Basic exercises for Photoshop

All of these exercises can be solved using the Basics of Photoshop compendium.

The point of these exercises is to make you familiar with all the basics. Once you know how they work and what you can do with them, we'll start to work on some more advanced stuff.

If you're unsure of how to use some of the things mentioned in the exercises, look them up in the compendium. There are lots of tricks and details you'll learn by reading about the things you're supposed to do.

 

 

Exercise 1

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Selection Tools, Copy, Cut, Paste, Move Tool

 


Copy the pictures in paintings.jpg
and paste them into wall.jpg.
 

 

1. Save the pictures paintings.jpg och wall.jpg to your student folder. See the chapter Steal a picture from the net if you're unsure of how to do it.

2. Open the picture paintings.jpg in Photoshop. Use the rectangular selection tool to select the square painting, and copy it.

3. Open the picture wall.jpg in Photoshop (without closing paintings.jpg). Paste the square picture onto the wall. Once you've pasted it there, use the Move Tool to place the painting near the right-hand edge of the wall.

4. Use the elliptical selection tool to select the round painting in the picture pictures.jpg. Cut it out.

5. Paste the round painting into the picture wall.jpg. Use the Move Tool to place it near the left-hand edge of the wall.

 

 

Exercise 2

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Selection Tools, Copy, Paste, Paste Into, Move Tool

 


Copy the pictures in framethis1, 2 and 3. Use the function Paste Into to get them into the empty frames.
 

 

1. Save the pictures framethis1.jpg, framethis2.jpg, framethis3.jpg and emptyframes.jpg to your folder.

2. Open the pictures you just saved in Photoshop.

3. Use a fitting Selection Tool to copy a picture from one of the framethis-pictures. When you've copied it, Select the empty space inside one of the borders in the picture emptyframes.jpg. Use the function Paste Into to paste the picture you just copied into the frame.

4. Use the Move Tool to move the picture around inside the border until it fits.

5. Repeat until all the empty frames are filled.

 

 

Exercise 3

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Lasso- and Polygonal Lasso Selection Tools, Copy, Paste Into, Move Tool, Zoom Tool, Transform

 


Use the Lasso- or Polygonal Lasso Tool to Select and copy the dog. Paste the dog into the doghouse..
 

 

1. Save the pictures dog.jpg and doghouse.jpg to your folder.

2. Open the pictures in PhotoShop.

3. Use the Lasso- or Polygonal Lasso Selection Tools to select the dog. Be careful around the edges. You will probably have to use the Zoom Tool. Read more about how to effectively use these selection tools in the Tools chapter in the compendium.

4. When you've Selected the dog, copy it.

5. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to create a selection in the opening of the doghouse. Use Paste Into to put the dog in there. Move the dog around with the Move Tool. Use Transform Scale to shrink the dog a bit. Read more about how to do this in the chapter Transform in the compendium.

 

Exercise 4

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Selection Tools, Copy, Paste, Paste Into, Move Tool, Transform, Opacity

 


Copy the ghost and paste at least ten copies of it into the castle picture. Use the Transform function on each ghost, and give the layer of each ghost a different Opacity.
 

 

1. Save the pictures ghost.jpg and ghostcastle.jpg to your folder.

2. Open the pictures in Photoshop.

3. Use a Selection Tool to Select the ghost. Copy it. Paste at least ten copies of the ghost into the ghostcastle picture. Feel free to use Paste Into if you like. Use the Move Tool to place each ghost where you want it.

4. Use the Transform functions to change the way each ghost looks.

5. Give each ghost's layer an Opacity that's less than 100%.

 

Exercise 5

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Quick Select Tool (or Magic Wand Tool), Invert Selection, Copy, Paste

 


Use the Selection Tool Quick Select to select the black area around the guitar. When you've selected all of it, Invert the selection. Now you can copy the guitar! Paste it onto the flowery background.
 

 

1. Save the picures guitar.jpg and flowerback.jpg to your folder.

2. Open the pictures in Photoshop.

3. We're going to select the guitar. The fastest way to do that is here is to select the black area around the guitar and then invert the selection -- to turn it inside out, so that the guitar ends up being selected while the black area becomes deselected.

If you're using Photoshop CS3, try using the Quick Select tool to Select the black area around the guitar. Read about how the Quick Select Tool works in the Tools chapter in the compendium.

If you're using Photoshop 7, use the Magic Wand Tool to Select the black area around the guitar. We weren't supposed to have to use Photoshop 7 when I started writing this course so I never mentioned Magic Wand Tool in the compendium, but it's fairly easy to use: click on the Magic Wand Tool in the Tool Box (it's in the same button as the Quick Select Tool, look it up in the chapter Tools in the compendium for a picture that shows you where it is). Once you've clicked on the Magic Wand Tool, make sure the value for Tolerance is more than 0 up in the Alternatives Bar -- somewhere around 20-30 would be good. Now click once on the black area around the guitar and you'll see that everything but the guitar becomes Selected (look at the edges of the picture and you'll see the selection bordering them; everything black has been selected, but not the guitar.)

4. Regardless of how you Selected the black area, now it's time to Invert the selection. Do that. Read about how in the Selection Tools Basics and Fancy Tricks section in the Tools chapter in the compendium.

5. Once you've inverted the selection everything that wasn't selected before (the guitar) should be selected, and everything that was (the black) should be deselected. Now you see how Invert works, it can be very handy! Now copy the guitar.

6. Paste the guitar into the flowerback picture.

 

 

Exercise 6

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Paint Bucket Tool, Color Picker, Brush Tool

 


Use the Paint Bucket Tool to color the picture. Make sure to pick the right layer before you use the tool.
 

 

1. Save the picture colorize.psd to your folder.

2. Open the picture in Photoshop. It's in .psd-format because it consists of several layers.

3. Use the Paint Buchet Tool to color each part of the picture. Make sure to pick the right layer before you start coloring it! Read about how to pick a color under Color Picker and Eye Dropper Tool in the Tools chapter.

4. The layer "ansikte" (meaning "face") is empty. Use the Brush Tool to paint a face in it.

 

 

Exercise 7

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
New Picture, Brush Tool, Layers, Eraser Tool

1. Create a new picture. Make it 300 pixels high and 400 pixels wide. The resolution should be 72 pixels/inch. Read more about it under Create A New Picture in the compendium.

2. Use the Brush Tool and various brushes to paint a picture on it. Read more on how to pick different brushes under Brush Tool, and how to change paint colors under Color Picker And Eye Dropper Tool, in the Tools chapter.

Your picture can look any way you want. If you can't come up with a motive, paint a landscape with some animals and people in it.

The thing here is that each things you paint must be on a layer of its own! So if you paint, say, a moose, the moose needs to be on a layer of its own, and the tree has to be a layer on its own, and so on. Do not paint anything on the Background layer.

You will make mistakes. Try using the Eraser Tool on some of them to see how it works.

Feel free to use several layers for every "thing" in the picture if you want. As an example you might want to paint the moose's horns on one layer, the moose's legs on another, and so on. The more the merrier!

Rename each layer as you see fit (except for the Background layer, which you can't rename). Every layer must have a name that describes what it contains. The layer with the moose's horns could be named "horns", for example. Read more on how to rename layers under Layers in the compendium.

 

 

Exercise 8

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Paint Bucket Tool, Brush Tool, Selection Tools, Copy, Paste, Eraser Tool, Opacity, Move Tool

1. Save the pictures earth.jpg, mars.jpg and jupiter.jpg to your folder.

2. Create new picthre that is about 500 pixels wide, 400 pixels high, and has a resolution of 72 pixels/inch. We're going to create a fancy space background here. Use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the Background layer with the color you want the space to have. Use the Brush Tool to paint the stars and stuff.

3. Open the pictures you just saved. Use the Elliptical Selection Tool to select a planet (be careful around the edges). Copy it, and paste it onto your space background. Do this for each of the three planets.

4. Imagine that the sun (out of picture) shines on the three planets from the right. The goal here is to create shadows on the planets. You do this by using the Eraser Tool, preferably with a big, soft brush set on a low Opacity. Read more about the Eraser Tool in the Tools chapter in the compendium.

Since this exercise can get a little tricky you'd be wise to make a couple of security copies of the layers you don't want to risk messing up. Read on how to quickly copy an entire layer under Layers in the compendium.

When you're done your picture should look something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise 9

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Text Tool, Selection Tools, Copy, Paste, Transform

 


Use the Text Tool to add text to the speech bubbles. Give the text different looks depending on what they're saying. Feel free to add more bubbles if you need it.
 

 

1. Save the picture dialogue.jpg to your folder.

2. Open the picture in Photoshop. What are the men talking about? You decide! Use the Text Tool to type their dialogue into the speech bubbles. Use different fonts, sizes and colors where needed. Read how under Text Tool in the Tools chapter.

Add more bubbles if you want to by Selecting a bubble, copy it, and paste it. Use the Transform function and the Move Tool to make it look like you want it.

 

 

Exercise 10

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Transform, Move Tool, Opacity, Eraser Tool

 


Use the function Transform to change sizes, places and rotations of all the things in this picture.
 

 

1. Save the picture transform.psd to your folder.

2. Open the picture in Photoshop.

3. The picture consists of eight layers: seven things and one background. Your task here is to move the things around and use the Transform function to put them where you think they should be, and make them look the way you want.

4. Put the diver out in the water. Use the Eraser Tool set on a medium Opacity to make him look like part of him is below the water's surface.

  

 

Exercise 11

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Selection Tools, Selection Types, Color Balance

 


Use the Selection Tools to Select different parts of the picture. Colorize the parts using the Color Balance function.
 

 

1. Save the picture color.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. Use a Selection Tool to carefully select the iris and pupil of an eye on the girl to the left (that's the "inside" of the eye, the ring of color and the black dot).

3. Now set the Selection Type to Add To Selection and select the other eye as well. Read more on Selection Types under Selection Tools: Basics and Fancy Tricks in the Tools chapter.

4. Use the Color Balance function to change the color of the girl's eyes. When you're done, turn off the selection by Deselecting it.

5. Repeat this procedure with everything in the picture. Use different Selection Types on your selection where it fits. When you use Color Balance, try switching between Shadows, Midtones and Highlights. This will give you some very different results.

 

 

Exercise 12

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Crop
 

 


Use the Crop Tool to cut your pictures down to size.
 

 

1. Save the pictures crop1.jpg, crop2.jpg and crop3.jpg to your folder. Open them in Photoshop.

2. Use the Crop Tool on the three pictures to cut them the way you think they'll look the best. 

 

 

Exercise 13

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Canvas Size, Brush Tool, Eraser Tool

 


Increase the picture's Canvas Size -- that's the area you can use tools on -- and add some more things to it.
 

 

1. Save the picture house.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. As you can see the picture is of a remarkably pretty house, but I couldn't fit everything I wanted in it! I wanted a flag pole, a cat, the sun and some clouds, but they just didn't fit.

Use the function Canvas Size to increase the picture's work area and paint the things I couldn't fit in. Read how in the chapter Change A Picture's Canvas Size. Feel free to add things of your own as well.

 

 

Exercise 14

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Clone Stamp Tool, Smudge Tool

 


Use the Clone Stamp Tool to fix up scratchy photos
and pictures with similar blemishes.
 

 

1. Save the picture scratches.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. As you can see the picture has a lot of scratches on it. That's not good. Try to remove them by using the Clone Stamp Tool on them. Read more about this odd but useful tool in the Tools chapter. Try to make the picture look as "undamaged" as possible. A few tips here:

• Use small brushes, not much larger than the scratch you're trying to repair.

• Switch source often (the area you Alt-click on).

• Feel free to use the Smudge Tool to smoothen out whatever sharp edges and lines that might pop up around your fixes. Remember to use small brushes here too, and keep it fairly weak, or things may come out looking a bit strange.

 

 

Exercise 15

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
The Dodge, Burn, Sponge, Blur, Sharpen and Smudge Tools

 


Use the Dodge, Burn, Spinge, Blur, Sharpen and Smudge Tools
to make the picture look different.
 

 

1. Save the picture tone.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. Use some, or all, of the tools listed above on the picture. There's nothing that's in need of fixing, but you can use the tools to make the picture look better -- or just different. Try them all out to see how they work.

3. Make the background blurry by using the Blur Tool. You might have to create a Selection around the girl to make sure that she won't be affected by this. And if you create a selection around the girl you will have to Invert it so that everything but the girl becomes selected.... Desaturate the background using the Sponge Tool.

Sharpen the details on the girl. Remember to take it easy here, the Sharpen tool works quick and strong and might ruin it for you.

4. Brighten the lights and deepen the shadows on her.

 

 

Exercise 16

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Brush Tool, Smudge Tool, Dodge Tool, Burn Tool

Now we're smudging! 

 

1.
Now we're smudging some color! I keep in mind that for every thing I want to add to this picture I should create a new, empty layer. But first you should know what you want to do, of course.

 

2.
In my case I want to add some healthy color to the girl to the left and a happy carnival looking makeup on the girl to the right!

I create one layer for the left-hand girl's color and use the Brush Tool to dot out the colors I want her face to have.

Then I create one layer per color for the girl on the right and paint the colors I want to use on them, one for each layer.

Now I pick the Smudge Tool, set its brush size to 9 and its Strength to about 20%.

Right now the girls look like they've got a couple of exotic diseases, but we're about to fix that...

 

 

3.
... by smudging! And if I mess anything up here all I have to do is Erase it or, at worst, remove the layer and create a new one. I smudge all the colors I dotted out.

 

4.
When I'm done smudging I add some lights and shadows.

I start by picking the Burn Tool, set its Range to Shadows, and start to paint with it. If you've read about it in the compendium you might remember that this is a good way to deepen shadows that already exist in the picture and make them look more dramatic.

 

5.
When I'm done with that I want to add some light.

I pick the Dodge Tool and set its Range to Highlights. I pick a soft, fairly small brush and a low strength (around 10%). Then I start to paint with it.

I do the same thing I did with Burn Tool earlier, only here I paint on the light areas instead of on the shadows. That's a good way to brighten the light that already exists, and often makes the picture look glossy and stylish.

 

 

 

But that's just how I did. Now it's your turn!

1. Save the picture makeup.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. Follow my instructions above and give the girls some cool makeup or masks.

Tip: make sure to create a new layer for every detail you add. That way you can easily remove, move it, or change it without affecting anything else in the picture. But you knew that already....

 

 

Exercise 17

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
The Brush Tool, the Shape Tool

 


Create more things in this picture using only the Brush and Shape Tools. Feel free to get more brushes and shapes that you can use. Read more on how to get more brushes and shapes in each tool's section in the Tools chapter.
 

 

1. Save the picture talkischeap.psd to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. What's the snail saying? Is he cursing up a storm or solving a math problem? Use nothing but brushes and shapes in this picture! Paint a background, but only use brushes you find in different categories. Use shapes to fill the speech bubble with fitting symbols and things. Read about how to use the Shape Tools, and about how to add new brushes and shapes under the Brush Tool and Shape Tool sections in the Tools chapter.

 

 

Exercise 18

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
The Shape Tools, the Styles palette
 
 


Use only Styles and Gradients to color this picture.
 

 

1. Save the picture landscape.psd to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. Use only styles or gradients on each of the picture's layers. Feel free to get more gradients and styles you want to use.

Read how to get more styles in the Shape Tools section of the Tools chapter.

You add more gradients in exactly the same way you added brushes to the Paint Brush Tool: pick the Gradient Tool. Now click on the box with gradients in the Alternatives Bar. In the window that opens, click on the small, triangle-shaped arrow button. Now you should see a long menu. At the bottom of this menu you'll find different categories of gradients. Click on the gradient you want to add, and click the Append button in the box that pops up. Now new gradients have been added to the gradient window!

To reset the gradients you just bring up the menu again and choose Reset Gradients.

3. Add three shapes of your own into the picture. Give them the styles or gradients you think will fit them.

 

 

Exercise 19

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
The Brush Tool, Modes
 
 


Change the Modes of all the layers in this picture to make them look better.
 

 

1. Save the picture modes.psd to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. In this picture there are a number of layers. All of these layers's Modes are set to Normal, but that just looks stupid. Change the Mode of each layer until its contents look good! You can change the Mode of a layer by clicking on the layer in the Layer Palette. Then click on the box called Mode (Läge), also in the Layer Palette. Pick a mode in the long list that pops up. You can read about each Mode in the compendium.

3. Add three new layers of your own. Use the Brush Tool to paint things in them. Give each of these new layers a Mode that you think fits.

 

 

Exercise 20

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
The Brush Tool, everything else, Layer Styles
 
 


Give each layer in the picture at least one Layer Style.
 

 

1. Save the picture layerstyles.psd to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. In this picture there are a number of layers with various things in them. Give each layer at least one Layer Style you think will fit. Feel free to add several Layer Styles to each layer.

3. Create at least three new layers. Paint whatever you want in them. Give each of these new layers some fitting Layer Styles.

 

 

Exercise 21

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Everything and Filters

Create a new, small picture (at most 300 pixels high and wide), and paint whatever you want in it, but make sure that each thing ends up on a separate layer!

Use at least one filter on each of the layers you painted. The picture must consist of at least five layers.

 

 

Exercise 22

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Selection Tools, Filters

1. Save the picture filter.jpg to your folder and open it in Photoshop.

2. Use the Selection Tools to Select diffent areas in the picture, and add a filter to each area. Do this until you've covered the entire picture with filters! You should use at least five filters on five different areas.

 

 

Exercise 23

This exercise can be solved using the following functions:
Anything and everything you want. The Text Tool. Feel free to use the Warp function on your text!

 


Use anything you want and know to change the poster into something fun. Remember that the poster must show the band's name, where they're playing and when. Other than that you have free hands.
 

 

1. Save the picture poster.jpg to your folder.

2. Curt Morténz are coming to town! But they need a fancy looking poster to market themselves. Open poster.jpg in Photoshop. Use the picture (or parts of it) to create a poster that says Curt Morténz are coming.

I want the poster to say where they're playing, on what date, and of course the band's name. Feel free to use the Warp function on the text. Read more about it under Text Tool in the Tools chapter.

This picture is a quick draft -- this means the version of it you just did is just supposed to get approval and not yet be printed. Use the function Image Size to make sure the picture's fit to show on the web. This means it should have a resolution of 72 pixels/inch. It should also be 500 pixels high, at most. Read on how to change a picture's size and resolution under Change a picture's size and resolution (!) in the compendium. When you're done, save the picture in the jpeg-format.

 

 

Exercise 24

This exercise can be solved using everything you think you need!

Now you are going to create a movie poster or a book cover. The idea is that your creation shouldn't look out of place in a movie theater or a book store. Just steal the name and the theme of a book or a movie that you like, and make a poster or a cover for it.

1. Create a new, empty picture. It should be 800 pixels high and 550 pixels wide.

2. Use the chapter Steal a picture from the net in your compendium to steal the pictures you want to use. Paste them into your new picture, erase what you don't need, and work with the rest until it looks the way you want it.

This exercise will take time, but that doesn't matter: you'll have the time you need. When you're done with this exercise we'll start looking at what you'd like to do "for real" with Photoshop.

Here are a couple of examples I made by stealing pictures from the Internet. Your poster or cover doesn't have to look like this, of course, but they might give you some inspiration or ideas.