What Photoshop is designed to do

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Adobe Photoshop is an image editing program. It is designed to help you edit images, digital or digitized images, photographs, and otherwise. This is the core purpose of Photoshop. Over the years, Photoshop has grown and developed, adding features that supplement its basic operations. But at its heart, Photoshop is an image editor. At its most basic, Photoshop's workflow goes something like this: You take a picture, you edit the picture, and you print the picture (as illustrated in Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1: Basic Photoshop: take photo, edit photo, print photo. Drink coffee (optional).

Whether captured with a digital camera, scanned into the computer, or created from scratch in Photoshop, your artwork consists of tiny squares of color, which are picture elements called pixels. (Pixels and the nature of digital imaging are explored in depth in Chapter 2.) Photoshop is all about changing and adjusting the colors of those pixels — collectively, in groups, or one at a time — in order to make your artwork look precisely how you want it to look. (Photoshop, by the way, has no Good Taste or Quality Art filter. It's up to you to decide what suits your artistic or personal vision and what meets your professional requirements.) Some very common Photoshop image editing tasks are shown in Figure 1-2: namely, correcting red-eye and minimizing wrinkles (both discussed in Chapter 9); and compositing images (see Chapter 10).

Astronaut image courtesy of NASA

Figure 1-2: Some common Photoshop tasks.

Astronaut image courtesy of NASA

Figure 1-2: Some common Photoshop tasks.

Over the past few updates, Photoshop has developed some rather powerful illustration capabilities to go with its digital imaging power. Although Photoshop is still no substitute for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop certainly can serve you well for smaller illustration projects. (Keep in mind that Photoshop is a raster art program — it works with pixels — and vector artwork is only simulated in Photoshop.) Photoshop also has a very capable brush engine, which makes it feasible to paint efficiently on your digital canvas. Figure 1-3 shows a comparison of raster artwork (the digital photo, left), vector artwork (the illustration, center), and digital painting (right). The three types of artwork can appear in a single image, too. (Simulating vector artwork with Photoshop's shape layers is presented in Chapter 11, and you can read about painting with Photoshop in Chapter 14.)

Figure 1-3: You can use Photoshop with raster images, vector artwork, and even to paint..

By using ImageReady, the partner program to Photoshop (installed with Photoshop into the same Photoshop folder), you can create advanced Web graphics, such as rollover buttons and animations (see Chapter 17). Photoshop even includes special features to help you create an entire Web site to display your artwork (Web Photo Gallery), and a feature to prepare onscreen presentations, complete with transition effects between slides (PDF Presentation). (Read about Web Photo Gallery in Chapter 4 and PDF Presentation in Chapter 16.)

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Learn Photoshop Now

Learn Photoshop Now

This first volume will guide you through the basics of Photoshop. Well start at the beginning and slowly be working our way through to the more advanced stuff but dont worry its all aimed at the total newbie.

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