What is Photoshop and What Can You Do With It?
Photoshop is a powerful and versatile software application that allows you to create, edit, and enhance digital images. Photoshop is widely used by photographers, graphic designers, web developers, artists, and hobbyists for various purposes, such as photo retouching, compositing, digital painting, graphic design, web design, animation, and more.
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In this article, we will introduce some of the basic features and functions of Photoshop, and show you some examples of what you can do with it.
The Photoshop Workspace
When you launch Photoshop, you will see the main workspace that consists of several elements:
The menu bar at the top contains the File, Edit, Image, Layer, Select, Filter, View, Window, and Help menus that give you access to various commands and options.
The options bar below the menu bar displays the settings for the tool you are currently using.
The tools panel on the left side contains the tools for editing images and creating artwork. You can click and hold on a tool to reveal more related tools in a group.
The panels on the right side include the Color, Layers, Properties, History, and other panels that contain controls for working with images. You can find the full list of panels under the Window menu.
The document window in the center displays the file you are currently working on. You can have multiple files open in tabs in the document window.
You can customize the workspace by rearranging, resizing, hiding, or showing the elements according to your preference. You can also save your workspace layout and switch between different workspaces using the Window > Workspace menu.
The Photoshop Tools
Photoshop offers a variety of tools for editing images and creating artwork. Here are some of the most commonly used tools and what they do:
The Move tool lets you move or align layers or selections within an image.
The Marquee tools let you make rectangular, elliptical, single row, or single column selections.
The Lasso tools let you make freehand, polygonal, or magnetic selections.
The Quick Selection tool lets you make selections based on similar colors or textures.
The Magic Wand tool lets you select pixels of a similar color with a single click.
The Crop tool lets you crop an image to a specific size or ratio.
The Slice tools let you divide an image into slices for web design purposes.
The Eyedropper tool lets you sample colors from an image or anywhere on your screen.
The Ruler tool lets you measure distances and angles in an image.
The Note tool lets you add notes or comments to an image.
The Spot Healing Brush tool lets you quickly remove blemishes or imperfections from an image by sampling from nearby pixels.
The Healing Brush tool lets you remove blemishes or imperfections from an image by sampling from a source point that you specify.
The Patch tool lets you repair a selected area of an image by replacing it with another area of the image.
The Content-Aware Move tool lets you move or extend a selected object to another area of the image while preserving the background.
The Red Eye tool lets you remove red eye from photos taken with flash.
The Brush tool lets you paint with different colors, sizes, shapes, and effects.
The Pencil tool lets you draw with hard-edged lines.
The Mixer Brush tool lets you paint with realistic wet and dry brush effects.
The Clone Stamp tool lets you copy pixels from one area of an image to another.
The Pattern Stamp tool lets you paint with patterns that you can create or select from a preset library.
The History Brush tool lets you paint with pixels from a previous state of an image.
The Art History Brush tool lets you paint with pixels from a previous state of an image while applying artistic effects.
The Eraser tools let you erase pixels from an image or layer.
The Gradient tool lets you fill an area with a smooth blend of colors.
The Paint Bucket tool lets you fill an area with a solid color.
The Blur tool lets you soften or blur the edges of an image or a selected area.
The Sharpen tool lets you increase the contrast or clarity of an image or a selected area.
The Smudge tool lets you smear or blend pixels in an image or a selected area.
The Dodge tool lets you lighten or brighten an image or a selected area.
The Burn tool lets you darken or deepen an image or a selected area.
The Sponge tool lets you saturate or desaturate an image or a selected area.
The Pen tools let you draw smooth curves and shapes with anchor points and paths.
The Type tools let you add text to an image in horizontal or vertical orientation.
The Path Selection tools let you select, move, or modify paths or vector shapes.
The Shape tools let you draw preset shapes such as rectangles, ellipses, lines, polygons, and custom shapes.
The Hand tool lets you pan around a large or zoomed-in image.
The Zoom tool lets you zoom in or out of an image.
The Color Picker lets you choose colors from a color spectrum or enter numeric values for specific colors.
The Swatch panel lets you access and manage preset colors or create your own custom colors.
The Color panel lets you adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness of colors.
The Photoshop Layers
Layers are one of the most important features of Photoshop. Layers allow you to work on different parts of an image separately without affecting the rest of the image. You can create, delete, hide, show, lock, unlock, merge, group, arrange, transform, blend, and apply effects to layers using the Layers panel and the Layer menu. Here are some of the types of layers you can use in Photoshop:
A background layer is the bottommost layer in an image. It is usually locked by default and cannot be moved or have transparency. You can convert a background layer into a regular layer by double-clicking on it and renaming it.
A pixel layer is a layer that contains pixels that make up an image. You can create pixel layers by copying and pasting images, opening images as layers, dragging images from other documents, using the Paint Bucket tool or the Gradient tool, and more.
An adjustment layer is a layer that applies a color or tonal adjustment to the layers below it. You can create adjustment layers by using the Layer > New Adjustment Layer menu or clicking on the half-filled circle icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Some of the adjustment layers you can use are Levels, Curves, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Black & White, and more.
A fill layer is a layer that fills the entire canvas with a solid color, gradient, or pattern. You can create fill layers by using the Layer > New Fill Layer menu or clicking on the half-filled circle icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. You can edit the fill properties by double-clicking on the fill layer thumbnail in the Layers panel.
A text layer is a layer that contains text. You can create text layers by using the Type tools and typing on the canvas. You can edit the text properties such as font, size, color, alignment, spacing, and more by using the options bar or the Character panel and the Paragraph panel.
A shape layer is a layer that contains vector shapes. You can create shape layers by using the Shape tools and drawing on the canvas. You can edit the shape properties such as fill color, stroke color, stroke width, stroke style, and more by using the options bar or the Properties panel.
A smart object layer Place Embedded or File > Place Linked commands, or by converting a pixel layer into a smart object by using the Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object command. You can edit the smart object by double-clicking on the smart object layer thumbnail in the Layers panel, which will open the embedded or linked file in a new window.
A smart filter layer is a layer that has one or more filters applied to it as smart filters. Smart filters are non-destructive and can be edited, reordered, hidden, or deleted at any time. You can create smart filter layers by applying filters to smart object layers using the Filter menu or the Filter Gallery. You can edit the smart filter settings by double-clicking on the filter name in the Layers panel.
The Photoshop Filters
Filters are effects that you can apply to an image or a layer to change its appearance