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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.
In addition to moving layer masks from layer to layer, you can actually copy layer masks as well. So let's say I want to do a Black & White conversion of this particular composite image here. I've got two layers creating the effect. This is that softened blurred layer set to Screen, but now I want to do a Black & White conversion. So I'm going to go to my Adjustments panel and turn On the Black & White adjustment and that's great. I get the result I want. But let's say now that I want to bring the color back into her eyes and only her eyes. Well, once again, I've already created a layer mask. I want to steal that layer mask and make a copy of it, so that it punches a hole through the Black & White layer, revealing the colored eyes down below.
So instead of just clicking on the layer mask and dragging it to the other layer, hold down the Option key or Alt on Windows and now when you Option+Drag or Alt+Drag, Photoshop says, Do you want me to replace the existing layer mask? Yes, if there wasn't a layer mask already, you would just have to duplicate already. But because there was an existing layer mask already, Photoshop says, Do you want to replace it? So we'll click Yes. Sure enough we do and now I've applied that layer mask to the Black & White adjustment layer. So it punches a hole in the same location that the layer mask on this layer punched a hole through. So I get the result I'm looking for.
Now, if too much of the color is coming through around the blue makeup, I want to get rid of some do that orange. I can now fine-tune that layer mask and then get my B key for the Brush tool, pick an appropriately sized brush. Maybe start with 50% Opacity by typing the number 5 key in my keyboard and then I'm going to paint with 50%, in this case, not black, so I'll undo, X, for exchange foreground and background colors and just paint with 50% white to take out some of the excess color where I don't want it, I just want the blue makeup to kind of show up here. I'll just get rid of the skin color here and I'm just painting and dragging to modify the duplicate mask that's on the Black & White adjustment layer and you can just dial the same until you're happy with the results, you can see it doesn't take that much work to get it done.
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