Tools and Layers Video – Pay attention to what tools, layers and masks are selected as I demonstrate the process.

resource file: Lesson 1


Photoshop Crash Course

Tools & Layers


This Lesson Covers:

  • Opening Photoshop and files
  • Using the tools
  • Brighten Image
  • Sampling a color
  • Tools and Tool Properties
  • Undoing and History
  • Panels and Panel locations

Lesson Plan | Tools and Work Area


Learn your way around the workspace by making a greeting card.


Software and basic computer skills

Adobe Photoshop CC : Free trial at-

Identify “Cmd” “Alt/Option” and “Ctrl” buttons on your keyboard

Mouse Operations: Click, Right Click/Ctrl+Click, Mouse-Over (Hover), Click+Drag (Scrub), Shift+Click, Opt+Click


Download or Copy Project files: Lesson 1: Start.psd and End.psd

Reset Workspace Settings: to alleviate navigation semantics

Launch Photoshop CC and Hold Cmd+Shift+Opt. (mac) / Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows)

Zoom Tool

  1. Open file: Start.psd
  2. Click double arrows on tool panel to toggle single or double column.
  3. Examine status bar at bottom left for zoom scale.
  4. Hover over magnifying glass to prompt tooltip.
  5. Click zoom tool or (Z)
  6. Move pointer over image window
  7. Click to zoom
  8. Alt/Opt+Click to zoom out
  9. Select “scrubby zoom” in the options bar
    1. Click and drag to zoom in and out
  10. Deselect “scrubby zoom” and draw a rectangle
    1. Click and drag diagonally over a region of the image
  11. Zooming and Scrolling with the navigator
    1. Find Navigation Panel
    2. Drag highlighted box to move view
    3. Drag slider left and right to zoom in and out
  12. Click “fit screen” Cmd+0

Brighten Image

  1. In the “Layers” panel at the bottom right of the workspace, make sure the “Rose” layer is selected.
  2. In the Adjustments panel, which is above the layers panel, click the “Brightness/Contrast icon to add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer.
  3. In the Properties panel, move the Brightness slider to 98 and the Contrast slider to 18
    1. These values are contingent on goals and taste.

Note: Adjustment Layers affect all the layers below unless used as a clipping mask.

Color Sample

  1. Make “Ribbons”  layer visible
    1. Click visibility column in the layers panel (eye icon)
  2. Select layer with desired color
  3. Select the eyedropper tool
  4. Click the color in the image to sample (i.e. purple ribbon)

Tool Properties

  1. In the tools panel select “type tool” (T)
  2. In the options bar (top of screen) select a font you like
  3. Select desired font size
    1. Type directly or scrub icon
  4. Click on the layer and type text


  1. Make sure horizontal type tool is selected
  2. Drag cursor across text to select it
  3. Click swatches tab
  4. Select desired color
  5. Click (√) check mark in the options bar to commit text which also deselects it.
  6. Click menu button in swatches panel, choose “small list”
  7. Select type tool and reselect the text as you did in steps 1 and 2
  8. Select light yellow orange
  9. Commit and deselect text (√)


  1. Choose Edit>Undo edit type layer or press Cmd+Z (Mac) Ctrl+Z (Windows)
  2. Choose Edit>Redo type layer or Cmd+Z (Mac) Ctrl+Z (Windows)
  3. Select the move tool (V)
    1. Click and drag the type layer to the desired location
  4. Save the file as StartEdit.psd

Context Menus

  1. Zoom in a little
  2. Select the rectangular Marquee tool (M)
    1. Shift+M to cycle shapes
  3. Drag rectangular marquee to create selection approximately ¾” tall x 2 ½” wide
  4. Select the brush tool
  5. Right click/ctrl click in image window to open brush context window
  6. Select the first brush (soft round)
    1. Change the size to 65px
  7. Click image panel to close context menu
  8. Drag cursor across selection until rectangle is painted blue
  9. Deselect
    1. Select>Deselect or Cmd+D (Mac) Ctrl+D (Windows)

Hidden Tools

  1. Select the lasso tool (L) or click on icon in tool menu
  2. Select the polygonal lasso tool.
    1. Click+hold over tool icon
    2. Alt/Opt+Click tool icon
    3. Or press Shift+L to cycle lasso tool variations
  3. Click on a point in the image to start selection
  4. Move cursor+click to make first side of polygon
  5. Move cursor+click to make second side
  6. Click initial point to finish
    1. Or hit enter/return
  7. Press delete to delete selected area of layer
  8. Deselect







Drive Folder

Practice Image

File Types Cheat Sheet

Photoshop Reference Guide (print)

Other Resources

DNG Converter

Photoshop Reference Guide (web)

Photoshop History Log