Art 85 Title Graphic

Welcome to Art 85!

How to log in to class computers
Username: room1270
Password: room1270

Third Session Class files are located here.

Second Session Class files are located here.

Sample photos you can work with are located here.

Computer screen iconIn this class, we will cover the fundamentals of Photoshop, including the tools and techniques of professional photo editing, scanning, and file preparation for publication in various media. I promise I'll try to make it as fun and easy as I can.

Instructor's Name: Marc Carson

Meeting times: March 26, April 2, and April 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you have any questions about the class, please get in touch:
Image with my contact information

Papers iconSyllabus
You can download a Microsoft Word version of the class syllabus here:
Art 85 Syllabus

How to Pass this Class

Clock iconArt 85 is a pass/fail class. In order to pass the class, you will need to make sure you attend! Be there for all class periods, pay attention in class, and I will make sure you pass.

No worries - Photoshopping is a fun skill to learn! We'll be covering all sorts of neat stuff to whet your appetite.

Topics Covered

Understanding the Photoshop Interface

  • Opening files
  • Understanding resolution
  • Digital images are built out of little tiles called "pixels." So every image you see on your screen is like a mosaic. The more tiles you have to work with, the more detailed you can be. Most computer screens work at about 72-150 dots per inch (or dpi - a dot is the same as a pixel, as far as computer screens are concerned). This is actually quite low! Most printers print at least 300 dots per inch, and books are often printed at 1200 dots per inch. This explains why, even though an image may look good on your computer screen, it can look terrible when printed out or enlarged.

    When you scan photos with a scanner, you are able to choose the resolution you want the image to be scanned at. If you plan on printing the scanned image, be sure to scan at at least 300 dpi (I recommend 600 dpi if your computer has enough memory). To display your image on the web, make a copy of it (save it under a new name) and resize it using the Image size command on the Image menu. If you're emailing a photo, 800x600 pixels is a good size to reduce to. This way your friends won't get mad at you for sending them huge images!

    Most digital cameras shoot at at least 4 megapixels now. This is 2272 pixels wide and 1704 pixels (2272x1704) tall (though it varies slightly by camera brand). This is very big - you wouldn't want to email your friends images of this size for on-screen viewing, but you would want to keep your originals at this size so they look good when you print them out. Again, it's the difference between your low-resolution screen and your high-resolution printer.

  • Color adjustment and enhancement
  • Tools essentials
  • Important tools include: Filter -> Liquify (caricature/weight loss), Crop tool (remove all but a specific area of your image), Brush tool, Clone tool, Heal tool (advanced Clone tool), Gradient fill tool, Paint Bucket tool, Eraser tool, Dodge/burn tool (makes things lighter or darker), Sharpen/Blur tools, etc.

  • Panels essentials
  • Panels are the little windows on the right side of your screen that contain all kinds of important information. You can hide them all temporarily by pressing Shift+Tab. Use the same key combination to get them back.

    Some important panels to have open are: Layers panel, History panel, Navigator panel (for zooming around your document), and the Character panel for working with text (you can find this one by going to the Window menu). If you ever "lose" a panel and can't find it, look on the Window menu.

  • Navigating the document window
  • Hold down the spacebar and your left mouse button, then move your mouse around if you want to pan around your image. To zoom quickly, you can hold down the Alt key (next to the spacebar) and roll the wheel on the top of your mouse.

    You can also use the Zoom tool on your toolbar (it looks like a magnifying glass). Hold down the Alt key when using the Zoom tool if you want to zoom out.

  • Undoing mistakes
  • It's easy to make mistakes in Photoshop, isn't it? To undo a mistake, use the "Step Backward" command on the Edit menu. This is better than "Undo" because it lets you undo many times, rather than just once.

    The "Step Backward" command is stepping backward through your "document history," which is a list of things you've done since you opened your document. You can find this history list in your History panel. To undo using the History panel, you can click on the name of the last step you performed before you made a mistake, and the document will revert to that step.

Selection Basics

  • Why select
  • It's simple - we need to tell Photoshop what specific area of our document we want to affect, so the tool we use doesn't change the entire document.

  • The most useful selection tools
  • Rectangular Marquee tool, Elliptical Marquee tool, the Polygonal Lasso, and the Magic Wand tool.

Working with Photos

  • Simple exposure adjustments
  • Use the "Auto" commands on the Image menu, under Adjustments.

  • Simple color adjustments
  • Same as above.

  • Resizing
  • For this, use the Image Size command on the Image menu.

  • Saving and file formats
  • GIF, JPG, and PNG are the most popular web-and-email-ready photo formats. A Photoshop PSD image can only be opened by Photoshop (and a few other expensive programs), so unless your friends have Photoshop, you'll need to use the Save for Web command on the File menu to save your photos in GIF, JPG, or PNG.

    I recommend against GIF because it's only capable of displaying 256 colors. That's not nearly enough for an average photo. If you're sending a bunch of photos and are worried about keeping your file size low (so the email doesn't take forever to send), use JPG.

    JPG is a great compromise between image size and image quality. However, JPG images will degrade a bit every time you save them. Not good! This is why you should keep your originals in either PSD, or just save to PNG, another good image format that your friends will be able to open. PNG files don't degrade over time, but they are a bit bigger than JPG files.

Using Layers

  • Why layers are so important
  • Layers allow us to combine (or "stack") many images and even text in one document without destroying our original image. This way, photos and text are stacked on top of each other, rather than irreversably replacing what's beneath them. This way, we have the freedom to move items around as much as we want before calling our changes "final."

  • Working with the Layers panel
  • If you want a command to affect a specific layer, be sure to click on the layer name in the Layers panel to select that layer first. To rearrange layers, just drag and drop them in the order you want. This doesn't work with the background layer, so you can right-click it and click "duplicate layer," then move the duplicate around.

    To hide a layer, click on the "eyeball" icon next to it. To rename a layer, double-click on its name. To edit a text layer, double-click on the "T" icon next to its name.

  • Using the Type/Text tool
  • Adding text layers

Presenting your Work

  • Printing
  • Saving for print, email, and archiving

Useful Links