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Creating and navigating documents
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Eddie Russell


Eddie Russell
In this lesson, we'll learn how to create and navigate around a Photoshop document. All right. If you are new to Photoshop, and this is your first time to open it up, then welcome. Maybe you're a traditional painter who wants to actually begin painting digitally. Maybe you are actually new to painting in general. Well, what you need to know about Photoshop here is that it has long been the premier application used for digital painting. There's lots of other programs out there, but Photoshop has always set the bar when it comes to digital painting. So let's go ahead and create a new document here for us to work in. And I'm going to jump up here to the File drop down menu. And notice here that the very first option says New. Now, when it comes to a lot of these commands in the drop down menus, you'll see that there's keyboard shortcuts listed out to the right of those. Now, there's a lot of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop, and they're just there to help speed things up for you, improve your workflow. So I'm going to try and teach you a few of the most important ones as we move forward here. So creating a new document is simply Control on your keyboard and the N key. And you'll get this dialog right here. So in this dialog, you'll see we can name our file. We can actually do that when we save the file as well. But I want to change my preset here to default Photoshop size. If yours doesn't say that, go ahead and change it with me here. Now, down below, you can see here we have a lot of the measurements for this document. Now, if you're a traditional painter and you're used to working on paper or canvas, then you're probably used to thinking in terms of inches or maybe some other unit of measure that's common where you reside. Now, when it comes to painting digitally, it's going to benefit you in the long run if you begin training yourself to think in terms of pixels instead of, say, inches. So I'm going to drop this little menu down right here next to width, and we're going to choose pixels here. And we can see here that this default Photoshop size is 504 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall. So it's a landscape formatted image. Now notice here, we also have a resolution settings, and that is actually set to 72. If we look over here, that's how many pixels Photoshop is going to place in a square inch. Now, just spending a moment on resolution here, that's actually not a very big file, and it's not going to work very well for painting digitally. Now, we're going to come back and touch on resolution here in just a moment. But let's go ahead and look at a couple more options here. The default color mode you can see is set to RGB. And if we're painting a color image, we definitely want to leave that where it's at. If we wanted to paint a grayscale image, we could always set it to grayscale down here. Now, I'm going to just leave this set to eight bit for right now. And I'm also going to leave my background content set to white. And we're just going to ignore anything below that in the advanced settings area. And let's actually make a much larger document. I'm going to input a value of 2,000 pixels wide by 1,500 pixels tall. And notice over here at the right, my image size has gone up. That's the default size of the file that we're making. So let's go ahead and hit OK on this. And you can see here that Photoshop opens up our new document. Now, let me go ahead and show you an example of a low resolution digital painting compared to a higher resolution digital painting. So I want to go ahead and show you in your project files folder, there's a couple of files I want you to open with me. Let's jump up to File again and choose the second option for Open. Keyboard shortcut there is Control, O. And you'll see here creature_highres and creature_lowres. So we want to open both of those up. So either click on one and then hold control and click on the other one, or if you're using Windows, you can just click and drag a marquee around them both. And let's hit Open. Now, Photoshop will think for just a moment, and it'll open them both. And you'll notice here that up at the top of our window, we have this little tab bar. We can click on each of these tabs for each of the open documents that we have in our copy of Photoshop. So let's go ahead and jump over to high res creature here. And I want to go ahead and show you one of the essential tools for navigating around our canvas, or our digital paintings. So let's go ahead and look over in the tool panel here on the left. This is where all of these tools for Photoshop are going to be stored. It's the very bottom tool here. It looks like a little magnifying glass. Now, this is going to be our zoom tool. And we can click on that, and you'll notice my cursor changes to a little magnifying glass with a plus sign in it. Now, I mentioned earlier that keyboard shortcuts are really critical to your success in Photoshop. So let's go ahead and show you the keyboard shortcut for this tool, as 99.9% of the time, that's how I access it. So I'm going to switch back to the selection tool, my black arrow here at the top, and show you that the keyboard shortcut for the zoom tool is simply to hold down the Control key and space bar. So in doing that, we can just click on our canvas anywhere and drag. I'm going to drag to the right. And you can see that we're zooming in on this painting. Now, if we drag to the left by holding Control and space bar, we're actually going to zoom out on the image as well. So you can see here we can zoom in and out pretty dynamically. So I'm zooming in on this creature's eye here. You can see there's a lot of detail built into that eye. So this is actually a pretty high resolution file. In fact, if we jump up here to the image drop down and look at image size, we can see that up at the top here, this particular image is 2,400 pixels wide by over 3,300 pixels tall. It's pretty large. Now, if we come into the document size, we can see how that translates in inches. But we can also see that Photoshop is packing 300 pixels into a square inch instead of the 72 that we looked at in the default Photoshop size. So this is making for a pretty large file. This jpeg, Photoshop is seeing it as about 22.8 megabytes. So let's go ahead and jump over here to the creature_lowres file. And we'll just zoom in on his eye as well here. You can see here that as we get closer, you're starting to see these little square patterns. These are the pixels we're starting to see. So I'm hoping that it's becoming apparent to you that we can't get as much detail out of a low res image like that. The more pixels we have to work with, the more detail that we can create. So if we jump up to image and image size again here, notice here that this image is only 364 pixels wide by about 500 pixels tall. Now, this is about the same dimensions as the default Photoshop size here. You can see that it's only about half a megabyte. Now, again, 300 pixels in a square inch, but the document size is only just over an inch by about an inch and a half tall. So let's go ahead and cancel out of this here. Now, we've already talked about zooming in and out on our image here. Let's go ahead and talk about another really important way to navigate around on a canvas once we're zoomed in like this. So I'm going to hold the space bar, and that's going to access this little hand tool right here. Now the hand tool, let me just show you what that looks like if we click on it. Looks like a little hand. And we can simply use this tool to click on our canvas and drag around. And we can pan anywhere on our canvas here with this tool. Now, again, this is another tool that I never actually use from the tool panel here. I use a keyboard shortcut to get to that. So we can actually access the hand tool by holding the space bar, and just the space bar on our keyboard. So again, we can use that to pan around our document here. So now that we know how to zoom and pan, and those are really the two most important aspects of navigating around your canvas here, let's go ahead and talk a little bit about what we see around the canvas. We've already learned that this is the tool panel here. And let's just go ahead and bounce back over to our untitled document here. And this white square that we start off with here, we've talked about a canvas. This is going to be referred to as our canvas. You may notice here that there's this bar at the top of our screen, and you may notice as we were changing between those tools, there's actually some different options presented to us in that bar. Now, this is actually Photoshop's control panel, or a lot of people call it the option bar. So either one's correct. Now, if we jump over here to the right, you're going to notice a series of little windows that are stacked on top of each other. You can see here that we have tabs. We can click around on those. And look, we have little groups of tabs here. And we also have some that are kind of collapsed like this. We can actually come in and click on those, double click on them if they're collapsed to expand them. Then we have some buttons over here to the left. You can see here that these actually fly out. So this is referred to as Photoshop's panel dock. And there's a lot here that we're not even going to look at here in this course. So what I want you to do here is, if you're on this essentials workspace, which hopefully, if you're opening Photoshop for the first time, that's what you should have open. We're going to save a few of these panels here. I'm going to drag the history panel out. Let me just click on that tab and drag it out and away and float it out into my work area here. I'm going to click and drag on the layers panel, and we'll do the same thing there. And let's go ahead and click on the color panel here. So we have actually drug all three of those out here. And I tell you what, let's open up one more. Let's open up the navigator here. Now, I'm going to the Window drop down. And you can see here, this is where Photoshop is going to store all its panels when they're not visible on our screen. So if we choose navigator here, you can see that the navigator panel opens up. We'll just click and drag that one out. Now, we've got a lot of left over panels here that I don't want open right now. So let's just go ahead and choose to right click on any of these tabs. And we're going to come in and choose Close Tab Group. And we'll do the same thing here. Right click on this tab. This one may take a moment to load because many bridges actually have file browsing tab. And we'll just continue doing that until we get all these extra panels closed. All right, so what we're left with are these panels here. I'm just going to kind of drag them over to the side here. Now, if we want to actually consolidate the way these panels are working here, we can actually click and drag up into this one. You can see we highlight it in blue. And we'll actually create what's known as a panel group. And if we release that, we've stacked those two panels together in that group. Now, we can also come in here and click on this gray bar. And if we drag one close, you can see we can also highlight the edge. You see that little blue line between the two panels. We're going to lock those two panels together right there, just like so. Now, the navigator panel is actually pretty cool. I'm going to jump over here to one of these other images. And you can see that I'm really zoomed in on this image. Navigator panel is going to present us with a little red box here for the area we're currently viewing on an image. So some people prefer to use this panel to navigate around. You can see when I mouse over it, I get the hand tool. I can click and drag that, and we can just drag anywhere around this particular image. So it's all up to you. Personally, I don't use the navigator. I'm pretty happy with just the standard zooming and panning features in Photoshop. But that is there for you. So we'll just go ahead and leave that right there for right now. And let's talk about one last thing here. We'll jump back to our untitled document. Let's talk about saving our work. Now, obviously we've learned how to create a new document. We need to know how to save our document. So I'm going to just jump up here to choose File. And we can choose Save As. All right, great. So we've got our project files folder, and I'm just going to choose to save this. Now, you can see here that right now, my actual format is defaulting to jpeg because I just finished creating these two jpegs that we looked at. But yours is probably defaulting to Photoshop. And it says .pst, .pdd next to it here. This is the native Photoshop document. So I'm just going to choose that right now. I want to rename this one. We'll just rename this one to 03_begin because we'll use this file in the next lesson. And let's just hit Save here. All right, great. So in this lesson, we've learned how to create a new document here in Photoshop. We've learned how to navigate around the interface, and we've also learned a little bit about panels. Now, we've also lastly learned how to save our documents here in Photoshop. Now, I want to go ahead and move on and begin learning about some of the most basic tools that you'll be using to paint digitally. So in the next lesson, we'll pick up where we're leaving off here, and we'll learn about the brush tool and the eraser tool.
In this collection of lessons we will learn basic terms, definitions and workflows for digital painting in Photoshop CS5. We’ll start off by covering how to create and save new documents as well as how we can navigate around inside them. We'll then take a look at two of the most basic tools for digital painting being the brush tool and eraser tool so you begin creating artwork right away. After that, you’ll learn about several other features such as layers, selections and masks that will add a new dimension to your digital painting experience. And to wrap up this project, we'll go over one possible workflow for painting a digital image.