There are other shortcuts available in Adobe Photoshop. To view or edit these shortcut keys in Photoshop:
1. Click the Edit tab and then click on Keyboard Shortcuts. Its shortcut key is Alt + Shift + Ctrl + K.
2. This opens the Shortcut and Menu dialog box. Click on the New Set button to create a copy of the selected set or select a set by clicking the right-pointing arrows near each set to open it up. Then modify the shortcut keys.
3. Click Ok to save all changes as shown in the screenshot below.
How to Create and Set Up a New Photoshop Document
Creating and setting up a new document in Adobe Photoshop is very easy. But there are some important tips you should take note of when creating the file. Your settings also depend on the type of document you want to create. For example, the setup for a brochure is different from that of an Ad banner because the page size, orientation, resolution and colour mode differ.
To create a new document:
1. Click the File tab and then click New. This prompts the New Document dialog box as shown in the screenshot below.
Here are some important thing you should note in the New Document dialog box:
The Preset dropdown menu allows you to set some predefined settings for your document which determines the document page size and orientation. You have options like: Default Photoshop size, US paper, International paper, Photo, Web, Mobile & Device, Film & Video, Custom, etc. If you copy an image to your clip board and want to paste it as a new document in Photoshop, it automatically creates a preset based on the dimension of the copied image.
Document Width and Height:
You can change the page size by typing in new values for Width and Height. Page size represents the final size you want after bleeds or trimming other marks outside the page. Typing in your desired values for Height and Width gives you more control over the size and orientation of your page. You can also specify the unit of measurement such as Pixel, Inches, Centimeters, Millimeters, Points, Picas. The most common units are pixels and inches. Typing a value for the width and height changes the option in the Preset to Custom.
This is the number of pixels on a printed area of an image. The higher the resolution, the more pixels there are on the page, the better the quality of the image and the higher the size of the file. The standard recommended resolution for printed images is 300 pixels/inch or dot per inch (dpi), for Web images it is 72 dpi.
Select a color mode that will best fit your document. RGB is recommended when creating a web graphic. CMYK is recommended for print documents. You can also specify the bit depth which determines the maximum number of colours that you can use in the document. The most common bit depths are 8 bits and 16 bits.
Here you set the initial background content for the new Photoshop document. You have three options to choose from: White, Background colour or Transparent.
2. When you have entered all of your document settings, click Ok.
You can also save the settings of a document as a new preset by clicking the Save Preset button so that you easily use the settings when creating similar documents in the future. This saves you the stress of having to start the setup for similar documents from scratch.
Photoshop Tools Panel
The Tools panel contains different tools for creating and editing images, artwork, page elements, etc. By default, Photoshop Tools panel appears at the left of the screen. Some tools in the Tools panel have options that appear in the context-sensitive options bar.
Some tools are hidden inside their group. A small drop down arrow at the lower right of the tool icon indicates the presence of hidden tools. You can expand some tools to show hidden tools beneath them by right clicking on the small arrow. To view information about any tool; positioning the pointer over it. The tool tip will display the name of the tool below the pointer.
Photoshop tools in the tools panel are grouped according to their uses. Most of these tools have shortcut keys you can use to select them. Try to master all these keys as they will help you to improve you design speed and accuracy. Also note that most of the Photoshop tools are also found in other Adobe applications like: InDesign, Fireworks, Illustration, etc. All Photoshop tools can be categorized under these eight (8) groups as shown in the screenshot below.
Below is the list of the eight groups of Adobe Photoshop tools with their keyboard shortcut key.
1. Selection Tools: Move (M), Rectangular Marquee (M), Lasso (L), Quick Selection (W).
2. Crop and Slice Tools: Crop (C). Under it you see: Slice (C), Slice Select (C).
3. Measuring Tools: Eye Dropper (I). Under it you see: Colour Sampler (I), Ruler (I), Note (I).
4. Retouching and Painting Tools: Spot Healing Brush (J), Clone Stamp (S), Eraser (E), Blur, Dodge (D), Brush (B), History Brush (Y), Gradient (G).
5. Drawing and Type Tools: Pen (P), Horizontal Type (T), Path Selection (A), Rectangle (U).
6. Navigation and 3D Tools: 3D Object Rotate (K), 3D Rotate Camera (N), Hand (H), Zoom (Z).
7. Ground Colour Selection Tools: Set Foreground Colour, Set Background Colour.
8. Screen Mode Selection Tool: Quick Mask Mode (Q), Change Screen Mode (F).
How to Use the Various Photoshop Tools
Having listed all the Photoshop tools, let me show you how to use some of the common tools like: Quick Selection tool, Crop tool and Type tool. These are most the tools you use often when designing graphics like book covers and editing images.
How to Use the Quick Selection Tool
The Quick Selection tool helps you to expand your selection to perceived edges in the image. It is an advanced form of the Magic Wand tool. The major difference is that with the Quick Selection tool, you make a selection on images with different colours in the background. Magic wand tool is used to make a selection on images with fewer colours. The keyboard shortcut key for activating this tool is the letter “J” (press the key on your keyboard). Ensure that you checked “Sample all layers” and the “Auto-Enhance” check boxes located in the tool options bar before you start your selection.
To make a large or small selection; increase or decrease the size of your selection brush respectively. To reduce the size of your selection brush, press the left square bracket key ([), for brush size increment, press the right square bracket key (]).This concept applies to all selection tools. If you wish to add more to a selection; hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard (the tool should have a plus sign at its center) and then click and drag over the area.
Also, if you over select an area or make a mistake with your selection and do not wish to start over, hold down the “Alt” on the keyboard (the tool should have a minus sign at its center) and then click and drag over the area as shown in the screenshot below.
Most times, the easiest way to select an image is to first select the background and then invert the selection by clicking the Select tab and then clicking Inverse. The keyboard shortcut key is Shift + Ctrl + I. Also ensure that the layer is not locked, else you can’t be able to refine the edges of your selection.
How to Refine the Edges of Your Selection in Photoshop
After making a selection with the Quick Selection tool, the edges of your selection are usually not smooth. You need to refine the edges to make it look professional and attractive.
To Refine the Edge of a Selection in Photoshop:
1. Ensure that your selection is still active. Then click the Refine Edges button located in the Tool Options bar. This prompts the Refine Images dialog box.
2. Under the View Mode section: click the View drop down menu as shown in the screenshot below and then select a mode. To remove the background of the image, select the On Layers (L) mode.
3. Under the Adjust Edge section: set the Smooth value to about 2 to 5 depending on your work. Don’t overdo it. Set the Feather value to about 0.3 to 0.5. Set the Contrast value to about 10 to 20. Shift the edge to about -10 to -15. Always check the preview of your work to see the effect of each adjustment.
4. Under the Output section: choose to output it to a new layer. This will disable the original layer. You may wish to check the “Remember Settings” checkbox. Then click OK as shown in the screenshot below.
How to Crop Images
Cropping images in Adobe Photoshop is very easy. All you need to do is to select the Crop tool or simply press the letter “C” key. Then adjust the crop dimension to your taste. Click the Enter or Return key to apply the crop action as shown in the screenshot below.
How to Use the Type Tool
The Type tool is used to write or add texts to a graphic design. You can also format a text; change the colour, font type, font size, etc. In Adobe Photoshop, clicking the small drop down arrow beside the Type tool displays four different types of Type tool which are: The Horizontal Type tool, Vertical Type tool, Horizontal Type Mask tool and the Vertical Type Mask tool.
Type in Adobe Photoshop consists of vector-based type outlines - mathematically defined shapes that describe the letters, numbers, and symbols of a typeface. Many typefaces are available in more than one format, the most common formats being the PostScript fonts, True Type, Open Type, New CID, etc.
There are three main method of text insertion in Adobe Photoshop: A Point text, Paragraph text and the Path text methods. In the first two methods, you can use of the Horizontal Type tool and Vertical Type tool while the last one, you use the Horizontal Type Mask tool or the Vertical Type Mask tool.
Point Text Method:
Point text is a horizontal or vertical line of text that begins where you click in the image. This method is very convenient if you only want to add a few words to your image. For example, when designing an eBook cover, you use the point type to add your book title.
To Insert Point Texts:
1. Select the Horizontal Type tool or the Vertical Type tool.
2. Click in the image to set an insertion point for the texts. Enter the characters. To begin a new line, press Enter or Return key.
3. If you wish to format the text like changing the font colour, text or size from the Tool Options bar, first highlight the texts.
4. After entering, editing or formatting the texts, click the Commit button in the options bar as shown in the screenshot below.
Paragraph Text Method:
Paragraph text allows you to define a type boundary which the type texts wrap around. The boundaries control the flow of characters, either horizontally or vertically. This method is convenient when you want to create one or more paragraphs of texts. For example, you will use this method to add your book blurb write-up when designing a cover for your print books.
To Insert Paragraph Texts:
1. Select the Horizontal Type tool or the Vertical Type tool.
2. Click in the image to set an insertion point for the texts. Drag diagonally to define a bounding box for the texts.
3. Enter the characters. To begin a new line, press Enter or Return key. After entering, editing and formatting the type, click the Commit button in the options bar as shown in the screenshot below.
Path Text Method:
The Path text method is not often used like the point and paragraph type. The texts in this method flow along the edge of an open or a closed path. When you enter text horizontally, characters appear along the path perpendicular to the baseline. When you enter text vertically, characters appear along the path parallel to the baseline. In either case, the text flows in the direction in which points were added to the path.
How to Draw Shapes and Symbols in Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop has all the tools you need to draw any type of shape ranging from basic shapes like: lines, rectangle, ellipse, polygon to irregular shapes, symbols, logos, etc. The Custom Shape tool allows you to draw any irregular shape or symbol. Right clicking on the small drop down arrow beside the Rectangle tool displays some other shape tools hidden under it. The shortcut to select any shape tool is to press the “U” key on the keyboard. Photoshop has a lot of pre-designed symbols from which you can select and use.
To Draw a Regular Shape:
1. Right click on the drop down arrow beside the Rectangle tool and select the tool for the shape you want to draw. Some of the available tools are the Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, the Polygon tool, the Line tool and the Custom tool. For example:
To Draw a Polygon with any Number of Sides:
Select the Polygon tool. In the Tools Option bar, specify the number of sides of the polygon you wish to draw. Then click and drag in the document area to draw the polygon shape as shown in the screenshot below.
You can also set the shape fill colour, shape stroke width and type, shape width and height from the Tools Option bar as shown in the screenshot above.
To Draw an Irregular, Custom Shape or Symbol:
1. Select the Custom Shape tool.
2. Click the Shape drop down arrow and then select any irregular shape of your choice. Click and drag in the document area to draw the selected shape or symbol as shown in the screenshot below
3. There are different categories of shapes available. Some of them are: Animals, Arrows, Artistic textures, Banners and awards, Films, Frames, Grime vector pack, Light bulb, Music, Nature, Objects, Ornaments, Shapes, Symbols, Talk bubbles, Tiles, Web, etc.
You change the category of the shape displayed by clicking the Settings icon and the clicking on any category of your choice as shown in the screenshot below.
A Photoshop dialog box will pop up asking you if you want to replace the current shapes with the shape from the selected category. Click OK to replace or click Append to leave the existing symbols with the new symbols and shapes.
How to Save or Export a Document in Photoshop
After editing or creating a document in Photoshop, you have to save it as a Photoshop file. The default file extension or format for Photoshop files is PSD. You can also export the document with another file formats like: JPEG, PNG, GIF, WBMP, etc. It is called “Save for Web & Devices”. This option also allows you to optimize image in such a way that you obtain a high quality image with a fairly small file size. Note that after exporting a document from Photoshop, you need to save the original file in Photoshop.
To Save a Photoshop File for the First Time:
1. Click the File and then select Save As. This prompts the Save As dialog box as shown in the screenshot below.
2. Type in a unique file name in the File Name text box. You will notice that the file format is PSD.
3. Specify the save location for the file and then click the Save button.
The keyboard shortcut key for saving a file for the first time is Shift + Ctrl + S (for mac users: Shift + Command + S). To save the update you made on a file, press Ctrl + S (for mac users: Command + S). These shortcut keys are not limited only in Photoshop, it is also applicable in other applications.
To Export a File from Photoshop:
1. Click the File tab and then select Save for Web & Devices. This prompts the Save for Web dialog box as shown in the screenshot below.
2. Specify the export file format from the drop down menu located under the Preset menu as shown in the screenshot above. You have five file formats to choose from: GIF, JPEG, PNG-8, PNG-24, WBMP (for bitmap images).
3. You can also scale the export file; that is to increase or reduce the dimension before exporting it without altering the dimension of the original Photoshop file by tying in the scale factor in percentage under the Image Size section as shown in the screenshot above. For example, to reduce or enlarge the dimension or size of the image by half: type 50% (for reduction) or 200% (for enlargement). If you don’t want to reduce the image scale, leave the default value which is 100%.
4. After adjusting the file export settings, click the Save button, type a unique file name for the export file and then specify the save location and then save it.