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Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Oct Tue 04, 2016 3:43 pm

Hi all, as you may know, I have decided to plunge in this big monster called Photoshop! As a beginner, I have A LOT of questions which may seem mundane to most of you experts out there but for me, it's like learning a completely new language I know nothing about. The main reason for this post is for ALL new beginners to learn the basics and get answers to the same types of questions I have. Personally, I don't aim for perfection at the moment, I'm looking for simple and basic answers. So forget that you are an expert of Photoshop and come down to my level, lol

In the past 2 days, I have been reading a lot and watching many videos on the subject matter and learned a few things here and there but I’m a bit tired of looking for all the answers on the internet, so I decided to go to the source, you guys.

I have already done a testing label, as it’s simpler to do than a cover. I followed the instructions on a video showing how to do a label, but unfortunately it shows that only. Nothing on what to use as “Document Type”, Color Mode (for ex. RGB Color or CMYK Color), 8 or 16 bit and then on how to save these specific settings for when I need it again. You see, those are all basic questions that a beginner would not know.

So I did what I thought was best to start a label –

Document Type : Custom
Width: 1500 Pixels
Height: 1500 Pixels
Resolution: 300 Pixels
Color Mode: CMYK Color – 8 bit
Background Contents: White

And the rest I left as it was. So please let me know if these are the correct settings or not and how to save them.

Then I clicked on the Elliptical Marquee Tool to make a circle, and so on. Now, if I understand correctly, you have to create a Layer for each step you do? I don’t really get that Layer thingy yet but I believe you need it active or on, or something like it. That might need to be explained a little bit for us the beginners.

Then the fun begins when it’s time to add the pics and text. I seem to be fine when adding the pics but not always as it appears it’s limited of what I can keep from it. For example, if I want to add the “DVD” logo, I can’t select it all to copy/paste on my label. Is there a way of completing this? I thought it’s very basic to add such a logo on a label, but how can you do it if you can’t select the whole JPEG?

And last but not least, once I have saved and closed my label, how do I go back and correct something? Do I have to erase the whole thing and start over or is there a way to go back and edit just that part of the label? For example, if I would like to edit something I have written and want to change a word or change the color, etc.

So there you go, these are my basic questions for now and just to show good faith, I have done a label for “Ice Age Giants: Woolly Mammoths”, a BBC documentary. I didn’t quite know how to copy/paste the title from a pic (it would not select the whole thing), so I downloaded the “Ice Age” font which is really for the animation, but close enough for my purpose, lol - I have even sort of mastered the Magic Wand Tool to correct my owl avatar.

Please keep the answers/replies as simple as you can and make all the comments you can possibly think about my very basic “first” label.

I appreciate anything you can contribute to this post, for myself or any other beginners out there that are just too shy or afraid to ask such questions. I was going to say stupid questions, but there is no such thing when it comes to Photoshop!


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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby ctaulbee » Oct Tue 04, 2016 3:58 pm

All images should be RGB, 8Bit and 300dpi.

This is why it's best to grab a template and open it as all that is already set for you.

http://www.euphoricfx.org/efxresources/ ... p?album=48
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby 2getted » Oct Tue 04, 2016 7:57 pm

Trying to remember how I started to figure out the basics in PS. I think it was the via the painful way you mentioned chouette - finding the right tutorials. I would then save them and review them as needed. But the best way I picked things up was going through someone's PS action set step-by-step to see how they did things.

Would it be too difficult to record an action group of a few simple steps for creating a basic label then upload the atn file. That way a beginner could go through each step one at a time and see the process and esp the settings used. Also the action would always be available to refer to when PS is running.

Of course the action process would need to be explained but there are simple tuts for this around.
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Oct Tue 04, 2016 10:48 pm

Thanks all for your replies, it will certainly help along the way. Please don’t think that I’m proud of this first attempt at a label, it was mainly to show where I stand at the moment. The font/presentation is wrong, and then I failed at adding any logos. But that’s ok, this is what learning is all about. Next one might be presentable.

CT, I know I didn’t listen and chose a template already made as you suggested, but in my defense, I was left unsupervised… oups not what I meant… In my defense, I didn’t know all these ready made templates had everything included in it such as the correct settings, logos, etc. I’m still not clear on that Layer thingy, but I will get it one day soon, no worries. Practice makes perfect, I’m a true believer of this. But now that I know about all the benefits on using these ready made templates, I will go that way for sure. Although doing it from scratch like I just did with this label, I learned things that I might not have learned if I would have gone the easy way. After all, I’m learning the software while understanding the options offered to me, so it wasn’t wasted time in my honest opinion. And like Wrench would say, that's my story and I'm sticking to it, lol

Wrench, thanks for this label template, it’s certainly appreciated.

2getted, I understand it might be harder to remember what was important as basic information if you have worked with Photoshop a long time. And yes, finding the correct videos and tutorials are certainly the most time consuming thing in all of this. I prefer written information, direct to the point and links where to find anything that might be useful to start. A video is also good for some beginners, but might require more time to do.

If someone is able to explain how Layers works, that would be great. I don’t know why I have issues with that, but one thing I know, is that it seems very important to understand fully!

Again thanks for all your help, keep them coming if you think of anything else that might help.


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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby 2getted » Oct Wed 05, 2016 12:25 am

I found it easier by using two monitors. I could have the tutorial playing on one monitor while I was working on PS on the other (although I do have a third monitor for web browsing at the same time).

Now on layers (remember I am really a beginner as well), think of it like you are going to make a collage and you have cut out all the items from pictures you've collected. All the pictures and logos and titles are separate pieces of paper. So you start with a blank disc then stick each piece down in the order you want to see them. For example the title might be the last piece you would stick down. Well each piece of paper is a like a layer in PS. You can modify each piece separately, change the order that they will appear, or even move each piece around without affecting the overall layout.

1. You can rename a layer by double clicking the "Layer" title. Notice that when you have a single layer selected the layer name appears in brackets after your document name.
2. The layer at the top will be visible over the layer below it and so on, ie, it takes priority.
3. You can turn off the layer by selecting the little box on the left of the layer (an eye symbol if "on") - if you hover your mouse over the little box it states "Indicates layer visibility". Turning off the layer does not delete it.
4. You can click and drag layers to a different position to change the order.
5. Any work you do will only effect the layer (or layers) that is 'selected'. You can select multiple layers at the same time using the Ctrl key + mouse click of each layer.
6. You can copy a layer to the same document or to a different document that is open or to a document all by itself. When you right click on a layer it's the option "Duplicate Layer"
7. If you double click the layer (not on the layer name though) you open up the Layer Stlye options - seek more info on those options. NB: any change you make will only affect that layer you selected. You can also copy these effects you create when you right click on the layer with the option "Copy Layer Style"
8. When you first open a .jpg or .tif file in PS it isn't a layer as it is a solid picture and is a Background. To do any work with that picture, right click on the title and select "Layer From Background"
9. But if you open a .png file it is a layer as it can have transparent pixels. Although a .gif opens as an Index - no idea there

I am no way an expert an in fact I rarely design any covers or labels. I mainly deal with the scans I take. Although this is more an art than a skill I have found out - it's not easy at all. But every now and then I find that there isn't a label around and I have to create one. So I've attached a label I'm working on now which you can play with. All I've got left to do is to replace the characters. I've labeled most of the layers so it should be easy to follow. Have a play around with turning layers off and on and the order of the layers. I've also attached the images I used to create the label. Finding the images in any decent quality is the hardest part I reckon.

I would also love to hear any suggestions on what I've attached. I know ct would most likely say that AI would have been better to do the text and your so right. I had no idea how to tilt the text in PS until I found the option "Convert to Smart Object" then I could treat the text as just a picture.

Ohh and chouette, the curved text at the bottom is done using paths and writing the text on the path - another tutorial by ct

Hope this helps a little. Sometimes help from another inexperienced player is easier to follow. I know when I go over some of the tutorials you hear the comment 'and just like that' and I'm left scratching my head wondering just like what - how did you "just" do that?

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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby Fogdude » Oct Wed 05, 2016 5:21 am

Chewy, it might be helpful to think of layers as plastic transparencies, each one, when laid upon the last changes the picture.

As a nurse, I'm sure you've seen medical texts with pages of transparencies of the human anatomy. Each page has a portion of the whole picture & lets the reader flip them over & see a change in the whole picture. Sometimes they obliterate some of the images beneath, as one organ covers another, but sometimes, they just lay a web of veins or arteries or nerves over the organs. This is, more or less, how layers work. Each layer has imagery or properties that affect all the layers below it. Sometimes it obscures parts, sometimes it changes the color or intensity or any of the graphical properties at your disposal.

It's not a 100% perfect analogy, but I think it's applicable.
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby ctaulbee » Oct Wed 05, 2016 11:37 am

Couple of things I think most beginners should put time into.

1. Learning keyboard shortcuts, there is a graphic here, you simply can't be efficient with Photoshop and waste time looking for common tasks on the menus you have to learn at least the most commonly used shortcuts, so you can work with both hands lol.

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

2. Everything in Photoshop deals with layers there is no simple explanation of what layers are or how to work with them, that would be a entire book on PS.  That said there are a few basic things that one should be familiar with that are often over looked by those just starting out as they can be a little hard to understand, one of which is layer blend modes:

Photoshop Layer Blending Modes

:-)

I have begun putting together a video series for getting started in Photoshop - The Index is here:

Series Index
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby 2getted » Oct Wed 05, 2016 8:55 pm

Thanks ct  :-$
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Oct Thu 06, 2016 12:15 am

First of all, thanks for all this great help! I’ve been learning a lot of things on Photoshop whether here or by typing questions on the internet, hoping to get the answers I needed because one thing that blocks me the most, as CT already knows, it’s the terminology of this software. Even though I’ve been making covers for years, it’s a totally different ball game when doing them with Photoshop. Although I have to be honest, I love that software, it’s absolutely amazing! Complex, but the results are so much better than anything I’ve been using! I eat, sleep, dream Photoshop, no shit of a lie (excuse my French, lol)! I knew that would happen, that’s why I didn’t want to start learning it before I fully retire, but whatever.

2getted, I love how you explain the layers and all the tips, same with you Fog. I have familiarized myself a little bit more with Layers since I asked the question, but this is great info guys, really great! I grabbed your RAR files 2getted and will look at it later. Anything and everything helps at the moment.

CT, I’ve watched your “getting started in Photoshop” video, but what I love the most, is that you are calling it “Part One”, lol – That tells me more are coming and I’m loving it (make sure the sound is high this time, lol). I already have the Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts, but it’s nice to have the link in case I lose it. It’s already printed and close to me at all time. After my long message here, my next step is going for that Photoshop Layer Blending Modes link.

Alright, with this said, I will start a WIP of what I’m working on at the moment. A friend of mine asked me to do a cover for her on the 3-discs documentary “O.J.: Made in America”. Normally, I would do it for her on my crappy software (won’t name it here) but since I need practice on Photoshop, I'll try it and see if I can do something acceptable. I sort of finished the CD’s (template made but need to put CD1,2,3) and started on the cover. So as soon as I figure out how to post the WIP, I would appreciate your input.

But before I do this, here are my new questions. Is there an easy way to write the title on the cover's spine? I was able to do it on my cover by watching one of the videos online, but since it was a very old video, it was probably an old version of Photoshop, which means it might be done simpler now. Is there any way to have a short explanation on it? And "la question du jour", where is the best place to find decent high quality pictures for TV Series? I'm sure you guys already knew this would be the direction I would be taking. There are a lot of high quality pics for movies, but as of yet, I haven't found much for TV Series unless I google them and try to find something decent. Is that my best option? Anywhere else I should be looking?

Again thanks all, it’s all appreciated and I’m sure new beginners reading this thread will appreciate it just as much as me. There is a lot of information here that will beat anything that can be found online!
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby ctaulbee » Oct Thu 06, 2016 2:21 am

I'll be getting to basic text formatting in part 3 (real soon), part two is nearly done (will be up shortly) I had tweak the audio, looks like Windows update has altered my mic settings and I had not noticed...
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Oct Thu 06, 2016 2:24 am

According to the rules on posting WIP, I believe I understood that what I'm working on at the moment should be posted at the "Design Discussions" forum as I'm still learning, therefore seeking a different kind of help. Not really applicable for a WIP. I still need your feedback and if possible, replies on the questions pretty please...

:-O
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Oct Thu 06, 2016 2:26 am

ctaulbee wrote:I'll be getting to basic text formatting in part 3 (real soon), part two is nearly done (will be up shortly) I had tweak the audio, looks like Windows update has altered my mic settings and I had not noticed...


Nice! I can't wait to view Part 2! :-O
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby ctaulbee » Oct Thu 06, 2016 3:03 am

I'm going to re-render the video for part 1 with the audio adjusted but it's going to be a little mechanical sounding as that is what happens when you mess with audio after the fact, it will be louder though.  Part two will be slightly better but normal sound will not return until part 3 when the newly corrected mic settings take effect.
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby Moviebugg88 » Mar Sat 24, 2018 5:41 pm

Chouette its so hard to believe this is you asking all the same question's I have right now. All your covers and labels are FANTASTIC! We were all here though as I keep forgetting. You guys have been doing this for so long now as I only a couple of weeks. Ugh, I feel such like the abnormality right about now when I see all of you all's covers going through you all's nice galleries.
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Re: Photoshop - Beginners' Questions

Postby chouette » Mar Sat 24, 2018 6:00 pm

Yup, we all have to start somewhere and for me, it was right here. Just like you. :D

Thanks for your kind words, but I still have a long way to go, reason why I never miss an opportunity to learn anything new when someone does a WIP. Don’t feel abnormal as there are certainly others in your situation but don’t have the courage to ask questions. You will learn like all of us. Just grab any tips and information given to you and apply it as best you can. The rest will come with time. Be patient.


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