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Learning Lab

A Random Collection of Photoshop CS Tips
Pages: 1, 2


Photoshop CS has made a wonderful but very slight enhancement to the Layers palette that's easy to overlook. As you probably know, clicking an eyeball hides the associated layer. Meanwhile, Option-clicking (PC: Alt- clicking) an eyeball hides all other layers. (This also works when hiding and showing layer effects, incidentally.) But here's the interesting thing: In Photoshop 7, Option-clicking an eyeball a second time showed all layers, regardless of whether they were previously visible or not, frequently leaving your composition a complete mess. In CS, this same technique turns on only those layers that were previously visible. In other words, Photoshop CS has taken an old, flawed trick and fixed it.


Have you ever pressed a keyboard shortcut that you know produces a specific result and had Photoshop completely ignore you, or worse yet deliver an angry alert message? This is usually the result of having a palette option active inadvertently. (It's a very common problem on the PC, where settings have a tendency to "stick" after you apply them, but it can happen on the Mac as well.) The solution: the moment you notice Photoshop is not behaving, press the Esc key. Don't even try to track down the offending option, just press Esc. Then try your shortcut again. With any luck, everything should be better.


If you're a keyboard junky, you may have found yourself wishing for a shortcut that isn't there. For example, here's a personal peeve: Pressing Command-Shift-N (PC: Ctrl+Shift+N) makes a new layer in the layers palette. So wouldn't it be ducky if you could press Command-Shift- Option-N (PC: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N) to put all linked layers into a layer set? Well, you can, by creating your own shortcut. Choose Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts. Change the Shortcuts For option to Palette Menus. Twirl open Layers and scroll down to New Set From Linked. Click to the right of it and press Command-Shift-Option-N (or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N). Photoshop will warn you that you're replacing a weird trick that bypasses a dialog box when making a new layer. Me, I say who cares? Click the Accept button, then click OK. Just like that, you got yourself a new shortcut.



Too esoteric for you? OK, check this out: If you're a power user, you probably use adjustment layers right, left, and center. They're non- destructive, they're editable, they make you cry with joy. Unfortunately, none of them has a keyboard shortcut. For example, Command-L (PC: Ctrl+L) applies the Levels command, but it's the static version. Meanwhile, the Levels adjustment layer gets nada. Don't like it? Change it. Again, choose Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts. Set the Shortcuts For option to Application Menu. Twirl open Layer and scroll down until you come to an item called New Adjustment Layer>. Right at the top, you'll see Levels. Click to the right of it and press Command-L (or Ctrl+L). As shown below, Photoshop complains that you're about to switch the shortcut for the static Levels command. There is no That's The Idea, Fool button, so click Accept instead. Then click OK. Now press Command-L (or Ctrl+L) and Photoshop asks you to name a new adjustment layer. I ask you, could life be sweeter?



Wish you could mark an entire folder-full of images as copyrighted and include contact info? In Photoshop CS, that's easy. Open a representative image. Choose File>File Info. Change the Copyright Status option to Copyrighted. Then enter the desired info into the Author, Copyright Notice, and Copyright Info URL fields. Click the right-pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the dialog box and choose Save Metadata Template, as below. Name the template and click Save. Then click OK to close the File Info dialog box. That's Step 1, now for Step 2: Go to the File Browser and locate the folder of images you want to change. Select all the images and click the right-pointing arrow to the right of the Metadata tab in the lower-left area of the Browser. You should see a command called Replace followed by the name of your template. (If not, try closing the File Browser and reopening it to refresh the menu.) When you choose the command, Photoshop will warn you that you have multiple images selected. Click Yes to assure the program you are not a moron. If any of your images are camera raw files (which Photoshop can't modify), it'll alert you that it has saved the copyright info to XMP sidecar files. That's fine, so select Don't Show Again and then click OK. A few seconds later, the selected images are marked as copyrighted.

Click for full-size view (Click for full-size view)


As you may have heard, Photoshop CS now includes technology that prevents it from opening certain kinds of banknotes. Rumor has it, the technology responds to patterns in the new $20 bill (including the yellow 0's below) that also appear in Euros and other protected currency. I'm enough of a civil libertarian to find this intrusive. Designers have long been-- and continue to be--permitted to reproduce money for non-fraudulent purposes at certain sizes. Meanwhile, Photoshop won't even open the treatment shown below, even though I did it in Photoshop! So naturally, there must be a workaround: Open the money in ImageReady, then click the Edit in Photoshop button at the bottom of the ImageReady toolbox. ImageReady puts the artwork on an independent layer, which prevents Photoshop from complaining. I imagine Adobe will kill this back door solution in a future release, but so long as you save the layered document as a PSD file, you're safe for now.

Click for full-size view (Click for full-size view)


So, there you have it--14 arbitrary Photoshop CS tips designed to free your mind and elevate your spirit. And just because you've been such a great reader, one last tip to whisk you on your way. Prior to using Photoshop CS, did you by any chance use Photoshop 7? And have you long ago uninstalled it from your computer? If so, here's a great way to free up a big patch of space on your hard disk: Go to the desktop level and search for "FileBrowser" (one word). You'll find a FileBrowser folder. Open it and inside you should find a folder called Photoshop7. Assuming you made frequent use of Photoshop 7's File Browser, this folder is stuffed full of cache files that you no longer need. Throw it away and you'll reclaim anywhere from 100MB to a 1GB of storage space.

Not bad, eh? The foolish Photoshop street monkey comes through again.

Deke McClelland is an electronic publishing pioneer and a popular lecturer on Adobe Photoshop and the larger realm of computer graphics and design. He has hosted Adobe's official "Video Workshop" DVDs that shipped with many versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as hundreds of hours of tutorial-style video training for industry leader lynda.com, with whom his work has won a record-setting eight international awards in the last 12 months. In addition to his video work, Deke has written over 80 books translated into 24 languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. In 2004, Deke created the bestselling One-on-One book series. Published with O'Reilly Media, One-on-One uses video, step-by-step exercises, and hundreds of full-color illustrations to provide readers with the closest thing possible to private instruction from a recognized expert.

In April 2004, O'Reilly Media, Inc., released Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One.

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