Photoshop Tools In Real Life

by Nate Croft

I have used Photoshop for years. I mean, a long flippin’ time. While I am always learning something new, I’ve grown quite familiar with it’s tools and feel comfortable working with it. As such, I’ve found myself wanting to use PS’s tools in the world around me to fix something. Then I laugh at myself and say something like, “Man, you’ve been at the computer too much lately” and go about my business.

This thought stuck with me and I’ve decided to take a look at a few of the main tools just for fun. While we can’t carry a mouse around with us command clicking away on this or that, we can take the ideas with us.

Selection Tool

imageI like to think of this as my attention span, a “This is what I’m working on!” sort of thing. I’m not working on anything else, just this. Every effort goes here. This is very important when creating lightsabers for squirrels.

Magic Wand

imageWild abandon. Sometime you just have to take some risks. Plan the best you can then go for it! Some people never take a chance on anything, don’t be one of those people. Sure It might be scary, but you will surely have a great story to tell later!

Crop Tool

imageI use this all time. My real life crop tool works something like this: “That’s outside the scope of this project. Let’s do that in Phase II.” It’s also useful for keeping your side projects lean and launching faster. Crop down on the main functionality, then add features.

Healing Brush

imageEvery now and again, you need to smooth over some rough areas. Much like the tool, define a good place to work from and be gentle.

The Brush Tool

This is how you leave your mark. You can be subtle making delicate improvements virtually undetected, or you can break out the spray paint and make a statement. The nice part is that you can make your own brushes! You don’t have to use somebody’s else’s ideas.

Clone Stamp Tool

This is like inspiration. You see something much better than what you are doing so you focus on the good part to help remake your problem area. You need to be mindful of your intent much like the tool’s setting. A 100% direct copy is almost always noticeable and can get ugly. Plagiarism anyone?

History Brush

Remember that time you had that great idea? Bring it back and use it to make something better now. It’s experience, yo.


Getting rid of what you don’t need keeps the focus in the right places. Less can be more.

Blur Tool

Not everything needs to be in the spot light. It is a bit like setting priorities.

Zoom Tool

See the big picture, and not miss the details either. Checking things on both ends of the spectrum keeps everything in place.

I have purposefully left out some tools and totally ignored filters (Liquify in real life? Yes please!) so all of you would have some of the best to work with. What’s your take on them?

January 28, 2010



Behold our Amazing Portfolio

Check it Out