Spring Design For Journalism – Section 1

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Using Photoshop to actually design something is a bit different than using it to just edit photos. A lot of the same rules apply (like how to resize image, cropping, etc.) but now your LAYERS window becomes extremely important, as does your HISTORY window.

First, your LAYERS window is where you control what LAYER you are working on. When you were editing photos for your photo story you only had one layer (the photo itself) but now you will have multiple layers (each image you use will be ait’s own layer, each piece of text you use will be it’s own layer, etc.) Your LAYERS window is how you control and select what layer you are working on.

EACH NEW PIECE YOU ADD TO YOUR PROJECT SHOULD BE ON IT’S OWN LAYER! To open your LAYERS window simply go to WINDOW>LAYER and your window will open up.

On your LAYERS window you will see a little TRASH CAN icon at the bottom. If you need to get rid of anything on your project, just drag it to that icon.

To the LEFT of the TRASH CAN you will see an icon that looks like a piece of paper with the corner folded up…that is your CREATE NEW LAYER icon. Click that every time you want to add a new layer.

ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE CORRECT LAYER BEFORE YOU DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE TRYING TO DO. The layer will be highlighted in BLUE when you are selected on it. Just click on the layer you want to select it.

Second, your HISTORY window is where you can track the moves you have made on your Photoshop document. If you do NOT know how you got to where you are and need to backtrack, then check your HISTORY window and decipher where you don’t understand something at, that’s most likely where you went wrong.

A few tools we discussed that should accomplish what you want…

1. Magic Wand Tool— The MAGIC WAND TOOL is quite possibly the best tool ever invented for Photoshop. I can tell you are all getting excited, please stay calm and keep reading. The MAGIC WAND TOOL can be used to cut something out of a larger image that has a solid background.

Say I am trying to get this kung fu guy off of the white background that he is on. I would just click on my MAGIC WAND TOOL (which is 3 below your MOVE TOOL, and may be hidden under your QUICK SELECTION TOOL) then click on the white background. THEN I would go up to SELECT>INVERSE on the menu bar at top. That would mean I have now selected everything NOT white in the image. Then I could just go to my MOVE TOOL and then slide my kung fu guy onto my project document.

2. Magnetic Lasso Tool— The MAGNETIC LASSO TOOL would be used in the case of trying to separate an image like the kung fu guy from a larger image that has a bunch of colors in the background.

If I was trying to separate this kung fu guy from the background then I would go to my MAGNETIC LASSO TOOL, pick a point on the image close to the kung fu guy’s outline and click once (no need to hold the mouse down). Then I would just trace the outline of what I wanted to use (be patient and take your time). When you get back to the original point that set, click again (that should connect the marching ants, if not then just hit enter). Then I would go to my MOVE TOOL and slide the kung fu guy onto my project document.

3. Polygonal Lasso Tool—The POLYGONAL LASSO TOOL works similar to the MAGNETIC LASSO TOOL but only works in straight lines. So, if there were a star or a square that you were trying to cut out of an image then you would use the POLYGONAL LASSO TOOL for that. The main difference is that you would click a starting point (again, no need to hold down) and every time you wanted to change directions you would just click again. When you get back to your initial point, click again or hit enter. Then use your MOVE TOOL to slide that piece you selected onto your project document.

They are basically all the tools you will need to know to be able to cut portions out of larger images for use in your projects.

Other helpful things to know are the EDIT>TRANSFORM options.
You can SCALE, ROTATE, SKEW, etc. by selecting the LAYER that you want to work on then clicking EDIT>TRANSFORM and selecting what it is you wanted to do to that LAYER.

JUST REMEMBER: Save your file as a .PSD file in the SAVE AS window until you are completely done with your project. When you are ready to post it then SAVE AS a .JPG file and post the .JPG file to the blog. Keep that .PSD file so you can make changes if you want.

Written by cmlenton

February 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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