Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop
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Creating Graphics in Photoshop

An advantage of Photoshop over basic photo editing software is the capabilities it gives you to create your own graphics. There's an exhaustive number of tools in Photoshop (and resources about them), so I'll just cover the basics.

Most of the functions these tools perform are based on your selection in an image. The effect or tool only operates within a selection.

Make a small selection and select the paintbrush tool. Move the mouse over your selection holding down the mouse button. You'll see that the image is only altered within the selection.

Colors and Graphics

Before I get to some of the main tools, I'll tell you a little about colors. The foreground color, which will be applied by tools like the paintbrush, is represented by the top square in the middle of the toolbar.


Foreground/Background colors

To change this color, double click the square. This reveals the color picker, where you can pick a color with several different methods, including RGB values, hexadecimal codes, and by simply selection. If you are making an image for the web, it is best to check the "only web colors" box to ensure that no dithering (reductions in color quality) will take place.
The Color Picker

Once you have picked your color, click ok, and you are ready to go.

Stroke & Fill

The most basic ways to apply colors to an image are to use Fill and Stroke, both available on the edit menu. Make a selection, and choose fill from the edit menu. A dialog will appear asking you to make some decisions about colors and transparency. Make your selections, and press OK to fill the selection with the chosen color. Stroke operates in much the same manner, though you are given the chance to determine the weight of the lines you create.


paintbrush toolPaintbrush tool

I had you use the paintbrush tool a little bit to demonstrate how selections work; now I'm going to tell you how to use it. Make a selection and choose the tool from the toolbar.

You can change the size of the brush in the options bar, as well as the behaviors of the paint. The best way to learn what these options do (and some of it is pretty surprising) is to experiment. Remember, you have multiple undos and multiple layers, so don't worry about ruining your image!

pencil toolPencil Tool

The Pencil tool works much like the Paintbrush, but draws a distinct line rather than a feathery painted one. Click and hold the paintbrush icon to reveal the pencil.


eraser toolEraser Tool

The eraser tool works much like the Paintbrush and Pencil, but rather than fill the selected region with a color, it actually removes whatever is in the selection and reveals the background. This is a very useful tool for cleaning up images with rough edges.

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