photoshopWelcome to the n3rdabl3 Photoshop Guide.  In the following posts I’ll take you from start to finish of creating a Photoshop document.  Photoshop by Adobe has firmly established itself as the market leader for photo editing and designing for web application and as such has become the byword for digital design.  Don’t let common knowledge fool you though, as people often use Photoshop incorrectly.  One such pitfall is using Photoshop for graphic design in print production, for that you should use Adobe Illustrator.

So you’ve acquired your shiny new copy of Photoshop (I won’t ask how), launched it and clicked File->New and been presented with a lot of info that you’re not completely sure what it means;

My Document

Let’s break it down:

Name – Name of the document (Don’t worry about setting this now if you don’t want to as you will name the file when you save it)

Preset – Some Preset document types, I don’t use them but it’s worth noting that it sets itself automatically to whatever you might have in the clipboard

Width & Height – I always use pixels as I only ever use Photoshop for Web Design and Photo Editing, however you should use the right units for your destination to make it easier to work in.

Resolution – Resolution plays a HUGE role in the quality of your image and you need to get it right.  The 2 numbers to remember is 72 Pixels/Inch (AKA PPI/DPI) and 300 Pixels/Inch, these numbers are the standard resolutions for Web/Video and Print design respectively.

Colo(u)r Mode – Choose RGB for any computer device and CMYK for printing.

Background Contents – The default colour of the base of your image.  I usually have this set to transparent, but it can be easily changed at any time.


Colo(u)r Profile – A huge range of colour modes for different devices and production environments.  If you don’t know which one to use leave it as default.

Pixel Aspect Ratio – This is for when you’re dealing with video production.  If you aren’t using video (99.9% sure you won’t be if you’re reading this) then set it to Square Pixels.

When you’re all set click done. All of these settings can be changed on the fly so don’t fret too much if you find out you have it wrong.


Expert Tip

If you’re using Photoshop for editing photos that are saved as .jpeg or .tiff, you can get them to load first into Adobe Camera Raw before moving them into Photoshop for the more advanced adjustments.

Camera Raw is a tool designed for quickly correcting photos and is non-destructive.  Any edits made in Camera Raw aren’t saved to file but instead, the settings that were applied to the image are stored in a separate file which can be read by Photoshop.  It’s really handy for quickly correcting things like exposure, colour, lens distortion (with a large number of common lenses for SLR and Digital SLR cameras already preset) and much more. When you’re done editing, the image, along with your edits, is loaded into Photoshop, ready to be edited further and saved out as a separate file.

Go to Edit->Preferences->Camera Raw and set “Jpeg and Tiff Handling” and set both to “Automatically open all supported JPEGs/TIFFs”.  This will cause jpeg and tiff images to be loaded into Camera Raw first, and allow you to make these global edits extremely quickly.  If you don’t need to make any edits, just click “Done” and carry on as normal.

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