Photoshop Series: The Basics

Before we get started on the really cool stuff in Photoshop, there are a few things that you just NEED to know how to do. These are the basics of the basics.

First of all, you’ve got to create a new document. To do this, go to File >New. Here you can decide the size of your canvas. Your canvas is very important because this is the background layer upon which you will arrange and edit all of your layers. We’ll get into layers later, but for now, it’s just important that you know how to create that background canvas.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 2.29.38 PMFor reference, when I create horizontal layouts, I use 2000 (w) x 1333 (l) pixels, and when I create vertical layouts, I use 1333 (w) x 2000 (l) pixels.  You can play around with it and find the dimensions that suit your needs best.

If you’re creating a canvas size that you will be using often, enter in the dimensions and then press ‘Save Preset’ on the right-hand side. Once you do this, those dimensions will appear in the drop-down menu whenever you create a new canvas.

Quick tips:

  • To find out the dimensions of an image that you have uploaded into Photoshop, go to Image > Image Size.
  • To alter the dimensions of your canvas, go to Image > Canvas Size. Here, you can manually change the pixels or use ‘Percent’ to double or triple the size of your canvas. For example, if you want to double the width of your canvas, change the parameter to ‘Percent’ and change 100 to 200.

And finally, to save your image/layout for the web, use File > Save For Web. This will save it as a JPEG and optimize the settings for blog/web usage.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 2.33.51 PM

HOWEVER, always make sure that you save a copy in the Photoshop format under File > Save As so that you can go back and edit it if necessary. If you simply save it as a JPEG, all of the layers will be compressed together into a single image and you will not be able to make adjustments.

And that’s it! If there’s any specific elements of Photoshop you would like me to cover, please let me know! Otherwise, I’ll see you next time.

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