Tips 2 Wet Ur Self Bi

Hey gang,

Because today is Friday, and according to conventional wisdom, nobody reads blogs on Friday, I thought I’d invite one and all to join in on an extemporaneous contest.

So here goes: I want you to submit a really simple Photoshop tip — one of those key-and-click things — that absolutely blows you away each and every time you run into it.

Here are two examples:

  • Windows-only: Double-click the empty gray area behind an open image window to display the Open dialog box.
  • Either platform: With two or more images open, zoom in on all images. Then press the Shift and spacebar keys . . . got ‘em down? . . . and drag. All images scroll together. (!)

Now it’s your turn.

Go down to the Comments area and give me your best shot. For now, Photoshop tips only. (We’ll open it up to other stuff later.) And just one trick. The winner (one and only one) gets both of my One-on-One books and one copy of any one of my videos, your choice.

The contest ends one week from today. Hit me.

Next entry:Tim Grey’s New Book Reveals Why He’s Sassy Enough to Work with Deke

Previous entry:Lightroom 2 Roundup


  • Filling a mask with white or black

    I used to always forget which moderator key (either alt or command) was used with backspace to fill a mask with white or black, or indeed fill anything with either of the colours on the pallet.

    Eventually I realised the simple truth:

    Alt is the leftmost key of the two.

    Command is the rightmost key of the two.

    Alt-Backspace fills with the colour on pallet-left (foreground).

    Command-Backspace fills with the colour on pallet-right (background).

    Probably not the most concise tip you’ll get…

  • Select a layer under your cursor

    Now there’s even less reasons to unhide your layer palette!

    Ctrl + Right-Clicking on a part of your image pops up a menu for selecting any of the layers presently under your cursor with pixel information (ie. non-transparency).  Great for when you want to quickly switch to the layer you need to be working on.

  • Red Pill Adobe Photoshop CS3 Easter Egg

    Hold down Ctrl and click on About photoshop from the help menu

  • Two Shortcuts…

    My two (I’ve had my coffee) are:

    * with your text cursor selected and placed between two letters, hold down the ALT key and use the Left and Right arrows to kern the pair (L to decrease, R to increase space)

    * when using the Pen tool to create a path, use the CTRL key to move a point and the ALT key to change the direction of one of the point’s path direction


    Jack Cole
    ———————- | decisive design


  • Drag & Drop Layer Effects

    Per your request of something that I just think is cool … Drag & Drop Layer Effects. You need your layer palette open and an existing layer with an effect applied to it. If you click and hold down on the word “Effects” in the layer pallet and drag your mouse over to an object in your work area so that you hover over an object that doesn’t have an effect applied to it and let go of your mouse button. The “Effects” are remove from the orginal object and applied to the object you drop on. If you don’t want to remove the “Effects” hold down the alt/option when you do the above and instead you have a copy of the “Effects” on the object you drop on.

    If this doesn’t make sense let me know.

    After I realized this I started trying to drag and drop all sorts of stuff just to see if Photoshop would do it.


    Head Camp Counselor
    Camp Photoshop

  • Levels Adjustment - Clipping

    Hold Alt while adjusting input levels to see what is being clipped. 

    Simple, useful and probably in the documentation somewhere…but one of my favorite “hidden” gems none-the-less.

    There wasn’t a key-press minimum for this contest was there?  wink

    - Larry C.

  • All have to start somewhere…!

    Ok, as an alternative to one of yours Deke,

    As a Ctrl-No-strainer to start a new file: Shift or Ctrl+double click on the grey area to get the New (File) dialogue.

    My first post here - greetings, thanks and respect to you Deke_aka_King_of_the_Hill_Top_of_the_Heap - your lessons got me going in this biz :D

    And hi ofcourse to the other visitors here smile

  • Layer 0

    The shortcut I use most often is Option-double click (Alt-double click on windows) on a background layer to convert it to a transparency Layer 0.

    smile Mordy

    Mordy Golding

  • Oh hail hail the great discoveries!...

    I know I risk ruining my chances and render my entry as invalid by posting a 2nd one but I couldn’t resist (well I could but didn’t):

    A Photoshop shortcut..

    I know - this is so obvious that most probably everyone who ever openend Photoshop even once will know this but anyway…

    Once in a while I have problems with Bridge and flushing the cache seems to help in some cases. I found out a totally fast and useful way to do this:

    Start Photoshop and open a file - any file will do. Now press Ctrl+Shift+W - the file will close but keep holding down Ctrl, check ‘Flush Entire Thumbnail Cache’, press Ok. The cache will flush and Bridge will start.. presto!


    ..sorry… ;p

  • tip for the overly conscious non-destructiv-izer

    I am always duplicating images, and usually only need the image to create a displacement map, or for mode changes, etc… but I hate having to rename the duplicate every time so…

    both platforms

    hold alt (opt ) and then navigate to image>duplicate

    the annoying diag goes away, and the duplicate is automagically given a copy name.


  • Left handed Tips

    For all of those who are in their right minds here are my tips for the Left Handed Photoshop users.

    (all tips in Windoz speak. Mac users must use their Rosetta Stones for converting)

    Ctrl + Shift + Alt + ~ to select highlights. Very useful for making a selection then with an Adjustment Layer tone them down or blow them out.

    Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E when working in layers and you want a separate layer with all previous layers and adjustments in it. Go to the top layer and do the left keyboard Twister move.

    Bonus Tip… If you hold down the Shift key when you click on an unopened RAW file it will open directly in Photoshop without a stop in ACR. Of course you should have done all the adjustments before hand but it does save some time if you already did all work and need to start the magic in Photoshop.

  • simple tip I would have killed to know two years ago

    hit “” to show your layer mask as a red overlay, so you can see exactly where you’ve painted. (works on mac, no idea about windows)

  • Duplicate and transform

    Hold Alt/Opt and select Free Transform (or Ctrl/Cmd+T) to duplicate the target layer before transforming.

    Hold Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Opt+Shift when selecting Free Transform to repeat the last transformation.


  • Alt-drag a mask

    Great idea Deke!
    When you work on an image you often find yourself using multiple adjustment layers but only want to affect a certain area. If you’ve put a lot of effort into your mask it’s excruciating to do it again for the next adjustmentlayer aswell. Fear not! Simply hold down alt and drag (on the mac at least) your finished mask to the new layer and click yes when PS asks you if you want to replace the layer mask. Voila you’ve just copied the mask. Invaluable in my opinion. 


  • to be on The Spirit side


    everytime, man…


  • Vanishing point tricks

    To quickly create a grid which fills the document in Vanishing point, double-click the add grid icon. In Vanishing point CS2, holding alt/option when you click OK will render the grid to the active layer.

    Oops. Didn’t see the one-trick rule. Follow the watch, follow the watch.. By the time you get to the other post, you will have forgotten you have seen this…

  • Ooching Pen tool active points.

    When I use the pen tool to create a path to be used for a separation, for example, it’s not uncommon to click a point which is not positioned perfectly.  Rather than go back and edit the points later on, simply tap the keyboard arrow keys to “ooch” the active (current) point as required to position it exactly where you want it.  I find this technique quicker and easier than editing the points later.


  • Scaling your Styles for that \“Perfect Fit\”

    The Styles palette with its predefined layer styles can be a tremendous time-saver and a quick way to experiment with different looks by just the click of a button. There are many styles that ship with Photoshop and many more can be freely downloaded.

    Sometimes though, after applying a style, it looks just plain awful (or at least, not very good). Don’t give up! Here is a tip to quickly adjust a style for that “perfect fit”.

    After applying a style, go to the the layers palette and right click the florin (curly f in the circle) on the relevant layer to show a menu of commands. Scroll to the bottom of the list and chose “Scale Effects…” In the resulting dialog window drag the percentage slider (or nudge the value with the shift and arrow keys) to scale the effects and preview the changes in the image window. Super von Duper!

    Amazing that such a useful command can be so well hidden from users at the bottom of a contextual shortcut menu.

    hope you enjoy it,


    Thomas Benner


  • Just dropping by

    To say I’m loving the tips. Lots of god ones!

    Thanks to everyone who’s contributed! I’ll pick a favorite on Friday, so keep ‘em coming!

  • Bypass auto-allignment

    Everytime I move objects close to a border or something, Photoshop automatically snaps the object to that border. To put an object very close to a border without Photoshop’s auto-alligment, holding the Ctrl/Cmd-key while dragging the object will do the job.

  • Navigation, navigation, navigation

    Cheers, Deke! I want my book signed, thank you very much grin

    With a scroll-wheel zoom enabled use Shift + Scroll to zoom in and out real fast. If you prefer not to enable the scroll zoom, use Alt + Shift + Scroll instead. Then use Home key to jump to the top left pixel and End key for the bottom right.

    While I got yer attention, you got enough push with Adobe, Deke - could you get them to build in a “Play it again, Sam” function? Kind of like the Ctrl+Y in a whole lot of other apps out there (Dreamweaver, for example). I have been hoping for this for 5 versions, but alas - nada! What gives?



    Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive?

  • Merge to HDR

    If you like HDR images but think Photoshop doesn’t do a very good job of them, then convert your image from the HDR generated 32 bit mode to 16 bit mode. This will automatically bring up more options that allow you to tweak your HDR pic to perfection.

  • Repeat Transform

    OK, So I have an image, I have Cmd T’d it to bring up my transform box, Scaled it down slightly, and rotated it to the left slightly… hmm, not small enough, not rotated enough! HERE GOES…. Rather than Cmd T it again, I can Repeat the Transform options I just carried out same % reduction in size, same rotation angle or whatever you have done to the image, by just pressing Cmd SHIFT and T!!!


  • Magnetic Lasso Madness!

    Here’s a tip to gain maximum control when using the Magnetic Lasso tool.

    Start off by clicking in the image to start selecting it, now if you want to maintain complete control without having to start another selection, try these shortcuts-

    [ ] (bracket keys) - To change the width value!

    , . (comma, full stop) - To change the contrast setting!

    ; ’ (Semi-colon, apostrophe) - To change the frequency!

    Now you can select as much as you need in one hit!!


  • Is it Friday where you are yet?

    Who won, who won?! :-D

    DekeConfuciusZen say: “IngTay ofWay otoshopPhay”. Naturally, I disagree.

  • The day’s not over

    I’ll be reading all the tips and coming up with a winner tonight at midnight, or tomorrow morning if I accidentally dose off.

    So if anyone’s still hankering for three sweet prizes, now’s your time to submit!

  • But it’s Saturday already!

    It’s even almost beer o’clock on a Saturday. You weird time zone people are so slow!

    But I kid, of course. I know you are a very busy man, and I hope you have a great weekend, Deke. Thanks for all you do for us out here in WorldWidePhotoshopLand. smile

  • Thanks!

    It works exactly the same on Windows. Dig it. smile

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