Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Photoshop Secrets that will Save Your Sanity

I have a love-have relationship with Photoshop. Mostly Love. Probably around 95% love. However, sometimes that 5% of hate seeps in and I want to pull all the hair off my head strand by strand and throw an entire bucket of clear Legos on the floor of Adobe headquarters.

You get my drift?

Over the last few months I've picked up a few tips that really helped me use Photoshop more efficiently and avoid that 5% of pure agony. While I know they are probably well known throughout blogdom, I comprised a list of my top 5 Photoshop "secrets" to share with anyone who was a little slower to learn like <cough, cough> me. It's time to spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, and have a giant burrito eating party. [What else would you do with all of those beans? Do cats like to eat burritos? I hope so, or else it will be a pretty lame party, what with only me eating burritos and all...]

1. Right Click

You know that elusive side of the mouse that is rarely clicked except to change the background image on your desktop and for an occasional copy and paste when you don't feel like using your keyboard shortcuts? Guess what? That little lonely side of your clicker is full of magical surprises on your Photoshop toolbar. About 4-5 additional  tools live behind each main tool, and in order to behold their marvelous beauty you must put your ring finger to good use. Simply click and an entire plethora of new goodies appears for you to experiment with at your leisure.

A few gems hidden there include:

Patch tool: Underneath the Spot Healing Brush tool [the band-aid with the circle]

This tool allows you to draw around an area you want to fix and then fills it in by surveying the surrounding pixels. It's just like the Spot Healing Brush tool, but with tons more flexibility. I like to use it to correct under-eye circles and acne. 

Magic Eraser tool: Under the Eraser tool. 

This eraser really is like magic. You know how the magic selection tool selects pixels of the same color? Well, the eraser is just like that, but instead of selecting, it erases.  TIP: Adjust the tolerance to erase more shades of the same color. This also works great with the magic selection tool. 

Horizontal Type Mask Tool: Behind the Horizontal Text tool.

Quickly create text from an image without having to go through an endless run of layer masking steps. Just grab this tool, click on your image layer, type, and you're done!

2. Grid Lines

It may seem simple, but knowing how to adjust and hid/show grid lines can make all the difference in creating centered, straight, and even work. Use these keyboard shortcuts to view and/or hide them:

Then just click on the white ruler and drag until you have set the grid line where your little heart so desires. I love to use these to create even boxes and exact selections. [Click here to see how to use them to make your own chevron background.]

3. Layer Masks

I was terrified of these little guys for the longest time [masks are kind of creepy. Except for Batman's. His is awesome.], but once I faced my fears I quickly became hooked on this digital version. With a layer mask, you can customize which parts of a layer show and which ones hide by using black and white painting tools. It's like being able to erase and un-erase. It is great for fine tuning borders, selections, and erasing. Just click on the layer you wish to adjust, click the "layer mask" button at the bottom of your layers panel, and draw away.

4. Actions

I'm all about saving time wherever possible. [Less time editing = more time eating ice cream.] Actions are perfect for this because they record what you do and save it so you can apply the exact same steps to a different image or layer. You can make your own [see my tutorial here] or download them. There are lots of great ones out there for free. Some of my faves are The Pioneer Woman's action pack and basically every single download on The CoffeeShop Blog.

Check out some of the awesome effects you can get with the click of a button!



5. Character/Paragraph Menu

While I spend most of my time on Photoshop working with photos, I love to do typography every now and then. I used to get super frustrated when I tried to type quotes and things in CS5 because the text tool leaves a LOT to be desired. Like you can type, and that's it. Lame. Then, I discovered this handy little menu that gives you all the flexibility you could ever wish for. My heart sang and I have been in love ever since.

Note: To access this this handy menu, click window --> character

So there you have it, folks. 5 little tips that saved my sanity when it came to Photoshop. Now if I could just figure out how to save my sanity while doing laundry...#priorities

Happy Photoshopping!


  1. I don't use photoshop, but you make it look so easy! Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Monday. I look forward to you sharing again!

    1. Thank you for reading and for hosting the link-up!



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