Snap your Photoshop CS & CS2 palettes to the nearest screen edge by Shift-dragging them or Shift-clicking on their titlebars. This seems like a silly tip, but it drives me nuts to see palettes that aren’t perfectly aligned!
You have a lot of options in working with your selections in Photoshop. Try holding the Spacebar down before you let go of a selection you are making. It will allow you to re-position your selection. Now, make a selction, go to the Select>Transform Selection menu item. Now hold down the Command key and grab the control points and move them around a bit. Starting to see the convenience of this tip yet?
Every once in a while, when you’re working on a large file in Photoshop, you might want to make a trip to Edit>Purge>All – which will free up a LOT of memory. Photoshop stores your history and the clipboard in memory – which takes up quite a bit of space depending on how you work. You may also wish to experiment with lowering the amount of steps that Photoshop saves in your history palette by making a visit to the preferences. The more steps saved, the more RAM used.
An annoying fact when designing in Photoshop is that you quickly accumulate a multitude of layers. Even with Photoshop’s advancements in the layers arena, it gets out of hand quickly. The best thing you can do is delete unused layers. A quick way to delete multiple layers in Adobe Photoshop is to Shift+click or Command+Click the layers you don’t want, then click on the Layer Palette Trash icon. Don’t forget that you can save a Layer Comp before you delete the layers, that way you can quickly return them if necessary.
This may seem like a very basic technique, yet I see very few Photoshop users making use of it. If you want to quickly change layers. Press “V” to select the Move tool. Then Command + Click the object you want to work on. That’s it. The correct layer becomes active and you don’t need to navigate to your layers palette and scroll through the list to activate the layer you want to work on.
Normally, when you select a history state and then change the image, all states below the active state are deleted (or, more accurately, replaced by the current state). However, if you enable the Allow Non-Linear History option (from the History Options in the History palette menu), you may select a state, make a change to the image, and the change will be appended to the bottom of the History palette (instead of replacing all the states below the active state). You can even delete a state without losing any of the states below it! Note: The color of the horizontal lines between history states indicate their linearity. White dividers indicate linear states and black dividers indicate non-linear states. Another Note: Not only is a non-linear history very memory intensive, it can also be very confusing!
Did you know you can click on palette field titles in Photoshop to highlight / select the contents of the field and to turn checkboxes on or off.
Press Shift+Command+U to remove all the color (Desaturate) and make your image grayscale while still in RGB mode.
Everyone knows you can use the Command + or Command – keys to zoom in and out on an image in Photoshop – or, at least I HOPE you know that. But sometimes that can be tedius to hit the key combo several times back and forth to zoom in and out when making adjustments. There is an easier way. If you want to fill your screen with the image at the largest size that will fit, you can double-click the little Hand Grabber tool. If you’re zoomed way in on an image and want to quickly go back to 100%, you can double-click the Magnifying Glass tool.
I wanted to offer a suggestion relating to the use of Photoshop filters & effects in your designs. My comments come from many years of experience in the ad business, and reflect only MY opinion and the opinion of a handful of “old-timers” I know that are also in the biz. Please take this for what it’s worth, and not as gospel. The number one thing about a design that screams “Rookie” or “Amateur” more than anything else is the (over)use of filters & effects. I remember many years ago (sometime around Photoshop 4 I guess) a filter set was released called Kai’s Power Tools. It was an absolutely incredible set of filters that did things in Photoshop that most users could only dream about with a single click of the mouse button. The “Kai syndrome,” as it came to be known, got out of control fast.
Don’t be an idiot!
Today, we have Xenofex, EyeCandy, Splat, several plug-ins from Flaming Pear and many more. These filters produce fantastic results, I have no problem with them. But just like guns, the USER is the problem, not the actual item itself. Some designers say that if the filter becomes the focal point of the design, you’re showing everyone that you have no creativity and rely on “tricks” to get attention. I’ll just say this. Use filters sparingly. Use them when appropriate, and where it really makes a difference in your design. But don’t use them simply because they’re available. A drop shadow under a photo can really enhance a design, but a drop shadow under every stinking headline, logo and phone number in an ad makes you look like an idiot. A small bevel on a web page button can look great, but giant 15 pixel bevels on every clickable link button on your site makes you look like and idiot. Don’t be an idiot – you give us all a bad name.