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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So this is Photoshop for Beginners. And the whole premise of this course; if you think back to that first time you launched Photoshop and you just kinda went, "Wow, there's a lot of stuff here." There's all these tools, and there's menus, and panels, and that's a little overwhelming. There's just so much information; so many choices to make. And one of the, I don't wanna call it a mistake, but kind of a mistake that I think when I look at some beginner's classes they say let's go through every single tool and tell you what they do. Let's go through every single menu and tell you what they do. Which is a good theory I suppose. But most of us will never remember all of that. And more importantly you don't need to because there's only a core of tools that you really need to know right away. So one of my goals for this class is to not cover every single thing there is in Photoshop because honestly you don't need to know that. And that's one of the first points of this class, is we're gonna...

talk about just the essential information you need to know. The tools, the functions, and some, what I would call, best practices. Because a lot of us, when we first start Photoshop, we're kind of self-taught for the most part, right. And I've always said the problem with being self-taught is the teacher. Because if you don't know how Photoshop works, how are you going to teach it to yourself? So it's more like you try things, and go whoa that worked, I guess I'll do it that way. And then someone comes along and says, "Or you could do it these other seven ways." So my focus is to try and narrow down those choices for you, so that when you're faced with a task, you have kind of an approach to take. It's not all about a formula that says always do these steps. Because frankly, it won't always be the same. But to have enough of a understanding of some things; kind of a work flow that you need to go through, and some things that you need to think about when you're working in Photoshop, that's the kind of stuff we're gonna talk about throughout these two days. So in case you're interested, this is my social media information. You can take a look at that. I'm not, I wouldn't say terribly active in the sense that I don't typically share photos of my lunch. I tend to do things which hopefully is of more interest to people in the world of Photoshop. So you can get that information if you want. Now, one of the things I always start off talking about Photoshop for Beginners, is that unfortunately, as good as Photoshop is, and it's been around now for 20 something years; the problem is that people's perception of what Photoshop can do is completely warped. Often by Hollywood. So as an example, tell me if you're ever seen this scene in a movie or a TV series, where they say the only photo we have is a really dark screen capture from the video, and it's all dark and blurry. And the CSI guy goes, let me enhance that. And he goes d-d-d-d-d-d, and all of a sudden it's like oh there he is. And they say, "Well can we make it any better?" And said sure, "Let's just show his face." Well no, that's not actually possible. So all those things where the guy goes like this on the keyboard, and now it's perfect focus, it doesn't work that way. So when people come to us and say, I have a photo of a person, can you just cut them out. And you'll hear that if you haven't already. People who don't understand Photoshop, almost every request they have has the word just in it. Can you just take the glasses off his face? Can you just cut this guy out? And my response is, "Well if I cut him out, "then there's just a hole where he used to be." What they really mean is, can you make it look like he wasn't there? Which is completely different, and that's a whole lot more challenging. So one of the things we have to come into this, is realistic expectations of what Photoshop can and can't do. Often people see on social media or somewhere else, kind of before and after pictures. And they're like, "Wow that looks really great." I am of the opinion that anytime there is a before and after, it should say after six hours. Or after some time. Because when it doesn't, people get this perception that in Photoshop I'll just go and do a couple of things and all of a sudden it looks great. And I mean, that might be the case sometimes, but not always. So here's another example; let me go back here for a second. Another typical example where people have a photo and the focus is a little off. And they're like, "We'll just fix it in Photoshop." That's one of the hardest things there is to fix because those are just the pixels that you've got. So someone could try and improve that. Will it ever look as good as if the photo was actually taken in focus? No, but that's the expectation people have. And as people who use Photoshop I believe, part of our purpose in life should be to help other people understand this, that it's not quite that easy. Years ago I remember I took a photo of a friend of mine when digital cameras first came out, many years ago. And he wanted to use it; back then it was for print because we didn't have internet back then. So I took a photograph of him, and I did a few things, send it to him. And he called me and he said, "I realize I should have taken my glasses off, "so can you just take my glasses off for me?" So I said, "Sure, I'll just go the filter "called remove eyewear." Oh wait there isn't one. And I was like, "You know what, I'll come to your house "and just take another photo." And he was like, "Really, that's easier?" I'm like, "Yes, it's definitely easier." But his perception was, because he'd seen things in the movies or end results that it was just easy to do. Probably my biggest, funniest story to me of someone who just did not get Photoshop and the technology was a gentleman who came to the place I used to work. We used to do printing before printers weren't quite as common as they are now. So people would bring in a disc or something, and we'd give them a print. And he brought in a photo he'd taken of a cottage; his little cottage that he was selling. And he said, "Can you also take the photo and flip it?" And I was like, "You want it upside down?" He goes, "No, just show the back of the cottage." And I was like, if I could do that, I'd be a billionaire. If I could magically take a flat photo and just turn it around and show you here is the back. And when I said I can't do that, he was like oh. Because clearly he'd seen some movie or TV show where they'd gone (keyboard clicking), and all of a sudden they were looking at the back of the house. I'm like, "It doesn't work that way, I'm sorry. "Just so you know." So this is one of the things that we have to be prepared for. So part of what, going into it, we have to understand that certain things we want to do in Photoshop just take time. There's a process we go through, and we can try and improve things, but the situation of taking any photo and improving it. I always say, "Is anything possible in Photoshop? "Maybe with time, but then there are some cases where it's just not." Like a dark, blurry photograph. I mean you can maybe improve it a little bit, but it'll never look as good. And that's just one of the things we have to kind of get used to is that kind of thing. So with that in mind, let's talk about some of the things that what I'd say you do and don't have to learn in Photoshop. So I always say that the only reason to learn every single tool, and every single menu, and every single panel, is if you have a desire to teach Photoshop. Because you have to know them just in case someone asks, and you can explain what it is and why you don't need to worry about it. And I would say that I honestly spend half my time, when I'm teaching Photoshop, saying don't worry about that tool. And people's response is, "Well why is it there?" And my response is, okay. So a number of years ago; you know this is like the 17th or 18th, or 20 something version of Photoshop, right? So over time Adobe updates the software and brings out new features. Well at a certain point, someone at Adobe, some product manager said, "You know there are some functions in here "that people don't use as much, based on our studies. "So we could probably remove that." So they did it once. They took something out of Photoshop. And from the 35 people in the world that still used that function, they were so upset, that Adobe apparently said, "Well I guess we just won't remove anything anymore." So there are 68 tools in Photoshop. There are probably 15 that I can remember the last time I used them, except to tell someone, oh here's where it is but don't worry about it. So that's one of the things we have to understand. Yes, there's 68 tools. And part of the reason is because each time Adobe would add some new tool, including sometimes tools which were now better than the older alternative; but they kept the older alternative tool just in case this handful of people out there had created a workflow or something where they'd be lost without it. And while I get that, it just makes it more confusing for people to go, "Wow I've gotta learn all those tools?" No you don't. "I've gotta go through every menu and every function?" No. I spend most of my time teaching Photoshop. When I'm using Photoshop, I'd say I use six to eight tools all the time I use a core of certain functions. I spend half my life in the layers panel, and we'll talk a lot about layers today. But it's not like I'm using every single function under the layer menu. There's a core that you use. And depending on the work you do, there might be some things where you gravitate more towards a particular function or something like that. But it's not like we have to worry about, oh there's so many things, I have to learn every single thing. So that's the first thing we kind of have to just get used to, is to think about the fact that; don't go in with the expectation of learning every single function. What I will suggest to you, is core functions will start; a good start to get you going in Photoshop. And then every so often you'll run into a situation where you do a quick Google search, and the suggestions are try this tool. Oh that's a tool I haven't used before. So then you start gradually adding more. It's just like keyboard shortcuts. I'm a huge fan of using keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop 'cause I'm lazy, and I don't want to have to go to menus. But when I first started, I didn't know every keyboard shortcut. I'd realize these are the core functions I use all the time, and I realized this is the 12th time today that I've gone under the edit menu and used Hit Free Transform. And I look and go, there's a shortcut for that, maybe I'll start memorizing that. So I would never suggest to a beginner, to learn every single shortcut there is. But look at what you're doing. And say, "Well I keep doing the same thing. "There is a shortcut for that, "maybe I'll start gradually learning those." And that's how you can start to find that you're spending less time looking around trying to find things, and more time focused at the task at hand. So with that in mind; so when we go through the day, I'll tell you upfront if there may be a time where you might ask a question because you're curious. And say what about the fill-in-the-blank tool? My answer probably will be, that's what I would consider one of those secondary tools that you might eventually use. And there might be another tool you'll ask about, and I'll say I might put that in the category of I can't even think of a reason to use that anymore. I almost wish there was a way; it wouldn't look very good. But it would be nice if I could somehow demonstrate this by you could look at my toolbox and see some of the tools were all rusty and had cobwebs on them, because I haven't even touched them in so long because they're just not necessary. And one of the realities of Photoshop, and this is just the way it is, is that with very few exceptions, no matter what you're doing in Photoshop, there's always at least 6.2 different ways to do it. On average. So when the question is, what's the best way? How do you define best? Easiest to remember? Quickest, most accurate? So I like to focus on the things that give me the most flexibility to change my mind. And we'll talk about that a lot as we progress through the day. Especially in the next segment, we'll talk more about that kind of concept. One of the things that often happens during these classes; of course we know there's lots of people watching online, and then we get some feedback. And there's been some people saying, "I'm feeling a little lost. "This is not as beginner as I thought it was gonna be." Or something like that. Let me reassure there is a method to my madness here, because I've seen the results of people who just start off saying let's go through every single tool. Let's go through every single menu. And while that shows you a lot of things, it just becomes even more overwhelming trying to remember. So I deliberately starting off with overall principles of like best practices, and going through that checklist and things like that. And we will start to get into more functions like how to open files. I realize I have files open, because frankly up until now I haven't wanted to show you yet 'cause we're just talking about. The key thing is, once you have a file open, how do you navigate? And we'll talk in this segment about things like how to open files, and how Photoshop fits in with other programs like (mumbles), things like that. Don't feel at any point like you're getting left behind because we're gonna go through the key principles. I've been doing this for a long time, and I've seen the difference, In fact, I've changed my approach to teaching Photoshop, because at first, the first time I taught Photoshop, Photoshop had eight tools. So you kinda had to go through them all, because what else was there to talk about? But as I've worked with people over the many years, I found that it doesn't serve you well for me to just go let's just go through every single tool. Because I use the same thing of saying; if I see someone, a cook, I wouldn't go into the cooking store and buy every single utensil and say, you may never use this gizmo but let's buy it anyway, just so you can fill up your drawer with all of these choices to cook. Whereas, why not start with the key elements you need to cook, like a pan, whatever it is. So it's kind of the same thing with Photoshop. We will go through different processes to say okay, now that we've got these basics done, now we'll start looking up how do we retouch, how do we adjust a photograph, all that kind of stuff. So it's gonna take a couple more segments before we start really getting into the kind of things you'll probably do in Photoshop. But I really believe that setting the stage by talking about these kind of principles and concepts, and what you do need to worry about, what you don't need to worry about, is a good place to start.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Quick Notes Guide
Landscape Image for Practice Edit
Senior Portrait Missing Element for Practice Edit
Senior Portrait With Element for Practice Edit

Ratings and Reviews


I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.

Student Work