Mastering Photoshop: 5 Tips | Khara Plicanic | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Tip #1

    • 3. Tip #2

    • 4. Tip #3

    • 5. Tip #4

    • 6. Tip #5

    • 7. You Did It!

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About This Class

Struggling with how to approach Photoshop? Is it feeling more overwhelming than fun?

We know Photoshop is powerful, inspiring, and filed with endless possibility. But, let's acknowledge that it can also be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn. And just when you think you’re getting the hang of it, you realize you’ve barely begun to scratch the surface. 

To make sense of it all, it helps to have an understanding of what I call Photoshop Philosophy. In this short course, I’ll share five tips for approaching Photoshop in a way that puts you at ease and minimizes frustration, helping you get past whatever hangups or insecurities might be blocking your progress.

This class is great for newbies and advanced users alike.

So take a deep breath, grab a cuppa, and let's do this!

PS: Don't forget to download the included Keyboard Shortcut Guide!



Meet Your Teacher

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Khara Plicanic

Inspiration & Know-How for Creatives


With a passion for simplicity, my courses are geared towards beginners. I take great pride in demystifying topics and concepts in a way that not only empowers new learners, but is also a whole lot of fun. Join me on a new learning adventure!

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1. Welcome!: my name's care puts in it, and I've been a professional photographer and full out Photoshopped nerd for a really long time, like since in 1900. But a shop is fun, but if we're being honest, it can also be really overwhelming. There is a lot toe learn. So how do you get to the other side to that place where even if you don't know everything you know enough to feel confident and capable, it helps to have an understanding of what I call voter stops philosophy. In the short course, I'm gonna share with you five Photoshopped truth that will put you at ease and reduce a lot of your frustration. This class is great for anyone who's new to Photoshopped, as well as those people who may have doubled in butter shop and now feel stuck. Let's get started 2. Tip #1: number one is there is more than one way to dio pretty much anything. So the good news is that there's no right answer. Photo shop is not like math class where two plus two equals four and put a stop. As long as you're getting the result that you're after, then congratulations. You are doing it right. So to prove my point here, I'm gonna show you three different ways to accomplish a very simple tasks like just changing the background color in an image. So don't feel like you need to follow along. I'm not intending for you to do this along with me. I just want to show you a quick overview to really make the point that there's more than one way to do even the simplest of tasks. So let's take a look here. We have this egg image and we're going to just change this background in a few different ways. So let's do the magic wand. And I'm just going to click to select this background over here, and I'm gonna pull up Hue saturation command and will drag this down. Teoh, let's say minus 50 sounds good. So we went from blue Teoh Sea foam green. Okay, so we'll go ahead and click. OK on, then. I'm gonna save this to my desktop because you save everything. Care desktop, don't you? Of course you did. We all do. It's OK. We'll call this one egg one and go ahead and save it. Now, I'm gonna undo those changes and go back to the original image and do the same thing a different way. So let's undo this. This time I'm going to use be quick selection tool. And instead of selecting the background, I'm gonna select the egg because I can on. Then we're gonna flip that selection inside out to get the background again. And this time, instead of using hue saturation directly on the layer, we're going to do it in an adjustment Where so, down from the bottom of the layers panel, I'll click the adjustment layer icon and select hue saturation, and we'll drag this down to minus 50 and we'll save this one as egg to. So now we're gonna revert back again and I'll show you 1/3 way to change that background color. This time, we're going to do it by going to the Select menu and choosing color range, and I'm gonna click Teoh, select this area right there. We'll go ahead and click, OK, and this time, instead of just making a hue saturation adjustment of one kind or another, we're going to just at a color film. So we'll go back to the layer adjustment button and choose solid color, and I dio know that I paid that much attention to the exact shade of green. But that looks pretty close. We'll call it good will save this one as egg three. So the cool thing about having so many different ways to do things is that you have a lot of freedom. And what I really have enjoyed on my own personal learning adventure is that the more people that you learn Photoshopped from or take classes from or read books by then the more different ways you learn of approaching things. So it's kind of cool and gives you a lot of different aces up your sleeve. So join me in the next segment and we will take a look at these three different files and what the differences while we talk about Photoshopped philosophy and truth number two 3. Tip #2: but a shop philosophy and truth number two is that flexibility is key. So as we saw, there's more than one way to do everything pretty much. And while there's not a right way to do anything, and I really, truly mean that there's not a right way. But there definitely are ways that are more advantageous than others, and it kind of depends what you're trying to do and the image of course, that you're working on. But generally speaking, when you're choosing between one way of doing something and maybe another way of approaching it, you want to think about giving yourself as much flexibility as possible later on. So let's take a look at those three files that we created in the last segment, and I'll show you what I'm talking about. Okay, so here is egg number one. So remember in this one, we used the magic wand tool, and we just selected the background and quickly changed the hue saturation by just pulling up that commanded doing it directly on the layer itself. So what does that mean? We have a beautiful image here. It looks great. Let's take a look at our layers panel so we just have a background, right? So this image is kind of baked. We saved it as a J peg because it didn't have any layers other than the background. So there was no reason to really save this as anything else. So we kept it in its original format, and now it's kind of stuck. So if we wanted to change the color of the background, we would have to start over and just repeat the whole process from scratch. So while we did accomplish our goal of changing the background color, we didn't do it in a way that makes it easy to make changes to later. For that, let's take a look at a file number two. So this one and two, we used the quick selection tool. This guy right here, we selected the egg, we inverse it, we got the background. And instead of making that adjustment right on the layer, we did it over here with a adjustment layer in the layers panel. So what does that mean? Well, I can teach you all about adjustment layers in another class, but for right now, just know that they give us a lot of flexibility. So now I can double click on the adjustment itself and we get right back to this Hugh adjustment that we made so we can see that we dragged it down to negative 50. So if we're looking at this and were like, you know what? Maybe I want to tweak that a little bit. What we have to dio is drag the slider and we can bring it back to the way it waas. We could make it pink. I mean, that's kind of fun. Why am I having so much fun with this? Pick a color already. Let's move on. Okay, so you see what I mean? It's easy. Teoh Bank adjustments. You have a lot of flexibility and you don't have to repeat your work. So because of this adjustment layer, we saved this as a Photoshopped file, so that will maintain the adjustment layer and give us that flexibility if we want it later . Now let's take a look at file number three. File Number three is pretty much the same thing as file number two, except but instead of a hue saturation adjustment layer, we used a color field layer so again accomplish the same thing. We have the same flexibility in that we can make changes to this so I could double click it , and I could choose a different color, and I could change it to that color. So piece of cake. The difference is I'm choosing a color like straight up, either in scrolling around and picking one. Or I can use numbers here to dial it in, which is different then, in egg number two, where we have this slider here so you can just choose whichever way you like best. Maybe you are a slider type person, or maybe you love the color picker box. So or maybe you're working on a project where one makes more sense than the other. The point I'm trying to make is that yes, there's more than one way to do anything and there's no right way. But you can see here that if you plan a little bit ahead and maintain flexibility, then you can save yourself work in the long run. So that is why it's important toe. Learn a lot of those different ways of doing things so that you can make advantageous decisions that are going to make your life easier later on and really like when we do not want something to be flexible, right? You guys change your mind a lot. I always changed my mind so I wouldn't be able to back out of stuff and change it without having to start over. So that's why I like to say flexibility is key. 4. Tip #3: embrace shortcuts. Okay? It's not every day in life that people tell you. The taking a shortcut is a good thing, right? Like normally, that's bad. Normally you don't take shortcuts. You don't cut corners but in photo shop shortcuts and like keyboard shortcuts are your jam . They should be your damn You should know way back when When I was learning Photoshopped, I remember hearing and reading about keyboard shortcuts, and I would like that is for later. That's for when I get good at photo Shop. But here's the thing. Getting comfortable with keyboard shortcuts and using keyboard shortcuts is how you get good at photo shop. Okay, you're just gonna have to trust me on this. Let me show you some of the most important ones and show you why they're so handy. So the first type of keyboard shortcuts. But I think everyone should learn our navigational keyboard shortcuts, so that means getting around your image. So, for example, here we're looking at this very crowded scene. There's a lot happening in this image, and I can see the whole image at once, and I feel like it's pretty far away, like I'm pretty far back so to zoom in closer with the keyboard, you're gonna press command or control. Plus And if I hold commander Control Plus and I just keep hitting Plus plus plus plus. Plus, it will just zoom in. And if I just keep doing that forever, we get a nice, big close up look at our pixels. Okay? So, Commander Control Plus zooms us in to the center point of our view. So how would you guess that? We then zoom out, Commander Control minus So minute press and hold, Commander Control and just hit minus minus minus. Just to show you how this works. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Look at that. Oh, my gosh. Can you even see it? It's rate there. So if you are the type of person that likes to look up at your tabs were now viewing 0.45% of the actual pixels in our image. So you can really zoom out now what? You don't want to play the Goldilocks game? You don't want to zoom in. You don't want to zoom out just all the time until you get it right. You just wanna go home and fit this picture back on your screen. So you know what's happening. The keyboard for that is command or control. Zero. Not to be confused with the letter O just zero. And this will fit the image back on your screen so you can get your bearings again if you need it. Okay, so let's take a look at some other keyboard shortcuts and just kind of help You understand how this works. So in the toolbar, most all of the tools have some type of keyboard shortcut associated with them. So, for example, if I mouth over the move tool and we get this lovely little animated annotation and then down here, it tells me this is the move tool, and in parentheses, it shows me the keyboard shortcut for that tool. So that is just that key by itself. So in this case, the move of of ah, tool is with the so no shift, no command, no control. Just the letter v all by itself will give you the move of, ah, tool so you can hover through and just see that one's a biggie. Um, I use the brush a lot. The brush tool, the keyboard shortcut is be for breath. And basically the idea is that any tool that you find yourself reaching for a lot, you should check out what the keyboard shortcut is and learning. Of course, not on Lee Do the tools have keyboard shortcuts, but so do the commands. Many of the commands. So when we were talking about the different ways of doing the same thing and I was showing you back in truth Number one, I was showing you how to do a hue, saturation adjustments that can be found under image adjustments, hue saturation and you see right here that the keyboard shortcut on a Mac is command on the letter You on a PC? Of course, that would be control you. So any command or setting up here that you find yourself reaching for a lot, just take a peek and see if there's a keyboard shortcut assigned to it, and then you can save yourself some time and PF if there's something you use a lot that there's not a keyboard shortcut of fine to. You can also create your own keyboard shortcuts. So that's a good tip to know, too. Okay, so we learned some quick Zubin Zoom out navigational type things, but command plus or control plus and minus. They only zoom us in, like to the center and out from the center. So what if you want to zoom into a specific part of an image? So let's take a peek over here and let's say that I might want to zoom in right on her face . Let's say, but I don't want to be like control plus plus plus and then dragging or scrolling to get there if I just want to zoom right in. There is a special type of keyboard shortcut you can use that's called a toggle keyboard shortcut, and it's different than a regular keyboard shortcut because normally if you press a shortcut for a certain tool, you switch to the tool and you have it until you switch to something else. But with the toggle keyboard shortcut, I could let's say, use the brush tool, and if I want to zoom in just for a minute here, I can press and hold command or control space bar, and you see what my cursor turned into. It turned into the magnifying glass. If I let go of the keyboard, I'm back to whatever tool I was using before in this case, the brush tool. So let's do that again. I can press and press and hold command or control space bar. And then I can just click and drag on the area that I want to zoom in on. Whoa. And you see that right there? I zoomed right in on her face, and I could see a couple areas that I would want to retouch. So while we're here, I can also show you another really handy toggle keyboard. Shortcut is just the space bar by itself. So space bar by itself gives you the hand tools and hand tool allows you to drag around your image. So I'm holding the space bar down and dragging around my image. So let me show you how you would use this then in real life, when you're retouching this stuff. So I'm going to grab one of the healing brush is here. This is the spot healing brush, and I'm just gonna click to that that little pimple away. And I'll come over here and just kind of brush that away, and I'm gonna hold down the space bar and drag around my image and you'll see when I let go of the space bar, I'm right back to my spot healing brush tool so I don't have to keep switching from one tool to another. So basically, when you are navigating your image, you don't want to touch your toolbar like ever. It makes it really easy to just go through an image, and there's a some work we could do here. But if I'm just getting some of these bigger pimples, there we go. So then I compress Commander control. Zero zoom out. And so there you have it. The quickest way to feel at home in photo shop is to whip your keyboard shortcuts into shape, and the perfect place to start is with navigation keyboard shortcuts. I promise. The quicker that you learn how to navigate your image, the sooner that you will feel in control and less clumsy 5. Tip #4: don't sweat the details. That doesn't mean get sloppy and don't pay attention to what you're doing. What I'm talking about is don't get so in the weeds that you can't see the forest through the trees. So I say that, right? You know what I mean? Instead of worrying about the specifics of something that you're learning, try to understand the why, Like why? If someone's teaching you something, ask yourself. Why are they doing it this way or what? What is this setting doing? Instead of worrying specifically about what the setting is? Ask yourself what that setting is accomplishing. Let me just show you. OK, so here we have this picture of a bird and I'm going to move it into this picture here of this lady, Okay. And then I'm gonna change the blend mode to screen. Okay, so that looks pretty cool. Like now her hat is basically cloud and have the bird on it. And that looks really great. But you might be like, OK, but wait, Why screen? What? How do I know? Screen. Look at all these other blend modes. Yeah, there's a ton of other blend modes and the reason I chose screen from a blend mode is because I like the effect that it creates. Okay, so that's the dirty little secret. Now, the more experience you get with photo shop, the better. You're able to predict what certain settings or certain blend modes are going to do for you . But you don't have to, like, memorize what each type of blend mode does. And like the specifics of how how Photoshopped calculates the blend, you just have to know that blend modes change the way that two layers interact with each other, and then you can just experiment until you find a blend mode that gives you what you're looking for. So the idea is, just don't get hung up in the Super Details. Here is another example. This is a composite that I made some years ago, and if we dig around in here, for example, there's a ton of layers. Okay, so there's like, a lot going on in this image, and if I look at the pink balloon case, I'm gonna zoom in here so you can see this balloon right here. So all toggle it on and off, and if we take a look, we see that I have applied a number of effects to this. So if we hide the effects, you could see that we get just a pink circle. Basically. So the effects that I've added to it are what make it look balloon esque so we can see that I've added ingredient overlay, pattern overlay and two different drop shadows. So let's double click on this radiant overlay. So this is so kind of scary looking, to be honest. And when you're new to photo shop, you might look at this and be like, What? What does this mean? Overlay And 53% and negative 1 35 and radial. And this is so complicated. It's not that complicated, and you don't have to get hung up. In all of those specifics you want to just understand more of, like, what is a great Viant? And what are we accomplishing with this Grady int? And then you can play around with the settings and see what they dio and how they affect the image. Remember that you do not want to just follow a tutorial. Teoh learn what buttons to press right. Any monkey can learn to press buttons, but you, my friend. You can learn how to excel at photo shop. And that means asking yourself Why? Why are we applying these effects? What are we going to get out of it? Because once you understand why you're doing what you're doing, the how will make a whole lot more sense. 6. Tip #5: don't be afraid to make mistakes. This is so huge. I know everyone says that in, like, every aspect of life, pretty much except maybe like skydiving. People tell you that all the time, but in photo shop especially, you don't have to worry about making mistakes because it turns out you can actually undo them. And it's pretty easy. So let me show you here. We haven't image, and we're going to do some stuff to it. So we'll go back to my favorite will make a hue adjustment. Okay, so that's one thing we did. We made Hugh adjustment. Now we're gonna run a filter. Let's go up to the filter menu and will twos, filter, pixel ate, crystallize. And let's do something kind of dramatic. It's good, right? All right, run that filter. So we're getting abstract now. And one more. One more thing. Let's go back to filter will go to distort and twirl. Okay, we are really scoring with this, okay, That's actually pretty cool. So we did three things to this image. We made a hue saturation adjustment. We ran the crystallize filter, and then we ran this twirled distortion so you might not have realized this, but Photoshopped keeps track of everything you dio like. It's the worst, Big brother. I guess I don't have a big brother, but it's totally would hold a grudge if you pissed it off. So where does it keep track of all of this? I'm so glad you asked. It's in the history panel. So if you've never seen the history panel, you can find it by choosing window history. And here you can see that up at the top. We have a little thumbnail of our image, as it was when we started with it. So the list here represents all of the things we've done to the image. The first thing we did was open it. Then we made an adjustment to the hue and saturation. Then we ran the crystallize filter. And finally we ran the twirl distortion and you may have learned that you can undo Oh, your mistakes in photo shot by pressing command or control Z. So when I do that, look what's happening. I'm just holding down commander Control on. Then I'm gonna press the the the and every time that I hit the it goes up this history panel it goes back in time, if you will. So it goes from twirl to crystallize to just that hue, saturation adjustments or to how it was when we opened it. So you can do ah lot of different things to your image, and you can always undo them. So if I grab my brush tool and I just start making marks, you can see that every time I release my mouse, it's recording an instance of the brush tool so you can actually go back in time and undo those things. Just like all things that seem too good to be true. There are a couple caveats you should know about the history panel. First of all, it only keeps track of so many things. I think the default is 50. So once you do 50 different things, it starts writing over from the beginning. In other words, you can Onley ever undo the most recent 50 things that you did. You can change the setting and your preferences by going to Photoshopped preferences on a Mac or edit preferences on a PC on. Then its under performance, I believe. Yeah, so here where it says history states the default I think is 50. If your computer is really giving you a hard time, you could lower that. I think fifties kind of a lot. You might try like 25 but I wouldn't go more than that because there's all kinds of other ways that you can kind of work around that limitation that we're not going to get into here . But just know that fifty's probably the max that you should have it at your experimenting a lot. You might want to save different versions of things or create some snapshots in your history pounds. So that's one thing. There is a limit. The second thing is just like in back to the future. If you go back in time and you change something, then the future is different, right? So, for example, if we undo all these brush tools and we undo our twirl and we undo crystallize and we go back, Teoh Hue saturation on Let's see, we want to try a different filter here, so let's go back to filter and will try oil paint. Once I run this oil paint command, you'll see that it totally rewrites history. So if you go back in time and you make a change. All the future from that point on is going to be different. So you can't go back, make a change and then, like selectively go forward again because, you know, time travel doesn't work that way. You've seen back to the future, right? If you haven't rented, it's a classic. So the point of all of this is, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are how you learn. Mistakes are part of the artistic process. And, you know, I get that when you are learning all of the stuff. It's hard to watch a presenter or an instructor show you something, and you feel like, How did they know that that was the right filter? Or How did they know that that was the right blend mode or the right percentage or angle or whatever? And the truth is, they did not know that they experimented. They did trialling error. They made mistakes. They undid things. They tried him again, and then they figured out what works, and that's what they're teaching you. And how do we know that? Because that's a really when I dio you knew how long I spent preparing examples and making up ridiculous exercises and Dettori ALS and to like, experimenting with setting the things you would I don't know, You just wouldn't believe it. Okay, it's crazy. And I realized that's how everyone works. Honestly, the more mistakes that you make, the sooner you're gonna end up with what you want. I feel like that's a good truth for life too, right? I mean, what is photo shop, if not a metaphor for life? I should put that on a cross stitch pillow or at least a coffee mug, right? 7. You Did It!: So now that you know that there's no right way to do something in photo shop and you've seen how easy it is to make a mistake, go back and change it and try something else. I hope that you feel freed up to really focus on the why behind what you're doing and embrace those keyboard shortcuts. An experiment experiment experiment. Thanks so much for watching, and I hope you'll come back and join me for some more Photoshopped fun another time.