Whether you’re thinking about learning some killer photography skills for your business, or you just take your selfie game seriously, Adobe Photoshop is one of the essential tools for any budding (and professional) editors and designers out there.
At first glance, this program may look a little overwhelming, but these tips will have you editing images like a pro in no time!
Ideally, you should use layers every time you edit an image. Using layers allows you to preserve your original image should you mistakenly edit it. If you’re creating a multi-layer design, or editing multiple elements of your image, utilising layers allows you to separate the parts of the images you’re working on. Using layers also allows you to go back to re-adjust, re-size or remove each layer as needed. To use this feature on your work, simply select the ‘layers’ panel (located on the right side of the screen), then choose new layer.
It’s worth naming each layer you’ve created – this allows you to keep track of where elements within the layer are located for easier editing.
We all know the devil’s in the detail and these tools are a group of super useful, non-destructive image editing tools where you’ll be able to fine tweak your images by adjusting the colour, tone, brightness, contrast, saturation and more.
To use this handy feature, click the adjustment layers icon in the layers panel and you’ll be shown a box of the tools available to you. Simply select the effect that you want to change and use the sliders to adjust!
Not happy with the adjustments you made? No problem just delete the layer to return the image to the way it looked originally. Simple!
Taken a great image but want to switch up the background? No worries, just use the background eraser tool! Simply select the background eraser tool from the sidebar, then choose the brush size and hardness that you need – you’ll generally want to increase the hardness as a soft eraser will leave colour artefacts behind.
Next, you’ll want to bring your brush over to the background and start to erase. It’s important to keep in mind that this tool works by sampling colour from the centre of the tool and removing the similar colours around it, so although it’s called a background eraser, it can remove parts of your main image too if you aren’t careful!
the easiest way to remove the background in an image is to start by using a medium brush size with a medium tolerance and creating a ‘halo’ effect around the subject you want to keep in the image by removing the background directly around it. Once that’s done you can remove any remaining background quickly and easily with either a larger brush size (and higher tolerance) or the eraser tool.
One of the most powerful tools in Photoshop, the liquify tool can vastly or subtlety alter the image you are working on. Often used to give models a slimmer appearance or used to make them appear more muscular or curvier, this tool lets you push, pull, rotate, slim down or bloat out the pixels of the image. You can also use it to tweak facial features and adjust things like the facial shape, hairline, eye size, mouth position and nose.
Just like any powerful tool, it takes a bit of know-how to get the best results. Try using different photos, subjects and brush sizes to get used to working with this tool and remember less is more in to using this to its best ability. Don’t forget to check your background too – liquifying distorts the subject and the image around it.
Blast those blemishes away with the spot healing brush tool! This magical wand allows you to smooth any imperfections on the skin, leaving you looking picture perfect!
Select the correct setting from the mode drop-down menu to give you the best results. Before you use the tool, remember to create a new layer so that you can always delete it if you make a mistake. Next, think about the blemish, wrinkle or mark you are about to erase. Is it darker or lighter than the complexion of your subject? For example, if you are about to remove a wrinkle that is darker than the skin tone (due to the shadows caused by the texture) select the lighten option. If the problem area is lighter than the skin tone of your model, perhaps scar tissue or light-coloured hair, for example, select the darken option from the menu. Photoshop will then only replace the pixels that are lighter or darker (depending on the option you selected) from the problem area, leaving the original texture surrounding it intact and leaving a more realistic result.
Slightly different from the spot healing brush, the clone stamp allows you to paint a complete copy of whatever you select, whereas the spot healing tool blurs the pixels around it into a focused area – giving you a smooth surface as a result.
The clone stamp is great for sprucing up a background, like tidying up any minor paint cracks, cobwebs, small wires, marks on the wall etc.
the clone stamp is another powerful tool that takes some know-how in order to master it! Remember that practice makes perfect so try using it out on different images to see how it can enhance your images. For best results, zoom in (way in) on the area you’re working on. This will help to isolate the area and most importantly, allows you to work with a greater level of detail than if you were zoomed further out. Remember that this tool can vastly change the overall look and feel of your image, so you want to be sure of the changes you’re making. Always start with a new layer when using powerful editing tools like this so you can go back and make changes without affecting the original image.
Sometimes when you are editing an image with a brush cursor, it will turn into a small crosshair and hides the actual size of the brush – making it almost impossible to edit the image correctly. Not sure how that happened? You pressed the caps lock key! Don’t worry, simply de-selection caps will switch the cursor back to your usual brush mode, allowing you to get on with your work!
Why the crosshairs? They are a precise editing tool, great for the teeny, tiny adjustments you need when you are really zoomed in close. This tool allows you to edit the image a few pixels at a time; a fantastic option for the perfectionists out there!
When you’re designing something, there’s nothing more irritating than having something slightly mis-aligned and ruining the overall effect that you’re trying to achieve. Use the align tools to make sure your objects and layout are perfect!
To bring up this tool, simply select the move tool (found on the top left of the bar) and the alignment tools will appear in the centre of the control bar at the top.
Cut your work time in half by using these handy keyboard shortcuts:
– allows you to switch between normal screen, full screen (with and without taskbar) and full screen with black background. Keep pressing to cycle through these options.
- this function allows you to zoom in and out without changing your current tool.
Alt & mouse scroll
– the fastest way of zooming in and out, simply scroll up to zoom in and down to scroll out while holding the alt key.
Ctrl & S
– this will save your work, something that you should do regularly just in case things go wrong!
Ctrl, Alt, Z
– Just made a mistake? pressing this combination of keys allows you to step back through your recent work.
Ctrl & D
– after working with your selection, use this combo to deselect it.
Ctrl & T
– brings up the free transform tool for resizing, rotating and skewing the image.
If you enjoy navigating around the program using the keyboard shortcuts, you might have a hidden talent as a programmer or web developer! It’s a little like using code to navigate a program or webpage.
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