What is Photoshop?

What is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful image modification programs on the market today.  It is widely used throughout the world, and has shown its handiwork to the public through altered photos of famous people, such as President Bush.  It is so dominant that when we notice that an image has been altered, we say it has been “Photoshopped.”  While this handout offers some very basic tips on using the tools available in Photoshop, more comprehensive guidance can be accessed on the web or in the help menu of your version of Photoshop.  The version used for this tutorial is Adobe Photoshop CS.

Resizing Images and Size Guide

When working with images for a website, you will need to resize your images to suit your particular purpose. Here is a basic guide that can help you decide on what is suitable. (The units used here are pixels, which are standard units across all computer platforms. The conversion between pixels and inches is roughly 1” = 72 pixels or 1cm = 28 pixels) To use this particular unit of measure, you will need to adjust you preference settings by selecting Edit > Preferences > Units and Rulers and changing the units and rulers to measure in pixels.

Modify Color and effects

Photoshop has many powerful tools to modify the color and effects of images.  Here are brief summaries of each of them:
I.    Grayscale: Changes everything to different shades of gray
II.    Indexed Color: Uses at most 256 colors, so that your file size will be low.  Best for .GIFs and simple clip art.
III.    RBG Color: Best one: 16.7 million colors
IV.    Lab Color: The intermediate color model Photoshop uses when converting from one color mode to another.
V.    Multichannel: Uses 256 shades of gray, based on the color value of each pixel.  This is like the old western style.
VI.    8 / 16 bits per channel: Distinctions in color.  16 has finer distinctions, but can also make the file twice the size as 8.

Photoshop Requirements

One thing to keep in mind about using Photoshop however is that since Photoshop is so powerful, it requires a fairly souped up working environment.
Specifically, it would be a good idea to have at least 32MB of RAM. After all, as a web designer, you will be tasking your system while developing. Often you will have two browsers; Photoshop, an HTML editor, a word processor, and two or three ftp/telnet sessions open all at one time. Without enough resources, your computer will not have enough gusto to keep up with you
Another downside to Photoshop is that it can be rather expensive to get the latest and greatest version. However, this tutorial is written with this in mind. We have limited our discussion mainly to 3.0 basics (which still apply for 4.0 users). These basics represent the foundation of your skills with Photoshop regardless of the version. Thus, after reading through this tutorial, you will have what you need to make stunning web graphics by investing in a 1/4 price year old version of Photoshop. Eventually, of course, you will want to upgrade.

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