Photoshop® CS6 All-in-One For Dummies®

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Table of Contents

Photoshop® CS6 All-in-One For Dummies®


About the Author

Barbara Obermeier is principal of Obermeier Design, a graphic design studio in Ventura, California. She’s the author or coauthor of almost two dozen publications, including Photoshop Elements 10 For Dummies, How-to-Wow with Illustrator, and Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies, 2nd Edition. Barb also teaches graphic design at Brooks Institute.


I would like to dedicate this book to Gary, Kylie, and Lucky, who constantly remind me of what’s really important in life.


I would like to thank my excellent project editor, Beth Taylor, who kept me and this book on track; Bob Woerner, the world’s best Executive Editor; Andy Cummings, who gives Dummies a good name; David Busch, for his great contribution to the first edition; Dennis Cohen, for his technical editing; and all the hard-working, dedicated production folks at Wiley. A special thanks to Ted Padova, colleague, fellow author, and friend, who always reminds me there is eventually an end to all those chapters.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at . For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Vertical Websites

Project Editor: Beth Taylor

(Previous Edition: Nicole Sholly)

Executive Editor: Bob Woerner

Copy Editor: Beth Taylor

Technical Editor: Dennis R. Cohen

Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen

Vertical Websites: Rich Graves, Supervising Producer

Editorial Assistant: Leslie Saxman

Sr. Editorial Assistant:Cherie Case

Front Cover: Image #5051437, Alex Max Image #7458774, red frog Image #6714080, Roob Image #3982296

Back Cover: Max Image #7458774, selimaksan Image #16953126, najinImage #13699329

Cartoons: Rich Tennant ()

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond

Layout and Graphics: Timothy C. Detrick, Corrie Niehaus

Proofreaders: Melissa Cossell, Jessica Kramer

Indexer: Potomac Indexing, LLC

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


There’s a reason why Photoshop is the world’s industry standard in image-editing software. The depth and breadth of the program is unparalleled. Photoshop immediately sucks you in with its easy-to-use interface and powerful tools and commands. It’s so feature rich that you soon begin to lose track of time and start blowing off your commitments just to try one more thing. And just when you think you’ve finally explored every nook and cranny and mastered the program, you suddenly read a tip in a book or magazine that enlightens you about something you didn’t know. Or even more likely, you stumble upon some great effect while working on a late-night project. That’s the beauty of Photoshop. It’s the program that just keeps giving.

The depth and breadth of Photoshop has downsides, too, of course. You must make a major time commitment and invest much effort to master it — hence the large number of books written on the program. Walk into your neighborhood bookstore or type Photoshop in the Search field at any online bookseller’s site, and you see a barrage of choices. Some books are general reference books, some are targeted toward the novice user, and others focus on a specific mission, such as color management or restoration and retouching.

About This Book

This book is written for the person who has a good grasp of using a computer and navigating the operating system and at least a cursory knowledge of Photoshop. It is intended to be a comprehensive reference book that you can read cover to cover or reach for when you’re looking for specific information about a particular task.

Wherever I can, I sneak in a useful tip or an interesting technique to help you put Photoshop to work for your project needs.

Sometimes, knowing how to use a tool doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what to do with it. That’s why this book contains several Putting It Together exercises that help you make a connection between the multiple Photoshop tools at your disposal and the very specific task you need to accomplish. Want to get the red out of a subject’s eyes or create a collage? Just check out the Putting It Together sections in Books III through IX. These sections present info in easy-to-follow numbered steps, in a hands-on style, building on what’s presented in the chapter so that you can go to the next level, put concepts to work, and move on to the next task.

What’s in This Book

This book is broken into minibooks, each covering a general topic. Each minibook contains several chapters, each covering a more specific topic under the general one. Each chapter is then divided into sections, and some of those sections have subsections. I’m sure you get the picture.

You can read the book from front to back, or you can dive right into the minibook or chapter of your choice. Either way works just fine. Anytime a concept is mentioned that isn’t covered in depth in that chapter, you find a cross-reference to another book and chapter where you find all the details. If you’re looking for something specific, check out either the Table of Contents or the Index.

The Cheat Sheet at (find more information inside the front cover) helps you remember all the shortcuts you’ll use most often. Print it, tape it to your monitor, and glance over it when you need to.

And finally, I have pictures. Lots of them. In full, living color. Many of these pictures have callouts that point to specific steps or identify important concepts, buttons, tools, or options. With a program like Photoshop, an image often speaks louder than words.

This book contains nine minibooks. The following sections offer a quick synopsis of what each book contains.

Book I: Photoshop Fundamentals

Ready to get your feet wet with the basics of Photoshop? Head to Book I. Here’s where you get familiar with the Photoshop environment — the desktop, menus, and panels. I also briefly introduce the key tools and explain what each one does.

Photoshop has such an abundance of tools — and so many ways to use those tools — I can’t possibly cover them all in this book. But if you’re looking for details on the less commonly used features or perhaps more information about using tools you’re already familiar with, you’ll find them on this book’s companion Web site ().

In this book, I cover how to get started on Photoshop and how to view and navigate your image window. Here’s also where I give you all the important details about the o’mighty Adobe Bridge, and its pint sized cousin, Mini Bridge, and how to customize your workspace and preference settings.

Finally, I go into the bare basics of printing, and then how to save files and close Photoshop.

Book II: Image Essentials

This book covers all those nitpicky — but critical — details about images, such as size, resolution, pixel dimension, image mode, and file format. Turn to this book to find out how to safely resize your image without causing undue damage.

You can also find out how to crop images and increase their canvas size. In addition, I breeze through basic color theory and get you started using and managing color.

But wait — there’s more. I give you the lowdown on the History panel and brushing and erasing to history. And, if that’s not enough, I throw in a chapter on using and creating actions for enhanced productivity.

Book III: Selections

This important book gives you all the juicy details and techniques on creating and modifying selections and paths. You find out about each of the selection tools and also the powerful — albeit sometimes unruly — Pen tool and its accompanying Paths panel.

Book IV: Painting, Drawing, and Typing

If you want to know about the drawing and painting tools, this book is for you. Here I cover the Brush and Pencil tools, including the Mixer Brush tool, along with the multifaceted Brush panel and Brush Preset panel. I also show you how to create vector shapes by using the shape tools, and how to fill and stroke selections.

Head to this book to find out how to create both gradients and patterns and, last but not least, become familiar with the type tools and how to use them to create and edit standard type, type on and in a path, and type with special effects.

Book V: Working with Layers

Layers are an integral component in a Photoshop image, and Book V is where I explain them. In this book, you discover how to create and edit layers and how to use multiple images to create a multilayered composite image. You find out various ways to manage layers for maximum efficiency, including using the Layer Comps panel. I also show you how to enhance layers by applying different blend modes, opacity settings, layer styles, and styles. I round out the minibook by covering Smart Objects. And finally, I introduce you to working with the Auto Align and Auto Blend features.

Book VI: Channels and Masks

This book gives you all the how-tos you need to work with channels and masks. I show you how to save and edit selections as alpha channels so that you can reload them later. And I show you how to work with the various kinds of masks — quick masks, clipping masks, layer masks, and channel masks — and how you can use each to select difficult elements. I also cover other masking techniques, such as erasing and using the Color Range command. Finally, I introduce you to the Properties panel, a powerful ally to the masking arsenal.

Book VII: Filters and Distortions

I filled this book with tons of handy tips and techniques on using filters to correct your images to make them sharper, blurrier, cleaner, and smoother — whatever fits your fancy. I give you the scoop on the Smart Filters feature, which enables you to apply filters nondestructively. You’ll find out how to use filters to give your image a certain special effect, such as a deckled edge or water droplets. You also won’t want to miss details on the new Oil Paint filter. Finally, I introduce the Liquify command so that you can see the wonder of its distortion tools — and how they can turn your image into digital taffy.

Book VIII: Retouching, Restoring, and Printing

You find everything you need to know about color correction or color enhancement in Book VIII — getting rid of colorcasts, improving contrast and saturation, remapping, and replacing colors.

In addition, I include a chapter on using the focus and toning tools to manually lighten, darken, smooth, soften, and sharpen areas of your image. You get to see how you can use the Clone Stamp tool, the Healing tools, and the Red Eye tool to fix flaws and imperfections in your images, making them good as new. I also show you the Color Replacement tool and how to replace your image’s original color with the foreground color. You get some tidbits on how to work with the fascinating Vanishing Point feature, which can make editing and compositing images a whole lot easier. Finally, I give you the lowdown on preparing your images for print. You find details on how to get the right resolution, image mode, and file format. You also discover how to set up both process and spot color separations for those offset print jobs.

About the Website

For those web graphics enthusiasts, you find lots of great bonus chapter material on this book’s companion Web site (). Find out how to optimize your images for maximum quality and quick download times. You find information on slicing and animating your images and creating a photo gallery that you can easily post on the web. You also find out how to use Photomerge as well as Merge to HDR Pro. Finally, you’ll get information on how to use contact sheet II, which has been welcomed back into Photoshop with this latest release.

Conventions Used in This Book

You’ll find that this book is cross-platform. Windows commands are given first, followed by Mac commands in parentheses, like this:

Press Enter (or Return on the Mac) to begin a new line.

And occasionally, text is specific to one platform or another. You’ll find that figures are divided into both platforms as well.

Often, the commands given involve using the keyboard along with the mouse. For example, “Press Shift while dragging with the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a square,” or “Alt-click (Option-click) on the eyeball to redisplay all layers.”

When you see a command arrow (⇒) in the text, it indicates that you should select a command from the menu bar. For example, “choose Edit⇒Define Custom Shape” means to click the Edit menu and then choose the Define Custom Shape command.

This book has been written using Photoshop CS6 and, more specifically, the Standard version. Despite that fact, you can still glean valuable info if you’re using version CS5 or CS4. It may take a little more time to understand how a panel or options have changed, and of course, the topics covering new features won’t be applicable.

Speaking of new features, when writing this book, it wasn’t exactly crystal clear what new CS6 features Adobe would be including in the Standard versus Extended versions of Photoshop. So if I’ve included (or not) a particular tool or command that you don’t have, my apologies in advance.

Icons Used in This Book

While perusing this book, you’ll notice some icons beckoning you for your attention. Don’t ignore them; embrace them! These icons point out fun, useful, and memorable tidbits about Photoshop, plus facts you’d be unwise to ignore.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps Seasoned users will appreciate this icon, which kindly points out new features introduced in Photoshop CS6.

tip.eps This icon indicates information that makes your Photoshop experience easier. It also gives you an icebreaker at your next cocktail party. Whipping out, “Did you know that pressing the bracket keys enlarges or shrinks your brush tip?” is bound to make you the center of conversation.

remember.eps This icon is a reminder of things that I already mentioned and want to gently reemphasize. Or I might be pointing out things that I want you to take note of in your future Photoshop excursions.

warning_bomb.eps The little bomb icon is a red flag. Heed these warnings, or else Photoshop may show its ugly side.

technicalstuff.eps This icon marks eggheady graphics or Photoshop info that goes beyond the basics.

ontheweb.eps This icon points to additional chapters we couldn’t fit into the printed book. You’ll find them on this book’s companion website, which you can find at .

Please note that some special symbols used in this eBook may not display properly on all eReader devices. If you have trouble determining any symbol, please call Wiley Product Technical Support at 800-762-2974. Outside of the United States, please call 317-572-3993. You can also contact Wiley Product Technical Support at .

Book I

Photoshop Fundamentals


Don’t know where to start? Well, unless you have a burning question on something very specific, this is a great place to dive in. And I promise you won’t flounder. There’s nothing like a general overview to get you feeling confident enough to tackle more sophisticated features.

In this book, I introduce you to the Photoshop environment with all its components, from the desktop to the many panels. I show you nearly all of the 65 tools and briefly explain what each tool does. From there, I show you how to open existing files or create new ones and then how to save and print those files, as well as how to view and navigate around your image window. In that same chapter, I give you details on using Adobe Bridge, a powerful browser and file-management tool, as well its smaller cousin— mini Bridge. Finally, I explain how to customize your workspace and preferences so you can tailor Photoshop to better suit your personal image-editing needs and interests. I guarantee you won’t find a more accommodating image editor around.

Chapter 1: Examining the Photoshop Environment

In This Chapter

check.png Starting Photoshop

check.png Working with panels

check.png Examining the Photoshop desktop

check.png Investigating the Menu bar and the Options bar

As environments go, the Photoshop working environment is pretty cool: as inviting as a landscaped backyard and not nearly as likely to work you into a sweat. Each of Photoshop’s many tools — with more options than a Swiss Army knife — is custom-designed for a specific chore. When you’re familiar with your surroundings, you’ll be eager to make like Monet in his garden, surrounded by panels, brushes, buckets of paint, and swatches of color, ready to tackle the canvas in front of you.

Launching Photoshop and Customizing the Desktop

You start Photoshop the same way you launch any other program with Windows or the Mac OS. As with other programs, you can choose the method you find the easiest and most convenient. In Windows, you can launch programs from the Start menu or an icon on the taskbar. In Mac OS X, you may have a Photoshop icon on the Dock or you may be using Launchpad. In either Windows or Mac OS X, you can double-click a Photoshop shortcut or alias icon if you have one on your desktop. Finally, you can double-click an image associated with Photoshop, which then launches Photoshop along with the file.

When you launch Photoshop, the workspace, shown in Figure 1-1, appears. Like the real-world desktop where your keyboard and monitor reside, the Photoshop desktop is a place for you to put all the images you’re working with.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps If you’re a previous user of Photoshop, you notice that in Version CS6, the user interface (UI) is much darker. Adobe did this in order to provide what they call a more “immersive experience” enabling you to better focus on your image instead of the surrounding interface elements. In addition, changing the color also makes Photoshop UI more in line with Adobe’s other photo-centric applications, such as Lightroom. However, if you don’t like the dark environment, you can change it to another color by right-clicking on the workspace background (not image) and bringing up a context menu where you can change the UI color to other shades of gray and even a custom color. You can also choose Edit⇒Preferences⇒Interface (Photoshop⇒Preferences⇒Interface on the Mac) and selecting your desired shade of gray. Here, you can also change details, such as whether your border is a drop shadow, line, or nothing at all.


© Image #18145396

Figure 1-1: The Photoshop desktop consists of many components, including an image window, panels, and bars.

Your virtual desktop can become as cluttered as the real thing, but Adobe has built in some special features (located on the Options bar, which I discuss later in this chapter) that let you keep stuff close at hand but tuck things away so they’re not constantly underfoot (or under-mouse, so to speak). After you arrange your Photoshop desktop the way you like it for a specific project, you can even save the desktop and reuse it whenever you work on that project (see Book I, Chapter 5 for details).

Every image you work on appears within the confines of an image window. However, you can move some components, such as the various panels and the Options bar.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps Veteran Photoshop users can appreciate the fact that with this latest version Adobe did a complete UI audit and cleaned up all of the previous inconsistencies with buttons, sliders, names of elements and so on. The result? A cleaner, more polished UI.

The following sections show you how to customize the workspace so that you can get to work.

Setting display settings with the Window menu

The Window menu, shown in Figure 1-2, controls the display of panels and some other elements of the Photoshop workspace. (Find out more about maneuvering panels in the section “Playing with Panels,” later in this chapter.)


Figure 1-2: Access all panels via the Window menu.

The top two entries on the Window menu enable you to control the display arrangement of your open documents and manage your workspaces.

On the Window⇒Arrange submenu, you can tell Photoshop to tile (butt edge to edge) or cascade (stack) all open documents. You may also choose from 2–, 3–, 4–, or 6–up in various configurations, depending on the number of images you have open. Your images must be floating in their windows to enable this option.

Photoshop also sports what’s referred to as an application frame Open documents are tabbed together neatly, one stacked behind the other. If you want your images to float within the application, choose Float in Window (for the currently selected image only) and Float All in Windows (for all your images) commands in the Arrange submenu.

Table 1-1 gives you the lowdown about the other options on the Window⇒Arrange submenu.

Another item under the Window menu includes various workspace options enabling you to choose a workspace that fits your workflow. Selecting the Essentials workspace resets all your panels and menus to the default settings. For details, see Book I, Chapter 5.

On the Extensions submenu, you find Kuler, which enables you to create, download, and share color themes (see Book I, Chapter 3) and Mini Bridge that helps you browse and sort your image assets (see Book I, Chapter 4).

The remaining bulk of the Window menu contains a list of panels (in alphabetical order) and currently open documents.


Setting up the status bar

Each Photoshop image window comes equipped with a status bar. Many people tend to associate status with wealth, so I think there’s a good reason to accept the free wealth of information that the status bar offers.

On the far left of the bar is a box that displays an active image’s current zoom level (such as 33.33%). Incidentally, the title bar of the document itself also shows the zoom level.

To the right of the zoom level is the display area for file and image information — which, by default, shows the document size.

To display other types of information, click the right arrow in the status bar, choose Show, and select one of the following options from the menu that appears (as shown in Figure 1-3):


© Image #3993036

Figure 1-3: The status bar provides a wealth of vital information about your image.

check.png Adobe Drive: If you’re a Version Cue user, you can select this option, which enables you to connect to Version Cue servers. When you connect via Adobe Drive, you can open and save Version Cue files. Adobe has discontinued Version Cue, so the future of the Adobe Drive feature is unknown.

remember.eps check.png Document Sizes: When you select this option, Photoshop displays two numbers to approximate the size of the image. The first number shows you the size of the file if you were to flatten (combine) all the layers into one and save it to your hard drive in the native Photoshop file format. The number on the right shows the size of the file, including layers, channels, and other components, and how much data Photoshop has to juggle while you’re working on the file. You want this option active when you need to keep track of how large your image is.

check.png Document Profile: When you select this option, the status bar displays the name of the color profile that the image uses, as well as the number of bits per channel. You probably won’t use this option unless you need to know the profiles of all the open documents while making complex color corrections. (You can find more information about profiles in Book II, Chapter 3.)

check.png Document Dimensions: When you select this option, the status bar shows you the size of the image by using the default measurement increment you’ve set in Photoshop’s Preferences (pixels, inches, picas, and so on). You might need this information to reference the physical dimensions of your open files. For information on setting preferences in Photoshop, see Book I, Chapter 5.

check.png Measurement Scale: Displays the scale of frequently used measurements You can set your own custom measurement scale by choosing Image⇒Analysis⇒Measurement Scale⇒Custom. For example, 1 inch=300 pixels.

check.png Scratch Sizes: Scratch space is the virtual memory set aside on your hard drive to simulate RAM and make editing large files easier. Enabling this option shows two measurements for an active image. On the left, you see the amount of real memory and virtual memory that all open images are using. On the right, you see the total amount of RAM available for working with images. Photoshop needs a lot more memory and disk space to work on an image while that image is open, shown by the Scratch Sizes display, as opposed to the Document Size display that shows only the file size of the document.

check.png Efficiency: This indicator helps you gauge whether you really have enough RAM to perform a task. It shows the percentage of time Photoshop spends actually working on an operation, compared to the time it must spend reading or writing image information to or from your hard disk. If the value dips below 100 percent most of the time, you need to allocate more memory to Photoshop (if you’re using a Windows PC). For more information on parceling out RAM, see Book I, Chapter 5.

check.png Timing: This number shows you how long it took you to complete your most recent incredible feat.

check.png Current Tool: This option shows you the name of the tool currently in use.

check.png 32-Bit Exposure: This option is for adjusting the preview image for viewing 32-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. The slider control is available only if you have an HDR image open. See Bonus Chapter 4 on the book’s website for more information on HDR.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps check.png Save Progress: This option displays a progress bar at the bottom of your image window showing your percentage of saving as you choose File⇒Save or Save As. This feature is handy for large or complex files.

Playing with Panels

Many image-oriented programs use panels of a sort, and Photoshop has had panels (formerly called palettes) since version 1.0 (released in January 1990). However, since Photoshop 3.0, the program has used a novel way of working with panels. Rather than standalone windows, Photoshop uses grouped, tabbed panels, which overlap each other in groups of two or three (or more, if you rearrange them yourself). To access a panel that falls behind the one displayed on top, click the panel’s tab. By default, some panels, such as Tool Presets, appear alone.

Panels may contain sliders, buttons, drop-down lists, drop-down menus, pop-up menus (as shown in Figure 1-4), and other controls. You also find icons at the bottom of many panels. For example, at the base of the Layers panel are command icons that let you create a new layer, add a layer style, or trash a layer that you no longer want. Many panels — such as the Brush, Styles, Actions, and Swatches panels — include options for defining sets of parameters (called presets) that you can store for reuse at any time.


Figure 1-4: Panels contain various command icons for editing and managing your image.

Whatever name you call them, palettes or panels, they still hold the same information. They’re streamlined and easily tucked away and expanded, as needed. By default, the panels are anchored in the top-right by a multitiered dock.

Here’s how to open, close, and otherwise manipulate a panel group, which can be accessed easily from the Window menu:

check.png To expand a panel: Panels are represented by icons when collapsed. To expand a panel, simply click its icon. You can also select a panel by choosing it in the Window menu.

check.png To bring a panel to the front of its group: When the panel group is expanded, the visible panel is the panel that has a check mark next to it on the Window menu. In this mode, you can select only one panel in any group because only one tab in a group can be on top at one time. When you select a panel from the Window menu, you have no way of knowing which panels are grouped together because Adobe lists panels alphabetically, rather than by groups. To bring a specific panel to the front, click its tab (when expanded) or icon (when collapsed).

check.png To move a panel out of its group: Grab the panel’s tab with your mouse and drag it to its new location, such as another group, the panel dock, or the Photoshop desktop. If you move the panels out of their groups or drag them onto the desktop so they stand alone, any of them can be selected in the Window menu.

check.png To collapse a panel: Click the gray area next to the tab.

check.png To close a panel: Select a check-marked panel in the Window menu. The whole panel group closes. You can also select Close or Close Tab Group from the panel’s pop-up menu.

Here are some more panel-manipulation tips:

check.png Expand or collapse the dock. To do so, click on the double triangles at the top of the dock.

check.png Reduce a panel to its icon. Drag the panel by its tab and position it below the existing column of icons. Release your mouse button to make the panel collapse to its corresponding icon.

check.png Save space by keeping panels in groups. You can move all the panels in a group by dragging the gray area to the right of the group’s tab. Access an individual panel by clicking its tab to bring it to the front. As a result, several panels occupy the screen space required by only one.

check.png Use the Window menu if you can’t find a panel. On the Window menu, select the panel’s name to make it visible or to bring it to the top of its group.

tip.eps check.png Customize, customize, customize. After you use Photoshop for a while, creating your own custom panel groups based on the panels you most often use can be a real timesaver. For example, if you don’t use the Paths panel very often but can’t live without the Actions panel, you can drag the Paths panel to another group or to the panel dock area, and put the Actions panel in the same group as the mission-critical Layers and Channels panels.

check.png Restore default panel locations, when desired. If you decide you don’t like the way you’ve arranged your panels, you can choose Window⇒Workspace⇒Essentials (Default) to return them to the default configuration (the way they were when Photoshop was installed).

tip.eps Many panels (for example, the Swatches and Character panels) allow you to reset the settings back to their defaults. To do so, select Reset from the panel’s pop-up menu located in the top-right corner.

Working with Your First Photoshop File

So many menus, so little time! The second you begin working with Photoshop, you may be convinced that Adobe’s flagship image editor has approximately 8,192 different menu selections for you to choose from. In truth, Photoshop has only about 500-plus separate menu items, including some duplicates. That figure doesn’t count the 100 or so entries for filter plug-ins (which can expand alarmingly when you add third-party goodies). However, even 500-plus menu items are considerably more than you find in the most ambitious restaurants. Basically, if you want to do something in Photoshop, you need to use the Menu bar (or its equivalent command snuggled within a panel menu). If you’re using the Mac OS, the Photoshop Menu bar shares space with system components (such as the Apple menu).

The following sections offer a summary of what you can find and where you can find it.

tip.eps Photoshop also helps you by providing efficient context menus, which change their listings depending on what you’re doing. You don’t see options you don’t need; you see options appropriate to what you’re working on. Right-click (Right-click or Control-click on the Mac) to bring up the menu. Just a side note, Apple refers to this action as a secondary click in its Mouse and Trackpad System Preference panes.

Opening, printing, and saving files

The File menu offers a cornucopia of file options, from opening new images and opening saved files to browsing existing files, closing files, and saving files. You’ll find automate, scripts, and print commands, too. To open a file, choose File⇒Open and navigate to the folder containing the file you want to open. Select the file and click Open. For detailed instructions on the many ways you can open files, see Book I, Chapter 3.

Making selections

Selections let you work with only part of an image. You can select an entire layer or only portions of a layer with one of the selection tools, such as the Marquee or Magic Wand tool. The Select menu offers several commands to modify your selection — from capturing more pixels to softening the edges of the selection. The Select menu (shown in Figure 1-5) is short and sweet, but the capability and control that the menu unleashes is nothing short of an image-editing miracle.

Understanding selections is such an important cornerstone to your Photoshop knowledge that I devote an entire minibook (Book III) to showing you how to use them.


© Image #487941

Figure 1-5: The Select menu offers commands for making, modifying, saving, and loading your selections.

Making simple image edits

The Edit menu contains tools that enable you to cut, copy, or paste image selections in several ways. You can fill selections or stroke their outlines (create a line along their edges), which I explain in more detail in Book IV, Chapter 2. You can use the Edit menu to rotate, resize, distort, or perform other transformations (changes in size or shape) on your selections (see Book III, Chapter 3). Additionally, you can undo the last change you made in Photoshop, fade a filter, check your spelling, or find and replace text.

Adjusting size, color, and contrast

You’d think the Image menu might have something to do with making changes to an entire image document, wouldn’t you? In practice, some of the entries you find here do apply to the whole document, but others can apply to only particular layers or selections.

For example, the Mode menu item allows you to change an entire image from color to grayscale. The Image Size, Canvas Size, Image Rotation, Crop, and Trim selections all change the whole document in some way. On the other hand, you can only apply the changes wrought from the Adjustments submenu to an entire image if the document consists of only a background and has no layers. If the document has more than one layer, then adjustments such as Color Balance, Hue/Saturation (shown in Figure 1-6), or Levels work only with a single layer or a selection on that layer.


© Image #10642247

Figure 1-6: The Image menu is where you find commands for adjusting the size, color, and contrast of your image.

The Variables and Apply Data Set commands work with data-driven graphics. Briefly, data-driven graphics make it possible to quickly produce multiple versions of an image for print and web projects. Multiple versions allow for target audience customization for projects such as direct mail pieces. For example, you can base hundreds of versions of a brochure or web banner on a single template. The Variables define which elements change within a template. A Data Set is a collection of variables and associated data.

remember.eps You’ll find yourself turning to the Image menu more often than many of the other menus, partially because it’s so useful and partially because, for some reason, many of the options don’t have keyboard shortcuts that let you bypass the menu.

Creating layers

Layers give you a way of stacking portions of an image — like sheets of acetate — on top of one another so that you can work on individual pieces separately. Then, when you’re satisfied with your changes, you can either combine the changes into a final image or leave them in layers for maximum editing flexibility.

The Layers feature, which gets an entire book of its own (Book V), lets you create new and duplicate layers, delete one or several layers, change layer properties (such as a layer’s name), or add special features, such as drop shadows or beveled edges, to objects in a layer. You can also create special kinds of layers to make adjustments or mask portions of an image. The menu has selections for changing the order of the layers (moving a specific layer to the front or top of the stack, and so on) and grouping layers. Figure 1-7 shows an image that has three layers: The first layer is the guitar player image, the second layer is the logo of the music store, and the third layer contains the type.

You also can merge layers down, combine them with all other visible layers, or flatten them into one single-layer image (or background). Although consolidating your layers makes the file smaller, flattening is irreversible after you close the file. Storing an unflattened version of a file is always a good idea in case you want to make more changes later on.

Applying filters

A filter is an effect that changes an entire layer, channel, or selection. Some common filters include those found under the Blur and Sharpen filters. The Filter menu, shown in Figure 1-8, consists almost entirely of cascading categories of image-transmogrifying plug-ins. You can wade through this menu to find the perfect effect to apply to an image or selection. Book VII has everything you need to know about filters.


© Image #3982296 and Maljuk Image #11461882

Figure 1-7: Layers enable you to edit elements individually in your document.

After you apply a filter, Photoshop copies the filter command to the top of the Filter menu for easy accessibility, in case you want to reapply the filter with the exact same settings.

The Filter Gallery, shown in Figure 1-9, command allows you to apply several filters simultaneously in one neat editing window.


Figure 1-8: The Filter menu is bursting at the seams with plug-ins to improve, enhance, or completely transform your image.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps Note that Adobe has moved the Artistic, Brush Stroke, Sketch, Stylize, and Texture filter groups out of the Filter menu and solely into the Filter Gallery. If you want to have them again reside in the menu, change your preferences to display again. Choose Edit⇒Preferences⇒Plug-Ins (Photoshop⇒Preferences⇒Plug-Ins on the Mac), and choose Show all Filter Gallery groups and names.

Liquify (see Book VII, Chapter 3) and Vanishing Point (see Book VIII, Chapter 3) are more like mini-programs than filters.


© Image #3982296

Figure 1-9: The Filter Gallery enables you to apply several filters in one window.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps The new Oil Paint and Adaptive Wide Angle (see Book VII, Chapter 2 for both) features are also great additions for creating a painted effect on your image or correcting problems with images shot with wide angle lenses, such as fish eye. The rest of the Filter menu consists of 14 filter categories, each containing from two to more than a dozen options:

check.png Single-step filters, such as Blur, Facet, and Clouds, are simple to use but make a huge impact on an image. Just select each filter to apply it; it has no options to specify.

check.png Dialog box–based filters let you select options galore. These filters utilize preview windows, buttons, slider controls, and menus to distort, pixelate, sharpen, stylize, apply textures, and perform other functions.


tip.eps If you install additional filters from third parties, Photoshop lists them at the very bottom of the Filter menu. You can find third-party filters at such websites as , , and.

Simplifying your edits with the Options bar

The Options bar, shown in Figure 1-10, is a great feature because it eliminates the need to access a separate options panel for each tool. The bar remains available at all times, docked below the Menu bar (unless you decide to hide it for some bizarre reason), and the options change when you switch tools. If the default location doesn’t work for you, feel free to move it anywhere you please.


© Image #9881177

Figure 1-10: The ubiquitous Options bar is dynamic and reflects various options for the tool in use and operation being performed.

Because the Options bar changes its appearance with each active tool, I can’t explain all the components you might find there, but all Options bars do have some common characteristics:

check.png Gripper bar: Grab this little bar, on the far left, with the mouse and drag to undock or dock the Options bar. You can let the Options bar float anywhere in the workspace.

check.png Tool Presets/Options pop-up menu: This box displays the icon of the currently active tool. Click the down arrow to access a drop-down list that includes a selection of brush tips (for painting and erasing tools); a flyout menu that lets you select presets (saved settings) for various tools; and additional options to set, such as the size of the icons used to represent brush tips. You may also reset a particular tool — or all tools — to the Photoshop default values.

check.png Bar options: Additional options, such as mode, opacity, feather, type styles, and fonts are arrayed on the rest of the Options bar.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps If you’re looking around for the Application bar, don’t bother. Adobe removed it from Version CS6.

Viewing and navigating the image

A hodgepodge of functions is sprinkled throughout the View menu. Some of them, such as Proof Setup, Proof Colors, and Gamut Warning, won’t trouble you until you’ve become a fairly advanced Photoshop user. For new Photoshop users, the commands to zoom into and out of the image are likely the most familiar. You can also choose your screen mode, which lets you view your image full-screen with the Menu bar and panels, or full-screen with just panels.

tip.eps You’re better off accessing some functions, especially the zoom features, through keyboard shortcuts. See Book I, Chapter 5 for details.

From the View menu, you can select which extras Photoshop displays. You can choose to show (or hide) the following, as shown in Figure 1-11:


Figure 1-11: Viewing and navigating your image are the main tasks on the View menu.

check.png Layer Edges: Displays a blue-stroked box that surrounds the boundaries of the content of the selected layer.

check.png Selection Edges: Moving lines that define the boundary of a selection, which are very useful for obvious reasons.

check.png Target Path: Lines and curves that define a shape or select part of an image. You definitely want to see them if the paths need editing.

check.png Grid/ Guides: Lines that display onscreen, which are great when you’re aligning selections, objects, or other components, and potentially distracting when you’re not.

check.png Count: Bulleted numbers indicating your counted elements will appear. The Count feature is only in the Extended version of Photoshop.

check.png Smart Guides: Smart Guides enable you to precisely position and align layer content, and only appear when needed.

check.png Slices: Rectangular pieces of an image to which you can optimize or apply web features. If you slice the image, you probably want to view the results.

check.png Notes: Onscreen notes that you can create and view. Notes can sometimes be confusing, unless you’re already confused; then notes can help you sort out what’s what.

check.png Pixel Grid: Displays a pixel grid when you are zoomed into your image at a magnification greater than 500%.

check.png 3D Options: Includes options that show the X, Y, and Z Axis orientation of a 3-D object, as well as light sources and the plane that the object is sitting on. This option is only in the Extended version of Photoshop.

newfeature_cs6__4c.eps check.png Brush Preview: Displays a small panel in the top-left corner of the workspace that show the angle, brush tip, and other attributes of the brush.

check.png Mesh/Edit Pins: Displays the mesh and pins associated with using the Puppet Warp feature. For more on Puppet Warp see Book V, Chapter 1.

ontheweb.eps The View menu holds the controls for turning on and off the snap feature in Photoshop. (The snap feature makes objects magnetically attracted to grids, guides, or other objects.) You can also create new guides, lock and clear slices (see Bonus Chapter 2 for slice-and-dice information), and turn rulers on or off. (The Introduction has details about finding bonus chapters on this book’s companion website.)