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Photoshop Tips, Tricks and Fixes for New Users

#1. Undooo…

  • You probably know that Cmd / Ctrl+Z is Undo, but you may not know Cmd / Ctrl+Alt+Z lets you undo more than one history state.

#2. Easier Marquee Selections

  • Hold down Alt to start a selection at the center point with any Marquee tool, and then hold Space to temporarily move the selection around.

#3. 1000K History States

  • Go to Edit>Preferences>Performance to change the number of History states up to a maximum of 1000. Beware though of the effect that this has on performance.

#4. Cycle Blend Modes

  • Shift + or – will cycle through different layer Blend Modes, so long as you don’t have a tool that uses Blend Mode options settings.

#5. Rotating Patterns

  • You can make amazing kaleidoscopic patterns with the help of a keyboard shortcut. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T lets you duplicate a layer and repeat a transformation in one go. To demonstrate, we’ve made a narrow glowing shape by squeezing a lens flare effect, but you can use any shape, image or effect you like. First, make an initial rotation by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+T and turning slightly, then hit Enter to apply. Next, press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T repeatedly to create a pattern.

#6. Combine Images With Text

  • There’s a really easy way to overlay an image on top of text. Drop an image layer over a type layer then hold down Alt and click the line between the two layers in the Layers Panel to clip the image to the text.

#7. Bird’s Eye View

  • When zoomed in close, hold down H and drag in the image to instantly dart out to full screen then jump back to another area. One of the best Photoshop tips for viewing work!

#8. Funky Backgrounds

  • Want to change the default grey background to something more funky? Shift–click over the background area with the Paint Bucket tool to fill it with your foreground color. Right-click it to go back to grey.

#9. Close All Images

  • To close all of your documents at the same time, Shift-click any image window’s close icon.

#10. Spring-Loaded Move

  • While using any tool, hold Cmd/Ctrl to temporarily switch to the Move tool. Release to go back to your original tool. Note that spring-loaded keyboard shortcuts work for other tool shortcuts, too.

#11. Interactive Zoom

  • For interactive zooming, hold Cmd/Ctrl+Space then drag right to zoom in, or left to zoom out. The zoom targets where your mouse icon is, so it’s one of the quickest ways to navigate around an image.

#12. Diffuse Effects

  • The Diffuse Glow filter can give highlights a soft ethereal feel, especially when you combine the effect with desaturation. Hit D to reset colors then go to Filter>Distort> Diffuse Glow. Keep the effect fairly subtle, then go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/ Saturation and drop the saturation down to complete the dreamlike effect.

#13. Diffuse Effects

A: Copy Blue Channel

  • Go to Window Channel then drag the Blue Channel to the New Channel icon to duplicate it. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to access Levels, then drag the white and black point sliders in dramatically to make the sky totally white and the land black. Now use the Brush tool and paint with black to tidy any bits in the land.

B: Load a selection

  • Hold Cmd/Ctrl and click the Blue Copy Channel to load a selection of the white areas. Click back on the RGB Channel then go to the Layers Panel and add a Curves Adjustment Layer. The selection is automatically turned into a mask. Drag down on the curve to darken the sky.

#14. Merge All Layers

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E will merge a copy of all Layers

#15. Full-Screen Workspace

  • F Cycle through workspace backgrounds

#16. Background Colors

  • X Change your foreground and background colors.

#17. Reset Background Colors

  • D Reset foreground and background colors to black and white

#18. Change Brush Tip Size

  • ] and [ Change your brush tip size

#19. Duplicate A Layer

  • Cmd/Ctrl+J Duplicate a layer or selection

#20. Navigate Around The Image

  • Space Bar Hold Space and drag to navigate around the image

#21. Hides / Shows All Panels & Tools

  • TAB Hides or shows all panels and tools

#22. Transform A Layer

  • Cmd/Ctrl+T Transform a layer

#23. Merge Selected / Highlighted Layer

  • Cmd/Ctrl+E Merge selected layer down, or merges several highlighted layers

#24. Save For Web & Devices

  • Cmd/Ctrl/Ctrl+Shift+Opt+S Save for web & devices

#25. Bring Up Levels Box

  • Cmd/Ctrl+L Bring up levels box

#26. Open Free Transform Tool

  • Cmd/Ctrl+T Open Free Transform tool

#27. Open Curves

  • Cmd/Ctrl+M Open Curves

#28. Edit Colour Balance

  • Cmd/Ctrl+B Edit Colour Balance

#29. Scale Your Image

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt+C Scale your image to your preferred state

#30. Create Clipping Mask

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Opt+G Create clipping mask

#31. Fit On Screen

  • Cmd/Ctrl+0 Fit on screen

#32. Increase/Decrease Size Of Selected Text By 2pts

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+>/< Increase/decrease size of selected text by 2pts

#33. Increase/Decrease Size Of Selected Text By 10pts

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Option+Shift->/< Increase/decrease size of selected text by 10pts

#34. Increase/Decrease Brush Size

  • ]/[ Increase/decrease brush size

#35. Fill The Selection

  • Shift+F5 Fill the selection

#36. Increase/Decrease Brush Hardness

  • }/{ Increase/decrease brush hardness

#37. Change Brush

  • ,/. previous/next brush

#38. First/Last Brush

  • First/last brush

#39. Bring Layers Forward

  • Cmd/Ctrl+] Bring layers forward

#40. Send Layers Back

  • Cmd/Ctrl+[ Send layer back

#41. Send Layer To Bottom Of Stack

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+[ Send layer to bottom of stack

#42. Bring layer to bottom of stack

  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+] Bring layer to bottom of stack

#43. Converting Layer Styles

  • Converting a Layer Style to a normal pixel-based layer gives you greater control to edit the contents. To do so, add a style then right-click Effects and choose Create Layer.

#44. View One Layer

  • If you’re working with multiple layers and you want to view one layer on its own, there’s no need to hide all the others manually, simply hold down Alt and click the Eye icon of a layer to make every other layer invisible. Hold down Alt and click again to reveal them.

#45. Invert Layer Mask

  • After adding any Adjustment Layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the Layer Mask and quickly hide the effect, then paint back over the image with white to selectively reveal the adjustment.

#46. Unlink Layers & Masks

  • You can move either a mask or an image independently of one another by clicking the link between the two thumbnails in the Layers Panel. Highlight the thumbnail you want to reposition, then grab the Move tool.

#47. Quick Copy

  • Hold down Alt and drag a mask, style or layer to quickly duplicate it.

#48. Convert The Background

  • Double-click the Background Layer and hit OK to convert it to an editable layer

#49. Adjustments

  • Always use Adjustment Layers rather than directly editing a layer. This gives you three advantages: you can edit it at any time, control the strength with Opacity, and use a mask to make it work selectively.

#50. Move Query

  • When using the Move tool, right-click over a point in the image for a list of all the layers you’re hovering over.

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