Photoshop Tools: the Beginner’s Guide

Photoshop Tools and Photoshop Toolbar

In the previous article, you have got to learn about Photoshop Interface. Today you will learn about Photoshop Tools. As taught in the previous article, Photoshop Toolbar is located on the left side of the screen. It holds many Adobe Photoshop Tools that are used while editing an image or creating an illustration.

We will start with Photoshop Tools name and then we will learn their uses.

Photoshop Toolbar

1. Move Tool

The Move Tool helps in moving a certain object around the artboard in a selected layer. To move an object or selected layer you have to first select the Move Tool.

The Move Tool is at the top-left corner of the Photoshop Toolbar. With the help of the Move Tool, you can move anything to a different position.

To understand how Move Tool is used, see the below images:

Move Tool in Photoshop

In the above image, I have placed an image on the artboard and then I have selected the Move Tool. Now to move the image, I will simply place the cursor on the image and with the help of the left-click, I will drag the image.

Move image with the help of Move Tool

You can see in the above image, the image placed is moved towards right with the help of the Move Tool.

We can even move a selected part of the image with the help of the Move Tool. For that, select a part of the image with the help of the Selection Tool and then select the Move Tool from the Toolbar. Now place the cursor on the selected part and you will notice a small scissor icon below the cursor. With the left-click drag the cursor to move the selected part of the image.

Moving a part of the image

2. Marquee Tool

There are several Marquee Tools in Adobe Photoshop which allows a user to select areas in an image. A user gets an option to choose four different shapes; i.e.; rectangle, ellipse, single row, and single column.

After making a selection with any of the Marquee Tool, if you want to add more area in your selection then press and hold the Shift key and move the cursor over the area which you want to add. In case you want to subtract the selected area then press and hold the Alt key and move the cursor to subtract the area.

Rectangular Marquee Tool:

With the help of the Rectangular Marquee Tool, you can make a rectangular selection on your Photoshop image. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Photoshop Toolbar and with the left-click drag the cursor on the image where you want to make the selection.

Rectangular Marquee Tool

Elliptical Marquee Tool:

This tool helps in making a round selection on the image.

Elliptical Marquee Tool

Single Row Marquee Tool:

This tool helps in making a 1px horizontal selection of your Photoshop image.

Single Column Marquee Tool:

This tool helps in making a 1px vertical selection of your Photoshop image.

3. Lasso Tool

The Lasso Tool is a free-form selection tool which helps in making a loose selection around anything on the image.

To make a selection with the help of the Lasso Tool, select the tool from the Photoshop Toolbar and then with the help of the left-click move the cursor around the object which you want to select.

Lasso Tool

Other sub-tools under the Lasso Tool are the Polygonal Lasso Tool and Magnetic Lasso Tool.

Polygonal Lasso Tool:

This tool makes a selection in a strictly linear fashion. When you will make a selection with the help of the Polygonal Lasso Tool, you have to make a selection by drawing straight lines around the area you want to select.

polygon lasso tool

Magnetic Lasso Tool:

This tool is the edge-detection tool that actively searches for the edge of the object, as you move the cursor around it, and snaps the selection outline, and clings to it like a magnet.

4. Quick Selection Tool

The Quick Selection Tool is one of the selection tools of Photoshop that makes a selection based on the boundaries of the object you want to select in an image. This tool works great for photos with high contrast.

Let’s take an image as an example to understand the use of the Quick Selection Tool

Quick Selection Tool

Suppose we want to select the eyeball in the above image. For that, select the Quick Selection Tool from the Toolbar, and with the left-click move the cursor inside the eyeball.

quick selection tool

When you will select the Quick Selection Tool, you will notice a few brush options in the Options Bar. You can set the size, hardness, and angle of the brush.

While selecting the object from the image, if area other than object gets selected then you can use Subtract from Selection option. You have to press & hold the Alt key; cursor will convert into a minus sign, and move the cursor near the edge of the selection to subtract it.

When you select the Quick Selection Tool, by default, it is set as Add to Selection option.

Magic Wand Tool:

The Magic Wand Tool nests under the Quick Selection Tool. This tool makes a selection based on your mouse click. When you select this tool from the Photoshop Toolbar and click anywhere on the image, then that area and the area with similar color and contrast will get selected. This tool is mainly used to remove the background from the image in Photoshop.

magic wand tool
magic wand tool

5. Crop Tool

The Crop Tool helps in removing unnecessary elements from the image. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar and drag the cursor on the image to select the required area. Then click on the tick-mark icon in the Options bar and your image will get cropped. This tool is best for removing the empty spaces before printing an image.

Slice Tool:

This tool helps in dividing the image into different sections with straight edges. This Photoshop tool is popular among app developers who need to divide images into segments. This tool is used basically for the images which will be used on the web.

Slice Select Tool:

This tool is used along with the Slice Tool. Once you have created slices on the image, with the help of the Slice Tool, then to edit the boundaries of a specific slice you will use the Slice Select Tool.

6. Eyedropper Tool

The Eyedropper Tool is used to pick a color from the image for further use in the artwork. To pick a color from the image, select the Eyedropper Tool, and click on the image, from where you want to pick the color. It will automatically change the foreground color which you can use in your artwork.

eyedropper tool

Color Sampler Tool:

This tool is used to collect information about the selected color. After selecting Color Sampler Tool, when you will click anywhere on the image then an Info pop-up will appear on the screen. That Info pop-up will contain the information about the selected color pixel.

Color Sampler Tool

Ruler Tool:

This helps in providing information regarding the distance between two points. Also, this tool helps in straightening an image in Photoshop.

Note Tool:

The Note Tool allows you to attach text notes to an image in Photoshop. To attach text notes to an image, select the Note Tool, and then click on the image. You will see a note icon on the image and an active Note Panel on the document window. Now you can add text or a short description of the work to be done on the image inside the Note Panel text box. You can now save the image in PDF format.

These notes are only visible in Photoshop and PDF but they will not appear on the hardcopy of the image.

Note Tool

Count Tool:

This tool allows placing numbers of objects in an image. When you will select Count Tool, you will see different options related to this tool in the Options Bar. You can change the color and size of the label and form multiple count groups.

Count Tool

7. Spot Healing Brush Tool

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is the best tool for removing spots or blemishes from the image. To remove the spots or blemishes from the image, select the Spot Healing Brush Tool from the Toolbar and click on the spot. You can even change the size of the brush from the Options bar.

spot healing brush tool

Healing Brush Tool:

With the help of the Healing Brush Tool, you can copy a part of the image and place it anywhere on the image. For example, in the below image you can see that with the help of the Healing Brush Tool, I have copied the acne marks all over the face of the girl. You can see the before and the aftereffect of the use of the Healing Brush Tool in the images.

To copy any part of the image, select the Healing Brush Tool from the Toolbar and then place the cursor on that part of the image. Now press and hold the Alt key and click on that part. Then release the Alt key and click on the other parts of the image where you want to place the copied part.

Patch Tool:

This tool is used to repair or retouch images that are damaged. This tool helps in repairing larger areas of the image. With the help of the Patch Tool, you can either remove an object or you can replicate an object.

To remove an object with the help of the Patch Tool, select the tool from the Toolbar and select Source in the Object bar. Now move the cursor around the object to select it.

Patch Tool

After making the selection, move the cursor in any direction and the selection will get disappeared.

patch tool

To replicate an object with the help of the Patch Tool, select the tool and then select Destination in the Options Bar. Now select the object that you want to replicate and click on the image where you want to place the copy of the selected object.

patch tool

Red Eye Tool:

This tool is used to remove red eye, caused due to flash source, from the portrait images.

8. Brush Tool

The Brush Tool is the most commonly used tool in Photoshop while retouching images. It is the basic painting tool of Photoshop. After selecting the Brush Tool, you can change its size, hardness, angle, shape, texture, opacity, and many more.

brush tool

Pencil Tool:

This tool allows you to draw on the canvas as if you are using a real pencil.

pencil tool

Color Replacement Tool:

This helps in changing the color of the image. Select the Color Replacement Tool from the Photoshop Toolbar and then select the foreground color. Now move the cursor on the image where you want to change the color. With the help of this tool, the original color of the image will get changed into the selected foreground color.

Mixer Brush Tool:

This tool allows you to blend colors with realistic textures. This tool provides the natural way of painting inside Photoshop. There are several preset brushes available in Photoshop.

9. Clone Stamp Tool

The Clone Stamp Tool helps in copying or cloning a sample part of the image and paints it on other parts of the image. To clone a sample part of the image, select the Clone Stamp Tool from the Toolbar. Then press & hold the Alt key and click on the part you want to copy. Release the Alt key and with the help of left-clicking move the cursor on the image where you want to copy the image.

clone stamp tool
clone stamp tool

Pattern Stamp Tool:

This tool helps in painting a pattern or texture on the image or document.

10. History Brush Tool

The History Brush Tool keeps a record of all the activities. With the help of this tool, you can paint elements of the past in the present document or image.

Art History Brush Tool:

This tool works the same as the History Brush Tool, but with different settings and parameters.

11. Eraser Tool

The Eraser Tool helps in removing pixels from the image. With the help of this tool, you can remove objects from the image that you don’t want.

Background Eraser Tool:

This tool helps in removing the background from the image. Simply select the tool and with the left-click drag the cursor on the background of the image to remove it.

Magic Eraser Tool:

As the name says, this tool really works like magic in erasing the background. Select the tool from the Photoshop Toolbar and set the Tolerance. Then drag the eraser on the background and the background will get erased like magic.

12. Gradient Tool

The Gradient Tool helps in blending two or more colors. You can select colors on the gradient slider, the angle of gradient, position of slider, opacity and many more.

Paint Bucket Tool:

This tool helps in filling an area with selected color, depending on its tolerance settings.

13. Blur Tool

The Blur Tool is used to blur objects in the image. It works like a brush and you can change the size of the brush as per the size of the object. The Blur Tool gives a pinpoint accuracy.

Sharpen Tool:

This tool also works like a brush. With the help of the Sharpen Tool, you can sharpen areas of the image manually. Select the tool and move the cursor on the object you want to sharpen. You can also adjust the size of the brush.

Smudge Tool:

This tool is used to smear surrounding areas. With the help of this tool, you can smudge pixels and blend colors on the image/document. Select the Smudge Tool and then select the smudge brush from the Brush Panel. Set the size of the brush and move the brush on the area you want to smudge.

14. Dodge Tool

The Dodge Tool is used to lighten the areas of an image. Simply select the tool and set the attributes of the brush. Then move the cursor on the area of the image you want to lighten.

Burn Tool:

The result of Burn Tool is opposite of the Dodge Tool. With the help of the Burn Tool, you can darken the areas of the image.

Sponge Tool:

With the help of the Sponge Tool you can increase or decrease the saturation of the image. This tool can be used like a brush tool.

15. Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is use to draw graphics in Photoshop. It is the most commonly used tool for drawing paths in or around your image. With the help of this tool you can draw paths for your artwork.

Pen Tool

Freeform Pen Tool:

This is a drawing tool that is used for drawing paths by hand and it adds anchor points to the path. This tool automatically adds anchor points to the path drawn.

Add Anchor Point Tool:

This tool is used to add anchor points to the path by selecting the tool and then clicking on the path where you want to add a new anchor point.

Delete Anchor Point Tool:

With the help of this tool, you can delete an anchor point from the path. To delete an anchor point, select the tool and click on the anchor point that you want to delete.

Convert Point Tool:

With the help of this tool you can convert a smooth anchor point into a corner anchor point and vice versa.

16. Horizontal Type Tool

The Horizontal Type Tool allows you to type your text on the Photoshop document/artboard. You can select the Font Style, Font Size, Alignment, and many more from the Options Bar.

Horizontal Type Tool

Vertical Type Tool:

This Photoshop Tool is used to type vertically on the artboard.

Vertical Type Tool

Horizontal and Vertical Type Mask Tool:

These tools help you in making a mask from a typeface. These tools don’t create a new layer. They create a selection on the active layer. With the help of these tools, you can fill your text with an image or texture or you can cut text out of the image in horizontal or vertical form.

17. Path Selection Tool

The Path Selection Tool is used to select the entire image, path, or layer at a time. With the help of this Photoshop Tool, you can move the entire selected image or path instead of just one point.

Direct Selection Tool:

The Direct Selection Tool is used to select one or more anchor points from a path. If you want to make changes in an anchor point then select this Photoshop Tool and click on the anchor point to select it. The anchor point will get selected and now you can make changes in that selected anchor point.

18. Shape Tools

The Shape Tools inbuilt in Photoshop are, namely, the Rectangle Tool, Rounded Rectangle Tool, Ellipse Tool, Polygon Tool, Line Tool, and Custom Shape Tool. With help of these Photoshop Tools, you can draw different basic as well as custom shapes.

Photoshop Shape Tools

So these are the Photoshop Tools that will be mostly used by you while working on any Photoshop Document. As now you are aware of Photoshop Tools and Photoshop Toolbar, it will be easier for you to use these tools in your Photoshop projects.

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