Category Archives: Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop tutorials.

Testing out Mormon Images

This article is meant to test out the Googlebot’s response to images hosted on LDS.org.  It will use two hotlinked images from LDS.org

Here is the first one.   This is a picture of Mormon apostle Russell M. Nelson.  This one is indexed in Google’s image search.  This image is referenced from the LDS Gem Archives page on LDS.org.

  Elder Russell Nelson

 Here is a second image.  This one is hosted on the Who Are the Mormons page of the newsroom.

Mormon Sister Missionaries

sweatshirtstationscreenshot

Use Adobe Photoshop to Find Web Site Color Codes


This article was written by Richard Robbins

Have you ever been to a web site and thought, “Hey, I like those colors.  I wonder how easily I could integrate them into my web site.”  Often when I am designing a new web site, I find it helpful to set up a color palette by referring to what others have used.  Well, here’s a trick that will help you get the hexadecimal codes that comprise the color scheme for a web site.  Using this trick, you won’t have to use View Source and sort through a bunch of code trying to figure out which colors are represented by which codes.

Continue reading

Sand on Patio

Photoshop Tutorial – Creating a New Brush

There is a large variety of brushes available in Photoshop already, but it is still fun to create your own.  Which brushes you use when creating artwork largely depends on the type of artwork you wish to create.  For example, if you want your artwork to look futuristic you may choose smooth brushes with sharp edges.  If you are creating a sketch on canvas artwork in Photoshop, you will probably want to use brushes that have more texture including uneven edges and voids in the middle.  When you create a brush in Photoshop, you can design a brush that is uniquely yours.  There are several different methods you can use to create a brush.  Here is one of them.

Texture is an important element in a brush.  There is texture all around to take inspiration from.  Carpet, fur, and even an old sweater are some examples of places you can look to find texture.  Take a pictures of texture whenever you find something that interests you to use for projects like making brushes.  For this example I am going to use a picture I took of my back patio after my kids spilled sand all over it.  Sometimes messes can have perks!

Sand on Patio

Select the Clone Stamp Tool.

Clone Stamp Tool

Choose a clone brush that works best for the new brush you would like to create.  I used the Chalk 23 Pixels brush and used the slider to change the Master Diameter to the largest size possible (2500px).

Select a portion of you image with the clone tool.  Then open a new document with a white background.  Paste your cloned image into the new document.

Cloned Image

Desaturate your image to remove all color.  Desaturate can be found under Images>Adjustments in the top menu bar.

Desaturate

Now select Curves by going to Images>Adjustments>Curves.  The curves dialog box is used to adjust levels.  I am going to add contrast to my image by darkening the dark areas of the picture so they contrast more with the lighters area.  I do this by moving the dark point in the bottom left towards the center.  You can also move the white dot in the top right to the center to adjust the light area of the image.

Curve Dialog Box

This is the result of adjusting curves.

Adjusted Image

Crop the image you created to remove extra space around it.   Save your new brush by going to Edit>Define Brush Preset.  A window will appear in which you can name your brush.  Click OK.  You have now added a new brush to your library.

Name Your Brush

Lets see how this brush appears for selection and how it looks in action.

Grainy Brush

As you can see by the number 1401 under the brush,  this brush I created is HUGE!  I could have resized the brush before saving it for easy use, but that is really unnecessary because any brush can be scaled up or down to any size by sliding the Master Diameter slider. 

Grainy in Action

This texture is now ready for use on any project and in any color.

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand Tool allows you to select areas with consistent colors without tracing the outside of the area. Rather, you can control the amount of color variance allowed in the selection by adjusting the Tolerance of the Magic Wand.  This, along with other options is available in the Magic Wand menu bar.  Here are the options in order as they appear in the menu.

 Magic Wand Tool

Using Magic Wand
This image shows the Magic Wand being used to select the blue jersey.

There are four options for the type of selection you can choose.  The default option is New Selection.  This allows you to select a new area with the Magic Wand.  If you need to deselect a portion of the selected area, choose Subtract from Selection and draw around the area you want deselected.  Likewise, Add to Selection increases the selected area.  You can also add to your selection by pressing shift while selecting regardless of which option you have active.  Intersect with Selection allows you to draw two areas and the overlapping portion will be the selection area.  You can continue to draw as many overlapping shapes as you would like until you have the correct area selected.

 Selection Options

The next option is Tolerance.  This adjusts the color variance that will be added to the selection when clicking on an area.  A lower value selects colors more similar in color to the pixels clicked on; a higher number allows a broader range of colors.  Anti-alias smoothes the edges of the selection.  If selected, contiguous only allows the Magic Wand to select similar colors that are touching the area selected.  If not selected, similar colors in the Tolerance range will be selected anywhere in the image.  Sample All Layers allows you to select from all layers rather than just the currently selected layer.

 Magic Wand Menu

For more control over the edge of your selection, click on the Refine Edge button.  The Refine Edge button allows you to refine your selection and view your selection against a neutral background so you can more clearly see how your selection will look.  Select a portion of your image, and then click on this button.  By default when you choose this, everything outside of your selection will appear white so you can more clearly see what you have selected.  You can then use the sliders to adjust the selection area.  Make sure Preview is checked so you can see the results of your changes.

 Refine Edge

Radius controls the size of the area inside the selection boundary where the edge refinement occurs.  The higher the number the more contracted from the original selection area.  Contrast sharpens the edges of the selection.  The higher the Contrast number the more defined the edges will be.  Smooth controls irregularities in the selection boundary.  The higher the number, the more smoothed out the selection boundary will be.  Feathering the selection will create a faded transition from the selected area to the area outside the selection.  The higher the number, the larger the feathered area up to 250 pixels.  Contract/Expand enlarges or minimizes the selection boundary.  Positive numbers expand and negative numbers contract.  This tool in conjunction with others can help fix problems in your selection boundary.  For example, if some of the background is still visible around the edge of your selection, contract the boundary.  Below the sliders are five options that allow you to adjust how your selection is previewed with descriptions below that describe each option.

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: Quick Selection Tool

The Quick Selection Tool is a relatively new tool in Photoshop that is fast and easy for selecting items.

Quick Selection Tool

After selecting this tool simply paint the area you want to select with the curser.  You can adjust the brush in the menu bar depending on the size and contrast of the object you wish to select.  You can change the diameter, hardness and spacing of the brush and even have the option of changing its angle and roundness.  If you need to change your brush size while making a selection, press the right bracket (]) to increase the size and the left bracket ([) to decrease it.

Quick Selection Menu 

There are three selection options.  The default option is to select a New Selection.  Once you have made an initial selection, the option automatically switches to Add to Selection to increase the selection area.  If you need to deselect a portion of the selected area, choose Subtract from Selection and paint on the area you wish to deselect.

Using Quick Selection

Sample All Layers allows you to select from all layers rather than just the currently selected layer.  Auto-Enhance automatically smoothes out the edges of the selection boundary.

For more control over the edge of your selection, click on the Refine Edge button.  The Refine Edge button allows you to refine your selection and view your selection against a neutral background so you can more clearly see how your selection will look.  Select a portion of your image, and then click on this button.  By default when you choose this, everything outside of your selection will appear white so you can more clearly see what you have selected.  You can then use the sliders to adjust the selection area.  Make sure Preview is checked so you can see the results of your changes. 

 Refine Edge

Radius controls the size of the area inside the selection boundary where the edge refinement occurs.  The higher the number the more contracted from the original selection area.  Contrast sharpens the edges of the selection.  The higher the Contrast number the more defined the edges will be.  Smooth controls irregularities in the selection boundary.  The higher the number, the more smoothed out the selection boundary will be.  Feathering the selection will create a faded transition from the selected area to the area outside the selection.  The higher the number, the larger the feathered area will be up to 250 pixels.  Contract/Expand enlarges or minimizes the selection boundary.  Positive numbers expand and negative numbers contract.  This tool in conjunction with others can help fix problems in your selection boundary.  For example, if some of the background is still visible around the edge of your selection, contract the boundary.  Below the sliders are five options that allow you to adjust how your selection is previewed with descriptions below that describe each option.

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: The Lasso Tools

There are three lasso selection tools.  The first of these tools is the standard Lasso Tool.  This tool allows you to draw your selection area freehanded.  For more control select the Polygonal or Magnetic Lasso Tools.  The Polygonal Lasso allows you to draw straight lines to create a selection area in any shape.  Hold the Shift key down to draw 45 degree angles and the Alt Key to draw freehanded.  The Magnetic Lasso Tool is one of my favorites.  It works best if you are trying to select an object that contrasts well with its background.  Click on the edge of the object and move your curser around the outside of it.  The magnetic lasso will automatically create anchor points around the outside of the object.  You can manually add anchor points where necessary by clicking on a specific spot.  If your lasso takes the wrong path simply press delete to erase the previous anchor points, then redraw the lasso or manually add anchor points where you want them.

Lasso Tool
Here is a flower cut out with the Lasso Tool.

Polygonal Lasso

Here is a flower cut out with the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Magnetic Lasso

Here is a flower cut out with the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

The Lasso Tool and Polygonal Lasso Tool have the same options available to them in their menu bars. There are four selection options.  They are New Selection, Add to Selection, Subtract from Selection, and Intersect with Selection.

Selection Options

 The default option is New Selection.  This means that if you draw with the lasso tool on your image, it will draw a new selection area.  If you need to deselect a portion of the selected area, choose Subtract from Selection and draw around the area you want deselected.  Likewise, Add to Selection increases the selected area.  You can also add to your selection by pressing shift while selecting regardless of which option you have active.  Intersect with Selection allows you to draw two areas and the overlapping portion will be the selection area.  You can continue to draw as many overlapping shapes as you would like until you have the correct area selected.

The next option on the menu bar is the Feather option.  Feathering the selection allows you to create faded edges around the selected area.  Say you decide that you would like to feather the selection by 20px and then draw a lasso on the area you want selected.  You will not see any changes to the image you selected.  You will not see the difference feathering makes until you do something with your selection.  If you move your selection or copy and paste your selection you will see the difference feathering makes.  Anti-alias smoothes the edges of the selection.

Feathered Selection

This flower was selected with a 20px feather.

The Refine Edge button allows you to refine your selection and view your selection against a neutral background so you can more clearly see how your selection will look.  Select a portion of your image, and then click on this button.  By default when you choose this, everything outside of your selection will appear white so you can more clearly see what you have selected.  You can then use the sliders to adjust the selection area.  Make sure Preview is checked so you can see the results of your changes. 

Refine Edge

Radius controls the size of the area inside the selection boundary where the edge refinement occurs.  The higher the number the more contracted from the original selection area.  Contrast sharpens the edges of the selection.  The higher the Contrast number the more defined the edges will be.  Smooth controls irregularities in the selection boundary.  The higher the number, the more smoothed out the selection boundary will be.  Feathering the selection will create a faded transition from the selected area to the area outside the selection.  The higher the number, the larger the feathered area will be up to 250 pixels.  Contract/Expand enlarges or minimizes the selection boundary.  Positive numbers expand and negative numbers contract.  This tool in conjunction with others can help fix problems in your selection boundary.  For example, if some of the background is still visible around the edge of your selection, contract the boundary.  Below the sliders are five options that allow you to adjust how your selection is previewed with descriptions below that describe each option.

The Magnetic Lasso Tool has the same options as the other two lasso tools along with some additions.  The first extra option is Width.  This option adjusts the amount of pixels the Magnetic Lasso tool considers for finding contrast. In other words, the Magnetic Lasso will only detect edges within a certain distance of the curser.  It is best to use a large number for areas that contrast greatly, and a low value for tight areas without as much contrast.  If you need to change the width while making a selection press the right bracket (]) to increase the width and the left bracket ([) to decrease it by 1 pixel.

Magnetic Lasso Menu

The contrast value is a percentage between 1 and 100.  This determines the lasso’s sensitivity to the edges.  A higher value only detects edges that contrast greatly from the rest of the image.  A lower value detects edges that do not contrast as much.

The frequency value is a number between 1 and 100 that determines how often points are placed as you move the cursor around the object. A higher number anchors the selection border more quickly.

The pen icon is for Stylus Pressure.  You only need to worry about this option if you are using a Stylus Tablet.

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: The Marquee Tools

The first selection tool in the Tools Menu is the Marquee Tool.  There are four marquee shapes you can choose from.  To select a portion of an image with this tool click on the image and drag to create the size of the shape you want.  Once you have drawn an area with this tool, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to adjust the location of the marquee area before actually making the selection. 

Marquee Tools

To reposition a marquee while you are drawing it, click and drag to start drawing the marquee, keep the mouse button depressed then hold down the spacebar while continuing to drag.  You will see that this repositions the marquee.  Once the marquee is in the correct position, release the spacebar.  You can then continue to drag your mouse to change the size of the marquee.   Remember that you will only actually select objects that are in the layer(s) you currently have selected.

As with every tool in Photoshop, a tool bar for the Marquee Tool will appear at the top.  This tool bar allows for additional options.  Let’s go through this tool bar from left to right.  The first icon on the tool bar shows the marquee shape you have selected.  This is followed by four selection options.  They are New Selection, Add to Selection, Subtract from Selection, and Intersect with Selection. 

Selection Options

The default option is New Selection.  This means that if you have the rectangular marquee selected and click and draw on your image, it will draw a new marquee rectangle selection area.  If you need to deselect a portion of the selected area, choose Subtract from Selection and draw around the area you want deselected.  Likewise, Add to Selection increases the selected area.  You can also add to your selection by pressing shift while selecting regardless of which option you have active.  Intersect with Selection allows you to draw two areas and the overlapping portion will be the selection area.  You can continue to draw as many overlapping shapes as you would like until you have the correct area selected.  Use these tools in conjunction with each other to easily select portions of your image.

The next option of the menu bar is the Feather option.  Feathering the selection allows you to create faded edges around the selected area.  Say you decide that you would like to feather the selection by 20px and then draw the marquee on the area you want selected.  You may see that the shape of the selected area looks different (smaller and rounded corners if you are drawing with the rectangular marquee), but no changes will be made to your image.  You will not see the difference feathering makes until you do something with your selection.  If you move your selection or copy and paste your selection you will see the difference feathering makes.  Anti-alias smoothes the edges of the selection.

Rectangular Marquee
Rectangular Marquee without Feathering

Feathered Marquee
Rectangular Marquee with 20px Feathering

Feathered Image
Selection with 20px Feathering

Moving on to style you will see a dropdown menu.  Normal allows you to draw your marquee freely.  But, say you know that you want your selected area to be an exact size.  If you choose Fixed Size and enter the dimensions you want when you click on your image the correct marquee size will appear.  You can then move the marquee to the correct location on your image. 

Fixed Size

Fixed ratio allows you to draw your marquee at fixed proportions.  For example, you could enter the width as 1 and height as 2.  No matter how large or small you draw the marquee on your image, the height will always be two times the width.  Unlike when working with pixels, with ratios you can use numbers with decimals.  If you click on the two arrows between the height and width it will switch the numbers.

Fixed Ratio

The Refine Edge button allows you to refine your selection and view your selection against a neutral background so you can more clearly see how your selection will look.  Select a portion of your image, and then click on this button.  By default when you choose this, everything outside of your selection will appear white so you can more clearly see what you have selected.  You can then use the sliders to adjust the selection area.  Make sure Preview is checked so you can see the results of your changes. 

 Refine Edge

Radius controls the size of the area inside the selection boundary where the edge refinement occurs.  The higher the number the more contracted from the original selection area.  Contrast sharpens the edges of the selection.  The higher the Contrast number the more defined the edges will be.  Smooth controls irregularities in the selection boundary.  The higher the number, the more smoothed out the selection boundary will be.  Feathering the selection will create a faded transition from the selected area to the area outside the selection.  The higher the number, the larger the feathered area will be up to 250 pixels.  Contract/Expand enlarges or minimizes the selection boundary.  Positive numbers expand and negative numbers contract.  This tool in conjunction with others can help fix problems in your selection boundary.  For example, if some of the background is still visible around the edge of your selection, contract the boundary.  Below the sliders are five options that allow you to adjust how your selection is previewed with descriptions below that describe each option.

Adobe Photoshop Selection Tools

When I look back at when I first started using Photoshop I am amazed how long I used the program before learning how to really use many of the tools.  As someone who jumped into graphic design and taught myself how to use programs like Photoshop, I often did things “the hard way”.  As I become more familiar with Photoshop both exploring on my own and following tutorials, I learn more and more about ways to use tools. 

 

I created this compilation of tutorials about the selection tools to help new Photoshop users (and some long time users who may not fully understand these useful tools) understand how to manipulate these tools to work for them.

 

The selection tools are:

The Marquee Tools

The Lasso Tools

Quick Selection Tool

Magic Wand Tool

The Pen Tools

Extract

 

It is helpful to understand each one of these tools because different selection tools work best for different situations.  Before looking at each specific tutorial, here are a few notes that apply to all selection tools:

 

When making a selection, realize that sometimes it is easiest to select the background around the object you would like to select and then right-click and choose Select Inverse.

 

Most selection tools have a Refine Edge button in their menu bars that allow you to easily adjust the selection border for more advanced selection.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 Default Keyboard Shortcuts

Adobe® Photoshop® CS3 Keyboard Shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts are the defaults for Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Microsoft Windows XP.  For Mac users, substitute the Command key for Ctrl and the Option key for Alt.  This list was obtained by going to Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts, and then clicking on the Summarize… button to save the shortcuts in an html file.  Adobe automatically generated shortcut summary file includes all available commands, including those that don’t have shortcuts by default.  All commands that don’t have have shortcuts have been removed from this list.  Adobe also provides a list of the default keyboard shortcuts from the Help menu.

 

Application Menus

Command Shortcut
 
File
  New… Ctrl+N
  Open… Ctrl+O
  Browse… Alt+Ctrl+O
Shift+Ctrl+O
  Open As… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+O
  Close Ctrl+W
  Close All Alt+Ctrl+W
  Close and Go To Bridge… Shift+Ctrl+W
  Save Ctrl+S
  Save As… Shift+Ctrl+S
Alt+Ctrl+S
  Save for Web & Devices… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+S
  File Info… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+I
  Page Setup… Shift+Ctrl+P
  Print… Ctrl+P
  Print One Copy Alt+Shift+Ctrl+P
  Exit Ctrl+Q
Edit
  Undo/Redo Ctrl+Z
  Step Forward Shift+Ctrl+Z
  Step Backward Alt+Ctrl+Z
  Fade… Shift+Ctrl+F
  Cut Ctrl+X
F2
  Copy Ctrl+C
F3
  Copy Merged Shift+Ctrl+C
  Paste Ctrl+V
F4
  Paste Into Shift+Ctrl+V
  Fill… Shift+F5
  Free Transform Ctrl+T
  Transform>
    Again Shift+Ctrl+T
  Color Settings… Shift+Ctrl+K
  Keyboard Shortcuts… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+K
  Menus… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+M
  Preferences>
    General… Ctrl+K
Image
  Adjustments>
    Levels… Ctrl+L
    Auto Levels Shift+Ctrl+L
    Auto Contrast Alt+Shift+Ctrl+L
    Auto Color Shift+Ctrl+B
    Curves… Ctrl+M
    Color Balance… Ctrl+B
    Black & White… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+B
    Hue/Saturation… Ctrl+U
    Desaturate Shift+Ctrl+U
    Invert Ctrl+I
  Image Size… Alt+Ctrl+I
  Canvas Size… Alt+Ctrl+C
Layer
  New>
    Layer… Shift+Ctrl+N
    Layer via Copy Ctrl+J
    Layer via Cut Shift+Ctrl+J
  Create/Release Clipping Mask Alt+Ctrl+G
  Group Layers Ctrl+G
  Ungroup Layers Shift+Ctrl+G
  Arrange>
    Bring to Front Shift+Ctrl+]
    Bring Forward Ctrl+]
    Send Backward Ctrl+[
    Send to Back Shift+Ctrl+[
  Merge Layers Ctrl+E
  Merge Visible Shift+Ctrl+E
Select
  All Ctrl+A
  Deselect Ctrl+D
  Reselect Shift+Ctrl+D
  Inverse Shift+Ctrl+I
Shift+F7
  All Layers Alt+Ctrl+A
  Refine Edge… Alt+Ctrl+R
  Modify>
    Feather… Alt+Ctrl+D
Shift+F6
Filter
  Last Filter Ctrl+F
  Extract… Alt+Ctrl+X
  Filter Gallery…
  Liquify… Shift+Ctrl+X
  Pattern Maker… Alt+Shift+Ctrl+X
  Vanishing Point… Alt+Ctrl+V
Analysis
  Record Measurements Shift+Ctrl+M
View
  Proof Colors Ctrl+Y
  Gamut Warning Shift+Ctrl+Y
  Zoom In Ctrl++
Ctrl+=
  Zoom Out Ctrl+-
  Fit on Screen Ctrl+0
  Actual Pixels Alt+Ctrl+0
  Extras Ctrl+H
  Show>
    Target Path Shift+Ctrl+H
    Grid Ctrl+’
    Guides Ctrl+;
  Rulers Ctrl+R
  Snap Shift+Ctrl+;
  Lock Guides Alt+Ctrl+;
Window
  Actions Alt+F9
F9
  Brushes F5
  Color F6
  Info F8
  Layers F7
Help
  Photoshop Help F1

 

Palette Menus

Command Shortcut
 
History
  Step Forward Shift+Ctrl+Z
  Step Backward Alt+Ctrl+Z
Layers
  New Layer… Shift+Ctrl+N
  Create/Release Clipping Mask Alt+Ctrl+G
  Merge Layers Ctrl+E
  Merge Visible Shift+Ctrl+E
Measurement Log
  Record Measurements Shift+Ctrl+M

 

Tools

  Tools   Shortcut
  Move Tool   V
  Rectangular Marquee Tool   M
  Elliptical Marquee Tool   M
  Lasso Tool   L
  Polygonal Lasso Tool   L
  Magnetic Lasso Tool   L
  Quick Selection Tool   W
  Magic Wand Tool   W
  Crop Tool   C
  Slice Tool   K
  Slice Select Tool   K
  Spot Healing Brush Tool   J
  Healing Brush Tool   J
  Patch Tool   J
  Red Eye Tool   J
  Brush Tool   B
  Pencil Tool   B
  Color Replacement Tool   B
  Clone Stamp Tool   S
  Pattern Stamp Tool   S
  History Brush Tool   Y
  Art History Brush Tool   Y
  Eraser Tool   E
  Background Eraser Tool   E
  Magic Eraser Tool   E
  Gradient Tool   G
  Paint Bucket Tool   G
  Blur Tool   R
  Sharpen Tool   R
  Smudge Tool   R
  Dodge Tool   O
  Burn Tool   O
  Sponge Tool   O
  Pen Tool   P
  Freeform Pen Tool   P
  Horizontal Type Tool   T
  Vertical Type Tool   T
  Horizontal Type Mask Tool   T
  Vertical Type Mask Tool   T
  Path Selection Tool   A
  Direct Selection Tool   A
  Rectangle Tool   U
  Rounded Rectangle Tool   U
  Ellipse Tool   U
  Polygon Tool   U
  Line Tool   U
  Custom Shape Tool   U
  Notes Tool   N
  Audio Annotation Tool   N
  Eyedropper Tool   I
  Color Sampler Tool   I
  Ruler Tool   I
  Count Tool   I
  Hand Tool   H
  Zoom Tool   Z
  Default Foreground/Background Colors   D
  Switch Foreground/Background Colors   X
  Toggle Standard/Quick Mask Modes   Q
  Toggle Screen Modes   F
  Toggle Preserve Transparency   /
  Decrease Brush Size   [
  Increase Brush Size   ]
  Decrease Brush Hardness   {
  Increase Brush Hardness   }
  Previous Brush   ,
  Next Brush   .
  First Brush   <
  Last Brush   >
edit-keyboardshortcuts

Using and Customizing Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

[The examples used in this article were written using Photoshop with Windows XP.  For Mac computers, substitute Command for Ctrl and Option for Alt]

One of the marks of a truly expert user of any software program is the ability to keep his or her hands off the mouse once in awhile when navigating menus and toolbars.  Photoshop provides keyboard shortcuts for most of its functions:   saving a file – Ctrl-S, creating a new file Ctrl-N, toggling the palette windows off and on – TAB, selecting the Move tool – V, etc. Not only can users take advantage of the built-in default keyboard shortcuts, they can customize the keyboard shortcuts to adapt the setup to their own needs.

Keyboard shortcuts are typically created through some combination of the Ctrl, Shift, and Alt keys along with a letter.  Some shortcuts, the most common being the ones for the standard toolbar, involve simply pressing a letter on the keyboard.  To select the Paint Bucket Tool, you’d press G.  Other shortcuts are much more complex.  To pull up the Save For Web and Devices window (which allows you to save a graphic optimized in a smaller file size so that it loads on a web page more quickly), you have to press Alt -Shift- Ctrl –S all together.  Web designers use this command often, since they’re constantly saving their images optimized for the web.  That shortcut can take some getting used to.  Don’t worry, though.  You can change it.  Here’s how.

Under the Photoshop Edit menu, there is an option for Keyboard Shortcuts.  [Oddly enough, the shortcut for Keyboard Shortcuts is one of the complicated ones: Alt-Shift-Ctrl-K.  You can change this one too if you’d like.]

To change the Save For Web and Devices shortcut, find that command under the File menu section.  Then click on the line corresponding to the shortcut.   You’ll notice that the keystroke section for the shortcut becomes editable.   At this point, rather than typing out the letters (C-t-r-l, for instance) representing the keyboard shortcut you want to use, you simply press the keys you’d like to use as a shortcut.  In our example, since we use the Save For Web and Devices tool so often, we want to change the shortcut for this command so that it’s not so complicated to use.  I’m going to choose Ctrl+. (the Ctrl key and the period) as my new shortcut.

Because there are so many tools and functions in Photoshop, it can be hard to find a simpler shortcut for than what is already used as the default.  Most of the easier shortcuts are already in use for other commands.  If you can’t find a shortcut that works well for you that isn’t already in use, you might consider overriding an existing keyboard shortcut that you don’t use or don’t expect to use very often.  You may have to experiment a little to see what works best for you.  Each time you try to enter a shortcut that is already in use, you are notified by Photoshop so that you can consider whether to try out a different shortcut.

You can create a new keyboard shortcut set based upon Photoshop’s default set by clicking the middle icon of the three next to the Set dropdown box.  By creating a new set of shortcuts and making your shortcut changes on the copy, you can reset your shortcuts to the default later.

Like a pilot in the cockpit of an airplane (sometimes Photoshop can feel the same), you should feel comfortable maneuvering around Photoshop’s toolbars, palettes, menus.  Understanding, using, and customizing the default shortcuts to suit your taste will help you work more efficiently.