PhotoShop Tips

1. Background Layers

The differences between a background layer and a regular layers are:

  • The background layer is locked
  • It is always the lowest layer in the stacking order
  • You cannot its blending mode or opacity

To unlock a background layer, double-click on it.
To turn it back into a background layer, just lock it again.

To convert a layer into a background layer:

  • Select the layer in the Layers Panel or Window > Layers
  • Layer > New > Background From Layer

2. Zooming While Cropping and Image

You cannot use the Zoom Tool from the Tools Panel to zoom in on an image while cropping it.
But you can still zoom in and out:

  • To Zoom Out
    • Press ALT SPACEBAR (Windows) or OPTION SPACEBAR (Mac)
    • Click on the image
  • To Zoom In
    • Press CTRL SPACEBAR (Windows) or OPEN-APPLE SPACEBAR (Mac)
    • Click on the image

3. Hiding Selection Edges

The edges around a selection (marching ants) can be distracting when you are trying to preview an image.

To hide Selection Edges:

  • View > Show > Selection Edges

To redisplay them:

  • View > Show > Selection Edges

This will toggle the edges back into view.

4. Drawing a Circular Selection from the Center Point

Typically, when you make a circular selection, PhotoShop draws the circle from wherever you click.
This makes it difficult to actually tell where the selection will be centered.

To Force PhotoShop to Consider the Point where you Clicked the Center of your Circular Selection:

  • Hold down ALT (Windows) or OPTION (Mac) while you drag your mouse

To Make the Selection Perfectly Circular

  • Add the SHIFT key to the above

5. Drawing a Perfectly Straight Line

  • Hold down the SHIFT key while drawing your line
    • Limits the line to horizontal or verticle

OR

  • Hold down the SHIFT key
  • Click once where you want the line to start
  • Click once where you want the line to end
    • This allows you to draw slanting lines that are perfectly straight

6. Making a Portion of a Layer Transparent

  • Select part of an image on an unlocked layer
    (Does not work on the background layer)
  • Edit > Fill
  • Select Clear from the Blending Mode pop-up menu
  • Lower the opacity
  • Click OK

(Tips are based on 20th Anniversary article inĀ “Inside Photoshop”, Vol. 14, #5.)