A Few Simple Tips on Photoshop CS2 Basics

If you know how to operate a mouse, you are just a few simple clicks away from getting started with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Now, while these simple tips are for CS2, be aware that the release of CS3 is already in progress, with Webinars taking place across the Internet to teach users about new features.

Photoshop CS2 is a software program used to manage and edit photographs and it can also be used to create graphics, although Illustrator CS2 is more readily used for that purpose. Photoshop CS2 is used in the graphics industry, newspaper and magazine industries and high school digital design classes for the production of such products as high school yearbooks, newspapers, and literary magazines.

First and foremost, you must have photos saved to your computer. If you have a hard copy of a photo, scan it and save it as a .jpg to whatever folder you want. If you have a digital camera, just plug in your USB cord and turn the camera on. You should be able to follow the prompts from there (you DO NOT have to install the camera software on the computer in order to download).

Before reading any further, please note that keyboard commands mentioned are for PC users. Mac users can use Cmnd+Option instead of Ctrl+Alt.

Obviously, you now want to launch Photoshop from your Start menu or your desktop, wherever you have the program installed. To open a photo in Photoshop, just click File à Open using your mouse or hold down Ctrl + O on your keyboard and then release. Now you must navigate to wherever you saved the photo, highlight the file name using your mouse and click Open.

Let’s say you want to resize the image. All you have to do is hold down Ctrl+Alt+I on your keyboard and then release. An image size screen will pop up in which you can change the image size using pixels, percent or even inches. You can select any of those options but just keep in mind that the image size will change proportionally. You’ll notice that when you type in a new number for width, it automatically changes height.

If it looks like the photo color is off a bit, just go to Image à Adjust Levels à Auto Adjust. Unless you are very familiar with the terms CMYK or RGB, only use Auto Levels to adjust. Once the Auto Levels dialog box pops up, just click okay and it should automatically adjust your colors so they are at optimal performance in your photo. Do not adjust your photo colors manually. Keep in mind that any time you don’t like the result of a command, you can press Ctrl+Z to undo it.

PhotoshopCS2 also has two cool features called the Spot Healing Brush and the Red Eye Tool. There’s a toolbar that pops up typically on the left side of your work area in Photoshop that has two columns of tools in it. Look for the one that looks like an eye and clicks on it and you will see a fly-out menu with approximately four different options. Scroll down and click on the Red Eye Tool. Then, at the top of your screen, start with the Darken Amount set at 50%. The tool does just what it sounds like – it reduces the red-eye in your photos. Make sure to zoom in so you can see the eyes clearly and then click on the red part and it should automatically fix it. If it’s too dark (for instance, it makes brown eyes black), just key in Ctrl+Z and then change the Darken Amount to a lower number and repeat the process.

The Spot Healing Brush can be found under the eye as well and this tool can help to smooth out unsightly blemishes, moles, and freckles. Once you click on the brush, you will need to select a brush size at the top of your screen. You want the brush size to be comparable to the area you are healing – small mole, small brush. Then, you want to make sure your Mode is set to normal and the Type is set to Proximity Match. Both of these can also be found at the top of your screen, running along the bottom of your main menus. Then it’s as simple as clicking on the top of whatever it is you want to heal.

Those are the basics of getting started with Photoshop CS2 but if you’re ever interested in learning more, I would recommend visiting www.photoshopusers.com, as this is the National Association for Photoshop Users home page. It has some great features that will allow you to read articles, watch Photoshop television or watch short, video tutorials on a variety of features. After all, that’s where I go to learn new tricks to teach to my high school students!