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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jumpstart Photoshop

10 tips to help you get going quickly in using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

So here are my top 10 tips for overcoming the early hurdles and challenges of working in Photoshop (and everything that's covered in this article also applies to Photoshop Elements).

1. Be Not Afraid—You Always Can Undo And Reset Everything
I've found that photographers consistently become very cautious with their photos when they start working with them in the computer. They're afraid to hurt them. The good news: You can't hurt them! As long as you don't save over your original file, you always can go back and change your work. (A good safety tip: Work on a copy of your original file, not the original itself.) You can undo every adjustment with Cmd/Ctrl Z as long as you do this immediately after the adjustment (Command is used for the Mac Command or Apple key; Ctrl is used for Windows).

Also, every adjustment window has a Cancel button, plus a secret Reset button. While the adjustment window is open, hold down the Option/Alt (Mac/Windows) key and the Cancel button changes to Reset, which resets the adjustments. In addition, you have the History palette as a great resource, too. This is simply a record of your adjustments, and you can go back into that history to an early stage of your adjustments at any time (up to the limit of history states; 20 is the default).

Since you can't hurt your image, you don't have to worry about knowing every control perfectly. If you don't know something, just try whatever you think might work and see what happens. Nothing is going to break, no Photoshop police are going to arrest you and you might even learn about some controls for future consideration. You always can find out what any control does by just trying it, then undoing it if it doesn't work.

2. Crop and Rotate
First, crop your photo and rotate crooked horizons. This allows you to remove unneeded distractions that will affect how you adjust an image, as well as problem areas that can cause adjustment problems. In addition, this gets rid of unneeded pixels that may slow down your computer. Use the Crop tool in the Tool palette (it looks like crossed Ls) by clicking in one spot and dragging your crop selection to an approximate size. You can size exactly by moving the sides and corners of the crop box.




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