How to Use Photoshop CC: A Beginner's Guide to Editing Photos and Graphics
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


Getting Acquainted with Photoshop CC

Importing and Organizing Photos

Essential Photo Editing Techniques

Working with Text and Graphics

Exporting and Sharing Your Work

Additional Resources and Tutorials

Adobe Photoshop CC is a powerful and versatile photo editing software that can help you transform your images into stunning visual creations. Whether you're new to photo editing or looking to upgrade your skills, this beginner's guide will help you navigate the world of Photoshop CC and provide you with the tools to edit photos and create graphics like a pro.

Getting Acquainted with Photoshop CC

Before diving into the depths of photo editing, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the Photoshop CC workspace and the basic tools and features that it offers. By understanding the foundation of the software, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any project that comes your way.

Understanding the Workspace

The Photoshop CC workspace consists of several panels and toolbars that can be customized to fit your needs. Here's a quick rundown of the key components:

  • Tools Panel: Located on the left side of the screen, this panel contains essential tools for editing photos, such as the Move Tool, Brush Tool, and Lasso Tool.
  • Options Bar: Found at the top of the screen, the Options Bar changes depending on the tool you have selected, providing you with additional settings and options for that specific tool.
  • Layers Panel: Situated on the right side of the screen, the Layers Panel allows you to manage and organize the different elements of your image, such as text, shapes, or adjustments.
  • Properties Panel: Also on the right side, the Properties Panel gives you access to various settings and adjustments for the currently selected layer or tool.
  • Menu Bar: Located at the very top of the screen, the Menu Bar contains dropdown menus with a wide range of commands and options organized by category, such as File, Edit, and Filter.

Basic Tools and Features

As you begin to explore Photoshop CC, you'll encounter an array of tools and features that will become indispensable in your editing process. Here are some of the fundamental ones to get you started:

  • Selection Tools: These tools, such as the Marquee, Lasso, and Magic Wand, enable you to isolate specific areas of your image for editing or manipulation.
  • Brush Tools: With options like the Brush, Pencil, and Eraser, you can paint, draw, or erase directly onto your image.
  • Clone Stamp Tool: This handy tool allows you to sample a portion of your image and paint over other areas with the sampled pixels, making it perfect for removing unwanted elements or duplicating objects.
  • Healing Tools: The Spot Healing Brush and Healing Brush tools help you correct imperfections in your image by blending surrounding pixels to create a seamless fix.
  • Adjustment Layers: These non-destructive layers let you apply color and tonal adjustments to your image without permanently altering the original pixels.
  • Transform Tools: With options like Scale, Rotate, and Warp, you can modify the size, orientation, or shape of your image or selected elements.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the Photoshop CC workspace and tools, it's time to start importing and organizing your photos to prepare for editing.

Importing and Organizing Photos

Once you're familiar with the Photoshop CC workspace and tools, the next step is to import and organize your photos. Proper organization will make your workflow more efficient and help you keep track of your edits. Adobe Bridge and layers are two essential components for managing your images in Photoshop CC.

Using Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge is a file management application that works seamlessly with Photoshop CC. It allows you to browse, organize, and preview your images before importing them into Photoshop. Here's how to use Adobe Bridge:

  1. Launch Adobe Bridge by clicking on the "File" menu in Photoshop CC and selecting "Browse in Bridge" or opening it directly from your computer.
  2. Use the Folders panel on the left side to navigate to the location of your images.
  3. Preview your images in the Content panel, where you can adjust the thumbnail size using the slider at the bottom.
  4. Select the image you want to edit in Photoshop CC, right-click on it, and choose "Open with Adobe Photoshop."

By using Adobe Bridge, you can easily access and import your photos into Photoshop CC without cluttering your workspace.

Creating and Managing Layers

Layers are a crucial aspect of working in Photoshop CC, as they allow you to separate and organize different elements of your image for easier editing. Here's a quick guide to creating and managing layers:

  1. To create a new layer, click the "New Layer" icon at the bottom of the Layers panel or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N (Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac).
  2. Rename your layers by double-clicking on the layer's name in the Layers panel and typing in a new name.
  3. Reorder your layers by clicking and dragging them up or down in the Layers panel.
  4. Adjust the opacity or blending mode of a layer by using the dropdown menus and sliders at the top of the Layers panel.
  5. Group multiple layers together by selecting them (hold down Ctrl or Cmd and click), and then clicking the "Create a new group" icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
  6. To delete a layer, select it and click the trash bin icon at the bottom of the Layers panel or use the keyboard shortcut Delete (Backspace on a Mac).

By effectively organizing your layers, you'll have a smoother editing experience and a better understanding of the changes you make to your image in Photoshop CC.

Essential Photo Editing Techniques

With your photos imported and organized, it's time to dive into the world of photo editing. Photoshop CC offers a vast array of techniques and adjustments to enhance your images, but let's focus on some essential ones that every beginner should know: cropping and resizing, adjusting colors and contrast, and fixing imperfections.

Cropping and Resizing

Cropping and resizing your images can significantly improve their composition and make them more visually appealing. Let's explore how to do this in Photoshop CC:

  1. Select the Crop tool from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut C.
  2. Click and drag the corners or edges of the crop box to adjust the dimensions of your image. You can also rotate the crop box by hovering your cursor just outside of the corners.
  3. Press Enter (Return on a Mac) to apply the crop, or press Esc to cancel.
  4. To resize your image, go to the "Image" menu, and select "Image Size." Adjust the width, height, or resolution as needed, making sure to maintain the aspect ratio by keeping the chain icon linked.
  5. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

By cropping and resizing your images in Photoshop CC, you can focus on the most important elements and ensure they're the right size for your desired output.

Adjusting Colors and Contrast

Color and contrast adjustments can bring your images to life and make them more visually appealing. Photoshop CC offers various tools and options for making these adjustments, including:

  • Levels: Go to the "Image" menu, select "Adjustments," and then "Levels" to access this tool. Use the input sliders to adjust the brightness and contrast of your image, or select the eyedropper icons to set the white and black points.
  • Curves: Found under the "Image" menu in "Adjustments," the Curves tool allows you to make more precise adjustments to the brightness, contrast, and color balance of your image by manipulating a curve that represents the tonal range.
  • Hue/Saturation: Access this by going to the "Image" menu, selecting "Adjustments," and then "Hue/Saturation." This tool lets you adjust the overall color balance and saturation of your image, as well as target specific colors for adjustment.

By experimenting with these tools in Photoshop CC, you can enhance the colors and contrast of your images, making them more striking and eye-catching.

Fixing Imperfections

Photoshop CC offers various tools to help you fix imperfections in your images, such as blemishes, spots, or unwanted objects. Some of the most commonly used tools include:

  • Spot Healing Brush: Select this tool from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut J. Adjust the brush size and hardness in the options bar, and then click on the area you want to fix. Photoshop CC will automatically sample nearby pixels to remove the imperfection.
  • Clone Stamp: Choose this tool from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut S. Hold down the Alt (Option on a Mac) key and click on an area to sample. Release the Alt key and click on the area you want to fix, effectively "cloning" the sampled pixels onto the new area.
  • Content-Aware Fill: Make a selection around the area you want to fix using any selection tool. Go to the "Edit" menu and select "Content-Aware Fill." Adjust the settings as needed and click "OK" to let Photoshop CC automatically fill the selected area with matching pixels.

By mastering these tools in Photoshop CC, you can easily fix imperfections and enhance the overall quality of your images.

Working with Text and Graphics

Adding text and graphics to your images can help you convey a message or create a unique design. In this section, we'll explore some of the tools and features in Photoshop CC that can help you do just that.

Adding Text to Images

Photoshop CC offers a powerful text editor that allows you to add, format, and edit text in your images. To add text to your image, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Type tool from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut T.
  2. Click on your image where you want the text to appear, and start typing.
  3. Use the options bar at the top to adjust the font, size, color, and other properties of your text.
  4. Click the checkmark in the options bar or press Enter (Return on a Mac) to commit the text.
  5. To edit the text later, simply select the Type tool again and click on the text layer in your Layers panel.

With Photoshop CC's text editor, you can create visually engaging images with captions, titles, or even full paragraphs of text.

Creating Custom Shapes

In addition to adding text, you can also create and add custom shapes to your images using Photoshop CC's shape tools. These tools allow you to create vector-based shapes that can be scaled and edited without losing quality. Here's how to create custom shapes:

  1. Select one of the Shape tools from the toolbar, such as the Rectangle, Ellipse, or Polygon tool.
  2. Choose your desired fill and stroke colors in the options bar at the top.
  3. Click and drag on your image to create the shape. Hold down the Shift key while dragging to create a perfect square or circle.
  4. Use the options bar to adjust the properties of your shape, such as its size, rotation, or corner radius.
  5. To edit your shape later, select the Direct Selection tool (keyboard shortcut A) and click on the shape in your Layers panel.

By combining text and custom shapes, you can create unique and eye-catching designs in Photoshop CC that take your images to the next level.

Exporting and Sharing Your Work

Once you've finished editing your images and creating your designs in Photoshop CC, it's time to export and share your work. In this section, we'll cover the best ways to save your images for different purposes and how to share them with others.

Saving for Web and Print

Photoshop CC offers various options for exporting your images, depending on whether you intend to use them for digital or print purposes. Here's a quick guide on how to save your images in the right format:

  • For Web: Choose File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy). This option allows you to optimize your images for online use by selecting the appropriate file format, such as JPEG, PNG, or GIF, and adjusting the quality settings. Preview the results and check the file size before saving to ensure your image looks great and loads quickly on the web.
  • For Print: Choose File > Save As, and select a lossless format such as TIFF or PSD. This will preserve the quality and resolution of your image for printing. Be sure to set the Color Mode to CMYK and the Resolution to at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) for best results.

Remember that different formats serve different purposes, so choose the one that best suits your needs and keeps the file size manageable while maintaining the image quality.

Sharing on Social Media

Photoshop CC also makes it easy to share your images directly to social media platforms. To share your work on social media, follow these steps:

  1. First, make sure your image is saved in a web-friendly format, as described in the previous section.
  2. Go to File > Share, and choose the social media platform where you want to share your image, such as Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Follow the prompts to sign in to your account and customize your post, such as adding a caption or choosing who can see it.
  4. Click Share to publish your image on the selected platform.

Sharing your work on social media is a great way to showcase your skills, get feedback, and connect with other artists and designers using Photoshop CC.

Additional Resources and Tutorials

As you continue to explore and master Photoshop CC, you might want to deepen your knowledge and skills. There are countless resources and tutorials available to help you become a true Photoshop CC expert. Let's take a look at some recommended sources for learning more about this powerful software.

Online Courses and Tutorials

There are numerous online courses and tutorials available that cater to various skill levels and cover a wide range of topics related to Photoshop CC. Some popular platforms offering Photoshop CC courses include:

  • Adobe's official website: Adobe provides a wealth of tutorials, articles, and video lessons to help you learn the ins and outs of Photoshop CC.
  • YouTube: Many Photoshop CC experts and enthusiasts share their knowledge through video tutorials on YouTube. Just search for "Photoshop CC tutorials" to find countless educational videos.
  • Online learning platforms: Websites like Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera offer comprehensive Photoshop CC courses taught by industry professionals. These platforms often provide both free and paid courses to suit your needs and budget.

Books and Guides

If you prefer learning from books, there are many titles available that cover various aspects of Photoshop CC. Some popular Photoshop CC books include:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book: This official Adobe publication offers a comprehensive, project-based learning experience for mastering Photoshop CC.
  • Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual: A popular series that provides detailed explanations and practical examples to help you understand Photoshop CC's extensive features.
  • Photoshop CC for Dummies: This beginner-friendly guide offers step-by-step instructions for learning the basics of Photoshop CC, making it a great starting point for those new to the software.

Community Forums and Support

Finally, engaging with the Photoshop CC community can be a valuable way to learn from others, ask questions, and share your experiences. Some useful community resources include:

  • Adobe Community Forums: Get help and advice from fellow Photoshop CC users and Adobe staff in the official forums, where users can post questions, share tips, and discuss various topics related to the software.
  • Reddit: Subreddits like r/photoshop and r/photoshoptutorials are great places to find inspiration, learn new techniques, and engage with other Photoshop CC enthusiasts.
  • Social media: Follow Photoshop CC experts and influencers on platforms like Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest tips, trends, and resources in the world of Photoshop CC.

By leveraging these resources and tutorials, you'll be well on your way to becoming a Photoshop CC master, ready to tackle any creative project that comes your way.

If you're excited to dive deeper into the world of animation, don't miss the workshop 'Animating with Procreate and Photoshop' by Nyanza. This workshop will teach you essential skills and techniques for creating stunning animations using both Procreate and Photoshop, helping you bring your creative ideas to life.