How do I begin to study graphic design software?

There will be a time in your life no doubt where you may have heard of words like ‘Photoshop’ being thrown about maybe following a conversation about touching up photographs or editing an image. There may be a time when perhaps the word ‘InDesign’ struck a chord but never really made much sense? Or you may well just be wondering right about now what on earth I am talking about. Fear not as this blog seeks to demystify three of the most important words that all Graphic Designers know all too well! Since the 1990’s, Photoshop has been used by numerous professionals and amateurs to edit images. Contrary to popular belief, one can master Photoshop programs easily in fact since the Adobe suite or Creative Cloud is essentially sophisticated software that needs some understanding and practice to learn.

Let’s start. Photoshop is a software (Computer programs are referred to as software) that has been created by masterminds at Adobe and it is an important component of almost all the graphic design courses we offer at Blue Sky Graphics but any design studio too. The newest version of Photoshop CC comes with a recent update to version 20 and Photoshop actual uses range from the full-featured editing of large batches of photos to creating elaborate digital paintings and artisan drawings that mimic those done by hand.


Photoshop? What is this all about?

It essentially allows the user to manipulate, enhance, improve, mimic, alter and change photos as well as giving the user all the skills of working on photos. Other aspects of Photoshop which are Important are compositing, preparing web files, working with 2D and 3D images and painting with a mixer brush among lots of other super cool tools. In addition to that, a Graphic Design course should teach the advanced layering and how to produce and print consistent colour. There are numerous concepts that the individual may learn. One of these concepts is the basics. In this concept, the person learns how to view documents and acquire images- since often you will need an image or photo to work from just like a canvass. An individual can use a variety of tools and techniques to bring about various desired effects. Some of these effects include layer masks, advanced selections, advanced blend modes and Alpha channels among others.

Photoshop? What is this all about?

Photoshop has long been Adobe’s flagship product and is extensively used for a variety of ventures, business project, marketing campaigns and in studios for many purposes all over the world. The program contains many filters, functions and special effect features that help the Graphic Designers complete their desired task. The exciting thing about the software is that you can edit photos and create images and then place these onto web pages or even onto products-think of that time you picked up a carton of milk at supermarket and saw a black and white spots or a cow emblem. Also think of that other time you picked up a bottle of mineral water and saw those bright green or snow dusted mountain tops all magically created using Graphic Design software.

The software is useful for many people not only Graphic Designers, Artists, Web Designers, Interior Designers Architects and students but also many varied marketing professionals. It is also useful for Photographers and those in the beauty industry, media designers, Interior Designers, and programmers to mention only a few.

Now that we have covered who tend to use it most let’s look and break down its main features and benefits.

Feature: Photo Restoration, Making Selections and Retouching

Benefit: Making selections includes various aspects including using the lasso tool and magic wand as well as the elliptical and rectangular marquees. In addition, it is important to know how to subtract and add across each of the images, adding and deleting channels, exporting and moving selections, transforming and editing.

Photographs can often get damaged over time, weather exposure, accidental water damage or just general wear and tear. Luckily there is some saving grace because with Photoshop you can repair much of the damage.

Retouching is yet another important aspect of Photoshop and this tool repair damaged images, apply repeated patterns, or replace colours in an image. In our course when learning about retouching, the individual learns various colour adjusting methods, selective and global reversion, colorizing grey scale images, removing unwanted details and correcting damaged images. The retouching tools in Adobe Photoshop are: Healing Brush, Colour Replacement, Clone Stamp, Pattern Stamp, and Patch buttons. Lastly, the person learns how to define and apply various patterns. The technical steps to remedy damaged photographs containing spot or blemishes is to the ‘Clone Stamp’ tool which enables painting over the damage, by using pixels from an undamaged area and applying it to the damaged area.

Feature: Website Graphics layout

Benefit: Apart from its photo editing functions, Photoshop is also often used to make graphics for website layouts, such as banners or navigation buttons. The technical steps to make a ‘basket’ button for a for the checkout webpage would be to use the ‘shape’ tools set the fill icon to make the basic shape. Subsequently to give the basket button depth and volume you would use the FX such as Drop Shadow. The text icon can be used to add ‘basket’ to the button. This little effort of design makes outstanding results and is one of the few Photoshop features.

Feature: Resizing

Benefit: Photoshop is often used to resize or ‘alter’ the dimension otherwise known as ‘crop’ images which is basically changing the pixel width and height and resolution.

Animation tool
Photoshop can be also be used as an animation tool. The software is not necessarily built with animation specifically in mind there it certainly some potential as an animation tool. The capacity to manipulate and change a visual within the software allows endless possibilities for whatever you are deciding to do. Photoshop animation is arguably a bit more hard work, but Graphic Designers tend to agree you can get some nice results. Animation consists of several aspects, including previewing animations, exporting animations, using the teen command and how to use the animation palette. In addition to that, in our course here at Blue Sky Graphics you will learn how to use various painting tools. For example, you will learn how to use various brush modes, how to sharpen and blur images, and how to use special effect filters. Other aspects of painting include distorting images, transforming images and advantages of using layering.

Photoshop? What is this all about?

Feature: Painting tool

Benefit: Adobe Photoshop CC offers users the capability to create clearer lines and smoother brush strokes. As they work with the brush, pencil, or eraser tools in the software, they will benefit from a smoothing control which allow them to enter a value from 0 to 100. The higher the value they enter, the more evenness and smoother generally will be added to the users’ brush strokes.

Photoshop entail colour selections and manipulating image modes. In this instance, the individual uses a bitmap mode. A bitmap mode refers to a one-bit image comprising of black and white colours solely. The individual also learns how to use the grey scale mode otherwise known as 8-bit. This colour scheme contains black, white and grey colours. Other colours that may be used include RGB and CMYK among others. If you decide to take a course with Blue Sky Graphics, you will also learn how to use a web safe and out of gamut alerts.

Feature: Frame tool

Benefit: The new Frame tool enables quick ‘clipping’ of content to a shape. It is a recent amazing addition to Creative Cloud version and can convert any shape into a ‘frame’, by right-clicking its name in the Layers Panel choosing Convert to Frame from the contextual menu. The instructions to fill the frame with an image is to drag and drop any image on the frame and that is all. Subsequently the image will mechanically scale to fit the frame. You can also convert a text layer into a frame, enabling you to fill that text with texture or images quicker than was previously possible. Users need only create their frames as layers in the program, but you are able to change what’s in the frames by adjusting which layers are visible in each frame. The technical steps to use this feature is by activating the ‘animation’ panel and in the timeline, menu choosing ‘make frames from layers’ ready to be exported as a GIF file.

Feature: Photoshop in Photography

Benefit: Photoshop programs are increasingly becoming a significant element of photography. This can be attributed to the fact that Photoshop is important in editing images. Consequently, many photographers are increasingly taking Photoshop courses to enhance their skills. Bearing in mind that Photoshop courses cover various aspects of image editing, these courses may be lengthy. Individuals taking these courses start with the basics. Here the individual is taught how to know his or her work area. In our course, you will be taught basic photo correction techniques and layer basics. Other aspects of Photoshop fundamentals include enhancing, typographic design and correcting digital photos, channels, masks and working with selections among many others.

Feature: Layers and blend modes

Benefit: One of the most important components of Photoshop courses are layers and blend modes. The individual can learn how to promote various types of backgrounds to layers. This is made possible using a layer palette. The individual is also able to learn various shortcuts which come in handy while toggling the layer off or on. You will also learn how to link active layers to another layer. Adding various masks to these layers is imperative. To this end, the individual learns various layering techniques.

Feature: Controlling opacity

Benefit: In addition to manipulating layers, you will learn how to control opacity. Opacity may be controlled in various ways such as by use of number keys. Using a transparency lock enables the individual to freeze transparency in various layers. Moreover, the person can edit the layer without distorting the transparency of the pixels. This function is different in various Photoshop versions. Photoshop 5.0 has one hundred layers while Photoshop 6.0 has about 8000 layers. Many Photoshop courses entail numerous key board shortcuts. These shortcuts are instrumental in merging different linked layers. Besides that, the individual can also make clipping groups from different linked layers.

In our Graphic Design course at Blue Sky Graphics, the student first learns all about the basics for Photoshop. The basics consist of several aspects which include palette, tool, status, and menu bar manipulation. After successfully completing the foundations, the student learns how to manipulate print dimensions and resolutions. The student also learns how to resample the image if he or she does not have the required pixel data. The student also learns various shortcuts which they can use to crop images. This is done by using the C or crop tool. Another tool is caps lock which enables the student to toggle between precise and standard cursors Finally, you will learn how to produce composite photographs using various image elements, mask channels, pen paths, and layers among other things while cropping images. Lastly, you will learn how to change image resolutions while cropping the image.

We hope you found this information useful and you may find more information to any questions you may have on our FAQ page 
Our next blog is all about Illustrator and InDesign….

Find more interesting topics