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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.
I am just going to get out and open the Bucket tool just for whims. It's not a kind of tool you'll use very often. I find it's kind of a very harsh tool. It's really only good for most of the time when you are working with areas of solid color and you don't really care about nice edges, soft edges. So instead of using the Bucket tool, which is hidden under the Gradient tool to fill in large colors of area, I'm going to teach you the fill commands. Things that you can do with your keyboard instead. So with our Move tool selected-- I use these shortcuts all the time, every day. So let's say that I've got this layer mask here and it's got a gradient here and I just want to reset the gradient. Your Fill commands are Option+Delete on the Mac and Command+Delete on the Mac, or Alt+Backspace and Ctrl+Backspace on the PC, and you just hit those keyboard shortcuts. So Option or Alt is going to use the foreground color, and Command or Ctrl is going to use the background color.
So I just want to reset this layer mask to be completely filled with white. I'm just going to do Option+Delete or Alt+ Backspace. I want to fill it with black, Command+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace. So a very quick way just to fill a layer with a solid color. If there is a particular color that you want to use that's not your foreground or background color, then bring up your Shift+Delete or Shift+Backspace command. That will bring up the Fill dialog box. So Shift+Delete or Shift+Backspace if you are on the PC. So for instance, if I wanted to use 50% gray, click OK. Now, I've got a gray on that layer mask and I get a partially transparent blend between color and black and white. Again, if I want to return this back to just a solid white layer mask, I'm just going to do Option+ Delete, Command+Delete and so forth.
On a layer that's got transparency, so these are shapes, and that's another shortcut, I'll Option-click or Alt- click on an eye or a layer to isolate that particular layer. You can see that the only things on this layer are these flower shapes. The entire layer is set to 50%, so I can see through those flowers. Now, if I were to do Option+Delete or Alt+Backspace here, I'm filling the entire layer with that black. I'm not preserving the transparency of those shapes on that layer. So first of all, let's pick a different color, and let's make these flowers be green let's say.
Now, to fill them and preserve transparency, you just simply add the Shift key to your Fill command. So Option and Shift, or Alt+Shift+Delete, fills with your foreground color and preserves transparency. If I want to use the background color, Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift+Delete fills with your background color and preserves the transparency. So memorize these, you'll use them often especially when you are dealing with layer masks or when you are creating new layers. So for instance let's create a knock out of this layer back to a new layer underneath filled with white let's say. So I'm going to get my Marquee tool, type M, make a selection here, just random.
I am going to add that as a layer mask to the bottom of this layer. I could just click on the Add Layer Mask button and it converts my selection to a layer mask. And I want to create a layer behind this layer. So I'm going to hold down the Command key, or the Ctrl key on PC and click on the New Layer icon. Then I want to fill this layer with a color. In this case, the background color, because that's set to white, Command+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace, and I've got that filled with the white color now. Then one final reminder. To bring up the Fill command, you bring up the Shift+Delete or Shift+Backspace on the PC to bring up that actual dialog box.
I think you'll agree that these are much easier to use than the Bucket tool and they are just much more flexible when you keep your hands on the keyboard.
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