Photoshop for Idiots – Part 1

Ive finally decided to compile a tutorial for people who are interested in photography and editing.

PART I: Introduction

What is Photoshop and why would I use it?

Photoshop is a very powerful graphics editing program by Adobe Inc. There are a lot of things which you cannot do in your standard photo editing applications such as Picasa or Microsoft’s Photo Editor. For example adjusting levels , applying various effects, creating art from scratch etc. It is the best and most widely used program whose full retail price is around 800$ (around 34,000 INR) for a single user license. Other versions such as Photoshop elements are also available for a reduced price.

Where do I get it?

I am assuming you already have photoshop though I wont ask how and where you got it but most of the people get it off torrents. and . Those are all the things you need 🙂 *wink*. Ill be using CS3 Versions. CS4 will also do

1.The Basics

You should see the main screen after opening photoshop like this: –

Main Screen

Main Screen


Let us take a closer look at each of the components one by one

1.The Menus:


A lot of options which are not available otherwise are located inside the menu bar. It contains

File: – Opening Saving Closing Importing Exporting files etc are done here

Edit: – We have your basic Undo , Redo , Cut Copy Paste , then Free Transform or Transform options and later the Keyboard Shortcuts , Menus and Preferences,Color Settings etc.

Image: – Commands affecting the Size – (Image Size Canvas Size) , colour Mode (Bitmap,Greyscale) , The Adjustments Panel (Most important) Where you have your Levels , Contrast, Shadows , Saturation etc settings which you will be using often. Also Rotate Canvas settings (For rotating a picture by 90 or 180 degrees)

Layer: – Commands for Creating and Altering Layers – like New Layer, Delete / Duplicate Layers, Layer Properties and Layer Styles which we will be using a lot and Merging Layers etc

Select: – Commands that allow you to “select” various parts of the photo for cutting trimming etc

Filter: – The Filter Menu allows access to various plugins inside photoshop.Typical plug – ins involve special effects , blurring ,sharpening , artistic sketches etc. You may have a different nuumber of plugins but most of the standard ones are there.You can also download new ones

Analysis: For actual measurements with a “ruler”

View: – Zoom in ,Zoom out ,show grid, Fit on screen are some of the options

Window:- You can arrange your workspace automatically (tile or cascade all the open images) , also this menu includes various panels such as Brushes Layers Styles which you need if you are designing some wallpaper or web page or abstract art materials etc.

Help: Includes all the help options in photoshop

2.Basic Photoshop Tool Palettes

 These are the windows that appear on the right side of your screen

There are four main tool palettes: –

1.Navigation Palette

It allows you to see a smaller picture of your work and zoom in or zoom out(Navigator Tab)

This is great because you dont have to zoom out and see what the picture will look like when you are done with it.

The info Tab gives you information about the colour and screen position of the current tools pixel

2.The Color/Swatches/Styles Palette

The color palette allows you to quickly tune the foreground color so that you don’t have to go into the color picker to do it.The swatches tool is also very nice.There are different fill styles too.

3.The Layer/Channels/Paths Palette

This is the palette which you keep needing the most. The layers palette lets you play around with layers, adjust the blending modes – Normal Screen etc, The order in which layers are organised the Opacity of each layer etc. The Channels and Paths are rarely used by normal people 🙂


4.The History palette

 This is a great tool because photoshop records every change you make to a photo. In case you find something is not right you can find that action in the history , go back to the original stage before you screwed it up.Actions is a bit advanced.

Now lets take a look at the toolbox in the next blog.


About harshalkutkar

Im a 19 year old geek who loves figuring things out on on his own and discovering new things View all posts by harshalkutkar

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