While there are many tools out in the world that benefit the public relations profession, there is a specific tool that I believe can be beneficial with many different types of projects, especially visual projects. I am currently learning more and more about Adobe Photoshop in my visual media class, and what I have already learned in just a few classes is absolutely intriguing.
There are three basic elements of Adobe Photoshop that can help improve your photo editing skills. They are image sizing, proper selection and the concept of image resolution. Here is a summarized view of how these tools function.
Often people think of image sizing as just cropping a picture to the desired size or just stretching it out to appear larger. Instead of improving the desired size of the photo, it will actually distort the photo and decrease the sharpness, which consequently makes the photo look unprofessional. The best way to change a photo’s size is by using the actual tab made specifically for image sizing. In Photoshop, the image size tab can be reached by going to the image menu and selecting the ”image size” tab. Once you view the dialog box, the main thing you want to focus on is the top part, which is the pixel dimension. This will alter the physical appearance and dimensions of the actual photo. This is where you can change either the width or height of the photo. Once you are finished, click OK, and then Photoshop will resize your image to the new dimensions.
In class, I have heard my professor, Dr. Jin Yang, explain over and over that, when working with a new photo, make sure you are using the proper tool. This is where proper selection comes into play. This is useful in several different scenarios with many projects. For example, if a public relations professional was trying to create an infographic for a particular client they normally would have the company’s logo or a particular photo on it. In order to edit this picture to the professional’s discretion, there are several different tools needed to do that. There is the polygonal tool which makes it easy to draw outlines along straight-sided polygonal shapes. Let’s take the Visa logo shown to the right as an example. I have learned that you would not want to use other tools like the magic wand selection tool or the rectangular polygonal tool mainly because those are used to outline more complex shapes which in the end might not catch every nook and cranny of a photo. So in all, make sure to analyze your picture’s shape carefully before selecting a tool.
THE CONCEPT OF IMAGE RESOLUTION
The concept of image resolution is best described as the number of pixels per inch, better known as ppi. Another way to think of this is considering that the complete number of pixels – or actual pixels in the image – is more important and determines the quality of the image. It is beneficial to learn about resolution because everyone wants to work with a high-quality photo. When the resolution is low in a photo, the picture seems fuzzy and distorted. On the flip side, when the resolution is too high, it will make the image appear too big and it can break the page layout.
Becoming knowledgeable of these three elements of Photoshop – image sizing, proper selection, and image resolution – will help in editing future photos. So, whether you are cropping a photo, or trying to outline a particular photo, use these tips to keep your photos looking precise.