Understanding Photoshop: Workspace

How do I use Photoshop?

In order to edit any of your images, you must first know how to use Photoshop. When you first open it up it may look overwhelming and that’s exactly how I felt until I started messing around with it and figuring out what everything does. It definitely is not as hard as it looks. I will help you speed up the process by explaining the main things that you will be using.

Adobe Photoshop is essentially Lightroom on steroids. It allows a lot more customization and editing with many more features than Lightroom.

Here is how everything should look when you first open up Photoshop:

Essentials-Screen

 

Here are a few tips

The very first tip I’m going to give you is one that I didn’t start using from the very beginning, but wish I would have. I just recently discovered this trick that made my workflow so much easier and quicker.

I’m not sure if this was in previous versions of Photoshop but this was the first time I was seeing this. In the top- right corner of your Photoshop screen you will see a box with a drop-down arrow that says Essentials that looks like this:

Essentials Box

What you need to do now is click on the arrow, once you do you will see more choices such as Essentials, Photography, Typography, etc… Those choices allow you to have different workspaces with just a simple click of a button depending on what you are working on.

Profiles Menu

What we will do now is click on Photography since that’s what we’ll be using Photoshop for. You should see the workspace change around a bit with different boxes, different tabs, and a few other minor differences here and there. Now, the key is to move stuff around in a way that will make it easiest for you to use and only keeps those things that you use the most. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong here, just personal preference. Here is what my workspace looks like (this works best for me):

Photography

As you can see, I have a very simple workspace that only has a few things which I use the most;

Tools Panel – This is a must for all types of work. This includes all the essential tools needed to do almost any editing in Photoshop.

Navigator – This is where you will see your image and the slider below it allows you to zoom in and out of your image, which you will be using a lot as you select and edit your photos.

History – This shows all the changes that you have made within Photoshop and allows you to easily go back if you make a mistake.

Adjustments – This is where you will handle all of your image adjustments such as Color Balance, Hue/Saturation, Exposure, etc…

Actions – I use this every single time I’m batch editing. This is where I add my watermark to all images at once so I don’t have to do it one by one. Very useful and time-saving.

Layers – This is also a must-have when you’re working. Every new layer will need to be visible so you can select it when working on it and the only way to do it is on this Layers tab.

How do I add tabs/windows?

You might be wondering, where do I get those windows from? What if I accidentally close them?

Very simple, the top toolbar will have the File, Edit, Image, etc… On that row, you will choose the Windows selection which should open a drop-down list of all the different tabs available.

That’s all folks!

That’s pretty much it, this will give you only the main things you use for Photoshop in your view. If there is something that you use every once in a while it’s probably a good idea to just keep it hidden and bring it up only when you need to use it.

As you may also have noticed, all of my windows are to the left and that’s simply because it’s easier for me to have everything on one side. That may not be the case for you, so move them around and see what works for you. What works for one person might not work for another person so feel free to experiment.

Featured image credit: Ross Funnell

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