A Beginners Guide to Photoshop CS5 Workspace

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is a software application used to enhance, manipulate, and even create images from scratch. It has become such a well-known and popular product that the name ‘Photoshop’ is often used a verb in conversation. It has been welcomed by graphic artists designers and amateurs and probably almost every poster, magazine, billboard and brochure you see nowadays has been made or edited in Phototshop. This article is designed to give the newcomer an overview of Photoshop and hopefully explain the workspace and some of the basic features of the program. There are really three components in play in Photoshop CS5 you have Adobe Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop itself.

Adobe Bridge.

You can access Adobe Bridge by clicking on the brown icon at the top of Photoshop in the applications menu, it can be accessed by all parts of Adobe Creative Suite 5 and is included in the stand-alone version of Photoshop CS5. It provides many features to manage and organise you digital images. As you open a new set of images in Bridge you may rank and rate them so you can concentrate on the best images and then even share them with others online.

Camera Raw.

Camera Raw can be accessed if you open an image in Mini Bridge also found on the applications menu, then right-click on the image and choose open in Camera Raw. It allows you to correct and enhance your images with a very user-friendly interface which implements a set of sliders, you can alter exposure, recover highlight and shadow details, you have sharpness and contrast options and you may optimise the colour and tone.

The Workspace.

Photoshop’s workspace can be a little overwhelming at first sight to a Photoshop beginner but there are basically five main parts: The Application Bar, The Options Bar,The Tool Panel, The Document Window, and The Panel Dock, lets look at these individually.

The Application Bar.

The Application Bar which has been around since CS4 is located across the top of the screen. It is made up of the old menu bar, launch buttons for Adobe Bridge and Mini Bridge, a Zoom menu, a tool for viewing extras, and a tool to arrange your documents if you wanted for example to view more than one at a time. The Menu Bar allows you to do many things, manage and edit files, control layers, manipulate your images etc. You also have your workspace switchers, Essentials appears by default but you can change for example to Design, Photography, 3D, there is even a workspace entitled ‘Whats new in CS5’ to highlight the newest features.

The Options Bar.

Underneath your Application bar you will find the Options Bar, this will give you options relating to whichever Tool you have selected at the time, for example if the Brush Tool is selected you have options like Opacity, Flow, and a drop down menu to select your brushes from

The Tool Panel.

When you open Photoshop the Tool Panel can be found to the left of the screen, Tools of a similar functionality are grouped together, the small triangle at the bottom of certain Tool icons is an indication of hidden tools, you may hover your mouse over the icon to view the Tools underneath. There are three groups of Tools, the first appear at the top and we can call these Selection Tools, next is the Retouching and Painting group, and then you have the Vector group, these groups are separated by a thin line on the Tool Panel, the last icons are to do with things like 3D object rotation, you also have the Hand tool here, and below you have your Foreground and Background colours by clicking on these you can access your colour picker, then at the very bottom you have the an option to edit in Quick Mask mode which can be used for example alongside the Brush Tool to paint a Mask onto a specific area of your work.

The Document Window.

This is where the file you are currently working on is found in the central area of the screen, you may view multiple documents at one time, this can be useful for example if you want to drag one image into another.

The Panel Dock.

The Panel Dock is to be found running down the right hand side of the workspace, by default we see the Layers, Adjustments and Styles panels. You may rearrange the order by clicking on the tab of a window and then dragging it to its new position. All of the panels may be accessed by clicking on ‘Window’ on the Application Bar and the simply checking the panel you require.

I hope this brief article has been of some help in learning to navigate the Photoshop workspace, good luck.

Photoshop Alternative – 4 Websites That Work Similar

Photoshop Alternatives – Generally, Photoshop and Adobe always tied for image modification terms. Hence, a digitally manipulated images are often called ‘Photoshopped’ aka had modified in Photoshop.

I would say that for image modification, Photoshop is one of the best software for that purpose. But hey, it’s not the only one. There are many software which created for image editing. For example, there are some alternative software like The Gimp aka GNU Image Manipulation Program (open source) and Paint.NET (was initially developed as an alternative to Microsoft Paint or Paintbrush).

But today, there is no need to always use software to modify image / photo. Thanks to a new advanced web technologies, now a website can be used for that activities. What you need are only a browser and an internet connection. Then ‘photoshopping’ act is on the roll (and keep your wallet in the pocket, it’s free)

Here are the list of four web sites which can be used as a ‘replacement’ of Photoshop.

1. Pixlr.com

Pixlr become popular in 2008 and now it still the best image editing site on the internet. It’s a surprise how the design almost look like Photoshop.

Pixlr is like an old version of Photoshop that can be accessed via browser. One interesting feature from this web application is it support layering. This site is worthy as the main alternate for those who need to edit some images online. Not only can pull image from your hard drive, but also get image from any web page.

2. Photoshop.com/tools/

Well, It’s not fair to show website for image editing alternative without mentioning the fact that Photoshop also has a site named Photoshop.com.

In this site, users can upload and manage their collection of images and photos.

Image editing feature only works on simple modification such as adjust color and give some effect. There is also ability to add some cartoon decoration on image.

All you have to do is register as a member and you’ll be able to use it’s features.

3. Phixr.com

Phixr’s capability is not like Pixlr, but it’s worth enough to be an alternative for simple image editing on web. We’ll feel more relaxed when using Phixr compared to Pixlr that tend to be “more serious”.

Most process in Phixr required user to first select the area to be targeted, and then choose the desired effect.

One more interesting thing is users can pulling some images from their Facebook account to be processed in Phixr. In addition there are also options to access other image hosting services, such as Flickr and Photobucket.

4. Drpic.com

One more site which can be alternate to image editing is DrPic. It’s simplicity for easy navigation become a great factor that most people like. Some good features like Raised Frame effect or Polaroid automate the process for editing an image to become more better look in web.

DrPic also has a service for users to upload and save their edited image. It’s no wonder since the same party (DrPic maker) also provides online image re-size service one by one as well as batch (re-size a lot of images at one time) and image hosting.

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IMPORTANT NOTE:

Each web application’s performance will vary depending on:

1. Computer Ability

Because certain applications / features will continue to use CPU resources such as memory and processor

2. Internet Connection Speed

As it would be more often to transfer data back and forth between a web application server and your computer

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Different Ways to Share Photos Online

There is no questioning the fact that digital photography has changed the way that we experience photographs. In just a few short years we’ve moved from mailing photos back and forth or printing doubles and triples of important events to simply attaching or uploading our fondest moments and sending them away, instantly available to view or distribute.

There are many different ways to keep in touch besides email and some of these ways are extremely effective at helping you stay connected with people you know. Let’s check out a few great sites and see what they can offer.

Facebook Frenzy

The site that needs no introduction, Facebook is one of the giants of social media. People use it to keep track of old friends, ex-classmates, and a wide variety of other associates, but it also features a relatively strong section for uploading and sharing photographs. Facebook allows you to post pictures, create custom photo albums and connect with your friends and family with Facebook accounts in a fast and simple way. The only major downside with Facebook is that they compress and resize your high quality pictures. So, if you want to take advantage of the site’s other features (like it’s social games and status updates) this site is a good choice, but if you want something exclusively for photos without any image quality loss, then Facebook probably isn’t the best choice.

Fabulous Flickr

Flickr is one of the absolute best ways to share photos and caused a revolution with its innovative photo tagging system. Like Facebook, users can tag other people, however with Flickr you can tag groups, objects or places letting you add great context to your images. In addition to their ridiculously detailed tagging system, Flickr has a few great options for printing your photographs or making them into gifts such as greeting cards or posters, and features a pretty robust set of tools for editing your images. And another great thing about Flickr is that it’s free so you can keep in touch with loved ones without spending a dime.

Photoshop Online

When it comes to photo editing, Adobe Photoshop is the industry gold standard. Any and all professional photographers that work in digital either use Photoshop for their editing or have done so in the past, so it’s no wonder that the online version of the tool is far more advanced than any other site’s. Photoshop Online isn’t just for editing as it also allows you to upload and store up to 2 gigs free with no image shrinking or quality loss. The other great thing about Photoshop online is that it allows you to export directly to Flickr, Facebook, or a wide variety of other sites. This is great because you can do your editing with their online tools then use the sharing method that works best for you and your friends.

All in all, there are too many photo sharing sites to count and we sadly don’t have room to talk about them all. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s always best to take a tour of the site and get a feel for their philosophy before you commit time to trying to make it your photos’ home on the web. Some sites offer powerful editors, while some offer a more social approach that is less focused on the images and more on the stories. No matter which one you choose, just remember that the most important thing is that you’re staying in touch with people that care about you, and in the end that’s the only important thing.