What Is the Purpose of Photoshop?

By Daniel Ketchum

Photoshop is a powerful raster based graphics program produced by the Adobe Corporation. It has long been Adobe's flagship product, and is widely used for a variety of project and purposes worldwide. The program has a huge number of filters, functions and other tools that help the graphics artist complete his task. In addition, there is a huge support base for Photoshop, with countless online sites devoted to the program filled with tips and tutorials. There are also books, online an college courses and the documentation at Adobe itself. The graphics uses for Photoshop are almost unlimited.


Photoshop is often used to resize or crop images. With the image open, the graphics artist selects "Image" from the menu and clicks "Image" Size." In the dialog that pops up, he changes the pixel width and height and resolution to what he needs for the project. He can then click on the "Crop" tool (found in the toolbar) to trim the image to the exact size needed. This technique is often employed to prepare images for publication or printing.

Photo Restoration

Photographs often become damaged by time, exposure, or just wear and tear. The tools of Photoshop can often be used to repair some of the damages. First the photo is scanned into the computer at a high resolution and opened in Photoshop. Then the damage is evaluated. If there is dust and noise, the "Reduce" noise "Filter" can be used. If there are spot or blemishes, the "Clone Stamp" tool is used to paint over the damage, using pixels from an undamaged area. Large damage, such as a missing section section of building, can sometimes be repaired using the "Vanishing Point" function.

Website Graphics

Aside from its photo editing functions, Photoshop is also often used to create graphics for website layouts, such as banners or navigation buttons. For example, if the user needs to make a "Home" button for her page, she can use one of the "Shape" tools set the "Fill" to make the basic shape. Then "FX" functions, such as "Bevel and Emboss" or "Drop Shadow," can be applied to give the button depth. The "Text" tool can be used to add "Home" to the button.


More than just making graphics for websites, Photoshop can also be used to create entire web pages. The user simply assembles or creates the elements of the page as they would like it to appear. Next they use the "Slice" tool to divide the image into functional parts, including banners or buttons, naming each. Then they use the "Save for Web or Devices" function to export this document as a folder containing the sliced images and an HTML page that they can publish.


Photoshop is also a powerful graphics animation tool. Users need only create their frames as layers in the program. Then by activating the "Animation" panel and in the timeline menu choosing "Make Frames from Layers" they have their animation ready to be exported as a GIF.