There is a little known feature that can help automatically show and hide panels when working in Photoshop CS6: Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels. I find this useful when I have two columns of panels: where the panels on the far right are fully expanded and the second row of panels are collapsed. If you look at the screenshot, you can see that I have my Properties panels in the collapsed, iconic state.
If I have the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option turned on, and add an adjustment layer, the Properties panel automatically expands so that I can make changes. When I’m finished, the panel automatically closes.
To toggle the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option on or off, Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) in the empty space to the right of an expanded panel’s name.
To change the Type tool’s default settings, close all open documents and make your changes in the Options bar. These settings will now be your new defaults.
If you often set type in Photoshop, you can also use Tool Presets to save and reuse certain combinations of fonts, sizes, colors etc. To save a Tool preset, customize the Type options, then save them as a tool preset either from the Tool Presets panel of the Tool Presets drop down in the Options bar.
Of course if you are using Photoshop CS6, you also have the ability to save Character and Paragraph styles. Watch the video below for more information on the new Type features in Photoshop CS6.
In Photoshop CS5, Adobe introduced the HUD Color Picker to make the selection of a color even easier. (To access the HUD Color Picker with a painting tool selected, Control + Option + Command (Mac) -click anywhere in the image area and drag to select a color. On Windows, Shift + Alt + right-click and drag to select a color.) In Photoshop CS6, the HUD Color Picker (both the Hue Strip and Hue Wheel) have an additional choice for size – small medium and large which can be set via Preferences > General.
Paths and guides are anti-aliased by default in Photoshop CS5 and CS6. This tends to make them appear thinner than in previous versions and for some, more difficult to see on high resolution monitors. To turn off the anti-aliasing, select Preferences and click the Performance category. Under Graphics Processor Settings, click Advanced Settings and uncheck the Anti Alias Guides and Paths option. Note: you won’t see the change until you click OK in both the Advanced Processor settings and Preferences dialog boxes to apply the change.
Normally the shortcut Command + F2 (Mac) | Control + F2 (Win) moves the focus to the menu bar. However, in Photoshop CS6 this keyboard shortcut is not editable since it is hard coded into Photoshop to lighten the interface. Thanks to Pete Green, here is a workaround for accessing the menu bar (Application Menus) using a different keyboard shortcut.
By default, Command + Shift + / (Mac) | Control + Shift + / is assigned to display the Photoshop Online Help. We will release this default shortcut using the keyboard shortcut editor. Once released Command + Shift + / (Mac) | Control + Shift + / will display the Search option in the menu bar. From there, you can either begin to type/search the menu item you’re looking to use, or you can just use the arrow keys from there to navigate the menus.
To clear the default Command + Shift + / (Mac) | Control + Shift + / shortcut, choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts > Help. Under “Photoshop Online Help”, clear out the entry for Command + Shift + / (Mac) | Control + Shift + / (you can leave the CMD+/ shortcut there) and click OK.
You can easily change the shortcut assigned to a Tool using Photoshop’s Keyboard shortcut editor (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts) but you’ll quickly find that most of the letters in the alphabet are already taken. Of course you can reassign shortcuts for tools that you don’t use, but it might be easier to assign “N” or “K” since they are not already being used as part of the default set.
For example, I find it helpful to assign “K” to bring up the Color Picker, and “N” for my Mixer Brush.
• Clicking the eye icon next to any layer on the Layers panel will hide/show the layer.
• Option + (Mac) | Alt + (Win) -clicking on the eye icon hides/shows all other layers
• Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) the eye icon shows both of these options as menus.
However, if I need to toggle the visibility of multiple selected layers at once, then these shortcuts don’t do what I need them to. Instead, I tap “V” to select the Move tool, and then tap 00 (zero+zero) in quick succession in order to set the opacity of the multiple selected layers to 0 (zero). In order to “show”the layers again, I tap the 0 (zero) key once to set the opacity of the layers to 100%.
Almost all of the editing panels in Lightroom’s Develop module display a small “light switch” icon on the left side of the panel’s header. Click the “light switch” to toggle the visibility of changes made in that panel.
The Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush also have the “lights switch” icon to toggle the visibility of the changes made with the respective tool. Note however that the icon is displayed at the bottom left of the tool’s options (as there is no Panel header for these tools).
Tapping the “\” (Backslash) key toggles changes made in all of the panels.
In order to reset any slider in Lightroom, double click on the name of the slider.
Holding down the Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) key modifies the names of groups of sliders. For example, in the Basic Panel, holding the Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) toggles “Presence” to “Reset Presence”. In order to quickly reset the entire group of sliders, click the modified name (“Reset Presence”).
In addition, Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -dragging many of the sliders in Lightroom evokes various different behaviors. For example, in the Split Toning panel, Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -dragging the Hue slider will temporarily preview the Hue (color) at 100% Saturation (making it easier to select your desired hue). In the Detail panel, under Sharpening, Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -dragging the Detail and Masking sliders displays a black and white preview of the mask used to suppress sharpening in lower contrast edge areas in the image). In the Basic panel, Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -dragging the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and/or Blacks slider displays any areas of the image that are being clipped to pure black or white (on a per channel basis).
Command + H (Mac) | Control + H (Win) can be used to quickly toggle between viewing and hiding a variety of items in Photoshop. For example, when working with shape layers it might be difficult to see exactly how a Drop Shadow layer style might appear if the shape layer’s path is visible. Instead of clicking on another layer to hide the path, use the shortcut above to hide the path. In order to control what is shown/hidden, choose View > Show > Show Extras Options. Here is the list of what items can be shown/hidden:
Note, the first time you use this shortcut on the Macintosh, Photoshop will display a dialog asking “Would you like to use Cmd-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 to Command + H and click Accept and then OK.
There are a variety of different tools that enable you to see precise transformation values in Photoshop CS6 including Free Transform and the Crop tool. To change the location of the display, choose Preferences > Interface and, under Show Transformation Values, choose from Never, Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, or Bottom Right.
Shift + F1 will darken the appearance of Photoshop CS6’s interface by one step. Shift + F2 will brighten the interface by one step. Note: on a laptop, you might need to add the function key. Note: you can also change the appearance of the interface under Preferences > Interface > Color Theme.
In addition, you can Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) in the grey area surrounding an image to change the color. This changes the interface behind your image, not the background color of your image.
Did you know that you can create your own custom end panel icon to use with Lightroom? Simply create your graphic (using Photoshop or Illustrator), and save it as a .png. Then, in Lightroom, choose Preferences > Interface > Panels. Under the End Marks area, select Go To Panel End Marks Folder. Using the operating system, place your graphic file in the Panel End Marks Folder. Then, close the preferences and return to them – you will see your graphic at the bottom of the list. Select the graphic to display it at the end of each set of panels.
Note: you can also save the file as a PSD file or JPEG however the JPEG file will not support transparency.
You no longer have to wait for the progress bar to creep across your screen when saving large files because Photoshop CS6’s Background Save feature can save files in the background while you keep working on other projects.
Auto Save, another new feature of Photoshop Cs6, can help recover your file if your computer crashes before you’ve had a chance to save. To select the time interval for automatically saving your files, select Preferences > File Handling and choose from every 5, 10, 15, 30, or 60 minutes.
Both of these features are on by default. To disable either of these options choose Preferences > File Handling and uncheck Save in Background and/or Automatically Save Recovery Information.
As you have probably already noticed, Photoshop CS6 had a major interface overhaul. The entire application was re-skinned and, as a fun fact, that means that over 1800 icons and 250 cursors got a makeover!
There are 4 “Color Themes” or levels of brightness that you can choose from. By default, the second-to-most dark theme is selected. You can change the theme by clicking on the color swatches in Preferences > Interface > Appearance, or use the shortcut Shift + F2 to move to a lighter Theme or Shift + F1 to cycle to a darker theme. Note, on the Mac, you might have to ad the function (fn) key).
Previous versions of Photoshop used the lightest theme. It took me a few days to get use to the change but I now prefer the darker, default interface as I feel that the Photoshop interface now takes a back seat to the image that I’m editing.