Adobe Photoshop: A Few Tips And Tricks For Beginners

It was some time ago I became acquainted with the Adobe Photoshop program.

I immediately thought it was great, and a lot of fun too. Don’t get the wrong impression, I wasn’t very capable at first, and I’d still only call myself an intermediate at it but I think it’s a great program to have under your belt.

As long as you are doing anything creative (on the computer) it is a must have.

So for my purposes today I will try to pass-on any knowledge that I have about the program so that you can get started faster than you would otherwise.

But I should mention that anything you need to know (beyond what I will tell you today) can readily be found on Youtube.

My goal is that you will understand what the various tools are and when to use them. And maybe perhaps it will give you the confidence to sign up for your 7 day free-trial offer through Adobe.

Read on and see if it’s for you!

Getting Started

First thing is first, let’s start a new document.

Click (on the left hand tool bar of the opening screen) either ‘Create New’ or ‘Open”.

Create New – You will literally get a blank white canvas to start anything.

Open – You will open an existing picture file and be able to start editing right away.

For our purposes today, I’m just going to say I’m opening an existing file.

This is the photo I’ll be working with, you can find it on – search terms ‘funny’.

The second thing we are going to do is release the background so we can pull pixels off of it, that means going to the bottom right and clicking on the little lock button.

You just click it once and it unlocks. This now makes the image your first layer.

A moment to discuss layers. Every time you do something new to a photo, you should use a new layer so that if you don’t like what you see you can remove it, or sometimes duplicate it, it will make everything much easier for you in the long run.

Making a layer is simple you just click on the little + button at the VERY bottom right, right here.

If you don’t like what is on one layer simply delete it by dragging it into the trash, which is the garbage can icon right next to the new layer button.

Okay now that that is out of the way, let’s begin having fun.

Tools that ‘Select’

There are a number of ways you can select pixels in your image and move them around or delete them, whatever you want really. But the best and easiest one for what we are going to be doing is the ‘Quick Selection Tool’, which is located at the 4th button going down the tools menu, right here.

This tool should not be confused with the ‘Magic Wand Tool’, which is located under the same tile and can be switched with the ‘Quick Selection Tool’.

Anyway, this tool is very useful and essentially estimates what you are trying to select using colours, and depth, etc to be smart.

To prove it I am going to select the man from the photo and delete the background so that he is just floating there.

Note – his hair is going to be difficult but there is another tool that will help us with that. And I will go right into it as I’m doing it.

First, take the ‘Quick Selection Tool’ and click all over the man (even the banana).

If you are like me and the QST had a hard time with his shadow against the wall, don’t worry, you can deselect pixels by pressing ‘Option’ on your keyboard and clicking again.

Go back and forth selecting and de-selecting until you have the man (and banana) fully selected. Don’t worry too much about the fingers (as they are also difficult) and will get dealt with.

Now that the guy is totally, to the best of your abilities, selected, go to the top of the dashboard and click ‘Select and Mask’. This is another tool that will help us get really specific, especially good for selecting hair etc.

A new screen will open up and it will be all red. Do not worry, you have not broken anything and it will go right back to normal in a second.

Make sure you are using the ‘Refine Edge Bush Tool’, which is the second one on the left hand side tool bar.

Now paint the edges of the man’s hair or between his fingers, essentially anywhere there is grey or where the red overlaps the man.

When you are done click OK at the bottom right. Your dashboard will come back and everything is currently fine.

Next and last step in totally selecting this dude. Go to the top menus where it says select, click on it and scroll to ‘Inverse’, click it, then press control and X at the same time (will delete anything selected at the moment).

Now you have a guy you can paste into anywhere you feel.

Adding in new Backgrounds

This is fairly easy, but I will go over it anyway. 

So for our newly minted guy who is just floating around, I will add him into a busy scene. 

I literally just went to Pixabay and searched ‘busy’, picked the first one and here I am, and here it is. 


Click on File in Photoshops tabs, and scroll down to ‘Open’, browse your computer and open your busy file. It will open in a totally new canvas, no big deal, we will move it over using a super easy tool meant for exactly this. 

a) While looking at your busy file in Photoshop, click on the very first tool on the far left hand side of the program. It looks like four arrows pointing in a North, South, East, West kind of way. 

b) With two hands, click with one finger on the new background and drag it over to the tab displaying your image of the floating man. 

Note – you must also unlock the background of the busy image as well making it into a layer. 

You will find that the new layer you have dragged over is now its own layer and that it is in front. Simply click on the layer in the right hand side panel displaying layers and drag it down to the bottom of the list. 

And there you have it. Right now my photo looks like this (because I also moved the man over a smidge with the same tool, by selecting his layer with the four arrow tool).

banana gun_busy

Just for kicks now

Let’s make the man with the banana have a really big head!

All you have to do is go to his layer (super important you go to his layer) and select his head in the way that was previously shown to you. Then press Command and T at the same time. His head will now be in an adjustable box that you can make large or smaller (whatever you like). 

When you are done messing around you must click the four arrow move tool to make it official, and there you have it, he now has a very large head. 

Mine looks like this. 

banana gun_busy2

Just for kicks #2

Now let’s erase that pesky green plant on top of the shelf in the back. 

For this we are going to use a tool we have not yet talked about. It is called the clone stamp. It is super easy to use and holds the potential to a lot of fun. 

Literally go to the clone stamp in the left hand tools panel, it’s a god damn stamp. 

Oh don’t forget to make a new layer first before using it! 

Simply hold the option key on your keyboard and click on whatever surface you want to clone (make sure you are on the layer of what you want to clone). Then click on where you want it to appear (on the new layer). 

Bye bye plant that nobody probably noticed!

Mine now looks like this. 

banana gun_busy no plant

If we take everything covered in this guide and expand on what we learned we can do almost anything. 

grassy plains versus lazer cat

Final Thoughts

Adobe Photoshop is an extremely dense program with many, many tools, and many ways to apply them. Basically, unless you understand it as pixels, you are going to have a bad time. 

That is why the selection tool is so important. After having selected something you can change it to your hearts content. 

Well I hope you are currently thinking of ways to use Photoshop for fun and work and that the information presented here serves you. 

As always I’d like to remind you we now offer apparel (designs made using Photoshop!). I’m especially fond of the Pom Pom beanie, which you should get!


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