Ten useful tips on working in Photoshop

Photoshop for you new? We will help you figure out what’s what!

Studying Photoshop can take a lot of time, and there are a lot of things that I, unfortunately, did not know when I started doing this. Therefore, today I present to your attention ten useful notes, thanks to which it will become much easier to work with Photoshop! You will learn about the most important tools and tricks that even a beginner can master.

1. Get to know the Tools

This is the Photoshop toolbar.

Click the double arrow to place the tools on the panel in one or two rows.

Did you know that you can customize it for yourself?

Although many useful tools will always be in your sight, you can miss the extra tools hidden behind the triangles in the lower right corner, using only those that are located “on the surface”.

So set up the toolbar for yourself – let it be a useful reminder that it is worth trying new tools!

Click Edit> Toolbar (Edit> Toolbar …) to manually select the tools. Group them according to priority levels – for example, one group can be made up of tools that have yet to be mastered, and another group can be made up of those that you use all the time.

Do not overload the panel with tools that you do not use; instead, place your favorite instruments in it!

Decide on the Basic Toolkit

All tools will not be needed in every job, and therefore it is important to create a strong base, with several flexible tools that are good in different types of jobs.

Here you see two different projects: drawing on the tablet and photo manipulation. Notice that the tools for both projects are identical?

While the first project is entirely a drawing, the second one is very dependent on my illustrative skills. So do not worry if you are not familiar with these tools! Your core set should reflect your interests, be it design, photography, or illustration.

And do not forget that many Photoshop tools can be used for different purposes. For example, Pen (Pen) can be used both to separate the model from the background, and to create a vector illustration.

There are other tools that you will need, but consider them secondary. For example, tools Pen (Feather) and Move (Moving), at first glance, they do not seem to be particularly creative, but they are needed (and sometimes needed very often) to improve the workflow.

What are your main tools?

In the beginning you will always have favorites. But as your skills improve, challenge yourself and try new tools and creative effects.

2. Introduction to the Layer Panel

Simultaneous keystroke Control-Shift-N creates a new layer.

Layer Panel very effective and helpful. It will change your view of the development, opening you countless possibilities in Photoshop.

But how?

Well, in general, the panel allows you to control several parameters. Opacity (Opacity), Fill (Fill) and Color (Color) only a few of them. With the help of these parameters you can change your layers, creating many cool effects.

Text effects, for example, are often created using incredible Layer styles (Layer styles).

In the beginning, you will probably use the layers panel for its primary purpose – to keep your work on separate layers, but I highly recommend working with it in more detail. Explore the panel as much as you can, and you will discover new ways to create detailed works.

Having trouble with color? Try working with Layer blend modes (Layer blending modes). Want to get a brighter result? Perhaps your decision is Adjustment Layer (Adjustment layer).

3. Save time with Layer Masks.

It was time to hold an important conversation – a conversation about layer-masks.

Beginners layer masks can be confusing, but they are vital for effective editing.

To use the layer mask:

Here I drew a circle in the middle of the mask to show a white background under a layer filled in blue

  1. In the layers panel, select the layer you want.
  2. Then click on the layer mask button (translator’s note:button highlighted in the picture at number 1).
  3. Using the tool of your choice, apply white or black color to the mask to hide or show parts of this layer. In this case, I used the tools. Selection (Highlight) and PaintBucket (Fill).

Use layer masks in any works! Introduce them into your normal work, so that any adjustments can always be painlessly canceled.

Most of the time, difficulties with this feature arise because of a misunderstanding of when to use it. Newbies often just use the tool. Eraser (Eraser), as this is the fastest solution.

You can also use masks to create isolated objects, and then insert them into your work.

4. Control-S Correct?

Save or Save As …? That is the question.

Quality matters, so before you save your work and close the program, think about this:

  • Why do I need this file?
  • Where can I store it?
  • In what format do I need it?
  • How to keep it in the best quality?

Above, you see a comparison of different levels of quality, 1–83%, 2–1%. Image taken with Envato Elements.

What and where

The answer to the first question is whether your work will be used online. In graphic materials for online posts, quality is not so important, while printed materials must be stored in high resolution. Explore print guidelines to understand what important settings are needed, such as Color modes (Color Profile) and how to manage them.

Store your files in a place on your computer where you have quick access. Photoshop may give an error if some elements are missing in the file (for example, fonts), so try to keep everything in order.

Format and quality

Now that you know what your work is for, you can save it in the right format. Many designers save their work in several formats – this provides additional flexibility.

To save a document for the Web:

Click File> Export> Save for Web (File> Export> Save for Web).

Check how your work looks with different compression settings. Avoid loss of quality!

5. Know the difference between the recommendations for the Internet and print.

How good will your design look like in printed form?

Saving work in different formats is also needed in order to understand print quality. If, for example, your drawing, design, or other work contains bright neon colors, then you may be disappointed with the physical result.

Minimalistic design is a huge trend, in part because it provides great opportunities for printing. Such a design is often easier to print, and therefore it is used more often.

What looks good on the screen will not always look as good on paper. There are many reasons for this, and the essence of one of them is how exactly the ink falls on the paper. Even for this step, it is absolutely necessary to understand the difference between the color profiles. Rgb and CMYK.

Work according to your situation. To open / change Color mode (Color profile) of your file, click Edit> Color Settings (Edit> Customize Colors …).

Test your work by printing them in the printing industry! For best results, find out the details of the printer specific printing.

6. Sets! The sets! The sets!

In the real world, there are things like tight deadlines and daunting tasks. Therefore, save valuable time using the built-in sets of Photoshop!

There are sets of brushes, shapes, patterns and much more. You can quickly add a filter to a photo or create a brochure with abstract elements.

To view them all, click Edit> Presets> Preset Manager (Edit> Sets> Set Management).

In each category, a new list of sets will be displayed, but you can find even more by digging into the drop-down menu in the upper right corner.

One of my favorite sets is brush sets. Brush kits from your favorite artists are cool too, but use the ones you already have!

These kits include various textures, beautiful gradients and more.

In the screenshot you can see an example of a set of brushes Wet Media (Wet brushes).

Use the sets to create amazing effects! They are already organized for your convenience, so all you need to do is download them and get started.

7. Easily change colors with adjustment layers.

Create incredible lighting schemes with just a few clicks!

Adjustment Layers (Adjustment layers) are just perfect for Photoshop newbies. They allow you to easily change many of the visual aspects of your work.

Need to save the original photo? No problems. Tools that allow you to roll back any changes, such as adjustment layers, will help you create stunning effects without losing quality.

To use the adjustment layer Color lookup (Color search):

Click Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Lookup (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Search). Select a set for the file 3DLUT File from the drop down menu. Click OK and enjoy the result.

Stock Photo Envato Elements.

Corrective layers are one of my favorite tools, and I am extremely pleased with the fact that they are also suitable for the illustrations on the tablet!

Artists who specialize in drawing in Photoshop use these corrections to try different color palettes before making a final decision. Explore different lighting schemes and more with incredible tools, such as Curves (Curves).

8. Learn to organize your Workspace.

Chefs like to keep their kitchens clean, as this contributes to their accuracy and productivity. So why not create yourself a clean workplace in Photoshop?

The organization helps to create a good working atmosphere. And even if it seems that carelessness is very creative, an organized workplace can improve your work.

First, close all extra tabs!

After that, there are still a lot of ways to make everything neater. For example, you can clip and unfasten your favorite panels and toolboxes.

Then click Window> Arrange (Window> Arrange).

Choose one of the following layout options so that all your documents are displayed neatly. Keep at hand sources of inspiration to make it easier to reach.

The standard solution is Consolidate All to Tabs (Combine all tabs), but you can also choose, for example, 2-up Vertical (2 up, horizontally) to place the sample next to their work.

Need to return your workplace to its original form? Click Window> Workspace> Reset Essentials (Window> Work Environment> Reset Main Work Environment).

The workplace of each artist will be different. Some people like to see more working panels than others. For example, I do not belong to those, as I prefer to minimize the disorder. But whatever you personally like, you can always customize the working environment as you wish.

9. Master the Pen Tool

Tool Pen (Feather) (P) can sometimes be scary, however, over time you will be able to fully master it.

To get started, learn the tool itself. Option Path (Contour) is needed to highlight the area, Shape (Figure) allows you to create your own shapes.

Then get to know Path Operations (Contour operations), Alignment (Contour alignment) and Arrangement (Streamline contour). Designers who are familiar with Adobe Illustrator may find it easier to get comfortable with this tool.

The best way to learn something is to experiment! Create a bunch of lines and curlicues, and then play with the settings, like Blending options (Overlay options). The possibilities are truly endless! Do not forget to use the Pen tool when creating text effects, illustrations and more!

10. Memorize Hot Keys

Hotkeys are not new.

However, designers sometimes have problems remembering them. Want to learn a little trick to help you remember these keys?

Try this old trick to help you think about tools. When you think of a hotkey, imagine an image that explains what it is, or how to use it.

Pressing the letter B, which causes the tool Brush (Brush), I automatically present this:

Remember these keys by priority. As in the first part of the lesson, it is important to understand which hot keys you need most. You will also need to memorize additional keys related to your favorite instruments.

To increase the size of the brush, for example, click the right or left square bracket: [ or ].

You will easily remember your favorite hotkeys, as you will often use them, but it is worth exploring new features.

Need more tips?

You will not master Photoshop in one day, and this is absolutely normal! Just think of it as a creative adventure that gets better with time.

Before you close this lesson, remember:

  1. Decide on your basic toolbox.
  2. Get to know the layers panel
  3. Save time with layer masks
  4. Save files correctly
  5. Know the difference between print and Internet recommendations.
  6. Use the sets …
  7. … and corrective layers.
  8. Organize your workplace.
  9. Learn the Pen tool.
  10. Remember the hotkeys.

Try these tips and tell us in the comments about the most useful for you!

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