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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 just to remind you that masks can be inverted at any time. That's a non-destructive action and I'm going to give you a couple of shortcuts for how to invert a mask as you create it. So let's say I want to sharpen this image and I'm going to use the High Pass Sharpening technique, which is where you duplicate a layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J, you go to Filter > Other > High Pass and I'll just use a value of 2 for now. It's great. It makes everything that's not an edge to go gray; everything that is an edge gets enhanced. You see a darkening and a lightening on the edges there.
To make the gray stuff go away, we are going to change the blend mode to Overlay and then I can see before and after. Now the sharpening here is a little bit too strong and I only want to dial in the sharpening around the eyes and maybe the lips, let's say. So I'm going to go and create a layer mask and to do that I go to the bottom Layers panel. Normally when I click on the Add Layer Mask button, it's set to Reveal All, so the layer mask is set to be filled with white. So it doesn't look like anything happened when you added the layer mask. I am going to undo that, Command+Z. To get the opposite of that behavior as you create the mask, meaning create an inverted mask as you create it, hold down the Option key or the Alt key and click on the Layer Mask button, and you get a layer mask filled with black, automatically by default.
Now if you want, you can always use your Command+I, your Ctrl+I, Invert command. Command+I, Ctrl+I and that will just toggle that from being inverted back and forth. It's non-destructive there; you can do it at anytime. Now with the layer mask filled with black, I get my Brush tool, and I'll just paint with white X to make sure my foreground color is white here and I'm just going to paint in the sharpening where I wanted and only where I wanted just on the eyes. Okay, maybe across the lips a little bit there and then to see the before and after, I'm going to hold down the Shift key, I'm going to click on the layer mask, there is the layer mask being turned off. So the whole layer is being sharpened. Shift-click again, and now only the eyes and the lips are being sharpened.
Remember if you hold down the Option key or Alt key, you can see the mask by itself and you can see I spent hours painting that very elaborate complex mask. Okay, so there you have it, invert the layer mask as you create it by holding down the make better key Option or Alt.
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