How to use Adobe Photoshop (with images)

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How to use Adobe Photoshop (with images)
How to use Adobe Photoshop (with images)

Photoshop is an image processing program published by Adobe and used by both professionals and individuals. It works with different operating systems and is available in several different languages. This software can be used to create new images or to modify existing images. Proficiency in Photoshop is a valuable skill and can lead to gainful employment. You can get a degree or take Photoshop classes. You can also learn on your own through tutorials, starting with this one.


Part 1 of 7: start a new image

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Step 1. Prepare the ground

Once the program has loaded, you need to open a new file so that you can proceed to creating an image. For this purpose, you can click on the main menu button and choose New or simply click simultaneously on the keys Control / Command + N.

You will then have a wide variety of choices to make. These will be used to personalize your starting outline. No need to worry though, as most of these options can still be changed even after you start working on your image file. Be aware that changing certain options when you have already started may affect the image and will certainly involve having to readjust it to adapt to these changes

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Step 2. Choose the correct dimensions

The first options concern the size of the canvas and that of your work area. You can choose a preset size (for example, A6 format), a custom size (using the height and width indications) or even use the clipboard option (which has the effect of adjusting the size of the canvas based on what's in your computer's clipboard at that moment, which is handy for pasting and editing existing images).

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Step 3. Choose the correct resolution

You must choose the resolution according to the final destination of the image. Resolution expresses the number of pixels per square inch of the image. The more pixels a one-inch square contains, the sharper the image.

  • A larger number of pixels per inch also means a larger file size. This causes several drawbacks. Large files require more computing power from computers, and computers can crash or be significantly slowed down on less powerful systems. Large files can also take longer to download from the web and should only be downloaded when really needed.
  • The standard web resolution is approximately 72 pixels per inch. For images intended for printing, the resolution is approximately 300 pixels per inch. You can decide the resolution as you like, but be aware that using a resolution below 300 for printing will make the final image pixelated. Using a resolution higher than 72 on the web will increase the load time.
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Step 4. Choose the color mode

Depending on the destination of your image, you may need to change the color mode. The latter determines how colors are calculated and displayed. This setting can be changed after the image has been created without too many consequences.

  • Rgb is the standard color mode. It is suitable for images that will be displayed on computers, as this method is already used by computers to calculate and display the images.
  • CMYK is another popular color scheme. This is the preferred mode for images intended for printing, as this method is used by printers to render colors. The best option in this case is certainly to first create your image by Rgb and then convert it to CMYK before sending it to print, as your computer will automatically display colors Rgb.
  • The third most common option is Shades of grey and this name represents what it is. This is a setting only suitable for grayscale printing.
  • Regardless of the color mode, the higher the number of bits, the more colors will be displayed. Increasing the number of bits also increases the file size, so it is recommended that you do this only when absolutely necessary.
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Step 5. Select your background

This mainly consists of deciding whether your starting canvas will be white or transparent. A white canvas will make the screen easier to read when working on it, while a transparent canvas will make it easier to achieve most effects.

  • The best choice is to create all of your images on layers above the background so that you can more easily switch between a white background and a transparent background as needed.
  • Start with a transparent background which you will then color in white. Create all of the following images on separate layers above the background. Erasing the blank as needed is the best way to work.

Part 2 of 7: Add layers

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Step 1. Use layers

The main advantage of Photoshop is the ability to have multiple layers. Layers allow you to separate your images into different editable parts. The more slaps you use, the more control you have over image processing. Changes to a given layer only affect that layer (although blend modes can change the way layers interact with each other). Remember that the layers are superimposed: the layers above appear with priority over the layers below. So group your layers accordingly.

  • Examples of layers might include, out of order: highlights, shadows, text, background, line art / inking, base colors, etc.
  • You have the option of making a layer visible or invisible by clicking on the box in front of the layer where there is a drawn eye.
  • Create new layers by clicking on the button New layer at the bottom of the layers window (it looks like two overlapping squares), selecting New -> Layer from the layers menu or by simultaneously pressing the keys Shift + Command / Control + N.
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Step 2. Adjust the layer modes

Layer modes are an important part of processing your image. There is a wide range of different options for layers, each of which affects the appearance of layers in a different way, as it does for the layers below. Normal is the default setting.

Practice the different layer modes to see what they can do for you. If necessary, refer to online guides related to this topic

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Step 3. Adjust the opacity and background of the layer

The opacity (or also the degree of transparency of all the components of this layer) can be fine-tuned using the drop-down menus Opacity and Background in the layers window. These two options generally accomplish a similar effect, so it doesn't matter which of the two you choose.

  • The only exception that could make you opt for Filling instead of Opacity would be to be in the presence of effects already applied to the image (of the style Contour, Drop shadow or internal Where Bevelling and stamping). Use Background in this specific case preserves the effects, but makes them entirely or even more transparent, depending on the fill levels selected.
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Step 4. Lock the layers

When you have finished a layer, you can fully or partially lock it to prevent accidental changes. To lock it completely, select the layer and then press the padlock-shaped lock button in the layers window. Likewise, if you prefer to partially lock elements only, you can do so with transparent pixels, image pixels or layer position by clicking on the corresponding icons. These are in front of the full lock and their respective functions should appear when you hover over them.

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Step 5. Merge the layers

When you are finished or while working, you have the option to merge the layers. This function combines all the selected separate layers into one. Be careful, because this action is irreversible. Right click on the layers you want to merge, scrolling up and down as needed. You also have at your disposal the function Merge visible layers, which combines all the layers that have not been made invisible.

Part 3 of 7: Access the tools

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Step 1. Learn to master the selection tools

The selection tools work in a different way so that you can select parts or all of your image. When the image is selected, you can simply copy / paste it or modify the selection. You can tell when something is selected mainly by the moving dotted line that surrounds it. To deselect and get rid of the dotted line, press the keys Ctrl / Command + D. Be aware that the selection of the image depends on the active layer, although you can also choose Copy with merge from the menu Editing to copy all the layers without actually having to merge them together.

  • Selection tool: it selects a given shape that you can change by clicking on it and holding down the mouse button or by bringing up the menu for this function. The selection tool works almost the same way as the one that lets you select files on your computer, using “click and drag”. You can switch from a rectangle to a square or from an oval to a circle by holding down the key. Uppercase while you make the selection.
  • Lasso: the lasso tool is identical to the selection tool, but it allows manual intervention on the selection. The polygonal lasso is similar, but requires the creation of anchor points. The third option is the magnetic lasso, which allows you to follow the edges of an object well. All three lasso tools require you to close the object before you can be able to select it. This can be done by clicking on the starting point (you will see a small circle appear in front of your cursor). In case of error, you can remove an anchor point by pressing the key. Delete.
  • Magic wand: this tool is responsible for selecting similar pixels according to the color criteria. You can change its sensitivity to colors by increasing or decreasing the tolerance. This allows you to select only specific areas of an image or entire objects.
  • Quick selection tool: Quick selection is quite possibly the most common and useful selection tool for editing specific areas of an image. It is a combination of the magic wand and the magnetic lasso. Click-drag to select contiguous areas of an image that you want to edit.
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Step 2. Familiarize yourself with brushes

Brushes are used to add pixels to an image. You can use them to add elements to a photograph or to completely create a new image. The brushes are flexible at will thanks to the menu of Brush tool and there is a wide variety of predefined shapes.

  • You can download even more preset brushes for free or for a fee from several websites.
  • Adjust the size, hardness and opacity of your brush to suit your needs. A larger brush size will be able to fill a larger area, a harder brush will give cleaner lines, and reduced opacity will give you more control over colors by subdividing them into multiple layers.
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Step 3. Familiarize yourself with the Waterdrop, Sharpen, and Finger tools

These tools are all grouped together in the same water drop icon. Select the one you need by clicking on it and holding the mouse button down or dragging its menu up. These tools all act on the pixels you touch and can be used to accomplish different effects.

  • Water drop: This tool dissociates and diffuses the pixels, so that everything you touch is more blurred. The degree of blur depends on your setting in the top menu.
  • Sharpness: this tool is the opposite of the water drop, it tightens and consolidates the pixels. It should be used in moderation, as it can be quite imprecise.
  • Finger: this tool takes the color you have chosen and spreads it in the areas where you press the cursor.
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Step 4. Practice using the Density -, Density +, and Sponge tools

These tools make the images darker or lighter respectively, while the tool Sponge increase or decrease saturation. You can choose the right tool for you by clicking on the circle and line icon and holding down the mouse button. Using these features, you will be able to brighten dark areas and darken those that are too bright in your image.

  • Since these operations are really about the pixels of a given image, it is recommended that you copy the image to a new layer and then lock the original layer. Make changes only on the copy to avoid damaging the original image.
  • You can change the types of tones that are modified by the density tools, just like the actions of your tool. Sponge by using the options from the top menu. Try to select Dark tones for Density - and Light tones for Density +, these settings allow you to protect midtones (unless you want to change your midtones, of course).
  • Remember that you can also increase your brush size as well as the intensity of the tools from the top menu options.
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Step 5. Familiarize yourself with the Clone Stamp Tool

This tool, whose icon corresponds to a stamp, is used to take part of an image to copy it elsewhere. It is used to correct skin imperfections, to erase the ears of hair, etc. All you need to do is select the tool and then press the key. Alt and simultaneously click on the area to copy and then simply click on the area to be covered.

Be careful, because the copied zone will adjust proportionally to the movements of the cursor when you cover the zones to be changed

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Step 6. Practice mastering the Gradient tool

This tool allows filling with a gradient or a fade. This can be done on an existing layer or inside a dedicated layer. The way the gradient appears can be changed using the top menu, while the colors used for the fade come from the two colors selected in the color menu (Background and Foreground).

This tool is used by drawing a line (click on a starting point and an ending point). How the gradient looks depends on where you drew the line, as well as how long you gave it. Thus, for example, a shorter line makes a faster transition. Experiment to find the right gradient for your needs

Part 4 of 7: select colors

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Step 1. Click on the color selection window

To be able to change the color, double-click on the desired color at the bottom of the toolbar. A window with several options will appear, the most obvious consisting of choosing the color both with the selection box and with the side cursor (these two elements are easily understood).

  • If you see an exclamation mark warning appearing in front of the color slider, it means that the color you have selected may not be printed correctly, although it will display correctly on a monitor.
  • If you see a small cube appearing in the same place, it means that the selected color will not be displayed correctly on the web. Opt for Web colors only at the bottom if that's a setting that matters to you.
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Step 2. Use color codes

To use a specific color, write down its hexadecimal code. It is located in the lower part of the window and is indicated by the pound sign. Type this code to manually change the color.

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Step 3. Familiarize yourself with Pantones colors

It is a numbered color gamut system, each corresponding to an ink used to print images. This system is mainly used in the field of printed media in order to reproduce colors as faithfully as possible. You can get Pantones colors in Photoshop from the Color library by choosing the correct color number. Many resources as well as more information about Pantones colors are readily available online, as this standard is internationally recognized.

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Step 4. Use the eyedropper tool

You can also choose colors from the image itself using the eyedropper. This process is often quite imprecise, therefore it is preferable to zoom the image in order to have more control over the color of the selected pixel.

Part 5 of 7: add text

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Step 1. Learn how to use the Text Tool

This tool allows you to add text on a new dedicated layer. Start by selecting the Text Tool and drawing the outlines in much the same way you would with the Selection tool. It's easier to create a new text box / layer for each line of text you intend to include, this way you have better control over alignment and spaces between lines.

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Step 2. Select your font

To choose a font, use the menu Text or the options at the top of the window. Remember to opt for a font that matches the image as well as the content of the text. You also have the possibility to change the font size by using the options at the top.

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Step 3. Distort the text

You can distort the text to take a particular shape and change its shape and size further. This turns each letter into an independent shape. Just remember that this operation is only reversible through the menu Historical.

  • To distort text, right click on the layer where it is located and choose Convert to shape. From there you can use the Direct selection tool to make many different changes to the items you've crafted.

Part 6 of 7: make adjustments

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Step 1. Learn how to use filters

Filters are accessible from the menu of the same name and can be applied either to visible layers or to a selection and can be used to produce all kinds of effects. When selecting each of the filters, the specific menu with the corresponding options will be offered to you. You can perform tests or consult in detail on the Internet all the functionalities for each of the available filters.

  • An example of a filter, the Gaussian blur: It allows you to consistently diffuse the pixels of a layer. Filters Adding noise, Clouds and Texture can give texture to your image. You just need to experiment to find the best filter for your project.
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Step 2. Use the levels

Levels allow you to control the brightness, color balance, and contrast of an image by setting either absolute white or absolute black. It is a complex setting that requires practice and experience to be performed perfectly. Many tutorials are available online. The level adjustment window can be called up by pressing simultaneously on Command / Ctrl + L.

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Step 3. Use curves

The menu Curves allows you to adjust the tones within your image. This menu is accessible from Image -> Settings -> Curves. A diagonal line in a window will then appear. On the horizontal scale, you have the starting image and on the vertical scale, the arrival one. Click on the line to create anchor points then drag these points to change the tones of your image. This gives you more control over contrast than the menu would. Contrast.

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Step 4. Use the Transformation Tools

The Transformation tools make possible a whole panoply of transformations: homothety, rotation, inclination, torsion or perspective. This can be applied to a selected area, an entire layer, or a series of layers. These tools can be reached from Edit -> Transformation. This displays a submenu with a choice of different options. Select the one that suits you. Try it out or get inspiration from tutorials on the Internet.

  • Remember to press the key Uppercase if you want to keep the proportions while using the Transformation tools.

Part 7 of 7: Back up the files

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Step 1. Save your work in the correct file format

We even recommend that you start backing up at the start of your job to avoid losing everything in the event of a possible crash. Save the file from the menu File in the same way as with any other program. You will be presented with a familiar File Backup window, where you can choose the file format and destination location.

  • If you are continuously working on the same file, save it in PSD format, Photoshop's native format, so you will keep the editing capabilities intact. In addition, this format preserves layers.
  • If your goal is to save your file for upload to the web or for embedding in another program, save a separate copy as an image file. The most common option is the JPEG format, in the case of an image with transparency, you can use the-g.webp" />
  • There is also an option to save in PDF format. This is useful for an image with a lot of text or intended to be printed on standard paper.
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Step 2. Save for web and devices. If you intend to distribute your image on the web, you can use the corresponding menu (which can be found towards the bottom of the main menu). This allows you to compress the image even more or change the-g.webp" />

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