Photoshop Basics: Opening, Resizing, and Saving Images

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This post has stuff about religion. My perspective has changed

Those of us who work with Photoshop or Illustrator all day often take for granted some of the little things that we originally struggled so hard to learn. Things like resizing an image, saving and optimizing for the web, or applying a drop shadow. I figured it might be helpful for some folks out there to do some Photoshop basics. If you’re a seasoned pro and have anything to say about some of these things feel free to chime in.

Opening an image

Open up whatever version of Photoshop you’ve got. I use an old version because I don’t have enough disposable income to get the latest version. To open up an image click File > Open…. Now browse for you image on your hard drive, select it, and click the Open button.

Resizing an image

If you’re going to be emailing an image, or posting it on your website you’re going to need to resize the thing. There are several ways of doing this, here’s one. I have a really slow computer so I like to resize the image before I do anything else. That way my poor little PC doesn’t have to think real hard.

To do the resize click Image on the menu bar and then Image Size…. You’ll be presented with the Image Size dialog box. We’ll just resize the image using the first set of boxes, the Pixel Dimensions. If the checkbox labeled Constrain Proportions is checked your image will keep the same proportions when you resize it, otherwise your image might get all skewed, yuck! Now all you have to do is change the height OR the width and the other one will change automatically. Once you’ve entered a height or width that is small enough for your purposes click the

Saving an image for the web (or email)

Ok if you’re guilty of sending gigantic images to your friends and parents via email you must humbly repent and forsake your wicked ways. You should never send those big images or post them on your website unless someone asks. Here’s why: If you post a huge image and someone with dialup internet access comes along it’s going to take them like 10 years to download that image. And since the world has ADD now, your precious little picture probably won’t get viewed—they’ll be off to something else or their computer will freeze.

One way we can keep file size down is by resizing…check. Another way is by optimizing our images. If you’re ready to lose a little weight on those fatty images click File > Save for Web….

Restate our objective: get the file size down while keeping our image sharp and pretty. With that in mind you’ll mostly use two parts of this dialog. Down in the bottom left you’ll see some numbers usually something like 477Kb, that’s the file size. That number needs to be as small as possible. Now look over on the right hand side of the screen. You’ll see a drop down box. Go ahead and start clicking each of the options in it. After each, take a look at the image and then the file size. If you can get your image below 40kb you’re probabably good to go.

Once you’ve found a nice balance between image quality and file size click the OK button in the top right coner. Save your image somewhere you’ll remember it. Now you’re done. Nice job. You can go have a beer now.