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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
This is a very useful shortcut as well, the ability to create a composite copy of all your visible layers. Now, in this particular example, I have got all my layers turned on. But if you just want to create a composite copy of just a few select layers, this trick will work for that as well. Here's the deal. You pick the layer that you want the new composite layer that you are going to create to be above. So, if I want my new layer that I'm going to be generating here to be at the top of the stack, I'll click the first thing at the top of the stack here basically. So, I have just targeted the group here.
When in doubt, hold down the entire left-hand side of your keyboard. It's that running joke, Command+Option+Shift or Ctrl+Alt+Shift, E. So it's still that E command for merging and Command+E would just merge the current layer with the layer below it. Command+ Shift+E, merge visible layers. This is a variant of that, Command+ Option+Shift+E or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E, merges all the visible layers into a new composite copy layer. It's best just to show you what it does, Command+Option+ Shift+E. You will see now at the top of the layer stack I have a new layer called, Layer 1, that is a composite of all the layers that were turned on in the Layers panel.
If I actually Option-click or Alt- click on the eye for Layer 1, you will see the image doesn't look any different on screen but all the other ways have been turned off in the Layers panel. A good buddy of mine named Greg Vanerline, he called this creating base camps. All right, because if you wanted to do something to this particular composite but still have the flexibility to go back to what you did to bring up to this point. What you have done is created a composite copy or a base camp. He alludes this to mountain climbing. When you are scaling the mountain you might create several base camps along the way on your ascent so that if you run into issues or you need to backtrack a little bit, you don't have to go all the way back to the bottom of the hill to get supplies or whatnot. You can just go back to your previous base camp.
Same thing here. He actually calls these base camps, you know base camp 1. So, now he knows that everything underneath this base camp layer is what made up the layer. You can actually turn these off as another visual cue there. So, hold down the entire left-hand side of keyboard, Command+Option+Shift+E, whenever you want to create a new base camp or composite copy of all the visible layers. Once you have this, you can now go do whatever you want to do to this particular layer like run a filter on it, or do a Curves transition on it or whatever.
And again, if you screw it up, you can just delete this base camp layer away because you have everything that was needed to regenerate it still intact.
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