PhotoShop Printing Knowledge

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a painting program that allows you to scan and edit continuous tone images to achieve a desired effect or to create new bitmap images. Photoshop integrates the Photoshop software with that of ImageReady. ImageReady is no longer sold as a separate software package. The integration of ImageReady with Photoshop now makes it possible to produce images for the Web as well as for printed media. You can go back and forth between traditional Photoshop features and ImageReady features without losing any settings or properties you have established in either one. It works easily with other Adobe programs such as Illustrator or InDesign and it can be used on either Macintosh or Windows platforms.

Organizing and Selecting

Photoshop utilizes multiple layers which makes it easier to design and edit your image. The layers can consist of components of one image or the layers can contain several different images. Using layers can make your work more efficient because it can be easier to edit and manipulate images that are not all on one layer. Special effects can be added to objects on these layers such as automatic drop shadows, bevels, glowing effects, and you can change the opacity mode and the transparency of the layers in order to create collages. A drag and drop feature makes it easier to combine items from different layers or different files, and there are commands for automatically aligning and distributing multiple layers.

In order to edit an image or a part of an image on these layers, you must select it first. The area you have selected will be indicated by a dotted line around the area. The items listed below show some tools that you can use to select specific areas of an image.

  • Lasso Tool/Polygonal Lasso Tool - With these tools you can draw freehand and straight edge borders around objects to select them.
  • Marquee Tool - You can select a rectangular or elliptical area on your image. You can then invert it and delete everything outside of the shape to achieve the effect shown below.

  • Magnetic Lasso - This is the same as the other lasso tools except that the border that you have drawn will snap to the edges of the defined area of the image. This is very useful when you want to select an object with a complex shape.
  • Magic Wand - This tool allows you to choose pixels on an image with colors that are within a color range that you can select.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing objects in Photoshop is made easier with several drawing tools. You can use the pen tool to draw objects or paths.  If you click the mouse on the path, you can make anchor points on the path or click and drag to create a bezier curve. Anchor points are used to define the shape of the path. You can manipulate the anchor points to change the shape of the path. The paths that you draw can be closed, such as a circle, or an open path which has a beginning and end such as a straight line. You can also use the line tool to draw straight lines on an image and you can change the thickness of the lines and the appearance of the starting and ending points, such as applying an arrow.

If you want to draw a freeform path around an existing object, you can use the magnetic pen tool. The path will snap to the edges of the object in the areas where you are drawing the path. This works much the same as the magnetic lasso tool except that the magnetic lasso tool is for selecting an area and the magnetic pen is used for drawing a path.

The magnetic pen tool allows you to draw a path around an existing image and the path will snap to the edges of the area you are tracing. You will have to experiment with the settings to get the best result. Save the path and you can select it at any time to make it a selection.

With the painting tools, you can modify pixels in an existing image to create different colors in areas, or you can create your own colored objects. Listed below are some useful tools.

  • Paintbrush Tool - Produce strokes of color.
  • Airbrush Tool - You can apply gradual tones of color to images that simulate an airbrush technique. You can hold down the mouse button to spray the paint. The amount of paint applied depends on how quickly you move the mouse. If you keep the mouse in one spot and hold the button down, you will gradually build up the color.
  • Pencil Tool - You can create freehand lines which have a hard edge.
  • Eraser Tool - This is a type of painting tool that removes pixels from an image instead of applying color to an area. The pixels selected with this tool can be changed to transparent or they can be made to look like the background color.
  • Art History Brush - This tool changes an image into brush strokes to produce the effect of a painting.

There is a brushes palette where you can choose the size and shape of the brush stroke that you want to use for a selected painting tool. You can also make your own custom brush shapes selected from parts of images.

There are gradient tools to enable you to do gradual blends of color or to make colors fade in and out. The different types of gradient tools that you can use are:

  • Linear - This makes the gradient go from dark to light or light to dark, in a straight line.

  • Radial - The gradient goes outward from a point in a circular pattern.

  • Reflected - The gradient goes out from a starting point in a straight line and is repeated, or reflected, outward in a straight line on the opposite side of the starting point.

  • Diamond - The gradient goes out from a starting point in a diamond shape.

  • Angular - This makes the gradient go from a starting point in a counterclockwise direction around the starting point.


You can edit the gradients by changing the following items:

  • You can change the starting and ending colors of the gradient.
  • You can move the midpoint of the gradient, which is the point where the gradient mix is even.
  • You can move the start and end points of the gradient.
  • Intermediate colors can be added to the gradient.


To enter text with Photoshop, just select a type tool and then click on your image in order to insert a starting point for the text. The text will automatically be saved on a new layer that can be edited anytime. The font and size can be changed, the color, the leading, kerning, tracking, and more.

Painting and image editing programs like Photoshop, create type characters with bitmap images, unlike programs such as Illustrator which creates outline type with vector graphics. If bitmap text is scaled up to a much larger size, the characters may have a jagged appearance. Photoshop has an "anti-aliasing" feature which helps reduce this effect. Aliased type reveals the jagged or stair step effect, especially at lower resolutions. Anti-aliasing partially fills in or blurs hard edges, to help make the edges on text characters appear to be smoother like those of outline type. If anti-aliasing is used on very small fonts or point sizes, the resulting text can look blurry and be very difficult to read.

The "V" in the outlined box has been enlarged to show the concept of aliasing. The enlarged bitmap letter shows how the pixels produce a jagged appearance.

When anti-aliasing is applied to the enlarged letter, a smoother appearance is achieved.

Other Effects

There are many other effects and properties that can be applied to images to modify their original appearance. Listed below are a sampling of some of these:

  • Photoshop comes with more than 95 special effects filters. Some of these are image sharpening, distortion, softening, dust and scratch removal, drop shadows, and bevels.
  • Images or parts of images can be skewed, distorted, rotated, scaled, and flipped.
  • You can apply 3-D effects to images.
  • The smudge tool gives that effect to any part or all of an image. The sharpen tool brings an object more into focus and the blur tool softens the edges of an image so the amount of detail in the original is reduced.
  • There are many third party filters and plug-ins that you can purchase to add more effects to Photoshop.


Photoshop offers tools for editing and correcting the color of your image. There are adjustments for brightness, contrast, and highlights, shadows, and midtones. You can also adjust the value of individual colors in an image. The "Replace Color" feature allows you to correct the color of any selected area of your image.

Any  adjustments you make to the color of an image will affect the overall color balance of the image. Changing one color component affects the other color components. For example, increasing the amount of one color in an image, will decrease the amount of that color's opposite or complimentary color. You can achieve a general color correction without having to worry about getting too much of one color by using the "Color Balance" control.

The following color models are available in Photoshop:

  • RGB mode - Red, Green, and Blue, or additive color, for use on the Web.
  • CMYK mode - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. The CMY are the basis of the subtractive color process and the addition of Black (K) allows for accurate color reproduction for printed media.
  • HSB - Hue, Saturation, and Brightness. This color model best describes the human perception of color. Hue refers to the name of the color and is expressed as a degree, 0° to 360°, which specifies its location on the color wheel. Saturation is the strength of the color, or the amount of gray in relation to the color. Brightness is the lightness or darkness of a color. Both saturation and brightness are expressed as percentages.
  • Lab - The "L" in Lab represents the luminance or lightness component, the "a" represents the green to red component, and the "b" represents the blue to yellow component.

There are also specialized color modes available in Photoshop including Bitmap, Grayscale, Indexed, Multi-channel, and Duotone.

Photoshop also allows you to edit your images in CMYK mode for color printing. You can view a preliminary proof of the image before printing. Color separations can be produced for color printing and printed output can be adjusted for different paper stocks and printing equipment.

Web Tools

There are many features in Photoshop to help you with your Web publishing tasks. Some of these features are within the ImageReady 2.0 portion only, and others are in both Photoshop and ImageReady. Listed below are some of these features:

  • You can view as many as four versions of the same image at one time with the "Save for Web" command, to make a comparison of the file size and quality of each version of the image.
  • You can use any Web browser to check how your image will look.
  • Dithering between different browsers and color shifting between Windows and Macintosh platforms is always a concern, so these effects can be observed during the design process. You can decide to edit colors to make them compatible with all browsers.
  • You can create JavaScript rollover buttons.
  • With the ImageReady tools, you can transform a layered Photoshop file into an animated GIF.
  • The ImageReady tools create HTML code for your files when you are ready to export them.
  • Image maps, buttons, banners, and navigation bars can be easily created.
  • You can import QuickTime™ movies to produce ImageReady animations.
  • The ImageReady "Slice Tool" allows you to split a multi-layered image into sections and use file formats and compression techniques that are best suited for each area. This helps in achieving a faster loading time for your files.

Image Slicing

File Formats

Photoshop offers support for compatible file formats for Macintosh and Windows platforms. There is support for GIF, JPEG, PNG, and PDF Web publishing file formats and there is also support for graphics file formats for print publishing such as EPS, TIFF, and others.

System Requirements


Minimum Requirements


PowerPC processor.


System software 7.6 or later.


64 MB of application hard disk space.

96 MB or more of application hard disk space in order to operate both Photoshop and ImageReady at the same time.

125 MB of available hard disk space.

Large capacity hard disk.

CD-ROM drive.


Color monitor with 256 colors (8-bit color).

24-bit color.



Minimum Requirements


Intel Pentium processor or faster.


Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, or later operating system.


64 MB of RAM installed.

96 MB or more of RAM in order to operate both Photoshop and ImageReady at the same time.

125 MB of available hard disk space.

Large capacity hard disk.

CD-ROM drive.


Color monitor with 256 colors (8-bit color).

24-bit color.

* A sound card is recommended for viewing interactive tutorial files.


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