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Adobe Photoshop is such an essential tool that I thought it would be a good idea to share some shortcuts today:

PS.gifTip #1:  When creating a graphic or trying to add elements to a graphic, it can be very useful to find the center of your layer.  First press Shift+Command+; (Shift+Ctrl+; on a PC) to turn  Snapping on.  Now press Command+R (Ctrl+R) to make your rulers visible.  Simply click on a ruler and drag into the image:  you'll see that you're pulling out a blue guide which will snap to the center of the layer.  Now you are centered!

Tip #2:  As you know, cropping photos in Photoshop is a part of daily life and being able to crop to your exact dimensions is crucial.  In video work we don't care about using units like inches or points - we only care about pixels.  For example, in NTSC video we need to keep our images to 720x486px.  This may sound easy, but when you type width and height values or make measurements in your image, Photoshop defaults to inches.  You could type 720px by 480px or convert inches to pixels in your head, but there is an easier way instead of having to memorize all those abbreviations.  From the Preferences menu (Photoshop>Preferences on a Mac, File>Preferences on a PC) choose Units and Rulers.  Change the default ruler units to pixels, and you're all set!

unitsrulers.gifTip #3:  A really quick way to make an exact copy of a layer is to press Command+J (Ctrl+J).  If you have a portion of your layer selected, you can use that same keyboard command to duplicate just the portion you have selected (Layer via Copy).  Alternatively, you can add the shift key (Shift+Command+J or Shift+Ctrl+J) to cut out that portion of your layer and put it on a new layer of its own (Layer via Cut).    Now you have a quick way to center a layer in another one and duplicate a layer.

Tip #4:  Learning to use shortcuts is the best way to speed up your workflow.  Whenever you make a shape or want to fill something with color there are many ways to perform this task.  You can use the Fill Command under the Edit menu.  But if you look next to the command, no shortcut will be listed.  Well, there are some undocumented shortcuts to fill whatever it is you are trying to color; simply pressing the Delete (Backspace) key "fills" the selection with nothingness, or erases the space.  But, Command+Delete (Ctrl+Backspace) fills the selection with the background color that you have currently selected.  Option+Delete (Alt+Backspace) fills the selection with your current foreground color.  And finally, Shift+Delete give you a dialog box that lets you pick what you want to fill the selection with.  This is one of those really cool secret shortcuts that will save you some time.

Tip #5:  So, we've been talking a lot about keyboard shortcuts.  You probably wish you could make your own shortcuts for some of your favorite functions.  Well, you can, and here is how:  under the Edit menu choose Keyboard Shortcuts.  In the Shortcuts Pop-up menu choose Application menus.  Now you can select the function you would like to make a shortcut for and highlight that function.  Enter the keys you would like to use to bring up that function and you are done.  You now have the power to create your own shortcuts!

PSkybdshtcts2.gifTip #6:  Sometimes, you'd like to create a keyboard shortcut that does more than just execute a single command.  Using the Actions panel (Window>Actions), you can record as many steps as you'd like into a single "action," then assign that action to a key.  In the Actions panel, simply click the "New" icon at the bottom of the panel (beside the trash can).  In the dialog box that comes up, give your action a name, then assign it to a function key from the Function Key drop-down menu.  Now, click Record and go through the steps that you want to happen.  When you're done, click the Stop button at the bottom of the Actions panel.  Now whenever you press the function key you assigned to the action, Photoshop does all of the steps you went through!


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Creating a Freeze Frame in Final Cut Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

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