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.
Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Opening, Creating, and Importing Files (Page 2 of 15 )
You have to start with something, right? With Photoshop, you have various options: You can open existing files, whether Photoshop files, JPEG images, or any other of Photoshop's laundry list of supported file formats; you can create a new file from scratch (basically a blank document); or you can import files from another source, such as a scanner or a digital camera.
The Open Dialog
As with just about any computer program, you can open a file by choosing File, Open or by pressing (Command-O) [Ctrl+O] to bring up the standard system Open dialog box. As you highlight files in the dialog, you may or may not see a low-resolution preview, depending on the file type and what your operating system supports. After you've located the file you want to open, click on the Open button to open the file. Photoshop will also let you open several files at once by holding the (Command) [Ctrl] key as you click on the different files.
If you want to choose a file from a Version Cue project, click on the Version Cue button in the lower-left corner of the dialog (see Figure 5.5). We'll talk more about Version Cue in Chapter 11, "Using Version Cue."
Figure 5.5 The Version Cue option in the Photoshop CS Open dialog box.
Note -If you don't see the Version Cue button in your Open dialog, you haven't activated Version Cue in Photoshop yet. In the File Handling screen of the Preferences dialog, check the option Enable Version Cue Workgroup File Management.
The File Browser
Back in the day, when you were looking for a particular photograph, you received a stack of chromes from a photographer or agency and laid them all out on a lightbox or light table to choose the right one. The truth is, scrolling through a list of filenames in your Open dialog box isn't the most intuitive way to choose a photo (see Figure 5.6). Especially considering that today's digital cameras give very descriptive names to each photo (DCP00634.JPG,DSCN0521.JPG, and such), one can easily see why root canal would seem to be preferable to choosing just the right image from a list of hundreds of photos.
One of the most useful and time-saving features you'll find in Photoshop is the File Browser, which you can open by choosing File, Browse, or by pressing (Command-Shift-O) [Ctrl+Shift+O], or by clicking on the File Browser button in the Tool Options bar (see Figure 5.7). Instead of scrolling through files and trying to Figure out which is the one you want to open, you can see the files as thumbnails in the File Browser, making it easy to find the file you're looking for.
Figure 5.6 Choosing images from the Open dialog can be time-consuming and unintuitive.
Figure 5.7 The File Browser button in the Tool Options bar.
Tip -You can't access Version Cue projects from the File Browser. To access your projects, you need to use the Open dialog method described previously.
The File Browser (see Figure 5.8) is reallyfarmore useful than a digital lightbox. Upon closer inspection you'll see that the browser is split into different sections, the first one being a menu bar and a group of icons across the top of the window. I know what you're thinking, and yes, the File Browser actually needs its own menu bar because it performs so many functions, such as batch processing and custom views-and even its own preferences. The buttons to the right of the menu bar allow you to rotate images in the browser (in 90-degree increments), flag images (for easier grouping), perform a search, and put images in the trash.
Note -When you rotate an image using the rotate buttons in the File Browser, the actual image isn't rotated, but when you open that image in Photoshop, a rotate transformation is automatically applied to it.
Figure 5.8 The Photoshop CS File Browser.
The right side of the File Browser window displays thumbnails of all the files in the selected folder. The left side of the window is split into three sections. The top section is the Folders palette, which displays the folder or file you have selected. You can navigate in this palette just as you would at the system level, choosing folders, drives, network drives, and so forth. The middle section is the Preview palette, which shows a larger high-resolution preview of the selected image. The bottom section combines the Metadata and Keywords palettes, where you can view and even add or edit the metadata.
Being able to edit metadata in the File Browser can be especially useful when you need to add metadata to JPEG files. That's because every time you open and save a JPEG file, you lose some quality in the file (JPEG uses a lousy compression algorithm). By adding metadata through the File Browser, you can actually accomplish the task without having to open and resave the file-and the file can stay at the same level of quality.
Tip -There are many, many metadata fields-and you may or may not need to see them all in the File Browser. In the File Browser's Edit menu you can choose Metadata Display Options and choose just the fields you want to appear.
The palettes that appear in the File Browser act very much like regular palettes-you can double-click on their tabs to change their state, and if you want to shuffle them around for some reason, you can cluster them with one another. At the bottom of the File Browser window, there's a double-arrow icon that will hide the entire left side of the window, using the entire window to display image thumbnails (see Figure 5.9). Within the thumbnail section you also have the option to view all files, all flagged files, or just unflagged files (see Figure 5.10). This makes it easy to choose pictures the same way you might on a light table. You mark several that are good candidates, and then gradually go through a process of removing others until you're left with the one you love (only to have your client ask for a different one...).
Figure 5.9 The File Browser showing thumbnails only.
Figure 5.10 Choosing to view flagged files in the File Browser.
Apparently, the folks at Adobe thought all of this functionality still wasn't enough, so they made the sections in the File Browser adjustable. You can simply grab the separator bars and give yourself a really large preview. Or maybe you want a really large metadata section. Basically, Adobe has given that choice over to you (see Figure 5.11).
After you've found the image you're looking for, you can simply double-click on it to open the file. You can open multiple files at once by Shift-clicking on several thumbnails. Clicking while holding the (Command) [Ctrl] key will allow you to select noncontiguous images. Additionally, you can (Control-click) [right-click] on an image to bring up a contextual menu with many options that are available for the selected image(s).
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.