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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1

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.

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By: Sams Publishing
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 143
November 23, 2004
  1. · Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1
  2. · Opening, Creating, and Importing Files
  3. · Creating a New File
  4. · Importing Images
  5. · Working with Selections
  6. · Lasso Tools
  7. · Selecting a Range of Colors
  8. · Modifying Selections
  9. · Channels
  10. · Creating a Clipping Path
  11. · Layer Opacity and Blend Modes
  12. · Working with Masks
  13. · Painting and Drawing
  14. · The Brush and Pencil Tools
  15. · Photoshop and the Web

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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Painting and Drawing
(Page 13 of 15 )

Until now, we've been looking at Photoshop as a tool specifically for working with existing images and photographs, but in reality, there's a whole other side to Photoshop-in which your screen is a canvas and your colors are paints and your pressure-sensitive tablet (or mouse) is your paintbrush.

Choosing Colors

Photoshop allows you to choose colors in just about any way you desire. You can specify colors in RGB, CMYK, HSB, Lab, or Hexadecimal. Additionally, Photoshop also ships with many different industry-standard custom color libraries such as Pantone and TOYO.

You can choose colors in Photoshop in any of several ways:

  • Click on the Foreground or Background color proxy in the toolbox-Photoshop will present you with the Color Picker (see Figure 5.66), where you can choose just about any color, including industry-standard spot colors (by clicking on the Custom button).

  • Click on the Foreground or Background color proxy in the Color palette-Photoshop presents you with the Color Picker, as just described (see Figure 5.67).

    Figure 5.66 The Photoshop Color Picker.

    Figure 5.67 The Foreground and Background color proxies in the Color palette.

  • Click anywhere on the color ramp at the bottom of the Color palette-This changes depending on the color mode you have selected and also provides quick shortcuts to black and white (see Figure 5.68).

    Figure 5.68 The color ramp in the Color palette.

  • Adjust the color sliders in the Color palette-You can choose to use the sliders to choose a color by eye, or enter values directly for a specific color.

  • Choose a color from the Swatches palette-You can store your own custom colors as well as access other color libraries, from the Swatches palette flyout menu (see Figure 5.69).

  • Use the Eyedropper tool-Sample a color from any area on your document or screen.

Figure 5.69 Choosing a color library from the Swatches palette.

Tip -To quickly fill an area with the Foreground color, press (Option-Delete) [Alt+Delete].


Before soft drop shadows became the latest design fad, there were gradients-fills that fade gradually from one color to another-sometimes with multiple colors (that is, a color spectrum). Gradients can also fade from a color to transparent.

Creating gradients in Photoshop is quite easy, and there are basically two ways to accomplish the task. The first way is to add a Gradient Overlay layer effect as we discussed earlier when talking about layer styles (see Figure 5.70). The second-and far more popular-way is to use the Gradient tool.

With the Gradient tool selected, the Tool Options bar changes to reflect the different options you have for applying gradients. Click on the pop-up arrow to get a list of predefined gradients (see Figure 5.71), and you can choose from any of five types of gradients: linear, radial, angle, reflected, and diamond.

Figure 5.70 The Gradient Overlay settings in the Layer Style dialog.

Figure 5.71 Choosing a predefined gradient from the Tool Options bar.

To apply a linear gradient, with the Gradient tool selected, position your cursor at the point you want the leftmost color of the gradient to begin. Press the mouse button-and hold it-while you drag to the place where you want the rightmost color of the gradient to end (see Figure 5.72). When you release the mouse, Photoshop will apply the gradient.

Note -If you don't have a selection made, using the Gradient tool will result in a gradient that fills the entire layer.

Tip -You can drag your gradient outside of your selection, or even the document window, so that only a portion of the gradient will be applied.

You can also create your own gradients by clicking on the gradient proxy in the Tool Options bar to open the Gradient Editor (see Figure 5.73). Click on the New button to define a new gradient. Add a newcolor stopby clicking in an empty area under the gradient. You can edit the colors by double-clicking on the color-stop arrow. Arrows that appear above the gradient areopacity stops, and they let you define the transparency of the gradient at a specific point. You can have as many stops as you want in your gradient. The little diamonds that appear in between the color stops are the midpoint of that section of the gradient-meaning that at that point, there's 50% of each color. You can adjust those points by dragging them left and right as well.

Figure 5.72 Dragging with the Gradient tool to apply a gradient.

Figure 5.73 The Gradient Editor dialog.

Tip -Remember that using the Quick Mask feature along with the Gradient tool can help you create faded selections in the blink of an eye.

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.

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