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It is an exciting time to commence something new, so wear the badge Absolute Beginner with pride and get ready for a love affair with one of the best software packages of our time- welcome to Photoshop.

Photo by agathabrown on morgueFile
Photo by agathabrown on morgueFile

Suddenly life broke out in warm colors again, so young and beautiful that a lot of people couldn’t stand to look at it.

Quote from the film Absolute Beginners

We will work with Photoshop CS6 on a PC.

Today we will look at:

  1. The CS6 Workspace (overview)
  2. Ways to open an image
  3. Selection Tools
  4. Use of Hue/Saturation function (Image adjustment)
  5. Layer overview
  6. Perform a task

Feel free to ask questions throughout class and to slow me down at any time. It is important that you view the instructions on the overhead first and then try them out yourself.

The CS6 Workspace (overview)


On your screen find the application bar, the menu bar, the options bar, the document window, the tools panel as well as the other panels or palettes.

Activity:  Click on Window in the menu bar. (Here are all the panels and palettes that you can activate or deactivate.) Click on Navigator and see the palette becoming active. Next drag the Navigator palette to the very left of the  workspace or document window. Do the same with the Character Palette (this one is a bit harder to find and I leave it up to you to figure it out).
Next select New Workspace from the workspace switcher menu, name your workspace and tick the 2 boxes.

You have just created a new workspace for yourself. To get back to the standard workspace layout select Reset Essentials from the workspace switcher menu. Changing the workspace to suit your need can speed up your work and is more fun.

Ways to open an image

First ensure that you use a good folder structure. Save your 20 or so images from your USB onto the PC that you are working on into a folder with a short, yet descriptive name, eg images.

Select File>Open – find your images folder and select the image that you want to open. Photoshop will open the image at the image pixel size and at the resolution of the file.

Open the images folder and have Photoshop open and accessible. Now drag the image into the Photoshop window.

Create a New Document in Photoshop and choose File>Place. Next place the image into the document.

There are other options, such as dragging an image directly from a webpage into the Photoshop window or selecting File>Open As Smart Object. Photoshop is a very versatile software package. The most important is to know a way that keeps the resolution high.

Selection Tools

The Selection Tools in Photoshop are one of many strong points of this package. We will work with this slow loading instructions from the Teacherlink site: Selection Tool Instructions

Below is an screen shot of the Selection drop menu with annotations:

Source: The Graphic Designer's Digital Toolkit, Alan Wood, 5th Edition, 2011
Source: The Graphic Designer’s Digital Toolkit, Alan Wood, 5th Edition, 2011
  • The Rectangular Marquee Tool (Short cut M) – This tool draws square (with the help of Shift) and rectangular selections (freehand). It is important to understand that you are actually not drawing as such, you are simply creating a selection and will be able to do something to that selection only and only on the current layer. Drag the image below into your Photoshop workspace and select a rectangular shapes. Press Ctrl + U and change the colour settings – just play with it. Keep the file active.
    Image Source:
    Image Source:

    Open this excellent tutorial on Rectangular Marquee Tutorial

  • The Elliptical Marquee Tool (Short cut M) – This tool draws circlular selections (with the help of Shift) and elliptical selections (freehand). You can draw the ellipse or circle commencing from the centre by holding Alt (option for Mac) while you draw your selection. Visit this tutorial on to see a good example on how to use the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
    For this class select the red cylinder and change the colour as per instruction above.
  • The Lasso Tool (Short cut L). Basically you draw your selection freehand. It is an early Photoshop tool and has some good uses still (like creating a quick shadow underneath a vehicle with the help of Gaussian Blur). It requires a high level of mouse skills. Try to select the handshake with the Lasso tool and change the colour. Visit this tutorial on to see one good use of the Lasso Tool.

    Image Source:
    Image Source:
  • Polygonal Lasso Tool (Short cut L). You draw your selection by dropping points. It is an advanced version of the basic Lasso tool and can be very useful. It requires practice. Try the tutorial from Polygonal Lasso Tool.
  • Magnetic Lasso Tool (Short cut L). You draw your selection by clicking once to select the outline of your object and then you simply follow along the outline and the tool does the rest for you. If a mistake occurs use Backspace to go back one step. It requires practice. Try the tutorial from Magnetic Lasso Tool.
  • Magic Wand Tool (Short cut W). You make your selection by clicking in the field of what you want to select (eg inside the suit). The Magic Wand selects pixels based on tone and colour. You can change your selection criteria, for example by increasing tolerance your selection will be wider and less affected by tonal variations in the picture. That will result in a larger selection. If you bring the tolerance down it will result in a smaller selection, which means that changes in tone or colour will affect your selection earlier.
    Try the tutorial from Magic Wand Tool.
  • Quick Selection Tool (Short cut W). This tool is extremely useful as a selection tool. It is similar to the Magic Wand, but it is more advanced and user friendly. You make your selection by clicking in the field of what you want to select (eg inside the suit). The Quick Selection Tool selects pixels based on tone and colour, but it also has the ability to detect similar textures in an image. As a result it is better at detecting the edges of an object.
    You can change your selection criteria by changing the size of your brush tip: increasing it will widen your selection and decreasing it will narrow your selection. For a more in detail description please look at this informative tutorial at Quick Selection Tool.
  • How to add to or subtract from a selection
    Hold the shift key to add to an existing selection. Hold the Alt key to subtract from a selection. You will need to hold the key while adding or subtracting.

Use of Hue/Saturation function (Image adjustment)

This is a very quick intro to this function: Press Ctrl + U. 3 sliders allow you to change either the hue (the exact colour), the saturation (the amount of colour) and the lightness (the tone, lightness and darkness). You can also tick colorize to get a nice retro effect, it makes your selection monochromatic.

Layer overview

We will cover this in more detail in the next class. We basically will just have a look at the layers to get a broad understanding in class.

Perform a task – Important

Use the photos that you prepared for this class or simply copy the image of the gorgeous Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye below from the provided link and use it to apply your understanding of the Selection Tools. Select various parts using the different tools. Make sure to keep a copy of your final file in JPEG format and upload to MyKangan next week.

Example of applied changes
Example of applied changes

Student Submissions:

Work by Justin Anderson
Work by Justin Anderson

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4      Class 5     Class 6

Today’s Class

  • Printing Methods – Teamwork
    • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Paper Finishes

Printing Methods – Teamwork

Please complete a PowerPoint presentation for last week’s Word document on Printing Processes. Include all the processes mentioned in the file.

We will view the presentations at 10:15am.

NOTE: We did not commence on paper finishes today and will continue with it next week.

Lylah and Anabel presented Lithography, Screen Printing and Gravure.

Hwan, Nawras and Maryam will present next week: Web, Flexography and Digital Printing.

Paper Finishes

When completed we will look at more print related terminology. Please open the documents below, I will discuss them in class.

Today we will focus on paper finishes. Follow my in-class instructions.

Sources of information:

Print Related – Graphic Design School   MediaWorks-Chapter3

You might also visit the K.W.Doggett Site. The paper sample that I have brought in is from there.