Lesson 8. Cropping, Saving Selections, Composing Images

As we work our way down the Photoshop toolbar, this lesson we discuss the crop tool, color picker, foreground/background tools, layers, channels and layer masks. It's a lot to aborb but vital to working efficiently with Photoshop.

Topics for this week include:

Points: 50 (+ 8.33 participation points)

Estimated assignment time: 5 hours

Due: Friday, March 2, 11:59P

8.1 The Crop Tool, the Color Picker and the Eyedropper tool.

In this lesson we see the use of the crop tool to remove unessential edges in our images. Lessons include:

  • Using the crop tool to remove edge from your digital images.
  • Using the foreground/background tools to change fills.
  • Using the color picker to select or match new colors for fills or swatches.
  • Saving selected colors for reuse in the swatch panel.
  • Using the ruler tool to measure distances.
  • videoWatch Video | 11:11 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.


The crop tools has many different methods of recroppping your images. 

A couple of resources online to learn details about the tool:
How to crop a photo in Photoshop here
5 Secrets of the Photoshop Crop Tool here

8.2 Layers, Channels and Masks Oh My!

In this portion of the lesson we concentrate on the saving selections into channels for reuse. We will see similarities between layers in Illustrator and Photoshop. We learn to compose several images into a collage type image using these tools. Lessons include:

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.


In the Adobe products of graphic software, there are typically numerous methods to do the same task. With  some experience, you will find the ones best suited to the way you work.
This online resource discusses “there is no one right way” to working in the program.

View the video:Top Non-Destructive Photoshop Techniques here.

8.3 File Formats and Resolution

Any decent introduction to Photoshop must include this lesson. Here we discuss various file formats supported by PS (not all of them, but the main graphic formats for print and web). Lesson includes:

  • Understand the native file format is .psd.
  • Learn about the measurement of pixel data call PPI (pixels per inch).
  • See how to view a files PPI.
  • Understand the typical resolution for web use is 72 PPI.
  • Understand the typical resolution for print use is 300 PPI.
  • Learn common file formats used in web delivery.
  • Learn common file formats used in print.
  • Learn which file formats support transparency.
  • Learn which file formats support saving layers and alpha channels.
  • Download and read the .pdf on file formats and file resolution here.
  • Several quiz questions for this week are based on lesson 8.3. Be sure to read carefully and do additonal research online.


Be sure 

Review online resources:
Which Graphics File Format Is Best To Use When?
Graphics Fundamentals: Understanding Photoshop File Formats

8.4 Do It!
Practice the Tools From the Lesson

Using the tools learned in the lesson, you will create files suitable to post on Facebook account. Lessons include:

  • Go online and find three images to work with. The images should reflect your personality and interests.
  • Saving selections as channels for reuse.
  • Using the layers panel.
  • Using layer masks to make non-destructive edits.
  • Using the menu IMAGE>IMAGE SIZE to review a files physical size, dimensions and resolution.
  • Using the crop tool.
  • Understand only .psd and.tif file formats support saving layers and channels.
  • videoWatch Video | 13:46 minutes videoWatch Video | 14:33 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

Use the tools discussed in the demo and the template provided here. Follow the progression of the demo using the template and your 3 photos.

Do ItPractice the lesson, save your files.

You should save your work frequently. This is just good practice. Save a "working" file complete with all layers and channels as a .psd using your name as the file name (i.e. - Ronworking.psd). This is the file you will submit for grading. I need to see your layers and alpha channels to ensure you are learning the skills. Do a SAVE AS, select .jpg format in the save dialog box and name the cover version with your name (i.e. - Roncover.jpg), REVERT to the saved .psd file. Do a SAVE AS, select .jpg format in the save dialog box and name the profile version with your name as in the demo (i.e. - Ronprofile.jpg).


When you intend to save your file with layers, layer masks and alpha channels intact, be sure to click on the "Layers" checkbox in the SAVE dialog box as shown below.

Remember...only a .psd or .tif format can save layers, layer mask and channels!


8.5 Post an example of your work and comments to the Google+ online Community

After you have completed the assignment, visit the course's Google+ online community and post your comments about the assignment. I am also asking for you to post both the cover and the profile .jpgs of your work on the Google+ site. Look @ your classmates posts and critique their work. Don't simply say "I love it!", tell us why. Use the terms we have discussed in the course so far to describe what you see and offer suggestions for improvement. Visit the Google+ online community here. Once you have posted, copy the link from the Google+ site. Go the Learning For Life portal, and paste the link in the text field and attach your layered .psd file. Hit submit.

8.6 Review and Checklist for the Week's Lesson Assignment


Grading Check List

watch the cropping, sampling, and color picker video
review online resources about the crop tool
watch the two composing videos
read the file format and resolution .pdf
review online resources about graphic file formats
watch two Facebook demo videos
practice the lesson, save a layered .psd file
practice the lesson, save two .jpg files for posting to the learning community
post a both .jpgs and discuss on the Google+ community
submit your .psd file via the Learning For Life portal and provide the link to your post
complete quiz 8 on Learning For Life portal


Testable Items

  • How do you switch foreground with background color?
  • What does the color picker looks like, and what does it do?
  • What are alpha channels?
  • How do you toggle between a layers visiblity and invisibility?
  • What does a layer mask look like in the layers panel?
  • What is the native file format for Photoshop?
  • Which file formats support transparency?
  • Which file formats support saving layers, alpha channels and layer masks?
  • Which file formats are typically used for web?
  • Which file fromats are typically used for print?