Question about Computers & Internet
20 Things About Photoshop You Have to Know
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These are some of the tools and features that I find myself using on a regular basis when creating images for the web. These include using the slice tool on images to decrease page load times and using pre-set effects that save time when creating forms or menus for your site.Photoshop is, undeniably, one of the greatest software applications around. It has been around in one version or another for the last thirteen years, which is longer than I’ve known what CPU stands for. Currently in its eighth version, it has so many functions and features that I simply couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t explain the 20 most important and useful ones to you.
These are a way of organising or categorising common or linked layers in the layers panel. To create a new layer set, expand the Layer menu and select New -> Layer set. The new layer set dialogue box will appear and prompt you to enter a name for the new set. Once you have OK’d this box, a folder icon will appear in the layers panel; just drag and drop related layers into this folder. This is useful to organise your working environment and to apply styles across ranges of layers. This functionality extends to slices in Imageready.
The Slice Tool
Residing in the toolbox that appears to the far left of your workspace, and denoted by the knife icon, the slice tool is essential for creating clickable rectangular regions of your image. It is powered by Photoshop’s sister product Imageready (which comes bundled with the latest release of Photoshop), and needs to be used in Imageready to make the most of its potential. Nevertheless, Photoshop lets you add actions when the region is rolled over or clicked, and can be extremely useful in the creation of roll-over image-swaps or expanding menus on image-driven web sites. To create a slice, select the slice tool and drag a rectangle across the appropriate part of your image. That’s it. You can right-click the slice and select Edit Slice Options… to add URL, ALT and other information to the slice. Slicing an image also decreases page load times; a couple of slices download quicker than one large image.
20 Things About Photoshop You Have to Know - Image Maps, Web Photo Gallery and Paste Into
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Image maps are very similar to slices in that you can use them to create roll-overs and hyperlinks. The main differences between slices and image maps are that slices must be rectangular, but image maps can be any shape. They are used only in Imageready, and have no effect on image download times.
Web Photo Gallery
This time-saving function can be found under File -> Automate -> Web Photo Gallery… and can be used to quickly put together a high quality, gallery of images in HTML format. You simply select a source directory, a target directory, and let Photoshop do the rest. It creates as many web pages as needed to include all of the pictures in the source directory, which are presented in a tabular layout of thumbnails. Additional parameters such as page titles and ALT text can also be specified. It even makes each image clickable and loads the full size version of the image in a page of its own when the thumbnail is clicked! This can be used to quickly create a product catalogue or portfolio.
Accessed via the Edit menu, this function inserts an image into another image, and crops the inner image to make it appear as if inside the outer image. For example, you could draw a rounded rectangle 100 pixels wide and 20 pixels high and then draw another rounded rectangle 40 pixels wide and 20 pixels high directly on top of it. You could then use the magic wand tool to select the area inside the smaller rectangle, and paste a photograph into the selected area. Now only the area of the photograph within the smaller rectangle is visible. Combined with some text, this makes an excellent web page heading.
This is grouped with other similar functions under the Edit -> Transform Path menu and is used to add, surprisingly, a perspective effect. It works best with angular images, but can also be used to add the appearance of movement. To use it, select the image you want to add perspective to and choose the function in the above menu. Your image will acquire a border with handles around the edge. Drag these handles in the appropriate direction to add the required amount of perspective. Click the tick at the far right of the tool bar at the top of the screen when done.
Plugins are like applets that can be installed in the plugins directory and used to add functionality to Photoshop. If there’s something you’re trying to do in Photoshop that is remotely difficult, there is probably a plugin that will help you do it more easily. They can be downloaded from numerous sources on the Internet and are often free.
The styles panel is a repository of pre-set effects; if you draw a shape and then double-click one of the styles, those effects are automatically applied to your shape. There are a number of different categories of styles which can be selected by clicking the right-facing arrow at the top of the panel. There are a number of web styles including push buttons and roll-overs, and they can save you huge amounts of time when creating forms or menus for your site.
Posted on Dec 16, 2008
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