Skill level: beginner
Program used: PS7
Notes: This tutorial is part five 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.
We last left off with the various text tools so let's jump right in with the Pen tool!
The pen tool lets you create straight lines and smooth flowing curves with greater precision than is possible with the freeform pen tool. For most users, the pen tool provides the best control and greatest accuracy for drawing.
So basically the goal of the pen tool is to make it a bit easier to draw than to do it freehand. This is likely most helpful for those of us who are no good with the mouse drawing to begin with. ;)
There are two main ways to create shapes using the pen tool. If you want to create a shape with curves, click once on the canvas and drag to create your starting path. Click again on one of the anchors (the small squares) and drag to create the curved portion.
To create straight lines or straight edge shapes, click once on the canvas to create your first anchor and then click elsewhere on the canvas to place another anchor point. If you want the angle of the lines to be a multiple of 45o then hold down shift when you click again. You can create as many anchor points as you wish.
You may notice that some of the squares are hollow and there are some that are solid. The squares that are solid (colour-wise) are the ones that are selected. I want to point out the other options available with the pen tool.
The freeform pen tool lets you draw freehand. It's like you would draw with a paper and pencil. The difference between using the pen tool and the pencil tool or the brush tool is that anchor points are added and you can move or modify those anchor points as you see fit once the path is complete.
If you have this tool selected you can also turn on the Magnetic option (not pictured, but it's on the Options bar when you have the freeform pen tool selected) which snaps the path to a predefined edges of the area on your image. You can define the range and sensitivity of the snapping behavior, as well as the complexity of the resulting path.
The add anchor point tool comes on automatically when you hover your mouse over part of your path. It does exactly what it says and allows you to add an anchor point. The delete anchor point is the reverse of the add anchor point tool and comes on when you hover your mouse over an existing anchor point. Remove the point by clicking on it.
The convert point tool allows you to convert corner points to curve points and vice versa.
* To convert a smooth point to a corner point without direction lines, click the smooth anchor point.
* To convert a smooth point to a corner point with direction lines, make sure the direction lines are visible. Then drag a direction point to break the pair of direction lines.
* To convert a corner point to a smooth point, drag away from the corner point to make direction lines appear.
The Shape Tool
I'm just going to lump all the shapes into one here. The shape tool allows you to create different shapes on your image. You have the rectangle, rounded rectangle, the ellipse, the polygon, the line and the custom shape tool. All of these allow you to add certain shapes to your image as you would expect.
I have created examples of each tool as you can see. The custom shape tool is pretty cool. There are all sorts of preset shapes to choose from. You can also create your own shapes if you are so inclined. I will point out one option at the top there, the style option. This dictates what sort of style to fill your shape with. In the example above I just left it at none but here are a couple of examples with different styles.
All of those shapes are available by changing the set of shapes to Animals in the shape menu. :)
I know I said in the last tutorial that I was just going to look at these two tools but I'm going to finish up the tools bar. I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail with these last few tools, I'm just going to give a quick rundown of what they are.
The Notes Tool
Allows you to add notes or an audio annotation to your file. To add a note, select the notes tool and click on your canvas. Then type in the text you wish to include. For the audio annotation you need to have a microphone connected to your computer.
The Eyedropper Tool
The eyedropper tool picks out a colour from an area on your image and sets it to the foreground or background colour. To select the colour as your foreground colour, just click on the part of the image you wish to use. To select the colour as your background colour, hold down the ALT key when you click.
The colour sampler tool allows you to choose colours and save the information in the info palette so you have that information at easy access. You can select the tool using the menu in the tools bar or by holding down Shift when clicking with the eyedropper tool.
The measure tool calculates the distance between any two points on your canvas. When you measure from one point to another, a nonprinting line is drawn and the options bar and Info palette show the following information:
* The starting location (X and Y).
* The horizontal (W) and vertical (H) distances traveled from the x- and y-axes.
* The angle measured relative to the axis (A).
* The total distance traveled (D1).
* When using a protractor, you can view two distances traveled (D1 and D2).
The Hand Tool
The hand tool is used to navigate your image. If the entire image is not visible in your work area, you can click and drag with the hand tool to pan to different parts of the image. (Rather than using the scrollbars for example)
The Zoom tool
The zoom tool is used to zoom in and out of your image. Double-clicking the zoom tool returns the zoom to 100%. Clicking once will zoom in, ALT+clicking will zoom out.
Here you can select your foreground and background colours. The top - or front - box is for your foreground colour and the bottom - or back - is for the background colour. Clicking the little arrows will switch the two colours and clicking the little black/white version will return the colours to black and white. Here I have a red colour as the foreground colour and white as the background.
The last few sections
That's my fancy name for the last three sections. heh
(1) Edit mode - Edit in Standard Mode or Edit in Quick Mask Mode Standard mode is what you'll use 99.8% of the time. Quick Mask mode lets you edit any selection as a mask without using the Channels palette and while viewing your image. The advantage of editing your selection as a mask is that you can use almost any Photoshop tool or filter to modify the mask.
(2) Screen Mode - Standard Screen Mode, Full Screen Mode with Menu Bar, Full Screen Mode This just changes how photoshop looks. Choosing something other than Standard allows you a bigger work space because it hides the various bars at the top of the window.
(3) Jump to ImageReady - Does exactly what it says. It opens the active document in ImageReady so if you wanted to add animation or something you can do that.
That brings us to the end of this part of my tutorial series. In the next part of this series, I am going to look at the layers palette and blending modes! That will be a pretty big one so watch out for that!
Questions and comments are of course welcome.