Know How Photoshop Works: Basics of Photoshop

New to Photoshop? Don’t be disheartened. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie in this field. You might be a new photographer or a graphic design student or simply want to enhance your skills; you will encounter the need to learn the basics of Photoshop. You shall not become a pro in one night but will learn over time how things get going in Photoshop. It is not a typical software that people say it is, so let’s start with some basics of photoshop.

First, you should get familiar with the interface of the Photoshop, where the picture shall get edit according to your wish. The let us start with getting familiar with the main terminology of Photoshop.

The Main Menu: This is where one would get all the main options like Image Adjustments, Filters, Type, Layer etc are.

photoshop main menu window

Comes next,

Toolbox: This is a bar of tools that are most used in Photoshop. It is placed on the left side of the screen. If a particular tool has a small triangle at the bottom right corner of the box, then this implies that there are other related tools with this option. All one needs to do is to click and hold to reveal its sub-menu. It has various tools like lasso tool, eye-dropper, pencil, eraser, text tool, crop tool etc.


zoomed view of photoshop toolbar

Panels: Panels refer to the inside of the Photoshop, for example, color panel, layer panel etc and anything that opens beside the toolbox on your Photoshop window. One interesting thing about panels is that you can arrange them the way you find it convenient to use; all you have to do is to click and drag the title tab of any panel over another panel.

A smart way is to align the similar ones together. You can put Layers, Channels, and Paths together. Similarly, you can dock Character and Paragraphs together.


panels and layers in photoshop

Document Window:  It has the actual image or file, one is working on. In Photoshop one can have multiple images open at once.

document window in photoshop

Dialog Box: Next up is the Dialog Box, this opens up when you select any option from the main menu, say Filters. They usually contain options and settings for filter or any other action that you’ve chosen to use.

document window dialog box


Workspaces: It is important to know that Photoshop comes with an integrated feature called “Workspaces”. They allow you to set panels according to your wish. Photoshop comes pre-equipped with some workspace models such as; Essentials, Design, Painting, Photography, 3D, Motion, and New in CS5.

workspace window in photoshop


To select a workspace, simply go to Window option in the main menu. Then select the panels you want to make visible to you. Once you’ve finished this, click on the double arrow next to your shortlisted workspaces and then select the New Workspace.

As soon as you select New Workspace, a dialog box will pop up. This dialog box allows you to enter your desired name so that you can activate it later. This gives you the flexibility you require as you are continually moving between panels and can switch workspaces with a simple click of a button.

Now let us head towards opening a new document in Photoshop!

All you need to do is, go to File then click on New to open a new document. A dialog box shall pop up; here are several options by which you can customize your document such as, width, height, resolution, color mode etc. These all options come under the basics of Photoshop and one must have a knowledge of the same.

Let us find out what significance does each of these options have.

workspace selection window


Width and Height: One can change the width and height of the document and select whether you want to work in pixels, centimeters, millimeters, points, picas or columns; pixels being the smallest one.

Resolution: Resolution is one of the important features such as size. If you working anywhere for the web, you can choose to work on 72 ppi (pixel per inch). But if you are working on a larger scale, 300 ppi gives you a sharper and denser image on the print.

RGB and CYMK: RGB is made up of Red, Green and Blue Channels. RGB is mainly used for web design and for screen or monitor purposes. On the other hand, CYMK is made of 4 color channels namely, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Choosing the right color channel is also crucial.

Presets: Other than the above-mentioned options, Photoshop also gives you an option of presets, so you do not always have to remember the dimensions of the documents. You can just fill in once and save it for later use. Also, there are certain fixed presets that Photoshop offers such as various paper sizes and normal web page sizes.

defining new presets in photoshop


Here was a quick glance at the Basics of Photoshop that can get you started with it. Getting started with Photoshop for the first time might seem a little daunting, but sooner you’ll realize how quick and easy designing and editing can be.


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