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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 this next trick comes in handy quite often actually when you want to paint a straight line. So here I've got a file that I'm going to set up to create a vignette. I've got a separate layer here and I just want to paint a nice straight edge all the way around the outside of darkening. But I'll then change the opacity to darken up these edges to bring focus to the center of this image. So I'm going to get my Brush tool, and I press the B for that, and I've got a nice big brush. To make it a little bit bigger, let's small it with the Bracket keys here. I'm going to line up the center of that cursor there with the left-hand corner, and if you are trying this at home, you don't see the center of your cursor, go to your Preferences, Command+K, Ctrl+K and under Cursors, make sure Show Crosshair in Brush Tip is turned on and while you edit make sure you had a Full Size Brush Tip. Those are much better cursors I think, and they come in handy.
So I've got black as my default color. If it's not that way for you, just press the D key, and it makes it back the default black and white. If I just start clicking and dragging, you can see that it's pretty hard to actually draw a very steady straight line. So to do that instead hold down the Shift key as you drag, and it will guarantee that you get a straight line from where you start. So again, I'm going to line up the cursor with the center of the cursor in the corner there, click, hold down the Shift key and drag, and it doesn't matter where I move that brush, it's going to guarantee that I get a straight line. Same thing here, start in the corner, hold down the Shift key and drag, and you can build it up, but that's not going to let me do a non-straight line, do the same thing here, down just a little a bit, Click, hold down the Shift key and again I get a perfectly straight line.
So that's pretty helpful, and then of course when I'm done, I might want to lower the opacity of this. I'll get my Move tool, press V for the Move tool, and press the 5 for 50% opacity for that layer, and I'm pretty happy with those results. All right, so hold down the Shift key to draw a straight line. You can also do one other thing. To show you here, I can click, Shift-click, and that will draw a straight line between the two clicks. So next time when I do a Shift and Click, if I do it at an angle, it will do a perfectly 45-degree angle. So Click, Shift-click, go at an angle, you'll get 45-degree, click again, so I just draw a little Z there.
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