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How to Use Seven Basic Tools in Photoshop

Photoshop can be very intimidating. There are so many different functions, so many ways to edit and so many buttons to press and accidentally alter your whole project. Where should one even start when it comes to navigating the treacherous and confusing ins and outs of Photoshop? Hopefully these 10 tutorials on some of the most commonly used tools will bring some clarity.


1. Selection

One of the easiest ways to select something, or to isolate it and select everything else, is the magnetic lasso tool. This tool clings to the outer edge of the pixels so that your shape can be precise. Sometimes, it won’t detect a pixel, so you have to manually click where you want the next point to grab. The magnetic lasso is just one of the many ways to make a selection.



2. Eyedropper

If you’re looking for a very specific color, the eyedropper tool is the best way to find it without knowing the color code and without having to search for it in the color panel. The way to apply these colors will be covered in the next step with the brush tool and bucket tool.



3. Paint Brush and Bucket

These two tools are how you can change the colors of different objects and how you can apply the colors from your eyedropper selection. The magnetic lasso tool is how to isolate where the color goes. As shown in the video, the paint bucket is typically the quickest way to fill, but if your image is more pixelated, it will fill in patches. That is when the paint brush tool is a quick and easy fix.



4. Layers

Layers are what can bring your designs and edits in Photoshop to the next level. The video shows an extremely simple and broken-down way of using layers. Once you become familiar with the basic functions, you can start getting more advanced with your designs and photos. In the video it very simply shows how to make a new layer, how you can change one layer without disturbing any other layer and how to order layers. These foundations can help your creativity run wild.



5. Blur and Sharpen tool

These tools are great for forced perspective in your photos and can be useful for blending designs and art. The video demonstrates the blend tool. The sharpen tool has the opposite effect. If you want the focus to be on a certain part of your image, you can blur everything around the subject, and sharpen the subject.



6. Photo Editing

These tools will help you color correct your photos. The quickest and easiest way to do this, is to go to Image>Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color. All of these will quickly fix basic lighting or coloration issues in your photos. To further edit the color, options for brightness, saturation etcetera can be found under Image>Adjustments. These options are also automatically generated in your workspace to the right.



7. Cropping

This one seems really simple and can be done in many other places outside of Photoshop. However, you can also change the ratio of your crop tool. For example, if you want to post your photo on social media and want it to be square, the dimensions for that are available. You can also save the presets for different sizes and ratios. The crop tool is incredibly important for photographers so that there is always a focus in the photos and not a lot of unneeded dead space.



The fun part about Photoshop is letting your skills and imagination develop based on these foundation tools. Practicing and experimenting with them helps you discover new techniques, and makes you feel comfortable following tutorials online, because the words they’re saying are no longer a foreign language. Photoshop proficiency is a staple for any business or company so that its designs and photos look professional, polished and well thought-out.

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