Adobe Photoshop is widely considered the best tool on the market for quick and powerful photo manipulation, and most professionals do use it for a variety of reasons. It only works, though, if you’re willing to put in the time to train and practice using everything it has to offer. These are some of the most vital basics to get your head around.
This really is a key point to understand before we go any further. Photoshop is different to other, more basic image editing software because it is built around the use of different layers. These can be controlled, edited and manipulated independently of each other so you build up an image gradually.
There are many different ways you can make a selection in Photoshop, which is essential for choosing the area of an image you want to work on. Some tools will let you automatically select pixels based on a shared colour or area, while others give you more manual control, and this can get quite advanced. Selecting is a great starting point for beginners (or even some pros who aren’t yet getting the most out of the software).
Brushes in Photoshop are not particularly used for painting or drawing, contrary to what you might think from the name (Adobe Illustrator is much better suited to this task). Instead, they are primarily useful for creating adjustment layers, although you may find yourself using different brushes for many different tasks.
Adjusting with layers
Adjustment layers, as we just mentioned, are another element available for Photoshop masters. You can use these to temporarily make alterations to image layers, and if you decide to remove the effect later you can simply hide the adjustment layer. This is infinitely more powerful than having to edit the original layer to change brightness, contrast, colours and so on.
One of the main benefits of Photoshop is the ability to use masking. It lets you control where certain pixels are shown or hidden, and can be used to create a wide variety of special effects. A mask is what determines which pixels you want to be visible or invisible.
These are just five essential tools, but there are a lot more besides that your work could most likely benefit from. Whatever you use Photoshop for when you edit your own images, make sure you do your research and learn how best to use every relevant tool.