How to Design Efficiently in Adobe Photoshop
If you make websites or have an eye for photography, I’m sure you’re no stranger to Adobe Photoshop. The robust graphics editing software allows designers to create and edit raster images, text, vector graphics, 3D graphics, and even video. Working in Adobe Photoshop can be fun! But it can also be time consuming, especially if you’re just learning your way around. Use these tools, tips and techniques to help you design more efficiently in Adobe Photoshop.
Name your layers
Creating descriptive names for your layers is another time saving tip that designers often skip in effort to save time. Oh the irony! 🙃 Take a few seconds to name and organize your layers to avoid wasting time shifting through unidentifiable layers. This tip also applies when working in Adobe Illustrator.
Be direct and Auto-Select
If you don’t name your layers, this tip can help you sort through those nameless layers a little faster. In the upper right corner of your workspace there’s an “Auto-Select” option. When the box is checked you can select layers by clicking the element on the art board. The drop down menu gives you the option to select elements by group or individual layers, which comes in handy when working with a ton of layered layers.
Transform lost objects
Have you ever lost an object in Adobe Photoshop? If you have, then you know it can be an extremely frustrating process trying to find it. You can see the layer so you know it exists, but you can’t select it or see it or drag it onto the art board. So how do you resolve this problem efficiently? Use the free transform tool, or “Ctrl + T”, to create visible frame edges around your object.
To design efficiently in Adobe Photoshop it is necessary to have a solid understanding of resolution (the number of pixels displayed per inch), image size, and the impact they both have on image quality. A high resolution image has more pixels than one with a lower resolution, resulting in a more clearer photo. High resolution images are often used for print and require a resolution of at least 300 ppi for best results. On the other hand, uploading images with such high resolution can have a negative effect on a website. The image would still look crisp and clear but it could cause slow or even unsuccessful downloads; which is why the standard resolution for web is 72 ppi. Understanding size and resolution upfront can save you from having to resize your artwork later.
Batch your 💩
If you need to perform the same series of actions on multiple files, such as resizing a large group of photos, use the Batch Actions Panel to make Adobe Photoshop do the work for you. Navigate to File > Automate > Batch and watch this helpful tutorial for more details.
Know your history (states)
Ctrl + Z only gets you so far in Adobe Photoshop. Like literally, it takes you one step back. So what happens when you need to go back further than that? The History Panel keeps a list of all the steps you’ve done, but only to a certain point. This point is determined by the History States set in your preferences and can easily be adjusted by going to Photoshop > Preferences > Performance. Even if you don’t need to change your number of history states, it helps to know how far back you can track your steps before starting a design.
Don’t be destructive
Layer masks are a super easy way to make changes to your artwork without altering it permanently. For example, let’s say you have an image of an apple and you only want half of the apple to be visible. You can hide whichever side of the apple you don’t want to show by painting it black. If change your mind or mess up, simply switch to white by clicking the letter “X” and paint in areas of the layer that you want to reveal. The outcome will look very similar to using the eraser tool, but the key difference being layer masks help you design more efficiently and avoid making destructive changes to your layers. Check out this great tutorial to learn more about using layer masks in Adobe Photoshop.
Clip for creativity
Similarly to layer masks, clipping masks allow you to use a layer or object to block out areas of another layer or group. With clipping masks, you can place images into different shapes or add texture to type – the creative possibilities are endless! Check out the infographic below to learn the shortcut for clipping masks and other useful commands to help you design more efficiently in Adobe Photoshop.
Tell me what other tips you use to design efficiently in Adobe Photoshop then grab the Adobe Photoshop Shortcuts Infographic from the resource library!