How To: Graphics and Photoshop for Dummies By Ariel Vasser

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1 How To: Graphics and Photoshop for Dummies By Ariel Vasser Things to Keep in Mind: Simplicity is key o Don t worry too much about having a complicated graphic with multiple colors and elements o Some of the best and most effective graphics have solid black backgrounds with white text Highlight the key information o If a graphic is text-heavy use bolded words or bright colors to make the most important words and phrases stand out Vary your fonts, but not too much o Keep your fonts consistent, but vary them between the header/body text/etc. o You can find information on how to choose and combine fonts effectively here o If you re struggling, Canva has a lot of preset font combinations in their free layouts and in the text tab when you re designing graphics o If a graphic isn t text-heavy one or two fonts will almost always suffice NEVER use more than three fonts in one graphic 1

2 Always pay attention to color and contrast o Use colors that complement each other, but be wary of overusing too many colors in the same family o For helpful color combinations, go here or here Using all four colors may be too much in a lot of graphics, but these are a helpful starting point if you re feeling stuck Often you can substitute out a darker color for black or a lighter one for light gray or white o When in doubt, a dark color (i.e. black), light color (i.e. white), and bright color (i.e. pink or a lighter green) tend to work well o Use dark fonts on light backgrounds and vice versa If text or an image is disappearing into the background, it will be less visually appealing Don t be afraid to use borders and/or change colors to make things pop o Quick Tip: to use a preset color combination, copy and paste the color code (i.e. #D09683) into the color code box On Canva, you can find the color code box by clicking on the plus sign when changing text/image color under Document Colors The color code box should appear underneath the color wheel On Photoshop, you can find the color code box by clicking on one of the color swatches either at the bottom of the left sidebar or next to the color spectrum on the right side of the screen under the Color tab Once you have clicked on a swatch, a new screen will pop up and you will have the option to type the color code into the box at the bottom of the screen On Canva, the color will save automatically under Document Colors and you can continually use it while designing the graphic without having to input the code again HOWEVER, on Photoshop you will need to click Add to Swatches to save the color 2

3 Transparency is your friend o Be wary of using transparent logos with text on multicolored/patterned backgrounds because it can look too busy and/or blend into the background o However, as a rule of thumb, transparent logos tend to look better because they don t look out of place in the image and don t distract the viewer from the message o If you can t get the logo to look visually appealing otherwise, stick to a neutral background EXAMPLES: 3

4 Different File Types JPG o Generally smaller file sizes o Elements are NOT individually editable once the file is saved o Does not save layers o Does not save transparency o Compatible with all digital platforms and social media sites PNG o Smaller/medium size file sizes o Elements are NOT individually editable once the file is saved o Does not save layers o Saves transparency o Compatible with most, if not all, digital platforms and social media sites TIFF/PSD o Generally larger file sizes o Elements are individually editable once the file is saved o Saves layers o Saves transparency o Generally not compatible with most digital platforms and social media sites If you want the ability to go back and move around/edit elements in an image NOT in Canva (you can always go back and re-edit in Canva), it is best to save it as a TIFF However, if you re done with an image and/or are ready to post it, I recommend saving it as a PNG Canva Login: Username: Password: ElEcTiOnPrOtEcTiOn7 DISCLAIMER: If you have little to no experience with Photoshop or graphic design, it s probably best to stick to Canva. While Photoshop gives you more creative freedom, it s also more destructive and less intuitive, especially for beginners. Most of the graphics needed for this organization can be made in Canva with some patience and creativity. However, if you want to use Photoshop, learning how to use these tools is mostly trial and error. Almost everything in Photoshop can be done multiple ways and it s all about learning which processes and tools work best for you. Photoshop Helpful Shortcuts (MAC ONLY many are similar on PC (i.e. Control instead of Command), but I can t guarantee they re all the same) Command + I o Invert layer o Will invert the colors or a normal layer OR invert the opacity of a layer mask (black to white or vice versa) Shift + Command + I o Invert selection 4

5 Command + o Zoom In Command o Zoom out Command + 0 o Zoom to fit image to frame Command + J o Copy selected layer(s) Command + G o Group selected layers Shift + Option + Command + E o Merge all visible layers and copy into a new layer Command + T o Transform tool o Use to change the size and/or rotate objects or text B o Brush tool o Use when adding black/white/gray to layer masks o [ makes the brush smaller and ] makes the brush bigger *(this applies to other tools as well) C o Crop tool W o Magic wand tool (literally looks like a want with little sparks coming out of the end) o If you don t see it, look for what looks like a paintbrush drawing a dotted line, click and hold on the paintbrush, and the option to click on the magic wand tool should appear Quick Tips: NEVER use the eraser tool o Create a layer mask (in layer masks, white = visible, black = not visible, gray = somewhat visible, varies depending on how dark the gray is) o Use white for what you want on that layer/grouped layers to be visible and black for what you want to get rid of Having too many layers is better than too few o NEVER edit on the background/original layer The first thing you should always do when opening an image in Photoshop is Command + J and copy the background layer This way, if you mess up, you can always go back to the original o Do different rounds of edits on different layers Don t use a hard-edge o The actual number is up to personal preference, but I usually set the hardness of my brush/other tools to 0% o This means the outer layers of the tool will be fuzzy, but it looks more natural All of the tools on the left toolbar have one letter shortcuts (i.e. B, W, C, etc.) 5

6 o In order to figure out what the shortcut is, hover over the icon until the name of the tool appears o Next to the name there will be a letter in parentheses (i.e. (W)) that s the shortcut One shortcut can lead to multiple tools o If you can t find the tool you re looking for, click and hold on an icon in the left toolbar other tools should show up (i.e. the S shortcut leads to both the Stamp and the Pattern Stamp tool, but only the one you used most recently will appear in the toolbar) Helpful Tools Magic Wand After making your original selection: o Holding down Shift while clicking adds to the selection o Holding down Option/Alt while clicking deletes from the selection If too much or too little is being added/deleted while you re clicking, try adjusting the tolerance o A lower tolerance means that LESS will be added/deleted while clicking (it will only select colors closer to the original selection) o A higher tolerance means that MORE will be added/deleted while clicking (it expands the range of acceptable colors to select) o Generally, it is best to start at a medium tolerance, increase it if it s not working, and then lower it for the final details to get the best results Pro Tip: the magic wand tool works best on simpler shapes and colors. If you re trying to select a complex object from against a simple background, try selecting the background/everything BUT what you actually want to select and then inverting the selection Once you ve made your selection, clicking Command + J will create a new layer from only the selected parts of the layer The Magic Wand tool is very helpful for selecting simple shapes (i.e. if you want the outline of a state but can t find one with a transparent background) or selecting one part of an image (i.e. one or several states on the U.S. Map) to change colors Changing the color of one (or more) states on a map USING MAGIC WAND TOOL o Once you have the file opened in Photoshop, copy the background layer (as always) o On the new layer, select the one or more states that you would like to be a different color (using the magic wand tool) o Copy that selection into a new layer o At this point, you should have the background layer, a copy of the background layer, and a third layer with just the states you want selected o Create a new layer directly above the selected layer it doesn t matter what this layer looks like (I usually just Shift + Option + Command + E, but it s up to you) o Select the brush tool, then completely paint over the top layer in whatever color you want your states to be 6

7 o Once the layer is completely filled in that color, deselect that layer so it is no longer visible You do this by clicking on the little eye symbol next to the layer on the right toolbar where all of your layers should appear The layer should NOT disappear from the toolbar but it should no longer be visible on the main screen where you are editing the image o Go to the layer of JUST the states that you want highlighted that you created earlier and reselect that entire layer *(you can make this easier for yourself by clicking the eye and making the background layer & background copy invisible too) If you have multiple states you will need to select each individually, otherwise the black borders between the states will not show up o Once you have reselected that layer, make the colored layer visible again, and then MAKE SURE that you are on that layer You know which layer you re on based on which is highlighted on the right toolbar where all of the layers appear o THIS IS WHAT YOUR SCREEN SHOULD LOOK LIKE: you should have a black and white dotted/moving line outlining the state(s) you want selected against a solid-colored background. Only AFTER your screen looks like this, click Command + J to copy your selection o You should now have your background layer, background copy, layer with just the states, solid colored layer, and layer with just the states in the color that you want o Go back and delete the completely solid colored layer (and the layer of just the states if you want up to personal preference) o Your map should look how you want it to: 7

8 o Export the image as a PNG AND save a separate file as a TIFF (WITH LAYERS) so you can go back and edit it later Layer Masks To create a layer mask, go to the very bottom right corner of your screen o There should be several symbols: fx, a rectangle with the circle in the middle, a half gray/half white circle, folder, square with a corner folded up, and a trash can (as seen in the screenshot above) o Click on the rectangle with the circle in the middle (it should be to the right of the fx ) o Quick Tip: if you hover your mouse over each symbol, it will tell you what tool each symbol represents Layer masks should automatically show up as white o White = doesn t do anything to the layer, entire layer is still visible In order to invert the mask and make it black, you need to make sure that you have the mask itself selected and NOT just the layer you re applying the mask to o Black = makes the layer invisible o The layer itself is selected when there are little white brackets around it If you would like to get rid of anything from your layer/image, use the brush tool and paint in black on a layer mask INSTEAD of using the eraser tool o This way if you mess up, it s easy to switch the brush to white and repaint it to make it visible again NOTE: if you re trying to get rid of an element, make sure you do it on the bottom layer BEFORE copying it o If you use a layer mask to get rid of an element on the top layer that s also in the layers below it, nothing will happen to the image 8

9 o Painting black on a layer mask essentially creates a hole in the layer it allows the layer directly to below to become visible instead of the top layer So, if an element exists in the layer below the one you have the layer mask on, getting rid of it in the layer mask layer won t do anything Quick Tip: if you want to just see the layer mask, hold down option *(ON A MAC may be different on a PC) and click on the layer o Just the layer should appear on your screen, and you should be able to see where you have black, white and gray o To go back to the image, hold down option and click on the layer again Drawing in gray makes an element fade, but doesn t get rid of it completely o The darker the gray = the less opaque the element is o You can adjust this by changing the opacity of your brush on the top toolbar o To draw in just black or white your brush opacity MUST be at 100% If you re ever feeling stuck or unsure of what to do, just go back and look through the EP social media accounts (mainly the Twitter) and graphics saved on Canva to get an idea of what people have done in the past. It is NEVER a bad idea to model your graphic after ones that have been used in the past, ESPECIALLY those that have been successful (likes/rts/etc.). 9

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