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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 one way to really save yourself some time is if you find that you're doing the same type of thing with a given tool over and over and over again, repeatedly, you might consider creating a tool preset for that. So, for instance, if you're always cropping in at 4x6 at 300 DPI or using a particular font and a particular type, size and color, in combination with the Type tool, you might want to capture those settings. So under the Window menu, there's a panel called Tool Presets, and this is a separate panel that lists any saved presets for a particular tool. Now Photoshop ships with some default tool presets and you can discover those by just clicking to a different tool and seeing if there is any presets for that particular tool. So if I get to the Crop tool, you'll see that there are some presets specifically for the Crop tool.
Now if you click on one of these presets, you'll see it populates the tool options in the Options bar with those same settings. Currently, it's been filtered, by default, to show only shortcuts for the current tool, so it shortens the list. If I uncheck that, these are all the default tool presets that ship with the product. I find it's easier to leave the Current Tool Only as a way to just filter it down for the selected tool. If you want to create your own custom preset for your given tool, it's pretty easy to do. So if I get my Brush tool, I'll press B for the Brush tool, and you can see there's a few here. I'll go ahead and click on the Transparent Red Spray Paint tool preset, and you'll see that it changes it to a particular brush size, it changes the Blend Mode, the flow is set to a certain amount and it actually saved a color as part of that preset as well.
So if I actually start painting, you can see that all that work has been captured in that tool preset. I'll go ahead and undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. If we want to create our own, let's go and do that. Let's just say that we wanted to use a particular brush, maybe, oh, yes, the Leaf Brush, always a popular brush. I want that to be of a certain size, so I use my Right Bracket key to make it larger. We'll give it a different color, just make it this autumn color, let's say. We can change the Blend Mode. Maybe we're going to have it do Overlay. Sure, why not? Then to save that, we'll click the New button in the Tool Presets panel and give it My Wacky Leaf Brush, and you have the option to capture the foreground color as part of that preset. That's totally optional.
Go ahead and click OK. Now anytime I want to use that Wacky Leaf Brush again, I've got it all set up, I just need to click on that preset. So good time-savers. If there is a particular setting you use over and over and over again, consider creating that tool preset for it.
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