Technicity Times
    Issue 4 • November 2003


Using Adobe's Photoshop

It's Easy, Powerful, and Fun

by Herschel Greenberg and Paul Greenberg

Damn! That's a great picture, except for…

If that "great" picture for your newsletter needs a little more contrast or the picture for your web site needs cropping, if you need to get the "red" out of your PowerPoint image, if you have ever had a picture that needed something fixed, dirt specks or something annoying in the background, then Adobe's Photoshop is the program for you. Having been available through numerous iterations throughout the years, Adobe's Photoshop continues to be one of the most user-friendly image and photo programs on the market. With its easy layout, Adobe's Photoshop allows the user to select from tools, filters, and individual layers without hunting through menus.

The Rubber Stamp Tool

For example, one of the most powerful tools for cleaning images is the rubber stamp tool. This tool allows you to select an area on the image and then duplicate that area anywhere you choose. If there is dirt on a dark background, the rubber stamp tool will allow you to select the dark background and "rubber stamp-it" over the dirt, making it disappear. Using the same technique, the user can remove entire unwanted areas on any image. While the filter list is extensive, it is very easy to use. The user can apply numerous creative touches to images, from a sun-flare to a watercolor look. Although some of the filters are just for fun, all you need is an imagination to create multiple looks.

Using Layers

Another key element for Adobe's Photoshop is its ability to handle different layers. Adobe's Photoshop separates each layer of an image and treats it independently from all other layers. For example, when adding text, Adobe's Photoshop creates a new layer. This allows the user complete control over the text without affecting the image below it. Because Adobe's Photoshop allows for so many layers, this gives the user many ways to manipulate different parts of the image. Each layer can have its own effects, filters, opacity and settings applied to it directly. If, for example, you want to remove a picture of yourself from one image and place it on an image with mountain ranges, the picture of yourself becomes a new layer on top of the mountain images. This way, the picture of yourself can be changed in any manner without changing the mountain ranges.

Selecting Areas to Work on

What separates Adobe's Photoshop from other programs is how it handles the process of selection. Adobe's Photoshop allows the user many different ways of selecting areas on an image. There is the normal box tool that allows the user to select a rectangle (or other shapes) anywhere on the image. The marquee tool allows the user to select areas based on color. By setting the tool's feather abilities, the marquee tool allows for precise selections of objects on the image, which allows anything to be cut out and separated from the image. With this technique, cutting yourself out of one image and placing it on another is very simple.

Color Correction

In addition, Adobe's Photoshop contains one of the most powerful sets of color correction tools available. In fact, the tools are so deep, Adobe's Photoshop is the main program used by professional publishers. With simple controls such as brightness/contrast control, saturation control, and color balance, Adobe's Photoshop will appeal to, the professional, looking to create a publishable image, and the non-professional looking to enhance vacation pictures or enhance pictures of that adorable grandchild.

Adobe's Photoshop makes it easy for you to make your photo look good and at the same time, have fun.

Paul Greenberg is a professor of Philosophy. He can be reached at . Herschel Greenberg is a DVD editor and creator of educational DVDs. He can be reached at



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