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Do you really know your tool's in Photoshop? It's amazing how many tools you may not use to full potential, so let me talk you through each individually, their use in Digimoding and how to access those hidden ones!

Last Update: 30th April 2015


Dodge Tool? Healing Tool? You'd be very surprised how many different tools there are Photoshop, and how many you may not be making full use of. To  complete most of my tutorials, you'll first need to have a good insight into each tool, and know them by name for easy selection. Here's a real good look at the tools Photoshop 7 has to offer.

The "Tool Box" is usually located on the left of your screen and will look like on the image below. Dependant on the version of Photoshop that you are using, the toolbox may be slightly different - but all the tools described in this sections should be there. Some older versions may do without the more complex tools, but you'll have the core tools to make a nice car with.

If you have a keen eye, you may spot the little arrows on the bottom right of each individual tool button. This means there are other related tools within that set. For example, on Tool 1 - "Marquee Tools", if you right click this, there is the option to select another four tools from there.

The following section details each tool in turn. The quick access keyboard shortcut for each tool is displayed at the end of each paragraph in Bold.

Tool Details

1) Marquee tools. This allows selections to be made -  in the form of rectangles, ellipses, single rows or single columns. We only mainly use rectangle and ellipses. Ellipses are a good way of selecting wheels to get nice round smooth edges. The selections made by this tool can be altered in size or skewed easily by using the Select > Transform Selection feature. M

Lasso tools. This tool is much like the Marquee tool above, but the lasso version is ideal for making more freehand selections rather than a set circle or rectangle. There are three tools in this group. The normal lasso tool is a basic click down and drag. The selections are wavy, so you really to need a steady hand. The more recommended lasso tool is the Polygon one. Your selections are made up of a series of lines, which are ended by a click in different areas. This makes long straight selections much easier. Wheel arches are normally selected by making many small straight lines. The final lasso tool is the magnetic one, it automatically clings onto different areas, making easy selections with very little concentration. L

3) Crop tool. This cuts away any unwanted parts of the image. Basically select the area you want to keep, and then press enter. Cutting away unwanted background allows people to focus more on the car, and also cuts down on file size. C

4) Healing tools. The healing tool is much like the Clone tool, and, like it says on the tin it heals parts of your image that are damaged looking. For example, a small blip on a bodywork can be removed by this. First you need a reference part of the bodywork, you do this by holding ALT and then clicking on it. You then just rub over the imperfection and Photoshop automatically fixes it and adjusts the balance etc to make it all look spot on! The Patch tool, within this tool set is also the same but works with patterns. J

5) Clone Stamps. This allows part of an image to be cloned somewhere else on it. You again use ALT click as a reference point. The more you paint, and the wider the area you brush, the more of you reference point will be brushed on.. This is useful for removing door handles and generally smoothing bodywork! Pretty much like the Clone stamp is the Pattern stamp, however it paints a pattern which can be chosen from the in-program patterns, or if your brave you can make your own. S

6) Eraser tools. Think of this as an eraser in real life, you can basically rub out sections from your layer. This is useful for smoothing in new bumpers into the original bodywork. The Background Eraser erases to a background colour rather than simply to the layer behind. The Magic Eraser tool erases pixels similar to the ones selected. E

7) Smudge, Blur and Sharpen tools. Smudge tool is pretty useful for distorting and dragging around part of the image. The blur tool is great for blurring sharp edges and taking away any detail, this is useful for making nice smooth edges on body kits, or airbrushed body parts. The exact opposite to this is the Sharpen tool, this makes blurred edges more sharp and increases detail. R

9) Path selection tool. Used to make shapes and selections showing anchor points and direction lines etc. A

10) Pen tool. This is an awesome very under used tool - think of it like the lasso tool, but much more smoother and less pixely. You can use it to make good selections of wheel arches and make smooth non jaggedly edges for airbrushed body kits. Other tools in this set are used to add and remove anchor points. P

11) Notes tool. With this you can add your own written or audio notes. Its a good idea to use this so you can remember to do certain tasks - just select and click on the area where you want your note to be. N

12) Hand tool. This allows the image to be move around very easily. This is great to maneuver yourself around the image from corner to corner or top to bottom. H

13) Foreground and background colours. This shows you the current foreground and background colours that you have selected. You can flip between these using the arrow on there, or revert back to default colours using the little black and white boxes on there.

14) Masking Modes. The Quick Mask mode lets you edit any selection as a mask. The mask can be modified using almost any Photoshop tool or filter. You can toggle between editing with or without the quick mask in use. Q

15) Screen Modes. This allows you view your image normal, at full screen with the menu bar, or at full screen. This is useful when working with a large image so you can see it as a whole on your monitor. F

16) ImageReady. This handy link loads up your current work in ImageReady ready to be edited. ImageReady is another package that comes with Photoshop and is ideal for making animated images from layers. I'm sure there are tutorials on Google to help you with all this. Ctrl+Shift+M

17) Move Tool. Allows you to move layers or selections about the screen. Ideal for placing and moving bodykits, wheels, etc about. V

18) Magic Wand Tool. This selects similarly coloured areas. This is great for selecting sections of colourful bodywork, vents or even alloy wheels for manipulation. W

19) Slice Tool. This creates slices in the image. When converted to ImageReady the image can as a html document, and used for website layouts and designs. Very good if you want to create a website. K

20) Brush and Pencil Tools. Brush tool is used for creating strokes of colour with smooth edges and is ideal for making soft body parts from scratch. The Pencil tool is a bit more harsher, so you can make freehand sharp edged lines of colour with it. B

21) History brushes. If you have made a mistake, providing you are on the same layer, you can brush out your mistakes to revert back to how it was originally. Y

22) Paint and gradient fill. Fill similar areas with the single foreground colour, or the gradient tool also in this toolset can be used to make seamless blends of two colours (foreground to background, as well as some built in gradient designs). G

23) Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tools. This toolset is very good, and I often use it. The Dodge tool makes the image lighter with every stroke. This is great for increasing brightness of areas and making highlights. The burn tool simply makes the image darker with every stroke, this is good for darkening area of bodywork, and creating shadows. The sponge tool can have two modes - either saturation or desaturation. So with every stroke, dependent on the mode, the image colour with either increase or decrease in intensity. O

24) Text Tools. This tool is great to add text layers to your car. You can add graphics to the side, number plates, you name it. You can change the font, size and colour too by hitting Ctrl+T while typing on the layer - this will bring up a text box. The Text Mask tool creates selections in the shape of the text. T

25) Shape tools. Create custom shapes and fill them with the foreground colour. Within this toolset is the useful line tool - a must for creating cartoon cars! U

26) Colour Sampler, Eyedropper, and Measure Tools. Colour sampler is basically a tool which displays the colour details and values on the Info Palette. The Eye Dropper tool sucks up and selects colour - this is used as the new foreground colour.. this is great for referencing colours off body panels for airbushing. The measure tool just measures lengths and angles etc. I

27) Zoom Tool. Allows you to zoom in and out to get close for fine detailed work. There are other options such as predefined % zoom levels and also a fit on screen option to see you whole car on your monitor. Z

And that is the tool section complete. Now I'd advise to go try and familiarise yourself with the tools and have a play with them to see how they work and of how much benefit they will be to you.