Adobe Photoshop Tutorial. Copyright Michael B. Karbo.

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    5. The first picture

    We start with a simple drawing that you have to make. You need to draw a floer – or two. The drawing does not have to be perfect; the object is to have you test a few elementary techniques.

    Choice of colors

    When you work in Photoshop, you have many colors at your disposition. But among all these colors there are always two that are active. That is the foreground and background color.

    The foreground color is the one that you among other things use to draw with. The background color you might say is the ”paper’s color.” In the daily application it is quite practical to start a new drawing with deciding the background color, so do that now. The flower has to be on a light blue background.

    You can select colors in different ways, but here you need to use the Swatches palette.

    1.   Start by looking in the tool box. Below you see the two active colors as two overlapping squares:

    2.   To begin with the two colors are black and white. Now click on the Swatches palettte. That is the center palette below:

    3.   Notice that the cursor changes to a small pipette as you move it across the colors. The pipette is used to gather colors– from the swatch, or other places, as you will see later.

    4.   Point to a light color and click once on that color.

    5.   Look in the Tool Box. The foreground color needs to be blue now. But the background needs too be lue. So press the x key. That is a shortcut, which reverses the two colors.

    6.   You can also reverse the two active colors by clicking on the small double arrow:

    7.   Now the background color is in place, so we can move on.

    Photoshop lets you use the mouse, but many of the functions in the Tool Box can as mentioned also be activated through certain shortcut letters (as x, which reverses the two active colors). In practise the shortcut letters are fastest, so we prefer to use them.

    Open a new picture

    Now you need a work area where you can draw. You get that by opening a new drawing. In Photoshop you must first define the size of the picture.

    1.   Slect menu items File --> New… You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control+n, which you may know from other programs.

    2.   In Photoshop this opens a dialog box. Start by typing Min blomst (Danish for my flower) in the name field:

    Now you have named the picture, but it has not been saved. Later you will give the file a name; we will get to that.

    3.   Press the Tab key a few times, and you will see that the cursor jumps from one field to another in the dialog box. That is quite neat. Use Shift-+Tab if you want the cursor to jump in reverse between the fields.

    4.   Now you need to identify the dimensions for the new drawing. There are different preset picture sizes to choose from; but you can also define your own size. Here we will make it easy; select Photoshops default size. By us that is 504 x 360 pixels, like here, but it might be a different measurement on your computer (that also depends on the screen resolution):

    5.   The color mode (in the Mode field) has to be RGB Color. You also need a check mark by Background Color in the bottom of the dialog box:

    6.   The Contents section is important to remember. Every new picture is ”fed” with a content. The content can be white, the current background color or transparent.

    7.   Now check that the values are as shown in figure 10, and click the OK button when you are ready to continue.

    Figure 10. The starting point for any new drawing is to identify dimensions and background color.

    The rulers

    You can now see your light blue drawing in a window on the screen.

    1.   Photoshop shows the picture in so-called 100 % size. The window is surrounded by two rulers with dimensions in pixels. They are used for navigation.

    2.   If you don’t see the rulers, you can activate them with menu items View --> Rulers:

    3.   It is often most practical to let the window fit the screen, so do that now. Selecr menu items View --> Fit on Screen, or use the keyboard shortcut Control+0 (the Control key plus a zero).

    4.   That rescales the picture, depending on your screen resolution. That might become 224%, but the number is insignificant; as long as the screen area is utilized to its optimum.

    Figure 11. The picture can seen in many different enlargements.

    Save the picture

    It is always a good idea to save your work as soon as possible.

    1.   Select menu item File --> Save As…, and save the picture as myflower.

    2.   We think that you should create a new folder for this purpose called Tasks (the folder: C:\My Documents\Photoshop\Tasks).

    3.   The picture is saved in Photoshop’s own file format called PSD.

    The pictures that you can get from the booklets home page, are all saved in the JPEG, PNG and GIF formats (the three web formats), which compress the pictures so they occupy a minimum of space. But as long as we work with a picture in Photoshop, we use Photoshop’s own file format, which is called PSD. Be careful that you not erroneously select PDF or PDP as format – they are also Photoshop formats, but they serve quite different purposes.

    A picture can occupy much more space in the PSD format than in the web formats. But the advantage of the Photoshop format is at the file can include much more picture information. Read more about that in the booklet ”Web graphic – teach yourself”, which contains a very thorough review of the graphic file formats.

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