Photoshop is a very complex, professional-level graphics program. This guide is a simplified explanation of the program and its tools and
is intended only as a basic introduction. If more information is desired, please consult the list of Resources at the end of this guide.
Introduction to Photoshop 6.0
Adobe Photshop 6.0 is a program used to create and manipulate digital images. The program is raster-based which means that its images are composed of pixels. One who is trying to understand the concept of pixels and raster-based images should consider a pixel comparable to a grain of sand in a sand-painting. Each grain is a certain color and when combined with millions of other grains of different colors a picture is formed. Raster-based images cannot be enlarged very easily because in order to enlarge an image composed of pixels one must enlarge each pixel. This process causes the pixels to become visible and causes the image to appear blurry.
The large screen in the center of the monitor is called a canvas. This is the area in which images appear and can be manipulated. The canvas's size and orientation can be changed by selecting options under image on the toolbar at the top of the screen.
The Toolbox appears on the left side of the monitor. The Toolbox contains tools that can be used to create or manipulate images on the canvas. Some of the tools that are available are the marquee tool, the move tool, the lasso tools, the magic wand tool, the crop tool, the knife tool, the airbrush and paintbrush tools, the rubber stamp tool, the eraser tool, the gradient and paintbucket tools, the dodge tool, the text tool, the eyedropper tool, and the zoom tool (the tools will be explained later in the Photoshop's Toolbox section of this guide). Information about the foreground and background colors is also available in this menu. The foreground color is the color that has been selected for use with the tools. This color can be changed by selecting another color from the color or swatches menu.
The Color/Swatches menu appears on the right side of the monitor. This menu contains the colors that are available for application to the canvas.
To choose a color, click the mouse button when the arrow's tip is on the clor you want.
The Options bar appears on the top of the screen. This menu bar contains brush size options, pressure options, tolerance options, and other
options depending on the tool that is selected for use.
The Layers menu appears on the right side of the monitor. This menu contains information about the layers such as the names of each, the position
of each in the sequence, the opacity of each, and the options to delete, duplicate, and combine layers.
Layers allow storage of visual information on unconnected planes, which makes combinations of pictures very easy
A basic concept that must be understood in order to use photoshop is the layer feature of the program. Layers should be compared to transparent sheets that contain pictures. The layers each have different names and can be ordered in different sequences to manipulate an image. One should consider the view of the largest window a top view of the layers and the layer menu as a side view of the layers.
The layer menu contains information about each layer such as its name, its place in the sequence, and a tiny picture of the image it contains. One must understand that each layer functions separately and that one cannot manipulate an image within a layer unless that layer has been selected. To select a layer, look at the layer menu and click the mouse button when the arrow is on the correct layer. The name of the layer that has been chosen will appear highlighted on the layer menu.
Another important concept to understand before using Photoshop is selection. Because Photoshop is raster-based and its images are composed of pixels, pixels of a similar color can be selected for manipulation at the same time. For example, if one wished to change the color of a certain part of an image, one would select the pixels that compose that part of the image. If the chosen pixels were blue, one would want to select all the blue pixels in the area.
Selections appear as a line of moving black and white dots. Selections can be made with the tools in Photoshop's toolbox.
The History menu in Photoshop allows the user to undo any action that has been performed since opening the file. Each action is listed in order of
completion on the History menu list. To undo an action click on the action and drag it to the trash icon
underneath the action list.
*The keyboard command Ctrl+Z can be used to undo the most recent action performed.
The toolbox appears on the left side of the screen. It is a vertical bar that contains two colomns of buttons that each have different symbols on them.
The tools are used to create and manipulate images within Photoshop. Some of the tools have multiple options.
Tools that have more than one option are connoted with a small arrow.
To select a different option on a tool button, click and hold the mouse button until a small screen appears to the right of the tool button. Drag the mouse arrow over the option you wish to select, then let go of the mouse button. Other options for each tool can be found in the option menu.
The following is an explanation of a few of Photoshop's Tools:
The Marquee Tool is used to make selection shapes. It can make rectangular, elliptical, single row, and single column selections.One uses this tool by clicking on the Marquee tool button, clicking on the image, and dragging the mouse until the chosen selection area is correct in shape and size.To deselect an area while using the Marquee tool, click outside the Marquee tool's selection.
This tool moves selections, layers, and guides. One uses this tool by selecting the Move tool from the toolbox, clicking the mouse button on the section of the image that has been chosen to move, and dragging the mouse until the arrow is in the location that has been designated for placing the image.
The lasso tool makes freehand, polygonal (straight-edged),
and magnetic(snap-to) selections.To
use the lasso tool, select it from the toolbox, click the mouse button on the
starting point of your selection, let go of the mouse button, and click the
mouse button again when the ending point of your selection has been reached. To
deselect an area while using the Lasso tool, click outside the tool's
Magic Wand Tool
This tool selects areas of pixels that are similar in color. To select an area of color select the Magic Wand tool and click on the
color within the image that you wish to select. To increase or decrease the area of selection for a certain color, adjust the tolerance in the option menu.A larger number will allow more pixels of a certain color range to be selected (less exact) and a smaller number will allow fewer pixels of acertain color range to be selected (more exact).To deselect an area while using the Magic Wand tool, click insidethe tool's selection.
The Crop Tool trims images. The trimming takes place outside the area of Crop Tool selection. To use the Crop Tool select it from the toolbox, click on the starting point of the area to be cropped, drag the mouse to the ending point of the area intended for cropping, and let go of the mouse button.
This tool paints soft-edged strokes. Once the Airbrush Tool has been selected click the mouse on the canvas and drag the mouse in the shape that you want to create, then let go of the mouse button.
This tool paints a with a variety of brush strokes.To use this tool, select the Paintbrush Tool from the Toolbox, click the mouse on the canvas and drag in the shape you want to create, then let go of the mouse button.
This tool erases pixels on the canvas. To use the Eraser Tool, click and drag over the part of the image you wish to erase and then let go of the mouse button.
The Gradient Tool creates blends of colors within a designated area.To use this tool select it from the Toolbox, select the colors you want to combine in the gradient, click the mouse button outside the boundaries of the area you wish to fill with color, drag the mouse in the direction you wish the color to appear until you reach the outer boundaries of the area you wish to fill with color, and let go of the mouse button.
The Paintbucket Tool is used to fill areas with color.To use this tool, click on the Paintbucket Tool button in the Toolbox, select a color from the color menu, and click on the area on the canvas you wish to fill with color.
This tool creates type on the canvas.The type will appear in a separate layer as soon as the Type Tool is applied to the canvas.To use the tool, select it from the Toolbox, click the mouse button on the place you wish type to appear, and begin typing with the keyboard.
This tool samples colors in an image. One would use this tool if one wished to select a specific color from an image without having to use a trial-and-error method to find the desired color.To use the Eyedropper Tool select it from the Toolbox and click on the color you wish to sample.
This tool moves an image on the canvas.To move an image with the Hand Tool, select the Hand Tool from the Toolbox, click and drag on the image, and move it to the desired location within the canvas. Once you are satisfied with the image's location, let go of the mouse button.
The Zoom Tool magnifies and reduces the view of an image.To use this tool select it from the Toolbox and click on the part of the image you wish to designate as the center of magnification.If you wish to reduce your view of the image, hold down the Option or Alt key and click the mouse button on the part of the image you wish to designate as the center of the reduction.
Photoshop 6.0 contains many features beyond the scope of this guide. Once you gain a basic understanding of Photoshop 6.0, you will be ready to discover the vast array of features that the program offers.
Below is a list of resources to peruse if you wish for a more comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop 6.0.
You can order training guides at the following website: