A Beginners Guide to Photoshop CS5 Workspace

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is a software application used to enhance, manipulate, and even create images from scratch. It has become such a well-known and popular product that the name ‘Photoshop’ is often used a verb in conversation. It has been welcomed by graphic artists designers and amateurs and probably almost every poster, magazine, billboard and brochure you see nowadays has been made or edited in Phototshop. This article is designed to give the newcomer an overview of Photoshop and hopefully explain the workspace and some of the basic features of the program. There are really three components in play in Photoshop CS5 you have Adobe Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop itself.

Adobe Bridge.

You can access Adobe Bridge by clicking on the brown icon at the top of Photoshop in the applications menu, it can be accessed by all parts of Adobe Creative Suite 5 and is included in the stand-alone version of Photoshop CS5. It provides many features to manage and organise you digital images. As you open a new set of images in Bridge you may rank and rate them so you can concentrate on the best images and then even share them with others online.

Camera Raw.

Camera Raw can be accessed if you open an image in Mini Bridge also found on the applications menu, then right-click on the image and choose open in Camera Raw. It allows you to correct and enhance your images with a very user-friendly interface which implements a set of sliders, you can alter exposure, recover highlight and shadow details, you have sharpness and contrast options and you may optimise the colour and tone.

The Workspace.

Photoshop’s workspace can be a little overwhelming at first sight to a Photoshop beginner but there are basically five main parts: The Application Bar, The Options Bar,The Tool Panel, The Document Window, and The Panel Dock, lets look at these individually.

The Application Bar.

The Application Bar which has been around since CS4 is located across the top of the screen. It is made up of the old menu bar, launch buttons for Adobe Bridge and Mini Bridge, a Zoom menu, a tool for viewing extras, and a tool to arrange your documents if you wanted for example to view more than one at a time. The Menu Bar allows you to do many things, manage and edit files, control layers, manipulate your images etc. You also have your workspace switchers, Essentials appears by default but you can change for example to Design, Photography, 3D, there is even a workspace entitled ‘Whats new in CS5’ to highlight the newest features.

The Options Bar.

Underneath your Application bar you will find the Options Bar, this will give you options relating to whichever Tool you have selected at the time, for example if the Brush Tool is selected you have options like Opacity, Flow, and a drop down menu to select your brushes from

The Tool Panel.

When you open Photoshop the Tool Panel can be found to the left of the screen, Tools of a similar functionality are grouped together, the small triangle at the bottom of certain Tool icons is an indication of hidden tools, you may hover your mouse over the icon to view the Tools underneath. There are three groups of Tools, the first appear at the top and we can call these Selection Tools, next is the Retouching and Painting group, and then you have the Vector group, these groups are separated by a thin line on the Tool Panel, the last icons are to do with things like 3D object rotation, you also have the Hand tool here, and below you have your Foreground and Background colours by clicking on these you can access your colour picker, then at the very bottom you have the an option to edit in Quick Mask mode which can be used for example alongside the Brush Tool to paint a Mask onto a specific area of your work.

The Document Window.

This is where the file you are currently working on is found in the central area of the screen, you may view multiple documents at one time, this can be useful for example if you want to drag one image into another.

The Panel Dock.

The Panel Dock is to be found running down the right hand side of the workspace, by default we see the Layers, Adjustments and Styles panels. You may rearrange the order by clicking on the tab of a window and then dragging it to its new position. All of the panels may be accessed by clicking on ‘Window’ on the Application Bar and the simply checking the panel you require.

I hope this brief article has been of some help in learning to navigate the Photoshop workspace, good luck.

Learning Photoshop is Challenging and Fun

Learning Photoshop is a challenging process that can be a lot of fun. But, let’s face it – Adobe Photoshop is a complex application that can be frustrating. More than a few budding graphic design artists have questioned their sanity while trying to master the intricacies of this program.

Like many advanced software applications, Photoshop is designed to be fully functional and useful for all levels of graphic design work. Beginners can learn to do simple photo edits rather quickly, while the pros will work with multiple layers and create stunning effects that are unrivaled. The tools and processes available are what makes learning Photoshop a little tricky. You have to learn in a step-by-step fashion. It’s difficult to just jump in and do much without mastering the basics first. I know, because I’ve been there and at one time almost gave up on learning it.

Time spent learning Photoshop can pay off handsomely, though. Aside from using the program for fun and personal productivity, there are many opportunities to make good money here. Since graphic design and editing isn’t the easiest thing to learn, there is great demand for people who are skilled and able to work with complex projects. Accomplished graphic design professionals are always in great demand, and there is more than enough work to go around.

One skill in great demand is web design. You can use Photoshop to create unique, stunning headers and site designs and businesses will pay you very well to do this. Web design isn’t a skill that any “do it yourself” type can pick up easily. You can’t go down to your local bookstore and purchase a book on web design and expect to whip up a professional quality site overnight. Not to mention the time required for learning Photoshop or another graphics editing program to create the actual design elements.

Adobe Photoshop tutorials were hard to come by before we had the Internet. At one time, you pretty much had to attend formal training classes held at local technical schools or universities. There has always been an abundant supply of books and manuals that focus on teaching Photoshop skills, but like many tutorials designed to teach professional level applications, they fell short of being practical for most students.

Now, you can find a nice selection of training courses for learning Photoshop online that begin with the very basics and work up to advanced topics in a step by step fashion, the way it should be. The best tutorials are video based, giving you the opportunity to literally practice the required skills as you watch the video. Supplementary training material can be printed from PDF files. This gives you the opportunity to master Photoshop using tools and presentations far superior to their predecessors, at a fraction of the cost.

Options of Learning Photoshop Online

When you look for options of learning Photoshop online, you will be bombarded with so many online tutorials and video based courses that it is bound to leave you confused. First go through the guidelines given below for they will be able to help you with your online Photoshop learning.

When you are looking for a basics course in tutorials, you should first go through the course module as given in the program list. If it begins with basics and gives you an understanding of the concept and the structure of the software with an introduction, then it would be for beginners like you. But if it begins with some exercises teaching you how to make borders or shading etc. drop the tutorials for it is not for beginners like you.

After the basic introduction, the next lesson should be about learning to work with the software. Essentially in this module you should be introduced to all the features and tools of the software with explanation on each one’s utility and applicability. End of the tour, you should be clear on the capability of this Software.

Your next lessons should take you through the various filters and basic tasks that you can accomplish using Photoshop like layering, shading, removal of backgrounds, clone patterns, cleaning up images etc.

Through out the basic module you will continue to learn and strengthen your fundamentals as you learn to explore all of the software’s capabilities, tools and feature. This basic foundation will come helpful when you begin to work on advanced techniques.

You should take up higher advance level or modules only when you are very comfortable and have understood the basics of the Photoshop without a doubt and have mastered it with practice.

Now you can download the tutorials that are available on the internet and use them for furthering your knowledge. You will get two types of tutorials. One that deals with case studies, examples and practical steps and the other type deals more with theoretical aspects of the various features and capabilities. You will find it best to go through both the types and enhance your knowledge.

Learning Photoshop requires dedication and patience. You have got to first understand each of the tools and the features as well as capability of the software. This learning has to be backed with practical experience of trying out things on your own. Only when you have a complete hang of the software and its tools as well as applications are you ready to start taking assignments to work on.