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Top Tools to Use in Photoshop

Top Tools to Use in Photoshop main article image
Posted on January 10, 2023 by Lyndsey Drooby

When it comes to photo editing work using Photoshop, we all know there are so many tools to use to get the most spectacular edits. If you’re a new photographer or new to trying out the famed editing program, there are a few key tools to become well-versed in as you work your way through. These tools will open the doors to editing using the basics and help you create amazing images and you gain more experience and learn to add a variety of tools to the mix.

Let’s get into some of the basics when it comes to working with Photoshop.

Starting Out With the Move Tool

The Move tool is what you use to position portions of the image around. You can move layers, selections and texts wherever you need to move them. To start, make sure the correct layer you want to move is selected. Then click over to the Move tool or press V as a shortcut on the keyboard.

When the Move tool is selected, click on the object or section selected and drag it to the new spot you want it to be in. Pressing the arrow keys along with Shift on the keyboard also comes in handy when you want to move a larger portion of your selection.

Cutting Unnecessary Edges Out With Cropping

Cropping has become an act that has become a popularized terms, when cutting out unwanted edges, subjects or other portions that may distract from the overall focus of the image. This is where the Crop tool comes in to do its job. The Crop tool in Photoshop can also help with resizing images by using ratios. Images that are slightly askew and at an angle can also be straightened and adjusted.

The Crop tool is located on the left toolbar. The crop field dimensions will automatically appear over the image, and you can drag the edges to close in on what you want to cut out.

When using ratios, there is a Ratio dropdown selection on the top menu bar that appear after you have clicked the Crop tool. You can set the cropping to occur within a set dimensions.

Finally, when you have a crooked image, Straighten will also be found at the top of the menu bar. Click it and hold down on the corners of the images to tilt it into place.

Working With the Brush Tool

The purpose of the brushes serve as digital paintbrushes to draw designs or add effects to an image from the collection of artist to artificial textured brushes. More about using brushes can be found in-depth in this article.

Adding Text to Images

The Text tool is self-explanatory: you can add text to your image with the fonts you have loaded on your computer plus so many others you can purchase and download here on Creative Fabrica. The Text tool  has options to alter the text, change color and size and add effects like warping the text. This tool is always found on the left-side toolbar and once clicked, you will see a text placeholder appear on your image. Adding text will add another layer to your image which you will see on the right side of your screen.

The Shape Tool

Using the shape tool allows you to place shapes onto an image in various sizes, colors and other options. To use this tool, head over to the Shape tool that is located on the left toolbar. There is an additional menu that shows all the different shapes and once selected, an initial shape will appear onto your image. It is up to you afterward to customize your shape by dragging edges to the appropriate size, change color, and if you are working with a multi-sided polygon, you can change the number of sides.

Properties of the shapes can be seen as a menu on the top of the Photoshop menu screen and your shape added to the image will become a new layer on the Layers panel.

The Pen Tool For All Your Drawing Needs

The Pen tool is your go-to method of creating paths or selections around an object. It is also used for drawing or tracing to create your own designs. To start, it is selected from the left toolbar or by pressing P on the keyboard. When you work on your image or canvas, you create anchor points by clicking around the object. If you drag the cursor after clicking to make an anchor point, you are creating a line or you can create a curved line.

Close the selection that you have worked the pen around by clicking back to the first anchor point to complete the shape. Right-click and select “Make Selection…” to define the selection.

Creating Channels

A channel in Photoshop is a method of creating a precise selection using the contrast in an image. Every image has three color profiles—red, green and blue for an RGB image. The image you are choosing to work on will have these channels which you can find in the Channels panel. Channels can be found on the right-hand side of the Photoshop workspace.

Begin by selecting the color you want to work on, when you click Channels, you will see the red, green and blue channels shown with a greyscale thumbnail of your image. Brighter areas on each thumbnail have more color whereas darker areas show less color. When you select one color, any action you perform on the image will affect the look of that particular color. Changing the contrast or deleting any of that color, for example, will completely alter the look.

These are some of the basics to working your way through Photoshop. Some of these tools are as simple as they come to some that you may not have realized what you can do with them. Overtime, you can utilize these tools among the many others and boost your Photoshop skills with many combinations of tools and techniques.

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