New to Photoshop? Can’t wait to have a go? If you’re a complete beginner, here’s our pick of 7 tools with which to experiment so you can get started and familiarise yourself with the interface.
Of course the the very best way to get started with Photoshop is a Platform 39 introductory Photoshop short course, but if you simply can’t wait to get a short course under your belt, here’s seven tools to have a go with…
Experiment 1: Crop tool and the rectangular marquee tool
The crop tool (fourth icon down in the left-hand vertical menu) is an amazingly simple way to crop or rotate an image or photo. This makes it ideal for quickly straightening the horizon on a photo. Alternatively, the second tool down in the left-hand vertical menu is the rectangular marquee tool. For the Photoshop novice, this can be a less intimidating way to crop your photos, if cropping is all you want to do. But, like almost anything in Photoshop, there is so much more to these tools once you start experimenting…
Experiment 2: Your safety net
Most beginners are going to get very familiar with several of the commands at the top of the Edit menu option: Undo, Step Forward, Step Backward.
Experiment 3: Layers
The potential layers offer is huge, but for right now, let’s just say before you begin experimenting it is good to get into the habit of creating a new layer (using the ‘create new layer’ icon at the bottom of the layers panel) so that you protect the original. Aside from anything else, this makes it really easy to compare the image after the changes you make with the original image (simply by clicking on the eye icon to the left of the layer in your layer panel).
Experiment 4: The clone tool
Removing an unwanted element from a photo is another frequently-requested function with Photoshop users. The clone stamp tool (ninth tool down in the left-hand vertical menu bar) allows you to select an area of the photo (using alt + click) which can then be used to paint over the offending element.
Experiment 5: Zoom
If the clone tool effects seem a little clumsy, use the zoom in and zoom out commands so you can work in greater detail. Reduce your brush sizes so you can edit down to pixel-by-pixel detail.
Experiment 6: Spot healing brush
For smaller areas, the spot healing brush is a fast and simple way to remove unwanted imperfections in the image. It’s good practice to use a different layer for each area you edit; you can always merge them later if you wish to. Label the individual layers clearly so you don’t get mixed up later and can easily review their effects on your original.
Experiment 7: Oil paint filter
Photoshop empowers you to change the look of an image in just a few clicks. In the filter menu there are several effects you can immediately apply to your image or photo. The oil paint filter is probably the most dramatic of these. You can completely change the look in just a couple of clicks, and this gives you an immediate sense of what a powerful image manipulation tool Photoshop can be.
There are so many possibilities when you use Photoshop, we’ve not even scraped the surface here. Everyone learns in their own way; chose the right combination to your learning style: experiment, practise, take advantage of Adobe’s huge range of online tutorials, and ideally consider taking a short course.
Here at the Platform 39 studios, deep in the heart of Central East London, we offer a range of courses in Adobe Photoshop in small, friendly groups. Whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced user, there is always something new to discover when using Photoshop.