How does Photoshop work

10 things every Photoshop beginner should know

When I started with Photoshop, there weren't that many ways to get help on the Internet and a 10-step guide would have helped me very quickly. Therefore, I would like to use these 10 tips to help you get started in the world of image editing with Photoshop.

If you have not yet installed a Photoshop version, you can download a test version here:

1. Open the file

In order to have a basis for working, you first have to open the image that you want to edit in Photoshop. To do this, I go to File> Open (cmd + O on Mac & Ctrl + O on Windows) and select the file.

2. Save the background layer - duplicate

In order to always be able to take a look at the “before”, it is advantageous to duplicate the original or background layer. It can also be helpful if you work on an image for a long time and then need something from the original image. To do this, I go to the layer with the right mouse button and select ‘Duplicate layer’. Now you have a good basis to make changes to the picture.

3. Copy stamp - remove stains / objects

The copy stamp tool helps us to remove disturbing factors, such as small stains on the wall, pimples on the skin, etc. To use the copy stamp, I select the tool in the toolbar on the left and, while holding down the Alt key, select the area that should be copied. Then I let go of the alt key again to make the lantern disappear step by step. In the example shown above, a lantern is retouched. With the right mouse button you can adjust the size and hardness of the brush. I almost always prefer to use the soft edge and work towards the desired result with many clicks.

4. Use setting levels

Adjustment layers can be used to change the contrast, brightness and color saturation. These have the advantage that you do not change the pixels in the image layer directly, but work with the settings in a layer above. This means that I can delete the settings at any time without having to remove the remaining adjustments.

5. Work with masks

A very important tool when working with many levels is the mask. Masks can be added to all levels. With the brush tool and the color black, you can hide parts of the layer and show them again with white. This makes it a good tool to be able to make changes at any time. In the example shown above, I added a hue / saturation adjustment layer and set the saturation to 0, so I got a black and white image. After that I took a black brush and painted in the mask from the hue layer. With that I have faded in the heart in color again. The background remains black and white.

6. "Make objects disappear" based on their content

The content-based filling works in a similar way to the copy stamp, only that it is completely automatic. Like everything else, this has its downsides as you don't have that much control over what happens. To use content-based filling, I mark the area to be removed and then I go to ‘Edit -> Fill Area ... in the menu at the top and select content-based there. Fascinating, isn't it? 🙂

7. Add text

Sometimes you want to write something in your own photos, e.g. where it was, who made it or something similar. In the tool menu I go to the T symbol (T stands for Typography), click on the desired area in the picture and write the word London. When I highlight the font, I can select the font and size in the bar at the top. At the bottom left of the color fields, you can choose the right color.

8. Apply layer styles

Now we come to the layer styles. This can be used to add drop shadows, contours, glowing lights (inside & outside) and a few other things. For my London text, I would like to change the color and add a drop shadow. To do this, I go to ‘Layer - Layer Style - Fill Options ...’ (a double click on the layer is enough to get there, but I want to show you the other way too). I click on ‘Color Overlay’ and select the color yellow, then I go to ‘Drop shadow’ and enter the parameters shown in the picture above.

9. Save editable formats

A Photoshop composition has to be saved as a .psd file so that the layers and settings can be edited later. The files are very large compared to e.g. JPEG images, so you should consider whether you want to change the file later or discard the settings in order to save space. Other editable formats are * .TIFF, * .PDF and * .PSB (for Photoshop files from 2 GB)

10. Save for the web / Facebook & Co.

So that you can show your picture to others, you have to save it accordingly. The most common formats are JPEG and PNG. For Facebook, .png is best because it is uploaded without compression. With .jpg you can very often see a high loss of quality. If you want to save something for the Internet, e.g. Facebook or your own homepage, go to ‘File - Save for web ...’ and then you can select the format and quality above. At the bottom right you can adjust the image size accordingly.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to write in the comments below. I am looking forward to your feedback!