Adobe Photoshop is a raster-based program for photo editing. Raster based graphics are based on a series of rectangles or pixels which are used to create an image. The term raster originates from the world of television. Most images you would now see on a computer screen would be raster generated. Common raster-based file formats include .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .tif.
What this means in practical terms is the quality of raster-based images is highly dependent on the number of pixels used in the image when it was either created or edited.
If you have a high quality photo taken on a DSLR camera for example, it would typically produce an image with a high resolution or a high number of pixels. This also means the image would take up a lot of memory. But you would have lots of flexibility when using Adobe Photoshop to edit the image without losing the sharpness of the image. You would be able to see the quality of the image in sizes from mobile phone size up to 65 inch plasma TV and beyond.
Raster images with low number of pixels tend to look more ‘blocky’. Where you typically find these are on websites, where the developer or content producer has chosen an image with a lower file size. This makes it faster to load on the assumption that most users will only see the picture on smaller sized devices. On smaller devices, the difference in raster picture imagery is very difficult to distinguish. But on larger screens and devices the difference can be very noticeable.
Photoshop for marketing and e-commerce
Photoshop has multiple uses for marketing and e-commerce. One of the most commonly used tools in photoshop would be the cropping tools. This is where you cut out an image from it’s background to place it on top of another image in what is called a ‘layer’.
So for example, many of our T-shirt artwork has designs ‘placed’ on a blank T-shirt worn by a model and shot in a studio. We’re able to use the Photoshop cropping tools to cut this ‘blank’ model out and place them against scenic images we feel are more interesting than a blank studio. Beaches, forests, mountains, whatever takes your fancy.
There are a number of options for doing this in Photoshop including the magic eraser tool, the object selection tool and the various versions of the lasso tool.
Photoshop is also very helpful for ‘tidying’ up photos. So removing spots and blemishes, or subtly altering the tone, contrast and colour mix of your photography to subtly change the effects. By adjusting multiple features of an image such as brightness, exposure, colour balance and hue, and adding effects like gradients, Photoshop can transform images into professional quality output.
There are many You Tube guides and online courses you can use to learn the skills and techniques in Photoshop. When we were starting out with this tool, we used the Graphic Design Masterclass available on Udemy. This was a great introduction to Photoshop and how to use it. (It also has classes on Illustrator and InDesign).
We blogged about it at the time too, and you can read what we had to say about photo editing here.