ADOBE PHOTOSHOP : GENERAL TIPS
Is Photoshop doing something strange that you just can't figure out? Then it may be time to trash your preferences! Thankfully,
replacing Photoshop's Preferences file can do wonders when the
program is acting up. Think of it as "Photoshop Aspirin." The
file can become corrupted, leading to all sorts of mysterious and
unusual Photoshop behaviour. If you delete the file, it forces
Photoshop to create a replacement file the next time it runs. Without
file available when it starts up, Photoshop uses the factory-set
defaults. Here's how to do it, it is so quick and easy you can
do it everytime you use Photoshop:
Quit Photoshop and then, holding down
(Windows) or Shift+Option+Command
(Macintosh), relaunch Photoshop.
to reset the preferences
click Yes. Photoshop will delete
the Preference Settings file, revert to the default settings, and resume
Older versions of Photoshop (CS,
7, 6, 5.5):
AFTER launching Photoshop,
down Shift+Alt+Ctrl (Windows) or Shift+Option+Command
(Mac). (Don't hold down the modifier keys before you launch, press
afterward and hold them down until you see the dialog box.)
Creating a Composite
You have an image composed of several layers and you want to create a new layer
that has the entire image merged, while still maintaining all the seperate layers:
- Create a new layer and make it active.
- Click the top Layer, hold shift and click the bottom to select
(In Photoshop 7 and earlier, link all the layers together, by clicking
to the left of the image thumbnails in the Layer palette, you will see the little
chain, indicating that the layers are linked.)
- Now while holding down the Alt/Option key, click Merge Linked from the Layer
palettes "fly-out" menu. (Also work from merge Visiable.)
ZAP! You now have a new layer with the info from all the layers combined into
it without merging the layers. I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty
In Photoshop CS2 all you need to do is
click on the top layer and press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+Option+E
(Macintosh). CS2 will create the new layer on top for you. On CS
do the same thing but make a blank layer first.
To hide the "marching
ants" border, press
Ctrl+H (Windows) or Cmd+H (Macintosh). This also works to hide
the highlight on the text on 6.0. Now you can preview the colour
To select all pixels
on a layer:
In the Layers Palette click on the layer thumbnail while holding
down the Cmd/Ctrl key.
To move a selection to its own layer:
Press Cmd+J (Macintosh) or Ctrl+J (Windows). This will copy it. To cut and move
a selection press Shift+Cmd+J (Macintosh) or Shift+Ctrl+J (Windows).
Creating a Scanlines
- Start a new document of size width= 4 px and height= 8 px, with
the background set to transparent. Zoom in and use
marquee selection tool to select the top half
of the canvas. Now fill it with black using the Paint Bucket
Tool (g), or Edit>Fill>Use - Black.
- Now save it as a Pattern. Go to Edit>Define Pattern and
give it a new name: "scan line pattern". Click OK.
- Open the image on which we want to add the scan line effect.
Create a new layer and go to Edit>Fill>Use - Pattern. Select
the scan line pattern and click OK. If you find the scanlines are
too dark, reduce the opacity of the scanline layer.
- For thinner scan lines: use an image 2 px wide x 4 px high and
colour half black.
- For thicker scanlines: use an image 6 px wide x 12 px high
and colour half black.
- For vertical scanlines:
use an image 8 px wide x 4 px high, and select
the left half.
- After step 3 above, change the blending mode to 'Overlay'
for a really nice effect.
using this Action:
Download this action for TV lines. Just pop the file into your Photoshop
Note: Mac users may need to Control·click
on the above link.
PC users may need to right-click on the above
link and select Save Target As.
Change Brush Size
As you use any tool that uses a Brush (paintbrush, eraser, clone,
healing tool, etc.), press the [ ] keys to get a smaller or bigger
brush diameter. If you hold
+ [ the
brush will get softer and
to a total
Make a new Document
from a Layer:
Using the Layers palette, when you choose Duplicate Layer, you can
change the Document setting to "New" to create a brand
new picure from any layer.
To fill a layer or selection with foreground colour press Alt/Option+Delete.
To fill a layer or selection with background colour press Command/Ctrl+Delete.
Now to get really cool: To fill just the area with pixels hold
down the Shift key together with the above keys. This toggles the
preserve transparency option. And press Shift+Backspace to open
When doing text for the web,
either use no anti-alising or sharp. If you use very small type make
have wide tracking (space between letters). This will make it a lot
easier to read. No point in having a beautiful website if no-one
can read it!
Changing Screen Mode:
Press the "F" key to cycle through 3 differant screen modes.
Press Tab to hide the tools and palettes. Press Ctrl R or Cmd R to
turn off the Rulers. To bring everything back again, just press F,
then Tab, then Ctrl R or Cmd R to
turn on the Rulers
Closing Multiple Windows:
How long does it take you to close all open documents in Photoshop?
Just hold down the shift key when you go File>Close and Photoshop
will close all the open documents.
Reducing file sizes and speeding up large
Even what you can't see, is effecting your file sizes. If you have
imported an image that is larger than your canvas size. Select all
and crop. You will be surprised how much you can save. Also delete
unwanted layers, they can add file size too!
Colour Modes, Formats
For the web: Use 72 dpi resolution. Use
the RGB colour mode and save as a .jpg (Joint Photographic Experts
Group) if its a
photo. Save as a .gif (general image format) if
is a logo or clipart type image with
and no gradients or drop shadows. If you want tranparency, use
.gif or .png (portable network graphic). If you need
For print: Use
CMYK colour mode and save as either a .tiff (tagged image file format)
or an .eps
postscript). Resolutions: for commercial
print purposes 300 dpi. To print inhouse to an inkjet,
150 or 200
The steps for trying this technique are very simply. Right-click
on the image layer in the Layers palette and select Duplicate
Layer. With the new layer selected go to Image>Adjustment>Desaturate.
go to the Opacity selection in the Layers palette and adjust the
slider to your taste. That's it. I find an opacity of somewhat
between 50% and 70% usually looks best. Try it. See if you like
Variation: When you're done the above steps, select
the background image and then apply Filter>Stylize>Find Edges.
You can then add a Levels
Adjustment Layer to modify brightness and contrast. You can also
play with the blending modes. Try Hard Light.
Quick Black and White:
If you press Cmd+Shift+U (Macintosh) Ctrl+Shift+U (Windows)
all the colour will be removed from the selection. If no selection
is made, then
will be turned into grayscale instantly.
Cloning Images on Layers:
Whenever you want to duplicate an image on a layer, (eg. you are
putting star-bursts everywhere), just hold the Alt/Option key
and drag ... zap, a duplicate. To keep it aligned, also hold
down the Shift key as you drag.
Using RGB Filters
while working in CMYK?
As you may know some filters like the render filters are disabled
in CMYK. Here is a neat tip, work in RGB mode with CMYK preview
on using CTRL/CMD+Y. Build your file as normal then when
you are finished, convert it to CMYK using Image>Mode. This will
allow all the filters to
you a smaller file size as you work (used 1/4 less memory) and
you won't "lose" your colours when you convert it. Note:
only convert to CMYK when outputting images to be printed on a
commercial printing press.
To constrain a selection to a perfect circle or square hold down
the shift key.
To start drawing from the center hold the Alt/Option key.
Ever find that you started drawing a selection and you need to
move it while you are drawing? No problem, just hold the spacebar
Custom Gradients Made Easy:
When you are making a new colour gradient and you want to use the
same colour more than once, don't recreate it. Just hold down
the Option/Alt key and drag a copy of the colour tab.
us if you thought these tips were helpful - thanks.