They will help you in getting things done quickly, save you a lot of headache and steps and overall inflate your Photoshop-fu! So here we go:
Change Brush Size On The Fly
If you are even the slightest bit serious about Photoshop or you have used the Brush tool a couple of times, this single tip is worth at least a dozen alone. While you are using the brush tool you do not have to go back to the options palette to change the brush size or softness. Left bracket key ‘[‘ decreases the brush size and Right bracket key ‘]’ increases the brush size. Similarly Shift + [ decrease hardness (makes the brush soft) and Shift + ] increases the hardness of the brush.
Create Guides Easily
Guides can help you align objects in your composition. You can quickly create guides using rulers that appear at the top and the side of the document window. Click on the ruler and drag to create a guide. Release the mouse button where you want to create the guide. Once created you can quickly show/hide guides using Ctrl + ;
Don’t Cancel Just Reset
Photoshop can be pretty tough to get and even harder to master. Moreover, the nature of work dictates that you must experiment and things don’t always go the way you anticipate while experimentation. So if you are inside curves, or hue saturation or perhaps levels and you make a series of adjustments that didn’t turn out the way you wanted, you would want to start over again.
But wait don’t hit cancel just yet. Instead hold down the Alt key and see how the cancel button changes to Reset. Now click reset and the adjustments you made will be undone while sparing you the round trip to open the same dialog again.
Scrub The Input Boxes
There are a lot of controls in Photoshop that let you enter a value using the keyboard. Font size, brush size, opacity and who knows how many others. Well a peculiar thing about these input boxes is that you can increase or decrease the value that’s in them by just scrubbing with the mouse pointer. As you move close to any such control the mouse pointer changes to something like the one shown above. Now just click and drag in the direction you want to change the value. Generally dragging towards the right side increases the value and towards left side decreases the value.
Adjust Opacity Quickly
The opacity controls can be manipulated even faster! Just hit a number from 0-9 and opacity will be adjusted in increments of 10. This means that 1 would set the opacity to 10%, 7 will set it to 70% and 0 will set it to 100%. If you are looking for a definite value say 57% you can quickly type 5 followed by 7 to set the opacity to 57%. The trick works with layer opacity as well as for any tool that has an opacity setting.
Change Intensity Of Filters Without Dialog Boxes
Say you just applied the Unsharpen Mask filter to sharpen your photo. If you find you went a bit too far you can take back some of it by using Shift + Ctrl + F. If you would like to intensify the effect further you can use Ctrl + F to do so. Remember these would work just after you have applied the filter. If you performed other operations after applying the filter, these might not work as expected.
Unlock Background Layer
You might have noticed that the background layer has a little lock icon besides it. This indicates that the layer is locked. You can quickly unlock the background layer by double clicking on it, or Alt + clicking on the background layer or simply catch hold of the lock and drag it to the bin at the bottom of the layers palette.
Duplicate A Layer
Duplicating a layer can be very useful when saving selections or when you are unsure about the sequence of adjustments that you will be making. You can drag any layer onto the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette to duplicate the layer or you can select the layer and press Ctrl + J.
Duplicate Layer Styles
More often than not, you want to apply the same layer styles to two or more layers. You can remember the settings or trust your eye and go on applying layer styles one by one or you can hold down the Alt key, click and drag the “fx” icon onto the layer you want to duplicate the layer style on and you are done!
So what is the universal shortcut for Undo? Ctrl + Z. Yeah right, and you would expect that hitting Ctrl + Z multiple times would take you back interatively. Only it works a little different in Photoshop. Ctrl + Z toggles between undo(ing) and redo(ing) the most recent operation. So if you want multiple undo(es) use Ctrl + Alt + Z. Similarly for multiple redo(s) you can use Shift + Ctrl + Z
Oh, I remember a few more. However, let’s just save them for another time in part two of our series. Meanwhile let us know if you have any Photoshop tips & tricks of your own!