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Adobe loves to make it easy to set things up how you like it. They have integrated a feature called workspaces. Workspaces allow you to set up your Photoshop panels how you like them. You can arrange your workspace exactly how you like it and save it for later as a preset.
Photoshop already comes with workspace presets that are geared towards different professionals. The presets are Essentials, Design, Painting, Photography, 3D, Motion, and New in CS5. You can save your own presets easily. Simply arrange your panels and workspace exactly how you’d like it. You can close certain panels that you don’t use frequently, and if there are panels that you want to be active, but you don’t see them, you can make them visible quickly. Simply go to Window> and then select the panel that you want to make visible. Once you have everything how you like it, click the double arrow next to your list of workspaces, and select New Workspace.
A dialog box will pop up, allow you to name your workspace so that you can activate it later. You will also have the option to remember your keyboard shortcuts and your menu setup as well. This enables you to have the ultimate flexibility you need, and you can switch workspaces with a simple click of a button. This speeds up your workflow, and saves you time, because you aren’t constantly opening and closing panels, moving them, rearranging them, etc.
Simply go to File> New to open a blank document. A dialog box will come up with several options. You can choose a custom file size, resolution and the color mode for your document. If you are brand new to the world of Photoshop, then you will want to know what these are, and what they mean.
Width and Height
The width and height of your document are important. You can select whether you work in inches, pixels, centimeters, millimeters, points, picas or columns. A pixel is the smallest block of color information that makes up an image. You would most likely choose pixels if you are designing for the web, because dimensions are set in pixels. Inches will be useful in print design, because you are referring to the physical size of the document.
Centimeters, millimeters, points, and picas are also used for print, but aren’t as widely used anymore.
The resolution of your document is as equally important as the size. Work that you do for the web is usually done in 72ppi or pixels per inch. This is the resolution in which most monitors display their images. If you are designing your work for print purposes, such as commercial photography, or anything that you want to print, such as photos, business cards, flyers, and brochures, then you will want to choose 300ppi. This is denser and gives a sharper image.
Your color mode is important, because just as in resolution, your color mode will depend on your intended outcome. The most commonly used color modes are RGB and CMYK. Lab Color, Bitmap and Grayscale are the other options for color modes. LAB mode is used for a lot of professional color correction, and you can do some things in this color mode that are harder to do in other modes. This is usually for more advanced users that understand Photoshop well already, because LAB color mode is a completely different animal.
RGB Color Mode is made up of 3 color channels- red, green and blue. RGB is mainly used for web design and for screen or monitor purposes. Monitor colors are made up of red, green and blue light in order to display images, so RGB mode is most suitable and true-to-life to work with. It is good to keep in mind that all monitors are different though. One monitor may display blue slightly different than the next monitor, and both of those could be different than the next in line.
CMYK mode is used mainly for print. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These are the colors of ink that make up an image in most conventional printers. You will find it interesting that the different combinations of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow will make red, green and blue. When designing in Photoshop, it is important to keep in mind that an image in CMYK mode won’t look exactly the same printed as they do on a monitor. Designers have been battling this issue for years. There are color calibration tools that high-end professionals use, but it is still a good idea to use something called a proof.
A proof is a printed sample of the image or design that you want to have printed. You compare this to your intended work on the monitor, and you make adjustments to your design based on the outcome of the proof. Your design may look perfect on your computer, but when it is printed, it is more yellow than it is supposed to be. Before the final print is approved, you would adjust your colors to compensate for the extra yellow, and you might even order a second proof.
Some printers charge for hard copy proofs of your work, which some might argue isn’t worth the extra expense. It really depends on your project, because you might order 10,000 copies, and if they are all ruined, then you have to absorb the costs, or you could spend the extra $10 and be on the safe side.
New document Presets
Other than resolution and color modes, Photoshop makes life easier, and incorporates document presets, so you don’t have to remember dimensions for all of your documents. A good example would be if you make a lot of mockups of tablet screens, and you didn’t want to have to remember the dimensions of an ipad screen, a Samsung Galaxy, an ipod touch, and a dozen other devices. You could dial in the dimensions once, and save them as a preset. Photoshop already incorporates some presets out of the box, such as paper sizes, and normal web site sizes.