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Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Lesson 2 of 36

Navigating Around Photoshop

Dave Cross

Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

2. Navigating Around Photoshop

Lesson Info

Navigating Around Photoshop

Let's, first of all, talk about kind of navigating your way around Photoshop, just looking at it. When you first launch it, it's gonna open in some layout that Adobe probably provided, and then you can customize that, which we may or may not get a chance to talk about. It's kind of a secondary function, but typically, we have tools and panels, and that's gonna be the core of what we're doing. Now, Adobe uses this concept called a workspace, which is basically recording the layout of where things are. So, in Photoshop, into the window menu, there's a thing called workspace and this list right here are ones that Adobe has provided for you, okay? Now, let me pause and say, I have a great deal of respect for Adobe, mostly. But, there are certain things that they do where, for example, these workspaces, someone had to say, "I think this is "a good layout of information for people "who do photography." Okay, how do they know that? Because everyone's different. So, my point is, just because s...

omething is in Photoshop, like a workspace, or just because there are default settings for particular tools, doesn't necessarily make them good. It just means that there had to be some setting, just like Adobe provided some workspaces to give us an idea that there are these ways where we can lay out Photoshop in different ways. So, for example, if I go under here, "Workspace," and choose one called "painting," it reorganizes, my panel says, "Well, "since you're doing paintings, you probably "want colors and brushes," which kinda makes sense, but I would look at that and say, "Oh, "but I'd also want this or this or this," so these are really just starting points. Over time, once you get to a point of reorganizing the positioning of things, one of the things you may end up deciding to do is make your own workspace so that you know that's there. One of the other things you'll hear me probably say a lot throughout these two days is, having taught Photoshop for years, I find that I often preface things by saying, "In theory," because, or "Theoretically," in theory, if you left all these panels in this position and quit Photoshop, then the next time you launched it, it should look exactly the same. That should happen, and usually, it does. But the reason for workspaces is, is if, for some reason, it doesn't, and it defaults back to some other layout, and you're like, "Wait, where is everything?" By saving one of these workspaces, at least you can put it back the way it was. It's particularly useful if you have a circumstance where more than one person uses the same machine, and they like to put things over on this side, and you're like, "No, they need to be on this side," you can each make your own workspace to kind of identify that, but part of the key point I wanna make here, is a lot of people look at a tool and go, "Oh, this tool "is set to a setting of 50%, whatever it is. "I guess that's a good number." Not necessarily, it's just halfway, so whoever at Adobe's job it is to make this default settings for tools kinda went, "Let's put it halfway," whereas it might be in that particular tool, 20% is a much better setting. So, the lesson we need to learn there is, just because something exists in Photoshop or just because it has a default setting, that's not a suggestion to say you should use it with this setting, it's just, it had to have something. It had to default to some setting. So, over time, what you'll find is as you use a tool more, you'll be like, "I find when I use this tool, I prefer 25%." Well, the good news is, once you change that setting 25, it'll keep defaulting to that from then on, so then that will become your default, as opposed to the one that Adobe provides for you, okay? So, I'm gonna put this workspace back to one that I have created, and one of the things you'll find is there's a lot of panels in Photoshop, and some that we use all the time, others that we get into and get out of very quickly. So, one of the most useful techniques of navigating your way around, to me, is collapsing and enlarging these panels when you need them. So if you look closely, I'll zoom in a little bit over here so you can see what I'm talking about. You see, I have these panels that say libraries, color, swatches, styles, and then layers, channels, paths, and layers is the only one where we can actually see anything, so at any point, if you say, "Well, "now I'm doing some function where I need "to temporarily, for example, choose a color," something we'll talk about in more detail, then all I would do is click on this tab to then reveal that panel, but once I'm finished, double click collapses it again. So a very useful technique is expand, collapse, expand, collapse, because that way, especially when it's something you're not gonna spend an hour using that function, you just wanna get in and get out, so you can make your life easier by not having too many of these panels all over the place. In earlier versions of Photoshop, all of these panels were floating. They weren't all kinda connected like this, which, at the time, that's just the way it was, but now I look at that, and it seems so inefficient, 'cause I realized I spent half my life moving panels out of the way so I could see what I was doing. Back then, they were called palettes instead of panels. But, this idea of having all your panels jammed in one particular area, and just enlarging and collapsing them can be really useful, because then you're giving, to me, what I want is as much room as possible for my image. That's the most important thing, here, is the image I'm working on. So if the panels are covering it up, that doesn't help me so much. You'll also notice that just beside my main panels, there's this little row of icons, and these are additional panels that I don't use, perhaps as often, but they're still important, and these are all customizable, meaning if there's a panel that you think you wanna use, everything, all panels are found under the window menu. So, the ones that I'm ... The layers panel, see how it has a check mark beside it, 'cause that's the one I'm currently actually have active. All the other ones are there. But, for example, let's say that I felt like the histogram was an important panel to have. When I've done that, it's now suddenly popped up right here as this little icon. So, unfortunately, it's just an icon. If you hover over it, if you have tool tips turned on, which is very useful for beginners, once you've used Photoshop for a while, you may rush to turn those off again, because they become annoying after a while, but, to begin with, they're very useful, so now, all of these icons are additional panels that I just click on once. It opens it up so I can work on it, then I can collapse it back down again, so it's kind of expanded the number. Instead of piling them all in this one place where I've got so many little tabs, it's confusing, now I have the option of also having all of these little icons, and I just, again, tap on any of them to open it up, and then tap again to collapse it, okay? And I'm not gonna suggest to you that you should set it up this way, because it's a very personal thing, but if you understand the fact that you have a couple of options for how you display the panels, you know, then that makes perfect sense to you. One of my favorite Photoshop instructors is Julieanne Kost. She's been here on CreativeLive a few times, as well, and she did something recently, and at first, it kinda threw me off, and then I thought, "Wow, I wish I'd thought of that "10 years ago, but now I have a habit." She realized that her tool panel, by default, was on the left side, and all the other panels were on the right side, so she spent half her time moving her mouse back and forth. She said, "Why don't I just move my tool panel, "and put it right beside everything else?" And I was kinda like, "Huh, that's interesting. "I don't think I can do it, "because I have such a habit now "of going to the left side, "but it kinda makes sense to put "everything in one spot," so that's another example of how you can customize it, and once you have done that, it will, theoretically, stay that way, but then, just to make sure, I would be saving a workspace, so that you knew if it ever ... Things did move around, you could get that back again, okay? But that's just an example of how you can make this as personalized as you want, and you'll probably find, like most people do, because, at first, you don't know what all the panels do, so how would you know which ones to add? So start off with the core ones that Adobe gives you, but then, over time, you'll find, I've realized I have not used that one panel in a year, so why is it taking up valuable space in my things? I'll just pull it out. And just to show you what that means, I actually hardly ever use this color panel. There are other ways of picking color that I like better, so if I decided I just don't need it there. It's distracting me, it's clutter, then I just click right on that tab, and I literally drag it out of that area so it becomes this little floating panel. Then I click the x to say, "Now it's gone." So, from now on, every time I open Photoshop, this, theoretically, is the way Photoshop will look, with those panels. So, at first, this is part of the learning process, is just leave things the way they are, 'cause you don't know yet, but the more you use it, you realize, "I've been using Photoshop "all this time now, and I have yet "to use that particular panel," then, yeah, I suppose you could leave it there, but I'm trying to simplify and say, "Just give me the core functions that I need, "not everything." So, over time, this list here, of icons, has got larger, because I think, "Oh yeah, I'm using this project here "for the next two days, so I can do a lot of that, "so I might pull that in there, "so it's just easier to get to." But know that, at any time, if you're doing some function, you realize you need x panel, whatever it is, all the panels are found under the window menu. Some of them, the more commonly used ones, have keyboard shortcuts, so if you're a keyboard shortcut kinda person, you can press the shortcut that's shown to pop that panel up. I don't tend to do that, because most of the panels, the core ones I use, are right here, in that area, so that I know I can just get to it very, very quickly, when I need it, okay? So, that's a key part of working with Photoshop, is kind of the setup of where things are. When I mentioned about Julieanne moving her tool panel over, I'll tell you the other reason that I didn't bother doing that, is frankly, I could probably get away with not having my tool panel showing, because one of the first set of shortcuts I ever learned was each tool in Photoshop, you can just tap a letter to activate the tool. So, in other words, can you see where my hand is, up in the top right hand corner? I'm up there, and I suddenly decide that I need my marquis selection tool. Instead of going all the way back to click on the marquis and come back again, I just remember, it's m for marquis, and now I have the marquis tool. There we go. So, without leaving, I didn't have to go click on the toolbox, so frankly, on a day to day basis, I don't know why I even keep the toolbox there anymore, because very rarely do I actually click on it, because my brain has been able to remember the shortcuts for each one of those, okay? And that's not something I'm suggesting you need to do right away, but it's just to help you when you're trying to get used to kind of the workflow of working with tools and panels is that most of them, the names are quite logical, like m for marquis, l for lasso, c for crop, t for type, others are a bit more of a stretch, like v for move, so, and there's others that I've got nothing, I don't know why they even came up with, it's like, i for eyedropper, okay, that sounds the same. But like, w for the quick selection tool, perfect. And that's because, in case you were wondering, there is a tool called the magic wand, which is w, so it shares the same slot. So, again, not something you have to worry about right away, but if, over time, if you start trying to implement some shortcuts early on, then they'll become easier, and this is the easiest shortcut to start using in your workflow, 'cause it's a single letter. You don't have to worry about command and control keys, or shift, or any of that, it's just a letter. And, one way to learn those, by the way, is if you're unsure, you're like, working over here in this top corner, and you think, "Oh, I need the brush tool. "Brush, hmm," you take a guess, and if you guess wrong, you'll have the wrong tool, but I mean, b for brush, that's a pretty easy one to remember, so just something to consider, which means that you don't have to be quite so focused on worrying about all those tools that we have to learn, 'cause again, remember, we're gonna do a core of tools that are the ones we're gonna use all the time, so those commonly used tools, I would start there and just think about tapping a single letter to activate that tool, and just get in that habit. The only time it doesn't work, which makes sense when you think about it, is if you're typing with the type tool, and you tap a letter, it's not gonna switch tools, it's gonna add that letter to your type, so that's the only time it doesn't work. Dave, we have a couple questions. A couple people have asked if you could just open Photoshop, and just so that they could watch how that happens, and what happens, and ... Yeah, I mean, it's basically, it's like any application, you double click, and the only thing that would happen is, if you don't have any documents open, then the new CC interface looks like this, where you can decide if you wanna open a previously opened file, or make a new file, so I just had it already running, but I mean, launching it is, there's nothing unusual about it. The first time, there won't be any questions or anything, it'll just launch. But they should be prepared, this is what you'll see initially, is kind of this new interface, where it will allow you to say, "Oh yeah, I was working "on this file previously, so I can "double click on that to open it, "or I can use the regular file open command." Now, we'll talk a little bit later about getting files in and out of Photoshop a little more. Cool. So, for now, we're just kinda focusing on the overall concepts of where we're ... What we're doing.

Class Description

Join Dave Cross in this beginner friendly class starting at the very basics with Adobe® Photoshop® CC. You’ll learn how to begin navigating the software and what the best practices and work habits are to approach different projects.

Dave will cover:

  • Working non destructively on your files
  • How to resize, crop, and straighten images
  • Using layers with basic layer examples
  • Adding text, color, and painting to images
  • How to retouch and adjust images using selections and masks
  • Learn how to use the tools you need to create the image you want. Dave will demonstrate using sample workflows that take you through projects from start to finish.

Don't have Adobe Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017



I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.