View Full Version : Getting to Know Photoshop ~

05-04-2011, 02:49 AM


As you all know, Photoshop isn't the most user friendly program out there -- well at least at first it isn't.

My main goal for this thread is to get users to familiarize themselves with the program by providing a comprehensive, yet simple, guide to understanding Photoshop. This is for users who are not yet comfortable with Photoshop and/or users who want to know more about the various neat features Photoshop has to offer.

When you do finish reading through this guide, or the parts you wanted to read, go check out xiety's tutorials (http://otaku-streamers.com/community/showthread.php?4339-PS-Tutorial) on basic photoshop functions to put what you've learned here to work. Have fun! :D

*I used Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial.

I will try to research all the other versions of Photoshop to try to get this guide as compatible as possible. Please let me know if you need any clarification or if you want a certain version of photoshop to be covered in this guide.

I am not a graphic arts student. I'm just a person who started learning Photoshop by tinkering and exploring. This information is basically what I've learned through personal experience, and what I've learned while reading forums and other tutorials throughout the years. My goal is to make this guide easy to understand, so if you have difficulty understanding certain parts, please message me.

User Interface (Nearly Complete)
Tools (In Progress)
Edit (In Progress)

CTRL+F/CMD+F is your friend!
Please use it to quickly navigate through this guide :)

A cute glossary of Photoshop keyboard shortcuts can be found here (http://fav.me/d5asr48).

05-04-2011, 02:51 AM
This is merely an overview of the interface. I will go into further depth in later posts.

Overview of the Photoshop User Interface



Now, you might or might not have CS3, but no matter what version you have, this video pretty much nails it when introducing the interface in a simple, easy to understand manner. If you are more of an experienced PS user, you might feel like he is babying you, but nonetheless it was pretty informative in my opinion. He also clarifies the differences between a rasterized image and a vector image.


1. Menubar: Just like any other application, Photoshop has a menubar. Here, you can access all of Photoshop's many options and drop-down menus. There is a File, Edit, Image, Layer, Select, Filter, Analysis, 3D, View, Window, and Help drop-down menu located in the menubar -- many of which I will go over in later posts. I will not be covering the 3D and video aspects of Photoshop because, well, I've never really used them before. ;d

*If there is an ellipses next to an option in the drop-down menu, a dialog box will pop up when you click it for more options.

2. Tools: This is where all the tools are displayed and can be accessed. More information about each tool will be discussed in this post (http://otaku-streamers.com/community/showthread.php?8609-Getting-to-Know-Photoshop&p=237349&viewfull=1#post237349).

3. Option Bar: The option bar displays umm… options (no duh) that modify the selected tool. Let's say you selected the brush tool. The option of changing your specific brush, brush size, and brush hardness will appear, along with the options of changing mode, opacity and flow. These options are pretty much necessary when using Photoshop to paint and photo manipulate.*

4. Palettes/Windows/Panels: The panels I have might be different from the ones you have, for I have organized mines to suit my needs. If you have tinkered with Photoshop a bit or have accidentally moved some of the panels, you will find that they are drag-able. You can remove, add, and move around palettes to fit your preferences. You can make new panels appear by going to the Window menu on the menubar and selecting a panel you would like to use.

The following is a list of palettes/windows/panels you can utilize in Photoshop CS6 from the Windows drop-down menu:

Brush Presets
Character Styles
Clone Source, Color
Layer Comps
Measurement Log
Paragraph Styles
Tool Presets.

I will discuss what each panel does in this post (http://otaku-streamers.com/community/showthread.php?8609-Getting-to-Know-Photoshop&p=245725&viewfull=1#post245725).

5. Workspace Options: After getting to know what each palette does, it is important to setup your workspace to suit your own needs. Rearrange the palettes around and move them wherever you like. Once you are done, it is time to save your workspace. When you click the button, a drop-down menu will appear. There you can save your current workspace or switch between other pre-installed workspaces.

6. Document Window: This is where your image will be displayed. More information about the image can be found on the tab and on the status bar of the document window. The status bar is located at the bottom where the zoom status is displayed (in this image it is where the "100%" is at). If you click on where it says "Doc:", information about your document's width, height, channels, and resolution will be displayed.

05-19-2011, 09:21 PM
If you have an older or newer version of Photoshop, you can reference the icons below and follow along with the explanations. The icons and shortcuts don't usually change with each new installment of Photoshop, so you should be able to follow along.



Tools on the Toolbar with a small arrow on the bottom right of the icon means that there are more icons. Hold down the hold down the icon and a fly-out menu will appear with a list of other similar tools.

Below is a list of tools from the picture above in order from top to bottom with their explanations. *Inside the parenthesis is the keyboard shortcut for the tool.

1. Move Tool (V): I think this tool is pretty self-explanatory. The move tool moves whatever you have selected. If you have selected a layer, you will be able to move the contents in that layer. If you have made a certain selection in the document, you will be able to move the selection. You can move objects by either using the mouse or arrow keys. Hold the SHIFT key while using the arrow keys to nudge the object farther.

In the Option bar, the following options are presented when you select the Move tool:


From left to right:

The First button is the Tool Presets button. There really is no need for a preset of options for this tool.
If the "Auto-Select" box is checked, you will be able to move a layer without first having to select the layer in the layers panel. There is a drop-down menu with two options for this:
Group: Allows you to move a group of layers at once. If you click and drag your mouse on the image, you will be able to auto-select and move the layers inside the selection.
Layer: Allows you to select and move a layer by clicking on an object in that layer.

If the "Show Transform Controls" box is checked, you will be able to transform the image you are moving without entering or selecting the Transform command. Transformations include resizing and rotating. Resizing can be done by dragging the knobs on the corners of the image. Rotating the image can be done by placing the cursor outside the corner of the image, and then dragging clockwise or counterclockwise to rotate.
Align Top Edges: Aligns the images selected with their top edges.
Align Vertical Centers: Aligns the images selected horizontally using their vertical centers.
Align Bottom Edges: Aligns the images selected with their bottom edges.
Align Left Edges: Aligns the images selected with their left edges.
Align Horizontal Centers: Aligns the images vertically using their horizontal centers.
Align Right Edges: Aligns the images with their right edges.

2. Marquee Selection Tools (M): This tool is used to make a rectangular selection, elliptical selection, or row selection. When you click and hold down, a fly-out menu with other tools are displayed.

In the Option bar, the following options are presented when you select any of the Marquee selection tools:


From left to right:

The First button is the Tool Presets button. You can save your current selection settings as a preset if you want to use your current settings another time.
New Selection: Creates a selection.
Add to Selection: Add on to an already existing selection.
Subtract from Selection: Subtract an area from an already existing selection.
Intersect with Selection: Create a selection that intersects with an already existing selection.
Feather: Adjust the softness of the selection. Controls how strict or hard the selection is. The higher the number, the more gradual and blended the selection looks.
Checking the "Anti-alias" option will smooth out the staircase-like edges on curved or diagonal objects.
Normal: Normally select.
Fixed Ratio: Select with a fixed ratio.
Fixed Size: Select with a specific size.
Width and Height: Set the width and height
Refine Edge…: The following dialog box pops up when pressing this button


You can change how you preview the refine edge selection in the View Mode area of the dialog box. 1You can slide the sliders to adjust the radius.

3. Lasso Tool (L): The Lasso tool is used for making selections like the marquee tool, but it isn't only restricted to rectangular and elliptical selection shapes. There is the Lasso Tool, Polygonal Lasso Tool, and Magnetic Lasso Tool. With the Lasso Tool, you can make any freehand selection shape you want. If you want straight edges, you can use the Polygonal Lasso tool to make a selection. If you want to trace certain lines on your image, the Magnetic Lasso tool might be the better lasso to use if the line you are tracing is distinct enough.

In the Option bar, the following options are presented when you select the Lasso and Magnetic Lasso Tool:


Please refer to the Marquee Selection Tools section for an explanation of the above option bar.

In the Option bar, the following options are presented when you select the Lasso and Magnetic Lasso Tool:


The Magnetic Lasso options are the same as the other two Lassos except for:
Width: adjusts the width of the area that Photoshop looks at to find edges
Contrast: determines how much of a difference there must be in color or brightness value between the object and its background for Photoshop to consider something an edge.
Frequency: Adjust the amount of anchor points that are placed when making a selection.
Use Tablet Pressure to Change Pen Width

A more in-depth magnetic lasso guide can be found here (http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/magnetic-lasso-tool/).

4. Magic Wand/Quick Selection Tools (W):

06-02-2011, 02:43 PM
The following will be be about the Edit menu on the menubar.

Step Forward
Step Backward


Copy Merged
Paste Special>

Check Spelling...
Find and Replace Text…


Content-Aware Scale
Puppet Warp
Free Transform
Auto-Align Layers…
Auto-Blend Layers…

Define Brush Preset…
Define Pattern…
Define Custom Shape…


Adobe PDF Presets
Remote Connections…

Convert Settings…
Assign Profile…
Convert to Profile…

Keyboard Shortcuts…

06-02-2011, 02:49 PM
Coming Soon!

06-02-2011, 02:50 PM
Coming Soon!

06-02-2011, 02:52 PM
Coming Soon!

06-02-2011, 02:54 PM
Reserved ~

06-02-2011, 02:55 PM
Reserved for future installments ~

06-02-2011, 02:57 PM
// F. A. Q.

Any questions you may have will be answered here ~

Also, feel free to post in this thread, your input is necessary to make this guide easier to understand and more informative (:
It's quite lonely here ):

11-12-2011, 11:40 PM
Thank you

12-10-2012, 04:03 AM
im completely new 2 photoshop the video helped fill in some gaps,but i want to learn to render and animate picture like your avatar simple stuff like that i am using cs6 i know almost noting on how to use photoshop id like to be able to edit a picture remove extra stuff that i might not like such as text it would be great if you you direct or guide me to a video or a walkthrough that i can use preferably one with picture so that i can learn. thanks so much for the small guide it really helped.

12-23-2012, 06:04 PM
ARIGATOOO~!!! This post really help me a lot! >/_\<