Adobe Photoshop Tutorial. Copyright Michael B. Karbo.

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    4. See the program’s structure

    The program is open, and you need to go to work right away. Photoshop may not appear particularly impressive at first glance. But there is a lot hidden below the surface of the user interface! There are actually so many options in Photoshop, so it is probably not possible to get to the bottom of it. We will review the most common functions in this booklet, and then you have to continue on your own.

    Menus and the tool box

    If you are used to work with Microsoft’s office programs (like Word), then Photoshop will feel”different” to begin with. Windows, fonts etc. can appear somewhat strange, and that is a leftover from Photoshop’s past as a pure Macintosh program. Let us get started:

    1.   On top of your screen image are the traditional title- and menu lines, as you see here:

    2.   Below the menu line you find the tool options bar. That is a beam, which changes appearance and content, depending on which tool has been chosen:

    3.   The tools are seen in a tall slim tool box. There are two columns with tools, which are divided in four sections. Can you see that? One of the tools is active:

    4.   The tools can be activated by clicking on them in the tool box. Try that.

    5.   The individual tools also have a shortcut letter associated with them. If you place the mouse cursor on the tool button, you can see that letter as well as the name of the tool.

    6.   Try that. Rest the cursor on the different buttons, and see the texts that appear:

    7.   Try to press v . That activates the Move Tool (top button in the right column):

    8.   Then press the shortcut letters l w c k j one by one, while you keep an eye on the tool box. Each letter activates a new tool.

    9.   Continue by pressing: b s y e g r o a t p u n i h x d. Then you have tried to activate most of the tools.

    10. Some tools exist in different variants. That is the case when you see a small triangle in the lower right corner of the button. All the variants can be seen if you rest the mouse cursor on the button. Try that, place the cursor over the lasso tool; after a couple of seconds the variants open:

    11. You can also activate the variants from the keyboard. Try to press e for eraser:

    12. Then try to press e a couple of more times. As you can see from the button, that opens additional variants af the eraser. NOTE: this function only works if you have applied the setting in point 2 on page 3.

    Figure 5. Every tool icon can cover multiple tools that are activated with the same shortcut letter.

    Tools settings and the status bar

    Photoshop has many tools. You need to try them out, before you can remember their names and the shortcut letters that activate them – and we will get to that later. Here we continue the introduction to Photoshop’s user interface.

    1.   Now activate the eraser tool in the second section of the tool box (by pressing letter e):

    2.   See the settings line (which is found just below the menu bar in top of the program window). This line is now associated with the eraser tool, which is also seen to the far left. The rest of the line gives you different settings options, which are associated with the tool:

    3.   You can thus use the settings line to modify tools (here the eraser) size (brush size) etc.

    4.   We continue the the review of the screen image. In the bbottom you see the status bar, which is found in all Windows programs. Here you only see a part of it, and just like the settings line the contents change, depending on your current activity:

    5.   The informations are associated with the image file that you are currently working with. There may be nothing right now in your status bar.

    Look at the palettes

    Photoshop is recognized by the floating windows – also called palettes, which many have problems getting used to. But the palettes are very important. When you open the program you see four palettes in the right side of screen. They may look ”empty” if you have not read pictures into them, but that will change.

    1.   Try to look at this palette:


    2.   Actually the box contains three palettes: Color, swatches and styles. Try to look at all three. They are quite different ones, which have been combined in one window.

    3.   Each palette has a number of menu options. You can see them by clicking on the small button with the arrow:

    4.   That opens a pop-up menu, which gives many options. One of them is good to know, that is Reset Swatches (see figure 6). It is very easy to modify the palettes. You might erroneously delete colors from the color chart. Then you just reset the palette, then it returns to its original appearance.

    5.   Try to look at each palette, and see the menu options in the pop-up menus.

    Figure 6. All palettes have a pop-up menu. Here you can among other things reset the palette’s contents.

    Floating palettes

    The palettes exhibit a special behaviour; they can be freely placed on the screen by clicking and dragging in the title line.

    1.   Try that now, move the palettes around with the mouse:

    2.   You can also enlarge/diminish some of the palettes by dragging in their edges.

    3.   When the mouse catches a corner, the cursor changes and you can can drag in that:

    4.   Try to drag ”Color” out from the palette. Drag with the mouse in the palette itself:

    5.   Drag color out and release it outside the original palette. That gives a new palette:

    6.   Drag the color palette back in place behind the color chart. That can be a tease, since you might think that the palette needs to be pulled back to the same location from where you removed it. That is not the case; you just release it in the bottom of the palette, and then it jumps into place.

    7.   You might be able to drag individual palettes up into the gray field in the far right of the settings line (Palette Well), where you already see File Browser and Brushes, which we will cover later in the booklet. Apparently this area is only seen in pc’s with screen resolutions of 1024 x 768 and higher:

    8.   Fortunately Photoshop can manage to place the palettes in the right side. Choose menu items Window --> Workspace --> Reset:

    9.   The individual palettes can thus be ”parked” in many places. But wait to use these options until you are more familiar with the program.

    You will soon be working with both tools and palettes; but here you just need to notice the palettes behaviour. Photoshop is a large program with advanced functions hidden here and there in the palettes.

    Figure 7. Selected palettes can be ”parked” in the Palette Well (but only if you have a high screen resolution).

    Hide all palettes

    If you temporarily want to hide all palettes to get more elbow room for your work, that is easily done:

    1.   Press the Tab key, then the palettes disappear (including the tool box).

    2.   Repeat that action, and the palettes are back in their place. That is neat.

    You can also activate the palettes individually with the function keys, as shown in figure 8. The palettes can also be shown/hidden by using the Window menu (see figure 9).




    Brushes (in Palette Well, close with Escape)












    All except the tool box and settings line

    Figure 8. The palettes can be turned on/off with the function keys.

    Now you need to work with the program. For the first couple of exercises we chose to have you make a couple of drawings.

    Actually the paint tools are not the most important in Photoshop – there are many other and better drawing programs – but the following exercises are quite good for a starter and to get acquainted with the user interface.

    NOTE: In the first few exercises we give very detailed explanations of the subject matter. Later in the booklet our instructions will be a little briefer; but we want to get you off to a good start!

    Figure 9. The Vindow menu controls the showing o the tool box and the four palettes. There is a lot to keep track of!

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