Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the interface, part of Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.
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Whenever I think about how many features and controls there are in Photoshop's interface, I am amazed at how user friendly the interface really is. The interface is composed of just a handful of elements. On the left-hand side is the toolbox that contains the tools you will use to edit your images. Above that is the Tool Options bar here that contains options for whichever tool is selected at the moment. On the right are one or more columns of panels that are chock-full of commands for working with images. And at the top of the screen is a typical menu bar with dropdown menus that contain commands.
Many of which you'll find duplicated in the panels. There are a couple of new interface elements that bring Photoshop's interface into line with the interface of other Adobe applications. One of those is the Application Bar. On a PC, the Application Bar is combined with the menu bar. On a Mac, the Application Bar is separate and you can see it right here. It's this bar that starts with Photoshop symbol. The Application Bar contains commonly used controls, like the Hand tool and the Zoom tool, which we will be covering in other movies.
Some new features like the Rotate View tool and the Arrange Document menu, which contains various ways to view multiple documents that happen to be open at the same time. And a switcher, for viewing your open documents in various screens modes. I'll be talking about those new items in other movies, but I do want to bring your attention to one item here in the Application Bar, which is the View Extras menu. The items in this menu aren't new, but now they are more discoverable. So you don't have to go diving down into menus to enable Guides, Grids and Rulers.
So for example, I can turn on the Rulers for this open document window by selecting Rulers there. By default, the Rulers measure in inches, but if you are working on a web document and you want to see your Rulers in pixels, on the Mac you'll Control+click on the Ruler, on a PC right- click and choose Pixels rather than Inches. I'm going to leave mine set to Inches, and I'm going to go back up to the View Extras menu, click, and toggle off Show Rulers. The other new interface element is the Application Frame.
The Application Frame is built into Windows, but on a Mac it is off by default. I'm going to turn the Application Frame on, on my Mac, by going to the Window menu at the top of the screen, and going down to Application Frame. When I do that, the open document window snaps to the Application Frame and the Application Frame fills the background of the application. The Application Frame keeps all the interface elements together, so that you can move them as one. With the Application Frame enabled, I can move everything around together by clicking on the title bar of the Application Frame and moving it like this.
I can also resize the entire frame from any side. So for example, if I move over to the right and hover over the right edge of the Application Frame, my cursor changes to this double pointed arrow and I can click and drag to resize the frame. On a Mac, if I want to disable the Application Frame, I can go back to the Window menu and toggle-off Application Frame, and now my document window is a separate free-floating window here, just as in previous versions of Photoshop.
The document window is used to display open documents of course and it also displays some useful information about a file. So for example, here I have the name of the file, the magnification percentage, the color mode, which in this case is RGB, or Red, Green, Blue, and the bit depth. The bit depth means the amount of color information in every channel of the file. There is also useful information at the bottom of every document window, down here. If you click the arrow at the bottom of the document window and then go down to Show, you'll see this list of information about your documents.
So for example, from here I could choose Document Dimensions and that changes the information about the documents that's displayed here at the bottom of the document window. So that is Photoshop's interface in a nutshell. As you can see, the biggest change is the new Application Bar and Application Frame that brings Photoshop's interface into line with the interface of other Adobe applications.
- Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
- Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
- Working with Adobe Camera Raw
- Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
- Creating Photomerge panoramas
- Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries