Overview of Tools In Adobe Photoshop


In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of the tools in the toolbar of Adobe Photoshop. Here, our goal is to make it possible for literally anyone to learn to use Photoshop tools even if you are just a beginner. To know about more advanced features of these tools you can click on to the links of these tools we’ve mentioned below.

Move tool

It is the first option of the toolbar in Adobe Photoshop. This tool allows us to drag the image around your document. Now, the move tool comes in combination with the transform tool. So, if you want to actually transform something, press ‘ctrl’ +T on your keyboard and can start transforming. Here, we can do various kind of transformation like rotation, horizontal and vertical shear etc.

Selection Tool

Selections define a lot in Photoshop. If you want to affect a certain area of your image then selections are perfect to do that. There are various tools for making a selection in Adobe Photoshop such as marquee tool, lasso tool, quick selection tool, and magic wand tool etc. If you just right click over this tools you can see that there are also various other tools along with it in its flyout menu. You can know more about selection tools in my ‘Selection Tools in Adobe Photoshop’ blog post. To add an area to the selection, you can hold ‘shift’ key and then make other selections.  To minus out the selection you can hold ‘alt’ key in your keyboard. To get rid of the selection just press ‘ctrl +D’ on your keyboard.

Crop tool 

The crop tool is generally used for resizing the image according to your requirements. Underneath this tool’s flyout menu there is eyedropper and slice tool. The eyedropper tool picks whatever color it’s over. If you are painting something and you can’t find what exact color you are trying to get, you can just hold it down and go over until you find the color that you want. To know more about these tools you can read my blog post on ‘Crop and Eyedropper Tool’.

Healing Tools 

These lists of tools are basically used for retouching images to remove blemishes, unwanted spots, and elements. In the flyout menu of this tool, there are many other tools like spot healing brush tool, healing brush tool, patch tool, content aware move tool, and red-eye tool. Additional tools that come under these categories are Clone stamp and Pattern Stamp tool. You can know more about the healing tools in my ‘Healing tools in Adobe Photoshop’ blog post and demonstration of these tools in Healing tools Part 2- Fashion Retouching’ blog post.

Brush Tool 

This tool is exclusively used for painting purposes. You can change the size and hardness of the brush by coming up in the options menu bar and opening the brush picker menu. You can choose the brush setting from preselected presets or you can make your own custom settings. To more about brush tool, visit my blog post on ‘Brush tool in Adobe Photoshop’.

History Brush Tool 

This tool allows you to use previous states of the image to create new effects. The other tool under its flyout menu is Art History Brush Tool. It paints with stylized strokes using the source data from a specified history states. To know more about this tool you can visit my blog post on ‘History Brush Tool’.

Eraser Tool

This tool allows you to erase pixels from your image. You can increase or decrease the opacity or hardness of eraser brush. And the eraser brush settings are the same as the normal brush tool. To know more about eraser tool visit the ‘History Brush and Eraser tool’ blog post.

Paint Bucket Tool 

This tool just fills or paints in whatever color you’ve picked.

Gradient Tool 

In this tool, you can draw a line across and it will put a gradient across that guide. You can change the color and blend modes of the gradient. There are five gradients in Adobe Photoshop and these are linear, radial, angled, reflected, and diamond. You can know more about gradient tool from my blog post ‘Gradient Tool in Adobe Photoshop’.

Blur, Sharpen and Smudge Tool 

These lists of tools are editing tools in Photoshop in which we don’t have to apply any paint on the image. Blur tool will blur the area of the image where you will move this tool. As the name suggests, sharpen tool sharpens the blurred area of the image. And smudge tool allows the pixels to flow in a direction where you drag it. You can know more about these tools in my Blur, Sharpen and Smudge tools in Adobe Photoshop’ blog post.

Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tool 

Dodge tool is used to lighten the pixels of the particular area of an image. And unlike Dodge tool, burn tool darkens the pixels of the area where it was applied. These tools can be used to create depth on an image.  Sponge tool is used to adjust saturation on different parts of the image. To know more about these tools you can see my blog post on ‘Burn, Dodge and Sponge in Adobe Photoshop’.

Pen tool

This tool is the only tool that gives you very clean and sharp selections without blurred lines and or soft edges because the pen tool uses vector lines to make the selections. To know more about pen tool, its other options and what it does you can see my blog post on ‘Pen Tool in Adobe Photoshop’.

Type Tool 

To use this text tool you can press ‘T’ in your keyword or directly access it from the toolbar. In order to use the text tool, just click and then type whatever you want. You can change the size and other text settings from the character panel. You can know more about type tool in my ‘Type Panel in Adobe Photoshop’ blog post.

Path Selection Tool 

Path selection tool allows you to select the entire path along with every segment and anchor points. You can hold ‘alt’ key, click and drag the path to duplicate it. And this duplicate path will be created inside the same shape layer whereas direct selection tool allows you to get into the actual path itself and edit one segment or anchor point of the path.

Rectangle tool or Shape tool

You can create many geometric shapes with this tool. If you open up the flyout menu of this tool, you will see there are various options like rounded rectangle, ellipse, polygon, line tool and custom shapes. You can make various custom shapes using this option. There are large numbers of custom shapes available in the shape presets.

Hand Tool

The purpose of the hand tool is to let you move around the document. To use this tool, go ahead and click on your image and drag it. As you can see just by moving your mouse you can move the document and it’s much easier to handle. The shortcut key for this tool is ‘H’. There is another tool in the flyout menu of this tool and this is ‘rotate view tool. Whenever you use this tool, you will see a compass shape on your document and this tool rotates your image. You can reset the image’s position by clicking on the ‘reset view’ option on the top menu bar.

Zoom Tool: 

This tool allows you to zoom in or out of your document. The shortcut key for this tool is ‘Z’.

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