Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop: (The Digital Imaging Masters Series)

Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop: (The Digital Imaging Masters Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780240820835
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 07/31/2012
Series: Digital Imaging Masters Series
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Geoff Scott is a Senior Computer Scientist at Adobe Systems, Inc.
Jeffrey Tranberry is an artist turned software developer who has been at Adobe Systems for over 9 years and is currently a Product Manager for Digital Imaging, with a concentration on customer advocacy.

Read an Excerpt


By Geoff Scott Jeffrey Tranberry

Focal Press

Copyright © 2012 Geoff Scott and Jeffrey Tranberry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-82094-1

Chapter One


How You Work in Photoshop

Changing the User Interface for Your Work Style and Speed

The designers at Adobe work very hard to make the user interface the best. They are a voice of authority trying to do well by their customers with the tools presented. The job is difficult when you consider the different customer types buying Photoshop: photographers, web designers, graphic artists, comic book colorists, scientists, animators, 3D modelers.... It is hard to be all things to all people. Fortunately, Adobe engineers have made the system flexible. You might not need all the tools or all the panels available. Some keyboard shortcuts might be wasted on features you never use. That's not a problem. You can change all of that. Changing the user interface to speed up your workflow is the first step in making Photoshop do what you want to do quickly and repeatedly.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Nearly all commands in Photoshop are optimized to have keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts help you to work quickly on your images. How does this happen? Think about a surgeon at the operating table. The surgeon asks for a tool, and another doctor or a nurse places it in the surgeon's hand. The surgeon does not spend time looking for a scalpel and remains focused on the patient. The same working relationship can happen with mechanics fixing a car. Many professional photographers have assistants performing the same type of service, so the photographer can remain engaged with the client, instead of worrying about the lights or the lens or how many photos are left on the compact flash card. Keyboard shortcuts are your assistant inside Photoshop. Your hands ask the keyboard for a tool, and you remain focused on your work, instead of looking through menus.

Think about the following scenario in Photoshop. You add a Curves adjustment layer by using a keyboard shortcut. Next, you press the B key to select the Brush tool. You press D to set the foreground color to black, so you can start masking your adjustment. You change the softness and size of your brush using the bracket keys () to deftly create a mask around an object you want the adjustment to affect. You make a mistake with your mask, so, with your cursor still over the area of the mask that you want to paint back into with white, you press the X key to swap the foreground and background colors. You want to compare the image with the mask and without it, so you click on the mask in the Layers palette with the Shift ([up arrow]) key pressed to disable the mask. Something does not look right with the effects of the mask. You click again on the mask with the Shift ([up arrow]) key pressed and then click again on the mask with the Option ([??]) key pressed to view just the mask without the image shown. You notice that the last paint stroke is not needed, so you press [??] + Z to undo the last paint stroke. Your mask completed, you click the mask again with the Option ([??]) key pressed to see the finished image.

Everything in this scenario was done fluidly, without your stopping and starting to switch tools in the Tool Bar or the type of brush used or the color the brush painted. It all happened quickly and easily with your concentration on the image, not on the tools.

Commit yourself to memorizing several keyboard shortcuts a week. Every time you choose a new command, determine whether the command has a keyboard shortcut associated with it, memorize it, and use it the next time you use the command. Before long, you'll have all your most common operations memorized. You will spend time thinking about your intentions with the image you develop instead of where a tool or menu item is located.

Discovering Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts appear throughout the Photoshop user interface (see Figure 1.1). They are shown in the menus next to the commands they represent. They are in the tooltips displayed when you move a mouse cursor over a tool. They can appear in panels in the lists. Keep your eyes sharp as you use Photoshop and you will see the shortcuts you want to use over and over again.

The menus are the easiest place to spot keyboard shortcuts. You might notice that some strange symbols appear next to the shortcuts. In Figure 1.1, notice that the shortcut for Save for Web & Devices ... is [??] [up arrow] [??] S. This indicates that pressing the Option ([??]) key and the Shift ([up arrow]) key and the Command ([??]) key and the S key at the same time will invoke the File > Save for Web & Devices ... command, just as if you had selected it from the menu.

The keys on the keyboard represented by the symbols are known as modifier keys:

[??] Command key on Mac / Control key on Windows

[??] Option key on Mac / Alt key on Windows

[up arrow] Shift key

For menu commands, you almost always press the [??] key and another key at the same time. When you are writing about keyboard shortcuts, the convention is to write the keys with the plus (+) character between them to indicate that all keys are pressed at once. For example, [??] + S is the keyboard shortcut for saving the current document.

Switching between tools is different from using the menu commands. The shortcut key is simply the character for that tool. There is no need to press a modifier key at the same time. For example, to switch to the Hand tool, press the H key. To switch to the Brush tool, press the B key. The keyboard shortcuts for the tools are mnemonic, or nearly so, to help you remember them. Here are just a few examples:

B is for the Brush tool.

Z is for the Zoom tool.

I is for the eye (I) dropper tool

V is for the moVe tool.

Finding the keyboard shortcuts for tools is easy. Learning the shortcuts is well worth your time, especially for tools that you use regularly.

You do have to be somewhat careful with the tool shortcuts. If you are typing with the Text tool, pressing the B key will type a B character without switching to the Brush tool. Most times, it is obvious when the tool shortcuts will work and when they won't. However, if you find yourself wondering why a tool is not changing, check that you are not typing in a number field or some other control.

Something you will start noticing as you learn keyboard shortcuts is that the more common the operation, the fewer keys needed for that operation. Remember that the shortcut for Save for Web & Devices ... is [??]+[up arrow]+[??]+S. The shortcut to save the current file is simply [??]+S. There are patterns to the shortcuts. Spotting the patterns will help you to remember them.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts to Learn

Return and Escape Keys

The Return key and the Enter key both do the equivalent of clicking the OK button in a dialog. This is true beyond Photoshop in the operating system and most applications. This extends further to other operations where you can commit a change. For example, if you are transforming a layer, you will notice that the Options Bar shows two new buttons: a circle with a line through it and a check mark (see Figure 1.2). Pressing the check mark button will commit the transform changes you've made. Or you can simply press the Return key to do the same thing.

In that same example, if you were to press the Esc key, the transformation would be canceled, the equivalent of clicking the button that has the circle with the line through it. This keyboard shortcut also works in dialogs. Pressing the Esc key is the same as clicking the Cancel button in a dialog. Again, this is a standard for other applications and the operating system.

Option and Shift Keys

The Option ([??]) and Shift ([up arrow]) keys are modifier keys. Typically, you press these keys when you press other shortcut keys. The resulting command tends to be related to what the command would be without the modifier. For example [??] + W closes the current document. Pressing [??]+[??]+W closes all the open documents.

When a dialog is displayed, pressing the Option ([??]) key turns the Cancel button into a Reset button (see Figure 1.3). Clicking the Reset button (with the Option ([??]) key pressed) returns all the values in the various controls of the dialog back to their original settings. This allows you to experiment with the controls without ever losing the values Adobe thought might be most useful to you.

Similar things happen when you are using tools or selecting items in the user interface. For example, clicking on a mask in the Layers panel selects the mask (see Figure 1.4). Clicking on the mask with the Option ([??]) key pressed at the same time shows the mask only. Clicking on the mask with the Shift ([up arrow]) key pressed disables the mask and shows the image without the layer mask. In both cases, clicking the mask a second time with the modifier key pressed returns the image displayed to normal.

A lot of useful functionality is available for many of the tools when you press the modifier keys. Unfortunately, the additional functionality is not easy to discover. These hidden handshakes are what often turn up in the tips and tricks articles about Photoshop. Many useful shortcuts are included here.


<tool key> Switch to the tool currently shown in that tool slot

[up arrow] + <tool key> Shift between the tools in the same tool slot

[ Decrease brush size

] Increase brush size

[up arrow] + [ Decrease brush hardness

[up arrow] + ] Increase brush hardness

D Set the foreground and background colors to black and white, the defaults

X Swap the foreground and background colors

Q Toggle Quick Mask mode on and off

space Switch to the Hand tool while the space is pressed

[up arrow] + drag Create straight lines or equilateral polygons

[??]+zoom tool Zoom out

[??]+brush tool Switch to Eye Dropper tool


[??]+N New document

[??]+O Open document

[??]S Save document

[??]+P Print document

[??]+~ Cycle through the open documents

[??]+[up arrow]+~ Cycle backward through the open documents

[??]+W Close the current document

[??]+[??]+W Close all open documents

Document Views:

F Cycle through the screen modes (standard, full screen with menus, full screen)

[up arrow]+F Cycle backward through the screen modes

[??]++ Zoom in

[??]+- Zoom out

Note: Both of these zoom commands follow the default behavior you have chosen in the General Preferences window by either checking or not checking Zoom Resizes Window. Adding the Opt/Alt key to the shortcut ([??]+[??]++ or [??]+[??]+-) will reverse the default preference.

[??]+0 View>Fit on Screen

[??]+1 View>Actual Pixels

double-click the Hand tool View>Fit on Screen

double-click the Zoom tool View>Actual Pixels

[??]+space+drag Zoom to a particular place in the work area

Work Area:

Tab Hide/show panels


[??]+[up arrow]+[??]N New layer

[??]+J Duplicate layer or new layer via copy

[??]+[up arrow]+J New layer via cut

[??]+[up arrow]+[??]+E New layer via merge visible

[??]+G Group layers

[??]+[up arrow]+G Ungroup layers

[??]+\ Select/deselect layer mask

[??]+2 Select/deselect channel composite

[??]+[up arrow]+A Select all layers


[??]+T Free transform

[??]+drag on center point Skew

[??]+drag on corner point Distort

[??]+[up arrow]+drag on corner point Perspective


[??]+A Select all

[??]+D Deselect

[??]+[up arrow]+I Invert selection


[??]+I Invert

[??]+delete Fill with foreground color

[??]+delete Fill with background color


[??]+Z Undo/redo

[??]+[up arrow]+Z Step forward in history

[??][??]+Z Step backward in history

Changing and Creating Keyboard Shortcuts

Photoshop has a lot of tools and menu commands. It would be impossible or require too many fingers on your hands to assign a shortcut to everything. Despite the best efforts of the Adobe engineers, you might find that a tool you use regularly does not have a keyboard shortcut. Or it might have one that is so long as to be too uncomfortable to use. Don't panic. You can change the keyboard shortcuts to exactly what you want them to be.


Excerpted from POWER, SPEED & AUTOMATION WITH ADOBE PHOTOSHOP by Geoff Scott Jeffrey Tranberry Copyright © 2012 by Geoff Scott and Jeffrey Tranberry. Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1. Customizing How You Work in Photoshop
2. Customizing How Photoshop Works for You
3. Optimizing Your System for Photoshop
4. Duplicating Your Tasks in Photoshop
5. Repeating Tasks on Many Files
6. Repeating Tasks with External Data
7. Building Your Own Panels
8. Scripting Photoshop
9. Customizing Scripts Created by Photoshop
10.Controlling Documents
11.Adding Scripts to Your Panels
12.Scripting Complex Workflows
13.Building Custom Dialogs

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