Hello all! This guide was originally created for a friend of mine who wanted me to teach her how to use Photoshop (since she'd never touched it before), and suggested that I show it off here. This shows all the very basic tools that I use with nearly everything I ever make on Photoshop. I will likely add more if people like this, but for now I'm keeping it extremely basic, for people totally new to the program. So, without further ado...
Here we are. Downloaded and opened up. Your screen should look pretty much exactly the same as mine. Now before we go anywhere, there's a tool I use all the time to make zooming a whoooole lot easier. It's called the Navigator, and I keep it up at all times (I only closed it just now to take the screenshot and show you how to open it). It's easy to get to, just click on Window on the top bar, scroll down to Navigator, and click.
Now you've got a nice little window that should appear, and can be moved around/scaled down to your liking, so that it isn't in your way. What this tool does is it lets you zoom in/out to exactly where you want with a simple click-and-drag, so it will be extremely useful once you actually start using the program. And it stays there, so you don't have to keep opening it up each time you use the program.
Now, let's get started on actually making something. As I'm sure you've guessed you go to File and then New and start selecting some options...
Now your screen will probably be a bit different from this, simply because the default settings are a bit different from the ones I usually choose. First off, I'd change the background from white to transparent, and for a number of reasons. First- quite a few of my sigs wind up with transparency in them... Second, a white background is set in stone. If you change your mind, you can't change it. A transparent background, however, can easily be made non-transparent simply by adding a background layer (more details later), which can be edited into whatever you want- whether it be any solid color, or a gradient of sorts, or back to transparent, whenever you want. Plus, when using a white background, you may not even notice if a picture you copied has a big white box around it that needs to be removed! So yeah... transparency... also, I suggest changing "inches" to "pixels", as you will likely be using this program and the images you create with it for online uses, rather than printing them out, so pixels would be easier to go by. After that, just give it a name and set it to whatever size you want. Remember that RPG's image size limit is 650x650, so if you intend to use it on this site, then both dimensions have to be smaller than said size, unless you want an ugly yellow bar at the top of your image. After you're done with all that, you can start! Although, instead of jumping right into a signature or graphic or whatever you planned on using Photoshop to make, I suggest you start with a sample to play around with, as I am about to, so that you get used to using the program.
Here we are! Ready to start? Alright... now I'm going to go on Google and find a picture to use... now a lot of you will likely be using your own artwork, but because I lack drawing skills, time, and other requirements, I'm just going to copy a picture from the Internet.
Now what you would do is just right-click and copy... but you can't do the same to paste. Instead, once you get to Ps, you have to use ctrl+V. Then it should appear.
.....Buuuuuuut it might be way too big! (Cuz I so didn't do that on purpose. ) So what now? Well, a quick way to scale things is to use the Free Transform, or ctrl+T. Using this will allow you to easily scale down the dimensions to whatever you want like you would with a picture on Word. Press enter when you're done. It should automatically smooth out the image after you do so it wasn't too obvious you were playing with the size.
So... looks good so far... what's wrong here? Oh yeeeeeeeah that big white box surrounding my Pikachu... Well, there are a few ways to get rid of unwanted backgrounds. If it is a solid color, like it is here, then a really fast, easy way to get rid of it is the Magic Wand tool.
(The default is something different, I think. If you don't see the same tool, hold down on the one in it's place for a few seconds. It should appear.) Now, what this tool allows you to do is to select an area of a single color with one click, which from there, we could do a lot of things with, like delete it. Simply click the background color to select...
And hit delete on your keyboard! Poof!
Gone! When you're finished with that, you can hit ctrl+D to end the selection.
Buuuuuuuuuut it won't always be that easy. Sometimes an unwanted background isn't a solid color, so using the magic wand would get tedious and messy! So, there's another tool that I quite often use in these situations- the pen tool. This lets you make defined, precise selections exactly where you want them. So...
Pikachu still has that little piece of white in his armpit region I hadn't snipped out before with the magic wand, which gives me an opportunity to show you how to use the pen. I also used that nifty Nagivator I showed you a while ago to zoom right in where I wanted to be to get a good look at it.
Now it's a bit hard to see given that it was right on the black line, but basically the pen tool works by making a bunch of clicks in little anchor points to make a path, until eventually you make a closed shape.
After that, right-click and choose 'make selection', so that a highlighted region similar to the one the magic wand gave us appears. Once again you can hit delete. Or, had I used the pen to click all the way around my Pikachu, and I wanted to delete everything outside my selection, not in it, then I would hit ctrl+shift+I, to invert my selection so that it does just that- goes for everything outside.
Now, Pikachu looks nice and all at this point, but I was hoping for a nice background. Well, a couple things that have to be done now; first off, I'll have to make another layer.
The layer settings are on the sidebar. And at the very bottom there, you should find something that vaguely resembles a post-it note. Clicking it will give you a new layer.
But it's not where it should be... if it's a background layer, then it has to be under our main layer, right? So just click and drag it down there.
Now, I'm going to go hunt down another image...
So here it is, copied and scaled just like I had with my other image. But what if when I was doing all that, I didn't want Pikachu in my way? Well, that's not a problem, since I can easily just click the eye icon on the layer that my Pikachu is in and...
Wild Pikachu fled! This is an easy way to get certain layers out of your way if you're trying to work with other ones, without deleting them, just making them unseen. You can bring them back any time just as easily.
Now, I want to add WORDS to my picture!! So where do I get them? Well... I'm pretty sure there is a text feature on Photoshop... but I never use it! Instead, I use this lovely site. While it is meant for downloading certain fonts to use on things like Word and Photoshop, that is not at all how I use it. Instead I do something much simpler. I just pick out a font I want from their categories...
And then, simply, enter in the text desired for my "preview" to see what the text looks like.
Not only does it work to test out the font and see if you like the look to it, as intended, but you can just as easily right-click, copy, and bring it right to Ps! (In doing this, it is wise to stagger out any desired text, and do it in small pieces and phrases rather than full sentences, so that it can be placed around the way you want it.)
Though a few flaws here are that A) it will often appear quite large and B) it keeps the yucky yellow background, and always has a black font! Well, the background and size are easy, you can just scale it down and remove the background with transform and he magic wand (though on some, more complex fonts, that will be harder to do...).
Now I just made the background invisible, but you should remember that this font doesn't go well with the background, and may be hard to see in places. So, here's how you can change it; you can use the paint bucket tool, which probably sounds familiar, to fill in a specific color.
(You probably see the gradient tool here. Just hold down on it like you did with the magic wand.) Now, from here, you can probably figure out how to use it. Select a color and fill in what you want. If it's not a solid color, though, that you want to completely fill in, then you can use the pen tool to ensure you fill an area like that.
Now, let me just finish getting the text I wanted, make my background visible again, and...
Viola! Minus the special paints, filters, gradients, etc I like to use, and the fact that I was hardly caring and put minimal effort into making the picture itself... this is essentially how I go about making my signatures! I hope this helps get you started, and I hope you have fun exploring the rest of the program!
If I see people like this, I will add onto it.