Photoshop Basic 101 – The Interface
March 10th, 2009 by Administrator    

Photoshop’s interface can be a confusing place to first time users. This lesson will show you what’s what, and how to navigate through the behemoth which is Photoshop.

Before you start reading, notice that I have Photoshop CS4 Extended installed on my computer. If you are using another version of Photoshop, you should have very little trouble following along. And if you are using CS3, the interface is pretty much similar. I will also try to explain the different as much as possible. Now let’s get started.

The Work Layout

Upon first glance, Photoshop can be a big and scary place. Let’s break the Work Area into smaller components to make things easier to understand. You can click on the image to view full size.


Photoshop CS4 Explained

  1. Menu Bar – Contains all Photoshop tools, filters and other options
  2. Essential Tool Bar – Contains basic navigation and layout tools such as Pan, Zoom etc..
  3. Selected Tool Options
  4. Palette (Color Swatches)
  5. Palettet (Layers)
  6. Document Tabs – You can have multiple document open at a time and switching between documents is very easy
  7. Toolbar – Contains most Photoshop Tools
  8. Quick Layout Switcher

Creating a New Document

To create a new document in Photoshop, select File > New from the Menu Bar.

A dialogue will appear as below.


New Document Dialogue explained:

  1. Document name
  2. Paper Size Presets
  3. Document Dimensions – Set the width and height of the document here
  4. Resolution – Set the Resolution of the document. Resolution typically means the number of dots (or pixels) per inch. In printing, you typically want a high value here (300 or higher), which will also increase the documents size. However, for web based work, or on-screen work, 72 is the default resolution.
  5. Color Mode – Set the color mode of the document. Unless you are doing special printing, you typically will be working with RGB Color (Red/Green/Blue).
  6. Advanced – You don’t need to worry about this for now.

Saving and Closing a Photoshop Document

To save a Photoshop Document, select File > Save from the Menu Bar. When saving, be sure to enter a file name you will recognize, and also select “Photoshop (*.PSD)” as the format. Doing so will ensure that the document will retain it’s Photoshop Document Attributes and Layer Data so that you may work with it later. Note that PSD’s are not compatible with web browsers or other applications, and you will need to save in another format for such uses. We will cover that in another lesson.

To close a document, select File > Close from the Menu Bar. To close all open documents, select File > Close All.

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