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When you first started with Photoshop, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of features and functionalities built for various graphic design tasks and basically don’t know where to begin. So what can we do to overcome this initial difficulty? Just like learning every other thing in life, we start with the easiest part.

In this post, I will provide 5 Simple, Yet Useful Photoshop “How-to”s for Absolute Beginners. Take a look and hopefully you will see after all, Photoshop is not that hard to start with!

Before we start, please note that this tutorial is made in Windows with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and CS4, options may vary in version and OS platform.

How to Draw a Perfect Circle/Square

This might be the first question every beginner would ask. So let’s take a look at the toolbox and find the set of drawing tools as shown below: (to expand, left-click on the rectangular tool and hold)

1 drawing tool 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

and You can use those tools to draw rectangule or oval shapes, as shown below:

1draw elli 500x264 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

Now here is the trick: if you would like to draw a PERFECT circle or a square, you must hold down the Shift Key while dragging your mouse:

1 perfect 500x259 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

How to Adjust Brush Opacity and Flow

This is an interest topic – it may seem to be really simple, but the amount of emails and comments I received in regards to this question made me think to include it here.

The options are in fact quite easy to find – if you select the brush tool first, on the option bar above you will the opacity and flow adjustment right there, as shown below:

3 choose brush2 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

3 op fl 499x305 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

How to Load Custom Brushsets into Photoshop

These days there are many free Photoshop brushsets you can download from the net, but how to load those beautiful brushset into Photoshop? Here are the steps:

Click on the Brush Tool in the toolbox and click on the drop down arrow next to the brush shape symbol, as shown below”

2 click 500x525 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

Next, click on the right arrow on the right hand side of the brush pallette:

2 click 2 500x426 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

You will see a list of options appearing, select the “Load Brushes” option from the list:

2 load option 500x370 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

and a window will pop up, choose the brushset from the folder and click on “load”:

2 load brush 500x412 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

and that’s it! You will see the newly loaded brushsets in the brush panel:

2 done 500x560 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

How to Draw Paths with Pen Tool

Pen Tool can be use to create paths – however, it’s not enabled by default. If you select Pen Tool and straight away to use it, you will see Shapes instead of Paths, as shown below:

4 default 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

So to change it to Path, follow the steps below:

Click onthe Pen Tool in the toolbox and you will a bunch of options appearing on the top bar, click on the second symbol as shown below to change it to Paths:

4 click 500x447 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

and that’s it, you can now draw pure paths on your canvas as shown below:

4 paths 500x465 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

How to Quickly Create Guides in Photoshop

Personally I think this is a rather important and useful function in Photoshop. When you design interfaces (eg. website mockups), you will need to create a sets of guides to ensure precision. But exactly how do we do this?

Here are the steps:

Firstly, if you haven’t turn the Ruler option on, Press Ctrl + R to turn it on, you will see the rulers appearing on top and right of the canvas:

5 ruler 500x81 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

Now if you move your mouse over on the ruler, then left-click and drag, you will see the guides appears on the canvas, as shown below:

5 drag 500x190 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

and if you would like to clear the guides, simply go to View > Clear Guides

5 clear 500x403 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

One extra tip with guides: if you right-click on the ruler, you will see a list of options to change the measurements, as shown below:

5 right click 5 Common Photoshop Myths Solved for Absolute Beginners

That’s it for this post! Hope you find it helpful and if you have any further question, just drop me a comment below and I will try my best to assist.

Cheers and have a great day!