T Nation

Photoshop, Anyone?


Calling all photoshop gurus and apprentices!!!!

I bought Photoshop Elements 7.0 since not only does it sound like alot of fun to learn and master, but it will give me an edge/competency as I begin my career (not directly related to digital photography or anything but it should help). I started learning it last week with a manual I bought and so far so good.

This thread is intended to post photos YOU made in any Photoshop program as well as become an information center for any tips from the program pros around here to post and questions from people like me who are learning. Maybe this will flop but why not try!

Anyone else work with this stuff?


I use it daily for work, have done so for about 8 years now.

First started by trying out some tutorials online of basic how-to's as well as reading tips here and there, best way to learn is from experience IMO.

I do some photo editing, but it's more based around generating graphics nowadays.


I use it almost daily too, its not very easy to master but once you do, you will be able to do awsome pictures, it dosent matter if you are a game designer, photographer, artist etc... this program is very useful and once you know how to use it you will also be able to use similar programs easly.

Edit: this escalade-royce was one of my first designs in photoshop*


I do it as a hobby, mostly for online games I play and some facial editing for pranks in school


Cool stuff. That car is completely badass! Well done. What I've been doing is going through my manual (it's from the Missing Manual series) and each time there is info on a new skill, I spend some time doing it over and over again and learning the shortcuts over and over again and fiddle with it until I can't take it anymore. Experience seemed to help me remember and I can see it's really about getting more familiar with it over time.

How long does it usually take to "master" it and actually know how to use each button in Photoshop? I assume awhile but I hope with time I'll get there. Maybe once I get a bit better I can post some work. I'll have some tinkering questions I can post later in case anyone can give a hand.


That depends, after all this time I am still learning new things every now and then - there are certain tools that I never use, which I will probably never "master" because I don't need to. I'm sure the same will go for you as you learn.

And yeah, repetition will instill the tools and shortcuts in your mind so that it will become 2nd nature.


Here is one I did of my head on a statue. There's a lot more where that came from.


It depends really, but there is always something new to learn :slight_smile: thats the fun of it.

Yukon Buggatti :slight_smile:


x2 Agreed, you won't be using every button in your day to days.

All I can say is master the hotkeys (shortcuts) --I used to write 5-10 new ones a day down on a piece of paper and tape them to my monitor to remind to use them each time.
It makes you alot faster and more competent.

Ps is quite "deep" software and complete mastery is elusive.....so don't sweat it.
Identify what you want to use it for and get good at that.

Here is something I knocked up two days ago.


Looks cool man.


Here is my first masterpiece! This is while learning how to superimpose a few images on the dolphin pic. I got the gothic building in there by way of inversion and the leaf there from the magic extractor. Oh yea, very badass.

And about what you said . . . good to know. It's stuff like that I was wondering about. The thing is, I have no needs for it since I'm learning it for the future so I don't have any "assignments." So, I'm learning every tool in the book and then will realize which will be more important day to day later. But I'm already starting to build preferences like the fact that I don't enjoy using the magic wand so much for selections and would rather take my time with the brushes.

But since I have no specific task to learn things, is there a place you all think has "assignment-type" of stuff I can use for practice (either a book or a website)? After finishing my manual down the road I was thinking of taking a few sessions of photoshop class to see if I can get anything out of that or is that unneccesary?


In addition to my question above, here are some that I've wondered about while learning so far. Feel free to add any info to any of the questions above/below.

  1. Is there a point to using the marquee tools for selections? So far I don't see it.
  2. Do you ever change the pixel dimensions for photos (web only)?
  3. Concerning resampling, when I change the PPI to greater while keeping the dimensions the same, it gets more pixelated as opposed to less. Is there a certain document size combo for resampling smaller so it looks better?
  4. By changing pixel dimensions for web only photos, does it affect resolution at all? I don't think it does but would like to verify.
  5. Is the "adjusting skin tones" button actually useful since it changes the color of the rest of the photo as well?
  6. In the marquee tools, you don't have the option to select anti-alias . . . is that an issue?
  7. Are there times when you don't do the auto smart fix, auto levels, auto contrast, and auto sharpness? In other words, how useful are they as opposed to manually changing the levels?

Let me know if these questions don't make sense!


I use those all the time; cutting out circular/square shapes and general trimming of photos and shapes & using the vertical/horizontal marquee as a selection to align objects to.

Huh? Do you mean do I ever resize photos for web? If so yes. If you mean change the PPI or resolution, then no - always 72 pixel/inch.

You can't simply increase the PPI on an image and have the quality stay the same or get better. Otherwise, what would be the point of using large images, if you could use small ones and just resample them to 1000PPI without loss or even with increased quality? You are essentially stretching the image out and will lose quality.

So for your second question, to my knowledge, no there isn't. You can't just scale things up and increase or keep quality (well, you can to a certain level, but nothing more than a couple hundred pixels). I think there are plugin for PS which do supposedly resample images, but I haven't tried them so I'm not sure how effective they are.

Also, if you transform (Ctrl + t) an image and then scale it up, and apply the transform, you've lost quality. If you resize it back down, you won't have the same quality as you did before, you'll have to either step back or re-import the image.

Again, pixel dimensions is the resolution or the size of a photo. If you create a 500x500 pixel image, that's it's pixel dimension & resolution (same thing). I may be misunderstanding what you mean.

There's an "adjusting skin tones" button? It may be, you just have to see how the image responds to the effect.

Not for me, and I use precise edges and document sizes all the time.

Depends. Some photos will react well, some not. You just have to try it and it see if it works. I mostly use the brightness/contrast + levels settings and then work from there. Auto sharpness usually leaves the image looking quite harsh from what I've seen, don't like that at all.

Since you are mainly messing around and learning, I would get Photoshop CS4 and learn from that - even a trial will do. The changes that have occured from 7 -> CS4 are pretty cool but can be confusing in one big jump, especially if you're just starting out.


A white square with a red x in it? I wasn't expecting Picasso, but really, this is the best you could do?


LOL Thanks for the laugh. Maybe now it will upload?

This is while learning how to superimpose a few images on the dolphin pic. I got the gothic building in there by way of inversion and the leaf there from the magic extractor. I could have "feathered" it to make it look more realistic, but decided not to since that would infringe on my artistic vision.

I'm a genius!


Okay, my point is just that pretty much anything you "select" is not perfectly rectangular or circular but I get what you mean so that's a plus. I guess I'd use it more as a border than to select a specific image.

I understand resizing the photos for a specific slot in the website or something, but what about sending to other people? Do you ever resize it for casual use like that? But I do know not to touch the PPI for web only pics so I'm learning!

The author of the manual I got says optimal PPI for print photos is 300. I do know upsampling destroys the quality and before resampling I understand it is important to make a duplicate before playing with the document pixel settings. But maybe I shouldn't deal too much with caring about this right now if I'm not printing photos? Just trying to understand resampling better.

I guess I meant clarity when seeing the photo. Changing the pixel dimensions will obviously make it bigger or smaller but is quality an issue like it is when resampling? Or does it ONLY affect the size and not quality?


As the manual said, the auto buttons could have different effects on different photos so I guess it's a trial-and-error.

But CS4 is expensive. My mom actually has CS3 and when I actually am competent in Photoshop and need more outlets for learning this stuff, then I can upgrade to CS4 for cheaper . . . although CS5 may be out by then anyways. I'm not using either in my job so maybe that's something I can deal with down the line.

Thanks for the input!!


I should point out that paying for software is overrated...

I do a lot of painting in photoshop:

I also use it to touch-up or color more traditional artwork:

And if you missed it in one of the epic eliteballa threads...


I'm noticing a trend...


I have been learning web/graphic design and developing on my own for a while now all self taught. Obviously this isn't a career but I did a few freelance jobs in the past.

I did this poster board a while ago for a friend who was entering his car to shows... meh couldn't find anything better to post.


I use them every day as they are fast and with practice you can get really speedy with them.
They are good for cutting out big chunks of useless shit quickly, and then if you need to refine a selection further go to your brush tools for detail and accuracy.
It's a time versus result kinda thing.

If you mean for sending pics to people via email etc (casual use?) then yes sometimes, because obviously huge files are very slow to upload and send--for critical use --no, if I have to comprimise image quality with compression.
But like the man said if it's for web use then 72px is the norm.

I almost never use them and do it all manually, which when you know what you are doing is fairly quick and painless.
For really quick stuff where quality is not a huge issue I will use them .
After a while you can tell by looking at a photos lows, mids and highs balance if it will respond well to the auto washer treatment or not.