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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.
Pretty common thing to do is to turn a selection into a layer. So let's begin by making a rectangular selection here. One thing I haven't covered yet is you can actually dial in a specific ratio or a specific size. So I want to create a snapshot type effect here where it looks like multiple snapshots have been taken and layered on top of each other. So I want my ratio to be, like a 4 X 6. So I'll do 6 X 4. Just hitting the Tab key to go the Height field and lock that in. Now regardless of the selection area I draw, it's always going to be proportional to that 4 X 6. Again, as a reminder if you hold down a Spacebar, you can reposition that selection as you draw it, okay.
So here's my first selection, okay. And I might want to transform that selection. So I've right-clicked or Ctrl -clicked on the middle of the selection to choose Transform Selection and I'm just going to rotate this about 7 degrees or so. Then I'll hit Apply to dial in that transformation. Okay. So I want to duplicate this selection of pixels up to its own layer. I think jump, you want to jump a copy up to its own layer. That's the same keyboard shortcut for duplicating a layer itself. But if you have a selection, you're only going to duplicate the current selection of pixels. Okay, so Command+J or Ctrl+J. We'll duplicate that and call that Layer 1. Now again I may want to be a little bit more descriptive in my naming. So I'm going to undo that. Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. I get my selection back.
How do you name the duplicate of this selection, or how do you name this layer as you create? Add and make better key to your keyboard shortcuts. So Command+Option+J or Ctrl+Alt+J gives you a chance to name this as you create it. So I'll call it Snapshot 1. A real descriptive name there. Okay, go ahead and click Return, and hit OK. I've got this new layer derived from my original Background layer. If I turn the Background layer off, there it is. I've duplicated those pixels up to its own layer. I'm going to hold down the Command key and click on that selection or Ctrl key on that layer and that loads that layer as a selection again, okay.
I'm going to go back and I turn off Snapshot 1. I'm going to go back to the Background layer. Always know which layer you have selected before you actually do this Jump command. So you are jumping from the right layer. Okay, so that was just Command+J or Command+Option+J. This time I'm going to do Command+Shift+J or Ctrl+Shift+J and watch what the difference is. Command+Shift+J, Ctrl+Shift+J. This doesn't duplicate the pixels. It actually cuts a hole out of that background and lifts them up. It cuts them and puts them up on its own layer. We won't use it very often but sometimes you will and it comes in handy when you need it. Okay. So I'm going to undo this.
Command+Option+Z or Ctrl+Alt+Z to go back until just have my selection here. Okay. So what if I you want to cut and name the cut as you created into its own layer? Yes, when in doubt, hold down that entire left hand side of your keyboard. Command+Option+Shift+J or Ctrl +Alt+Shift+J gives you a chance to name this layer as you cut it out of the original Background layer. Okay. All right. So I'm going to revert and go back to the beginning here. Now that we've got to know what our keyboard shortcuts are and we'll complete the task here. So again, I'm going to get my Marquee tool, I'm going to do drag out my selection here in that proportion. I'm going to right-click and say Transform Selection and just rotate that a little bit, like so. Great! And I can position it and I want to duplicate that up to its own layer. So Command+J or Ctrl+J.
I'm going to open up my Styles panel and I've just created a style here. You probably won't have this in yours; you may have other styles. I'm just going to click on this style here to apply a White Stroke and a Drop Shadow on top of that layer, okay. I'm going to go back to the original Background layer again, get my Marquee tool and I'll drag out another selection. Again it's the same proportion. It's the 4 X 6. I'm going to right-click and say Transform Selection, and we'll rotate this the other direction, about the same, like so.
Again hit Enter or Return. Now I want to duplicate this to its own layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J, and we'll click on that style again. Because I went from the back to the Background layer, I've duplicated those pixels now. You can see I can build up this layered snapshot effect. So I'll go back to the Background layer one more time, press M for the Marquee tool and I'll make one more selection like so, kind of reposition that one like that. Holding down the Spacebar to reposition, duplicate this to its own layer, Command+J again, Ctrl+J. I've got a third duplicate and I'll add that layer style to that.
Now I've got this really kind of fun way to make a picture a little bit more interactive just by duplicating selections up to their own layers.
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