Photoshot Tutorial Video


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adobe Photoshop interface basics

Image Navigation

It is crucial that you develop a firm knowledge in image navigation if you harbour the desire to become a Adobe Photoshop professional.

To get the most out of this tutorial, I recommend you make a start by opening up an image file.

Click on the 'File' menu and choose 'Open' from the drop down list. If you wish to look through your collection of images choose 'Browse' instead of 'Open'. In both instances use the file explorer dialogue box to navigate to the location of your image file and then double-click on it to open it into the Adobe Photoshop work area.


In order to acquire a professional result when restoring or manipulating an image, it is highly important that you 'get in close' to your subject. Try to work with a zoom factor of between 100% to 200% in most instances. Doing so will increase your control and attention to detail as well as giving you the advantage of being able to spot any blemishes and imperfections before your image goes to print.

How to identify your current zoom factor

There are two good methods for identifying your current zoom factor:

  1. Along the top of you image, you will find the zoom factor listed as well as file name, type and colour mode.

    Photoshop zoom factor at the top of the image window

  1. You can also alter your current images zoom settings by typing over the percentage figure on the status bar. Please note: If you are using an Apple Mac or CS3 on any platform, the status bar can be found along the bottom edge of an image.

    Zoom factor on status bar

The Zoom Tool

Zoom tool (Z)

The Zoom Tool gives you the ability to zoom in and out of your image.

Choose the Zoom Tool from the Tool Palette (A).

Zoom in: Zoom in Select 'Zoom in' mode on the contextual option bar.

Left-click over the area of an image that you wish to zoom into. This will incrementally, click-by-click take you further in to your image.

Zoom out: Zoom out Select 'Zoom out' mode on the contextual option bar.

left-click over an image to zoom out. This will take you further out from your image.

Many experienced Adobe Photoshop addicts utilise this particular tool. However, in the interest of establishing a good foundation in navigation, it would be better to abandon this method altogether in favour for an easier, quicker and more practical approach.

Zoom using 'Quick-keys'

Using a quick-key alternate instead of the zoom tool will massively enhance your productivity. Eventually, with practical application, you will be able to change your zoom factor as a reflex without even having to think about it.

Try this...

Zoom in: Hold down the 'Ctrl' key and press '+'

Zoom out: Hold down the 'Ctrl' key and press '-'

Moving around your Canvas

Once you have zoomed into your image, you'll find that much of it becomes obscured by the boundaries and limitations of its surrounding window. To see a little more of your photograph, you could try expanding the edge of its window by clicking and dragging over the 'sticky-tab' (bottom right corner).

More of the workable area of your image, or the Canvas can be revealed by using the scrollbars located along the right-hand and bottom edges of its window. This, however is a clumsy method and really should not be used with any regularity.

Scroll bars around image window

It is important to point out that while employing a method to navigate around a canvas, the canvas itself is not being displaced. Only your position with relation to what you can see will be effected.

The Hand Tool

Hand tool (H or space-bar)

The Hand Tool provides the ability to 'move' about your canvas.

Select the Hand Tool from the Tool Palette (H).

Left-click and drag to move. In order to appreciate the use of this tool, your image must be 'zoomed-in' to the point that much of the canvas is obscured by the window boundaries.

The Navigation Palette

Navigator palette

A reasonable level of navigation can be attained by using the 'Navigator' floating palette. With this tool, you can alter your zoom factor as well as point and click to the area of the canvas that you would like to look at.

Hand tool using 'Quick-keys'

Again, as we discovered earlier with the zoom tool, there are far easier methods for travelling around an image.

Try this...

Move about canvas: Hold down the 'space-bar' and left-click + drag.

Important: It would be advantageous to abandon all other methods in favour of this one. Using the space-bar will massively free-up time to concentrate on other things and, quite oddly, will reduce the stress factor when working with an image.


To efficiently zoom in and out of your canvas:

'Ctrl +' and 'Ctrl -'

To efficiently move about your canvas:


Tip: The 'Zoom' tool does have one excellent use. You can quickly zoom into a specific area of the canvas by left-click + dragging with the zoom tool.

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