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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.
In this video, I'm going to talk about selecting layers and just as a quick review, yes you can select layers with the Move tool if you have the Auto-select option turned on in the Options bar. Then just whatever layer you click on gets selected. And if you take a look over here in the Layers panel as I click you are seeing different layers select. If I hold down the Shift key then that adds that layer to the selection when I click on it. And if I Shift-click again, it deselects the layer if I click on it twice. If that's turned off, the option here Auto-select, then holding down the Command key with the Move tool or the Ctrl key on Windows basically turns on the Auto-select behavior. Okay, so that's probably the most common method. There is another technique though using the keyboard to select layers. I'm going to start with nothing selected here. And to select nothing you can just click anywhere other than a layer in the layer list, here in this gray area.
I am going to use the keyboard, the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on Windows and then your Right and Left Bracket keys. The same bracket keys you have been using to change your brush size let's say. So Option+Right Bracket, the square bracket, in this case selects the first layer at the bottom, the Background layer. And if I hit this again, Option or Alt+Right Bracket, I go up the layer stack. If I go Option+Left Bracket or Alt+Left Bracket, I go down the layer stack. If I add Shift to this-- well, first let's go back to the middle. So I'm going to be using Option or Alt+Right Bracket. So I'm in the middle layer here, the hugging layer.
If I add Shift to this keyboard shortcut, so Option+Shift or Alt+Shift, then using the Right or Left Bracket keys, I'm going to add to my selection. So if I do Option+Shift+Left Bracket, I add the layer below. If I Option+Shift+Right Bracket, I add the layer above. And if I continue to press these, it will just add more layers to my selection. Now at first you may think "that's way too convoluted, that why would I ever do that?" "It's just easier to click with the Move tool on the layer that I actually want." And that's true except when it comes to recording actions, if any of you have done that.
When you click on the move with the Move tool in the actual document, or on a layer, you are actually recording the specific layer in the action that you are recording, meaning the name of that layer. So the major difference between using the mouse versus the keyboard, if you use the keyboard shortcuts that I just taught you to select layers, you will be recording the relative layer location in the layers stack, not it's actual layer name. And if any of you have recorded actions where you get an error saying, layer such-and-such is no longer available. It's because the layer name itself was captured in that action. So when you are just trying to do stuff relatively, meaning do something to the layer above the current layer or the last layer in the list or whatever, then using these keyboard shortcuts for selecting and moving from layer to layer to layer is the way to go.
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