Top 10 Quick and Easy Photoshop Tricks Tips and Hints You’ll Actually Use

Adobe keeps making great improvements and changes to Photoshop and though I cannot use it to it’s full potential I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. My wife is what I would term a Photoshop guru or expert and the things she can get Photoshop to do continues to blow me away. I don’t have the newest Photoshop CS version, I still use Photoshop 7, so my apologies if any tips are no longer valid or are outdated.

I have tried here to compile 10 tips that will help you use Photoshop in ways you never thought of before or maybe just to use it more quickly to do the things you do now.

1- Edge Burn-in Technique

Try using the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and select the area slightly smaller than the outer edge of the image (50-100 pixels, your preference). Now invert the selection (Select-Inverse) and make a Curves adjustment later to darken the edge and click OK. Then apply a heavy Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur) to the layer mask with a Radius of around 100 pixels based on your preference. You can customize this by using the Brush tools or layer Opacity slider.

2- Make Image Midtones Pop

To avoid sharp shadows or highlights while bringing out the midtones try this technique. Make a duplicate of the Background layer and then choose Filter-Sharpen-Unsharp Mask, and then set the Amount, Radius and Threshold to 50/20/20 respectively. Now from the Layers palette menu select Blending Options and in the This Layer section move the Shadow slider to 70 and Highlight to 185. Now press Alt (Option) then move the sliders apart to move the Shadow to 0 and Highlight to 255, now click on OK.

3- Make Fancy Edges for Images With Filters

Open a copy of your image so you keep your original intact and double click on the Background layer in the Layers palette. Next click OK so that the later is a Layer 0, or ‘normal’ layer. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and create a selection slightly smaller than the outer edge of the image same as in the edge burn-in technique above. Start Quick Mask (Q) then do Filter, Filter Gallery so you can apply the filters of your choice and then hit OK. Exit Quick Mask mode (Q again) and then click the Add Layer Mask icon in the Layers palette to mask the image in the shape you created.

4- Quick Layer Tip

When you add a new layer it appears at the top of the Layers palette. To make your new layer below the active layer and not the background layer press Ctrl (Command) when you click the Create a New Layer icon!

5- Make Cropped Images Match

With both images already opened, start by clicking on the image that is the correct size. Now select the Crop tool (C) and click on the Front Image button in the Options bar and the Width, Height and Resolution properties in the Options Bar are filled in for the front image. Now drag out a crop boundary in the second image and press Enter (Return) and your second image is now the exact same size as the first.

6- Take Control of Sliders

When you move your cursor over a numeric option in most Option or dialog boxes a slider bar appears. If you want more control over the slider, pressing Alt (Option) and dragging the cursor makes the values move 10 times more slowly and holding the Shift key makes them move 10 times faster!

7- Keep Your Histogram Accurate?

Be certain that your Histogram is not a cached version of your previous edits. If a small triangle appears on the Histogram you can click on it and it will update your version to the current one.

8- Reapply the Last Filter

If you want to use the same filter again with the same settings hold down Alt (Option) as you select the filter and it will open with the last-used settings. You can also use the shortcut Shift-Alt-F (Shift-Option-F) to reapply the filter.

9- Easy Crop Tool

When Cropping (C) click and drag outside the bounding box and this will allow the crop box to rotate any way you like to change the angle of your image or get it nice and straight. Double click inside the box to crop. We use this all the time in our camera repair shop when taking pictures of parts to be placed on the website, works great!

10- Make Crisp-Edged Shapes

When using the rectangular Shape tool, click on the down arrow to the right of the shapes in the Options Bar and turn on Snap to Pixels checkbox!

I hope you are able to find one or two items that will help with your Photoshop use, and as soon as I can find time to take a break from my Canon digital camera repair I will have more tips for you.

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