Photoshop for Total Beginners 1


I am a total Photoshop beginner and in an effort to find tutorials to learn Photoshop, have discovered that, for the most part, they all suck. Everything I found out there assumed that I know stuff about how to use Photoshop and its tools… which I obviously don’t. So, I decided to take a Photoshop course to learn how to use this awesome software. I had my first class and am so impressed already. I got an instructor who REALLY knows Photoshop AND is really GOOD at teaching.

– Thank you SAIT – Thank you Anthony Neilson

The class started off at the very beginning and did not assume any prior knowledge on my part. I had so much fun that I decided to share some of what I’m learning with those that are interested. So if you are a total Photoshop beginner like me, this Photoshop for Total Beginners series might be for you.

Note: The version of Photoshop I am using and referencing is CS5 Extended; also from this point forward I will be referring to Photoshop as Ps.

» Ps is a raster application. A raster graphic is resolution dependant and cannot scale up to an arbitrary resolution without loss of apparent quality.

» Some pretty important optimization can also be done. To start off, get lots of RAM, the more the better. Don’t go on less than 3GIG, you’ll probably not be happy with performance. Don’t have a gazillion windows open and or processes running while working with Ps. We want Ps to have to share as few resources as possible. Make sure you have lots of space on your hard drive and that the space is not crazy fragmented. Ps refers to this as the ‘Scratch Disk’. Now let’s go and fire up Ps and go to ‘Edit – Preferences – Performance’. Here you can see how much of the available memory (RAM) is being dedicated to Ps while running. I have set mine to 70% and have been very happy with Ps performance.

Here you will also see the scratch disk assigned and how much space it has. Keep in mind that a lot of space means nothing if that space is crazy fragmented. So be sure to run a defrag on your disk once in a while.

Hard Disk

» The toolbar is divided into 3 sections separated be horizontal line.


The first section contains the selection tools,




the second section contains the manipulation tools and




the third section contains the vector tools.


The hand is used for moving around and
the magnifying glass is used to zoom in on the picture.

Foreground color and background color can be changed here.


» The minimum recommended resolution (measured in pixels-per-inch, or ppi) of an image you want depends on what you want to do with it. Here is a very simple ‘quick’ reference chart.

PPI Table

Ps allows you to easily resize and or resample images. What’s the difference between the two?

Resizing – Changing the size of an image without changing the number of pixels in the image.

Resampling – Changing the number of pixels in an image (which also affects the image size).

The way Anthony had explained it was simply to say that ‘resizing will invent or toss out pixels’ while ‘resample will move pixels closer or further apart’. This is done in ‘Image – Image Size…’.

Image Size

If you play in here and make changes (without saving) but want to go back to the original settings without clicking cancel and then having to reopen the window, press down on the ‘Alt’ key, it will change the Cancel button to a Reset button.

Here are two articles I found online that are worth looking at to get a better understanding of Resizing vs. Resampling.

Difference Between Image ‘Resizing’ and ‘Resampling’ In Photoshop – Changing The Number Of Pixels vs Changing The Print Size Of The Image

Understand How Color Works in Photoshop

This is it for the Introduction. My next post will be on History and the History Tool; how to use the two to do some very cool but simple picture manipulation. I will of course give you a step by step example; this is after all where all the fun starts…

So stay tuned and come back for tomorrows post Photoshop for Total Beginners – 2

1 Comment

  1. Photoshop is such a freaking amazing tool. It’s awesome that so many designers and photographers are willing to share snippets of information that substantially decrease the learning curve.

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