To effectively create a document in Photoshop requires some planning. After teaching Photoshop for many years, I have had the opportunity to observe many of my students, who even at the end of the semester, create files that print poorly or take forever to download on their website.
My suggestion to new users, as well as experienced users, is to ask yourself two simple questions before you begin working on a document: 1) Is this file going to be used for print or the internet? and 2) What do the physical dimensions of my project need to be (i.e., pixels, inches, etc.)? After you have answers to these questions do the following:
- Create a new document in Photoshop. Select New under the File menu, or click Command + N (Mac) or Control + N (Windows).
- Insert the desired physical dimensions in the dialog box. When designing for print, I find it easier to work in inches, and when I'm designing for the Web I work in pixels.
- Next you'll need to insert the resolution for your document. A simple rule to follow is to use 300 ppi for print and 72 ppi for the Web.
- Use the default settings for Color Mode and Background contents (RGB, 8 bit, White).
- Click OK.
After following these 5 steps, you should have a clean white canvas/paper on which you can work. Don't change the resolution, image size, or canvas size at any time. This will be the document into which you will paste or drag the image, or images, you wish to create, edit, etc. and then print or publish on the Web.