I have been using Photoshop since the early 1990’s, when they finally released Photoshop for Windows PC’s, as it was only available for Macintosh prior to then. Through the course of time, I have learned some neat, quick, and necessary shortcuts, tools, tips and tricks in using Photoshop. I am going to address 10 of the most common and best tips and tricks when it comes to using Adobe Photoshop. The version I am using in this example is Photoshop CS6, but all of the following tips and tricks apply to the Creative Cloud versions.
1. Using Undo A Lot? Use History State
I use Undo a lot but is limited to the amount of times you can go back so instead, use History States, which lets you go backwards or even forwards during the timeline of actions you have made. Instead of using Undo, go backwards by either hitting “Ctrl+Alt+Z” or using your mouse to click on the “Step Backward” command in the “Edit” menu.
2. Increase History States
Along with the above tip, the default amount of “History States” is usually not enough (20), especially if I made an errors a while back in my drawing in Photoshop, and want to go back even further. Go to “Edit>Preferences>Performance” and change the number of History States to the maximum of 1000. If you have a slower PC and are worried about it slowing down, then set it to 500 and is what I have mine set to.
3. Full Screen Jump From Zoom
While zoomed in on an image, to easily zoom out to the full image and and relocate to another zoomed region quickly, hold down the “H” key and drag in the image to the next area you want zoomed in. This is a great way to quickly move to another area of your image while zoomed in.
4. Single Click Layer View
This is an awesome tip as in most of my Photoshop projects, there are a lot of “Layers” in use. When you want to only view a single layer without having to make all of the other layer invisible first, in a single click, click on the Layers “Eye” icon while holding the “Alt” key, to only view that layer. Want to reveal the other invisible layers again? Repeat the process by clicking on the “Eye” icon while holding the “Alt” key.
5. Making the Background Layer Editable
When an image is imported to Photoshop or a New Image, it will classify the bottom layer as the background and lock it. This is with good intention as you should not edit the master but if you wanted to quickly make it editable, simply “Double Click” on the “Background” layer, and click on OK to make it editable.
6. Opacity Quick Change
I am always tinkering with different Layer Opacity’s and a quick way to change a Layer’s Opacity is to hit a Number Key retaliative to the percentage by 10’s. Example: Hit the “Number 5” Key to set the layer opacity to 50 Percent. Hit the Number 2 Key to set the layer opacity to 20 Percent. Hit the Number 0 Key to set the layer opacity to 100 Percent.
7. Right Click, Right Click, Rick Click
As with most programs, Photoshop hosts a plethora of Right Click Contextual Menu Options for most tools while they are active, buttons for more options, and even more commands in he Layers, Channels, and Paths tab.
8. Move Around Quickly
I am always making adjustment to images while zooming in and out frequently. While zoom in at a high percentage, I need to move around the photo quickly, especially when making selections or layer masks. To quickly Zoom In use the Ctrl and + key, and to quickly Zoom Out use the Ctrl and – key. While zoomed in and even with a tool active, to move around the image quickly, just hold the “Space Bar” which activates the Hand Tool, and drag around the image. Once you release the “Space Bar”, your active tool will return.
9. Free Transform Tool A Must
To easily transform an object or layer, simply use the Free Transform tool by hitting the “Ctrl + T” keys to activate the command. You will then see the handles of the selected object and simply click and drag one of the handles to resize the object. Right Click the object while the Free Transform Tool is active to select the type of transform tool like Skew and Warp, which creates the direction and appearance of the object being transformed. While the Free Transform Tool is active, you can also Left Click and Drag the inside of the selection to move the object being transformed.
10. 1:1 Aspect Ratios
Keeping with the theme of the Free Transform Tool, when you are resizing objects or making shaped selections with the marquee tool, hold down the “Shift” to maintain the aspect ratio, to avoid distorting the object being resized or the circle / square selection.
11. Bonus: Layer Quick Select
You are working on a project and you want to make a selection of the object in the viewable layer. Instead of having to manually select the object by using the selection tools, simply hold the “Ctrl” Key and “Left Click” on the layer thumbnail to select only the contents of that layer.
Those are some of my favorite Photoshop Tip and Tricks but I have a lot more on my mind and will post another 10 or so in the next couple of weeks. You might be thinking how is this law enforcement related and it is simple. Many agencies rely on specific officers to create banner, ads, advertising, especially when dealing with social media, as most agencies do not have a civilian units which deals with these types of image creation.