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Saturday, December 29, 2007

24.The Zoom Tool

As you might imagine, the zoom tool allows you to zoom in on the image to get a better idea of the actual pixel makeup of a section you are working on. It is fairly easy to use the tool. You simply click on the zoom icon and then click on the canvas.

The canvas will zoom one step for each mouse click. Thus, if you click two times, the image will zoom to a 3 to 1 aspect ratio. You'll see things much more clearly.

Zoom state is recorded in the title bar of the canvas window and to return to a zoom ratio of 1:1 you simply double click the zoom tool icon in the toolbox or use the Zoom 1:1 button in the Zoom options palette.
Don't get confused between zooming and scaling. When You zoom an image, it is only zoomed from your perspective. You have not changed the image at all. If you copy a zoomed image and paste it onto another canvas, it will be pasted in its 1:1 size. If you wish to actually scale an image larger, you should use the menu item Image and choose the "Effects --> Scale" option

23.The Eye Dropper Tool

The eye dropper tool is used to pick up a color value from the canvas. This is a very useful tool because there will be many times when you want to switch colors while painting to a color already on your canvas and you do not want to go all the way through the color chooser dialog.

In these cases, simply click on the eye dropper tool in the toolbox and click on the color you want to select inside the canvas. When you do so, your foreground color in your color boxes will change to the selected color.

he eye dropper tool has a single option which allows you to pick up the exact color or an average of the colors around it. Try it out and see how easy it is to use.

22.The Toning Tool

Like the Focus Tool, the Toning Tool has multiple states. Specifically, the Toning Tool has three states Dodge, Burn and Sponge

The Dodge tool allows you to lighten an image by dragging your mouse across it. This tool mirrors the dodging tool in photography that allows you to cover certain parts of the developing paper so that they are less exposed.

The burn tool works like the opposite of the dodge tool. This tool allows you to darken portions of the canvas by dragging over them.

Finally, the sponge tool reduces the amount of saturation and contrast.

21.The Focus Tool

The focus tool is actually a double edged tool having states for both blurring and sharpening the focus. The state of focus is set using the Focus Tool Options Palette and the icon used in the tool box will be determined by this state

The blur tool blurs an image by decreasing the color contrast between consecutive pixels. The sharpen tool, on the other hand increases the contrast

20.The Smudge Tool

The smudge tool is used to smear paint on your canvas. The effect is much like finger painting. You can use the smudge tool by clicking on the smudge icon and clicking on the canvas and while holding the mouse button down, dragging in the direction you want to smudge.

As usual, you have a host of options which affect your smudge located in the Options palette

For the most part, you will use the pressure option. The pressure option modifies how powerful your smudge is. If you set it to 100%, you will wipe away all the existing paint. Set it to 20% and it will be as if you are trying to smudge dried paint.

Further, you have a few good options in the brush options menu such as "Darken" and "Lighten". Both Pressure and Darken examples are shown below.
Another cool option is the "Finger Painting" option. When the finger painting checkbox is checked, Photoshop will add a little bit of foreground color to your smudge. This mimics a situation in which you actually dipped your finger in a bit of paint before you performed your smudge.
The final option, the "Sample Merged" option is used to blend colors from lower layers of a multi-layered canvas. We have not yet talked about canvases so we will leave this discussion for later.

19.The Eraser Tool

The eraser tool is a particularly intuitive tool. Click on the eraser icon [Eraser Tool Icon] and then click on an area on the canvas and while holding the mouse button down, start dragging the cursor around the canvas. You will quickly see why they call it the eraser tool, it erases.
Like many of the tools we have discussed so far, the eraser has many options which you can select to modify how the tool works. And as usual, you can find the options in the Options Palette.
The first option to try out is the eraser type menu. You can choose Paint brush, air brush, pencil or block. These options affect how the eraser erases. The effects are just as the tools named except in reverse.

Note that when in paint brush mode you have the wet edges checkbox as you would expect for paint brushing

You also have the opacity slide to modify how much of the canvas to erase and the fade tool which you should be familiar with as well as an erase image button which will erase the currently selected item on the canvas completely.

18.Modifying Things on the Canvas

So at this point we have gotten pretty good at getting paint all over everything. We have learned the major tools with which you have to paint. Now it is time to focus on some of the other tools at your disposal. These tools are used to edit, change, tweak or otherwise modify the things already on the canvas. In other words, they do not apply paint to the canvas. Rather, they influence existing color.

In particular, we will look at the Eraser, Smudge, Focus, Toning, Zoom and Eye Dropper Tools.

Illusion at Burning Man 2008

17.The Gradient Tool

The Gradient tool allows you to specify a gradient of color. Using it is fairly easy, you simply choose the gradient tool from the toolbox click on the canvas and drag out an area to fill with the gradient.
We are going to talk more about this tool tomorrow, so for now, just play with it to get used to the basics.

Friday, December 28, 2007

16.The Paint Bucket Tool

The paint bucket tool is another very useful tool. To use the paint bucket tool, simply click on the pouring paint bucket icon in the toolbox.

[Color Box] When you do so, you will see that your pointer changes into a paint bucket and that when you click on the canvas, you can fill areas with the color specified in the foreground color box

The paint bucket tool has all of te usual brush options as well as the opacity slider that we have already discussed for other drawing tools. It also allows you to modify the contents and tolerance values in the Options Palette.

Essentially, tolerance affects how broadly the paint bucket will fill. If set to a high tolerance, the tool will fill all shades of a color whereas if it is set low it will fill less shades. The figure below shows how a higher tolerance means that more shades of red will be filled with the blue color. We are going to discuss the content and tolerance options tomorrow along with other advanced features of the paint bucket. So for now, just practice filling basic blocks of your canvas.

15.The Text Tool

The text tool is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox because it opens the door to a multitude of pre-designed font libraries. These font libraries allow you to create graphical versions of letters using pre-designed formats. Photoshop handles these font libraries just as it would any image. Thus you can do all the same things with fonts that you do with any other image in Photoshop.

To place text based images in your canvas you need only select the text tool from the toolbox and click on the canvas in the area you want the text to appear.

When you do so, the Type Tool Dialog will appear.

This dialog allows you to specify what characters you want displayed and many other font related options such as font type, size, alignment, style and characteristics.

We are going to spend a lot more time looking at how to manipulate text tomorrow, so for now, just get comfortable with the tool.

Notice that when you hit the "OK" button in the Type Tool Dialog, Photoshop will place the text within the canvas, but the text will be selected. Since it is selected, you can certainly drag it around and place it anywhere you want. We will talk more about selection tomorrow.

14.The Airbrush Tool

The airbrush works a lot like the paintbrush except that it continues to apply paint as long as the mouse button. Actually, with the exception of the Pressure slider, the options for airbrush are the same as for paintbrush

The pressure modifies how much paint is sprayed when the mouse is down. To spray paint you simply choose the airbrush tool [Airbrush Tool] click on the canvas and hold the mouse down while dragging. Actually, the effect is very much like an airbrush and you can design some pretty nifty graffiti.

13.The Line Tool

he line tool is used to draw straight lines on the canvas. It is pretty intuitive, you simply choose the line tool from the toolbox, click once on the canvas to specify the beginning point of your line and then drag the mouse to define the line extending from the starting point.

As with the paintbrush and pencil, you have the full range of brush options and the opacity slider to modify the look of your line. [Line Tool] However, the line tool also allows you to modify the line width with the line width textfield, the state of anti-aliasing, using the anti-alias checkbox, and whether or not you want the line to end or start with an arrow using the arrowheads checkbox. In the case of the arrowhead option, you can also modify the shape of the arrowhead by using the "Shape" button.

Try out the tool and make some lines and arrows on your canvas.

Though the line tool is pretty easy to use, it is not exactly the best way to make lines. In fact, most designers tend to use the SHIFT key instead of the line tool to get lines. To draw a straight line with any of the paint or edit tools, you should 1) click on the canvas, 2) press the SHIFT key, and 3) click on a second point on the canvas. Photoshop will draw a line between the two points you specified. Try it out.

You needn't stop with two points either. If you continue to hold the SHIFT key down and click more points on the canvas, you will add more lines connecting all the specified points. Can you make the following design without using the line tool?

You can also draw lines perpendicular to any line by holding down the mouse button while pressing the SHIFT key and dragging in a vertical or horizontal direction

Try getting the following image...

12.The Paintbrush Tool

The paintbrush works much like the pencil tool except that it paints an anti-aliased line that blens
with the background.

Like the pencil tool, you have all the regular brush options as well as the opacity and Fade options. Try them out to see the effects of the options on anti-aliased lines.
Besides the usual cast of options, the paintbrush also has a "Wet Edges" option in the Options palette which when checked, causes the paintbrush to create a translucent line with darkened edges similar to water color painting.

11.The Pencil Tool

Okay, now that we are comfortable with our brush, let us take a look at a specific drawing tool and see what we can draw. Specifically, let's look at the pencil tool.

To use the pencil tool, simply select it from the toolbar by depressing the pencil tool icon. [Pencil Tool Icon] When you do so, you can draw on the canvas. Try it out. And don't forget to modify your brush size, roundness, angle, etc..

As you can see, the pencil tool can be very useful. However, Photoshop gives you plenty of ways to modify the pencil tool even further.

You have already seen the multitude of brush options available in the last section. Try some of the options out. The Screen, Multiply and Overlay options are particularly neat.

Note: If you ever mess something up when drawing on or modifying your canvas, you need only use the "Undo" choice in the "Edit" menu item. This will take you back to where you were just before you messed things up!

However, the pencil tool also has several options which are not generic modifications as well. For one, the pencil tool allows you to modify the opacity of the brush using the opacity slider in the Options palette [Opacity Slider] . Opacity defines how
much of the background color will show through the lines you draw with your pencil. try out a few values (you will need a different colored background to see it work).

Another useful option is the fade option which allows you to streak with the pencil tool. Try it out and notice that you can fade transparently or by using the background color

10.Defining the Brush

Photoshop uses the generic term "brush" to represent any of the drawing tools. Thus, the "paint brush" tool will have a brush and the "pencil" tool will also have a brush. This is a little confusing at first but you will quickly get the hang of the terminology. Actually, it helps to think of a brush as the "drawing edge" of whatever drawing tool you are using. Thus, drawing from Photoshop's art studio metaphor, a paint brush's brush would be the bristles of the paint brush while a pencil tool's brush would be the pencil's tip.

The importance of defining the "brush" is that once defined, brushes can be customized. For example, you can change the shape or size of your brush. Think of a dull pencil point versus a sharp pencil point and imagine the different types of lines the pencils would draw. Similarly, think of the shape of a calligraphy pen versus the tip of a magic marker or even a highlighting pen. Though the default brush is plenty powerful, it is useful to get the hang of working with custom brushes because each type of brush will be better or worse in various situations.

To customize the brush you should access the "options" palette.

Brush Shape
The most common customization you will perform is to modify the size of the brush. To do so, you use the "Brushes" tab in the "Options" palette and choose a larger or smaller brush by selecting from the range given.

Except for the Pencil tool, brush shapes are always anti-aliased. Thus, you can choose both a hard edge or a soft edge by choosing either the solid or blended edge circles.

Customizing Your Brush
Of course, Photoshop allows you to create your own brush if you need something not offered by the set of default brushes.

If you access the Brushes menu from the Options palette flyaway menu, you will see the various operations available to you.

Notice in particular the "Brush Options" and the "new Brush" menu choices. Click on either one of these and you can customize your own brush.

As you can see, there are several factors that define a brush besides size and hardness. You will also be asked to define the spacing, angle and roundness of the brush.

The spacing controls how frequently a tool affects an image as you drag. Turn up the spacing and you get splotchy lines if you drag your mouse quickly over the canvas. A low spacing will track your mouse more exactly

Angle allows you to pivot your brush shape on its axes which is really only useful on elliptical or strangely-shaped brushes.

Roundness is used to modify how elliptical a brush is A value of 100 creates a circle and a value of 15 creates a long, skinny elliptical shape.

Of course, you can also create purely custom brushes or load in pre-generated ones....

Customizing Your Brush
The brushes palette for every paint tool also contains a popup menu of varying brush modes. These modes modify how a tool will integrate with existing color on the canvas.

When you draw something on the canvas, Photoshop modifies the existing pixels in the background according to the logic of painting. Thus if you paint a streak of red over a streak of blue, the pixels in the streak of blue will be changed to pixels of purple.

Thus, you can think of painting in Photoshop as involving three values: the base value, the blend value, and the result value. Brush modes modify the way this blending works. Specifically, modes specify the way in which the blend and base values will interact to create a result value. Let's look at each of the modes...

The Normal mode applies the full blend value. In the case of a painting tool, the blend color will completely coat the base color. in the case of an edit tool, the edit value will completely override the existing color.

The Threshold mode is specific for Bitmapped and Indexed Color images. Essentially, it assures that the color value of the tool is applied according to the closest available color in the color map.

The Dissolve mode, which is only available for painting tools. randomly scatters the blend color to give a rough textured non anti-aliased brush stroke.

The Behind and Clear modes are available in layered images. Essentially, they modify whether the blend color is applied to the foreground or background layer. When the behind mode is selected for example, a color will be applied behind the layer showing through only int he blank or transparent areas.

The Multiply mode multiplies the brightness of the base color and the blend to create a darker tone. The opposite effect can be achieved by using Screen

Overlay works like screen and multiply depending on the value of the base color. Specifically, the hues of the base color will move towards the blend color. Soft light works like overlay with less intensity while Hard light is more intense.

Darken darkens the base color using the blend color as a basis and Lighten lightens the base color by using the lightest value of the blend color. Difference compares the brightness values of the base and blend colors and creates a result value by subtracting the smaller from larger values.

Hue replaces the hue of the base with the hue of the blend. Saturation does the same for saturation and Color does the same for both hue and saturation. Luminosity works the same way for the lightness value.

Help, I'm Lost!!!!
Finally, feel safe in the knowledge that no matter how much you screw with the brushes, you can always return to the default settings by using the "Reset Tool" or "Reset All Tools" options from the fly menu.

9.Choosing a Color

Choosing a color is a fun process in and of itself and Photoshop gives you such flexibility that color choice can be a beginning, intermediate or advanced task.

For the moment, let's focus on the basics of color. Essentially, choosing color involves two decisions: what color should your canvas be (background color in technical jargon) and what color paint should you use to draw with (foreground color)

Choosing foreground and background color is handled in the Toolbox. Near the bottom of the toolbox you will see the color picker squares [Color Chooser Boxes] The square on top is the foreground color and the square in back is the background color. (note that you can easily make the foreground color the background color and vice versa using the little switcher arrows [Switcher Arrows]

To change the color, you simply click on whichever square you want to change. When you do so, the "Color Picker Dialog" will appear.

Choosing a color is easy, you can choose a color by moving your pointer over the desired color in the color chooser square and clicking. Notice in the figure above that we chose light blue. You can see the exact hue highlighted inside the tiny circle in the color chooser square [Color Picker Circle] If you want to change the range of color, simply click on the color range slider to the right of the color chooser square. Notice that the your original color and your newly chosen color will be represented in the "Color preview box" to the right of the color range slider. in the case of the figure above, the old color was light purple.

Of course, the advanced user can define colors absolutely by their RGB, HSB or CMYK values. A complete discussion of the various modes of defining colors on the computer is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but truly, you don't much need to worry about it so long as you can use the color chooser square and the color range slider.

We are almost ready to start making a mess. But first let us take a look at the set of brushes we have at our disposal.

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