'Photo Shop' - Excellent Drawing Software


Perhaps 'the best' drawing software is Photo Shop (Adobe Photoshop). Really, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to creating digital artwork. I used this program to create the design of my website and all of the drawing lessons within it.

As many would agree - Adobe Photoshop is the professional image-editing standard, rivaled only by its vector-based counterpart, Adobe Illustrator.

OK. So Photo Shop is great. But how so? What is is that makes this program as wonderful as people say - and better yet... how can you use it to create cool compute-based cartoon drawings?

Well, I'm very happy you asked! Here, I'd like to give you a bit of a 'run down' on the program and how it's used. So first, please take a look at the following 'snap shot'. As when you load up the program... this is what you're going to see:

Photo Shop

Looking at the above picture, you get a nice overview of what the program looks like - and how it can be used. So zeroing in on each of the seven numbers above... let me explain to you the different components, starting with the canvas...

1. The Canvas

First off, we have the canvas. This is the 'digital piece of paper' on which all of your creations are drawn on. When the program first loads up, you can select the size of canvas you wish to work on by clicking: File > New. I recommend you begin with a simple 1000 x 1000 pixel working space.

2. Tools

A bit overwhelming at first, Photo Shop offers a number of different tools to help you get the most out of your creations. But really - and especially with respect to drawing... there are only a few that you need to be concerned with when just starting out.

So where to begin? Press 'B' on your keyboard. This is the shortcut for the brush. And then, draw! If you're using a tablet, drawing on your computer is much easier. Still, decent results can be achieved with a mouse too.

After you've drawn a few things with the brush - getting a feel for it, try out a few other beginner tools like: 'E' for eraser... 'I' for eye dropper (choose different colors), and 'Z' for zoom -- it lets you zoom in and out of your drawing, making changes as you see fit.

3. Toolbar

Horizontally across the top of the page - is the toolbar. Really, this is where everything happens. Just like MS Word, or your favorite web browser - Photo Shop has all sorts of features to create/edit/manipulate/enhance/etc.!! your drawings.

The core things you should know how to do here - when just starting out with the program, are:

  • File > New, File > Open, File > Save, File > Save As (for beginning, opening, and saving documents).
  • Edit > Undo (great for when you make mistakes!), Edit > Fill (coloring)
  • Image > Image Size (change size of image), Image > Canvas Size (change size of canvas without affecting image)
  • Window > ______ (Lets you show and hide the toolbar, layers, history, etc.)

As you progress with Photo Shop, you'll gradually become more familiar with the various options.

4. Layers

The very essence of Photo Shop - layers are truly the magic behind the program.

Normally, when you draw on a regular piece of paper - everything is 'compressed' into one layer. The lines, the color, the shading... it all exists on one single plane - your paper.

In Photo Shop - layers allow us to separate our work into more than one plane. For example, one layer could be just for lines, another for shading effects, and yet another for color.

The biggest perk with layers - in my opinion - is when it comes to coloring. Working solely on the 'color layer' - placed just under the 'line layer'... you never have to worry about going over the lines! :-)

5. Colors and Swatches

In the Toolbar, selecting Window > Color - or - Window > Swatches, will bring up palettes that contain various colors to use in your drawings. The 'swatches' palette is convenient as you can save specific colors of your own liking - ones you use the most. Use 'I' as a shortcut to quickly select different colors.

6. History

Whenever you make a mistake - the History Palette will come to your rescue. Basically, Photo Shop remembers (saves your work at various stages) your progress. Every time you draw a line, color a shape, etc. --- the program saves this step.

If you make a mistake then - you have the option of returning to a previous stage in the development of your drawing, very handy when you want to go back and do something over. To do so, simply click on the rectangle in the palette(ie: Layer Order) and you'll return to that point in your project. Pretty sweet!

7. Guides

Guides are extremely handy in Photo Shop whenever you need to 'keep things in line'. Here, with the design of my logo - I used guides to help keep everything centered.

To create guides, first select: View > Rulers. To create a horizontal guide, move your pointer over to the left ruler margin, click on the screen... and drag the guide onto your canvas wherever you want it to go. For vertical guides, do the same - yet start off in the top ruler margin.

To delete guides, first select 'V' (the 'Move Tool')... and then, put the pointer over the guide, and drag it all the way back to either the far left or top ruler margin. That's it!

Well, hopefully now you have a much better idea of what Photo Shop is - and how you can use it to create cool cartoon drawings.


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