BASIC PHOTOEDITING IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP This is a tutorial on how to do very basic photo-editing in PhotoShop and PhotoShop Elements programs. It is intended to guide beginners on how to correct and improve their images for PSA juried exhibit submissions. This tutorial was prepared using PhotoShop 7 so some of the functions may be in different areas and of a different name, especially in the Elements versions programs. Some of the differences that I remember include: 1. For Image Resizing you have to click on Image, then Resize, and finally Image Size. 2. To Rotate your image the controls are under Enhance, Canvas Custom (there is also a Straighten and Crop [I do not recommend this function] and Straighten which will allow you to make the cropping decision manually). So if are using a PhotoShop product and the function I describe is not where I say it is noodle around. It will be somewhere and maybe named a bit differently. I will not confuse you with keyboard shortcuts or right-clicking power commands nor go into details what is being done behind the scenes but I will only tell you what to do and how use the basic navigation tools from the toolbar and from the available palettes in PhotoShop. The order of processing your images should be:
1. Color correction, if needed. 2. Straightening (Rotating) your image, if needed. 3. Cropping your image, if needed. 4. Resizing your image.
I confess that I did not think of a logical order to teach beginners so some of the images will look a bit out-of-place in the illustrations after re-thinking the process. For illustration purposes I will be using one of my images that is, off-color and slightly crooked from a scan as well as being way too large for submitting. It is good practice to first make a copy of your original image and work on that in case of a program or power crash. It is also good to save your progress as you go along between each major step. 1. BASIC COLOR CORRECTION: PhotoShop generally has at least three ways to do things. The first and easiest one is like using a chainsaw to perform surgery. The second method is akin to using a butchers knife. While the third is like using a super fine laser beam but is very difficult to use and learn. The easiest method(s) is to use the automatic color correction tools. These are: Auto-Contrast, Auto-Color, and Auto-Levels, or Variations in Elements. The tools are located by clicking Image then Adjustments in PhotoShop or under Enhance in most versions of Elements. This is all of the explanation I will give using the automatic functions. I generally use the second method which is fairly easy to do. This is what I will describe briefly now. The method is called Levels adjustment. With it you can combine color correction, brightness, contrast, and saturation into one action but is more delicate than the Automatic functions.
Click Image on the toolbar, then Adjustments, and finally Levels. (If I remember right the Levels function is under Enhance in the Elements version.) This will bring up the Levels Dialog Box. I generally work from the bottom up by clicking the Drop-Down Box (red arrow) and selecting the Blue Channel.
Notice I am in the Blue Channel right now. I slide the outside arrows in until a hill or spike occurs. In this case only the Right arrow (blue arrow) needs sliding in. I slide it to the first hill/peak where the purple arrow is pointing.
I look for an area in the picture that is white or neutral in color. In this case I look at the wet tops of the gravestones behind her and move the middle arrow back and forth until the area looks white or neutral. Do not click OK yet.
I repeat the same procedure for the Green Channel. In this case it only needed a slight adjustment with the left and middle arrows.
Now for the Red Channel. In this case only the left arrow needs to be slid over and then making adjustments with the middle arrow.
Finally I make a middle arrow adjustment with the RGB Channel to give it a bit more saturation of color.
2. STRAIGHTENING/ROTATING AN IMAGE: This is done to correct a slightly off angle scan or if you had your camera tilted when taking a picture of your artwork. Click on Image and then Rotate Canvas (red arrows) (remember this may be in another section in Elements) Then click on Arbitrary (purple arrow). My experienced eye says to adjust this by .65 degrees counter-clockwise. (Actually there is a trick in the full PhotoShop version that is not available in the Elements versions that you can get that number from) You will have to play around with it to get yours straight. Then click OK (green arrow) and your image will now rotate your chosen measurements. You can judge how straight your image is by comparing it to the window borders and make finer adjustments till you get what you want.
3. CROPPING AN IMAGE: Now we are ready to crop an image. This is done to remove extraneous material from around your image and give it nice straight edges. Be it white spaces, frames, easels, people, etc.. First select the Marquee tool from the Toolbox (right red arrow). You will notice that the overall edges of what is presented is crooked but has been adjusted to correct the perspective. Now place your cursor in one corner and Click-and-Hold your mouse button and drag the Marquee box (left red arrow)(dotted lines that will appear as you do) to the opposite diagonal corner. I have to give up a bit of the top and bottom of the image so I can have correct perspective of the image. If this is objectionable to you or if you are losing too much of your image, I would suggest rescanning your image if this is how you got it into your computer.
Now click Image on the Toolbar and then click Crop and everything outside the selected area (dotted line box) will disappear.
1. RESIZING AN IMAGE: Click on Image on the Toolbar then click Image Size (red arrows) (Image Size is grayed out here due to combining illustrative steps.) Once you click on Image Size the Image Size Dialog Box will pop-up. Change the Resolution (a.k.a. DPI) to 72 (purple arrow). Now make sure that the Pixel Dimensions are set to pixels (green arrows) Make sure that the Constrain Proportions box at the bottom is checked. Now change the longest dimension of your image to 1500 and the shorter dimension will automatically change correctly (blue arrows).
Your Image Size Dialog Box should now look something like this one. (The box shows 400 instead of the desired 1500 as the tutorial was originally written for another organization. )
Finally, click OK. Save your image as a jpeg (click File, then Save). A box will appear for you to enter a file name, file type, and the destination for the file. Use the file name structure outlined on the prospectus. A second box will appear asking for the Quality setting. Use the highest quality (12) available. And here we have the Before and After pictures. (I added a small black background so the white wedges would show up.)