have all kinds of different options. Every single one of the panels does something different than the other panels. So they're all unique in their own way. But many of them, over on the right-hand side, in the upper-right corner, that is, many of them include this little menu icon. And if you click on it, you will bring up a menu that's specific to that panel. Sometimes, many of these commands are repeated some place in the standard menu bar, but they're available here too, just to make them handy is the idea. All right.

I am going to go ahead and click off that in order to hide that menu. Finally, right here in the center, we have the Image Window. And currently, my image window is taking up basically the entire central portion of the application. You may not see it that way on the Mac. This is the way it always is on the PC. That is to say, Photoshop is a big rectangle that covers up everything behind it. On the Mac, we have control over this thing called the Application Frame. So you go up to the Window menu, and you'll see down here with Options and Tools, you'll probably see a command called Application Bar that allows you to turn the bar on and off if you want to, the Application Bar up here.

But you'll also see this other command called Application Frame. And if you choose that, then you turn Photoshop into a big monolithic rectangle like what you're seeing on my screen. If you don't want it to work that way, if you want to be able to see behind a window to other applications so you can click on those applications to switch easily back and forth, then you turn the Application Frame off. And Macintosh users, as a rule- I'm not telling you your business, you can do whatever you want- But Macintosh users, as a rule, prefer not to have the application frame so that they can click back and forth, whereas on a PC, Windows users are used to an Application Frame.

So it's really up to you how you work. I just want you to know here on the PC, I've got the monolithic Photoshop going. Down here in the bottom, left-hand corner, we have a zoom control, and we have this little option here that allows us to see different attributes about the open image. And then up here at the top is my Title tab, in this case you might also see a Title bar if you have a free-floating window. And here's what is going on with this. I want to document what's happening inside the title bar so you know. There's the title of the image, so that is the file name, if you've saved it.

If it's not saved, it will say Untitled. And then we'll see @ 50%. That's the zoom level. So that will change as they zoom in and out. Deke McClelland, happens to be my name, but that's the name of this layer that's selected. So it's telling me the name of the selected layer. And if I clicked on a different layer, for example, if I click in the background, it will show me that the background layer is now selected. RGB is the Color mode. And then /8, that's the bit depth, which means we are working inside of an 8-bit per channel image. And we'll come to that later when we discuss bit depth.

But for now just note, that's what's going on there. And then there's this asterisk, and I want you to see something crazy about this. I'm going to go ahead and add a new layer to this image just by clicking on the little Page icon down here at the bottom of the layers palette. And now, I've made a change to my image, and now I have two asterisks, notice that. Now, I'm not sure this is documented any where in the Photoshop documentation, and many times, there's a lot of programs out there that are trying to be warm and cuddly and friendly. But with Photoshop, it's almost as if it's trying to defy your understanding.

And so in this case, we're just seeing these little asterisks that don't tell you anything. You hover over it. It's just going to tell you the name of the image. So that doesn't help you out at all. What's going on is the asterisks inside of the parenthesis tells you that you are using a color space other than the one you set up inside of your color settings. So if you've been following along with me, you've set your color settings to Adobe RGB. But this image is actually set to sRGB. And I know that because I could drop down here to this Arrow icon right there, click on it, and choose Document Profile, which I have already done in advance here.

And you can see that this is an sRGB image, which is perfectly fine. So Photoshop allows you to have a different profile associated with every open image if you so desire. This asterisk is just a tiny little alert to let you know that's happening. And it means some other color profile is being employed for this specific image. Now, if you see a hash, or a pound sign, or a number sign, or whatever you want to call it, in that location, it means that there is no color profile associated with the current image. The asterisk outside of the parenthesis is telling you that you have unsaved changes.

So you could update the image by going up to the File menu and choosing the Save command, or you could toss away your changes and load up the saved version of the image by choosing the Revert command. And that's basically it, folks. That's the big tour of the Photoshop Interface. By the time you're done with this series, you'll be more familiar with it than you can possibly imagine. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to modify the interface and save your modifications as a workspace.

Touring the Photoshop interface
Video duration: 11m 5s 17h 33m Beginner

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Touring the Photoshop interface provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
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