Learn Photoshop from the scratch, step by step the easy way

Author : maliDM View or add comments : (1)
Date : 2006-12-28 03:50 Average members rating : 0
OK here is the deal. When I was starting with Photoshop I was complete newbie. I hardly new how to navigate through Windows and I was miles away from creating anything in Photoshop. So I started from the bottom up, working my way through File, Edit...Filter, actually I believe the Filter section was the first one I used

And now here you are. Got your copy of Photoshop and you feel that urge to create, to express your self in artistic way, or you just wish to put a hog?s head on your teacher photo, and with Photoshop anything can happen. Whether your intentions are to become designer, digital artist or a photo-manipulator you have to know some basics. Without basics you are going nowhere fast, and most of the times you can end up disappointed and just quit.

Purpose of this tutorial is to make sure that doesn?t happen and to show you the basics of Photoshop?s powerful Workspace, which, if configured properly, can make your process of learning and using this tool, much les painful.

You install your Photoshop for the first time and with eager desire wait for it to load, and it take a while, but finally it shows its face and you are confused. Bunch of grey space with a lot of small icons all over the place.

OK! Now what? You start browsing the menus and there it is: Filter drop down menu. You spend hours testing various filters and finally bored to death close the application and go doing something fun, like watching the paint dry.

The point is, if you don?t spend some time with familiarizing yourself with workspace than you?re stuck and doomed to fail. Photoshop?s help file (famous F1) offers a lot of help. I read it like dozen of times, but somehow I get the feeling like I am reading a space ship manual and it doesn?t actually Help a lot! But you can still get a few good tricks out of it, go and check it out and when you do continue reading this tutorial.

Hey you are back, good. Now that you know what are the basic terms like ?palette? and ?tools? we can start with customizing the work space!

Step 01. Working in your space.

I like keeping my workspace nice and clean, ate least at my computer. This is why I remove palettes that are not required for my job. I consider my self a digital artist and my workspace is set for the purpose of digital drawing and painting, but your workspace can be set whichever the way you prefer.

You can access your Workspace management by going Window>Workspace, like this:

As you can see here you can check out all the palettes that exist in the Photoshop, just click on any from the dropdown menu.

Since you have no workspace created only options you will see under Workspace tub, are ?Save Workspace?, ?Delete Workspace? and ?Reset Palette Locations?. These are pretty self explanatory, so we move straight to creating our customized work space.

Here is a cool tip, which is saving me a lot of brain cells. Press the ?TAB? key on your keyboard and all the palettes will disappear from the screen. Now you can start configuring.

Step 02. Configuring the palettes

First thing you will most definitely need is your Tools palette. Go Window>Tools and a narrow column filled with various icons will appear on the left.

This palette will be required for any working environment, and it is the most useful of them all. You have all the major tools here, and the ones with the small black triangle in the lover-right hand corner are expandable and contain related tool in subgroups. I like to keep it in its default position to the left-hand side.

Custom web design workspace

OK, now we are going to set our workspace for web design. Remember to keep only the most important tools in your workspace so you can easily access them. These are the ones I chose from the Window drop down menu.

Actions, Characters, Layers, Options and Swatches (Tools were already chosen. Why choosing these palettes? It?s really simple, these are the main tools to be used for generating web graphics.

Actions are used to quickly apply multiple steps previously recorded. You already have a bunch of actions, but you can go and make more of your own. Cool stuff!

Characters are logical choice, since you will most probably use a lot of text on your web graphics and with this palette you can format your text quick and easy.

Layers are the most important palette, and this is where all the show is going on. Layers option is probably the most powerful tool in the Photoshop and learning how to use those is a paramount of success. More on layers in a special Layer tutorial.

Options bring a horizontal bar underneath navigation bar, and here you can change all the parameters for current tool.

Swatches equal preset colors in nice and easy to use packages. They are used for quick color sampling and present second most important tool in graphical design (it?s all about how good it looks, let coders do the functionality thingy.

You have probably noticed there are other palettes docked to the same window as the ones we chose. Like Color and Styles with Swatches palette, but that can be easily solved. Just click and drag the unwanted palette to a blank space in the main window, like this:

I clicked the channels palette and dragged it to the left and it is now docked to the separate window. Just click on the ?X? button to turn it off. Continue with removing the palette?s which are not needed until you are left with ones you need.

Finally you get to arrange the palette?s for convenient use. The same way you have un-docked the unwanted palette?s, you can dock the palette?s together under the same window. Use the click-drag-drop and join the palette?s together, this is the way I arranged the web design workspace:

As you can see I have placed Layer, Paths and Swatches together in the upper window docked together, and History, Actions, Character and Paragraph docked to the lower window. If you hover your mouse over the edge of the window two pint arrow will appear and you can click and drag to resize the window. This is how I resized the windows to be wider. I placed one of the images of the DVD menu from the Photoshop presets, just to give a small insight on how it can look with some cool graphics.

All that is left now is to save your workspace, go Window>Workspace>Save Workspace. Name it how ever you wish and voila you have your brand new fully customized Photoshop workspace.

Here are some other samples workspaces for working with photography and digital painting.

Digital photography

Digital painting

Remember, create the workspace environment which suites your preference and needs. Choose only the tools you use all of the time, you can always access other tools from the menus. Keep it simple and clean, that is the key.

That?s it people, I hope you?ve learned something. If not, I hope I haven?t made you stupid

Have a lot of fun working with Photoshop,