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20 Things About Photoshop You Have to Know

These are some of the tools and features that I find myself using on a regular basis when creating images for the web. These include using the slice tool on images to decrease page load times and using pre-set effects that save time when creating forms or menus for your site.

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By: Dan Wellman
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October 25, 2004
  1. · 20 Things About Photoshop You Have to Know
  2. · Image Maps, Web Photo Gallery and Paste Into
  3. · Perspective Function, Plugins, and Styles
  4. · Vector Graphics, Preferences, and Shading
  5. · The Window Menu, Scripts, and the Actions Manager
  6. · File Browser, the Layers Panel, and Effects
  7. · Animation, Defringe Tool, and Save for Web

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20 Things About Photoshop You Have to Know - Vector Graphics, Preferences, and Shading
(Page 4 of 7 )

Vector Graphics

For all of you out there who donít know what vector images are (and I didnít before I started playing around in Photoshop), they are basically images that can be endlessly scaled up or down with no loss in quality.  Absolutely none at all. In Paint, or any other basic bitmap imaging application, draw a circle. Unless you have a monitor that supports an extremely large resolution, it will look a bit blocky anyway, but now magnify the image by as little as ten times. You no longer have a circle; you have a polygon, or many-edged shape.

This does not happen with vector graphics. In Photoshop now, open a new image that is 640pixels wide and 480pixels and draw a circle.  Now select Image -> Image SizeÖ and change the width to 16400pixels wide (the height should automatically adjust) and click OK. Find an edge, and it should appear just as smoothly as it did before the size increase. This is the essence of vectors, which makes them useful for images that are likely to be required in a range of sizes, such as logos.

The Preferences Dialogue Box

Located under Edit -> Preferences the preferences dialogue box is home to the environment settings that control how Photoshop behaves. You can control various settings, including; General, file handling, display and cursors, transparency and gamut, units and rulers, guides, grid and slices, plugins and scratch disks, memory and image caching and the file browser. If you wanted to change the colour of your guides, or allocate more memory to the application, this is where you would do it. Take a moment to have a look through all of the options available to you.

Shading with the Dodge and Burn Tools

Highlights and shading can be added to shapes with ease using the effects menu in the layers panel. But what if you only want to add shading to only part of your shape, or add highlights without lowlights?  Open a new page and draw a rounded rectangle, rasterize it, and select the burn tool (the one with the fist) from the toolbox. Click and drag the pointer over the bottom right of your shape to create instant lowlights. Now select the dodge tool (the lollipop), and repeat the process over the upper left of the shape to get some highlights. You may be a little sketchy to begin with but after a bit of practice, youíll be able to add precision shading to images without even thinking about it.

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