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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.
Another very fun and kind of interactive way to change values is to take advantage of a feature in Photoshop called scrubby sliders. Let me show you what I mean. So I want to change the opacity of the Shape layer, this white overlay. I want to be able to see through it to see some of the image below. So I'm in the Layers panel and they have an Opacity field. And if I click on the little drop-down arrow next to 100%, I get a pop-up slider. A lot of people don't like pop-up sliders because they kind of stay open and then you have to either click to get them to go away again or hit the Enter key and it just requires more clicks or keyboard presses than are necessary.
So let's take that back up to 100% and instead I'll show you that every value that has a label, if you hover over the label, your tool gives you the finger so to speak. You get a little Hand tool with a little double-arrow on the index finger there. That's the indicator that shows you that that label is scrubbable. So if I click and hold on the Opacity label and start dragging to the left, I have a virtual slider and if I keep the mouse down, you can see that that rectangle now is changing its Opacity as I slide. So these are called scrubby sliders and they are available anywhere you see a label next to a text field.
Just like using the arrow keys, when you've clicked inside the text field, if I add Shift to with the scrubby slider, I do it ten times faster. So here I'm going at 10% increments instead of just 1% increment, and then if I hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, I slow it down by 10% increments, if that particular control supports that. So Opacity can only be in whole values; it can't be 78.5%. So in this case the Option key doesn't do anything for the Opacity slider. But in other areas like say Gaussian Blur where we can do it in decimal point increments, holding the Option key or the Alt key would slow it down ten times, holding the Shift key would speed it up ten times.
Scrubby sliders, they are available anytime you see a value. So if I actually go into my text here as well, press my Type tool, T for the Type tool, I have a text value here for the point size and again when I put my mouse over the label, I get the scrubby slider indicator. So again if I just click and start dragging, you have to pause for a second for the text body to actually catch up, but you can actually see it working now. If I go to this particular layer here and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Again anytime when you see a label, you get a scrubby slider indicator, so you can use it that way. If I hold down Option or Alt, I can slow it down or speed it up with using the Shift key.
If you run across a control that doesn't actually have a label or the label is far away from its actual value, you notice when you put your mouse over the text value itself, you don't get the scrubby slider indicator. You can actually generate a scrubby slider on any text field in the interface by holding down the Command key on the Mac or Ctrl key on the Windows, and you'll see my cursor now changes to scrubby sliders over the text value itself. So you've got that as a backup plan, if for some reason the control you are trying to edit doesn't actually have a label. Scrubby sliders, they are going to become your new friend. There you go.
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