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Streamlining your workflow

This page lists some Photoshop features that you can incorporate into your workflow to add flexibility to your editing and boost your productivity.

Keep your edits flexible

  • Copy imagery to duplicate or separate layers; use adjustment layers to try out tonal and color adjustments; use fill layers to try out colors, gradients, or patterns; apply editable and removable layer styles; and use layer comps to show variations of a document to your clients without having to open and close separate files.
  • Place Camera Raw images or vector objects from Illustrator into Photoshop as Smart Objects for easy round-trip edits and updates.
  • If you can afford the processing lag, apply filters as editable and removable Smart Filters to layers that you’ve converted to Smart Objects.
  • Use layer masks and vector masks to conceal or reveal areas of a layer.

Save, reuse, recycle

  • Save your Camera Raw and adjustment settings as presets.
  • Create and save presets for brushes, swatches, gradients, type, patterns, shapes, contours, styles, and tools. Save your presets in libraries for safekeeping and easy access.
  • Save collections of layer effect, opacity, and blending mode settings as styles in the Styles panel for use in any Photoshop file.
  • Store selections as alpha (grayscale) channels, then load them as selections when needed.
  • Save repetitive sequences of editing or processing steps as actions.
  • Create and save theme-oriented workspaces for Photoshop (choose Save Workspace from the Workspace menu on the Application bar star.jpg).

Get there fast

  • To open a context-sensitive menu for quick access to related commands, right-click/ Control-click the image, or on an interface feature, such as the Layers panel.A
  • Memorize the panel icons, so you can identify and display them quickly.
  • Practice keyboard shortcuts and gradually add them to your repertoire.

Keep a spare

  • Duplicate a layer (or a file, for that matter) and edit the copy.
  • Create snapshots on the History panel as you work, or save snapshots of your files as separate documents via the Create Document from Current State button on the History panel.

Work out your ideas on paper

  • Get a notebook and use it to take notes (we’re not kidding!). Jot down command sequences—even specific settings—for future reference. Draw new design concepts, make quick sketches of images that inspire you as you go about your daily life, paste in clippings from magazines, or write down ideas for streamlining your work-flow. There’s something about working ideas out on paper....
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