Cheat Sheet: 10 Quick and Easy Photoshop Tips

Illustration for article titled Cheat Sheet: 10 Quick and Easy Photoshop Tips

In the world of photography, Photoshop is the industry standard in post production work—capapble of doing nearly anything to any given photo. Though the rabbit hole is extremely deep, there are a few simple steps you can take to spruce up your images quickly and efficiently.

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Make Images Pop

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One of the simplest ways to add a little razzle-dazzle to darkened images is to lighten an image and then sharpen in. Click on Images >Adjustments > Levels and adjust the sliders until you like the result. When you're finished, bring your image to life by selecting Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.

Create Your Own Meme

Have an awesome picture and an even wittier caption to share with the world? If you want it to look like most other lolcats, failboats, and Internet memes, create your text using the Impact font and then Stroke an outline (Layer > Layer Style > Stroke).

Hide the Selection Outline

In some instances, you may want to hide the blinking selection outline while manipulating an image. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+H. Note that the selection is still active, you just can't see it. To bring it back into view, press Ctrl+H again.

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Quickly Zoom In and Out

An easy way to zoom in and out of an image is to hold Ctrl+Spacebar with your left hand, click the left mouse button with your right hand, and move the mouse left (zoom out) and right (zoom in).

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Batch Resize Photos

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If you plan to upload oodles of high resolution vacation pictures to Facebook, you should probably downsize them first. Open a photo and then click on Windows > Action. Now click on the down arrow, select New Action, and name it Batch Resize. Press the record button and then proceed to resize your pic, save the image, close it, and press the stop button. To use your new macro, go to File > Automate > Batch.

Customize the Grid View

Photoshop's Grid feature (View > Show > Grid) is an invaluable tool for aligning objects, but sometimes the Grid blends in with your image. It's easy to change how it looks. Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids, & Slices and fine tune to your liking.

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Straighten an Image

Find a straight surface in your photo – like a tabletop – and use the Ruler tool to create a straight line. Now go to Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary and notice that the corrected angle is already filled in. Hit OK and watch as your photo is automagically straightened.

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Improve Photoshop's Memory

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You can undo changes and step back in time by pressing Alt+Ctrl+Z up to 20 times by default. Not enough? Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and choose any number from 1-1000. While you're in there, you can adjust how much RAM Photoshop is allowed to use.

Get Hands On

Hold the spacebar to turn the cursor into a hand icon and use it to drag your image. Release the spacebar to continue working. This comes in ultra-handy when manipulating a large and/or zoomed in image.

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Change Brush Sizes on the Fly

This single tip has the potential to save you a ton of time. Rather than bring up the brush menu to make it bigger or smaller, use the left and right bracket keys. This also works with the Eraser tool.

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DISCUSSION

The5thElephant
The5thElephant

Don't use the standard sharpen filter. It is bad. "Unsharp Mask" in the same menu is much better and provides a lot more control.

CMD+/CMD- (CTRL on a PC) allows for zooming in standard steps which is a lot nicer than smooth zoom. Your image will look much cleaner at 25, 50, 100, 200% zoom than at 33, 78, 94% etc zoom due to the viewing algorithm.

When adding levels don't do it straight from the menus. Use "Adjustment Layers" which can be found in the small black/white circle icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. This creates a layer with the levels control which will only apply to layers below it, and can be turned on and off or adjusted later. This is called non-destructive editing and allows for a lot more control without permanently affecting the pixels.

This way you can stack a levels and curves adjustment layers, and alternate them or combine them to see what works best. It also lets you apply a layer mask so that you can do an adjustment to just part of the image instead of the whole thing.