When it comes to working in Photoshop there are a million ways to do achieve a million different effects. Knowing how to make things look pretty is one thing, but being able to makes things look pretty in a quick & organized manner will make all the difference in your overall personal & client workflow. Here are 5 tips that have helped enhance my productivity in Photoshop.
1. Have a Plan
Before working on any design project always decide on a direction for your work before diving into the details. Once you have a concept down, you then need to figure out what steps will need to be taken to execute it. Organizing your creative process will take longer to execute it, but will produce much better results. Behance Action Method is an excellent tool to help ideas stay organized at your desk & on the go. Action Method breaks down your ideas into their most basic elements with a focus on what makes ideas happen: action. Having an attention to detail in your process is not only crucial to having a flawless outcome, but will also assist you in being more productive.
2. Know Your Shortcuts
Knowing the techniques of design software can enhance your quality of work; however knowing how to execute techniques without having to sift through menus to find what you’re looking will make an enormous difference in your volume of work output. There are always deadlines approaching & revisions to be made, so the quicker you are able to tackle the task in front of you, the quicker you’ll be able to move onto the next thing on the list.
There is a shortcut to do just about anything in Photoshop. Most of every you’d ever want to know a shortcut for can be found on Shortcut World, an amazing wiki-style reference database for keyboard shortcuts to just about anything & it is both windows and mac friendly. Here is their .PDF of 500 useful Photoshop shortcuts. There are also secret shortcuts that are not listed in the drop down navigation menus.
To speed up the memorization process you can even purchase a Photoshop keyboard shortcut skin from the Photo Jojo store. The keyboard skin is easy to apply & rubber so you can put it on & take it off as often as you like.
3. Organize Your Layers
Keeping your layers organized seems like a pain when beginning some new design work, but when you suddenly end up with 100+ layers you start to wish that you would’ve been a little more organized. It isn’t necessary to name every single layer & create a perfect hierarchy, but utilizing groups, smart objects, and layer colors every now and then will make it easier to progress & revise your work.
Practicing non-destructing editing is the next best thing you can do next to saving every 5 minutes. It allows you to preserve original images that have been blended & scaled into a composition. This makes revisions & experimenting with new techniques a much smoother process.
Utilizing smart objects, clipping masks, groups, and colored layers will help you set up a layer hierarchy & create a productivity friendly document.
Actions are a huge time saver when it comes to repetitive editing and adding adjustment layers. They allow you to record multiple adjustments made to an image so that can you perform those steps later on with the click of a button. You can create your own, or download premade ones to build your actions library.
Although actions cannot record all commands in Photoshop it can record the vast majority of them. Anything that you can perform in the history, swatches, color, paths, channels, layers, styles, and actions panels can be recorded. Keep in mind that the results of an action will vary with different document sizes. For example; an action recorded on a document at 72 dpi will not mimic the result that would be produced on a 300 dpi document.
5. Utilize Your Workspace
When working with a large canvas size, navigating through your document can get tricky. Having a large monitor will help to an extent, but utilizing every every pixel of your display is crucial to navigating through your document. Using the hand tool (H) will help you quickly pan across your workspace. You can also hold down the space bar to use the hand tool or assign one of the buttons on your tablet pen to pan/scroll.