Welcome to the very beginning of Photoshop, from this page you will gain an understanding of the selection, move, crop and slice tools.

Of all the tools in Photoshop, the selection tools will be one set that you use constantly, so proficience with them is very important. As with all the tools in the toolbar, if you hold down on tool sets with a black lower right corner, more tools will emerge that have a similar related or opposite function. In the upper left corner of the toolbar is the Reqtangular Marquee Tool, and underneath that is the Ellipitcal, Single Row, and Single Column tools. At any time you can press the M key alone and the visible Marquee tool will be selected. You can switch between your most used tools quickly when you use their hotkey, and if you hold the mouse over the toolbar, it will tell you if there is a hotkey for any given tool. There are a few other handy keys to remember when working with the selection tools, so I'll make a list:

  • M, selects the visible Marquee tool.
  • Ctrl-A, will select your entire image
  • Ctrl-D, will deselect or turn off the selection
  • Shift, will allow you to add to a selection
  • Alt, will subtract from a selection.
  • Space bar, will allow you to move the image around with the hand

Ok, lets practice with the selection tool some, make a new image, or open one you have, and use the rectangular Marquee to select part of it... then hold down shift and make a few more boxes, they can either touch the first or not overlap. This is adding to your selected area, and you'll notice that with shift down, there's a plus sign next to your cursor. If you switch from the shift key and hold down the Alt key instead you will that you're now subtracting things with each box or oval you make. You can also use the Shift and Alt keys with the lasso and magic wand tools. I rarely use the single column or sigle row selecton tools... they select a one pixil line, which can be usefully if you want to make a border around an image. The lasso tools, normal, polygonal and magnetic follow the same rules the Shift and Alt keys for adding and subtracting. The regular lasso is free-flowing and whatever you draw around will get selected. The polygonal lasso will follow a straight line and to make it complete the selection you must connect the end point back to the point where you started. The magnetic lasso acts as the normal lasso, but will magnetically attract to areas of color change. If you have a dark image on a light background you can use this tool to select the object and it will automatically stick around the object being cut out, even if you stray and get a little off. The Magic wand in the final selection tool, with it you can click on any give color, and it will select it. You can adjust the tollerance of the wand at the top of the screen under the menu bar. Changing the tolerance allows you to tell the wand how picky to be when its selecting a color. A low number will not accept much varriance, while I high number will select more. 32 is usually the default setting.

The Move tool is a fairly simple thing. Once you've made a selction switch to the move tool (V key) and you'll be able to move your selection or layer (and I'll cover those later) around. If you do not switch to the move tool, and use one of the selection tools it will move the selection, but not the selected area.

The Crop tool (C) is also fairly simple to use. Use it to drag a selection, you can resize the area by pulling the boxes at the sides and corners of the selection, and then double click inside the crop area, and it will cut your image to be the size of the selection. When you pick up the crop tool at the top of the screen you can set a fixed crop size, so if you need to make your finished image exactly 400 by 400 pixils, this is a handy feature. Make sure that you type in "400px" though if you've been working in inches, and just type in 400 it may by default put in an "in" after your 400. You probably won't come to realize that you've done this, until you begin to wonder why it's taking so long for your computer to finish cropping the image. The reason it's taking so long would be because it's blowing the image up to a huge size. Also on the top bar will be the cancel or accept crop. Sometimes with some images if you're making it very small... it's difficult to find an area inside it to double click, so you can hit the accept button (the checkmark) to accomplish this.

The Slice tool is relatively new to Photoshop. Did you know Photoshop could take your images and convert them into a website? It will make tables and write all the code for you. It's great for the formative stages of web design when you need to make a template page to get the look down for your site. In the future I'll have a project tutorial on making a website but for now I'l breifly describe it. Make a new image or open one, grab the slice tool, and then drag a box like I have in the image to the right. You'll notice it numbered the boxes one threw three. Now go to File/Save for web... You can chose to save your images as Gifs, Jpgs, or Pngs. When you click save make sure you open up the Save as type, and tell it to save both the HTML and images, and save it to your desktop. Photoshop then cuts up the image into three separate (or however many parts you sliced it into), and then it creates a webpage in HTML, makes the table and insterts the images seamlessly so it all fits together when you open the page. Now you can openthe page and edit it with some of the work done for you.