Photoshop is a pixel-based graphics editing tool made by Adobe. Like Illustrator and inDesign is i a part of the Adobe Creative Suite package. Photoshop does everything from simple picture adjustments to collages, texture-making and digital drawings. Architects can also use this on many different skill levels. The most basic is to adjust your model photo’s color and contrast, but when becoming more skilled, you can start changing the background, add cut out people, trees and other effects. Photoshop is based on layers, and is important to understand on an early stage. This means that unlike MS Paint (wich most people have tried), is it possible to change, move, scale and adjust objects independent to other objects - you can simply isolate parts of your drawings to only work on them, while holding everything else just the way it was.
Important: Photoshop perfect for photo editing, but not suitable for making plans, section and other line drawings. The software is raster-based, and will slow down your process and damage a printed results. To know more, read more about Pixels vs Vectors.
Photoshop is available for both Mac and Windows.
There is no free student version, but you can get a discount from Adobe Educational and you could also buy the cheaper Photoshop Elements. You should also have a look at the Creative Suite Packages which enables you to buy several Adobe programs cheaper or have a look at the Creative Cloud membership.
School access: We have Photoshop installed at the Computer lab.
Learning Photoshop: Basics
As mentioned, the first thing to learn is adjusting your photos. This will give great results in a short time. There are many tutorials, but it could often be easier to test how the different adjustments change your picture (Remember to backup your picture, cause the first tests will not look to good:-) ). Learning to save in different modes (RGB for screen, CMYK for print) and understanding different file formats (.jpg, .png, .psd and .tiff could be a good start) are also good to learn on a early stage, as well as resizing images.
Like other softwares, Lynda.com could be a kick-starter to gain your skill level quickly, but there are a lot of places to learn, either professional videos like those from Adobe TV, collections from blogs such as Lifehacker or even just start with the embedded video from BHPhotoVideo on the right.
Learning Photoshop: Intermediate
Learning to understand layers and clipping masks. This makes your process much more efficient, and makes your project file adaptive and changeable. You should also use some time to learn shortcuts for operations you use most often. You will save a lot of time.
Learning Photoshop: Architecture
The next thing you probably want to learn for an architect is to pimp your pictures. You can be a bad renderer, but still create amazing pictures. If you have created your basic geometry either digitally or in model, you can ad fascades, people, reflections and all the other elements that is important to sell your concept and idea. In the beginning it can take some time, but it can fast become a quick tool that helps you communicate visually better.
When learning, I would recomend you to find videos that is close up to what you want to create. There are a many inspiring making- of and breakdown videos on the web showing how to make a cool architectural illustration. When needing help on a known subject, google is always your friend, and Lynda/Youtube could be a source there too.
Pixelflakes: Great breakdowns and makingOfs with stunning results.
Photoshop has a lot of plugins, most are geared towards photography and design applications, not to mention usually very costly. But heres a few that might be interesting:
- Fluid Mask, one of the best masking tools for cutting out parts of your images.
- Blow Up, algorithmic enlargement of your photos for large prints.
- WireWorm, A free plugin for removing telephone wires from photos.
Links and further studies
- GIMP is an open source alternative for Windows, Linux and Mac
- Photoshop Elements is a stripped down version of Photoshop, cheaper and great for architects.
Notes and Appendix
Software develops incredibly fast and not everything on these pages might be updated. If you find any errors, please let us know.
Photoshop wont start.
Is you copy legal?
It is not possible to draw anything
Hit Ctrl/Eple+D, deselects all
Video courtesy of BHPhotoVideo