#Graphic design How to learn to use Photoshop in 1h30?

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Photoshop is a computer-assisted retouching, processing and drawing software, launched in 1990 that revolutionized photography and even the design that one could do with it. Published by Adobe, it is mainly used for processing digital photographs. He works mainly on raster images because the images are made up of a grid of points called pixels. The interest of these images is to reproduce subtle gradations of colors.

Freeware alternative: Gimp (very complete tool); Irfanview (for quick cuts) *
* download from the publisher's website

Know the standards: paper printing or internet?

Impression offset

For jobs intended for offset printing, such as posters for example, we work with images with a resolution of 300 dpi or ppp ( dots per inch ) and color definition in CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black). The definition of the image must be established according to the specifications of your printer. To learn more about the difference between RGB and CMYK

Internet use

For internet use we will work with a resolution of 72 to 120 dpi and colors in rgb . Note, however, that for clipping work you will be more comfortable with large, high resolution images. The format should be adapted later.

Photoshop environment

The menu is quite intuitive and its main entries are:

  • Files : open in several if you have to work different images
  • Edit : use to go back, or use the history window to go back / cancel operations; here you will mainly use “transformation”
  • Image :
    • Mode : We have seen cmyk and rgb modes, you will eventually need to use black & white
    • Image size : you can manage dimensions and resolutions
    • Size of the work area : very practical to adapt the work area independently of the image, to create a mask (portrait model in 600 * 800 for example)
    • Rotation : adjust the horizon line on landscapes for example
  • Layer : to manage layers and create new ones
  • Text : to manage characters and paragraphs (line spacing for example)
  • Selection : you will often use it to “deselect” especially
  • Filter : allows you to apply filters on photos
  • 3D : no need in beginner training
  • Display : you will be able to zoom but you will often use the “ screen size” or “real pixel size ” functions
  • Window : allows you to display the toolbar or essential layers and history windows
  • Help : this can be useful but asking Google specific questions also works very well

Photoshop Toolbar


This tool is very complete and the functions you will use the most are:

  • Pointer : to move an element
  • Selector : to select a geometric shape
  • Lasso : isolate a complex shape
  • Magic wand : isolate a solid color area
  • Cutout tool : select and cut an area
  • Eyedropper : select a color
  • Duplication buffer : duplicate a shape or more often a background
  • Eraser : finely erase an outline
  • Paint bucket : “pour” a color
  • Text : write a text
  • Color : select a color, standard hexadecimal is easier to use than rgb or cmyk

For each button there are 3 variants accessible by a simple right click.

Example: we isolate with the pipette the color of the boardshort: # 4C5F4A


There are tools like color-hex.com that allow you to choose color swatches or even associated colors. This is very practical when, for example, you have to create a button that changes color when you pass the cursor over it (hover effect). This is mostly done in css to customize a website but that's another topic.

Exercise: crop a portrait with Photoshop

Choice of image

I recommend if you are using google * to use the size filters or inject the image you want to work into the search to see if there is one in a larger format than the one you have.

* Pay attention to image rights

In the case of Fred David, I chose a contrasted photo , i.e. where the 1st level of image stands out well from the background because if the background merges with the first level you will have a lot of trouble doing that simply.

The most difficult to cut are the hair, choose a photo where the cut is “clean” and relatively smooth.

Principle of layers in Photoshop

The main advantage of Photoshop is that it uses a layering system. Be careful to select the layer you are working on. Here we right click to duplicate the layer and deactivate the background layer by clicking on the eye.

Trim the portrait

Then we will use the magic wand to remove the bigger one, then the magnetic lasso for the outlines. When passing the lasso, do not hesitate to click to fix the selection point in the least contrasting places. With the selection tool, empty the spaces.

To empty the selection, press the “Delete” key

You can adjust a selection with the Shift keys to add and Alt to remove.

Trim finishes

You won't get the result of a real graphic designer, but the goal here is to have a quick and efficient solution.

Now you have to work with the real size of the pixels, or an additional zoom if necessary and try to have a nice definition of the outlines and avoid sharp breaks and pixelation of the image. For this, we will use the same tools as before and the eraser to smooth the outlines .

Choose the thickness of the rubber as well as its hardness . 50% hardness provides a very useful halo effect for smoothing without pixelating.

You can control the quality of your clipping by including a layer under the cropped image that you fill with a contrasting color, here red. In the image below, I was able to identify spots on the left.

Recording format

If you save in .jpg you will have a white background. For a transparent background, save as png-24.

Superimpose 2 layers with Photoshop

Open a background image then select the portrait in the other window. Do control + C to copy, then control + V to paste the portrait onto the background image.

If the portrait is too small, take care to adjust the image size first. If it is too large, click on transformation> scaling . Press the Shift key to keep the portrait proportions and adjust the size.

Save the composition in .jpg rather than in png, the image will be lighter (250Ko instead of 1.5Mo). For your information, the total size of this page is 1.18MB . A factor that influences the loading time of a web page!

You now know how to use Photoshop basics and transparent .png images.

To easily create advertising media: postcards, posters, go to https://www.canva.com/fr_fr/

To find out more about Fred david

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