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PS CS4 Extended

Tuesday Tips

Helper Apps

Painter Weaves

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Tuesday Tips Video Tutorials - Keyboard Shortcuts

I've been making video Tutorials every Tuesday, on one topic or another.

You can see the latest on my YouTube channel, or my Facebook Page.

Even if you don't consider yourself a Photoshop Power User, you can save a lot of time by using Keyboard Shortcuts to avoid mousing over to menus and panels. This is especially true when working with the Layer Panel.

Watch these two videos to see some of the shortcuts you can use to manipulate layers in action!

If you want to follow along with me, you can download the files I used for the Shapes and Background. Instructions telling you how to use the Shapes are in the package, in case you don't know how to do that.

Part 1 - Making a Flower without Touching the Layer Panel

Add new layers, put Shapes on them, move them around, select different ones, change the colors and more.

Part 2 - Adding Gradients to the Flower, and a Couple of Caveats

Review of some of the keyboard shortcuts from the last lesson, plus working with Gradients, shortcuts to make Clipping Masks, selecting more than one layer, making a Layer Group, and a couple of caveats (with work-arounds) for using these shortcuts.

And, in case you don't have time to watch the whole video;

The Keyboard Shortcuts

A simple list of most of the keyboard shortcuts in these two videos. (Tool keys aren't shown, but all the ones that deal with layers are.)

  • Make a new layer with the New Layer Dialog - Shift ⌘ N (Mac) / Shift ctrl N (PC)
  • Make a new layer without the New Layer Dialog - Shift Option ⌘ N (Mac) / Shift ctrl alt N (PC)
  • Duplicate Current Layer - ⌘ J (Mac) / ctrl J (PC)
  • Delete Current Layer - delete (Mac) / backspace (PC)
  • Select next layer above - Option ] (Mac) / alt ] (PC)
  • Select next layer below - Option [ (Mac) / alt [ (PC)
  • Select multiple layer above - Shift Option ] (Mac) / shift alt ] (PC)
  • Select multiple layer below - Shift Option [ (Mac) / shift alt [ (PC)
  • Move layer up one position - ⌘ ] (Mac) / ctrl ] (PC)
  • Move layer down one position - ⌘ [ (Mac) / ctrl [ (PC)
  • Move layer to top of layer stack - Shift ⌘ ] (Mac) / shift ctrl ] (PC)
  • Move layer to bottom of layer stack - Shift ⌘ [ (Mac) / shift ctrl [ (PC)
  • Make New Group from Layers - ⌘ G (Mac) / ctrl G (PC)
  • Make Clipping Mask - Option ⌘ G (Mac) / ctrl alt G (PC) - clips current layer to layer below
  • Cycle through Blending Modes - with Move tool active (V) hold Shift, and use - and +
  • Cycle through tools with same keyboard shortcut - hold Shift, and tap the shortcut
  • Swap Foreground and Background colors - X
  • Fill Active Pixels with Foreground color - Shift Option delete (Mac) / Shift alt backspace (PC)
  • Fill Active Pixels with Background color - Shift ⌘ delete (Mac) / Shift ctrl backspace (PC)
The Caveats

And the caveats.

  • 1. You can't use the keyboard shortcuts to see the layers in a closed Group. PS treats the whole group as if it were a single layer.
  • Workaround - With the Move tool active (V) right click on the image where there are active pixels for the layer you want, and choose the layer from the Contextual Menu that appears. This will open the Group, and you can now use the keyboard to navigate within it. You will need to mouse over to the Layer Panel if you want to close it, though.
  • 2. If you select all the layers in your document, you won't be able to use the keyboard to drop any of them. You drop layers using the keyboard shortcuts by selecting non-selected layers. If there are no non-selected layers to select, you're stuck!
  • Workaround - With the Move tool active, right click on the image and choose a layer from the Contextual Menu. That will select only that layer, and you'll be free to use the shortcuts again as normal.