May 01, 2010
Categories: PSE, Tutorials
Tutorial: PSE Toolbar
I cannot take credit for this tutorial. On the photography board, one of the ladies wrote a great tutorial on  the Photoshop Toolbar for CS4 including keyboard short cuts. Although most of the toolbar can easily be translated from CS4 to PSE, I thought I’d share it here for your reference. 

Move tool (shortcut: V): When something is selected or if you want to move an entire layer, this is the tool you use. Pretty self explanatory. If you click on what you’re moving then you can also use the up/down arrows to move your object. Here’s another tutorial on how to use the move tool even more. 

Zoom tool (shortcut: Z): Use this to take closer and farther away looks at your image. The tools default is to zoom in, to zoom out just click and hold down option.    

Hand (shortcut: U): The Hand Tool is for moving withing your image window. If you are zoomed in and other parts of your image is larger than the window you can your Hand to navigate around. 

Eyedropper (shortcut: I): The Eyedropper tool allows you to select any color in the image and sets this to be your Foreground/Background color (more on this later). One thing to be aware of if your eyedropper’s sample size, located underneath the file/edit/image/etc. bar since this decides how many pixels go into deciding what the color value is. The eyedropper sample size can become very handy when looking at skin tones/sky values and other things that tend to vary greatly in color value.  

Marquee tool (shortcut: M): There are two types of Marquee Tools: Rectangular and Elliptical. The Rectangular Marquee Tool draws rectangular and square selections of any size you choose, and the Elliptical Marquee Tools draws oval and circular selections. Click, keep the mouse button held down and drag outward in any direction from your starting to draw a rectangle or elliptical selection.
  • Holding down the Shift key while making your selection will constrain the proportions of the rectangle to a square or the ellipse to a circle.
  • Holding down the Alt key while you make a new selection will cause the selection to be made from the center outward.
  • If your selection is not in the correct place while drawing, you can reposition it on the layer by holding down the space bar. This switches the tool temporarily to the Hand Tool (H). Once you have positioned it correctly, release the space bar to continue adjusting the size of the selection. This also works If you reach the edge of the window before you are done drawing your selection
  • Turning on the Caps Lock key will switch your tool cursor to a cross hair configuration.
  • The ESC key will cancel a selection that is in progress so that you can start over.
  • CTRL+D deletes a finalized selection. Or go to Select and Delete. 
Lasso tool (shortcut: L): The Lasso Tool (found with the Magnetic Lasso Tool) looks like a rope Lasso that a cowboy uses. To use the Lasso, click and drag around the area that you want to select. The selection will be finalized when you close the loop. If you aren’t near your starting point when you let go of the mouse button, then Elements will close the loop by connecting the start and end points with a straight line. If you aren’t happy with the selection, you can use the ESC key or CTRL+D to remove the selection and start over. The Lasso Tool can be difficult to use with a mouse. Using a tablet will give you more control over the selection made. 
The Magnetic Lasso tool is partially automated, and snaps to high-contrast edges that it finds when you are marking your selection area. The selection options, feathering and anti-alias work in the same way as described for the Marquee Tool in the previous section of the tutorial. Anchor points, shown as small boxes along your selection line, will be set automatically by the program at intervals defined in your options bar in the width, edge contrast and frequency boxes. 
Magic Wand Tool (shortcut: W): The Magic Wand selects pixels that match in color and that fall within the specified tolerance range. The higher the tolerance number, the greater the color range and the more pixels that will be selected with one click of the tool.
  • Checking the Contiguous option will select only those pixels within the tolerance level that are touching.
  • Checking the All Layers option means the tool will select pixels within the tolerance level from all layers of the file. This is helpful if you decide that you need to change all of the green elements to red while in the process of working on a page, for example. 
Quick Selection Tool and Selection Brush (shortcut: A): The Quick Selection Tool is a combination between the Magnetic Lasso and the Selection Brush (see below). It is a brush that has some intelligence built-in. The tool looks like a round brush with either a plus or minus sign in the center depending on whether you are in ‘add’ or ‘subtract’ mode. 
The Selection Brush allows you to make selections by ‘painting’ them on the image with brushes you have loaded into your program. If you want a more thorough tutorial, click here
  • There are only two available selection options with the Selection Brush- ‘add to selection’ and ‘subtract from selection’. Use the ‘add to selection’ option when starting a new selection
  • You may choose any brush to draw your selection. Click the arrow on the right of the brush box and choose from brushes you currently have loaded, or load a new brush set if needed. 
  • Round brushes from the default pallet, either hard or soft edged, are most commonly used when making selections.
  • Use the Selection Brush to clean up missed edges after doing quick selections with one of the other tools. 
  • When making a selection in the ‘add’ mode, you can quickly switch to the ‘subtract’ mode by holding down the ALT key. 
Text Tool (shortcut: T): The text tool allows you to add text to your image, imagine that. You have choices within the text tool to change the direction of the text (horizontal or vertical, etc). Most of your font options are located in the upper left hand corner. If you’ll go to Inspiration, I’ve included two links with great fonts and doodles. I’m on a PC, so after you’ve downloaded the font or doodle you want, move the file to Windows/Fonts and those new fonts will be available in any of your applications. 
Crop Tool (shortcut: C): The Crop tool allows you to easily crop an image. You can even choose pixel size if you’d like. In the top left corner, you can change the aspect ratio. I tend to choose “use photo ratio,” but you can choose 4×6 or 5×7 (or something different) if there’s a specific photo size you want. By rotating your crop, you can also straighten or tilt your original photo. 
Cookie Cutter Tool (shortcut: Q): You can use this tool to create cute shapes out of photos. Gives you a selection in options bar of shapes to choose from (top left). 
Straighten Tool (shortcut: P): Straighten horizons in photos that were not horizontal when taken. Click and drag a line along a line that should be straight. Then crop to fit. 
Red Eye Tool: This tool does exactly what you might imagine it does. Select this tool, then zoom in on the red eyes, use the plus sign and click directly on the red. 
Healing (and Spot Healing) Tool (shortcut: J): This tool uses the pixels around the area you click in to smooth and correct itself.  
  • Spot healing brush -allows you to click once on a blemish or click and drag to smooth away small imperfections. 
  • Healing Brush -allows you to fix large areas of imperfection when you drag over them. You can remove objects from a uniform background, such as an object in a field of grass.  
Clone Stamp (shortcut: S): If you have something you want to remove in an image, like a busy background and you ask for advice on what to do 95% of the time you’ll hear “clone it out.” What it does it makes a carbon copy or a clone of one area of an image and transfers it to another. You do this by holding down Alt which makes a bulls-eye looking cursor appear and then clicking on the part of the image you want to copy. Release the Alt button and now you have something that resembles the Brush tool and you can “paint in” your duplicate wherever you like. It’s great for when you want something to look exactly like another or if you might want to move something slightly over. Since it makes an exact copy it’s not so great when you have dynamic lighting or similar variables to deal with (which is where the healing and patch tool come into play). 
Eraser (shortcut: E): Well, this erases part of your image. Just like the brush you can control the hardness, opacity, and size. 
Brush (shortcut: B; additional shortcut: use the parentheses signs to make your brush larger or smaller): This tool paints the image with the foreground color selection. Either in your brushes palette Window and Brushes or in the bar underneath File/Edit/Image/Etc. there are options that greatly effect what kind of a brush you actually end up painting with. The most basic options are master diameter, opacity, and hardness. Master diameter is the size of your brush, opacity determines how strong your brush is, and hardness determines how “strong” your edges are. Want more information, click here
  • Within the brush tool, there’s also an option to use a Pencil. The pencil, like the brush, draws on areas of your image. Unlike the brush it doesn’t allow you to control hardness or shape. I don’t know that I’ve ever used the pencil tool. 
  • One more…there’s also an Impressionist and Color Replacement tool. Again, I’ve never used them, but they may be worth playing with.  
Smart Brush Tool (shortcut: F): After selecting the Smart Brush tool, a drop down menu will open prompting you to select from the various Smart Brush effects presets, or Brush Tips.  Look at all the different options here.  Besides sunset, in the nature section alone you can make your skies bluer, make them darker, make the clouds stand out or enhance greenery. Select an effect and click and drag in the area you want to enhance.  When you release the mouse button, in one fell swoop the area is selected and the effect is applied.  The selection will remain intact so that you can experiment with the different effects. Applying the brush creates a new layer with a layer mask.  This is great for a couple of reasons.  First, because it’s a layer, you can adjust the layer’s opacity.  I find that the Smart Brush effect is usually too strong for my taste at first.  Lowering the opacity of the layer helps make it look more real.  And because there is a layer mask, you can fine tune the effect to specific parts of your image. 
Paint Bucket (shortcut: G): Just like you think it should, it fills your shape/layer/image/selection with the foreground color. I tend to use the eye dropper tool to select a specific color within my image first and then using the paint bucket to fill. Another way to accomplish the same thing is by clicking Edit, Fill. 
Gradient Tool (shortcut: G): This allows you to bring in varying shades of dark/light into your image. Just drag and click. Your beginning point is usually light (white) and your ending point is dark (black). The longer your drag/line the more variety in shades in between. I’m pretty sure I need more experience using this tool, which means there’s likely to be another tutorial. 
Rectangle/SHAPES Tool (shortcut: U): This tool allows you to add a multitude of shapes: round, rectangle, polygons, or even a custom shape. Only advice with this tool is to just play around. Trick: If you hold down shift as you drag your image it will keep it geometrically even. This is how you get perfect squares/circles. This works with various other tools (marquee) as well and can be used when resizing to keep things proportionate. 
Blur/Sharpen/Smudge Tool (shortcut: R)
  • Blur:  Blur softens the edges of pixels, giving parts of your image a soft and hazy look. You can also use Filter and Blur when you want to blur your image (I like the gaussian blur personally) but the benefit of the Blur tool is being able to target select areas. 
  • Sharpen: If Blur softens the edges of pixels, then sharpen hardens the edges making each pixel stand out. Just like with blur you can also go to Filter and Sharpen, but the tool allows you to easily target select areas.
  • Smudge: Again, this tool does exactly what it says. Smudge will basically push pixels into other surrounding pixels giving it a smudged appearance. This can be great for obtaining certain graphic effects and for blending two colors together. I personally don’t advocate using it in image editing since it causes you to lose detail and make things appear muddy. The most important setting with to remember with any of these tools is the Strength, located in the top tool bar. 
Sponge/Dodge/Burn Tool (shortcut: O): 
  • Sponge: There are plenty of other ways to desaturate/saturate an image but this tool can give you more control.Like Blur/Sharpen/Smudge, use this in instances where the area is small or you want to control the strength.  
  • Dodge: What dodging does is lighten areas of an image. Anyone who has a picture they love with a  shadowed face can obviously see the benefits of this tool. In your top tool bar, pay attention to your brush size, range, and exposure. settings Brush size is self explanatory. Range refers to what part of the image you’re woking in: Highlights, Shadows, or Midtones. Exposure=strength. 
  • Burn: Burn darkens areas of an image. Just like with Burn the settings to pay attention to are: brush size, range, and exposure. 
Default Color: In most tool bars this is or should be B/W. This is that icon  just below your Foreground/Background and will immediately switch your foreground color to black and your background color to white. This just is one of the ways that Adobe tried to make things a little easier and it’s incredibly helpful. 
Switch Color: This is an icon on the upper side of your Foreground/Background buttons. This swaps your foreground/background colors. Great when you’re either working in two tones or painting in a layer mask. Remember that if your layer mask is white, using a black brush will paint the effect off of your image. Meanwhile, if your layer mask is black, using a white brush will paint the effect onto your image. 
Foreground Color: This is the main color you’re working with. It will be the color of your text, the color of the inside of your shapes, etc. It also is the first color considered when doing a gradient (B/W). 
Background: This is another color you’re able to work with. It will be the outline of your shape/text (if you choose to have one), which is called stroke. 
If you’ve made it this far…congratulations! If you have any questions or if I missed something, just post a comment or  Contact Me. Since I started writing this tutorial, I found even more PSE tutorials. Because I enjoy sharing…click here. Let me know if there are any other specific PSE tutorials you’d like me to write. Have a great day!