Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing asortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this first part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite, (Sams, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn how to use masks, layers, filters, feathers, and more.
Over the past few versions, Photoshop has gotten an impressive facelift, helping to make the traditionally complex program a bit easier to use. Improvements of note are the Tool Options bar that spans to the top of the screen when Photoshop is in use, and the File Browser, which makes it easy to find the files you're looking for. In this chapter we'll learn how to use Photoshop and get familiar with its tools and features.
What's New in Photoshop CS?
Note -If you've used Photoshop before, here's a quick overview of what's new in the CS version of Photoshop: a much-improved File Browser with better performance, more support for metadata, and automation capabilities; full integrated support for the Camera Raw format, which allows you to import images directly from your digital camera in its native format; an amazing Shadow/Highlight filter; an auto straighten and crop feature; a new Match Color feature that allows you to map the colors of one file to another; a Filter Gallery, which allows you to preview and apply artistic filters easily; 16-bit image support throughout most of the application for even better image quality and fidelity; non-square pixel support (for video use); and Layer Comps, a feature that enables you to store several configurations of your design in a single file easily and even export them all as a multipage PDF.
Introduction to Photoshop CS
When you first launch Photoshop, you're greeted with the new Photoshop CS welcome screen (see Figure 5.1). Here you can access some Tutorials from Adobe, as well as some Tips and Tricks from Photoshop professionals. You can also view a very helpful guide to Color Management, as well as an overview of what's new in the CS version of Photoshop.
Figure 5.1 The Photoshop CS welcome screen.
Tip -If you're anything like me, you won't want to be bothered by the welcome screen every time you launch Photoshop. You can uncheck theShow This Dialog at Startupbox to keep Photoshop from showing the screen automatically at launch time. You can always access the welcome screen from the Help menu.
When you first look at Photoshop (see Figure 5.2), you'll see the standard menu bar across the top of the screen. Directly under the menu bar is the Tool Options bar, which is context-sensitive. That means the options listed in this area change depending on what tool you have selected. To the far right of the Tool Options bar is the button used to access the File Browser and the palette well, where you can "store" palettes.
Tip -The palette well is an area where you can drag and drop frequently used palettes. When you want to access a palette, you click on its tab. Click on the tab again and the palette returns to the palette well. On smaller monitors, the palette well serves little purpose because the well is so small. However, on wider displays the well is bigger, and storing and retrieving palettes becomes easier.
Figure 5.2 The Photoshop CS user interface.
Along the left side of the screen is the toolbox (see Figure 5.3), which contains all of Photoshop's tools, as well as several other functions. The color proxies indicate the foreground and background colors (you can also choose colors by clicking on them), and the two icons surrounding the proxies allow you to set the colors to the default black foreground and white background, and to swap the foreground and background colors. Directly below the proxy icons are the Quick Mask mode buttons-we'll talk more about these useful mask buttons later in the chapter-and under those are the different view modes, Standard, Full Screen with Menu Bar, and Full Screen. You can toggle through the view modes by repeatedly pressing the "F" key on your keyboard (the letterF, not a Function key). The last button at the bottom of the toolbox allows you to jump to ImageReady directly with the file you're working on.
Figure 5.3 The Photoshop CS toolbox.
Tip -Some useful keyboard shortcuts to remember and get used to are the X key to swap the foreground and background colors, and D to set the colors to their default settings.
Along the right side of your screen are some of Photoshop's palettes. We'll discuss what each of them does and how to use them as we go through this chapter.
Tip -If you remember, we talked about custom workspaces in Chapter 4, "The Key That Makes It All Work: Integration," and discussed how you can save your screen setup, including palette locations, which palettes are open or closed, and so forth.
Finally, the document window (see Figure 5.4) is where you work on your file. The gray area is the part of the image that falls outside the image area. Photoshop lists the filename, the view percentage, and the color mode right in the title bar of each file. Along the bottom left of the window, you'll find a zoom indicator, as well as the status bar.
Figure 5.4 The Photoshop CS document window.
This chapter is from Adobe Creative Suite, by Mordy Golding (Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.