Technical Writing - Photoshop

From Help Wiki

Best practices

  • Start Big: larger image files (both in file size and in overal number of pixels) provide you with higher quality images. You can always scale the image down but you can't scale it up.
  • Keep your original: These images are typically your highest quality image and you may need to go back to them from time to time.
  • File naming is important: Come up with a naming convention that helps you quickly identify the image without having to open it. Names should include descriptive info, version, size, or intended use.
    • Example: Rainier_sunrise_1200_BW.psd - this file name identifies the subject of the photo, the image size (typically its width) and any processing that has been performed - this one is a black and white version, and its file format is a Photoshop document.
  • Save image(s) to the hard drive, to a pictures folder or the desktop, rather than working from a flashdrive, DVD or CD.

Finding images for re-use

Find images whose copyright has been set as free to use or modify

  • Use Google Image search and expand the Search Tools and select Usage Rights
  • Choose the appropriate filter, keeping in mind that the most restrictive of the license "noncommercial reuse" will probably yield the most results. See: more about usage rights
  • Open the image you want to use (looking for the largest version available) and right click to Save Image As

Photoshop interface and navigating an image

  1. Launch Photoshop from the Dock (it is also available in the Applications Folder)
  2. Go File > Open and navigate to your file. Never open a file over the network (if your file is on Orca, first copy it to your local hard drive).
  3. Basics of the Photoshop interface elements
    • Toolbar
    • Palettes (See: Window Menu for listing of active palettes)
      • Important palettes: Layers, History
    • Properties bar - dynamically shows properties based on tool selected/avtivity
    • Tooltips - hover over to learn what a tool is and its keyboard shortcut
    • Image window/tab -
  4. Navigating an image
    • Zoom: Cmd +/-
    • Hand tool: Space Bar (used to move around an image)

Image size and resolution

  1. What is a pixel? Zoom all the way in on your image.
  2. What are the dimensions of your image?
    • Go to Image > image Size to see the overall size in pixels of your image
    • Resizing photos for various usages including: Web, email attachment, and print
  3. What is the resolution or pixel density of your image? Why does it matter? See more in discussion depth on resolution.
  4. Cropping - using the crop tool to remove portions of the image outside of the crop selection
    • You can set the image size to crop to in the properties bar i.e. 400 px (remember the px)

Saving your work

File > Save as. Choose Photoshop as the file format. This will create a uncompressed Photoshop native image file format (.psd). It's a good idea to keep an uncompressed copy of your images.

Saving for web

  1. Saving for web: File > Save for Web & Devices
    • Choose the highest quality with the best (smallest) file size.
  2. Compressed file formats - when to use what kind of file type
    • JPG, GIF, PNG