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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.
Here's another old day but goodie. If you don't know it yet this movie will reinforce why you've just got to incorporate this into your everyday collection of shortcuts. So here I am. I'm in the middle of painting a vignette let's say on this particular image. I've got my Brush tool selected and I have got a layer here that I'm going to start adding some black to darken the edges here. I'm not really paying attention to my current foreground color. I just, got distracted. I'm answering the phone, I come back or something and I start painting and then I realize oh, that's not the color I wanted. I wanted to paint with black. So I'm going to undo that. Command+Z, Ctrl+Z and if I look at my toolbar at the bottom I can see my current foreground color is set to pink and my current background color is set to black.
What we want to do is exchange our foreground and background colors and the keyboard shortcuts for that is just the X key. So X for exchange. Just swaps your foreground and background colors. So often you might be working with a set of two colors and you're going to be switching back and forth constantly. Having to come back over here to the Tools panel and click on that little double arrow is just a waste of mouse movements. So X to exchange, I'll go ahead and start painting with black now and now I get what I want instead of that bright pink. Take that one step further. So if I'm going to my layer mask, you'll notice that on a layer mask your foreground and background colors always change to black and white.
So if I go back to the Vignette layer here, I have now got black and pink. But on a layer mask you're only ever painting with grayscale values. So you start with black. Solo black and solo white are your foreground and background colors and of course you can change the opacity of your brush to paint with different levels of gray. Black on a layer mask adds to the mask, white on a layer mask takes away from the layer mask. So black hides, white reveals is another way of saying that. So I'm painting with black and I want to bring back some color into this color image. This is just a grayscale black and white adjustment layer that's making the image be black and white.
And as I paint with black on my layer mask, I'm punching a hole through the layer mask and revealing the color image. So if I went going too far in a particular area. I don't need to switch to an Eraser tool or anything like that. I'm just going to exchange my foreground and background colors and paint with the opposite color. Black punches a hole; white patches the hole in the mask. I'm going to press X to bring white back to my foreground color and I'll start painting with white to take away that color. So X is for exchange. When I go back to our regular normal layer instead of the layer mask, you see I have got black and pink. I may often want to reset back to my default black and white colors. So that letter shortcut of course is D, D for default.
And you'll see now instead of pink and black, I have white and black as my foreground and background colors.
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