1. Add and organise layers.
One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is its ability to work with layers. Layers allows the user to place different shapes, images and text in different locations and depth within the master document that you are working on. One example is having a rounded rectangle shape with a different colored stroke on the outside that acts as a right or left content region of a Web 2.0 theme. You can add another layer on top and use an image for that layer with rounded corners. Text may be placed on top of that layer, and effects such as a drop shadow and outside glow may be added.
There really is no limit to the amount of layers one can use and Photoshop provides the ability to add folders in the Layer Window to organize your layers inside of. Moving layers within this window is a breeze.
2. Save in various formats including optimizing your design for your website.
A really neat feature that Photoshop has is the ability to automate image files into a high resolution PDF file. This is fantastic for high quality printing requirements. For the website designer, Photoshop can optimize images into JPG and GIF files that are common for viewing on the Internet. The settings can be adjusted for fast viewing online while maintaining good image appearance and quality.
3. Create vector shapes.
Photoshop comes with several preloaded vector shapes. They are quite easy to select and can be enlarged and scaled based on your needs through the transform tool. There are a variety of shapes that can be found online for both free download and for purchase.
4. Slice your design for use in your website.
The slicing tool provides the means to break the design into several areas that can be exported into Dreamweaver which is a WYSIWYG HTML editor. Other online tools are available to transform the layers of your design into a functioning theme for common Content Management Systems. These tools vary, but generally a knowledge of style sheets and CSS is required for optimum use.
5. Create animations.
Photoshop allows you to take several layers and create animations with them, such as mouseovers for text in websites or animated GIF files. Certainly not a substitution for Adobe Flash, animated GIFs, when used in proper context, can be useful, such as creating an animated advertising banner on your website.
Photoshop has come a long way in its development cycles, but certainly is a required tool for those who can master its potential.