Posts Tagged ‘photoshop’
If you work in a creative field, you might be wondering if you need Photoshop to be competitive. There is no simple answer, and much depends on what type of work you do and what programs you already have. If you are well-versed in Illustrator and know your way around the Illustrator tools, it may be enough for you to stick with that program alone. On the other hand, if you do a lot of work with photographs, Photoshop may be a smart investment. Deciding can be a bit complicated.
If you are a freelancer and you have a tight budget, you may be able to get by with Photoshop Elements instead of the full program. Elements can do many of the basic things that Photoshop can do, but it has its limitations. One good way to determine what you should have is to go on Adobe's Website and compare features. Also, ask around in professional online forums and see what other people in your field have to say before making a final choice. Photoshop does enable you to do a wide range of things, but you'll want to make sure that the investment is worthwhile for your particular niche before you buy it.
Photoshop jobs come in all shapes and sizes so even if you have worked with the program for a while, things outside your comfort zone may be a little bit difficult to execute. If you primarily work in graphic design jobs, you are aware of the fact that photographs need to be saved at a high resolution for print. If you are a Web designer, you know that 640 ppi by 480 ppi is a fairly standard size when it comes to creating a Web page. Stepping outside your normal work habits can mean mistakes if you aren't careful.
When you are doing something you don't usually do, make sure that you understand the guidelines for resolution and dimension–otherwise you may not get a good end result. There are many ways to go about learning the basics if you have to do something you don't normally do. You can simply Google a question, such as "what is the standard resolution for the Web," or "how can I create a vector in Photoshop?" Another thing you can do is watch one of the many tutorials that are available on the Web. To find one, just search for the concept you need, along with the word "tutorial" and you will see that there are plenty to choose from.
If you haven't worked with Photoshop before, the letters RGB may not mean much to you, but they are something you will need to be familiar with if you are going to be putting images on the Web. There are many reasons you may need to do this, ranging from creating a brand identity for yourself to graphic design jobs that have some material for the Web. RGB is actually a simple concept at heart—the letters stand for red, green and blue. The RGB colorspace is what you will need to work in if you are designing images for the Web, as computer monitors are based on these three colors.
All of the colors you can use for Web design are basically a combination of these three. For example, mixing colors with a certain value together will create black or white. You can dial in the numbers to make everything from deep red to light green. Knowing these principles can help you make sure that your files are set up in the right colorspace (CMYK is the other one) so that images will look good on the Web. It also means that you will have a basic understanding of how mixing colors is done in Photoshop.
If you are trying to create a new image for the Web in Photoshop, there are a few steps you need to take regardless of whether you are working on creative graphic design or information architect jobs. The first thing you need to do is open a "new" page. When you do this, a dialogue box will appear and you will need to fill in certain information. Decide on a name for your new file and enter that in the appropriate box. You can always change it later when you are saving the file if you want to.
Next, you will need to specify both the width and the height that you want the image to be. What these numbers are will depend on your project. Be sure you are working in pixels when you do this. After that, you will need to enter the resolution. When you are working on the Web, 72 ppi (pixels per inch) is the number you should type in. As for "mode," make sure it is set to RGB. The last thing you select is the "contents," which for Web design, typically is "transparent." Once you have these things checked off, you are ready to begin working on your new document.
As a designer, it is helpful to create your own brushes in Photoshop so that you have more variety for different Photoshop jobs. If you have a particular look in mind, you can use the settings to make a brush that will execute what you are trying to do–within reason. If you need a particularly custom brush, search through the various options on Adobe's Website or do a Google search for custom brushes on the Web. To create a brush, simply click on the options triangle and hit "new brush."
Once you have started this process, you can then adjust the settings. You can adjust the hardness or softness of the brush, the diameter, how round the brush will be and the angle. Be sure that when you begin, you are on a brush style that compliments your idea, as the brush you are creating will be based off of the one you have selected. Also, remember to keep the final brush for future use by clicking on the options triangle and hitting "save". Having some custom brushes for different uses extends your range as a designer.
Photoshop has continued to be a very popular program over time, and if you are in the design field it is helpful to know how to use it. Even so, there are so many things you can do with this program that it can feel overwhelming. If you have already worked with a program such as Illustrator, it may be a little easier to pick up, but if you are starting from square one, you should do a tutorial or two to get the hang of things. Much like Adobe has Illustrator tutorials, they have some for Photoshop; plus there are tutorials all over the Web.
Unless you are doing the most basic tutorial, one thing you will need to have is a familiarity with your workspace. There are four major sections that you will see in Photoshop: the palettes, options bar, menu and toolbox. Palettes primarily deal with color, but they control other features as well. The menu is used mostly for navigation and the options bar helps you to see what you have selected and what you can do with it. The toolbox is the section you go to if you need to select a particular tool. If you have at least a basic familiarity with these four things, you should be ready to begin learning this program.
Whether you work for a New York graphic design company or do photo retouching, you should know how to save an image for the Web. Photoshop allows you to accomplish this quickly and easily, but you will have to remember a few details to make sure you are doing it in an efficient manner. Images that are too large will take a long time to load on the Web, and viewers get frustrated waiting for the page to come up. By the same token, you want to have good image quality so that the pictures look good.
This balancing act is exactly what Photoshop allows you to have pinpoint control over. First, click on "file," then select "save for Web". A box will come up that gives you a number of different choices. Since most photos come in JPEG format, you will need to dial in the quality settings and save. It is really a matter of personal choice how you set these, but again, you want a combination of good image quality and fast load time. It may take you a few tries to decide on what settings work best in your particular circumstance, but after a while you will be better able to come up with what makes the most sense for the project you are working on.
If you are fairly new to Photoshop, getting acquainted with the tools you will be using is a must. Fortunately, if you just take a little time to play around with them, you will get a good feel for what each tool does. Simply open an image, select a tool from the menu and see what happens when you use it on a photograph. Here are a few to try:
- The slice tool. Those who will be doing Web design jobs will want to get a feel for this tool, as it is used for creating Websites. It slices one image into smaller images and it looks like a small knife on the end of a pencil.
- The healing brush. This tool looks like a band-aid, and it can help you repair any areas of an image that need it. It will help blend scratches or spots.
- Clone stamp. This tool looks like an ink stamp and it also smooths out an image, but it will clone the area that you select, reproducing it on the new area.
- Eraser tool. This tool is shown as an eraser and it will do exactly as it says.
These are just a few tools that are commonly used in graphic design jobs or Web design jobs. Take a little time to see what some of the other tools do as well, and before long you will have an idea of what you are doing with Photoshop. Follow up with tutorials on the ones that you think you may need the most often.
It doesn't matter if you are working on information architect jobs or Web design jobs, knowing some shortcuts in Photoshop is helpful. Shortcuts allow you to do things quickly—often by just using a keystroke rather than referring to a menu in the program. Here are a few to keep in mind as you work on a photograph or document:
- A quick way to change your brush tip size is to use the bracket key. Use the one that opens to the left to increase it and the one that opens to the right to make it smaller.
- Zoom in or out quickly by hitting control plus or control minus. (For a MAC, use command plus or minus.)
- Undo something you just did by hitting control z. (For a MAC, use command and z.)
- Press the space bar to activate the "grabber hand" so that you can move an image around. Once you release it, you will go back to the original tool you were working with.
These are just a few simple tricks that will save you time when you are working on a project. It is helpful to use the keyboard for a quick adjustment instead of searching for something in the toolbars. As you learn more about Photoshop, see if there are other shortcuts for things that you do on a regular basis. Let's face it—we can all use something to make a job go more smoothly.
If you are planning to use Photoshop on a regular basis, there are some "extras" that can make things a lot easier. It doesn't matter if you are a digital illustrator or a freelance graphic designer, certain tools can make the job run more smoothly. One thing that is nice to have is a second monitor. This enables you to spread out the tools and imagery so that you don't have to constantly be switching views. Although it may seem like a luxury to have two monitors, many people find that it makes them far more productive and cuts down on the time they spend working on an image.
Another item that can be very helpful for those using Photoshop is a tablet. Tablets allow you to have a lot of control over where you retouch images or how you handle editing. Most tablets come with a "pen" which gives you pinpoint accuracy when working with a photograph or design. Tablets also enable the user to draw their own images, which can be a nice addition to the overall capabilities of Photoshop. If you work with this program a good deal, some of these "extras" may be well worth a bit of consideration–especially if you can pick them up at a reasonable cost.