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9 Quicker workflow Photoshop Tips

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1-Change foreground-background colors quickly

There are several options to change the foreground-background colors. The first is to click on the black and white squares next to the color indicator, this switches the color to defaults (black and white). The other options is to press “D” on your keyboard to get the default colors, pressing “X” will switch foreground and background colors.

2-Change views in two clicks

To quickly view your document at a 100% size, you can double-click on the zoom tool. For a full document view, double-click on the hand tool

3-Unlock the background layer

Does the locked background layer annoy you? It does that to me too. Hopefuly there is an easy way to unlock it. Click on the little lock next to the layer, hold the button down and drag the lock into the little trash icon down the layers box.

4-Make history snapshots to create comparable versions of a file

In the History panel, click on the create snapshot button, it will help you to keep a preview of previous versions of the file you are working on.

5-Change opacity quickly

When on a layer, just enter a value from 1 to 9 to quickly change the opacity. Hitting one will set the opacity at 10%, 2 at 20% and so on… To get a more accurate value, for example 45%, quickly hit 4 followed by 5. It will also work for any tool that has an opacity setting.

6-Turn a drop-shadow effect into its own layer

If you want to have more flexibility with that drop-shadow effect, you can easily separate it from the layer the effect was created on. For that it’s easy, just go on the effect, right-click and chose create layer from the contextual menu.

7-Automatically Load Files Into Layers

Often, you might find the need to open a collection of photos inside of Photoshop. Currently you might open up all the separate images and then paste them into one document, this can be a painfully slow process if you happen to need lots of images.

Why not use a pre-coded script? Simply go File > Scripts > Load files into a stack. Select the layers involved and then let Photoshop do its magic. Each image will load up separately before then merging all into one document, and the layers will then take the filenames of the documents opened.


By upgrading your computer you are making it possible to process information quicker and therefore you will spend less time editing.

First of all, check your hard drive for space. Adobe Photoshop needs plenty of space for the scratch disk, and it’s worth making sure you have at least 10 gigabytes of space free at any time. Hard drives are cheaper than ever before, and you can purchase 1TB drives for less than $80.

Second, upgrade your RAM. I myself am planning to upgrade soon to 12GB of DDR3 because running multiple programs is slowing my computer down to a halt. You can monitor Photoshop’s RAM usage quite simply by using a handy feature at the bottom of Photoshop.

At the bottom there should be a small panel with an arrow. Click on the arrow and select “Scratch disks”. The figure on the right shows you the available RAM, whereas the figure on the left shows you the amount current used by Photoshop.

9-Smart Objects

Using a smart object can save you a lot of time if you are often creating similar pieces for clients. Rather than having to recreate the effect completely over again, you can use smart objects to remember the adjustments on the photo.

Converting a layer into a smart object is simple. Right click and select “Convert to smart object.” From this point you can then treat it like a normal layer. In the example below I applied a few adjustment layers as well as a lens correction filter (which you can mask if needed).

The amazing thing about smart layers is that you can right click on them and click “Replace contents”. At this point you can then select another photo which will then replace the current image but keep all the effects and masking. Files work best when they are the same size and shape.

You can also double click on smart layers and edit them in their own panel. This keeps your document clean and tidy, which is very useful if you are creating a photo montage and need to edit each of the images.

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Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Category: Articles |

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