Program interface is a graphical editor, vector illustration

As I mentioned before, photo and graphics editing programs all work slightly differently, but all use the same concepts. For example, your Galaxy phone might not be exactly the same as your iPhone, but all phones work very similarly. Here are some of the skills you should take the time to learn.

Changing Image Size: Depending on where you’re using the image, you’ll probably need one of a certain size. Whether it’s on your website, or running a Facebook ad, most places you’ll use an image will ask for a specific size. Knowing how to change an image size is essential.

Creating an Image from Scratch: This means creating an image within a certain size, adding backgrounds, text, and other graphics to the image, and saving it for editing later and for publishing on the web. (Note, you don’t need to know how to create graphic designs from scratch anything you want to use can be found somewhere on the web or elsewhere.) For instance, if you need a “star” image, you can find it. Need a “button” for your site? You can find that too. The list is endless!

Using Layers: When creating an image, you will be adding elements to it that are added in “layers.” As you edit, each layer is separate and therefore, can be changed independently of the other layers and the entire photo. Once each layer has been added and manipulated, you’ll want to save your image as a “layered” file. This keeps each layer separate so that you can go back and change any layer you want later. In Photo Elements this format is a .psd file. Other programs will use their own extensions. Once your layer file is saved, you’ll need to open it and save it in a “web-friendly” layout typically .jpg or .gif. These file types “flatten” all layers into one merged file. You will no longer be able to edit each layer separately.

Copying and Pasting: Often times you’ll want to capture images from other web pages and use them on your own. This could be done when advertising for Target, for example, and you want the Target logo on your site, or other uses as well. (Keep in mind copyright issues – don’t copy images and use them without permission). Copying an image is easy. Simply right-click over the image, select “copy,” go to your graphics program, open an image file or create a new one, click “file >paste” and the image will be pasted into the file that is open. You can also save it to your computer for use later.

Adding and Manipulating Text: Usually, your graphics program will have a separate command for adding text, changing the font, size, color, and more. Learn these commands and you can create some beautiful type. Basically, these are all the skills I need to create my own image graphics for use on my websites. Note that every graphic you see here was created by me or found somewhere else and manipulated by me for use. You can do it too. It should only take a few days to become familiar with photo editing and the concepts behind it all. Use my photo editing primer as starting guide and continue from there. You will be glad you did.

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