Skill level: beginner
Program used: PS7
Notes: This tutorial is part one of a series that I am going to do that covers the more common tools in Photoshop 7. This series is intended for those who are learning PS7 for the very first time. I can't say right now how many tutorials there will be when the series is complete but they will be posted 1-3 days apart. Be warned, this is image AND text heavy.
This tutorial is going to be about some of the more common tools used in icon and graphic making in Photoshop 7. This tutorial is not the be-all and end-all of explanations, it is here to get you started and more familiar with the various features that are available to you. And, unfortunately, it is based on those tools that I use most so if there is something you want more information about, leave a comment and if I can't answer your question, I'm sure one of our other knowledgeable members will be happy to help!
Let's start with the program after you have just opened it. Below is a screenshot with various parts numbered and those parts are listed below the image. A more in-depth discussion of each numbered feature will follow.
1) The Canvas - this is where you do all your work
2) The Tool bar - quick access to the most commonly used tools
3) Navigator/Info - when you have an image on your canvas it will show up here. If you have zoomed in, a red box will appear on the image in the navigator window which will outline the area you are currently looking at. You can zoom in and out on this window.
4) History/Actions/Tool Presets - for me, this is most often on History. It shows the last X number of steps you've done - where X is a number you can specify. I like having it on history because I can quickly go back a step if I don't like something I've done. Actions are predefined sets of scripts that do certain things. I won't really be talking about those in this tutorial other than just mentioning it here. Tool Presets are here so you can create a preset setting for the various tools. If you uncheck "Current Tool Only" you can see the default presets.
5) Layers/Channels/Paths - I'm not going to talk about Channels and Paths here. This is your Layers window. When you have more than one layer you will see them listed in this window.
6) Color/Swatches/Styles - This is pretty much what it sounds like. It will give you information about the current foreground colour, change colour, choose a swatch or select a style to affect a layer or object.
7) File Browser/Brushes - These are both very handy things. The file browser allows you to quickly see files in various locations on your system. It's exactly what it sounds like. Brushes allows you to change how a brush works. You can change the direction of a brush, the scattering, the texture, the spacing and all sorts of other neat things.
8) Tool Info Bar - Heh I don't know what the correct term for this section is but that's what I'm going to call it. As you can see in the image I have the Move tool selected and so that section shows various options available for that tool. This content of this area will change depending on which tool you have selected.
9) Status Bar - Again, another area I'm not sure if that's the correct name or not but that's what it is called in 90% of other applications so we'll go with that. Down here you can change the zoom level, see other options for the tool you currently have selected, save your document and see how large the file is currently (saved as a PSD).
10) File Menu - This is your standard file menu where you can access various features like Save and Open as normal however there are all sorts of other tools available here as well.
So to really get things started, let's look a little bit more in-depth into the tools on the toolbar. I am going to be working with this picture of one of my cats. :P
I have circled the move tool as you can see and underlined one of the options at the top. I have decided to show the bounding box on the image because the picture of my cat is larger than my canvas and I want to resize it. To resize an object and keep the ratio, hold down the Shift key while clicking and dragging one of the corner boxes. After resizing and moving, this is what I have.
That's it for the move tool.
I am continuing with the last image for this section. By pressing and holding the marquee tool button, you can see the different options available to you.
The marquee tool (either rectangular or elliptical) is used to select portions of whichever layer you are on. You can then do all sorts of different things with that selection - fill it with a color, delete it, add a blending mode to it, whatever you wish.
I have selected part of the picture using the elliptical marquee tool as you can see and will show you the different examples of what you can do with that selection.
|Deleted or Cut the selected portion|
|Added a new layer and filled the selection with pink|
|Move the selected part someplace else|
That's not all you can do but that gives you an idea of what you can do. Play with the different options available to do different things.
The Lasso tool is similar to the marquee tool with the exception that you can select odd shaped areas. As you can see, you can also set the feathering and whether or not you want the edges to be anti-aliased or not.
Here is an example of the odd shaped selection:
The options you have with this are exactly the same as with the marquee tool. You can delete the part you've selected, add a layer and fill it with a colour and other things.
Magic Wand Tool
The magic wand tool is used to select all of one colour in your image. This is often very useful for removing a background that you don't want to use. Just click on the colour you want removed and it will select all instances of that colour within a specific area.
Now seeing this you may wonder why it didn't select her hind legs. It didn't because I had contiguous checked off. That limits it just to that area. With it unchecked it would select all the white it can find on pita.
The options available with the magic wand tool are again, the same as the marquee tool and the lasso tool. I often use this in combination with the lasso tool to remove a background on an image if I don't want it there.
This is probably my favourite tool. I love it for icon making because you set the image resolution and what the final size of the area you select should be and it does all the resizing for you!
Starting with the original picture of my cat (pita) we have this:
You can see that I have set my size to 100x100px and the resolution to 72 px/inch. You can set your crop size to whatever you want of course but I like making icons so for me it always stays at 100x100. Selecting the area I want to use in my icon we get this:
Clicking the checkmark (unseen, on the far right) to apply the settings leaves us with this:
And from there you're ready to go on your merry iconning way!
The slice tool is another type of selection tool but what it does is a bit different. The slice tool is really useful if you want to have a large image with links and you don't want to use image maps. Although you can use image maps with slices as well. Basically what it does is slice up the image into a bunch of smaller ones.
(I've highlighted the "extras" there because a lot of people get that showing up when they open up photoshop. To get rid of it, just go to View>Extras and remove the check and you're set!)
When you select a part of the image, you end up with the different pieces of the image as well an HTML file when you save it. Below are the individual slices and you can see the html file created when I saved this one here.
That's it for this tutorial. In part two we will be looking at the next section of tools in the toolbar:
Look for the next tutorial in the next few days.