LESSON 1 – Tools & Panels

CIOS F255 - University of Alaska Fairbanks


In this first week, you will be installing Photoshop on your computer and familiarizing yourself with the tools, panels and workspace.  You will post an introduction on our class blog and say hello to a couple other students to welcome each other to class. You will experiment with some tools right away  for the first assignment.

3  items are due this week: Introductory Survey, Assignment #1, Quiz #1.


After this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify and name the key areas of the interface, including the Tools panel, panels (in general), image windows, and the options bar.
  • Open the main menus and submenus across the top of the work area (File, Edit, and so forth), context menus, and panel menus.
  • Use tool tips to identify tools, buttons, and other controls.
  • Open, close, and move panels; and access predefined workspaces.
  • Share an image that you edited online.


Read the following short sections from the Photoshop User Guide:

  1. A first look at the Photoshop working area
  2. Workspace overview
  3. Manage windows and panels
  4. Create documents
  5. Save and switch workspaces
  6. Rich tooltips
  7. Hide tooltips


  1. Download and save this document. Use it as a reference for this class and try to learn at least one new keyboard shortcut a week: Adobe Photoshop CC Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. Tips from Previous Students


Approximate time: 21 minutes.

Watch the videos on Getting to know Photoshop on the Adobe Tutorial site.


As you begin to use Photoshop, there are some extremely helpful operations that, once you become familiar with, you may find yourself using a lot.


To unhistory paneldo the last change: command-z (mac) control-z (pc). To undo more than one change: option-command-z (mac), alt-control-z (pc)

The history panel can also be used. Find it at Top Menu: Window -> History

By default, Photoshop saves the last 20 changes. If you go back in the history panel to a previous state and then make a change, the changes that come after will be removed and you will then be working from that new point forward.


  • increase brush size by hitting ] key
  • decrease brush size by hitting [ key
  • zoom in with command + (Mac) control+ (Win)
  • zoom out with command – (Mac) control – (Win)

Download the keyboard reference sheet for Windows & Mac here.  

layers are friendsLAYERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Adobe tutorial on using layers.

Layers are an essential part of working in Photoshop. Think of layers as a stack of transparencies, a bunch of sheets where you can have information that can be transparent or opaque and can be re-ordered and combined in lots of different ways.

As you make adjustments to your image, new ‘adjustment layers’ will show up on your layer panel these adjustment layers can affect the layer immediately below or all layers, depending on what you want.

Click the eye next to the individual layer you want to hide or show. To duplicate a layer use option-click (mac) control- click (pc) or the menu in the upper right corner. To delete a layer, drag it to the trash can in the lower left corner. To lock/unlock a layer, click the lock icon.

You can also change the opacity of a layer and it’s blending mode – make sure the layer is selected. Play around with these and see what happens.


  1. Read the Syllabus and get familiar with the course site
  2. Install  – latest version of Adobe Photoshop CC on your computer


  1. Please log into Blackboard and take the Introductory Survey located in the Quizzes section.
  2. Also in Blackboard, take QUIZ #1 – based on this week’s readings


ASSIGNMENT 1 – Introductions


  1. Download nametag.jpg  to your computer.
  2. Open the file in Photoshop (File > Open).
  3. Select the brush tool and “paint” your first name or nickname you are using for class on the name tag.
  4. Decorate your name tag however you like, using any of Photoshop’s tools. If you are completely new to Photoshop, try at least one tool you read about in the first chapter of our book.
  5. Take a screenshot of your nametag inside Photoshop. It should look similar to the example below showing both your image and the tools/layers.
  6. Create a New Post   and post your nametag screenshot file to the class blog.
  7. Introduce yourself to the class with a paragraph or two and answer – What is your superpower?
  8. View other student posts via the All Posts link on main site menu.
Your screen shot should include the Photoshop interface but not your whole desktop. See instructions under Help menu on this site for how to take a screenshot.

Your screen shot should include the Photoshop interface but not your whole desktop. See instructions under Help menu on this site for how to take a screenshot.


Welcome your classmates by replying to their introduction posts.