This article will help familiarize you with the Photoshop platform.  For video walkthroughs, see the Adobe tutorial series here.  Also, all Adobe programs offer in-app tutorials for you to be able to learn the different aspects of the software, which are a hands-on way to become familiar with each program and its capabilities.

Create A New Project

  1. Open Photoshop.

  2. Go to 'File > New' or press Ctrl/Cmd + N.

  3. The window that opens will have options for Name, Width, Height, as well as:
    • Resolution - This is the resolution of your document. 72 PPI is used for Web and 300 PPI is for Print. PPI stands for 'Pixels Per Inch'.

    • Color Mode - This is the color type for your document. I suggest you leave it as RGB Color for now and keep it as 8 Bit.

    • Background Contents - This is what your background will be. I suggest you leave it as White.

    • Advance Settings - You can just leave it as it is.

  4. Once you have selected the setting you want, click 'OK'.

Some common document sizes:

  • 720p - 1280x720 @ 72 PPI

  • 1080p - 1920x1080 @ 72 PPI

  • A4 - 595x842 @ 72 PPI OR 2480x3508 @ 300 PPI

  • A3 - 842x1191 @ 72 PPI OR 3508x4962 @ 300 PPI

Basic Tools

For more detailed information on the tools, see this article.

Layers, Groups, and Guides

Layers are very useful in Photoshop. Each layer is an individual which means you can edit it without editing any of the other layers.

  • To create a new layer go into 'Layer > New > Layer' or click the box with the folded corner at the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

  • Layers can be locked which means that they can't be edited until you unlock it. There are three different types of Locks.
    1. Lock Transparent Pixels - This will make the pixels you erase black instead of getting rid of them.

    2. Lock Image Pixels - This will mean you can't change the pixels into anything such as coloring it in.

    3. Lock Position - This will mean you are not able to move the image.  This option will lock everything which means you will not be able to edit it at all.

  • Layers can be hidden by press the 'Eye' icon next to the layer. Click it again and the layer will be visible again.

  • Some settings can be changed to make the layer look different. To open the layer style window just double click the layer, which will open a new window. Some things you can do are:
    • Opacity - Change the opacity of the layer.

    • Stroke - Put an outline on the layer.

    • Inner Shadow - Puts a shadow inside the layer which gives it an effect of it is going inside.

    • Inner Glow - Put a glow on the inside.

    • Color Overlay - Put colors on top of the layer.

    • Gradient Overlay - Put a gradient on top of the layer.

    • Pattern Overlay - Put a pattern on top of the layer.

    • Outer Glow - Put a glow outside the layer.

    • Drop Shadow - Put a shadow underneath the layer which gives the effect of it floating.

Groups are used to organize your layers. You can create a group by clicking on the folder button at the button right-hand corner of the window.

Guides are very useful. To make a new guide go to 'View > New Guide'. This will bring up a new window. You can choose whether the guide is vertical or horizontal. I suggest when you start a new project you make two guides, one vertical at 50% and the other horizontal at 50%. 

Filters and Image Adjustments


  1. Go to 'Filter > Filter Gallery'. This will open a new window. You might have to adjust the zoom from '100%' to 'Fit in View'. This is located at the bottom left corner of the window.

  2. You will have a lot of different filters, so the best thing to do is look at all of them and pick the best one.

Image Adjustments.

  • Brightness and Contrast
    1. Go to 'Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast'

    2. You will now see two sliders, one for the brightness and the other for contrast. Play around with the slider until you think your photo looks better.
  • Vibrance
    1. Go to 'Image > Adjustments > Vibrance'

    2. You will now see two sliders, one for vibrance and the other for saturation. Play around with the slider until you think your photo looks better.

  • There are a lot of other settings you can change. If you want to know what they all do you should play around with them. The main reason you would use them is to change the color of a picture.