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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.
Most of the Shape tools have quite a few options and can be customized. To switch to a Shape tool, you press the U key and the first tool on that slot is the Rectangular Shape tool. If you hold down the Shift key and press U, you can toggle through or cycle through the various Shape tools. So there is the Rounded Rectangle, Shift+U again, there is the Elliptical Shape tool. Shift+U again one more time, there is the Polygon, and then of course the Line, and then last is the Custom Shape tool. If you press Shift key one more time, you'll cycle back to the regular Rectangle tool. If there is a Style pop- up menu displayed when you have one of the tools chosen, the period and comma keys will cycle you through the next styles in that pop-up list. Saved you from having to take your mouse and click and get the pop-up panel.
So as I use my period and comma key you see me cycling through that. Like other options here if you hold down the Shift key, it goes to the first style. In this case, it's the style of None and if you do Shift+Period, it takes you to the last style. So again using the Preset Manager, you can rearrange the styles in any custom order if you want a particular style to be at the first and last slot. So again, Shift+Comma takes me back to the first style, which is None. Let's go to Shift+U again one more time to get to the Rounded Rectangle. You'll see if a tool has an edit field to the right of the tool options here, the tool choice, then you can use your bracket keys, your right and left square bracket keys to increment that particular value.
So in this case, it's the Rounded Rectangle tool. So the Right Bracket key will increase the corner radius by 1 pixel at a time, and of course the Left Bracket key will decrease the radius 1 pixel at a time. Like other edit fields, if you want to increase it in 10 time increments, hold down the Shift key and add that to your right and Left Bracket keys to go up or down in 10-point increments. So now if I draw a shape with the Rounded Rectangle tool, it will have a corner radius of 20 pixels instead of the default 10. I'm just going to undo that, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z. We'll do Shift key one more time, and you'll see that the Elliptical tool doesn't have any edit options. There is a blank space there.
So I'll just ignore that for now. Shift key one more time, there is the Polygon tool. Now, you see the right and Left Bracket keys here will change the number of sides. So if you want an Octagon, in this case it's set to Star. If a tool has some hidden options, there is a little blue indicator here, little pop-up menu. You can see that this has been turned on to Star, so I'm going to turn that off. I'm going to hit the Return key to cancel out of that. It will pop up and now I get an octagon. So the Polygon tool can be used to draw polygon or stars depending on what has been turned on in this little secret pop-up box.
You can also do interesting things like turn it into more of a starfish-y type shape. So if I do Star, that asks it to do Smooth Corners and Smooth Indents. You can see quite a big difference here between this shape versus that shape drawn with the same tool. Same number of sides, but you get quite a different look by exploring what the hidden options are inside this pop-up menu. If we go to the Line shape, you can see now that the Edit field to the right is the Weight of the stroke or the Weight of the line. So again the right and Left Bracket keys, we'll make the line a lot thicker, add Shift to that and then do it in 10-point increments. Now, there I get a very thick line.
Then lastly, Shift key one more time, you get the Custom Shape tool. This time, using your right, Left Bracket keys it will cycle you through the custom shapes available. These are the default shapes, of course you can always add your own. There is my flower shape. So I'm going to go ahead and draw with that, if I want to constrain the custom shape to its original proportions, hold down the Shift key, and I get a perfectly constrained shape based on its original definition. So there you have quite a few options for modifying and customizing the Shape tools before you actually draw. And I'll leave with that point. Those options have to be changed before you actually draw the shape. They are not retroactive. They don't change a shape that's already been drawn.
So if you don't like the look of what you just drew, just undo it. Use these keyboard shortcuts to customize the tool, and then draw a new shape.
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