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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.
As you are working on layer masks, you sometimes shift between the layer and the layer mask itself. And sometimes you get kind of lost where you are, so you hit your B key for brush in your painting. And you are meant to be painting on the layer mask and then you realize, oh shoot, I'm actually painting on the layer. So I'm going to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. There are ways to toggle back and forth between the layer mask and the layer from your keyboard without actually having to scroll the way over to your right hand side of your screen, especially if you have a really big monitor. You can do it from right where you are in your image here. The Backslash key, that turns the layer mask on as an overlay over the image. If you do Command or Ctrl+Backslash, pay attention to this little outline around the layer thumbnail here.
If I do Command+Backslash, that puts the outline around the layer mask. So it's a way to target the layer mask, so now when I start painting, I'm not painting black pixels on this layer, I'm actually adding to my mask. You can see that, some black paint got dropped down there on the mask. I'm going to go ahead and undo that, Command or Ctrl+Z. To get back to the layer, unfortunately it's not a simple toggle. Like I can't do Command+Backslash again to go back to the layer. To go back to the layer, you do Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows. So Command+2, you see the selection bounding box around the layer thumbnail now.
I'll outline there, Command+Backslash, Command+2, so there is your way to toggle back and forth between the layer and the layer mask.
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