Overview of Digital Storytelling Tools and Techniques


Adobe Photoshop is a professional graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe. Photoshop can adjust, change, and enhance any type of digital image or photograph. Original graphics and artwork can also be created in Photoshop.

Since Photoshop is the industry standard the software is incredibly complex.
This tutorial will only focus on the introducing you to the basic features of Adobe Photoshop and the aspects relevant for photographic restoration and enhancement.

Topics that will be covered include: Cropping, Resizing Images, Changing Tones, Contrast and Color and Sharpening.


The Adobe Photoshop workspace layout is pretty intuitive but flexible for a variety of situations. It’s good practice to keep the layout consistent with the default settings so it’s easier to manage. We recommend using “Guided” function as it permits more flexibility for touchups and creativity.

Opening an image

To open an image, click on the File and select Open.
Locate the folder where you have saved your photos. If these are in different places, you may want to consider putting them all in the same folder on your desktop.

Select the photo/s from the folder that you want to open (you can do more than one at a time) and import into the organizer.
The selected photos will be displayed in the media box like this:


You will begin preparing your photos by cropping them. To do this, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that the selected photo to be cropped is open in main view. Then under Touchups menu on the right push the crop photo button.

You will then be brought into the following screen:
Please note at the top, there is a “quick”, “guided” or “expert” option. Choose the “quick” or “guided” option.


In either “quick” or “guided” look for the crop tool which is used to cut or trim a section of an image. Notice that the cropping tool has broken the image into sections.

Move the cursor over the boxes until it changes into different arrows. You can click and drag on any of the mid points and corners to reshape your crop.

For the best results you should chose the 16 x 9 inch setting for making your video. This sizing is found under the “crop box size” dropdown.
Confirm or cancel your by either hitting the cancel icon or the OK icon (that is located around cropped area).

Resizing Images

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If you want to resize your image click on the image menu and select image size.
The image resize window will display both the Pixel Dimensions and Document Size. Note that document size only corresponds to printing out a copy of the image and not the digital image itself.

You may want to resize your photo because photos taken with digital camera have big resolution but keeping the size lower may be better for your digital story. If you are resizing your image, when you save, “save as” a new image, so that you don’t save over your original photo. If your images are too big, they will not be able to be imported into the video software.


One of the foundations of Photoshop is its endless ability to change the tonal properties of images. This section will provide you a few different options of adjusting an image. Keep in mind there are countless ways to adjust an image with Photoshop. It really comes down to personal preference and what works with your project. In guided, you will find Touchups options that will cover most of your needs to alter and polish your photos.
You can get to adjustments through the image menu or the adjustment section on the pallet well. Here you can adjust everything from brightness and contrast, levels, exposure, colour balance, black and white and more.


If you are unhappy with any of the edits you have made, you can use the “undo” button at any time.

Organizing Photos for Video

We recommend that you create a folder on your desktop to house all of your finished photos for the video. You can also label these in the order in which they are to appear in your digital story.

There are a variety of choices when saving.

If you’re working on an image but you’re not finished save as an uncompressed Photoshop file (.PSD), that way you’ll ensure the image will keep its quality when you re-open it.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the standard for saving photographic images and manages to compress file sizes down while maintaining quality. It’s recommended you save in JPEG.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a format generally intended for graphics and not photographs as it will often misrepresent levels of color in a photographic image.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is best used for graphics, but it is possible to be used for photos. Generally the file size will be considerably larger when used for photos.