How to Launch Photoshop CS6 and Customize the Desktop

You start Photoshop CS6 the same way you launch any other program with Windows or the Mac OS. As with other programs, you can choose the method you find the easiest and most convenient. In Windows, you can launch programs from the Start menu or an icon on the taskbar. In Mac OS X, you may have a Photoshop icon on the Dock or you may be using Launchpad.

In either Windows or Mac OS X, you can double-click a Photoshop shortcut or alias icon if you have one on your desktop. Finally, you can double-click an image associated with Photoshop, which then launches Photoshop along with the file.

When you launch Photoshop, the workspace appears. Like the real-world desktop where your keyboard and monitor reside, the Photoshop desktop is a place for you to put all the images you’re working with.

If you’re a previous user of Photoshop, you notice that in Version CS6, the user interface (UI) is much darker. Adobe did this in order to provide what they call a more “immersive experience” enabling you to better focus on your image instead of the surrounding interface elements. In addition, changing the color also makes Photoshop UI more in line with Adobe’s other photo-centric applications, such as Lightroom.

If you don’t like the dark environment, you can change it to another color by right-clicking on the workspace background (not image) and bringing up a context menu where you can change the UI color to other shades of gray and even a custom color.

You can also choose Edit→Preferences→Interface (Photoshop→Preferences→Interface on the Mac) and selecting your desired shade of gray. Here, you can also change details, such as whether your border is a drop shadow, line, or nothing at all.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Maljuk Image #18145396]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Maljuk Image #18145396

Within the Photoshop application workspace, you see a variety of other windows and boxes, such as the image window that enables you to view and edit images.

The application workspace contains the stuff you’re probably used to seeing in other programs — a title bar at the top of the window, a status bar at the bottom, and menus to help you execute commands and get important information about your image files. However, the arrangement of controls may be a little unfamiliar to you. Photoshop arranges controls into groups, or panels.

Your virtual desktop can become as cluttered as the real thing, but Adobe has built in some special features (located on the Options bar) that let you keep stuff close at hand but tuck things away so they’re not constantly underfoot (or under-mouse, so to speak).

After you arrange your Photoshop desktop the way you like it for a specific project, you can even save the desktop and reuse it whenever you work on that project.

Every image you work on appears within the confines of an image window. However, you can move some components, such as the various panels and the Options bar..

Veteran Photoshop users can appreciate the fact that with this latest version Adobe did a complete UI audit and cleaned up all of the previous inconsistencies with buttons, sliders, names of elements and so on. The result? A cleaner, more polished UI.

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