The Photoshop Desktop

After the launch process is complete, the Photoshop desktop consumes the foreground. Figure 2-3 shows the Photoshop 6 desktop as it appears when an image is open and all palettes are visible.

Toolbox Options bar

Menu bar

Docking well

Toolbox Options bar

Menu bar

Docking well

Magnification box Image window controls

Preview box Color controls

Task bar

Mask controls

Figure 2-3: The Photoshop 6 desktop as it looks on a 17-inch screen.

Magnification box Image window controls

Preview box Color controls

Task bar

Mask controls

Figure 2-3: The Photoshop 6 desktop as it looks on a 17-inch screen.

Many of the elements that make up the Photoshop desktop are well known to folks familiar with the Windows environment. For example, the menu bar provides access to menus and commands. You can drag the title bar to move the image window. And the scroll bars let you look at hidden portions of the image.

Other potentially less familiar elements of the Photoshop desktop work as follows:

♦ Image window: Like any halfway decent product, Photoshop lets you open multiple images at a time. Each open image resides inside its own window.

♦ Status bar: Just above the Windows taskbar sits Photoshop's status bar, which provides running commentary on the active tool and image. (If the Status bar doesn't appear on your screen, choose Window ^ Show Status Bar.) The left end of the status bar features two special boxes. The magnification box tells you the current view size, and the preview box lists how much room the image takes up in memory.

For complete information on the magnification box, read the "Navigating in Photoshop" section later in this chapter. The very next section explains the preview box.

♦ Toolbox: The toolbox icons provide one-click access to the various Photoshop tools. To select a tool, click its icon. Then use the tool by clicking or dragging with it inside the image window.

Photoshop 6 not only offers several new tools, but new tool groupings. The crop tool, for example, now has its own apartment instead of sharing quarters with the marquee tools. For a summary of these changes, read "The tools," later in this chapter.

The bottom four rows of the toolbox contains controls for changing your paint colors, entering and exiting the quick mask mode, changing the screen area available for image display, and switching to Adobe ImageReady (which ships with Photoshop).

♦ Floating palettes: Photoshop 6 offers a total of 12 palettes, one more than Version 5. (This number excludes the toolbox and the new Options bar, which are technically palettes as well.) Each palette is said to be "floating," which means that it's independent of the image window and of other palettes. Palettes can be grouped together or dragged apart to float separately according to your tastes.

Two palettes found in earlier versions of Photoshop, the Options palette and Brushes palette, take on a new look in Version 6. Controls formerly contained in the palettes now appear on the Options bar, labeled in Figure 2-3.

For more information on the Options bar and other palettes, see the upcoming section "The floating palettes."

♦ Docking well: The gray bar at the end of the Options bar is the docking well, another window item new to Photoshop 6. You can drag palettes to the well to save screen space but still keep the palettes easily accessible. For more information, see "Rearranging and docking palettes" later in this chapter.

Note Unfortunately, the docking well is only visible if you use a screen resolution with a horizontal pixel display of more than 800 pixels.

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