Posts in Category "Adobe Photoshop"

October 25, 2016

Double Check your Layer Mask in Photoshop CC

When working on intricately composited, multi layered documents, I often find it useful to check each of the layer masks before finalizing the image. To do this, Option  (Mac) / Alt (Win) -click  on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to display it. With the mask visible, check to see if there are any unwanted awkward transitional areas that might not have been visible in the complex composite (a sharp edge from a selection or hard edge brush for example).

5:05 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 24, 2016

Working with Presets in Photoshop CC

Option  (Mac) | Alt (Win) -clicking a preset on a panel (Brush Presets, Swatches, Tool Presets etc.), will delete the preset (the icon swaps to a pair of scissors).

In order to reorder presets, select Edit > Preset > Presets Manager. Under Preset Type, select Brushes, then drag and drop the brush icons into the desired order. Note: this shortcut also works with any of the preset lists in the Preset Manager (Swatches, Gradients, Styles etc.).

2:31 PM Comments (0) Permalink
October 21, 2016

Using a Selection to Crop in Photoshop CC

If you have an active selection in a document and you select the Crop tool, the Crop tool conveniently appears around the selection. If you reposition the crop, it will deselect the area. Artboards don’t share this behavior.

In addition, if you have a selection and choose Image > Crop Photoshop will crop your image.

I prefer using the Crop tool as it can hide (instead of delete) cropped pixels as well as other options.

5:18 AM Comments (3) Permalink
October 20, 2016

Smudging Pixels in Photoshop CC

Option -dragging  (Mac) | Alt -dragging (Win) with the Smudge too will smudge the image using the foreground color (instead of the colors in the image).

5:11 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 17, 2016

Making Selections on Layers with Masks in Photoshop CC

If you use a Smart Filter’s mask to hide the effects of a Smart Filter, Photoshop will still make selections based on the filtered content – even though it is hidden.

Here is the original photo of an Iceberg. I’ve converted it to a smart object so that I can add the Path Blur filter as a Smart Filter.


Below shows after adding the Path Blur (listed as Blur Gallery on the Layers panel) as a Smart Filter. Notice that the entire layer is blurred.


I drew a linear gradient in the Smart Filter’s mask to reveal the Path Blur in the water, but hid it from the iceberg.


Using the Quick Select tool, I expected Photoshop to easily select the sky, but it selected the iceberg as well (because Photoshop applies the blur to the entire layer – the mask was only  hiding the filter).


Hiding the Path Blur (by toggling off the eye icon next to Blur Gallery), enabled the Quick Select tool to easily select the sky.


In the final image below, I added the new sky layer, used the selection to add a mask so that they sky wouldn’t overlap the iceberg, and toggled back on the visibility next to the Blur Gallery to display the Path Blur filter in the water.


4:50 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 14, 2016

Changing Layer Opacity while Placing Documents in Photoshop CC

To help with the placement/alignment/scale of an object that is being placed (File > Place Embedded and/ or File > Place Linked), the placed layer’s Opacity, Fill, and Blend Mode can be modified in the Layers panel. Note: a layer’s Opacity, Fill and Blend Mode can also be modified while being transformed (Edit > Free Transform).

5:33 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 13, 2016

Changing Layer Effects Global Lighting Default Settings in Photoshop CC

To change the default Angle and Altitude for the Global Light feature (which is used by several of the Layer Effects / Styles), close all documents, then select Layer > Layer Style > Global Light and make your desired changes. These new setting will become your new defaults.

5:25 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 12, 2016

Adding Layer Styles (Effects) to Multiple Layers in Photoshop CC

To copy and paste Layer Effects (Styles) from one Layer to another,  Control (Mac) | right -click (Win) the “fx” icon on the Layers panel and select Copy Layer Style from the context sensitive menu. Then, select the layer(s) that need the Layer Style applied and Control (Mac) | right -click (Win) to the right of the layer name in the Layers panel and select Paste Layer Style.

Or, it might be easier to place all of the layers into a Group and then add the Layer Style to the Group (instead of adding the Layer Style to each layer). That way, if you have to make changes to the Layer Style, you only have to  make the change to the Layer Style on the Group.

I the example below, I put all of the layers that needed the same Layer Effect into the “Fish” Layer Group.

Because the Layer Style was applied to the “Fish” Layer Group, the Layer Style is automatically applied to all three layers included in the Group. Notice how the large “fish” on the left has a gradient and pattern overlay while the two other “fish” (whose layers aren’t included in the group) do not.

Any layers that I add to that Group will automatically have the Layer Effect Applied.

layer Styles are automatically applied as additional layers are added to the group.

Here, all of the layers that make up all three of the “fish” have been added to the “Fish” Group, so they all have the same gradient and pattern overlay (because Layer Styles applied to a Group are automatically applied as additional layers as they are added to the group).

One word of caution: if you have layers within the Group that overlap one another, Photoshop is going to act as if all of the layers within the Group are merged and then applies the Layer Style. In the illustration below, see how repositioning the two shapes in the Layer Group so that they overlap creates a very different result than when the Layer effects are added to each individual layer.

Even though the three Seaweed layers are within the group, each layer has it's own Layer style applied and we get the same results that we would if the layers were not with in a group

In this example,the same layer Style is applied to each plant layer.


layer style

In this example, the Layer Style is applied to the Layer Group. Notice how it appears as if the three plant layers are merged before the layer style is applied.

5:17 AM Comments (1) Permalink
October 11, 2016

Moving and Duplicating Layer Effects and Styles in Photoshop CC

To move Layer Effects from one layer to another, drag the fx icon (or the word Effects). To copy Layer Effects from one layer to another, Option -drag  (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the fx icon (or the word Effects).

To move an individual Layer Effect from one layer to another, drag the name of the individual effect (Stroke, Drop Shadow etc.). Add the Option  (Mac) | Alt  (Win) key to copy the individual effect from one layer to another.

5:22 AM Permalink
October 10, 2016

Displaying Layer Effects in Photoshop CC

When Layer Effects are applied to a layer, the effects are displayed in a list under the layer in the Layers panel. Depending on how many effects are applied, as well as how many layers have these effects, the Layers panel can quickly become crowded.

To collapse the Layer Effects stack, in the Layers panel, click the disclosure triangle to the right of the fx icon.

To collapse all Layer Effects, Option-click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the disclosure triangle to the right of the fx icon.

To  collapse Layer Effects when they’re added, from the Layers panel fly-out menu, select Panel Options and uncheck Expand New Effects.

5:21 AM Permalink
October 5, 2016

The Clone Stamp and Healing Brush in Photoshop CC 

While working on images from Antarctica, I used the Clone Stamp and Healing Brush constantly, but found it distracting to see the sampling point icon each time I tapped with my pressure sensitive pen. While I realize this might otherwise be helpful, because I was constantly resetting the source point based on the contents of the image, I knew where the sample point would be and, as a result, wanted to hide it.


Be default, the sampling point icon (crosshair) is displayed while cloning and healing.

Command + H (Mac) | Control + H (Win) toggles the View > Extras feature to hide the sampling point icon.


Toggling View > Extras, hides the sampling point icon while cloning and healing.

Note, the first time you use this shortcut on the Mac, Photoshop will display a dialog asking “Would you like to use Command + H to hide Photoshop (Mac standard), or to hide/show selections, guides, etc. (Photoshop traditional)? Click “Hide Extras” unless you want to “Hide Photoshop” every time you use the shortcut. If you do choose to “Hide Photoshop”, you can change this behavior later by choosing Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Set the “Shortcuts For” to Application Menus and toggle the disclosure triangle for the View menu. Scroll down to Extras, change the Shortcut back to Command + H and click Accept and then OK.

Often when using the Clone Stamp tool, I would also unchecked the Show Overlay option in the Clone Stamp panel (this hides the preview of the source content in the brush preview). Holding Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt + Shift (Win) to temporarily display the overlay when you need to see it.

5:22 AM Permalink
July 29, 2016

Scrubby Sliders in Photoshop

Positioning the cursor over the text or icon next to a numeric entry field in the Options bar (and in most panels and dialog boxes) displays the “Scrubby Sliders” icon (a hand with small arrows pointing to the left and right). When the Scrubby Slider icon is visible, clicking and dragging decreases/increases the value as you drag left/right. Adding the Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + dragging decreases the values more slowly while adding the Shift key increases the values more quickly.

5:09 AM Permalink
July 28, 2016

Resizing Images Using Open Documents

To make a document the same size as another open document, while in the Image Size or Canvas Size dialog box, select the other open document from the bottom of the Window menu (PS will automatically fill in the values).

5:36 AM Permalink
July 25, 2016

Opening a Composite (Flattened) document from a Layered PSD File

If you ever need to open a flattened (composite) version of a layered document, choose File > Open and navigate to the image. Then, hold Option + Shift  (Mac) / Alt + Shift (Win) and click Open. A dialog appears with the message “Read the composite data instead?” Click OK to confirm.

2016-07-23 comp

You can use the same keyboard modifiers and double click a PSD file in the Operating System to open a flattened version of the file

Note: this shortcut only works if the file was saved with the Maximize (PSD and PSB) File Compatibility preference turned on.

5:08 AM Permalink
July 12, 2016

New Custom Keyboard Shortcuts Available for Brush Options in Photoshop CC

Keyboard Shortcuts  can now be assigned to quickly toggle airbrush and pressure sensitivity controls for qualifying painting tools (such as the Brush, Clone Stamp, History etc.).


To assign your custom keyboard shortcut, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts and Shortcuts For: Tools.


  • Use Toggle Brush Airbrush Mode to assign a keyboard shortcut to toggle the Airbrush attribute.
  • Use Toggle Brush Pressure Controls Opacity to assign a keyboard shortcut to toggle the Brush Pressure controls (when off, the brush pressure is controlled by the Brush preset).
  • Use Toggle Brush Pressure Controls Size to assign a keyboard shortcut to toggle the Brush Size controls (when off, the brush size is controlled by the preset).


5:07 AM Permalink