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Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Lesson 9 of 36

Saving Files in Photoshop

Dave Cross

Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

9. Saving Files in Photoshop

Lesson Info

Saving Files in Photoshop

I showed you before this idea of using an adjustment layer again, we'll go into more detail but for now let's just say I did something on here and added this. So now I've made a change to this document. If I go to save this, this was a jpeg file and I say was because as soon as you do anything to Photoshop, jpeg cannot have multiple layers so it can no longer be a jpeg. So if I just went to say, well now I wanna just save this when I do the typical file save, you'll see it's prompting me to save it as a psd file because it has layers in it and that's a good thing because we want that. So anything you start out with a single photograph and do things to it in this non-destructive method by adding things on top, they're typically these things called layers which means you can't save layers in a format like jpeg so its prompting me to save psd. So psd is Photoshop document, it's Photoshop's native format and to me, it's the ideal choice because if I'm looking through my hard drive and I se...

e a file called something.psd, that pretty much tells me that's that working file, that layered master file that I know there's more information in it. Just so you know, it is possible to also save these layers in a tiff file, some people do that, and that's fine. For me, I don't like that, because if I look at a file six months from now and it says something.tiff, I don't really know if it's a layered version or not, because it could be either. Whereas, in my world, when I see the name .psd I just know, there's really no reason to save the psd other than to preserve all of these things. So in a circumstance like this, I would save this psd file. Notice how by the way in this dialogue box, there's a check box that says layers that was turned on by default. Because I've added a layer, it automatically assumed, which is great, that I want to save that layer information in this psd file. Then I save it, when I come back later, however later that is and open that same file, it will open just like you see it right now with two pieces of information there. Let's assume that I had done that, I'm not going to just for saving space, but if I did and now I said, well, I wanna still have the option to continue to edit this, so for me, I'd save that psd file, but I need to send this to whoever, client, friend, mom, to say, "What do you think?" I can't send them a psd file because they probably couldn't open it or if they did they'd be confused in what they saw. They just want jpeg. So what I can do is make a version of this that's for delivery. The way I think of it is psd file is my master file, my working file, whatever you wanna call it and anything you make a copy is for delivery, meaning send this to someone, post it somewhere, print it somewhere, it's still going somewhere. So my version has that psd format. Anything going somewhere else, I need to give it in a format that it's easier for them to read which is typically something like jpeg. Jpeg is a delivery format because it does a couple of things: it compresses the file to make it smaller, while still keeping good quality, and it throws away all this other information they don't need to see, okay. So the simplest way to do that is to just save a copy. A command is called save as, what you're really saying, save a copy as, this other format. Now, let me get one thing out of the way right now. Some people would tell you, "Oh, just flatten your file "and then save it." That means you're taking all that nice non-destructive stuff and throwing it away. The term flattening means, take all this layers of information you've given and squeeze it back down so there's no more editing possible. So I always say this in every class I've ever taught. You need to think of flatten as Photoshop's F word. It's bad, you should not use it. So any time you go to this menu under layers and choose flatten image, it should say, flatten image, thus throwing away every opportunity to ever change your mind ever, ever again. Cuz that's really what it means. So you don't wanna do that. So what you do instead is go right here. Save as. So, years ago, I'm pretty sure I used to say save a copy as, I'm not sure why it doesn't say that, cuz that's a more descriptive name. Guess we're really saying, save a copy as what? Well I wanna save it as a jpeg. So I'm gonna ask you to watch closely as I do this. See that check box that says layers? Because it has layers in it, it's prompting me to save as a psd, it's giving me that prompt. Well I've already done that. Or we're gonna pretend I already did. So now I wanna save that version to deliver to someone, so I go down to this version, what format do you want? I want it to be jpeg. As soon as I do that, see what happened? The layer check boxes unchecked and there's a little warning box saying warning, meaning, you can't save layers with it. That's okay. I don't want to. So what it's doing in one step is it's making a flattened version that I can give to someone else while still knowing, I still have all the original information. So this is the safest workflow as to say, yeah, I'll send you a jpeg for you to look at, but that way when they do that, you know they're gonna say, can you adjust whatever, you know you can, cuz you still have all that information available. Including things like, I cropped it and they're like, "Oh, I don't like that crop after all." Well if you cropped it non-destructively, you can in effect uncrop it. If you've adjusted it you can readjust it. If you've painted on it, you can edit the painting because we're doing those in ways that we can do that. The jpeg version is intended to be the air quotes final version that someone can look at and either hopefully say, "Looks great." (mumbles) Would say, "Great. "But can you just?" And I want to be able to make those changes easily. So for me, my typical workflow is get a file into Photoshop, work on it using these things called layers, save that as a psd file, and then, if it is for some other purpose, like sending to someone, I'll save as, once I feel like I'm finished for now at least. Save a copy using that save as command. So in that same folder I'll have psd file, and the same file name .jpeg. So when I look at that just at a quick glance, I could go, delivery version, master version. Cuz the file name, the extension, tells me psd is my copy, jpeg is their version. And it might end up being the literal final version, say, "I love it, it's great, perfect." Would I throw away the psd? No sir. Keep it just in case. Cuz today, they might say it's perfect. A year from now they might say, "Remember that photo? "Can we alter it this way cuz I wanna use it "as my engagement photo or whatever." So I want to be able to, or let me say it this way, I don't want to have to start over again. I want to pick up where I left off. Here by the way is an added bonus of working non-destructively. As brand new Photoshop users, you may not have encountered this that often yet, but it'll happen. If you don't use non-destructive methods, here's what happens to them all the time, and I used to be one of them. One of the beauties of Photoshop is you can just jump in and start trying things, right, experimenting, yeah, it's great, and you end up with a photograph you love. I love the way that looks. It's fantastic. And you save it as a jpeg and then two years later you open it and look at it and go, "How on earth did I do that?" Cuz at the time you were just on a ride, everything was going, like yeah, doing stuff, but then later on, look, I'd go, I have no idea how I made that. I open files I did five years ago, I know how I did it, cuz I look and it shows me in the layers panel, it says oh yeah, I did this. It's like my little history in effect. So it's like you've got this built in ability to repurpose, say, oh that's right, I did this, I could actually use that same thing in this other photograph, lots of opportunities. So that's another advantage of this whole non-destructive thing, the reason why I push it so much is because it helps you, it's not just an approach to take, you might say, "Ah, it's okay." There are so many advantages and that's one I hear all the time people saying, "You open the file "I made a couple years ago and is there any way to tell "how I did that?" I'm like, "Do you have layers?" "Nope." "Well, then, good luck to you, because I don't know "how you could tell." So saving the file now, here's the other thing I would say about saving in general, so let's assume I'm gonna actually save this one as a psd file, so I hit save, it prompted me to save as a psd and I just say, okay save, so from now on, this is now a psd file. So my original jpeg is now sitting out there untouched, so for those people that worry about back up files, that's all kinda happened because I've saved psd, it's now separate from the jpeg. So as I'm working along, I make some change, whatever it might be, I'll just do something for now, so you can see, maybe change to it, and make some beautiful change. As soon as I worked so hard to do that, I don't wanna lose that, so I'll just hit the regular save command now. No dialogue box will open up cuz I'm just saving a version of what I've done before. It's like if you're working in Microsoft Word or something that you type another sentence, you hit save, it just saves the change you've made. Photoshop is the same. So once you've initially saved the psd file, any further save you do just means I'll save whatever additional steps you've done. So not that I ever would expect Photoshop to crash cuz that never, ever happens. But if it, now just on the odd change, I don't wanna have to redo work. So if I've done something that took me quite a bit of effort to accomplish, I'm gonna hit save as fast as I possibly can, so I wanna do that again. So every time I reach some kind of like milestone to say, "That took awhile," save. And some people can say, "What if you save "the wrong version?" Well I almost can't, cuz again I'm building in this method where I still have the ability, I can decide later on, I don't really like that brush stroke even though it was saved, it's still a separate element that I can delete later on. So there's no worry about kind of saving over the top of something by mistake because you're just building a structure of a document that helps you work in a certain way. Make sense? So, for the rest of the course, you'll hear me say so often, you'll get tired of it, that we'll say something like, so of course I would save that as a psd as a master file, then if I need to save a copy, it's something else, cuz that's just the way it is. Now. Can I ask a real quick clarifying question? Tracy asks, "So if I understand correctly, "a .psd is the original photograph with all of "the layers you've added. "You can save in the psd and remove or add other layers "without losing their original formatting "when you took the photo." Correct. Completely lost. Yeah, and that's exactly the point of it is that, unlike other formats like jpeg, where it's a much more permanent psd by nature, and that's, let me clarify, you could save a psd file that was completely destructive because you used, you painted (mumbles) on the background, you used adjustments, not adjustable layers, so you can still make a destruct, psd doesn't save you from being destructive, it just preserves whatever you have chosen to do non-destructively. And there's another question about where is it saving when I hit save, where is it saving to? It's not necessarily, maybe you can speak to that. It's not writing over-- Yeah, basically, when I open the jpeg, it'll open from a particular folder. I've already done it. In this case, let me use the other one. So I'll just add something again. Okay, so now when I go to save this one, it's prompted me to say it was a psd and at first, it's going to make the assumption that you wanna save it in the same folder where the jpeg came from, but that's completely up to you. So in this dialogue box, it's saying, how do you wanna save it? What name do you wanna use, and where do you wanna save it? So those are all within your control, by default, it typically prompts you to save it wherever it came from. So that's why I said very often for me, if I look in a folder, I'll see a file called 1234.psd and right beside it, 1234.jpeg, cuz they're both coming from the same place, but I know psd is my editable version, jpeg is the one that I send. But in this dialogue box, it's up to you where to put it. Okay, and you're not ever writing over that original photo, it's creating a new thing. Well, it's hard to say never because there are some circumstances where I'm updating it for this month, so I might, but on a general basis, I try not to.

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.