Photoshop Tips

I’ve been doing this stuff for the best part of 20 years. I’ve used Photoshop for pretty much the whole of that time and I thought it would be a kinda cool idea to write down some of the stuff I’ve picked up along the way. Thought it mIght be helpful to someone, maybe it’s you?

September 3, 2013

Shortcuts 101

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello


This is a beginner level list of keyboard shortcuts for selecting and moving around your tools rather than actual menu items. This kind of thing is most definitely worth learning as it will speed up your work flow no end. One big point worth mentioning is that if you hold down shift while pressing the letter of your tool, it will cycle through the various modes of that tool.

Tool palette from top top Bottom

  • V: Move tool
  • M: Marquee tool.
  • L:​ Lasso tool
  • W: Wand tool​
  • ​C: Crop tool
  • J: Healing brush​
  • B: Brush Tool​
  • S: Clone Stamp ​
  • Y: History Brush
  • E: Eraser​
  • G: Gradient
  • O: Dodge and Burn​
  • P: Pen​
  • T: Type​ tool
  • A: Direct Selection​
  • U: Shape tool
  • H: Hand tool (Space bar will toggle this tool regardless of what​ tool you have selected. Very handy!)
  • Z: Zoom tool​
  • D: Resets your colours to default Black and White​
  • X: Swaps between foreground and background colours​
  • Q: Quick mask​
  • F: Will swap between the various screen modes.  Window, Full screen with menu and Full screen.​

That’s the list.  Absolute basics for sure but you have to start somewhere.  These will definitely speed up your work.  You’ll probably use a handful of them everyday, others not so much.  But if you use a tool repeatedly, take the time to commit it’s key to memory, you’re worth it!​

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August 29, 2013

Name your layers

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello

name_layersNaming your layers is a no-brainer. I don’t need to tell you this, you just have to do it. The good news is now you can name layers by tabbing through them like you would a web form. Too Easy!

Double click the first layer title, rename, tab, repeat.  Too easy.  Really nice usability win adobe.  Well played!

Anything that speeds up workflow is a win for me and named layers are essential for a: speeding up workflow; b: best practices; and c: really helps when using the layer search feature. Naming layers, easy as ABC.

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August 27, 2013

CS6 Quick Tip: Changing the dark interface

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello

​Don’t get me wrong.  Change is good, change makes us think in new ways and look at problems differently. But for mine, I still prefer the old CS-5 and earlier colouring of the interface.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like the darker look but it irks me when the metaphor breaks. For example when I’m saving a file and a standard OSX dialogue appears.

Anyway, I’m ranting.  If like me you prefer the old ways (Sometimes) you can easily change back to a more familiar time, a time when dialogue boxes matched the rest of the interface, a time when, ahh whatever…

Go to Preferences (⌘K or ctrl-K on ​windows)​

Click on interface in the left hand panel, then, see the grey thumbnails at the top of the page? The lightest one is a pretty good match to the old CS5 and below interface and is more in keeping with the standard OS UI. Click that one and step back in time. That is all.

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August 22, 2013

Quick Tip: Copy visible area

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello


Instead of the usual make selection > ⌘C(copy) > ⌘V(paste), hold down shift during the “copy’ and this little bad boy will copy all visible layers within a selection. Awesome right‽ Whatever is showing will be copied to the clipboard whether it’s on a background or transparent.

This is really handy for exporting different states of a webpage or simply for creating a flat version of something which can be handy for printing when you have a massive PSD.

Again, Awesome right‽

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August 20, 2013

Shape Layers

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello

A super quick post in what is my first ever screen cast. Please be gentle. A tutorial on using the shape layer tool and how to add and subtract shapes on one layer.

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August 20, 2013

Photoshop Quick Tip: ⌘ E

Posted in: Photoshop Tips
By: Peter Costello


⌘ E will merge selected layers in your layers palette. When working with shape layers, you can merge them into one layer and still retain all the vector information for editing later. AWESOME!

Simply select the layers you want to merge in your pallete, press ⌘ E, done. If you’re working with Bitmap layers I would mostly recommend against it as you will lose a lot of editing potential but with Shape layers it’s “The nuts!”

This is new with CS6 and is totally Rad. Previously it would flatten them into a Bitmap layer.

That is all.

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