Adobe Photoshop has been around for years and it’s an amazing tool to manipulate photos just in any way you can think of. Getting started with Photoshop can be cumbersome if you don’t know the basics of Photoshop. In today’s tutorial, we are getting started with Photoshop 10 most important tools used in every photo manipulation.

Note: I am using Photoshop CC 2014 for this tutorial, but you can use Photoshop CS3 or higher to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Tool 1 – Move Tool

Let’s learn more about Photoshop Tools. Open up any image you want to get started in Photoshop. To open any image, select File > Open and open the image you want to open.


The first Photoshop tool is Move Tool and it is used to move images, selections, and layers. It’s a very simple tool and you can drag any image, layer wherever you want to. Just press (V) on the keyboard to activate it or you can also use the mouse to activate it, just click on the move tool icon shown below.

Tool 2 – Quick Selection Tool

Next we have the Quick Selection tool and it is used to make the selection of any portion of the image. It works like a brush tool and allows us to simply select the area of an image by painting over it. You can activate the Quick Selection tool by simply pressing the (W) button on the keyboard.

I have this image open in Photoshop and I want to make the selection of sky part.

First, activate the Quick Selection tool and simply click on the sky, then drag it over the sky. You can also hold (ALT) to minus the selection while making selections. Now we have the sky selected properly.

Now we have the sky part selected and add a layer mask to it by simply clicking on add layer mask icon at the right bottom corner to extract the sky (If you get the desert part extracted instead of the sky and to overcome this you can press CMD or CTRL + I to inverse the selection). The Layer mask concept is beyond the scope of this tutorial and we’ll learn more about it in next upcoming tutorials.

As you can see we have a pretty much decent selection of sky. One more thing about the Quick Selection tool is that it works best when we have solid backgrounds. But it can also ruin the result when we have the complex background and a better alternative to this tool is Pen Tool. We’ll learn more about the Pen tool in this tutorial.

Tool 3 – Crop Tool

Crop Tool as the name suggest used to crop images. With this tool, you can crop any image. You can activate the Crop tool by pressing (C) on the keyboard or see the image below for crop tool icon.

Open up any image you want to crop and let we have the city image again. After you activated the crop tool you’ll see the crop handles around the image. Resize the shape of the crop box according to your needs and simply double click on the image to crop the image.

Tool 4 – Spot Healing Brush Tool

Spot Healing Brush Tool is a retouching tool and used to heal the spot. Next to Spot healing brush you’ll have the Healing brush tool. The only difference between Spot healing brush tool and healing brush tool is that spot healing brush tool allows you to sample the pixels automatically while the healing brush tool allows you to sample the pixels manually. You can sample the pixels with the Healing brush tool by pressing (ALT) on the keyboard. You can activate this tool by pressing (j) on the keyboard.

I have this image of girl open in Photoshop with a few skin flaws. The red circle indicates the spot for healing.

Simply activate the Spot Healing brush tool and start clicking on the spot to heal the spot.

As you can see the spot is healed now. With little more practices, you can reduce wrinkles, blemishes, skin flaws and unwanted spot from an image with these tools.

Tool 5 – Brush Tool

Brush Tool is a painting tool and used to paint colors over an image. You can paint lines, shapes, and colors with Brush Tool. You can press (B) on the keyboard to activate the Brush Tool.

Brush tool has many options but in this tutorial, we are describing
the basic one. There are many types of brushes such as soft round brush, hard round brush, chalk brushes and you can load many brushes as much you want.

At the property bar of brush tool, you’ll have two basics options Opacity and Flow. Opacity value determines the percentage of transparency. 100% means full-color stroke whereas a small percentage means more transparent painting. The Flow value determines the rate of color applied. You can reduce the opacity and flow percentage according to your needs.

In the above image, you can see the result how the opacity and flow works. The Brush tool is a very important tool and in photo manipulation, you can paint shadows, hairs and even a painting with this tool.

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