Skip to main content

Tools Panel in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 6 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Tools Panel in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 6 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

most popular photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Tools Panel in Adobe Photoshop

Here’s an overview of the editing tools panel Photoshop, including the crop tool, eyedropper tool, color panel, brush panel and more.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

This lesson covers the tools and panels in Adobe Photoshop CC. It explains how to use the crop tool, including how to set the cropping rectangle and the options for discarding or keeping the area outside the rectangle. It also discusses the perspective crop tool and its use in straightening images. The lesson covers using the eyedropper tool to select colors, as well as the magic wand tool and its tolerance setting. It explains how to use the color panel and swatches panel to store and access colors, and how to use the libraries panel to store and access various elements, such as frames and graphics. The lesson also touches on layer styles and how to use them to add effects to layers.


  1. What is the crop tool used for in Photoshop?

    The crop tool is used to select and discard or keep specific parts of an image.

  2. How can you straighten an image using the crop tool?

    You can use the perspective crop tool to straighten an image by clicking on the four corners that make up a rectangle and adjusting it to align with the angles of the subject.

  3. How can you select colors in Photoshop?

    You can use the eyedropper tool to select colors from your image, and you can adjust the sampling size to control how big of an area it samples.

  4. How can you save and access colors in Photoshop?

    You can use the color panel to save and access colors, and you can also use the swatches panel to save and access specific color swatches.

  5. What is the libraries panel used for in Photoshop?

    The libraries panel is used to store and access various elements, such as colors, graphics, and layer styles, that can be used across different documents. The topic of the lesson is using the brush tool in Photoshop and creating custom brushes.


  1. What is the purpose of the styles panel?

    The styles panel is used to save a set of effects that are created using the letters FX at the bottom of the layers panel.

  2. How can you create more complex shapes using the shape tool?

    By using the polygon tool and adjusting the settings in the top menu, you can create shapes with different numbers of sides and sizes.

  3. How can you create custom brushes in Photoshop?

    In the brush panel, you can adjust the settings for the brush tip shape, shape dynamics, scattering, and color dynamics to create a custom brush.

  4. What is the difference between brush presets and tool presets?

    Brush presets only include the settings for the brush, while tool presets include all the settings in the options bar, such as opacity, flow, and blending mode.

  5. How can you create a more realistic painting effect using the mixer brush tool?

    The mixer brush tool allows you to simulate wet paint and mixing colors. By adjusting the wet, mix, and load settings, you can create more realistic painting effects.

Lesson Info

Tools Panel in Adobe Photoshop

We're back with another episode of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. The first week, we started out with some real essentials in what we were doing with Photoshop. That included things like layer masks, layers themselves, selections, all that kind of stuff, trying to get you started. Well, today we're gonna pop into the second week. In the second week, here's what we're gonna be covering. Today, we'll be getting into tools and panels, but then we're gonna start diving into adjustments and retouching. And then one of my favorite features, which is known as blending modes. That'll be later on this week. But today, tools and panels. That means we're just gonna take a brief look at some of the various tools we might not have a chance to cover in other sessions that we get to in Photoshop and we'll look at some of the panels that take up space on your screen and see what we can do with them. So let's pop into Photoshop so that we can spend as much time as possible there. And we'll get start...

ed. The first tool I'd like to talk about is the crop tool. The crop tool's found over here on the left side of my screen, and it's this tool right here. With the crop tool active, we get a cropping rectangle on our image. I don't know if you can see it but it's showing it to me up here in the corner of my picture. Each corner of my image has this thing that collectively is known as the cropping rectangle. I can grab those corners and pull on them to set this up exactly where I'd like to decide what part of this image I'd like to keep. And then if I press the return or enter key, that's one way of saying I'm done cropping or I can click a check box symbol that's up here to finish my cropping. Whatever my personal preference is. But before you do that, you should be aware of a setting that is at the top of your screen because it makes a big difference in what your end result will be. And that is, in my case, this little icon. And this might not be an icon on some versions of Photoshop, it might either be a pop up menu or a check box, but if that is turned on, it means that when I press return or enter that the area outside the cropping rectangle will be discarded. It won't still be there, it'll be discarded totally. So my file size will end up going down because we have less information and this cropping will be permanent. If I save and close the image, there'll be no way to get that area back. If I'd like more versatility, where later on I might choose that I want to change my mind and crop it differently in the future, I might want to turn that check box off. And if I do, then the area that is outside the cropping rectangle will still be maintained and we'll still have it within our document. It's just gonna be outside the bounds of our image, which means here I just press return or enter and we'll see that we've cropped the image but if I return to the crop tool again in the future, then I can pull the cropping rectangle back out and get that information back. It was just hidden. It's been pushed beyond the edges of our document but it was still there. It's just as if you had a piece of your image that you decided to use the move tool on and move it so it extends beyond the edge of your document. And it's just sitting there out beyond the edge where you can't see it but it's still there. And that's how Photoshop treats it if we have it here with this little feature turned off. So a lot of the times I have that turned off because what I'll do is I'll crop the image for my particular use, which might be a print that I make on my desktop printer. But just in case someone else contacts me and say "I want to use this on a magazine cover." Magazine covers are vertical. I hope I didn't crop out all that extra stuff that was up there at the top that I didn't use in the version that I was gonna print but I might now need when someone else asks me if I can fit that onto a magazine cover and its more vertical format. So oftentimes I'll have that off. Just know that if you have that turned off and you save your image in jpeg file format, that stuff will be thrown away. The stuff outside your document bounds. Because jpeg does not know how to save anything other than what's within your document. It doesn't know what's known as big data, stuff that goes beyond the edge. But if you save your image in Photoshop file format or tif file format, all that stuff will be retained so you could always get it back. There is a command in Photoshop that would kind of instantly bring it back and what that is if if I go up to the image menu, there's a choice called reveal all. Reveal all means make my document larger, just large enough to include anything that's been pushed beyond the edge of the document. So when I choose reveal all, you can see I'm back to the uncropped version. So that can be rather convenient. Now there's a little more to the crop tool. Sometimes you need to straighten a picture. If you need to straighten an image, there is a choice up here at the top. It's supposed to look like a spirit level. You know, the kind of level that has a little bubble in it that moves around? And if you click on that particular tool, you can then go into your image, find a line that should be horizontal, and if I click and I drag across to get it to line up with it, when I let go it will automatically put a cropping rectangle on my image and it'll rotate the cropping rectangle. If you would rather rotate manually because you just can't find a horizontal or vertical line to line things up with, then you can instead bring your cropping rectangle in a bit and then just move your mouse outside of the cropping rectangle itself, so you're beyond the edge of it, then your mouse will change into a curved arrow and then you can just click and drag and you can rotate. And you'll find your image rotating right below the cropping rectangle. So it's previewing the angle it'll end up with. So that's your alternative. You can also crop to an exact size. There is an area here where I can type in a ratio, just a width and height ratio if I want like a perfect square for instance, I could type a ratio of one to one, which would make it a perfect square. Or I have the choice of width, height, and resolution. So if somebody comes to me and tells me they need a crop of an exact size. They have a magazine cover and they tell me it's this many inches wide, this many inches tall and so on, I could use the width, height, and resolution if I knew the resolution they need. So that's the crop tool in general but there's more than on version of the crop tool and I want to show you the other. So if you want to abort a crop, like you're in here and you decide you just don't like what you're doing, you can always hit the escape key or you can click on the no symbol up here at the top of your screen, that one. And that will abort your cropping. Well, if I come over here to the crop tool and click and hold on it, you'll find there's a second version called the perspective crop tool. And the perspective crop tool used to be built into the normal crop tool but it was kinda hard to get to. You had to first click and drag on your picture to get a cropping rectangle to appear and then only after that cropping rectangle was on your screen would you see an option at the top of your screen called perspective. So if you have an old version of Photoshop, that's built into the normal tool. And in the newer versions, they wanted to make it easier to discover and so they made it its own tool. But with that tool, you can come into your image and you can click on the four corners that make up a rectangle. And this is primarily useful in architecture. So actually I don't have an architectural image in front of me, but imagine you took a picture of a building and you tilted your camera up a bit so the top of the building looks smaller than the bottom of the building. Well, you could click on the four corners that represent the front face of the building to get the angles of these sides and the angles of the top and bottom to line up with that building. And then if you wanted to not crop in to only use the building itself, instead you wanted the surroundings as well, once you got the edges of this to line up precisely, you could then grab the side handles. Not the corner handles but the side ones because then you could expand this up higher, you could expand it over to include more of the picture but the angle of these side and top and bottom pieces would remain consistent so they would still line up with the angle of the side and top of the building. Once you press return or enter, then it will distort the image to straighten out those lines. So if they were bent in to begin with, as long as we get this cropping rectangle to have lines that are at the same angle, it's gonna end up straightening them up. And this one had a slight angle to it but it wasn't too pronounced. But that's the perspective crop tool, which can be rather useful. Then let's just talk about a few of the other tools that we haven't had a chance to get into. When you're painting in Photoshop, and we'll try to cover painting more at the end of this session, but I just want to show you a few things related to it at the beginning to make sure that I don't run out of time. Anytime I'm painting in Photoshop, choose the brush I'd like to paint with, and usually you click on your foreground color to pick the color you're going to paint with. Well, this isn't always convenient to go into to pick a color to paint with. So there are some alternative methods for choosing colors to paint with. There's the eyedropper tool, which is over here. If I click on it, then when I click within my picture, it's gonna grab a color right out of the image and change my foreground color to it. So I'm ready to therefore paint with that exact color. What you really need to know there is that with the eyedropper tool, there's a setting at the top of your screen. When it's set to point sample, it means it's gonna look at one individual pixel within your picture and measure its color. That's the color it's gonna use. And the problem is, if your image has noise in it, you might happen to click on a pixel that is an odd color because sometimes you can get what I call Christmas tree noise, which is all different colors speckling throughout your image. And if you click with it set to point sample, it's just gonna grab one pixel to look at. If I set it to three by three average, then it's gonna average an area that's three by three pixels in size. Five by five will make an even larger one. But know that this affects a lot more than just the eyedropper tool. This also affects many other things that you use to click on your picture and sample what it looks like. For instance, when we talk about color adjustments, we'll end up moving our mouse on top of our picture and clicking to have Photoshop measure what color something is. When we do, it uses this setting right here to figure out how large of an area it's looking at. So when you see me do color correction at one point, I won't be using this tool, I'll be using a completely different set, I'll be using something called curves. I'll move my mouse onto my image and click to have it look at the picture but it is looking at this setting. So pretty much anything that's gonna glance at your picture to figure out what color something is is gonna use that setting. Therefore, that setting becomes much more important than thinking of it as just here with the eyedropper tool where we think we're just picking a color to paint with. It also affects things like, I believe it affects the magic wand tool. Instead of the magic wand looking at one pixel, it's gonna look at a five by five area. Now when I use this tool and I click, you're gonna find a ring that shows up. In that ring, the top edge of the ring will change to whatever it is you're choosing. I let go. And then I click again and now the bottom edge, the bottom half of that middle section is the color I used to have. The top is what I am now picking. So I can compare. If I'm looking for something that's just a little bit darker than what I previously had, I can compare the top and bottom halves of that inner circle to see the bottom's what I used to have, the top's what I'm about to choose. The outer ring is just gray so you can see am I choosing a color or is it neutral, meaning no hint of color at all? If you just compare it to that outer ring, the outer ring's giving you an idea of this is what it looks like with no color. So that's the rings. Now if you don't like that ring, you just find it to be distracting, there's an icon up here, this guy, and that shows the sampling ring. If I turn that off by clicking, now when I click I don't see it. It feels more like much older versions of Photoshop. So if you find that to be annoying, just click on that icon, it'll show the ring each time you click or turn it off. Now I almost never use the eyedropper tool. I do use its functionality to pick colors out of my image but I never manually switch to the tool other than to set the sampling size. Usually three by three or five by five average is much more useful than a point sample, I believe. And when I'm painting though, here's how I access the eyedropper tool. First let's say I'm painting with black. So you can see this is black paint. And I'd like to paint with a color that is found in the image. Well, when I'm in any painting tool, I can hold down the option key, alt in Windows, and then just for the length of time that I hold down that option key will we be temporarily accessing the eyedropper. So that means anytime you're about to paint, you can hold down the option key, alt on Windows, and just click. And you'll pick a color within your image to paint with. And I can option click again and choose this color to paint with. Option click again up here and you can see that I can quickly change between those colors, so there's no real reason to switch to the eyedropper tool to manually use it. Just option click. Alright. Also, the tool we used when we talked about selections, I think we only used it for like a millisecond, is one called the magic wand tool. I just wanted to let you know that one of the settings related to the magic wand tool is also one of those that kind of universally affects a lot of other features in Photoshop. But they don't tell you that when you launch Photoshop, so oftentimes changing a setting in a tool that you almost never use suddenly effects all sorts of other features in Photoshop. So I just want to briefly mention it. With the magic wand tool, just like with the eyedropper tool, there's a setting. And this setting, first off, is over here called tolerance. The tolerance setting doesn't just affect the magic wand. What tolerance means is if you set it as low as it possibly goes, which is either zero or one, I'll find out, I'll type zero and hit return. And if it doesn't complain, then that's the lowest setting. If it was one, it would have complained and put in the lowest. If it's set to zero, it means when I click with the magic wand tool, only select the exact color I'm clicking on. Nothing that varies at all from that, only that exact color. As I bring up the tolerance, the default setting being 32, it means now it can go 32 shades, it can deviate from the color I click on by 32 different brightness levels and select those shades as well. Well, sometimes you end up turning the tolerance setting really high, like 100 or 150, something like that to click on your image and select a wide range. Well, you should be aware that that number affects some other features in Photoshop. If you ever go to the select menu and you find a choice that's called grow or you find another one called similar, they use that tolerance setting as well. And so if you find that grow, you see how much that grew and made it larger. I'll choose undo and let me change my tolerance on my magic wand, I'll bring it up really high now to 150. And with that same selection there, now when I choose grow, you see how much more of the image it got? It went way out there. So I just wanted to let you know that there is a relationship between some of those tools and some of the ones that seem to be the most basic ones that you rarely use can suddenly have consequences in other areas. And that's why I want to mention that. So the magic wand, remember the default's 32. Why 32? I don't know exactly. But wanted to let you know that that affects it. Also with your eyedropper tool, the sample size will affect a lot of other features. So be kind of careful about just changing those settings so you realize that it might affect other things. Let's see, what else? Let's look at a few of our panels that might be related to choosing and working with colors. If I go to window menu, here it lists all the panels we can work with. And in there, I do have a color panel. And the color panel is just a miniature version of the color picker. And just like with the color picker that I get when I click on my foreground color where I can choose a color from this vertical bar here and then choose a shade of it from within this area, I can do the exact same thing over here. We have the same vertical bar here and we have the same shade there. So if you end up changing colors a lot, you could use this. There's a few things to know about it and that is when you look over here, you have your foreground color there, your background color here. And you can click on the two. If you click on this one, now when you go through here, instead of choosing your foreground color, you're gonna be choosing your background color. And be careful of that. Just like when you use things like the magic wand tool and the eyedropper tool, it can have consequences in other parts of Photoshop. Do you remember when I said you could grab the paintbrush tool, you could hold down the option key to temporarily get your eyedropper, and you could click on your image to choose a color to paint with? Well, that would usually change your foreground color. If over here you clicked on that at any time so that it's highlighted instead of the foreground color, then anytime you use the paintbrush tool, you hold down the option key to click on your image and choose a color to paint with, you're gonna be changing your background color instead. If you want to mess with a coworker that you see doing that all the time, click right here, because next to nobody knows that that's the case and it'll take 'em forever to figure out that that's what they changed. Okay. You can also go to the side menu of this panel and choose different choices for how this is being displayed within this. You can get a brightness cube, which means the brightness is in the vertical bar that's here and then you have the colors going across. Or we were using what was known as a hue cube. But know that there is a side menu for it. Then we also have an area called swatches. Swatches is where we can save various colors that we would like to use. To save a color, just change your foreground color to the color you'd like to save, move your mouse into the empty area at the bottom, and just click. When you click, it's gonna add that particular color and you can give it a name. Click okay and you'll have it in there. If you want to use it in the future, all you need to do is move your mouse on top of it and click, click wherever you'd like there to get it in there. If you want to remove one of these, there is a trash can at the bottom you could drag it to or if you just hold down the option key, alt in Windows, you will see that your mouse turns into a pair of scissors and then you can come in here and click to get rid of them. So if you wanted to get rid of 10 of them really quick, just hold down option and click all over the place to get rid of them. I prefer to change my view on this because oftentimes I define colors for a very specific reason and I want to keep them there. So if you go to the side menu, here is how you can choose how they're viewed. Here we have small thumbnail, large thumbnail, and then here are the list choices. So if I choose small or large list, then when I give these names, they'll be much more useful names because I can actually read them and use them. So if you have corporate colors that you need to use on a regular basis, you can define them in here and have them ready to use at any time. This is also where you can access various color libraries. And that means if you, for instance, print your images. When you print your images, you pick colors based on a pan tone swatch book, it's a little printed swatch book you can look at to look at colors. Or if you print using CMYK colors, the one that I prefer is the one called True Match. It's just a brand of swatch book you can buy where just like with paint swatches when you're gonna paint your house, you can get samples to view. If you do that, you can go to the side menu here and down at the bottom is where you can load those in. Here are your pan tone choices and here's True Match, which is the swatch book I like if I'm printing on a printing press with CMYK colors. When you tell it to load one of these, if you click append, it's gonna add to the list you already have. If you just click okay, it should replace the list you have. And so now if I had a True Match swatch book, I could come in here, use small list, and it'll tell me the names of all those colors. I could look up the same name in the swatch book and get a better idea of what it actually looks like when it's printed. Finally, if I want to get back to what we originally had in there, the defaults that are there, I can reset my swatches and then get back to my small thumbnails the way I like it. Now with these little panels like the color panel and the swatches panel, they're usually things that I only need to use for a few seconds and then I don't need to look at them again. So what I usually do with those is I will drag them out here by clicking on their name, drag it to the middle part of my screen, and then do you see this little bar I have here, a vertical bar? I'm gonna store them in there. I'm just gonna bring it over until a little blue line appears in there to indicate it's about to put it there. I'll do the same thing with the color one so that then those panels that I only need to use for a few seconds are stored in this little bar so I can click on it and use it. And then I can click away from it or click on a different one, I'm only gonna have one of those visible at a time. If I just click its icon a second time, it'll go away. And therefore it's nice and convenient to have it stored there. If you don't already have an extra bar like that on the side, just grab any one of these panels, click on its name, drag it over until you see a blue bar appear, a big tall blue bar. There I just added a second one of those panels. And then there'll be a little double arrow right up here and that means collapse this. So instead of seeing the full size, you see just the icons. And now when I click on the icon, it just pops open. Click on the icon a second time, it goes away. And if you want it to be separate again, just click on the icon, drag to the open part of your screen. And this little double arrow means full size or icon view. So if you're not used to that, you can move these around however you'd like. Now there are some other panels that you might find to be useful, one of which is called the libraries panel. The libraries panel is where you can store not just color swatches like we could do in the swatches panel, or we have a panel called the styles panel where we can store our layer styles. Layer styles are things like drop shadow, bevel and emboss, and other effects you can apply to a layer. But a library is where we can store all sorts of different kinds of material. It's a new concept in Photoshop CC that wasn't available in the old versions of Photoshop but it can be really useful. Let's take a look. Let's say I'd like to store some elements that I frequently use in Photoshop. For instance, here I have some frames that I frequently use to crop my photographs into so they can be a little stylistic frame to show them in. And if I use these all the time, I don't want to have to remember what file they're stored in and go and have to retrieve it each time I want to use one. So what I'll do is open one of these and now I want to store it within my library. If you don't have a library open on your screen, you can go to the window menu. The window menu lists every one of these panels that you can have visible. And so if you don't have your library open, you can open it there. Then in my layers panel, this is made out of three different layers. If you look at it, there's one layer with black in it that's a little outline around the edge of the frame. There is a middle layer that just fills in the little corners of the frame. And then there is the bottom layer, which represents where a photo would eventually be. And that layer is usually used to clip a photo to. When we talked about layers, we talked about having one photograph clipped to something else. That's how we get something like a photograph to show up inside of the shape of text, that kind of thing? So that's why I have this set up, so I can clip a photo to it. Well, I'm gonna select these three layers so they're all active in my layers panel. And then I'm gonna use my move tool and I'm just gonna click within this document so I can move it around and I'm gonna drag on top of my library and let go. And when I do, it just added it to the library. And then I can close this document. I don't need to save it. And it's stored in the library as well. I can go back to bridge and open another one. Make sure I got those layers selected, use my move tool, and just drag it in there. Once it's in there, I can close the original. Now it's stored also in this library. Then if at some point I would like to use those various elements that I put in there, first off you'll see that they have names. If you want to change the names, you can right click and there's a choice called rename, which would allow you to type in a new name. So this one that's called layer zero, I can just say let's rename that, I'm gonna call that badge or watermark or whatever. And they're sorted alphabetically, so that one suddenly moved up to the front. So now I'm gonna drag this into my image and let's see what happens if I want to use one of these frames. So I drag it over here, let go, and it comes in and it automatically starts to transform it to try to let me know how large I might want to use it within the image. I can fine tune that, press return or enter when I'm done. But there's a problem. If I look at my layers panel, it didn't bring over all the layers. Do you remember that this image was made out of more than one layer? Because it assumes that I just want the visual look of that layer and I might not want to deal with the individual pieces. It's just keeping it as one piece. It's what's known as a smart object. If I wanted to get to the pieces it's made out of, I would have to double click on the little thumbnail for the image. If I double click on the thumbnail for the image, it will open up and show me all the layers that are contained within it. It shows me as a separate document though, so I can make changes to it. I'll close that though because I didn't want to make changes to it. There's a different way to get it to add to my image because right now, if you notice there's a little cloud icon in the corner? And that means that this is linked to the library panel. And what that means is if I use this in more than one file, use it in 10 different files in Photoshop, and then in any one of those files, I double click on this and I change it. For instance, I'll double click and I'll change the color of the corner. So instead of being that cream color, instead it'll be a red color. Then I'm gonna close that file and choose save. Now do you notice that here in my library, it updated? And over here where I've already used it in a document, it updated? So that means if I just drag it out of the library into a document, it's linked back to the library and if I want to make any changes to it ever, I can just double click on any document it's used within. I double click on the thumbnail for that particular layer, it'll come up as a separate document. And if I make a change, let's go put a picture in there. I don't know if this picture's big enough, but we'll find out. And drag it over. Just a little bit too small, scale it up. And I'll clip that. You can clip it by going to the layer menu and choosing create clipping mask. And why didn't it clip to our-- Oh, I clipped it to the wrong one. I need to move it down here. Now do it. Okay, now it's clipped. I'm gonna save and close that. Let's close that file out. Say yes, save. Where is it saving it? It's saving it back to the library. And then anytime I open any picture that used it, it's gonna be updated as well. That can be cool. Because what if you sign all your pictures by putting a little scribble in the corner that looks like your signature? If it came from your library and you just dragged it out of the library every time you applied it, then later on you can decide I'm sick of that little scribble that I used to use in the corner of my pictures. I want to put a fancier logo in there. You hire somebody to make a logo for you. Then all you need to do is pick any picture that has used it in there. You can double click on it to get it to show up as a separate document. Just take out your scribble of a signature that was in there, paste in your newly designed logo, close it, and when it asks if you want to save it, it asks this, say yes. And suddenly all those documents, the next time you open them, they'll all be updated. So they have the new signature on them. So that's pretty cool. But in my case, that's not what I want. Because I want to be able to use this frame and maybe have four or five of these frames within my document, having each one have a different photo clipped to it. So I need to do things differently. I'm gonna throw this layer away, I'm gonna open that thing called the library again, and this time when I drag out one of these objects, I'm gonna hold down the option key. Alt in Windows. If I hold down the option key at the time that I drag, then instead of being linked back to the library where it's dependent on that file that's sitting in my library, now it just grabbed the individual elements that made up that thing and brought them in separately, where they're not linked back. Instead, they look exactly like whatever they were when I created that object within the library. So I can come in and put any photo I want in here to replace this. And any changes I make to this will not affect what's in the library. It's independent of it. So option means kind of, usually means work on a copy of something. In this case, it means work on a copy that is independent of the one being stored in the library. So the two are not linked together in any way. And that's how I get to the individual layers and always have them there. So therefore if I want this one, I'll drag it out and hold option before I let go, so option is being held at the moment I release the mouse and then I can get another one of those frames. This one has a photo that's hidden in there. And therefore I can store stuff that I use all the time. So for my particular company, my company is called Digital Mastery, my corporate colors are black, red, and this kind of tan color. And before I had libraries and things, I could have put them in the swatches panel but then they get cluttered up with all the other junk that's in there. But if I put them here, I don't store all that many colors in my library. I have just this library here for my corporate colors. Then I also try to use a consistent typeface whenever I use text because then my corporate color can be used and my corporate font can be used and it all looks consistent. Well, if I grab the text tool, I click within this document and I say put in some text. I'll select all with command A and now I'm gonna go to my library and this is a character style. It means it contains the font and the other settings related to that text and I can click on it and get it to apply to my image so I can be consistent with what font's used and all that. So let's look at how we can store things in here. First, to store things in here, down at the bottom we have some icons. And if we look at those icons, you can usually hover over them to see what they mean. So if I click here, it's gonna add my foreground color. There's a color swatch in here. And then I can name it. The next one over is gonna add the color of the text that is currently active on my screen. The next one over is gonna add the layer style. Layer style and layer effect, those two words are used interchangeably. That would be drop shadows, bevel and emboss, and other things that you can add to a layer by going to the bottom of the layers panel and using this little FX symbol. We use those on a few occasions. The next icon over is gonna add the character style for the text that is currently selected on your screen. So put some text in there, put it in the font you like, click there. The next choice over would add a graphic. It's gonna take whatever layer or layers are currently selected and put them in here. And then we have something else which is called library from document. And that would grab everything. All the colors used within your document, all the typefaces used within that document, and add them to a library. You can have multiple libraries, which is really convenient. So I have a library, if I go up here to the top of my screen. Right now, this is called My Library. If I click on this menu though, I can switch to others. So here I have Photo Frames hand drawn. That's where I store those actual frames. I don't want them cluttering up the library I'm always looking at. I just grab those when I need 'em. Then I have my main library, which is just called My Library. Should be called Corporate Library because it's mainly my corporate colors, my corporate fonts, my little badge that I sometimes use to watermark my pictures, and then these aren't usually here. We just added those. So I can grab these and throw them in the trash if I'd like. You can view this, cause these are little thumbnails or also as a list. If you find the text is more useful than the visual, that's just an icon up here at the top. And then finally there is an icon down here at the bottom, this guy. I don't know if you recognize that icon, but that's the Creative Cloud icon. And if you have a CC subscription, then what if you have a laptop and you have a desktop machine? If I click on that symbol, if I hover over it, it'll tell me. It says all libraries are up to date. But if I use that by clicking on it to turn it on, it can sync this between more than one computer that's using the same Adobe ID. So I add my little badge here on my laptop, I get home to my desktop, and it can be sitting there waiting for me there as well. So the libraries are nice. I don't use them all the time but I do appreciate them being there. Find it a nice way to keep track of more than one piece that I commonly use. Yes? (mumbles) Save anything to the library without being logged onto my... Creative Cloud? Creative Cloud. So is it storing them-- That is if you have them syncing. In the cloud or is it storing them on your computer? It depends on what the icon is like down here in the lower right. This can get turned off and if it's turned off, then it's not syncing them to the cloud. But I don't know the exact mechanisms there because I only have one computer. And so it's not something I typically use to go between computers so I haven't experimented extensively with what the limitations are of that. Yeah. If you use sources, like I get a lot of things from Design Cuts that I've purchased from another source. Is there a limit to how many you can store? Not that I know of, although your Creative Cloud subscription has a certain storage limitation, like how much space you get on the cloud and I'm sure it's part of that, so there would be some sort of limitation. I don't know what the limit is though because I use it for relatively simply things, small graphics, so I haven't run into it. Is there, I don't know, is there a place where you like to keep a copy of your brushes and your things as a backup copy that you recommend? Well, I have my entire computer being backed up on a regular basis and I use that as my main way of keeping these things backed up. You can do many things like when you're in swatches and when you're in brushes and things, usually you can go to the side menu of most of those panels and save them out as a separate little file. And then you could copy that file to, you know, another drive if you'd like. But for me, it's mainly that I have my preferences file backed up and other things. Because I don't have too many things that are critical in those areas. With the exception of actions, those I do make sure that I have backed up as a separate entity, separate file. So here are some layer styles, by the way, that I might use where I can store them either in the layer styles panel or in the library. If you want to see what this document would look like without layer styles, I will turn them off. You see this relatively simple document, where if I turn off one of the darker layers you can see it's just shapes. We'll talk about creating shapes in a moment. We can use basic shapes in Photoshop to create things. Here I have a gear and just a couple circles. But we can transform that whole thing by using what's known as layer styles. Layer styles are found at the bottom of our layers panel. Just click on the letters FX. And here you have this list. If I turn on the layer styles for each set of these layers, do you see what we have there? That is a texture. To create that texture, I ran a filter that was called add noise and then right after that I ran a filter called motion blur. That produced this texture. Then there's, when we talk about filters, we'll talk about turning something into a repeating pattern. And you can define something as a pattern and it would overlay. So that is just one little effect here, something we could do. And you can build up these effects. Let's turn on the effects on the other layers. Here I have just a little center black circle, you can hardly see it from the image. But I turn on the effects and suddenly it looks like a pretty interesting looking, kind of three dimensional piece. If I turn on all the effects, turn them all off, I can turn these on one at a time to see if you can see how much each one builds up to create the effect. Go down to the next one, turn on its effects. That one's also got a pattern. That one, I'm trying to remember how I made it because I made it so many years ago. It was something that just had black horizontal bars on it, like diagonal bars, and then I ended up doing I think a bevel and emboss on it. Either that or, yeah, bevel and emboss on it, which made it have a shiny feeling. Let's see if I can build it up. But there it's mainly this thing called pattern overlay. Oops, wrong layer. So here's a pattern overlay. Then I put a gradient overlay on it to make one side brighter than the other. Inner shadow to make it feel like it's indented. Bevel and emboss to make it feel like it's got an edge to it. See all those things? And then finally one other piece like that. Now these take a while to experiment with and get to a desirable looking end result. So what I usually end up doing is I experiment with these settings whenever I am watching TV that is not that entertaining. Usually it's when the family wants to watch something that I'm only partially into but I know we should be hanging out, so I'm like "Alright, sure, I'll watch whatever that show is "that you're really into and I'm only 10% of the way into." So I'll be playing with this and watching the TV too. And when I got one of these set up where I really like it, then what I do is I open one of the panels. And the panel is just called styles. And this is where you can save those, those presets. So if you have a layer that's got an interesting looking effect on it, then down here I just click this icon that's the middle one and it's gonna add it as a new one. I'll call it Brushed Metal with Bevel or whatever you want to call it. And it always wants to know should it add it to my current library. That means that library panel we're using so be careful. If that's turned on, you're gonna start getting a cluttered library. It's fine if you want it though. Click okay and now I have that, if I ever want to apply that to anything else, a single click right there would apply it to the layer I'm working on. I can go down to the next layer, do the same thing. I'm not even gonna name them because I'm just gonna look at these thumbnails. So then in the future if I want to change the look of this image, all I need to do is click between some of these. Look, now I got a little jelly looking thing because that was one of my other styles that was saved in here. And come down here and switch the style to other choices and suddenly I can have a completely different looking end result with just a couple clicks. So the styles panel is where you're gonna save a set of the effects that are created using the letters FX at the bottom of your layers panel. That is our styles. Now this actual original document was created using the shape tool. Let's take a brief look at it. I'm just gonna create a brand new document. And down here near the hand tool is the shape tool. If you click and hold on it, there's more than one. And these are really simple tools. You can make rectangles, ellipses, polygons, and so on. But you can create a lot more than what you might imagine here. Let me just give you a little idea. If I use the polygon tool and I create a shape, create that, first shape. At the top of your screen, you have a bunch of different options for how you'd like to work with things. You can type in an exact width and height, you can tell it how many sides that shape should have, for instance here, and the next time you draw one you'll have one with six sides or eight sides or however many you'd like. A whole bunch of things you can do. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna transform this. I'm gonna see if I can do command T for transform. If I end up duplicating this layer, I'll just type command J, remember if we talk about layers, command J duplicates a layer. Then I'm gonna type command T. When you transform and rotate something, usually it just rotates it around the center like it is right now. But there's a little center mark right here, do you see it? What I'm gonna do is move that down here. Now when I rotate it, watch what happens. It's pivoting around that point. So that little center mark is the pivot point. So I'm gonna move it to right there. Then I'm gonna type command J to duplicate it. Whenever you transform something, there's something in here called again, which means apply the exact same transformation over again. So what if I do the keyboard shortcut that's there? Again is shift command T. So let's try shift, command, T. Duplicate the layer, command J. Shift command T. Command J, shift command T. Command J is duplicating the layer, shift command T is transforming it again. Okay? See how we can go around and create something a little more sophisticated with that? We can also come in here and then choose the ellipse tool. And I wish I had marked that spot where I rotated it because that would be the center point, but I can come in here and create an ellipse then to create the center of this shape and now I have a gear. Okay? So you see how you start with something simple, add together a bunch of other shapes into it, create something more complex. And that's how I ended up creating these images. This in the middle is just a circle. This here is a circle with the middle cut out. This is the equivalent to what I just drew, I just didn't put as many teeth on my gear. I mean I rotated it further each time. And so creating like little comical characters like this, that's all made with the shape tool. That is, when you end up going into the shape tool, if you choose the shape that is at the bottom, custom shape tool, that is where at the top of your screen on the right side you can choose different shapes. So you don't have to work with those very simplistic ones. You can get all sorts of others in here. And there's even more than this available if you go to the little side menu that you get with clicking on this gear. Here are entire categories. Or if you choose this, it'll replace all the shapes in here with different choices. So once you get used to using the shape tool, you can create everything from simple shapes to really complex stuff. You don't have to be able to actually draw, so that things like little comical characters, that's just a bunch of circles that have... This one here has an inner shadow on it, so does this one. So the combination of the shape tools and those layer styles put together, you can build up things relatively easily. Here are some of the examples for what was used to create them. Alright, then let's talk a bit about painting. I'll just work with an empty document to start with. We'll grab the paintbrush tool and the paintbrush tool looks pretty simple. It's just a circle that you can change the size of by going up here. Here's your size, and there's your hardness. And we click and drag and we can paint on our picture. Well, there's a heck of a lot more to it than that. We could literally have a whole day on what the paintbrush tool is capable of. Here I just want to give you an idea, clue as to what is possible and then you can explore it in more depth if you feel you'd like to. So if I go to the window menu, there are two areas related to painting. One is called brush. That's gonna bring up my brush panel. That's where I have all the settings that define this brush. The second one is called brush presets. And that's where once I've already defined a brush using the settings in the brush panel, if I want to be able to get back to those same settings again in the future, I save it over here as a preset. I'm gonna take my brush presets and put it over here in this little sidebar and I'll do the same thing for our brush panel. So it's all in this little sidebar. Now let's look at what we can do. I'll start here with something called brush tip shape. That means what shape of brush am I using? And I choose my brush tip shape over here and there are two kinds of brush tips. One is one that is a picture. The other is one that are bristles. And you can tell by looking at the little icons that are here. These are bristle brushes because they look like they have little bristles in a brush. And then if you scroll down further, you see ones that look like pictures, look like little drawings. I'm gonna come down here and just choose one that looks like a blade of grass. See that one there? So that is my brush tip shape. Watch what happens when I paint with it. That's all it does when you're using a brush that's based on a picture. All it does is repeat it over and over. In fact, your normal brush, the kind of brush you've been using over and over when you paint on layer masks or when you just paint on a picture, if it's usually a round brush, all it's doing is putting down a circle, moving over a certain distance, and putting down another circle. That's how that brush works as well. But let's see how I could really transform this into something more interesting. Choose undo. If I come down to the next section here, which is called shape dynamics, I'm not gonna click the check box here because that would just turn that feature on but not show me the settings related to it. I'm gonna click on the name that's here. That both turns it on and brings me to the settings for it. Down here we have a preview at the bottom and let's see what we can accomplish. Anytime you see the word jitter, it means randomly vary this setting. So size jitter is currently set to zero, so the size of my brush does not vary when I paint. But if I bring up size jitter, now when you look at the preview below you see that some of the blades of grass are smaller than other blades of grass. So I can get it to vary that. Jitter means randomly vary this setting. And then by how much is what the slider does. Or if I would rather not have it randomly do it, there's also a pop up menu called control. If I click on control, this means what should determine what does this. One could be my pen pressure. If I happen to have a graphics tablet like I have here, then how hard I push with this pen could determine it. So if I set it to size jitter and I say pen pressure, now when I paint on my image, if I press lightly I get small blades of grass. And if I press harder and harder, I get big blades. That's just by how hard I pushed down on this. So control means instead of having it randomly vary, do I actually want to control it with something. And so I can have it controlled with either the pressure of this pen or with the tilt of the pen because it can sense if I'm holding it at an angle or straight up. And therefore that could vary the size of my brush. There's also a choice called stylus wheel and I believe that would make it so the scroll wheel on your mouse would control it as you're painting. I'm gonna set that to off and I'm just gonna make it so it jitters the size a lot so we vary it. Then down here we have angle jitter, and that means should it rotate these little brushstrokes before it puts each one down? So watch the preview at the bottom when I bring up angle jitter. Can see it rotating them. Now if these are supposed to be grass, it doesn't make sense that they'd be upside down, so I'm gonna only vary that enough so that they're still looking like they're coming from the bottom and not sideways and things. About like that. And again, we have the choice of control, so if I wanted to vary the angle based on the tilt of my pen or something, I could do it. Then we have roundness jitter. And what roundness in this case means is should it scale it in one dimension? So if I move this up or down, do you see it's kind of squishing the tips so they're not being as tall? What it's really thinking about when it says roundness is as if you had a round brush and should it turn it into an oval at some point. Alright, then let's go down to a different category. It's called scattering. I'm just gonna click right on the word scattering and here we have a choice called scatter. Well, if I bring up scatter, it's gonna make it so it doesn't precisely follow where I paint. Instead it can move up or down from that position a little bit. So do you see what happens when I move way out like that? And way down. But it means how far can it deviate from where I was? So if I come over here now and paint, even though I'm painting straight horizontal, you see how it's putting down little things above and below that. So I don't want it so it goes too far away but I want it so it varies enough to make it look like they're not all in alignment. Something about like that maybe. Then we have count and that means how often does it put down these brush tips? If I bring the count setting up, you'll see it puts more and more and more in there. And we can have count jitter, which means should it vary it so it's not consistent? Sure, vary it. So some places it's thicker, more dense, and other places it's less dense. It would literally take all day to go through all these. Let's just look at a section called color dynamics. Because right now our brush is only based on our foreground color. Let's click on our foreground color and choose a nice green for our grass. And in fact I'm gonna change my background color as well and get a darker version of that green. Now under color dynamics, we have a choice called foreground background jitter. Well, look at my foreground and background colors. Should it randomly switch between the two or vary between those two colors? So if I bring that up... Let's first look at what it looks like when it's set to zero. Oh, wait a minute. Hold on. Something is set... Oh, hue jitter is turned way up. I didn't want that. Sorry, I didn't realize a setting was turned on called hue jitter. So now you see that it's just using my foreground color. Choose undo. And I'm gonna bring up foreground slash background jitter. I'll put it up to 100% and now you notice it varies between my foreground and background colors. I might want to have it a little lower so it stays closer to using my foreground color more often. Like that. Then we have a choice called hue jitter and that means should we randomly change what color these bristles are? That's what was turned up a little while ago when it was giving me multicolored. That's when I get this. But if I only have it turned up a tiny amount, then it's still gonna be near my original color. Saturation jitter will randomly change how colorful they are. I'll bring that up a little bit. And brightness jitter will change how bright they are. I might bring that up a considerable amount so we have... Now look at all that. Heck, if this wasn't green, if it was brown and yellow, this could be hair. (laughs) Somebody's kind of bald head, we can put some really bad looking patch in there. Anyway, you get the idea. There's a whole bunch of other settings that are in there, okay? So I'm just trying to give you an idea of them. Just remember, jitter means randomly vary this setting. Control means don't do it randomly, do it based on the pressure of my pen or the angle of my pen or some other setting. Alright. Now once I get this, where I've spent so much time on a brush, I might as well save it. So if I'd like to save this, I'm gonna go to the other little panel which is my brush presets panel. At the bottom of the brush presets panel, I have an icon to create a new brush. And I'll click there and that should let me name this Grass. Now the only problem with that is when I come back to use this brush, it might not look exactly the same. And that's because I have my foreground and background colors set to specific colors and those colors aren't usually saved in a brush preset. If I want those colors to be used every time I do it, then I don't want to use a brush preset. What I want to use instead is a different window called tool presets. Tool presets include, when it comes to the paintbrush tool, not only all the brush settings that you have put in but also all the settings for in the options bar up here at the top of my screen. So that means things like opacity, flow, blending mode, would be added as well. And when I add one for the paintbrush tool, there's a check box when I'm creating it called include color. And that means include my foreground and background colors. So if you end up getting a perfect brush for doing something and that brush is reliant on the color you're painting with, then instead of saving it as a brush preset, save it as a tool preset. A tool preset includes not only the brush but all the settings that are in the options bar that goes across the top of your screen and if you turn on that check box also includes your foreground and background color. And so sometimes that's preferable to just saving it as a brush. Make sense? And you can have tool presets for just about any tool. And with it, there's a check box at the bottom called current tool only. Because if you have way too many of these loaded, then you might have to scroll through to find them. So if you turn on current tool only and I'm in the paintbrush, then I'm going to only have presets for that particular tool. So I can quickly switch between them. And that's another useful thing to have in this little bar over here because it's the kind of thing where you just grab a preset and you hide that little panel and it's not very often you need to use it. Now the other thing we should discuss is the other kind of brush. Remember I said there were two general kinds of brushes. One is based on a picture, which is what we used so far, a picture of a blade of grass. The other is based on bristles. And I don't have extensive experience using bristles but I can give you a general idea for how to think about them. Here in my brush picker, I just went to the very top of my screen when I'm in my brush tool, click here. You can see my normal brushes, the ones that are based on pictures, but then these that look like little bristles, little bristle brushes, I choose one of those. And if I do, then when I next go to my brushes panel and I come up here and I choose brush tip shape, I'm gonna have some extra options right here that control what kind of brush I'm going to be working with. With this, it's useful to have a preview of what you're about to do because it's a different way of thinking. That preview is gotten by clicking this icon down here at the bottom, looks like a little eyeball with a paintbrush. If I turn that on, this is my little preview. And watch that preview as I change the settings for this brush. I'm gonna change the length of the brush. I'm gonna change how many bristles are in it. There's one bristle. And there's a full brush. Also instead of just looking at that preview, look down here at this preview. It shows you what it might look like when I paint with it. Here I can choose how thick the bristles are. Are they really thick and dense or are they thinned out? I can choose the stiffness of my brush. Now the stiffness means if I were to paint like around a corner with that brush, would the brush perfectly follow where I'm going or would it kind of bend as I go around that corner. You know how if you have a brush that's really soft, if you bend it around, the bristles would move and make it around that corner. So the stiffer the bristles are, the closer it's gonna follow the path that I take. And the softer it is, the more it will swing out as I make corners. So with this brush, if I grab my graphics tablet, watch the preview, the one in the upper right? If I tilt, you see it tilting the brush? So it's thinking about the tilt and I'm also trying to get a preview on the image itself. I'm gonna get a smaller brush, down a little bit. And so do you see how when I went around the corner, it got thicker? That's because it would be like having the bristles kind of spread out and move around there. And I might want to come down here and get fewer bristles on the brush. And see if I can get it so you can start seeing a little of the spacing in between them. My thickness all the way down like that. So anyway, you can fine tune this quite a bit. There are quite a few presets that use these and so it can be interesting. You might want to incorporate them though with a different tool in Photoshop. If you click and hold on the normal paintbrush tool, there is a choice called the mixer brush tool. I am not overly versed with the mixer brush tool so I'm only gonna give you some of the basics because I'm not a painting guy. I'm a photographer, that's my thing. But if you don't have any help for using it, then you can be a little bit frustrated. So let me give you a little bit of idea of what this does. First off, there are presets. Right here, do I want to think of it as being dry, moist, wet, or very wet? When it comes to wetness, what it really is talking about is the stuff that you've already painted. Imagine you're painting on a canvas using oil paints. Did you paint this last week and you're coming back today and it's completely dry? If it is completely dry, it should pretty much stay stationary. I can paint things over it but it's not gonna smudge what's there. Does that make sense? Whereas if I just painted that two minutes ago and it's not dry yet, that means the paint's still wet. And if I move my brush on top of it and start brushing right, I might start moving some of that paint along with it. Does that make sense? So if this is set to wet at all... Let me choose a different color to paint with. I don't want that dark. Then when I come in here, do you see the green is moving along with the color? Because what's down there is wet. If I take the wet setting and bring it down to zero, now you notice it's only painting with the color of my foreground color. It's not interacting with what's already there because it thinks of what's already there as being dry paint, so it shouldn't move. So I can bring up wet. If I bring it up to 100%, it's gonna be very wet so it's really gonna completely move as I paint with this. So I can do that. I'll bring my wet down a bit. Then we also have a choice called mix. And mix means... If I turn my wet all the way down, you'll see there is no mix. Mix becomes unavailable. That's because it's only gonna mix if some of the paint sitting there is wet. So I'll bring my wet up. Only when wet is turned up can I mix. And mix means how much should the color I'm painting with right now mix with what's already there? So therefore if I bring mix way up, the color I'm painting with and the color that's underneath should combine a good amount. If I bring it down, it should do so less. But it's controlling how much of the color I'm painting with mixing with what's already on the paper. Load means how much of my foreground color is loaded into my brush. If I bring load down very low, then there shouldn't be much of the color loaded in there. So I can come in here and mainly get, see, I'm just getting the sheet of paper color that I'm painting over and just the littlest hint of my foreground color in there. So load means how wet is my brush with my foreground color, how much have I dipped it in? If I bring it up a lot, we get a lot. Other things that are in here. Over here, we have different settings. This one here would I think clean your brush, this one would load your brush. And if you click right next to it here, you can also load and clean. This shows you what's currently on your brush, as if you just looked at the brush physically. So that means there's nothing on it. So that if you're about to paint on your image, you might only mix and move the stuff around because there's nothing on your brush. Then you can click this icon. I thought that would load your brush but if you look at it, it's supposed to be a little arrow pointing up as if you're putting something on your brush. So that loads it, that should clean it. Anyway, you can experiment with this. And if you experiment with bristle brushes and all those settings for your brushes, you can get some really interesting effects. I'm not a painter though, so I'm not the kind of guy that's gonna use this to create an amazing thing. But it is interesting to work with. Start with these presets here. Experiment with them. Just so you know, these are just presets. All they're doing when you choose one of these is changing all the settings in the options bar. And if this ever says custom, it means you're not using one of those presets, you've modified it so that the settings that are in here do not conform to the preset, okay? Alright, well, I'm not gonna make an ugly picture anymore. I just wanted to give you an idea of where to go if you want to start experimenting with that. Know that the tool that I was just using was not the normal paintbrush tool. It was instead over here called the mixer brush tool. That's the one that gives me the options of wet and load and mix. So it wasn't the normal paintbrush, it was the mixer brush. It's in the same slot though as the normal paintbrush. Alright, well, let's think about tomorrow. Tomorrow we're gonna talk about tonal adjustments and adjustment layers. Just so you know, a tonal adjustment means one that does not affect the color. It affects only the brightness or the contrast of your picture. Now before tomorrow rolls around, you should head over to Facebook and go to that web address right there. That's where you can get on the private Facebook group related to this class. That's where you can ask questions about this and I bet you there'll be a bunch of people in there that are actually painters and things and they'll tell you the little tips and tricks about how to get even better stuff out of those particular brushes. I just wanted to make sure you had a general idea because it's not very common that you find a good explanation of what do these particular options mean. And I wanted to give you some of that. Then you can experiment and talk with your friends on the Facebook group and figure out what you might be able to get for better looking results. Finally, if you want to find me online, here are some of your options. And I hope to see you guys on Facebook group and in our next session of Photoshop CC, the complete guide.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work