Useful Photoshop Tips

Useful Photoshop tips that can really speed up your worflow.

Shadow Highlight Adjustment layer

Shadow Highlight is a great adjustment for bringing back some of the areas that have become plugged up in our photos. The good thing about this adjustment is that we don’t lose any of the detail in the midtones. Perhaps you’re disappointed because its still not an adjustment layer. Don’t worry because if has that exact functionality with a little workaround. Make your layer a smear object and now apply Shadow Highlight as a Smart Filter. You now have a re-editable Shadow Highlight. This also works for the Variations Adjustment

Hide and seek

Have you gotten used to the new interface yet? Heres’s a tip that will make you love it. As you probably already know, pressing the Tab key will hide all the palettes. Ok you knew that, so it’s not the tip, here’s the tip. If you roll your mouse to the left or right edge of the screen, the palettes will pop out for your use. Make your selection and then roll back to your image and the palettes will disappear again.

High Contrast Clouds

Instead of the usual clouds layer you get when you render clouds, you can render high contrast clouds.

Birds Eye View

When you are zoomed in really close, you can navigate through your image easily using birds eye. Hold down the H key and Click and hold your left mouse button. Photoshop will zoom out and show the entire image and a little box. Reposition the box and let go and the newly selected area will fill the screen.

Auto Collapse

Here’s another tip to help you love the new interface. Have you noticed that when you’re in icon mode (everything is minimized) and you expand a palette to choose it’s option, it stays open and now you have to make an extra step to close it? Right click anywhere in the palettes and choose Auto Collapse Icon Palettes. Now when you choose an option and then click in your document, the palette will automatically collapse closed again.

B&W drag to change color

The best way to convert a color photo to Black and White is to use the new Black and White Adjustment. While using this adjustment, you don’t need to quess which colors belong to which tones. Drag your mouse over the image and the underlying tone will adjust.

Open One Image In Two Windows

You can have the same photo open in two windows that are side-by-side, with one view zoomed in and one view zoomed out.

Open JPG in RAW

I’m sure that all the cool new options in Camera Raw haven’t gone unnoticed to you. Don’t you wish that these options were available to all images? Good news, they are. You can now open Jpg and Tiff formats inside Camera Raw and make use of the tools. Right Click on the Image in Bridge and choose: Open In Camera Raw. The jpg or tiff is now open in Camera Raw ready for all the cool tools. Remember though, if you want to take full advantage of the Raw tools, you should shoot in Raw on your camera.

HiDPI (Retina)

Are you creating multi-media assets and retina giving you issues? Are all the final sizes 2x as big as you want? This is because of the HiDPI settings in Photoshop. You can change this. Find Photoshop on your computer and Choose Cmd+I for Info on Mac or choose options in windows (right click) choose the low resolution option. Note: (You will only see this option on a High resolution screen, ie Retina. )

Advanced Blending Options

Uncheck “Transparency Shapes Layer” in the Layer Styles panel to make pixels blend differently when using blend modes.

Zooming the Loupe in Bridge

Did you know that Bridge now has a loupe tool. This tool is suspiciously like a little brother to the loupe in Apples Aperture. Click on the thumbnail and you will see a zoomed in loupe. Drag across the thumbnail to change position. Click the  plus and minus keys to zoom in or out.

Black and White Adjustment Layer For Color Control

You can use a Black and White Adjustment Layer to control the luminance values of specific colors in your photo.

Draw straight lines

There are other ways to draw a straight line than using the line tool. After this tip, you may find your need to reach for the line tool reduced, in fact this may even break your addiction. While using any of the drawing tools; Brushes, Pencil, Dodge and Burn, Eraser, Blur, Sharpen and Smudge holding down the shift key will cause you to draw in a perfectly straight line either vertical or horizontal. An added feature will let you create straight lines between points by clicking, Hold down shift and click again anywhere to join the 2 points.

Easy loading of Layer Styles

Start Photoshop> Open your email program if they were emailed to you or navigate to their files on the hard disk> right click/Option Click, then select open and the style set will be loaded automatically

Precise Flare Window

You can bring up a special “Precise Flare Center” window to add a lens flare to exact locations in your photo.

Closing Multiple windows

How long would it take you to close all these documents in Photoshop? Just hold down the shift key when you go File>close and Photoshop will close all the open documents.

Check out our Lightroom article in the tutorials section.

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