Category: Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop topics

Quickly change blend modes in Photoshop

Photoshop blend modes
One of the most frequent things you’ll find yourself doing with layers in your Photoshop document is changing blend modes to something like Multiply (great for shadows) or Overlay. Moving your mouse over to the Layers panel and clicking the blend mode drop-down menu, then scrolling down to your desired blend mode can be tedious… especially when you’re experimenting and don’t know which one you want.

You can quickly change the blend mode of the active layer by changing to a tool that doesn’t already use blend modes. I just hit the V key to switch to the Move tool, or the M key for the Marquee tool. Then simply hold the Shift key down and tap the + or – keys to cycle between the different blend modes.

Advice: When to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign

I belong to a lot of design forums and Facebook Groups and the question I see more often than I care to think about is “which app should I use to do X?” Should I design a logo in Photoshop, build an ad in Illustrator or InDesign, etc.

If you’re new in the graphic design field, or just never used Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications, take a look at this 30-minute video from Adobe Evangelist Terry White.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but in general:

  • Photoshop is for photo editing.
  • Illustrator is for logo design & custom illustration.
  • All the pieces should be brought into InDesign for layout and export to Acrobat PDF files.

The ONLY design rule that (in my opinion) has absolutely no exception: Design your logo in Illustrator. You’ll thank me later.

Easily switch between Photoshop’s Layer Blend Modes

When you have a multi-layer Photoshop file and you want to set one of the layers to Multiply, Overlay or one of the numerous other Blend Modes, you can click the drop-down menu in the Layers panel, but that can be tedious.

An easier way is to use the keyboard shortcut. Simply have the layer you want to switch Blend Modes on selected and have the Move, Lasso or other tool that doesn’t use Blend Modes (such as the Brush tool) active, and hit Shift + (plus) or Shift – (minus) to cycle through the different Blend Modes.

The shortcut works with tools that DO offer Blend Modes (such as the previously mentioned Brush tool or the Gradient tool) as well.

Incidentally, if you use the Multiply Blend Mode as often as I do, you’ll be happy to know you can simply hit Shift + Option + M to quickly apply it without cycling through it or bothering with the drop-down menu. Other often-used Blend Mode Shortcuts include Shift + Option + S applies Screen, Shift + Option + C applies Color.

Possible fix for laggy Photoshop features

Adobe PhotoshopIf you’re using Photoshop to work on your image then switch to another app like Safari, Mail, InDesign, etc., then switch back to Photoshop, you may notice that Photoshop gets a little laggy or even stuck.

Conventional wisdom says you need more RAM. Unfortunately that is neither cheap nor possible with most Macs. A fast SSD drive will help, but again it’s neither cheap or even possible to upgrade your storage drive on most Macs anymore.

The solution might be found in Photoshop itself.

Go in to your PS Preferences (Command+K) and choose the Performance tab from the list on the left. Once in the dialog, tick the Use Graphics Processor checkbox if it isn’t already checked, click the Advanced Settings button. Change the Drawing Mode drop-down menu from Advanced to Normal (if it’s already set to Normal, change it to Basic). Also make sure Use Graphics Processor to Accelerate Computation and Use OpenCL/GL are checked. Hit OK and you’re done

This will tell Photoshop to use your Mac’s video card to help with the heavy lifting, but not to over-do it.

Photoshop Graphics Processor prefs
While you’re in the Performance tab, you might also want to set the Memory use to about 70%. Over the years I’ve found that using much more than that of your total RAM for Photoshop has more negative effects than positive ones.

Over 100 great Photoshop tips

Tons of Adobe Photoshop tips in the following categories:

  • Quick Photoshop tips
  • Essential shortcuts
  • Layer tips
  • General tool tips
  • Pen tool tips
  • Brush and painting tips
  • Precise colour and lines
  • Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge
  • There’s something for everyone in the collection—if nothing else, a great list of useful shortcuts you may not have known about.

    Quickly view only one layer at a time in your PSD file

    PS Layer visibilitySometimes you want to view only a single layer in a multi-layer PSD file. Rather than clicking multiple layer view icons (the little Eye next to the layer preview and name), you can speed up the process by Option+Clicking the one layer view icon you want to view. The other layers will turn off. To turn them all back on, Option+Click the layer view icon again.

    Photoshop CC to add Content Aware Crop

    By now you may have heard that Adobe plans to add a Content Aware Crop tool feature to Photoshop CC with the next update. You may be thinking that they already have that feature available, and you would be somewhat correct. You can already do what the video above shows manually, but the new tool will simplify the process.