Using Photoshop can sometimes seem like a necessary evil, especially when things seem to take much longer than they should. However, if something seems to take a long time, you can be pretty sure that someone has found a quick way of doing it!
So we are bringing you 10 quick tips that will hopefully speed up some of those tedious Photoshop tasks. All of these tips are image-related, as working with images is not necessarily the favorite thing for designers to spend a lot of time doing. These tips should help to speed up work on images whilst retaining quality.
Photoshop Quick tips
1. Layer Styles
When you double click on a layer in Photoshop, you are presented with the Layer Styles options (you can also get here by clicking the fx at the bottom of the layers palette).
Four of these layer styles have a little secret that you may not be aware of: you can make adjustments directly on your canvas while the layer style window is active. The 4 styles in question are:
- Drop Shadow
- Gradient Overlay
- Pattern Overlay
The following 4 images show the adjustments that can be made directly on the image:
Extra Tip: You can also zoom in and out of your image whilst the Layer Style window is active using CTRL/= and CTRL/-
2. Re-size an 'Empty' Selection
Sometimes you need to re-size an empty selection – Photoshop will tell you 'Could not transform the selected pixels because the selected area is empty.' There is a solution!
Make your selection, make your empty layer active, then Select>Transform Selection.
Now you can transform the selection using all the Transform methods such as Perspective, Warp, Skew, etc.
3. Level the Horizon
Sometimes images are not quite level, and in such cases Photoshop has the Image Rotation feature to straighten it.
There are two other methods that are more accurate and very easy. The first one is using the Ruler Tool and Image Rotation (this is the more accurate of the 2 methods) – follow the instructions on the images below:
The second method uses the Transform Tool – follow the instructions shown on the image below:
4. Create Lighter or Darker Panels on an Image
You will need to duplicate the background layer as this process is totally destructive on the image!
Working on the duplicate layer, create a selection on the image.
Blur>Gaussian Blur – set the radius to around 40px.
Edit>Fade Gaussian Blur – set the fade to around 75% (or whatever suits your image), and change the blending mode – depending on whether you want your panel to be lighter or darker than the image, many of the available modes will give a noticeable result, such as Screen, Overlay, Color Dodge, Exclusion, etc. Try the modes to see which works for your requirements.
Note: You must use Edit>Fade Gaussian Blur immediately after applying the blur or it will no longer be available to use.
5. Clean Extraction
Although there are possibly some preferable methods of extraction than using a mask and the brush tool, when the edges of an object need to be soft and the extraction is quite fiddly, most of us will resort to using a mask and brush.
No matter how hard you try to make it a clean extraction, you will leave some pixels that could impair the end result of your work. This tip will show you how to ensure you have no left over pixels after extraction.
Follow the instructions on the images below: