Friday, August 20, 2010

The Versatile World of Photoshop

The simplest description of Photoshop is “a digital image-editing application.” That description doesn’t come close to Photoshop’s capabilities. Photoshop provides the standard color and lighting correction capabilities
historically associated with photo editing, but it also provides filtering, painting, masking, layering, and many more tools that allow you to take image editing to the next level.

Photoshop comes in two versions. The standard Photoshop edition provides all the functionality you need to create, enhance, and correct digital images. The extended edition, which costs more, provides additional functionality to work with 3D objects, video, and digital animation. The extended edition is worth the money if you are working with 3D objects or need to add color/lighting corrections and artistic effects to video. If you are not working with 3D objects or video, the standard edition is all you need.
The following sections discuss the uses of Photoshop as well as a few times where you need to use additional applications with Photoshop. The purpose of the section is to give you a glimpse of what Photoshop is for before diving into using it.

When to use Photoshop
  • Photoshop has so many tools and so much power that it can do an almost unlimited number of things. The following list describes the most common tasks that Photoshop is used for to help you get an idea of when to use it:
  • Photo corrections: Photoshop’s strength lies in the ability to correct digital images to restore the original color and lighting as well as to correct problems introduced by camera lenses. 
  • Photo enhancements: Photoshop also provides tools that allow you to enhance photos.For example, you can add a blur to soften a portrait or use a sharpening filter to remove motion blur. Photoshop also is great at fixing scratches and dust marks on older images.
  • Photo compositions: One of Photoshop’s strengths is the ability to combine multiple images to create a single image or composition. A common use of Photoshop is to take a headshot from one image and place it into another. Photoshop also allows you to merge several photos that were taken at different horizontal angles from the same spot and turn them into a single panoramic image. 
  • Artistic effects: One of the most fun features of Photoshop is the ability to use different filters and warping tools to apply artistic effects to images. The combination of numerous tools and filters in Photoshop means that the only limitation you have with adding artistic effects is your own creativity.
  • Painting: Photoshop has always been a fairly good painting application, but with the addition of the wet brush capability in CS5, Photoshop is now one of the best applications available to create digital painting. What puts Photoshop ahead of the competition is that many of the powerful features, such as the layers and masks, also are available for use with the painting tools. Also, the painting brushes are integrated into many of the other tools in Photoshop.
  • Creating vector artwork: Photoshop also is an excellent application to use when creating vector artwork. The path tools allow you to quickly create and manipulate vector artwork. You also can add vector artwork to raster images.
  • Adding text to images: Photoshop provides tools that allow you to add text to images. The text can be resized, warped, and adjusted to provide some stunning visual effects to images.
  • Creating Web images: Another area where Photoshop excels is preparing images for the Web. Photoshop provides utilities that allow you to quickly format images with the appropriate size, file format, and colors for use in Web pages. Photoshop also provides some tools you can use to slice an image into clickable sections and provides the HTML code necessary to utilize the slices in a Web page.
  • Print preparation: Photoshop often is used to prepare images for printing by converting the color mode to CYMK, adding spot colors, and creating color separations.
  • Creating 3D objects: Photoshop has the capability to create and manipulate 3D objects. Although it is not the best utility for creating 3D objects, it is very good at manipulating them and then applying them to 2D images.
  • Adding textures to 3D objects: Photoshop has a big advantage over other 3D applications at applying textures to 3D objects. With Photoshop’s filter and painting capabilities, you can edit the textures of your 3D objects in ways that you may not have thought possible.
  • Video corrections: Just as with 3D modeling, Photoshop should not be your choice for creating video projects; however, using Photoshop’s color, lighting, and filter effects, you can quickly apply corrections to video and even add some artistic effects.
  • Animating images: Another fun feature of Photoshop is the ability to add animation to your images. Animated images can give life to Web pages and allow you to create short animated movies.
In this tutorial:
  1. Photoshop CS5
  2. The Versalite World of Photoshop 
  3. When Not to Use Photoshop
  4. What's New in Photoshop CS5

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