20 Quick but Essential Photoshop Tips

If you’re just starting your journey into the world of Photoshop, or you’ve been there before and you just need a little brushing up (pun intended), here are 20 quick but essential tips to keep you out of trouble and get you going in the right direction. These aren’t in-depth explanations or how-tos. For that you might to do a quick youtube search. What this is, is a list of things that will be very helpful to remember with each and every new project.

1. When getting rid of a background around your subject always create a mask instead of using the eraser tool.

2. Make a copy of the original image in the layers panel and make edits to the copy.

3. The stamp tool can be effective for filling in part of an image, but make sure you’re not creating an undesired pattern as you reproduce pixels.

4. Save often. If you make drastic changes save as a different name. I.e. image r1, r2, r3, etc.

5. When pasting an image into a Photoshop file “paste as smart object” is often times a great idea.

6. Use Photoshop for the correct purposes. I.e. don’t try to design a vector logo or lay out a brochure in Photoshop.

7. Learn shortcut keys. You can find full lists on Adobe’s website.

8. Type command + t to make the image adjustable. Right click the adjustable image to quickly bring up some adjusting options.

9. To quickly zoom in on an area hold command + space and move the arrow right. Move it left to zoom back out.

10. Use command + z to toggle between the last action. Use command + option + z to go back several actions.

11. When using the brush, right click to quickly bring up brush options such as size and hardness.

12. The polygon lasso tool is usually more effective than the regular lasso. While using the polygon lasso you can toggle to the regular lasso by holding the option key.

13. If you’re unsure about cropping an image you can choose to hide the cropped part of the image rather than deleting it entirely.

14. To select all the pixels on a layer hold command and click the layer thumbnail in the layer panel.

15. To fill a selected area with a solid color, type option + delete.

16. Take the time to set the photo correctly before taking it. It will save you exponential time later.

17. Think seriously before using a Photoshop filter. They rarely add appeal to an image and usually just make it look filtered and cheap.

18. It is easier for web programmers to work from Photoshop files than Illustrator or InDesign files. Make sure you start with the correct dimensions.

19. If possible, take pictures with the camera raw setting. It is easier to adjust colors and levels in camera raw. Then open in Photoshop to fix anything else.

20. Have fun. Photoshop requires time and patience to learn and understand. There is a learning curve to it but even in early stages of use you can get a lot done.

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