One of the most versatile design tools that every designer that is worth his salt makes use of is Photoshop. Created over 26 years ago by Thomas Knoll (a Ph.D. student at University of Michigan at the time) and John (an employee of Industrial Light and Magic), Photoshop, which is now owned exclusively by Adobe Corporation, is a photo-editing software that has impacted a lot of lives across all facets of design.
Photoshop is expensive alright, but what is the use of having such software if you don’t know how to make use of it? Some graphic designers can create amazing design layouts within four to five days, while others will need up to 15 days to create the same. Why is that? Well, it all boils down to how proficient you are when using the image-editing software. You need to know how to utilize the full potential of Photoshop if you want to enhance your productivity.
With Photoshop, there is no end to learning. Therefore, here are ten amazing Photoshop tips that you should learn if you want to cut your teeth in the design industry, either by handling graphic design projects for people (and getting paid for it) or for personal use:
Make intricate photo edits within seconds using Photoshop Actions
A Photoshop action is an element that enables a designer to complete an otherwise repetitive step within a few seconds in Photoshop. This prevents you from doing the same thing over and again to accomplish your desired results. Photo editing just got easier using actions, especially if you need to edit a large number of pictures. Using batch processing, you can perform photo edits within minutes instead of hours. Check the processing options via File | Automate | Batch.
Converting Units of Measurement
A shortcut to switching between different units of measurements when you are working in Photoshop is by placing the cursor on one of the rulers that appear on your grid. To hide or make the rulers visible, just press ‘Ctrl + R.’ Then, right-click (with the cursor on the ruler) and select a new unit from the menu. This is where you will come across a wide range of units viz. percent, pixels, centimeters, etc.
Layer styles enable designers to add flairs to images. They are effects which can be applied quickly to different layers of your image by double clicking on the layer and then select the special effect that you are keen on. By clicking a mouse, you can make use of different features which will add beauty and pizazz to your photos. Warning: never use in excess.
This is usually the first concept to learn for those learning to use Photoshop for the first time. Selection has to do with grabbing a cluster of pixels and adjusting them according to your desire or choice. You can then choose to re-size the pixels, color them or move then around.
You can save the settings of your tools as a collection of tool presets if you will need that exact set of tools in the future. Instead of modifying the settings anytime you want to use the tools, you can just access these tools by opening the Tool Preset palette via the Window –> Tool Presets and then click on the new tool preset icon located at the bottom of the palette.
The ‘Undo’ shortcut
Designers are used to ‘undoing’ certain actions, especially if you have made a mistake and want to correct it. Pressing ‘Ctrl + Z’ cancels out the previous action you have made. But when you press the same keys again, it will restore the action. To prevent this, all you need to do is to press the following key combinations: ‘Alt + Ctrl + Z.’ Pressing these key combinations makes you undo several times. But this relies heavily on the History States value that you have set previously in Edit –> Preference –> Performance.
The Dodge tool
This tool is extremely useful for improving pixels when working in Photoshop. It is the tool that removes imperfections from images, removes blemishes from faces, etc. For instance, if you want to work on the image of a woman with spots on her face, and your goal is to remove those blemishes, you need to adjust the Dodge Tool setting to a soft brush. Then move the cursor to the menu bar and from the drop-down menu, select the ‘Range’ setting and then click on ‘highlights.’ Adjust the ‘Exposure’ settings to 20% and then brush the area around the eye carefully.
Rotate View Tool
This tool is one of the most useful tools in Photoshop. The Rotate View tool does just that: it rotates (without flipping) the view of your image and to use it, click on the ‘Hand’ tool located in the tool box. The Rotate View tool is then revealed (designated ‘R’). Then, to rotate the image clockwise or anticlockwise, drag the tool from side to side.
Instant selection of layer
Designers know that layout design is one of the most tiring jobs since it involves confronting issues that have to do with graphic, spacing, and typography. This makes finding a particular layer among hundreds a very arduous task. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Turn on the ‘Move’ tool by pressing the key ‘V’ and the ‘Ctrl’ key. Click on the element, and this move automatically selects the layer of the element. Remember, though, that if you place elements into a group, following the steps outlined above will select the group’s folder which contains the element that you clicked.
Quick Mask Mode (Q)
Making a selection from an image just got easier since you can paint the location where you want your selection to appear. Leaving the Quick Mask Mode selects the painted area. The Quick Mask Mode makes the task of creating a sophisticated selection easier. Do you even know that you can alter the brush you used for the selection area? You can do so by adjusting the brush’s softness to areas that are out of focus within an image.