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Photoshop 101 Handbook
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   14 years ago

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Microsoft Photoshop 101
Course Handbook Supplement

By Richard Rost

Published By
Amicron Computing
PO Box 1308, Amherst NY 14226 USA

First Printing 1/25/2007
Copyright 2007 by Amicron Computing
All Rights Reserved


Welcome to Microsoft Photoshop 101.

This handbook is designed to be a supplement to the full 599CD video course for Microsoft Photoshop 101. We recommend you use this handbook to follow along with the class videos. This handbook is not meant as a stand-alone study guide.

We do recommend that you watch the course videos one time through, paying attention to the lessons covered. Follow along with the course videos using this guide. Take notes on the pages where needed. Then, watch the videos a second time, practicing the examples yourself on your computer.

Table of Contents

Welcome 2
Table of Contents 2
Introduction 3
Parts of the Screen 5
Opening Images 10
Creating a New Image 18
Editing an Existing Image 31
Editing Small Details 39
Adding Text 47
Selection Tools 55
Review 62


Welcome to Microsoft Photoshop 101, brought to you by I am your instructor, Richard Rost.

Objectives for today’s class:

· Parts of Photoshop
· Opening Images
· Creating New Images
· Brushes & Colors
· Editing Images
· Adding Text
· Working with Layers
· Selection Tools

The class follows Microsoft Windows 101 and 102 or 110. I strongly recommend that you watch all previous classes before you start with this class. We will be using Adobe Photoshop 7 and Windows XP in this class, but the lessons in this class are really common to all versions of Windows.


Our goal for today's class is to get up and running, editing graphics quickly in about an hour. There's a lot of theory we're going to skip in today's class but we'll come back to it in future lessons. In today's class, we're going to focus on being productive quickly. We're going to open up some graphics, show you how to use some of the basic tools, and teach you how to make changes to your graphics.

There are literally hundreds of ways you can edit graphics by applying filters, working with layers, changing tools, editing colors... we'll cover those as needed. We're going to start off basic today and get more complex in future lessons.

Parts of the Screen

What is Photoshop?

Photoshop is an image-editing program used by computer novices and professional graphics designers world wide. Photoshop is best used for editing existing graphics. While you can use Photoshop for creating new graphics, it is most commonly used to edit, modify, or fix existing graphics - both for print and on the web.

Parts of the Photoshop Screen

Let's talk about the different parts of the screen. Like most standard Window's applications, we have our title bar and menu bar. Below the menu bar, we have our options bar. The options bar will change depending on what tool you're using. The tools are on the left side of the screen in the tool bar.

Over on the right side of the screen, we have our standard minimize, maximize, and close buttons. Down below that, we have a series of open palettes. All of these palettes have different functions.

Above the palettes, we have a Palette Well, and you can actually put pallets in this well to get them out of the way. Let's do that now.

To move a palette into the pallet well, click on the little arrow and select Dock to Palette Well.

To slide any remaining palettes up on the screen, click on its title bar and drag it up to the top.

I don't want to put this particular palette on the Palette Well because I might want to use this palette in a few minutes. But I don't need to see the whole thing right now. So I'm going to click on the minimize button

That will shrink the palette.

To close a palette, click it's X button.

If you ever want to get a palette that you closed back onto the screen, return to the menu bar and click on Window, and then click on History. The closed palette will show up on the screen again.

One thing that you won't see on your screen is an area for your image. That's because most of the time, people use Photoshop when they're editing an existing image. So Photoshop won’t open up a blank editing area for you (like Microsoft Word opens up a blank document). But when you do have an image open, it will appear in the center of the Photoshop interface.

And it's a standard window that you can minimize, maximize, or close.

Now you know about the different parts of the Photoshop interface.

Opening Images

In this lesson, we're going to learn how to open images in Photoshop. With Photoshop, Adobe installs some sample images for you to use. They're located in your Program Files folder under Adobe\Photoshop 7.0\Samples. Let's see if we can find these images now.

From inside Photoshop, let's click on File and then Open.

The open dialog box will appear. You may start out in the My Documents folder or you might even start out in your Desktop. We need to find our C:\ Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 7.0\Samples folder.

The easiest way to get there is to click on My Computer.

Now you'll see all your drive letters. Click on your C: drive.

And now let's click on our Programs Files folder. Click on the Adobe folder.

Here's Photoshop 7.0

And here's our Samples folder.

And here are the sample graphics that Adobe installed into its Photoshop folder.

Let's click on my favorite image, Ducky.tif. Notice at the bottom, you'll see a sample of Ducky. Go ahead and click on the open button.

Now you'll see that Ducky has opened inside of Photoshop.

Let's go ahead and close the Ducky image by clicking on its Window's X button.

Using File - Open is one way to open up a graphic. But there's a better way. Click on File and then Browse.

This opens up the File Browser window. Notice on the left-hand side, we have our Samples folder. You can click on other folders to navigate around your hard drive.

Over to the right, you can see the path that we're located in. If you click on one of the samples, the sample will load in the lower left pane with information about that sample below it.

We can easily scroll through all the photos in the folder by clicking on the scrollbar.

Let's select the Waterfall.tif image. Double-click on it to open it. Notice the File Browser is still open. We can either close it, minimize it, or stick it up in the Palette Well.

I'm going to stick it up in the Palette Well. So I'll click on the arrow and select Dock to Palette Well - which is where the File Browser started out.

If you want to use the File Browser in the future, instead of clicking on File and then Browse, you can click on the File Browser Tab in the Palette Well. Click on it and notice how the File Browser opens up beneath the Palette Well. When you're done, simply click on the tab again, and that'll hide it.

Let's go ahead now and close the waterfall picture. I want to go back to working with Ducky, but I don't want to have to go back and browse or open up folders again. I can click on File and then Open Recent. Here you can see all the recent files that I've worked with. I'll click on Ducky and it'll open again.

For one last time, let's go ahead and close Ducky down.

Creating a New Image

In this lesson, we're going to go over creating a new image from scratch. We want to create a new image so we can play around with some of the tools, and see some of the different options in Photoshop. So let's click on File and then New.

The New File dialog box, opens. Let's give our new file a name. Let's call it “Ricks Sample Image.”

There's a bunch of different preset sizes. Let's just stick with the default settings for now. Go ahead and click on OK. And here we now have our sample image.

Let's start out by drawing something simple. Come over to the Toolbox and find the Brush Tool. If you’re not sure what a tool is, hold your mouse over it and a little tooltip will pop up and tell you what it is.

If you can't find the Brush Tool, just click and hold that button to find the Brush Tool.

Now when I click Brush, I get a circle popping up here. My brush is currently set to a big fat circle.

If I click and drag, I get this on the screen. I'm currently set to a black airbrush. Let's see about some of the options for our Brush Tool.

Come up to the Options Bar and click on the arrow to see some preset brush settings.

Click on the Airbrush Soft Round 50% Flow option and notice that some of the settings above change.

Let's double-click on it to select that tool. Notice that the brush size is now smaller. If I click and drag, I get a smaller airbrush setting.

Let's see about some of those other ones. This time, select Paintbrush Oval 45 Pixels Multiply. Notice the settings above changed again. The Brush changed, the Mode changed, the Opacity changed. Double click on this option and notice again that the brush changed. Click and drag.

Let's try the Transparent Red Spray Paint. Notice that when I click on this, down on my Toolbox, my color changed. The box on top is the box for the foreground color and the box underneath is for the background color. When I clicked on the Transparent Red Spray Paint, it changed my color to red.

Let's see how it works. Click and drag. There's some red spray paint!

Those options are fine and dandy if you want to use some of the built in burghers. But let's see about setting up our own brush.

Come back over to the Tool Preset Picker and double-click the Paintbrush Oval 45Ppixels Multiply. Drop down the Brush Settings. Here are all the different types of brushes. Notice their pixel sizes and notice that some are hard round and soft round. The soft round brushes have fuzzy edges. Other types of brushes are available as you scroll down the settings.

I'm going to select 5 pixels hard. You can change the slider to change the size of your brush manually. I'm going to go to about 10 pixels.

Click the arrow on the Brush Preset Picker to close that window and then draw.

My color down below is still set to red, so why is this line a light pink? Well that's where the opacity comes in. If we change the opacity to 100%...

...notice what happens now when I draw. It's more opaque (less transparent).

Don't like the color red? Click on the foreground color on the Toolbox. Here we have the Color Picker dialog box.

You can select from a wide palette of colors. First, determine whether you want red, green, blue, whatever by sliding these bars up and down.

Let's go to light blue. Once you have that right about where you want it, you can click on the left to find a new color.

To the right, you can see the color that we were on, and the color that we're selecting.

Below, you'll see all your different settings: red, green, blue; hue, saturation, and brightness.

When you're happy with your color, go ahead and click OK. Now your color has changed on the Toolbox.

Notice as I'm drawing, it's not quite changing the color behind it. What's happening here is the Mode is set to Multiply. That means it's going to multiply or mix the results of those two colors.

If you want to change that color to be solid, drop down the Mode box and select Normal.

You can also change colors by using the color palette. If I move my mouse off the color palette, notice how my mouse turns into a little eyedropper. I can use it to pick up a new color.

If you restore this palette to its normal size, you can see you can adjust the red, green, and blue settings.

Click on the Swatches Tab. The swatches tab gives you a more realistic palette to pick from.

Let's minimize that and slide it out of the way.

Speaking of eyedroppers, there's also an eyedropper tool on the toolbox. This tool is useful if you want to pick up and use a color that's somewhere else on the picture. Just click on the Eyedropper Tool and then click the color on the picture that you want to pick up. The foreground color will change to each color that you pick up (click on).

Click on the picture's X button. We're asked if we want to save changes before closing. Just click No - this is just a sample image to play around with. This brings us back to a blank Photoshop.

Editing an Existing Image

Now that we know how to create a new image and use some of the tools, let’s open up an existing image and see how we can edit it. Let’s go back and open up that image of Ducky. I’m going to click on File and then Open Recent, and then Ducky.

Ducky shows up here because we opened it up in an earlier lesson. If not, then you’d have to click on File and then Open, or use the file browser to find Ducky. Now the first thing I want to do with Ducky, is get rid of some of the shadow underneath his neck. I’m going to use the eyedropper tool to pick up some of the lighter yellow to brush over the shadow.

Then I’m going to pick up some yellow.

After changing the Mode from Multiply to Normal (and reducing the opacity to about 50%)...

... I’ll use the Brush Tool to brush away some of that shadow. This will make it a little lighter.

Let’s undo that by Stepping Backwards (Click Edit – Step Backwards) to put the picture back the way it was before. Another setting to keep in mind is the Flow Setting. Flow controls how fast the ink flows out of the brush. If we set the flow to a higher setting, the ink flows out much faster.

If we set it down to 7%, notice the ink doesn’t come out quite as fast so I can go over some areas without it turning totally yellow.

With a mixture of opacity and flow, you can take your time and make this look really good.

I’m going to revert back to where we were before (the original image). Let’s put some red hair on Ducky. I’m going to click the eyedropper tool and pick up some red from his bill.

I’m going to select a Splatter Brush.

Now I can just click and drag some wispy hair on him.

Notice that when I hold my mouse down, nothing really happens. But to the right, there’s an airbrush button.

With the airbrush button on, I’m going to click and hold my mouse still. The hair will darken. This is because the airbrush is flowing.

If I increase the flow rate...

 will happen much more quickly.

Now I can airbrush over Ducky a little bit more.

The airbrush setting is easier to appreciate with a larger brush. Let’s go ahead now and close down Ducky. Do we want to save changes to Ducky? No.

Editing Small Details

In the last lesson, we made some changes to the Ducky image. In this lesson, we’re going to show you how to edit some real small details in photographs. Let’s open the Eagle photograph. Click File and then Open. I’m going to find and open (double-click) the Eagle.psd file in my Samples folder.

In this image, I would like to change the shade of the eagle’s eye. The first thing we need to do is get a little closer to that eye. Let’ s move over to the Toolbox and click on the Zoom tool.

We can click right on the eye to zoom into it. Keep clicking to get even closer. ) If you want to zoom out, simply hold down the ALT key and click.)

Now we’re up nice and close. Let’s make sure we have our Brush Tool on and we have Airbrush Soft Round 50% flow selected.

Now let’s change our color to light red.

Now let’s drop down the brush size, and change the mode from Normal to Multiply.

Remember, Multiply will blend in the foreground color with the background color.

Now let’s zoom out and see what it looks like.

If you like to zoom alot, you might also find the Navigator Panel helpful. Click on Window and then Navigator.

This is one of those palette windows that was opened earlier.

The red box in the Navigator Window will focus on the area that you’re zoomed into. You can take your mouse, and click and drag that red box, and that will also move the areas that you’re zoomed into – on the image you’re working on.

The more you’re zoomed in, the smaller that red box gets. You can also use the slider, or the zoom in/zoom out buttons to zoom in and out. You can also type in a percentage.

While you’re zoomed in, there’s also a Hand Tool on the Toolbox that you can use to click and drag right on the image itself.

With the Hand Tool on, you can right click on the picture and select Fit On Screen. That will make the size of the picture fit whatever size monitor you have.

Actual Pixels will reduce or increase it to its original size. I’m going to go ahead and close the Navigator Window and save my work. I’m going to click on File and then Save As... This opens the Save As Window and asks for a file name. Eagle.psd is the original file name. Under Save Options, click on where it says As a Copy.

That will change the file name to “Eagle copy.psd” This way, you’re not going to save over the original file.

Click Save. Now I’ve saved the eagle as a copy, but notice I still have the original eagle file open on the screen. So the copy is nice to have when you’re working in multiple steps. If I wanted to work on the copy, I can close the original eagle file, and open the copy.

Now let’s talk a little bit about image formats. These are the four most popular image formats that you’re going to see while working with Photoshop. There are a ton of others – but these are the big ones.

A PSD file is a Photoshop Document. It’s the default format for Photoshop and you can only open a PSD file if you have Photoshop on your computer. Windows Bitmaps (BMP files) are not compressed and are thus not appropriate for use on the web.

The two most popular web graphic formats are GIF and JPG. Both are compressed images. Compressed means the picture is squeezed down to a smaller file size. If the file size is smaller, the image can be displayed quicker on a web page, or transmitted quicker in email. GIFs are good for clip art while JPGs are usually used for photos. GIFs don’t have a lot of color depth while JPGs do. The problem with JPGs is that every time you edit one and save it, you lose a little bit of information.

The best thing to do is to open up your image and save it as a Photoshop document. Then when you want to make changes in the future, open the Photoshop image, make the changes, and then save it in any format that you want.

So if we wanted to save the copy of our opened file for use on the web, we can click on File and then Save As.... Then save as a JPG.

Now you’re given some options here. Just stick with the defaults for now and click OK.

Now we’ve saved a copy of the eagle.psd as a jpg. Let’s go ahead and close both of these images down.

Adding Text

In this lesson, we’re going to see how we can add text to our graphics. Let’s start out with an easy example. Let’s click on File, Open Recent, and then Ducky. We’re going to put the work “Quack” on the side of him.

I’m going to click on the Text Tool. The mouse cursor will change to an I-Beam.

I’m going to draw a box

Then I’m going to type in the word, “Quack.”

If you want to change the text color, highlight the text and then pick a new color. You can change a lot of the different attributes: the font, font size, and more from the Options Bar.

Highlight the text first, and then change the font and the size on the Option Bar.

Now if you want to move this text, click on the Move button. That way, you can click on the text, and drag it wherever you want to.

If after you’ve moved it, you decide that you want to edit it, just click on the Text Tool again, and then click somewhere on the text to edit it. You can also rotate this text. Notice as I move my mouse outside of the text, the cursor changes. I can click and drag my mouse to change the direction of the text.

If you’re trying to straighten it back out again, hold down the SHIFT key and that will lock it right into 45-degree angles. Let’s do something a little more complex. Let’s close this down and open a different photo.

Let’s open the Palm Tree (CMYK).tiff file.

We’re going to put in the name of our beach resort. Click the Text Tool and draw a box near the bottom.

Well put in here, “ABC Beach Resort.” We can click and drag the square handlers on the box to resize it and make it a little bigger so all the text fits. The first thing I want to do is change the color of the text. Let’s change the color of the text to the color of the sand. Highlight the text and click on the color box.

Bring your mouse down to the sand and pick up that color with the eyedropper. Click OK.

There we go! Let’s move this text up into the sky.

Click the Move button and drag the text to the top.

Now I’ve decided that I don’t like it and I want to get rid of it altogether. In order to delete the text, you have to understand what a layer is. Think of layers like transparent pieces of glass sitting one on top of the other. The picture of the palm tree is on the background layer. Sitting on top of that, we have a piece of glass with “ABC Beach Resort” written on it. When I use the Move button and I slide the text around, it’s like I’m sliding a piece of glass over the background.

You can see layers on the Layer Palette. Go to Window and then Layers.

Notice we have two layers: the background layer and the Text Layer.

If you want to get rid of one of these layers, like the Text Layer, click on the layer, and either drag it down to the Trash Can, or right-click on it and then click Delete Layer.

Any time that you add text or another object, you’re adding on a new layer. Let’s get that layer back by going to Edit – Undo Delete Layer.

Let’s say that in addition to the name of the resort, I want a phone number as well. I’m going to click on Layer and then Duplicate Layer.

Let’s duplicate this layer as Phone Number.

You can now see two layers on the Layers Palette and you can click one to work with it. (The small brush will tell you which layer you’re editing.)

Click on the Phone Number layer. Get the Text Tool and edit the text to put the phone number in there.

Now you can use the Move button to slide it wherever you want it. Let’s go ahead and close this.

Selection Tools

In this lesson, we’re going to learn about Photoshop’s powerful selection tools. Let’s re-open Ducky again. Now if you want to move pieces of a picture around, you can use a Selection Tool to select what you want to move. Let’s start off with the most basic way to move something.

Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to draw a box around Ducky’s bill.

Now click the Move Tool to move Ducky’s bill.

This time, let’s click the Rectangular Marquee Tool and hold it down to get a menu.

Pick the Elliptical Marquee Tool to do the same thing with Ducky’s eye. The other marquees are the Single Row Marquee Tool and Single Column Marquee Tool. These will select a single row or single column.

Below the Marquees are the Lassos. Click the Lasso Tool to see if we can get Ducky’s mouth. Click and drag around the duck’s bill.

Click the Move button and then you can drag the mouth wherever you want it.

Now let’s click and hold down the Lasso Button.

The Polygonal Lasso Tool let’s you draw a series of small lines around a shape.

Don’t forget you can also zoom in while you’re doing this! The Magnetic Lasso Tool will look for areas of high contrast, and it will snap the polygon lines right next to it. I can click that tool and just drag the mouse along Ducky, and this tool will snap to the shape I’m trying to select.

The Magic Wand is really neat too. Watch this. Click the Magic Wand and then click on Ducky’s head. It selected most of Ducky for me.

The Magic Wand tries to select an area of similar color. Look what happens when I move it.

You can make changes with the Magic Wand. For example, the Tolerance determines how close the selection has to be based on the color that you click on. Let’s change the Tolerance to 30.

When we click the duck’s head, we get this. It went a little less tolerant. You can go anywhere from a 1 tolerance to 255.

Let’s try to move both of the eyes at one time. Use the Magic Wand and click on the first black eye. Hold the SHIFT key down and click on the second black eye. Grab the white part of the eyes and the duck’s bill the same way.

Click the Move button, and drag it to the right.

To give Ducky a third eye, use the Magic Wand and select one eye. Copy that to the clipboard in Edit and then Copy. Click Edit again, but click Paste this time.

Although nothing appears to have happened, Photoshop pasted a copy of the eye right over the image. Just grab the Move button and use it to move the eye to a different place.

Photoshop actually created a new layer. Whenever you copy and paste something, Photoshop creates a new layer with the pasted image on it. If you click on Window – Layers, you’ll see two layers: one with the duck on it, and another one with the eye on it.

If you hide the background (click the little eye next to the background layer), only the eye will display in Photoshop.

Let's close Ducky down without saving changes.


Let’s take a moment now to review what we covered in class.

· We learned about the part of Photoshop
· We learned how to open images
· We learned how to create new images
· We learned how to use the brush tool, how to change brush options
· We learned about colors and changing colors using the eyedropper tool to pick up a color.
· We learned how to edit images, how to zoom in, how to move around, and how to make minute changes to your images
· We learned how to add text
· We learned how text and other objects work on layers
· We learned how to work with some of the selection tools.

Tell us what you think. Log on to and take a short survey about this course.

RICK’S NOTE: I really do enjoy getting surveys from you! Make sure you visit the web page above and fill out the survey for this class. Let me know if I’ve moved too fast, and whether or not I covered material that was helpful to you!

Take your skills check quiz at If you pass, you can print out a Certificate of Completion.

What’s next? Visit for our complete list of courses.

Need Help? Visit for Microsoft assistance.

Make sure you’re on our Mailing List. Go to for details.

What’s New? Visit for a list of what’s been added.

Contact Us. If you have any questions, go to for information on how you can contact us by phone, email, or live online chat.

Don’t forget to visit our Photoshop Forum online at: You can chat with our instructors, other users, and even Richard too. You can ask us all of your Photoshop questions, get answers, and tell us what you thought of our class.

This course, handbook, videos, and other materials are copyright 2007 by Amicron Computing. All rights reserved. No portion of this course, handbook, videos, or other course materials may be reproduced, copied, edited, or otherwise distributed without the express written permission of Amicron Computing. Amicron Computing shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this document.

This document may not be used as part of a training course without express, written permission from Amicron Computing and the purchase of an Instructional License. For details, contact:

Amicron Computing
PO Box 1308
Amherst NY 14226 USA

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