Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Using tools efficiently, part of Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.
Photoshop's tools are among its most basic yet its most important features. The tools are located in the toolbox, which is in this single column on the left side of the screen. If you prefer a double-column toolbox, just click the double-pointed arrow at the top of the toolbox, and it will become a two-column toolbox. I am going to go back to a single column because that gives me more room for my document windows. The first thing to know about tools is that there are more than meets the eye. There are so many tools that they don't all fit in the toolbox.
So Adobe has hidden some tools behind others. If you see a tool that has an arrow like this one here, click on that tool and out will come a fly-out menu that gives you a list of related hidden tools. To select one of those hidden tools, you just move your mouse over it in the fly-out menu and release. Of course, before you can use a tool, you have to select it in the toolbox. One way to do that is as I just showed you. But there is another way to select tools and that's by using their shortcuts. You don't have to memorize all those shortcuts.
Instead, if you move your mouse over a tool in the toolbox and wait a moment, up will come a tool-tip that tells you the name of the tool and its shortcut. So I just learned that the shortcut for accessing the Move tool, which allows you to move the content of an image, is to press the V key. Using tool shortcuts will make you more efficient and more productive when you're working in Photoshop. When you select a tool in the toolbox, keep your eye on the Tool Options Bar above the document window, and you'll see that the options there change to become specific to the tool you've selected.
So right now, we're looking at the options for the Move tool. If I go down in the toolbox and I click on this big T, which is the icon for the Horizontal Type tool, the options in the Tool Options bar change again. So for example, with the Type tool, these options allow you to change the font, the font style, the font size and so on. If you're going to remember one thing from this movie, please take my advice on this. One of the most important things to know about tools is how to reset the options to their defaults.
I say this because some tool options are sticky. So in other words, if I were to select the Crop tool in the toolbox and then I went up to the Options bar and I typed in a Width and a Height, say 6in x 4in for inches, and I then dragged out a crop box in the image and clicked Return to crop my image, the settings I just chose in the Options bar would stay there and the next time I went to crop an image, I would be stuck with those settings unless I remembered to be reset that tool.
So here's how you reset a tool in Photoshop. No matter which tool you have selected, its icon will appear here on the left side of the Tool Options bar. On a Mac Ctrl+Click that icon, on a PC right-click that icon, to get this menu which allows you to reset the currently active tool or all the tools in your copy of Photoshop. If someone else has access to your copy of Photoshop, then I strongly suggest that you reset all tools whenever you begin working on that computer.
It's also a good idea to reset all your tools in between projects so you're not stuck with some old things that you don't expect. When you choose Reset All Tools, Photoshop asks if you really want to do that and you say OK, and notice then that those settings that I had in the Crop tool options, for example, have now disappeared. I am not going to go through the individual tools and ask you to memorize what they do. I think the best way for you to learn how to use tools is in context and that's what we are going to give as we move through this course, and you become familiar with the tools in Photoshop CS4.
- 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
Skill Level Beginner
Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.)
Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes. But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you before saving it as JPEG.
Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcutswith Michael Ninness6h 21m Intermediate
Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depthwith Jan Kabili3h 46m Intermediate
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advancedwith Deke McClelland20h 57m Intermediate
Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Trainingwith Chris Orwig12h 23m Intermediate
1. The Interface
6. Photo Manipulation
7. Photo Adjustments
8. Photo Retouching
9. Raw Processing in Adobe Camera Raw
12. Special Effects
13. Combining Images
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