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10 Photoshop Tips To Improve Your Workflow

Tips & Tricks

Our Creative Director is very talented and she is always discovering new ways to cut unnecessary time out of our workload. We've put together a list of useful tips to keep your workflow running smoothly the next time you use Photoshop!

1. Double check your specs.

Resizing a project in Photoshop after you've already started can be frustrating and time consuming. Make sure you set up your file carefully - enter the width and height (don't forget to select the unit of measurement too), choose your resolutions and color mode.

2. Save your file often.

Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how easily you can forget! We save our files so often we don't even realize we're doing it! Every so often hit Cmd + S. It can be a life saver, literally!

3. Know your keyboard shortcuts.

Using keyboard shortcuts will save you a ton of time. Once you get the hang of these keyboard hacks, they will be really helpful. Learn your shortcuts! Here are a few shortcuts that we use every day.

Cmd/Ctrl + T - Free Transform
Cmd/Ctrl + S - Save document
Cmd/Ctrl + A - Select all
Cmd/Ctrl + D - Deselect
Cmd/Ctrl + Enter - Accept typing
Cmd/Ctrl + I - Invert colors
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I - Invert selection

4. Name your layers.

This is one of the most important things to do when working in Photoshop. It is important that your layers are named accordingly so your files stay organized, especially if other co-workers will be accessing them. It may seem tedious at first, but it will save you and your co-workers time. To rename a layer double click on the text within the layer you’ve selected.

5. Use layer folders.

After naming each layer you will most likely still have a ton of layers stacked in your layer panel. It is a good idea to take it one step further by separating the layers into folders. To create a folder, click the "create a new group” icon at the bottom of the layers panel.

6. Highlighting layers.

Sometimes organizing your files in folders just isn’t enough. We like to use the color highlight feature in the layers panel to label important layers. If you want to highlight a specific function, a drop down menu, or hovering feature in a website layout, this is a good way to do so. To color code a layer, right click on the eye icon of your chosen layer and pick a color.

7. Layer masks are your best friend.

Layer masks allow you to erase and if necessary, recover anything that you want back. Once you become familiar with this tool you will never touch the eraser tool again. Layer masks preserve the original image while allowing you to make edits and undo them. To create a layer mask, click “add layer mask” button at the bottom of the layer panel.

8. Linking and locking layers.

Two great features that can help prevent error and improve organization are the linking and locking options in your layer panel.

Four locking options from left to right:
Lock transparent pixels
Lock image pixels
Lock position
Lock all

9. Delete unused layers.

It’s very possible to end up with empty layers especially working in a large Photoshop file. Make sure to skim your layers panel often keeping an eye out for any layers you can get rid of! To delete unused layers highlight the layers you wish to get rid of and drag them to the trashcan icon at the bottom of the layers panel. To delete hidden layers, go to the layers drop down menu at the top right hand corner of the layers panel, and click “delete hidden layers.”

10. Arrange layers in order.

Whoever has to open your files will absolutely love you for doing this! It is very important to stay organized throughout your design process. For example, if you are designing a website the navigation layers should be at the top and the footer layers should be at the bottom. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing this from the start!

Keeping your files organized is KEY in a creative agency environment! So try our tips and we promise you will start to see dramatic improvements in your workflow. Email Us to share any tips you may have to add to our list! We are always open and eager to learning new things! Good luck!

P.S. - If you're a design junkie and love Photoshop like us you can find these super fun Photoshop magnets online at Photojojo!

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