Author Topic: Photoshop Tips  (Read 10004 times)

Offline Mark Austin

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Photoshop Tips
« on: January 31, 2009, 07:23:27 PM »
Photoshop Tips

There are so many things that you can do with Photoshop, but it’s important to know the basics first before you start diving into more advanced features and functions.  When you learn to do one thing, you can move on to other tasks.                                         

In order to get started, you must open the Photoshop software.  You will see the Photoshop desktop.  Within the desktop, you will find the following categories:  title bar, menu bar, options bar, status bar, toolbox, image window and palettes. 

Within the title bar, you will see the name of the software, along with the most recent name of the file (if there is one).  Each time a file is created, the extension will end with “.psd”.   

The menu bar will have different commands to use for your file, such as edit, image, layer, select, view).  There are other commands, but the commands mentioned are some of the ones that are used most often.  You will find the options bar above the menus.   

The toolbox bar has tools that are used for images that are in the graphics software.  You can only use one tool at a time.  In order to activate it, you must click on the corresponding icon.  These tools are used for many of the Photoshop projects.  Here are some brief details on the ones that most people use:

  • Hand Dragged in order to move an image around.
  • Move  – To move a certain area, you must click and drag.
  • Zoom  – Zoom in and out by clicking or dragging.
  • Crop – To do this, you must click and drag that certain area; to execute the crop, press Enter; to cancel the crop, use the Escape key.
  • Marquee  – The selected images will be clicked and drug
  • Type  – Using the type tool, click the image where you want to include type. 
  • Brush  – Used for painting brush strokes.
  • Eraser – Gets rids of areas that have solid colors. 
  • Dodge – This tool is used for to lighten any picture wherever you select it.
  • Burn – This tool is used to make certain areas on your image darker. 
  • Wand – This tool is used for colored areas.  You can use it to select, erase, color or adjust.

At one point or another, you will use these tools from the toolbox bar.  They can help you when you’re creating images, designs or other drawings.  The more you use them, the easier it will be for you to utilize them when the time comes.  They can help to enhance the beauty of your work.


You can use palettes to do different things with Photoshop.  You can show or hide certain ones by going to the window menu and selecting a palette name.  Palettes are placed into different groups. 

For instance, one group would consist of layers, channels and paths.  If you need to move a palette group, you can do so by dragging the blue bar that is located at the top of the group.  If you want to shrink a palette group, click on the blue bar twice.  Using the close box (“X”), you can hide a palette group if you wish.

The palettes have tabs and they can be moved around by dragging them.  If you don’t want to do that, then the palettes can be mixed into other groups.  Or if you want to place them in a default setting, you can do that also.

This graphics software also has rulers that you can use to see the measurements of your image.  You will be able to tell whether it’s too big or too small.  If you want to change the size, click on the ruler twice, or you can use the “Preferences” command.  You can change the measurement from pixels to inches. 

Using the status bar, you will have information regarding the current file that you’re working on.  You will be able to view and use one of the tools.  The status bar shows which tool that you have chosen to work with.   

How To Get Images Into Photoshop

You will need to have an image in order to create a file.  There are several ways that this can be done.

  • If there is a file that already has an image, then click File, Open or File and then Browse.  Most files that have images will open in Photoshop.
  • Create a new file.  Click File and then New.  Choose a name for the new file and go to the Preset menu and enter the information requested.
  • Scan an image from a computer into Photoshop by clicking File and then Import.

How To Move An Image Around

You can move an image around in Photoshop when you are in the editing stage.  In fact, you will be able to multi-task as you zoom in and go around it.  As you’re editing, you can zoom in and out to see what you need to do as far as adjustments are concerned.  In order to do this, you should use the zoom and hand tools, and also the palette that is used for navigating. 

Click or drag the image using the zoom tool.  The more your zoom in, the more the image size will increase and get larger.  You will be able to see how much the image has increased by looking at the status bar.  If you want to see it in its entirety, click on the zoom icon twice.  Use the ALT key to get out of the zoom function.

The hand tool is used to go around the image while you are still zoomed in.  You can drag the hand in order to do this.  If you want to move the image using the Navigation function, click Window and Show Navigator.

If you want to see more than one window of an image, click Window, Arrange and New Window.  This setup will help you to get in close up to an image, or at least part of it.  You will also be able to see another window while you are looking at the first image.

Size of Image, Resolution and Print Size

You will probably want to know more about sizes of images, resolution and print size.  You can do that by using the dialog box for Image Sixing.  In Photoshop, you need to open an image.  Select Image, Image Size and you’ll see the dialog box. 

Pixels or picture elements make up digital images.  There is only one color in each pixel.  The number of pixels in an image has to do with width and height.  This also correlates with how large or how small you can see the display on the computer screen.  In the “Document Size” function, using width and height allude to how large or small the image will be when you print it. 

Printing Images

When you want to print an image in a larger size, you should decrease the resolution.  If you need to change the size of an image before you print, make sure that the “Resampling Image” box is not checked.  While increasing the size, the resolution will decrease if you increase the width and height.  If you do the opposite of this, then the result will be the opposite.   

If you’re printing an image for leisure use, using a resolution of 72 ppi can work.  However, if it is more on the line of newspapers and newsletters, you will need increased resolutions starting at 150 to 200 ppi.  For magazines, the resolutions would be higher, from 250 ppi on up.

Scanning Images In Photoshop

The image should be in the scanner, face down on the glass.  Photoshop will need to be opened.  Select “Import”, then Twain Acquire.”  Photoshop has scanning software that will open up to be used. 

Choose the resolution for your image.  There is a certain dpi (dots per image) you will need.  Here are some suggestions for how you should set the dpi:

  • If you are enlarging prints, you should use dpi starting at 300 or more.
  • With general 1 to 1 printing, you should use dpi at 300.
  • For projects that use PowerPoint or the internet, you should use dpi at 72.

Select preview and wait for the scanner to get to the scan in preview format.  Choose the selection tool to look at an area to scan in the preview.  You will probably need to adjust settings afterwards.  Select the tool icon and choose either photo or drawing.  This will help your image to look clearer and have a better contrast.

If you have other changes, such as color, balance, brightness, etc., do them only once the image has been scanned and imported to Photoshop.  You have more flexibility to make changes and other adjustments in Photoshop than you would with the software used for scanning.

In order to do this, choose the scan function and you will see “untitled document” in the image.  Using Photoshop, you can change the size of it.  Choose the edit menu and select “Image Size”.  If the graphics take up a lot of space, they can take quite of bit of time to load on a dial up modem. 

So if this is your predicament, you would want to have a thumbnail size of the image.  This size would be much smaller than the image you’re trying to resize, and would take up less space.  When you create the first image in Photoshop, you will need to save it.  Then create the thumbnail size.  You would create these images from the scan.

When it’s time to save the file, there are several suffix formats you can use.  If the image is a photo and being used for the internet, use the .jpg suffix.  If the image is not a photo and being used for the internet, use the .gif suffix.

If the images come from the printer and they are of high quality, you can use .tiff or .jpg.  There is more information involved when you save an image using .tiff.  However, it comes without additional layers like .psd images have.  You would only save the image to .psd if it contained layers.

Save the file where you can easily locate it later on.  It may be helpful to create a folder and save it for images only. 

Editing Images

You can do quite a bit with images when you use Photoshop.  The graphics software has plenty of components and tools that can help with editing images.  Here are some basic things that you should know when you are doing that:

Make sure that you have two images when you’re creating them.  The initial image should be used as a backup and have another copy that you can work on.  This is good to do in the event you don’t like the way the image looks or you messed up.  At least you will be able to start over.  You can also choose to use the file prior to when you made changes.  You can do this by selecting File and Revert.  Or you can choose the History palette.
If you do make some changes to images, only the part that is being changed is affected.  Usually, the changes would include the image pixels. When making changes to an image and there is more than one layer, the changes usually only affect the newest layer. 

Rotating Images

This is when you want to turn an image any way that you want when you’re using Photoshop.  In the graphics software, open the image that you wish to rotate.  Then click the rotate command located in the Image menu.  Select how much you want to turn the image by using the degrees of rotation.

If you have a certain number, choose Free and put in the number, then choose Ok.

When you save the file, use a different name.

Check the image and if you don’t like it, you can change it.  Go to the Edit menu and choose undo to reverse what you did.

Saving A Photoshop Image

You can be irritated trying to look for a saved file, only finding out that it’s not where you thought it was.  That’s nothing compared to what you would feel if you created a Photoshop file only to save it in the wrong format.  There are certain things that you can do in order to make sure that your Photoshop files are saved the correct way.

Here is the way you can save an image file in Photoshop:

  • Select File, Save; or you can use the Ctrl and the S key together.
  • Create a name for the file in the file name area.
  • Using the dropdown menu, get a file location.  You can use a drive or a folder to do this.  Select the file format that you will save it in.  You should flatten the files prior to saving them.  The saving process will work better that way.  Or if your image file has layers, you can use the PDF format in Photoshop. 
  • Any additional options that you want you can include in the Save portion.  Go ahead and proceed to save the file.


Layers are used in Photoshop images.  The background layer is usually the only layer that each image has.  You can use layers during the image editing process.  They can also be used for special effects. 

If you make a copy of a layer and then decide to change it, you will have the first layer as a backup.  You would make changes or adjustments to the copy of the layer.  Another thing that you can do with layers is put images together by using different content.

With the exception of adjustment layers, for the most part, layers are required to have quite a bit of memory.  The larger files from Photoshop usually contain a lot of layers.  To use the layers, go to the Layers palette from the Window menu. 

In the first column of the palette, you will see some layers on the computer screen.  You will be able to identify them by the eye icon.  Even though you will be able to see the layer, it may not be totally transparent. 

This means that you will be able to see any layers that are under the initial one.  You will notice the transparency when you see a checkerboard pattern.  There may be times when you will have to or want to change the visibility of a layer. 

If you decide to edit the layer, whatever you change will also affect the newest layer.  If you want to use another name for the layer, click on the layer’s name twice and type the new name.  If you want another layer to be the new layer, choose that layer in the palette.

If you want to create a new layer, use the icon for creating a new layer in the Layer palette.  Or you can create a new layer by moving the previous layer to the icon for the new layer.

If you want to get rid of a layer, use the trash icon.  Or you can move the layer to the trash icon.

If you don’t want to make changes or adjustments to a layer, use one of the Lock boxes.  These are located at the top of the Layers palette.  In the Lock boxes area, you have commands and components such as lock pixels, lock layer position, lock transparent areas and lock all.


You have different styles to choose from when you have images with layers.  There are different special effects you can use to enhance your image in Photoshop.  You would choose the layer in the palette, then choose the Effects button.  You will see a layer style dialog box.  This is where you will be able to create the special effects for the layer that is open.

When you want to save the effects, you will select “New Style”.  You can use some of the same effect later for other layers.  To do that, choose the style in the palette and you will have the same ones to use for that layer.  To use the Styles palette, select Window, then Show Styles.

Parts of layers that you can see through will have edges.  You can also use effects here.  If there are not transparent portion, there’s a chance you may not see any changes after the layer effects are applied.

Layers can also be used to put images together.  Open two images and with the move tool, move one image on top of the other.  The initial image will look like a new layer in the next image.  You can also put images together by copying and pasting one image to another image.  This can also create a new layer.

If you need to edit your images, you can use adjustable layers to do that.  These layers are not only adjustable and editable, they can be used with Levels, Photo Filters, Hue/Saturation and other commands as need. 

An adjustment layer is created by using the Layer function.  Select New Adjustment Layer and then select one of the menu components.  You can choose from Color Balance, Curves, Levels, etc.)  Or you can choose the adjustment layer button and get the same menu of components. 

If you need to adjust any settings with this, use the dialog box.  With the adjustment layer, you can edit any part of it.  On the other hand, a regular Levels adjustment is not allowed to be totally edited. 

The dialog box will be in the adjustment layer and you can adjust any settings that you need to.  You don’t need a lot of lot of memory and the file’s size does not get larger.

Using Selection Techniques

When you use selection techniques, essentially you are setting apart a portion of an image so that you can make changes to it.  Or you may want to include that portion with other images.  That portion is considered a selection. 

With the selection, you can still utilize the tools used to edit images and other commands.  The selection portion is protected and is considered a “mask”.  This part of the image is protected in Photoshop.  You will see an outline of the selection on the screen. 

Using a selection tool icon, you can make a selection.  Whatever tool you will be using will be in the Options bar.  Use Windows and Options if you don’t see t hem.  You will not see all of the tools right away.  You may have to click on some tools in order to see the ones that are hidden.

Use the Ctrl-H function to show and hide the selection outline.  Using Select, then Inverse will make the selection inverted.  If you wish to reverse the selection, choose Select>None.  To save a selection, choose Select, then Save Selection. 

If you need to include more on a current selection, use the Shift key.  To remove from a current selection, use the Alt key.  If you need to add more to a current selection because of color, choose Select, then Similar.

If you need to move a selection or part of it, use the move tool and drag it to where you want it.

If you want to feather a selection, use the Feather checkbox.  Using this will allow your selection to look softer.

How To Make Your Photos Look Better

Use an image that has a .jpg or .png suffix format.  Place the images on your computer.  Using Photoshop, open the photo.  Make a copy of the background layer.  Using the copy, you will need to use “Overlay” or “Soft Light”. 

Go to the Filters section and select Other and High Pass.  This will get you to the High Pass Filter.  Choose an edge and adjust the radius to a different sharpness.  The usual sharpness is between 1.0 and 3.5. 

Go to Layers, New Adjustment Layer and Levels.  Select Options where you will see three buttons.  Test all three buttons to find which one will provide you with the best colors for your image. 

Go to Layers, New Adjustment Layer and Curves to set the image’s contrast.  To form the shape of the letter S, click about ¼ of the line upward and pull the image down just slightly.  Then go about ¾ up the line and pull up slightly.   

Make new layers on top of everything shown.   Use the Overlay command and the brush tool.  Change the colors back to black and white.  The flow should be around 30%.  Set the hardness at 0% in the brushes palette.  Paint the selected areas that you want to draw attention to in white and black. 

Using different colors in Photoshop is part of the creation process.  When using colors you are considered to be in color mode.  Photoshop does have a default where there are certain colors that most if not all people use.  The color scheme is called RGB or Red, Green, Blue.  In fact, this is the main legend that is used in Photoshop. 

The color modes are used to use the colors that are included in each color image pixel.  If you need to adjust the color modes, then click Image and Mode. 

Each set of modes consists of channels with a grayscale image.  These images can have as many as 256 shades that include white and black colors.  You can look at the channels by clicking Window and then ‘Channels.  The channels can be edited and adjusted if need be.  Doing this can help to improve the way some of the images look. 

There are some color modes that are used more than others.  Here are some of the ones that are used the most:

  • RGB Mode – Red, Green and Blue; used to edit and adjust images in color.
  • Grayscale Mode – A gray color setting that has 256 shades and only uses one channel.
  • Indexed Mode – Only uses one channel for color and can hold up to 256 color values; it is also used for photos that have the .gif extension.
  • Bitmap Mode – Used for black and white colors only.
  • CMYK Mode – Four colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black; this method is used for professional publications.  They should be kept and saved in this mode.

Adding Colors in Photoshop

With the variety of colors that Photoshop has, there is no excuse as to why your project won’t come out looking nice.  It is not difficult to add colors in Photoshop.  In fact, adding color to a strictly black and white photo will not only make it look different, but it will also bring the quality of the photo up a notch or two.

Use a black and white image that is already in the graphic software.  You can drag the picture file on your desktop and place it on the Photoshop icon.  After releasing the left mouse button, the software will open and show the picture where the file was.  Or you can open the software and allow the program to come up.  Once Photoshop is opened, click the File command.  Then click open and look for the file that you need to open. 

In the toolbox section, choose the Polygonal Lasso tool on the left side of the Photoshop menu.  Click on it to change the mouse arrow to the lasso tool.  The lasso tool should be pointed on a top corner of the picture.  Choose the black and white picture using the lasso tool by holding down the left side at the top of the mouse.  You will drag the selection lines until they are wrapped around the picture.  When the picture is surrounded by the lines, you can edit it the way you want it. 

Go to the Adjustments command by selecting it from the Image drop down list.  Choose hue/saturation by clicking on it.  This is what you will need to use in order to add color to the picture.  Use the scrollbar until you get it the way you want it.  As you are making changes, you will be able to see them in the preview area.

Color Correction

If you need to correct the colors on your images in Photoshop, you can use the Auto Color and Photo Filters.  Both of these are simple to implement and can make your images look better than they did previously.

When using Auto Color in Photoshop, you are correcting images with color by checking the shadows, midtones and highlights.  In order to do this, select Image, Adjustments and Auto Color.  Test it to see how your image comes out.  You can also get to the Auto Color command by going to the Levels dialog box and choosing Options.  When you do it this way, you can use different options, which gives you an advantage.

If you see that the highlights are too much, select the Highlights Clip option to tone them down. 

Using Photo Filters is another way to change colors on your images in Photoshop.  Select Image, Adjustments and Photo Filters.  You will see photo filter settings inside your image.  There is also a preview box and you will be able to see how the settings help your image.  If you need to photo filter to have more effect on your image, use the density setting.

You can also use Hue/Saturation to change the color of your image.  To get there, you would select Image, Adjustments and Hue/Saturation.  With Hue/Saturation, you can change all of the  hues at once.  You would do that by using the color wheel and changing their positions.  In addition to that, you can use Hue/Saturation to change whether or not you want deep colors or lighter colors as far as saturation is concerned. 

If you wish to sharpen your image, select Filter, Sharpen and Unsharp Mask.  You will want to keep the preview box available.  This way you will be able to see different views of the effects.  You should sharpen your image no less than 50% and no more than 150% for normal images.

It is not mandatory that you use these guidelines to sharpen your image.  They are suggestions.  All of them may not work for everyone.  So the best thing for you to do is experiment and find something that you will like.  The thing with this is to make sure you it is magnified at 100% and keep the Preview box while you’re looking at it. 

Painting In Photoshop

You can also create or change images in Photoshop with paint brushes and colors. The brushes can also be used as a healing brush and to erase things that you don’t want or need.

Select Edit, Preferences, and Displays & Cursors in order to adjust the display.  This will allow you to see the various painting tool sizes while you use them for your image.  Choose the brush size you need for your image.

Select an area that you wish to paint and mark it.  You have to do this because it prevents the part that is not selected from being painted.  However, if you decide to paint the whole thing, then nothing should be selected.

Black is the default color for the foreground and white is the default color for the background.  When you use the paint brushes in Photoshop, they will use the current foreground color.  To change foreground and background colors, you can type the letter X or select the double sided arrow.  If you want the black and white colors, type the letter D.  You can also choose a new color by selecting the foreground color from the tool box. 

Another way to choose colors is by using the swatches palette or the color bar.  You can also choose the Eyedropper tool.  Any of these can be use to change the colors to what you want for your image.

Painting Tools

  • Paintbrush – Select the paintbrush picture from the toolbox.  If you need to, use the other options to change the size of the paintbrush.  Use the drag method for the image or part of the image that will be painted.  If you want to create straight lines, as you’re dragging, hold down the Shift key.
  • Eraser – The eraser gets rid of the background color if the process is done on the background layer.  There are several types of erasers to use from the Eraser tool.  You can choose pencil, airbrush, paintbrush or block.  When you need to erase, use the dragging method on the image.  It’s a good idea to have a copy of your work in the event you accidentally erase something you shouldn’t have.
  • Paint Bucket – The Paint Bucket is used to fill in areas that are close to where you have selected pixels.  If you don’t want to have transparent spots filled, make sure that “Preserve Transparency” is checked.  Select the Paint Bucket tool and in the Options bar, choose a tolerance value.  Select the part of the image that will be filled with the Paint Bucket.

Photoshop Brushes

When using brushes in Photoshop, you can paint and draw on images.  This is one of the main parts of graphic design with this software.  When you are learning how to use brushes, the skill is not something that you can catch on to overnight.  It will take some work and some practice to get it the way it’s supposed to be.  Once you get the hang of it, using the brushes will become a piece of cake.

Using a photo in Photoshop, select Layer from the menu and choose New Layer.  When you are implementing different elements to each photo, you should always use a new layer.  Doing this can make it easier for you as far as editing is concerned. 

In the main tool menu, select the Brush icon and choose Brush Tool.  Select the paintbrush icon and choose one of three components (Airbrush, Paintbrush or Spray Paint).  Depending on what effect you want, choose Airbrush for a light brush effect, choose Paintbrush for a solid brush effect and Spray Paint for a spray paint brush effect.

Choose the brush size you need by selecting Brush Size in the pull down menu.  You will also need to choose the type of stroke that you will use.  Choose the style that you want by selecting the Mode menu.  A good suggestion is to use “Normal” because that is what most people use.  Photoshop provides plenty of brushes for you to use.  However, if you need more, there are plenty of websites that offer them.

In order to determine how dark you want your brushstrokes to be, you will need to use the “Opacity” arrow.  You will use the sliding control to choose between 0 to 100%.  There is also a sliding control to determine how much flow in regard to using your brushstrokes for color.

In order to use the eyedropper, select the Color Box.  You can use the color scale until you get the color that you want.  To use the color with your brush, use the left click on your mouse.  When you need to add another element, you will need to add a new layer.  See how it looks and if you don’t like it, you can always delete the layer.

Picture Layout – How To Use It

Implementing the picture layout is simple and doesn’t take a lot of time.  You can put images together or change the way the picture looks.  Make sure that your layout is already in place if you are putting pictures together.  Here are some steps to take in order to make your picture layout look professional.

Open two photo files in Photoshop. 

Select the Marquee tool and choose the part of the picture that will be copied.  Using the paste function, place the first picture on top of the other one.

Select the Edit function in the Copy menu.  You will copy the area.

Use the Paste function and choose the second photo.  Part of the first photo should be placed on top of the second photo.

Using the Magnifier, zoom into the portion of the photo that is pasted.

In order to move the images around, use the hand tool.  During this time, your file is still in the zoom phase.

If you need to make adjustments to the photo that is pasted, select the move tool.

Cropping Pictures In Photoshop

When you are cropping part of a picture, that usually signals that you don’t want that part to be there.  It may be a portion of something that should not be there, or something that you just don’t care to see.  So, you will attempt to crop or cut it off.  When you do that, what is left is what you want on the picture.  Here are some steps you can take to get rid of portions that you don’t want.

After you’ve opened the graphics software, find the image that you want to change. 

Choose the crop tool which is located in the Photoshop toolbox.

Go to one of the corners to where you want to crop off the image and start there. 

Drag the image down until you have what you want to crop.

Using the resizing handles, adjust the area that is to be cropped.  You can also do this by clicking and dragging the selection.  Whatever is outside of the square will be cropped, while the remaining part of the image will stay. 
Select the green check mark that is located at the top of the screen in the toolbar.  This will signal that you are giving permission for that area to be cropped.  After the action has taken place, you will only have the portion that you opted to keep.

Using Picture Effects

If you want to make your pictures come alive, using picture effects in Photoshop can help you do just that.  Using this component of Photoshop is simple to do.  The only thing that is required of you other than following the directions is that you should have some type of imagination. 

Photoshop has plenty of picture effects that you can use and these instructions will show you how to apply a double image and make that image into something that you may never have thought of.

Open a picture from Photoshop.  You will see a layer called “Background”.  Using the right-click button on your mouse, open it and choose the command “Duplicate Layer”.

The actual duplicate layer should be named something else.  After you have saved the new file, you should see two layers in your layer palette.  If for some reason the layers palette does not open in Photoshop, select “Window” and choose “Layers”.  Or you can try using the F7 key at the top of your keyboard.

Using the Move tool, you will find a spot and click on the newly created duplicate layer.  Drag the picture in whatever direction you choose.  Keep dragging it and under the duplicate one, you will see the first picture.

Select the “Free Transform” command from the Edit menu.  If you need to change the second picture into different shapes and sizes, this is what you would use to do that.  Doing that would also require using the Move tool in order to get the picture to where you want it.

Adding Text In Photoshop

You can add text to an image or a blank document.  The Type tool is what you would use to do that.  This tool also works to choose an image size, a font and allows you to make additional changes in regard to text.  Everytime you make changes in regard to text, the image or document will look different.  Here’s how you would go about adding text:

Use an old file from Photoshop or you can create a new one.  You will use the Type tool.

Using the first button on the type tool bar, you will be able to change back and forth from horizontal to vertical text and vice versa.   

Choose a text size, font and style.  You can do this from the Type tool options bar.

There are different ways that you can have your text set up.  You have a choice of choosing from the following styles:  Smooth, Strong, Crisp, Sharp or None.  Each one looks different, so you may want to look at them all to see which one looks the best for your creation.  When you’re aligning your text, you can choose to do it from the left, center or right.

To use the color picker box, select the color square.  You can select the color for your text.

You can click the selection anywhere in your document.  You will start typing your text and it will show with whatever selections you have chosen.  If you need to make changes use the Type tool to highlight the text already there and change what needs to be changed.

Creating 3-D Effects

3-D or three dimensional effects is something that is unique to create for your graphic projects.  Using this technique will allow you to see your graphics differently. 

Using Photoshop is a great way to create 3-D effects and other related images.  You can start with something as simple as a cube.  You want the cube to been seen from three different angles, top, left and right.  You would then include different effects on the cube to make it stand out.  Using Photoshop for this technique allows you to use your imagination and creativity.

Using the 3D Transform is used to create 3-D effects in Photoshop.  You can also use it to create different images into a 3D shape.  If you’re just looking for a basic image, then you can choose Select and Direct Select.  You can move objects with the Select function, while you can change the images by dragging with the Direct Select function.

To create shapes in 3-D, you will have to create a new layer.  Then you can use color to fill in the white space.  To step it up a bit, you may want to add darker colors or shadows.  Using fillers can help you to better see the 3-D effects in Photoshop.

You can also create text using 3-D effects in Photoshop.  With the Alt key, and E/F, and the Ctrl key (hold down), you can use the dragging method to do what you wish.

With the text layer, you will need to convert your image to make it look presentable for people to see on the monitor prior to you including filters or layers.  The text will be changed to where you can edit it as needed.  Prior to completing the conversion, create an extra copy.  After the conversion, you are not allowed to edit any text. 

To get different image creations, it is probably a good idea to test out some image effects.  Create some where you can do 3-D images with shapes, text and other effects.

Creating A Lighting Effect

Including special effects such as lights to provide some pizzazz to a photo can be interesting.  You can turn regular lights into some unique lighting effects.  A lot of people that have substantial experience using Photoshop use these effects for their projects.  It’s a pretty easy task to learn.  Here is how you can learn it and create your masterpiece:

Select File, New and then click OK.

Choose the “Gradient” tool and click on the left button of your mouse, holding it down.  Choose the “Paint Bucket” tool and choose the color Black.

Click the screen once.  The background should turn black.  Select the Filter component and choose “Render”, then choose Lightning Effects.

Select “Circle of Lights” and choose OK.  You will see something called objects that look like spheres (orbs). 

Choose “Render” from the Filter menu and choose “Lens Flare”.  This is how you will make changes to your photo.  In order to get the light where you need it to be, you will have to move the cross in the center of the screen.  Using the “Brightness” bar, slide it to the middle.  Use the “50 to 300 mm zoom” selection for the lens and select Ok.  You will see a lot of lighted halo shapes.

Staying in the Filter menu, choose the “Stylize” command.  Choose “Glowing Edges”.  This is used to decrease thickness of the halos.  The rings will stand out on the screen.  Using the “Image” menu, choose Adjustments and then Auto Levels.  You will see the halos in the special effects on your computer screen.

Creating Backgrounds

You can create different backgrounds for your images.  You will have to use more than one filter to do this.  Using the filters can help to create a background that is different than what you may have seen before.  You can create custom backgrounds that are unique and stand out from other creations.

To do this, you would have to select the File menu and choose New for a brand new dialog box. 

In order to create a canvas, you would have to select the Width and Height components.  If you have anything you would like to change, change them in the settings section.  You can change the colors and resolutions if you wish.

Close the New dialog box and present the canvas on the computer screen.  You should see the word “Background” in the layer of the Layers palette.

In the “Filter” menu, select “Artistic” and choose on the options for the Filter dialog box.  You have a choice of filters that you can use for your document.  There is Artistic, Brush Strokes, Distort, Sketch, Stylize or Texture.  They are all located in the drop down box where the Filters category is. 

Select a filter from the category you have chosen. You will be able to see a preview of this filter to the left side of the "Filter" dialog box.

Go to the right side of the dialog box if you need to adjust the setting.  Confirm the filter that you want to use by choosing OK.  If you need to include additional filters you can do so.  This will help you to have additional custom backgrounds.

Importing And Exporting

Learning about importing and exporting images from Photoshop can boost your credibility in creating images from this graphics software.  Once you learn this, you will be able to do just about anything using Photoshop. 

If you are going to use an image in a Photoshop file that was already created, you can import it and use it as a layer.  People that look to have several images to put together implement this step.  With the original image in the background, the other image will be a separate document.

The new image can be transferred to a layer where it can be adjusted or edited.  Move the new image over the original document.  The new image will stay the same, but there will be an additional layer with the first image.

If you have an image to import as a layer, you can use the Place command to do that.  Look in the File menu for this command.  The image would be placed in a Photoshop document.  If you have to make adjustments you can save the image to the first file.  So, if you make changes to the Photoshop file image, the same thing will be done to the image file. 

If you have movie frames that you want to import, you can use the video frames to layer command to do that.  You will have several choices that you can use to import certain parts of the movie.  You can also import frames in a certain succession.  This means that not every single frame has to be imported. 

Use the shift key and place the slider on the movie clip to get certain portions of the movie.  The “Limit to frames” component allows you to choose frames that you want.  You can choose every second, third or fourth frame if you wish.  It depends on how you want it set up.  If you don’t choose anything, every frame will be imported.

Zooming Techniques

Using the zoom tool in Photoshop is a good way to get a close-up look at your photo or image.  It can also be used when you need to correct details.  You can also look at your photo or image as a larger or smaller view.

Use the zoom tool to start.  You will see a magnifying glass with a plus sign in it. 

Deactivate the Resize Windows to Fit button.  When you do this, the image window won’t change sizes as you adjust the size of the view.

Activate the Ignore Palettes command.  When you do this, the size of the window will increase to the screen’s edge.

Position where you want to enlarge the image and select it.  Any clicks after that will help to enlarge it.

Choose and drag a marquee to the part of the image that will be enlarged.  Press the Alt key in order to decrease the size of the view.  Hold the key down and continue to click with your mouse until the size of the image has decreased to the size that you want it.


People that create images in Photoshop, in particular Photoshop CS3, will use strokes.  They also use them with text and shapes.  Photoshop provides different variations of what strokes you can add to your image. 

Using Photoshop CS3, select a file that you wish to use to implement a stroke with.  Choose the layer in which you want to use to apply the stroke.  You will find this in the Layers palette.  When it is chosen, the layer will be highlighted. 

Using the right click button from your mouse, select “Blending Options”.  You will see the Layer Style dialog box.  In the same box, you will find the “Stroke” component in the Styles listing.  You will see it on the right side of the box.

If you want different stroke settings, you can make changes as follows:

  • Changing the size – move the slider to the right for a larger size; move it to the left for a smaller size.
  • Changing position – You have three choices, inside, center or outside. 
  • Changing fill type – You can choose from color, gradient or pattern.

You can either choose to change the stroke’s opacity (cloudiness or dullness) or implement blend mode.  After you’ve selected what you wanted, save your settings and close the dialog box.  You will see the changes in the chosen layer of your image or photo.

Creating A Watermark In Photoshop

You can create your own watermark to your image in a matter of minutes by using your mouse. 

Select File, New and create the width and height using 250X125 px.  You will also need to have a background that is transparent. 

Select the “Horizontal Type Tool”, set you color to your choosing and type in what you want your watermark image to read.

Using the Ctrl button, also press the letter “T” keys on the text and choose the rotate command.  With your mouse, go over the image and rotate it to what you want.

Select Edit, Define Pattern and give it a sample name since it is a sample and not the real thing; you’re testing this technique first to make sure it works. 

If you have other images or photos that you want to do this with, open the file that you want to watermark.  Apply a new layer by pressing the Ctrl and the letter “J” keys.  Select the Edit and Fill commands.  Choose a pattern from the Custom Pattern selection box.  You can set the layer’ opacity to what you want it to be.  Save the new image with the watermark.

Creating A Shadow Effect

Create a new image in Photoshop.  As a sample, use 200 pixels and 72 pixels as the resolution.  This is for the width and the height.  After you’ve created the effect, then you can do more using different settings.  You want to make sure it comes out right, hence the reason for using 200 pixels and 72 pixels as the resolution. 

Using the Horizontal Type Tool, create a text box.  The image that you are using should be blank.  This can be done by using your cursor at the upper left corner, clicking it and using the dragging method to bring it to the lower right corner.

Use 48 point font for the text and center it.  Choose a simple color and put it in the text box several times using the return key.  The word “shadow” should be typed in the text box.  Place the word in the center of the image.  Make sure it is showing up large inside of the box.  You should eventually notice a shadow behind the word.

Using the “Styles and Effects” menu, look for two drop-down menus.  The one on the left should be “layer styles” and the one on the right should be “drop shadows”.  Select one of the options for the drop shadow.  Select the “low” shadow and you will see the shadow behind the text. 

You should test the shadow effect options in Photoshop using different styles.  Eventually, you will find one that suits you the best.  Also, you need to make sure that it blends in with whatever images you will be using. 

The most important thing about using Photoshop overall is to make sure that you save whatever you create.  At least you’ll have examples that you can go back to later.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,
but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great.”
~ Mark Twain

Offline BTubbs

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 11:06:13 PM »
Wow...great overview. Thanks!

I have Photoshop Elements. I'm hoping (once I learn how to better use it - thanks for your guide here) that I can do most of the stuff with it.

Offline Jim Burney

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 09:38:19 AM »
Wow...great overview. Thanks!

I have Photoshop Elements. I'm hoping (once I learn how to better use it - thanks for your guide here) that I can do most of the stuff with it.

I second Brian on this. Great report for new users of Photoshop.

Any plans on producing a report on GIMP? ;D ;D ;D



Offline KarenMcG

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 10:37:19 AM »
Wow...great overview. Thanks!

I have Photoshop Elements. I'm hoping (once I learn how to better use it - thanks for your guide here) that I can do most of the stuff with it.

I second Brian on this. Great report for new users of Photoshop.

Any plans on producing a report on GIMP? ;D ;D ;D




Thank you for the great report, again.

And, Jim, wonderful suggestion. I don't have Photoshop, but do have Gimp. And I have Picasa. But, whenever I open either one about all I can do is sit and look at them. Don't know how they work.

Of course, there is nothing keeping me from reading up on them.



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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 02:16:50 PM »
Wow...great overview. Thanks!

I have Photoshop Elements. I'm hoping (once I learn how to better use it - thanks for your guide here) that I can do most of the stuff with it.

I second Brian on this. Great report for new users of Photoshop.

Any plans on producing a report on GIMP? ;D ;D ;D




Thank you for the great report, again.

And, Jim, wonderful suggestion. I don't have Photoshop, but do have Gimp. And I have Picasa. But, whenever I open either one about all I can do is sit and look at them. Don't know how they work.

Of course, there is nothing keeping me from reading up on them.


I completely agree with you Karen, I have Picasa as well.. no idea how to use it either.
It does make me wonder just how much material I have on my hard drives that I have never, will never get round to using/reading?!


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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2009, 04:35:02 PM »
Wow...great overview. Thanks!

I have Photoshop Elements. I'm hoping (once I learn how to better use it - thanks for your guide here) that I can do most of the stuff with it.

I second Brian on this. Great report for new users of Photoshop.

Any plans on producing a report on GIMP? ;D ;D ;D



GIMP is inexpensive, PHOTOSHOP is not.

It would be nice to have some type of GIMP tutorial. I find it difficult to get my head around it. ;;:B


Offline doc333

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2009, 08:48:05 PM »
Hi Sharon,

yeah GIMP tends to be "not so user friendly", but there is GIMP tutorial videos in the members area
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Offline Jim Burney

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 10:52:03 AM »
Hi Sharon,

yeah GIMP tends to be "not so user friendly", but there is GIMP tutorial videos in the members area


I had not even noticed the tutorials for Gimp in the members area. 8)shh

Mind, so much useful information in there I forgive myself for missing it. ;D 8)shh


Offline doc333

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Re: Photoshop Tips
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 11:02:18 AM »

I'm sure that's where I got it. Could be elsewhere though.
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