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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.
So let's talk about opacity. Very quick easy ways to adjust opacity, both of a layer or of a particular tool brush for instance that you are using. So let's say I want to paint a vignette on this particular image. I've got a layer just setup for that set to Multiply. I want to darken the edges so I've got black as my foreground color. I've got a brush chosen and my Opacity of my brush is currently set to 100%. You can see this here in the Options Bar. So if I paint an edge here at the top, I get 100% solid black on this separate layer covering up the pixels down below. Probably not what I wanted.
So I'm going to go ahead and undo that, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z. And now with a tool selected if I just type a number on the keyboard, I can change the opacity of that brush in 10% increments. So for instance, if I type the number 5, my Opacity value is now set to 50%. I never had to look at the Options Bar. I never had to go and click in this field to type anything. I just type right on the keyboard and it changes that brush. Now if I start painting, you can see instead of 100% black, it's dropping down 50% black, which means it's semi- transparent. I'm going to undo that. Again, typing a number changes it in 10% increments. So if I type an 8, I get 80%.
If I type 4, I get 40% and so on. If you want it to be more granular, you want single digit precision or a single digit increments, you just press two numbers very quickly. So if I do 5-6, I get 56%. If I do 6-6, I get 66%. Okay, so that's changing the opacity of your brush. The same shortcut works to adjust the opacity of a layer as well, if you have the Move tool selected. So I'm going to go ahead and paint with 100% black again. And we'll just go ahead and paint our edge here around our image here.
I obviously don't want to make it that dark, but I want some more flexibility. I'll go ahead and change the layer opacity after I've actually done this edge. I'll press V on my keyboard for the Move tool, and now if I press one of those numbers again I'm going to be changing the opacity of the current layer, in this case the Vignette layer. So if I type 5 that layer is now set to 50% Opacity and it blends down to see the underlying image. If I do 2, that's 20%. So I can get a very subtle effect. If I go back to 0 on the keyboard, it takes it back to 100%. So I think for this image I'll settle on say 30%, and I'm happy with that.
So very quick easy way to change both brush opacity or the opacity of the current layer. To do the layer trick, you just have to have the Move tool selected.
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