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Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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Chapter 1. Photoshop CS5 Guided Tour

Photoshop CS5 is bursting with amazing features that'll help you edit and create your very own digital masterpieces. If this is your first foray into the world of Photoshop, all these features will be new to you. If you're an experienced pixel pusher, there are some surprises waiting for you, too. If you skipped the previous version and are leapfrogging from Photoshop CS3 to CS5, Adobe introduced major changes to the work environment in CS4, and while these changes make Photoshop easier to use, they take some time to get used to.

Throughout the rest of this book, you'll dive much deeper into specific tools and techniques, but this chapter gives you a good, solid foundation on which to build your Photoshop skills. You'll learn how to work with the Application Frame and Application bar, plus how to wrangle document windows and panels. Once you've gotten them placed just right, you'll learn how to save your setup as a custom workspace. If you're a beginner, the section on using Undo commands and history states will show you how to fix mistakes and back out of almost anything you've done. Finally, you'll learn how to fine-tune Photoshop's behavior through preferences and built-in tools (called presets) that let you personalize your work environment even more.

Meet the Application Frame

When you launch Photoshop CS5 for the first time, you'll be greeted by the Application Frame shown in Figure 1-1 (although if you're restarting Photoshop after deleting your preferences as described in Appendix B, online, it'll be turned off). It's part of Adobe's effort to consolidate your work environment and lessen clutter; the frame confines all things Photoshop to a single resizable and movable window. You can grab the whole mess—documents, panels, and all—and move it to one side of your screen (or better yet, to another monitor) so it's out of the way. If you open more than one document, they're displayed in handy tabs that you can rearrange by dragging.

Click an image's document tab to summon it front and center. Photoshop stores the vast majority of its tools in the panels on the left and right sides of the Application Frame; a full introduction to panels starts on page 19.The upside of using the Application Frame is that all of Photoshop's bits and pieces stay together as you move things around. Resizing the frame also automatically changes the size of your panels and windows to fit within it. Chances are, you'll either love it or hate it. If the latter is the case and you're on a Mac, you can turn if off by choosing Window→Application Frame to make Photoshop switch to the floating-window view you're used to.

Figure 1-1. Click an image's document tab to summon it front and center. Photoshop stores the vast majority of its tools in the panels on the left and right sides of the Application Frame; a full introduction to panels starts on page 19. The upside of using the Application Frame is that all of Photoshop's bits and pieces stay together as you move things around. Resizing the frame also automatically changes the size of your panels and windows to fit within it. Chances are, you'll either love it or hate it. If the latter is the case and you're on a Mac, you can turn if off by choosing Window→Application Frame to make Photoshop switch to the floating-window view you're used to.

Tip

If you need to do some work on your desktop or in another program, you can temporarily hide Photoshop. On a Mac, press ⌘-H or click the yellow dot at the top left of the Application Frame. Your workspace disappears, but Photoshop keeps running in the background. To bring it back to the forefront, click its shrunken icon in the Dock. In Photoshop CS5, the first time you press ⌘-H, a dialog box appears asking if you'd like to reassign that keyboard shortcut to hide Photoshop instead of hiding selections. (To change it back, you can edit your keyboard shortcuts, as explained in the box on Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus, or delete Photoshop's preferences as described in Appendix B, online at www.missingmanuals.com/cds.)

If you're on a PC, you can minimize the program by clicking the upper-right – sign button and Windows tucks the program down into your taskbar. To get it back, click its taskbar icon.

The Application Bar

At the very top of the Application Frame is a row of tools called the Application bar (Figure 1-2), which gives you one-click access to handy stuff like Adobe Bridge (covered in Appendix C, online), extras (guides, grids, and rulers), zoom controls, and more. The real gems, though, are the Arrange Documents menu and the new Live Workspace buttons (shown in Figure 1-1 and discussed on Customizing Your Workspace). The Arrange Documents menu lets you organize your open documents so you can see them all at one time, which is handy for evaluating before and after versions of images or just managing a bunch of open windows (more on that in Chapter 2!). A new option in CS5 is the CS Live button on the far right, which gives you access to the new CS Review system mentioned back on page 4.

The Application bar gives you quick access to both Bridge and Mini Bridge (see Appendix C, online), as well as the Arrange Documents (page 67), Zoom level (page 60), and Screen Mode (page 16) options.In the Windows version of Photoshop CS5, the Application bar is also home to all the program's main menus (File, Edit, Image, Layer, and so on); in the Mac version, those menus appear at the top of your screen instead.

Figure 1-2. The Application bar gives you quick access to both Bridge and Mini Bridge (see Appendix C, online), as well as the Arrange Documents (page 67), Zoom level (page 60), and Screen Mode (page 16) options. In the Windows version of Photoshop CS5, the Application bar is also home to all the program's main menus (File, Edit, Image, Layer, and so on); in the Mac version, those menus appear at the top of your screen instead.

Note

In CS4, the Hand and Rotate Canvas tools also roosted in the Application bar. However, in CS5 Adobe took them out in order to make room for the new Live Workspace buttons shown in Figure 1-1. Flip to Customizing Your Workspace for to learn how to customize your workspace.

The Almighty Options Bar

Lording over your document window is the Options bar, which lets you customize the settings for nearly every tool in the Tools panel (see Figure 1-3 top). This bar automatically changes to show settings related to the tool you're currently using. Unfortunately, its labels are fairly cryptic, so it can be hard to figure out what the heck all that stuff does. Luckily, you can hover your cursor over any item to see a little yellow pop-up description called a tooltip (you don't need to click—just don't move your mouse for a couple seconds). When you move your cursor away from the item, the tooltip disappears.

Top: The Options bar is customization central for whatever tool you're currently using. However, it doesn't have to live at the top of your screen; you can undock it by dragging the tiny dotted lines circled here.Middle: Once you've freed the Options bar, you can drag it anywhere you want by grabbing the dark gray bar on its far left.Bottom: To redock the Options bar, drag it to the top of your screen. Once you see a thin blue line—like the one shown here—release your mouse button.

Figure 1-3. Top: The Options bar is customization central for whatever tool you're currently using. However, it doesn't have to live at the top of your screen; you can undock it by dragging the tiny dotted lines circled here. Middle: Once you've freed the Options bar, you can drag it anywhere you want by grabbing the dark gray bar on its far left. Bottom: To redock the Options bar, drag it to the top of your screen. Once you see a thin blue line—like the one shown here—release your mouse button.

When you first install Photoshop, the Options bar is perched near the top of the screen, beneath the Application bar. If you'd rather put it somewhere else, grab its left end and drag it wherever you want, as shown in Figure 1-3 middle. If you decide to put it back later (also called docking), drag it to the top of the screen (see Figure 1-3 bottom).

Tip

If a tool seems to be misbehaving, it's likely because you changed one of the Options bar's settings and forgot to change it back! These settings are "sticky": Once you change them, they stay that way until you change them back.

Swapping Screen Modes

Photoshop also includes three different screen modes for your document-viewing pleasure. Depending on what you're doing, one will suit you better than another. For example, you can make your image take up your whole screen (with or without the Application and Options bars), you can hide your panels, and so on (see Figure 1-4).

The many faces of Photoshop: Standard with Application Frame on (top), Full Screen With Menu Bar (bottom left), and Full Screen (bottom right). You can edit images in any of these modes. Also, pressing the Tab key lets you hide or show menus and panels.Flip ahead to page 51 to learn how to open an image. The short version: Choose File→Open, navigate to where the image lives, and then click Open.

Figure 1-4. The many faces of Photoshop: Standard with Application Frame on (top), Full Screen With Menu Bar (bottom left), and Full Screen (bottom right). You can edit images in any of these modes. Also, pressing the Tab key lets you hide or show menus and panels. Flip ahead to page 51 to learn how to open an image. The short version: Choose File→Open, navigate to where the image lives, and then click Open.

It's a snap to jump between modes—just press the F key repeatedly (as long as you're not using the Type tool—if you are, you'll type a bunch of fs) or use the Screen Mode pop-up menu in the Application bar (see Figure 1-2). Your choices are:

  • Standard Screen Mode is the view you see when you launch Photoshop for the first time. This mode shows menus, the Application Frame, the Application bar, panels, and document windows. Use this mode when the Application Frame is active and you need to scoot the whole Photoshop application—windows and all—around on your monitor.

  • Full Screen Mode With Menu Bar completely takes over your screen, puts your currently open document in the center on a gray background, and attaches any open panels to the left and right edges of your monitor. This mode is great for day-to-day editing because you can see all your tools and menus without being distracted by the files and folders on your desktop. The gray background is also easy on your eyes and a great choice when color-correcting your images (a brightly colored desktop can affect your color perception).

  • Full Screen Mode hides all of Photoshop's menus and panels, centers the document on your screen, and puts it on a black background. This mode is great for displaying and evaluating your work or for editing distraction-free. And the black background really makes images pop off the screen!

Tip

You can free up precious screen real estate by pressing the Tab key to hide menus and panels. This trick is a great way to get rid of distracting elements when you're editing, especially if you've got a small monitor. Pressing Shift-Tab hides everything except the Tools panel, Options bar, and Application bar. To show the panels again, press Tab or mouse over to the edge of your monitor where the panels should be; when you move your mouse away from the panels, they'll disappear again.

Customizing Your Workspace

The folks at Adobe understand that once you arrange your panels just so, you want to keep 'em that way. That's why Photoshop lets you save your setup as a workspace using the Workspace menu at the top right of the Application bar. Once you've created a workspace, it appears as a clickable button in the Application bar (see Figure 1-5). To swap workspaces, click one of the new Live Workspace presets (built-in settings) to make Photoshop rearrange your panels accordingly. Straight from the factory, you see four clickable preset buttons: Essentials, Design, Painting, and Photography; however, if you click the Workspace menu—or drag the little dividing line next to Essentials leftward—you'll see even more.

Most of the preset workspaces are designed to help you perform specialized tasks. For example, the Painting workspace puts the Brushes and Navigation panels at the top right and groups the color-related panels you'll undoubtedly use when painting. Take the built-in workspaces for a test drive—they may give you customization ideas you hadn't thought of.If you're familiar with Photoshop but new to CS5, try out the "New in CS5" workspace. It highlights all the menu items that are new in CS5, which is a great way to see additions at a glance.

Figure 1-5. Most of the preset workspaces are designed to help you perform specialized tasks. For example, the Painting workspace puts the Brushes and Navigation panels at the top right and groups the color-related panels you'll undoubtedly use when painting. Take the built-in workspaces for a test drive—they may give you customization ideas you hadn't thought of. If you're familiar with Photoshop but new to CS5, try out the "New in CS5" workspace. It highlights all the menu items that are new in CS5, which is a great way to see additions at a glance.

To save your own custom workspace, first get things looking the way you want. (The next section has details on working with panels.) Next, click the Workspace menu and choose New Workspace (it's at the bottom of the menu). In the resulting dialog box, give your workspace a meaningful name and turn on the options for the features you want to include. You can pick from panel locations, keyboard shortcuts, and menu settings; just be sure to turn on the options for all the features you changed or they won't be included in your custom workspace. After you click Save, your custom workspace shows up as the leftmost option in the Live Workspaces area, as well as in the Workspace menu.

If you've created some custom workspaces that you'll never use again, you can send 'em packin'. First, make sure the workspace you want to delete isn't active. Next, choose Delete Workspace from the Workspace menu and, in the resulting Delete Workspace dialog box, pick the offending workspace and then click Delete. Photoshop will ask if you're sure, so you have to click OK to finish it off.

Note

New in Photoshop CS5 is the ability to delete any workspace you want—including the presets!

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