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20 timeless tips to relish Photoshop turning 20!

Added on Wednesday 26th of May 2010 02:29 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3/CS4

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


It’s hard to believe, but Photoshop turns 20 this year! Whether you’re new to Photoshop or can remember jumping for joy when Adobe introduced layers, you’ll love these 20 timeless Photoshop tips.


That’s right; Photoshop celebrates 20 wonderful, progressive years! Need a refresher on when Adobe introduced curves or vector shapes to this outstanding application? Visit the official anniversary web page at But for 20 fantastic tips, stay right here and read on!


Tip #1: Preview your type in different fonts quickly

If you have a lot of fonts in your font library it can take a long time to preview different fonts. For a quicker way to preview the different font faces on your type, highlight your type and then click in the Font field located in the Text tool Options bar. Press the [up arrow] key to scroll up through your fonts and press the [down arrow] key to scroll down though your fonts. You’ll preview the font change onscreen as you go.


Tip #2: Restore a converted Background layer

What’s the difference between the Background layer and a regular layer? The Background layer is locked, so it’s always the lowest layer in the stacking order and you can’t edit its blending mode or opacity. When you double-click on the Background layer, you’re actually unlocking it. To convert it back to a Background layer, you simply need to lock it again.

To convert a layer into a Background layer, select the layer in the Layers panel (Window > Layers). Choose Layer > New > Background From Layer.


Tip #3: Copy layer adjustments

Rather than start from scratch to color correct each of your images individually, copy your color corrections from an image you’ve already tackled instead. The trick is to make all of your adjustments on adjustment layers.

Open the first image that needs color correcting and make your necessary color corrections on adjustment layers. Then, open the second image that needs color correcting. Arrange your images so they’re both visible and then click on the first image to make it the active image. Click on the adjustment layer’s thumbnail, drag it over to the second image, and then release to add the adjustment layer to the second image.


Tip #4: Zoom while you crop

When you’re in the middle of a crop, you can’t select the Zoom tool from the Tools panel to zoom in on an area, but you can still access its functionality with a modifier key.

While you’re cropping, just press [option][spacebar] ([Alt][spacebar] in Windows) and click on your image to zoom out, or press [command][spacebar] ([Ctrl][spacebar] in Windows) and click on your image to zoom in.


Tip #5: Layer blending mode shortcut

It can be quite time-consuming to individually select each mode from the Blending Mode pop-up menu on the Layers panel. Luckily, there’s an easier way to quickly preview blending effects without having to reach for the mouse every time.

First, click on the target layer in the Layers panel. Select a non-drawing tool in the Tools panel, such as the Move tool. (Otherwise Photoshop cycles through the Mode pop-up menu on the tool Options bar.) Then, press [shift][+] to select the next blending mode in the menu and apply it to the active layer.


Tip #6: Hide selection edges

Selection edges, also known as marching ants, can be distracting to your image preview. An easy solution to this problem is to hide them. After you create a selection, simply choose View > Show > Selection Edges. This turns off the selection edges, giving you a more natural and pleasing view of your image. When you want to see the selection edges, simply choose View > Show > Selection Edges again, and the marching ants return.


Tip #7: Create drop shadows with multiple light sources

When working with drop shadows, Photoshop uses global lighting by default to make sure every drop shadow you apply in one document is at the same angle. Of course, you may not always want every shadow in an image to come from a single light source. To turn off global lighting so you can specify multiple light sources, deselect the Use Global Light check box on the Drop Shadow pane in the Layer Style dialog box.


Tip #8: Add to or subtract from your selections

Oftentimes, when making a selection using any of the selection tools, you may find that you have to add or subtract a portion of the selected area. While you have options on the tool Options bar to help you do this task, you can also use key commands.

To add to a selection, press and hold [shift] while making the additional selection. To subtract from it, press and hold [option] ([Alt] in Windows).


Tip #9: Give your image a quick color change

When you need to change the color of a portion of your image, first select the area of the image that you need to change. Then, choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. In the resulting dialog box, select the Colorize ch...


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