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Lesson 5: Tinkering With Images and Canvases

Adobe Photoshop 6 Basics

Resizing

Now that you know how to select parts of an image, it's time to learn how to modify entire images and canvases. In this lesson, you will get down to the nitty-gritty of changing the way your images look. From changing size to making the crooked straight, I'll run you through Photoshop's gymnastics.

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-1: The Image Size dialog box.

To change a measurement proportionally in both dimensions, click the Constrain Proportions checkbox and then change either the width or the height value. Photoshop will automatically calculate the other dimension and recalculate the file size. The file's resolution, however, will stay the same.

At the top of the Image Size dialog box, you'll see the option to size the image by pixels. If you choose inches (or centimeters), you are changing the physical size of the image. If, on the other hand, you choose to define your image in terms of pixels, you are defining your image size in terms of the colored dots (pixels) that make up your computer monitor.

Changing the Size of the Canvas

You might be asking yourself why you'd want to change the size of the canvas. The most obvious reason is to give yourself more room to work. To change the canvas size, choose Image > Canvas size (the dialog box is shown in Figure 5-2).

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-2: The Canvas Size dialog box.

Select the unit of measure you want to use from the pop-up menus, and type one dimension of the new Canvas size. To place the image to an edge of the newly enlarged canvas or to the center, click one of the Anchor buttons in the Canvas Size dialog box (Figure 5-3). When you use the anchor, note that the image itself does not change size: you are merely seeing it in proportion to the new Canvas size (Figure 5-4). You could, of course, resize the image to fill the canvas.

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-3: Once you have enlarged the canvas, click an Anchor button to align the image to one edge of the canvas, or to its center.

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-4: The image is now in the corner of the canvas.

Cutting and Pasting Images From Other Images

Photoshop is all about changing the way images look. One way to do that is to cut or paste elements from one image into another, or to create an entirely new image with pieces of others. Using selection tools, especially precise ones like the Lassos, you can "transport" objects from one file to another and from one environment to a completely different one.

To try this, let's open the same image that you downloaded in Lesson 4.

  1. Select the boy (I'll leave you to work out which tool to use, but if you don't remember, review Lesson 4).
  2. Choose Edit > Copy (or the keyboard shortcut)
  3. Create a new Photoshop document and paste the image onto the new canvas.
  4. Or if you're feeling adventurous, paste him onto another image, perhaps one containing a background that's very different than the field where you found him.
  5. If you paste on top of a new image, be sure to set the Feather Radius so your foreground image will blend into its new surroundings.

My result is shown in Figure 5-5. I resized the image to fit better into the background.

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-5: The boy in the field is now on the bridge! I resized the image to fit its new surroundings.

  • Desperately Seeking Snapshots If you're hurting for images, there's a whole slew of sites out on the Internet that provide image libraries. One of my favorites is www.iconfactory.com. Pay them a visit; I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for. If you know of other good sites for images, post them in the message board to share with your fellow students, or leave a message asking other students for assistance.

Cropping, Rotating, and Flipping

We all make mistakes, especially photographers. How many times have you taken what you thought was a great picture only to find a leg where a head should be? Photoshop provides you with a couple of ways to crop what you want out of images. Let's go through them one by one:

Cropping

The Cropping tool is one of the tools accessible when you click and hold the Selection Marquees (we discussed marquees in Lesson 4). Select the Cropping tool and then drag the cropping cursor you see onto your image. Click and drag to complete the selection. When you release the mouse button, you see a selection rectangle with handles on the sides and in each corner. If you want to adjust the crop area, drag one of the handles to increase or decrease its size. When you're ready to crop, double-click inside the crop area. Everything outside the crop area is removed from the image.

If you don't like the crop once you've completed it, just choose Edit > Undo to undo the crop. Once you're satisfied with your crop, double-click inside the area you want to save and the rest is history!

  • Another Way to Crop You can also crop making a selection with the Rectangular Marquee. Then choose Image > Crop.

Rotating

Photoshop gives you the ability to rotate your image. You can rotate it in increments of 90 degrees, or one degree at a time.

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-6: The Crop Tool allows you to crop and rotate images in one swoop.

To rotate an image, choose Image > Rotate Canvas, and make a choice from the submenu. The most obvious choices are 90 degrees CW (clockwise ) and 90 degrees CCW (counter-clockwise). The Arbitrary option allows you to shift your canvas degree by degree. Compare figures 5-6 and 5-7 to see the difference rotating an image two degrees can make (Figure 7).

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-7: See the difference between Figure 5-6 and this image? I rotated the image two degrees and cropped it straight.

You will notice that when you use the Crop tool on an image that has been rotated, the cropping rectangle draws a straight rectangle. You're probably asking yourself how you can crop an image that isn't straight without losing part of the image.

Photoshop allows you to rotate the crop area once you've set it up. Simply click on the Marquee ("marching ants" as we called them earlier) and when you see a double-pointed bent arrow, you can begin to rotate your crop by dragging it with the mouse.

Flipping

Another way to rotate an image is to rotate it. The Rotate Canvas menu option has two more choices: Flip Horizontal and Flip Vertical. Look at the image we just worked on to see the effects (Figure 5-8 and Figure 5-9).

You can change both the size of the image you're editing and the canvas on which the image appears. Both options appear on the Image menu. To change the size of an image, choose Image > Image Size. In the dialog box that appears (shown in Figure 5-1), you can set the width and the height, measured in inches, centimeters, points, or as a percentage.

Figure 5-8: Now the path bends to the right because we flipped the image horizontally.

Figure 5-9: And now the image upside down (because we flipped the image vertically)!

The flip options can be used to create artistic effects. Just be careful when using human subjects.

Moving On

In the next lesson, we'll learn all about color, so be ready to make a digital splash. We will cover the Color modes, the Color palette, adjusting color brightness, and other techniques so you will know how to use each tool Photoshop offers. There is only a brief quiz for this lesson. The assignment will take some time, but completing it will be very helpful to you.

Don't forget to visit the message board and post a question if you get stuck with any of this stuff. It happens to the best of us. Also, it's fun chatting with your classmates and instructor about your progress and problems.

Next Lesson: Adobe Photoshop 6 Basics Lesson 6: In Living Color

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