Starting with Photoshop


Starting with Photoshop

by | Feb 14, 2018 | Featured, Photoshop, Tutorials, zutpal

It’s been a while since I last posted, so I decided I’d rather start from the very basics and will eventually move ahead. I’d like you all to know am no expert in photoshop. I was just curious enough to download a pirated copy of photoshop and mess around with the tools without actually knowing the basics. The basic key to building up good photoshop skills is to keep experimenting and challenging yourself. There is more than one way to execute something in photoshop, so work based on what you prefer and not just go by what I tell you here. So, let’s just dive right into the basics.




Opening the software, you first need to create a new document or open an existing image or a pre-existing photoshop document. To open an existing document press CTRL+O (Windows) or Command +O (Mac) and open your document from the dialogue box. To create a new document, you need to press CTRL+N (Windows) or Command+N (Mac), you’ll be greeted with a dialogue box. Choose any of the given pre-sets or create a custom page of your own. You can customize your page’s width, height, background color, resolution, color format, etc. based on your preference.

New document dialogue box


  1. The left part of the dialogue box has the pre-sets. On the right side, you have the editable name of the document (here, “Untitled-1”). You are free to choose whatever name you would like to give to your document.
  2. Next, you have Width and Height. Enter the size of the document you want to create in here. Do not forget to choose the unit of the values you enter. Do that from the drop-down menu beside the “width” box. You can choose from pixels, inches, centimetre, millimetre, etc.
  3. Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. In photoshop we decide the resolution by the number of pixels per inch (or per centimetre, choose from the drop-down menu). More the resolution, greater is the number of pixels per inch (ppi), therefore your image will be sharper i.e. the image will be more detailed. But you cannot just go all the way up because greater resolution also means that the size of your image will increase considerably and it will take a lot more time to render the image. Personally, I prefer using 300ppi for my images unless I want a really small sized image. In that case, I switch to 72ppi.
  4. The color mode determines how the components of colors combine based on the number of channels in that particular mode. Photoshop’s color modes include greyscale, RGB, CMYK among the others. RGB stands for red green and blue. The pixels that make up our display are composed of RGB information. The RGB color space is very large and is ideal for images that’ll be used on the web or digital presentations. On the other hand, CMYK or cyan, magenta, yellow and black are the standard ink colors used in printers. That means when we print an image we are using CMYK colors to print therefore it is standard to use CMYK color profile when an image is to be printed.
  5. Background content is just the color that you want your background to be while creating a new document.



In Photoshop, you’ll notice a bunch of tools situated at the left edge of the window. These tools can be used to create or modify or edit your image. To display the tools bar, go to “Windows” in the menu bar and make sure “tools” on the bottom end of the menu is checked. Some of the most commonly used tools and there uses are given below.

Hint 1: Click and hold on a tool to access grouped tools. You can even use Shift+[the shortcut key] to toggle among the grouped tools.

Hint 2: Press and hold a shortcut key on the keyboard to access the tool temporarily.

Move Tool: Move tool is used to move the objects like text, image or a selection. Shortcut key: ‘V’.

Marquee Tool: Marquee tool is used to select a certain object in the current layer. One can make a selection by clicking and dragging on the sheet after selecting the tool. There are four marquee tools, namely Rectangle Marquee tool, Elliptical Marquee tool, Single Row Marquee Tool and Single Column Marquee tool. Shortcut key: ‘M’.

Lasso Tool: Similar to ‘marquee tool’, lasso tool is used to make selections. The only difference is that while marquee tool is used for selections that are either a square/rectangle or an ellipse/circle, lasso tool can be used to create selections for much more irregular shapes. Shortcut key: ‘L’.

Quick Selection and magic wand: Another two tools that fall under the category of selection tools are Quick Selection and Magic wand. These tools are used more for automatic selection where photoshop decides on its own what to select and what not to select based on your first click on “the page”. Shortcut key: ‘W’.

Crop tool: As the name suggests, crop tool is basically used to crop out the page you are working on, i.e. to decrease the size of the length of the sides. In Photoshop, you can even use the crop tool to increase the page size from any edge. Shortcut key: ‘C’.

Healing brush tool: Used mainly to correct some glitches in the photo, it can even be used along with a few other tools to remove a certain unwanted substance from the image. Shortcut key: ‘J’.

History brush tool: This brush is used to clear any changes and revert back to the original on some specific part of the image. Shortcut key: ‘Y’.

Eraser tool: I guess everyone who has used paint knows eraser tool. Shortcut key: ‘E’.

Gradient tool: A short drag creates a short gradient and a long drag produces a smoother, longer gradient. From the Options bar, you also can choose the type of gradient you want: Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected, or Diamond. As a default, gradients are created using the current foreground and background colours. Shortcut key: ‘G’.

Pen tool: Pen tool is used for many different tasks. Use pen tool to draw or create paths. It is also frequently used in the creation of smooth-edged selections but is not a type of selection tool. It creates vector paths that can be converted into selections that in turn can be used to extract or mask groups of pixels. Shortcut key: ‘P’.

Type tool: Make a text a and type anything in it using the type tool. Choose between different type tools according to your need. Shortcut key: ‘T’.

Shape tool: Click and drag after choosing the shape of the tool you want to make. You can also change the fill colour of the object from the options bar. Shortcut key: ‘U’.

Hand tool: Hand tool comes handy when the document is magnified and one needs to pan around the image. It can be a very tedious task to drag the cursor to toolbar every time you need to move around in the image, that’s why you can also press and hold spacebar or ‘H’ at any moment while working in photoshop to get temporary access to the hand tool. On releasing the key, hand tool will change to its previously selected tool. You can even press ‘H’ once to gain access to the hand tool, only this time it is not so temporary.

There is also an icon to set background and foreground colours beneath the above-mentioned tools.




Photoshop houses all the layers under “layers” panel. To display the panel, choose “windows” from and menu bar and select layers. Easier is to press F7 key to display/hide the panel. The order of the layer in the ‘Layers panel’ to represents the order in the image.

Photoshop layers are like stacked sheets. You can move any layer to position the content of the layer. Each layer works as an individual image. You can change its opacity, paint anything or erase any part of the layer without affecting the rest of your image. You can see through the transparent areas of the layer to the layers below.

We use layers to perform tasks such as compositing multiple images, adding text to an image, or adding vector graphic shapes. You can apply a layer style to add a special effect such as a drop shadow or a glow.

You can use layer grouping to group similar layers together to reduce the clutter on the panel. Groups help to organize and manage the layers better. They can also be nested to create groups within any group.

Starting from the top in the layers panel we first have filtering options. Frankly, you won’t be using filtering options much in the beginning so, in brief, it allows you filter which layers you want to see or not in your layers panel. Right below it, we have blending modes. Blending modes are used to control how a layer interacts with the underlying layer. Beside ‘blending modes’ sits the opacity slider. Drag this slider or enter a value to control the visibility of the layer. At the bottom, you have 7 icons. The first icon is used to link layers. In order to link the layers, select all the layers to be linked and click on the link icon. Next is layer style, it adds some additional style and effects to the selected layer. The third icon is used to add a layer mask to the layer you are working on. Layer masks can be very handy as you can erase an image non-destructively using layer masks. Next is adjustment layer icon, it creates a new fill or adjustment layer above the current layer. The fifth icon creates a new group. You can select multiple layers at a time and group them by clicking on the icon or dragging and dropping any layer into a pre-existing group. Next up is new layer icon, click it to create a new blank layer above your current layer. And the last is delete, select one or more layers and click on the bin or simply hit delete on your keyboard to delete the selected layers.

Here are some keyboard shortcuts while working with layers:  Link-1   Link-2   Link-3

Follow @geekfell on Instagram for more tips and tricks (and shortcuts too).


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