6  sessions. 2 hours each. Photoshop is an amazing tool; a huge battleship of a program. It’s almost like a large office building where you’ll tend to operate in certain areas, and maybe never even encounter the tools and techniques elsewhere in that “building” that someone else uses every day.  This class will help you develop a solid overview of the whole program.

My introduction to it samples and explores what I consider to be some features people WANT to know how to use as well as a focus on critical conceptual understanding of how things work. We delve into the art of selecting well and exactly what you want. Why to save in .PSD format. Web vs Print jobs. Filter effects, image adjustment tools and layers. Using styles, brushes, gradients, shapes and patterns and how to make your own.


Lecture Journal

Day 1:

Hooking your memory to the general options we find in each of the menus really helps.

  1. In Photoshop you are always in a “workspace“. A workspace is grouping of panels of tools that are useful together in certain kinds of work. For example, photography, painting or 3D work. By default we are using the one called “Essentials”. You see this and can change it in the far right hand top of the Photoshop interface. There is a RESET choice in the drop down menu that can be very useful.
  2. If you need a particular tool, they are ALL under the menu called Window.
  3. Images can be big or small. The little tab just above and at the left edge, shows you the file name and the percentage of actual size being previewed. The VIEW menu contains all the choices about zooming in and out or fitting the image on screen. A useful tool for super fast zooming in and out is the “Navigator” which you can find of course…under the Window menu.
  4. The building blocks of almost all the images we will edit are called “Pixels”. These tiny squares of color are the absolute smallest thing we can select. The blocky, “sawtooth” appearance of mediocre Photoshop edits is due to the fact that everything is made out of SQUARES.
  5. Selecting is a critical Photoshop skill and there are TONS of ways to do it and a group of specialized tools for selection at the top of the tool bar (vertically oriented, tall and skinny, far left).
  6. Usually, if you have something selected, selecting elsewhere vanishes the first selection. A really easy way to select a larger area or more things is to hold down the SHIFT key while you do it. An easy way to remove some of a selection is to hold down the ALT key while you do it.
  7. Any tool you choose from the toolbar starts off with default settings, for example, size or sensitivity. It’s SUPER important to know that just underneath all the menus at the top is a thing called the OPTIONS BAR.  It lets you change these settings. Every tool you choose from the toolbar brings different choices to the options bar, choices that make sense in the context of using that tool.

I think these are the main ideas I’d like you to try to hold onto from day 1.

Day 2:

  1. Zoom in and zoom out – hold down the CTRL key and hit + to zoom in and hold down the CTRL key and hit  to zoom out. Or you can hold down ALT and use the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  2. To examine image size and info go to the Image menu then Image size.
  3. The quality of a picture is directly linked to its resolution: That is, the number of pixels per inch (or centimeters, or whatever unit of measure you use. 300 pixels per inch is print quality. This means that’s the amount of information that has to present for the image to look when printed out on paper. The pixels per inch in typical web graphics is WAY lower. A big beautiful photo that looks fine on your monitor may look awful if printed out.
  4. The moment of image capture is when this quality is determined. The camera or scanner settings determine the resolution. You can’t just type 300 over the 72 on the pixels per inch line and get a good enough image for print work.
  5. There are several different color modes used by different image formats. These are the two main ones.
    1. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) mixes different amounts of these three colors together to achieve each different shade and tone. This is the mode used mainly for images viewed on screen, because it looks best with light shining THROUGH it.
    2. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) mixes these tones to achieve color variations. CMYK is mainly used for print because the resulting colors look best with light shining ON them.


The video below is me, mumbling reminders at my students about what we did on day one. This is not much like my teaching style, I tend to run around kind of excitedly with my students there.