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Everyone who uses Photoshop has a workflow that includes favorite tips, tricks, short cuts, keyboard tricks, etc. Some get used on a daily basis while others are reserved for times when a special task needs to be performed. Regardless of the reason they’re used, each person finds value in them. I want to share with you three quick tips I find very valuable and use on a regular basis. They’re fairly common knowledge if you’ve used Photoshop for awhile, but then again, this may be an assumption on my part. If they are already part of your workflow, excellent. If they’re not and you find them useful, even better.  


Tap The “tab” and “f” key to Clean Up Your Workspace: There are times when you want to maximize the amount of screen real estate with just the image. You don’t want the tools, tabs, palettes, options bar or anything else to be visible or get in the way of the active photo. If this is the case, simply toggle the “tab” key. Tap the tab key and all of the distractions temporarily disappear. Tap it again and they reappear. If you become proficient with keyboard shortcuts, toggle the palettes off and use the shortcuts to access the tools.


photoshop tips


photoshop techniques


If you want to simplify the background of the Photoshop workspace, tap the “f” key to get three different options. If you’re in the default space and you tap the f key one time, the background will go neutral in color and the tools will remain. Tap it again, and your image is beautifully offset against a total black background. I use this to decide if I’m fully done optimizing a photo. Nothing acts as a distraction when the photo is layered on black and it allows me to analyze the image. Tap the f key again to return to the default space. If you upgraded to CS6 and are used to seeing your desktop workspace as in previous PS versions, simply go to WINDOW and uncheck Application Frame at the bottom of the pull down menu. 


photoshop tip


tips for photoshop


Resize All Brushes Quickly: I use many of the Photoshop tools that are brush based: the clone stamp, healing brush, dodge tool, burn tool, saturation tool, brush tool, and eraser to name just a few. In the Options Bar on the top left of the workspace, there’s a pull down dialog box that allows you to resize a brush. If you’ve been relying on it to do your resizing, you’ve experienced the same time consuming process of many PS users. Rather than use the dialog box, simply tap the left or right bracket keys next to the letter P on the keyboard. The left bracket key makes the brush smaller and the right bracket key makes it bigger. The beauty is you can watch the size of the brush change as either key is tapped which allows you to more precisely size it for the task at hand. 


photoshop quick tips


Scroll To Zoom: I often need to temporarily zoom in and out of a photo. For instance, I like to use the clone stamp tool at 100% view but then pull back to see the effect on the entire photo. I could jockey the mouse to the zoom tool or go to the options bar when I have the zoom tool active and toggle between ‘100%’ and ‘Fit To Screen’ but there’s an easier way regardless of what tool you have active. In order to take advantage of this feature, your mouse has to have a scroll wheel. With any tool active, simply hold the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC and scroll the wheel up to increase the size of the photo or scroll the wheel down to decrease its size. My hand never has to leave the mouse nor does it have to move to the tool or options bar to change the magnification of the photo. 


photoshop tips


To learn more about this topic, join me on one of my Nature Photo Tours. Visit russburdenphotography.com and click on the NATURE TOURS button for more information. Also, email me to be placed on my Tip of the Week list and to receive announcements about upcoming tours specials. Contact me at rburden@ecentral.com. Pick up a copy of my book, Amphoto’s Complete Book of Photography, from Amazon. 

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al reiner


the resize tip and the f key tip great, f simple but important
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