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Tips and Tricks of a chopper.

By freakyclown
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A selection of tips and tricks to help speed up chopping in photoshop cs3.

Page 1: Photoshop tips and tricks!

These tricks and tips will help you work more efficiently within photoshop the less time your fiddling about with menus and mouse clicks the more time you have for chopping.

Zooming Around.
Press Ctrl and the plus key to zoom in.
Press Ctrl and the minus key to zoom out.

Controlled Zooming.
However those require you to move to where you want to be, so a nice tip is to hover you mouse cursor over where you want to zoom and the press Ctrl and the Spacebar and then click the left mouse button.(Spacebar and Alt then click to zoom out).

Right Click Menu.
Depending on what tool you have selected from the menu, right clicking on the image your editing will pop up a shortcut menu for common actions. This can be
very advantageous when chopping.

Brush resizing.
For example when you have the airbrush selected you can right click and you will see the options for changing brush size as well as hardness.

If you want to just change the brush size there is an even faster way, just press the [ or ] keys to make smaller ([) and make larger (]).

Free Transform.
While chopping you will find the need to manipulate image size rotation etc.
A great shortcut that I use all the time is the "free transform" tool.

To save time finding it in the menus just make your selection and then press Ctrl and T, free transform allows you to scale, rotate and move, depending where you place the mouse the icon changes, the selection all in one tool, if you hold the shift key down while scaling it will keep the ration of the selection (so that the height and width are scaled the same amount).

Saving Memory.
While on the subject of selecting, if you want to save image size and free up some memory a great tip here is to select everything (Ctrl and A) and then select Image > Crop. This will remove any data outside the canvas and tidies up the image.

The Crop Perspective.
Oh here is a fantastic little tip you will love that involves the crop tool.
Goto google and find a picture that has got some billboards in (try a street picture or similar) just make sure the billboard isn't face onto the photo.

Now open it in photoshop and select the crop tool (or press C), now just drag a selection around a billboard...no need to be too accurate just yet, now see up the top there is an option saying "perspective" tick that and then I want you to move the corners of the crop tool selection to the four points of one of the billboards. Now hit enter! BAM!! we knocked it up a notch and photoshop took the perspective away for us, giving us a great de-perspectivised and cropped image.

Moving around.
We have all done this at some point, working away at a high zoom and then finding we need to move along the edge of a photo, so we zoom out...then zoom back in again and carry on what we are doing, or worse still we have to come out of the tool and try again. Well this tip is going to help so much!
At any point in photoshop you can press and hold the Spacebar and it will give you the little hand tool for moving around the image, just let go of the Spacebar again to go back to what you were doing, will even work in most of the options too!

The Colour Swatch.
There are times when, say your quick masking or alpha masking that you need to get back to the default black and white foreground/background colours, a really simple way to do this is press D (d for default colours).
Another trick associated with the colour swatch which I use for masking is the need to swap between white and black (or foreground/background) colours, the fastest way I know to do this is simply press the x key (x for eXchange colours)

The Eye-Dropper Tool.
I often see a lot of people try to sample the colour of human skin for chops, they grab the eyedropper icon and pick a mid-tone place on the face and take that colour as being representative of human skin, well its bound to be an orange or a red or worse still a bright pink, because the default eye-dropper setting is to select the very pixel upon which you click...pointless for getting a general colour! so select the eye-dropper tool and up the top you will see the option "sample size" drop this down and select 5 by 5 average, this will make the eye-dropper tool sample an area of 5 by 5 pixels and then average out the colours to make a single colour.

Eye-Dropper two.
If you have any painting tool selected you can press and hold the Alt key to active the eye-dropper tool briefly so you can select a new colour, releasing the Alt key will take you back into the tool you were using.

Size or Precise.
Most tools such as the airbrush have two icons you can see, one is the actual brush size (looks like a circle etc) and the other is a 1 pixel precise cross-hair, in order to swap between these quickly just jab the Caps-lock key.

Straight Line Painting.
To use something like an airbrush to paint in a straight line, people would normally use a mask or maybe run their mouse along a ruler or book edge. In photoshop its much easier...click where you want the start to be, then while holding shift click where you want the end of the line to be...photoshop will fill in between in a perfect straight line.

If you ever do something you immediately regret you can just press the Ctrl and Z button, however if you do something you didn't mean...and carry on clicking...you can step back clicks by using pressing Ctrl Alt and Z keys (you can also step forward using ctrl shift and Z.

Selecting Opacity.
Say you have spent hours cutting out an apple to have it on its own layer, then later on you decide you need reselect all the apples again, a super fast way to select any layers opacity is to hold Ctrl and then click on the layers thumbnail in the layers pallet, instantly anything transparent is selected.

Selecting quickly.
Selecting is one of the most common actions to do when chopping, and doing it well is a fine art that takes many hours of practice, however when you finally learn to use layer masks, the initial selection isn't always as important for those quick and dirty jobs. One of my new favorite tools is the Quick Selection Tool, you can find it on the tools panel by holding down the left button on the magic wand tool icon (or Pressing shift and W).
Experiment with this amazing tool its like an airbrush crossed with the magic wand, and to remove parts of selections just use the Alt key when left clicking.

Copy Layers.
To quickly copy a layer left click and drag the layer down onto the "new layer" icon of the layer pallet.

If you have spent ages selecting something from your image and then you accidentally click somewhere and loose your selection, a simple tip is to goto the select menu and hit "reselect" this will reselect your last selection you had.

If you have spent some time making chops and getting marked down for bad masking, here is a little time saver. When you select say an apple from a white background, you will have noticed that you will have a tiny 2 or so pixels, fringe of white around the apple, so next time you select something goto the Selection menu and click on Modify > Contract and set it to 2 pixels, this should remove the fine highlight around your selection. Repeat as needed.

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