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Photoshop Basics

Jul 22, 2008
Photoshop can seem overpowering at first glance due to the program's lack of simple tutorials and seemingly challenging interface. Cast your worries aside, because the basics of Photoshop are much easier than they might appear.

Photoshop is basically made up of four areas: the menu bar, at the top, the toolbar just below it, the toolbox on the left and the palettes on the right. As you navigate through the program, you will find that the menu bar and toolbox always stay the same. This is because they contain the different modes and options that you can choose. The toolbar however, changes according to context.

An updated status of your image is provided by the palettes. This includes a history of all of the actions and changes you have made along with a thumbnail image of the current results.

To demonstrate the way the interface changes as you use it, try selecting the type tool from the toolbox (the one that looks like a capital T). You will see straight away that the toolbar changes entirely to allow you to set font name, font size and so on.

In the history palette, your use of the type tool will be added to your history, and a new layer will be created for your text and shown in the layers palette.

No matter the project you are working on in Photoshop, you will most likely start with either the toolbox or the menus. Everyday tools and features will be found in your toolbox, such as selecting, filling and making shapes. The menus contain the more advanced functions such as blurring, sharpening and all of the other possibilities Photoshop can provide, most of which are found under the Filter menu.

You can adjust the settings of tools from the toolbox using the toolbar. When doing this, options from the menu will typically open a dialog box. Should you want to change any actions you have made to your image, simply do so through your palettes. While the palette history is helpful, palettes have other uses also such as changing colors.
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