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Photoshop was created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll. Since then, it has become the de facto industry standard in raster graphics editing, such that the word “Photoshop” has become a verb as in “to Photoshop an image,” “photo shopping” and “photoshop contest”, though Adobe discourages such use. It can edit and compose raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing and several color models including RGB, CMYK, Lab color space, spot color and duotone. Photoshop has vast support for graphic file formats but also uses its own PSD and PSB file formats which support all the aforementioned features. In addition to raster graphics, it has limited abilities to edit or render text, vector graphics (especially through clipping path), 3D graphics and video. Photoshop’s featureset can be expanded by Photoshop plug-ins, programs developed and distributed independently of Photoshop that can run inside it and offer new or enhanced features.

Photoshop’s naming scheme was initially based on version numbers. However, in October 2002, following the introduction of Creative Suite branding, each new version of Photoshop was designated with “CS” plus a number; e.g., the eighth major version of Photoshop was Photoshop CS and the ninth major version was Photoshop CS2. Photoshop CS3 through CS6 were also distributed in two different editions: Standard and Extended. In June 2013, with the introduction of Creative Cloud branding, Photoshop’s licensing scheme was changed to that of software as a service and the “CS” suffixes were replaced with “CC”. Historically, Photoshop was bundled with additional software such as Adobe Image Ready, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Device Central and Adobe Camera RAW.

Alongside Photoshop, Adobe also develops and publishes Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Light room, Photoshop Express and Photoshop Touch. Collectively, they are branded as “The Adobe Photoshop Family”. It is currently a licensed software.

Upon loading Photoshop, a sidebar with a variety of tools with multiple image-editing functions appears to the left of the screen. These tools typically fall under the categories of drawing; painting; measuring and navigation; selection; typing; and retouching.Some tools contain a small triangle in the bottom right of the toolbox icon. These can be expanded to reveal similar tools.While newer versions of Photoshop are updated to include new tools and features, several recurring tools that exist in most versions are discussed below.

Pen tool

Photoshop includes a few versions of the pen tool. The pen tool creates precise paths that can be manipulated using anchor points. The free form pen tool allows the user to draw paths freehand, and with the magnetic pen tool, the drawn path attaches closely to outlines of objects in an image, which is useful for isolating them from a background.

Shape tools

Photoshop provides an array of shape tools including rectangles, rounded rectangles, ellipses, polygons and lines. These shapes can be manipulated by the pen tool, direct selection tool etc. to make vector graphics.

Measuring and navigation

The eyedropper tool selects a colour from an area of the image that is clicked, and samples it for future use.The hand tool navigates an image by moving it in any direction, and the zoom tool enlarges the part of an image that is clicked on, allowing for a closer view.

Selection tools

Selection tools are used to select all or any part of a picture to perform cut, copy, edit, or retouching operations.


The crop tool can be used to select a particular area of an image and discard the portions outside the chosen section. This tool assists in creating a focus point on an image and unnecessary or excess space.Cropping allows enhancement of a photo’s composition while decreasing the file size. The “crop” tool is in the tools palette, which is located on the right side of the document. By placing the cursor over the image, the user can drag the cursor to the desired area. Once the Enter key is pressed, the area outside the rectangle will be cropped. The area outside the rectangle is the discarded data, which allows for the file size to be decreased. The “crop” tool can alternatively be used to extend the canvas size by clicking and dragging outside the existing image borders.

The “slice” and slice select tools, like the crop tool, are used in isolating parts of images. The slice tool can be used to divide an image into different sections, and these separate parts can be used as pieces of a web page design once HTML and CSS are applied The slice select tool allows sliced sections of an image to be adjusted and shifted.


The move tool can be used to drag the entirety of a single layer or more if they are selected. Alternatively, once an area of an image is highlighted, the move tool can be used to manually relocate the selected piece to anywhere on the canvas.


The marquee is a tool that can make selections that are single row, single column, rectangular and elliptical. An area that has been selected can be edited without affecting the rest of the image. This tool can also crop an image; it allows for better control. In contrast to the crop tool, the “marquee” tool allows for more adjustments to the selected area before cropping. The only marquee tool that does not allow cropping is the elliptical. Although the single row and column marquee tools allow for cropping, they are not ideal, because they only crop a line. The rectangular marquee tool is the preferred option. Once the tool has been selected, dragging the tool across the desired area will select it. The selected area will be outlined by dotted lines, referred to as “marching ants”. These dotted lines are called “marching ants”, because the dashes look like ants marching around the selected area. To set a specific size or ratio, the tool option bar provides these settings. Before selecting an area, the desired size or ratio must be set by adjusting the width and height. Any changes such as color, filters, location, etc. should be made before cropping. To crop the selection, the user must go to image tab and select crop.


The lasso tool is similar to the “marquee” tool, however, the user can make a custom selection by drawing it freehand.There are three options for the “lasso” tool – regular, polygonal, and magnetic. The regular “lasso” tool allows the user to have drawing capabilities. Photoshop will complete the selection once the mouse button is released. The user may also complete the selection by connecting the end point to the starting point. The “marching ants” will indicate if a selection has been made. The “polygonal lasso” tool will draw only straight lines, which makes it an ideal choice for images with many straight lines. Unlike the regular “lasso” tool, the user must continually click around the image to outline the shape. To complete the selection, the user must connect the end point to the starting point just like the regular lasso tool. “Magnetic lasso” tool is considered the smart tool. It can do the same as the other two, but it can also detect the edges of an image once the user selects a starting point. It detects by examining the colour pixels as the cursor move over the desired area. A pixel is the smallest element in an image. Closing the selection is the same as the other two, which should also should display the “marching ants” once the selection has been closed.

The quick selection tool selects areas based on edges, similarly to the magnetic lasso tool. The difference between this tool and the lasso tool is that there is no starting and ending point. Since there isn’t a starting and ending point, the selected area can be added onto as much as possible without starting over. By dragging the cursor over the desired area, the quick selection tool detects the edges of the image. The “marching ants” allow the user to know what is currently being selected. Once the user is done, the selected area can be edited without affecting the rest of the image. One of the features that makes this tool especially user friendly is that the SHIFT key is not needed to add more to the selection; by default, extra mouse clicks will be added to the selection rather than creating a new selection.

Magic wand

The magic wand tool selects areas based on pixels of similar values. One click will select all neighbouring pixels of similar value within a tolerance level set by the user. If theeyedropper tool is selected in the options bar, then the magic wand can determine the value needed to evaluate the pixels; this is based on the sample size setting in theeyedropper tool. This tool is inferior to the quick selection tool which works much the same but with much better results and more intuitive controls. The user must decide what settings to use or if the image is right for this tool.


The Eraser tool erases content based on the active layer. If the user is on the text layer, then any text across which the tool is dragged will be erased. The eraser will convert the pixels to transparent, unless the background layer is selected. The size and style of the eraser can be selected in the options bar. This tool is unique in that it can take the form of the paintbrush and pencil tools. In addition to the straight eraser tool, there are two more available options – background eraser and magic eraser. The background eraser deletes any part of the image that is on the edge of an object. This tool is often used to extract objects from the background. The magic eraser tool deletes based on similar colored pixels. It is very similar to the magic wand tool. This tool is ideal for deleting areas with the same color or tone that contrasts with the rest of the image.

Video editing

In Adobe CS5 Extended edition, video editing is comprehensive and efficient with a broad compatibility of video file formats such as MOV, AVI, MPEG-4, and FLV formats and easy workflow. Using simple combination of keys video layers can easily be modified, with other features such as adding text and the creation of animations using single images.

3D extrusion

With the Extended version of Photoshop CS5, 2D elements of an artwork can easily become three-dimensional with the click of a button. Extrusions of texts, an available library of materials for three-dimensional, and even wrapping two-dimensional images around 3D geometry.

Mobile integration

Third-party plugins have also been added to the most recent version of Photoshop where technologies such as the iPad have integrated the software with different types of applications. Applications like the Adobe Eazel painting app allows the user to easily create paintings with their fingertips and use an array of different paint from dry to wet in order to create rich colour blending.

Camera Raw

With the Camera Raw plug-in, raw images can be processed without the use of Adobe Photoshop Light room, along with other image file formats such as JPEGs, TIFFs, or PNGs. The plug-in allows users to remove noise without the side-effect of over-sharpening, add grain, and even perform post-crop vignetting.

3D printing tools

Requiring Photoshop version 14.1 or later, users can create and edit designs for 3D printing. After downloading 3D photo models from numerous online services, users can add colour, adjust the shape or rotate the angles. Artists can also design 3D models from scratch.

Colon replacement tool

The Colour Replacement Tool allows you to change the colour, while maintaining the highlights and shadows of the original image, of pieces of the image. By selecting Brushes and right clicking, the Color Replacement Tool is the third option down. What is important to note with this tool is the foreground color. The foreground color is what will be applied when painting along the chosen part of the image with the Color Replacement Tool.

Cultural impact

Main article: Photoshopping

Photoshop and derivatives such as Photoshopped (or just Shopped) have become verbs that are sometimes used to refer to images edited by Photoshopor any image manipulating program. Such derivatives are discouraged by Adobebecause, in order to maintain validity and protect the trademark from becoming generic, trademarks must be used as proper nouns.

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