We’ve all been there. That rut we all find ourselves stuck in when learning a new skill. It’s a reality that everyone learning something new experiences, with no exceptions – even Albert Einstein was a beginner sometime, as was Newton, as was Michelangelo.
And this phase, whenever you hit a wall in your development, can get so frustrating that it may force you to just give up and quit – seeing all of those hours you spent trying to learn that skill become for now.
But then on the other hand, sometimes it’s in this moment where you’re just about to level up, as though in an RPG game – all you need is to persevere a bit more and learn a few tricks to get you through the hump.
See, as with any skill: be it Adobe Photoshop, be it mainframe programming, or practical skills such as bricklaying and woodworking, sometimes, it takes just adding a few tips or tricks to your arsenal of knowledge and skills to get through the hump and successfully raise your game to the level you dreamt possible. The Sharp Cut have done an amazing job for beginner woodwork enthusiasts, explaining how it’s easier than you may think and teaching the basic skills to master woodworking. We’ll try to do the same here, for all you Photoshop enthusiasts. Let’s get to the meat of the matter, shall we?
1. Use The Poly Lasso
Much, much better and more intuitive than using the regular lasso.
2. Bind Shortcuts To Your Keypad
You cannot live without this hack in InDesign – binding align shortcuts to your keypad makes life just so much easier. Your keypad is a wonderful extension of your workspace – tapping, say, 7 or 3 to align your horizontal centers and vertical centers, respectively, makes a world of difference in efficiency. The same is true for aligning your top, left, right, bottom with the corresponding shortcut.
3. Use Ctrl+J To Duplicate Layers
Use this shortcut to duplicate layers or for selected areas within layers. For instance, if you’ve pasted an image on another, and the said image goes past the old image’s boundaries, simply lasso the part you would like to keep, use the shortcut to put it onto a new layer, then delete the old layer beneaeth. Voila!
4. D Is For Black And White
The D key stands for a white background with white foreground. Use X to swap. Makes it so much faster and less tedious than having to select white all the time.
5. CTRL+Spacebar For Magnification
Use this shortcut to call the magnifying glass tool, and drag to zoom the area. You can go back to the tool you were previously working with. You’ll no longer need to grab the magnifying glass in the middle of a furious edit.
6. CTRL+Click And Hold To Select Everything On A Layer With Filled Pixels
In order to select everything on a layer with mixed filled and transparent pixels, simply hold ctrl and click on the thumbnail on the Layers – you’ll be able to select only the filled pixels. No need for tedious selection tool swapping!
7. Maximize Your Keyboard Shortcuts
The premise is simple – if you find yourself using something repeatedly in your work, shortcut it – be it the eyedropper, be it to sharpen, or be it to replace color. You’ll find you work much more efficiently and much more faster.
It will take time to incorporate these 7 hacks to your routine, but once you do, you can be confident in the fact that you will be able to get past the rut you feel you’re in.