Adobe Photoshop is an incredible tool for photographers, artists, and graphic designers touching up and creating from scratch stunning photography and artwork. However, for the users still green in their experience with the program, it can also be overwhelming.
Photoshop’s arsenal of tools and capabilities aren’t designed to be innate. The program comes with several learning curves in order to master its use. Luckily, there are many tutorials rich with Photoshop tips to help you overcome the challenges.
Below we’ve put together a guide for the beginner covering the program’s most basic functions.
Basic Photoshop Tips for Beginners
Below you’ll discover a tour of the basics, including an introduction to the program’s interface and useful shortcuts that will make using Adobe Photoshop easier.
This guide is easiest to follow when you have your program open. Take a moment now to load Adobe Photoshop and open an image file by clicking “File” from the top menu and then “Open”.
From your “Open File” box, select any image you have available to use for practice.
Recognizing Your Document Window
As you open your first file, you will notice a new window fills the program screen. This is your document window. If you open multiple files, tabs will be created at the top of this window so you can toggle in between them.
This feature is useful, especially if you are working with multiple files on one project.
To close a file, simply click the “X” on the right side of that file’s tab. You will be prompted to save before the file closes unless all changes have already been saved prior to exiting the file.
Exploring the Menu and Options Bars
At the very top of your program’s window, you’ll find your menu and option bars. The very top bar is your menu, which includes options such as:
Each of these menu options houses multiple sub-selections related to the main option. They encompass everything from opening and saving your files to creating new layers, edits, and viewpoints.
The “Help” tab is a free resource that you will use quite often during the beginning of your Adobe Photoshop experience. With options such as “Getting Started” and “Key Concepts”, you can polish your basic skills.
There is also a forum option under this tab where you can communicate with and learn from other users.
Your options bar can be moved, but it defaults under your menu bar. It changes depending upon the tool you’re using and allows you to change and adapt your tool’s settings according to your needs.
Accessing Your Tools
Photoshop’s tool panel is docked at the lefthand side of your screen. It shows all the tools you can use for editing images or creating new artwork. You’ll notice some of these options feature a small arrow in the top-right corner.
This arrow means other, similar tools are bundled with it. It saves space on the toolbar so you don’t have to scroll through a large library of options.
To browse the similar tools, simply click the button and view your options in the options bar. The additional tools will be located on the lefthand side. Hover over the thumbnail image of your tool options and a short description of the tool will appear next to your mouse.
Getting Familiar with Your Color, Layers, and Properties Panel
The last panel on your screen is designated for your color options, layers, and properties. You will interact with this panel often as you edit and create new works.
The layers option allows you to view, hide, tweak, and create layers for your project. You can interact with these layers individually or merge them together as you see fit.
Your color options allow you to adjust your hue, saturation, contrast, brightness, gradients, and more, while your properties let you manage your settings.
Navigating Your Image
You will rarely stay in one view when editing or creating a new work. In order to make minute adjustments or focus on details, you’ll have to get comfortable with your zoom and hand tools.
Your zoom tool is located in your tool panel. It’s shaped like a magnifying glass with two settings: zoom out and zoom in. These settings are distinguished by a plus and minus sign, but you can also use the slider for quick scaling.
Beside your zoom tool is the hand tool. Much like a physical hand, you can use this tool to “grab” and shift the file displayed in your document window. This tool is useful particularly when you’re zoomed in closely and need to make micro shifts in your view.
How to Erase Mistakes
What happens if you a make a mistake? Unlike physical works, Photoshop makes it easy to undo actions that didn’t go as planned. To reverse an action, simply go to the “Edit” option on the main menu and select “Undo”.
You can also click the Control and “Z” buttons simultaneously in windows or Command and Z if you’re using a Macintosh operating system. By default, Photoshop saves the last 50 actions, but you can set it to up to 100 through your preferences.
To cancel an operation, simply click and hold the escape key until the progress has ended.
Know How to Save Your Work
Finally, it’s essential to know how to save–and do so often! Saving your work is a simple process. Simply go to your main menu, select “File”, then “Save” or “Save As”.
The “Save” option will allow you to save the file as it’s current name. “Save As” lets you create a new file and name for your project, even if it already has an original save file.
You’ll want to save any works in progress as a PSD file so your layers and Photoshop properties remain intact.
When you’re finished, you can save the file as a standard image by converting it to PNG or JPEG. Simply select “Save As” and change the file format for your new save file.
Expand Your Photoshop Skills
Are you eager to learn more Photoshop tips? If you’re ready to venture beyond the basics, we recommend diving into our other Photoshop “How To” articles. We cover everything from how to use the program’s wide range of tools to niche design tips for mobile gaming, real estate photography, and more!
Enhance your expertise and challenge your limits by putting our tips into practice. With every new trick, you’ll find yourself capable of accomplishing more with this versatile program than you ever dreamed.