Top 10 Killer Photoshop Combo Moves

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Is time kickin’ your ass? Well, learn to defend yourself! Master these killer Photoshop keyboard combos and you’ll find yourself with more time for the important things (e.g. Facebook trivia questions). These combos assume you’re using Photoshop CS3 on Windows platform with default keyboard shortcuts.

Legend:
( ) = Repeat as desired
{ } = Manual Input Required

Top 10 Killer Photoshop Combos
Image source1

10. Cloak of Invisibility

Remove everything from the screen except for your file.

  • F, F, F | Cycle through Screen Modes
  • Tab | Remove Tools and Palettes
  • Ctrl+H | Hide Extras (Grid, Guides, Slices, etc.)
  • Ctrl+R | Hide Rulers

9. Quick Brush Jab

Quickly and easily customize a brush. This combo is a staple for digital painting.

  • B | Brush Tool
  • Right-Click and Select or F5 and Select | Open condensed or full Brush Palette
  • or . or , or Shift+. or Shift+, | Cycle through brushes or jump to first or last brush
  • [ or ]: | Shrink or enlarge brush radius
  • Shift+[ or Shift+] | Decrease or increase brush hardness
  • {Numeric Input} | Change brush opacity (e.g. ‘5’ = 50%, ’55’ = 55%)

8. Quick Brush Jab Path Stroke

Stroke a path with a customized brush.

  • {Draw Path} | Use any tool to draw a path
  • B | Select Brush Tool
  • Quick Brush Jab | Use the Quick Brush Jab Combo to customize brush
  • Enter | Stroke the path with your customized brush

7. Gaussian Attack

Apply a filter, fade it and apply again. Good combo for fine-tweaking filters.

  • {Apply a Filter} | Manually choose and apply a filter (warning: using the Lens Flare filter may result in a swift kick to the mouse balls)
  • Ctrl+Shift+F | Fade the filter
  • (Ctrl+F or Ctrl+Shift+F) | Reapply filter with or without dialog box

6. Shadow Maker

Create a basic shadow based on a chosen layer.

  • {Select Layer} | Select the layer the shadow will be created after. The transparency of this layer needs to resemble the desired shape of the shadow.
  • Ctrl+J | Layer via Copy
  • Ctrl+[ | Move layer down
  • D | Reset color defaults
  • Alt+Shift+Backspace | Fill with black and preserve transparency
  • Ctrl+T | Free transform
  • {Transform} | Modify to your liking
  • Enter | Commit

5. Layer Catcher

Select, group and mask layers. Often easier than using the layers palette.

  • V | Selection Tool
  • Ctrl+Click or Ctrl+Shift+Click or Ctrl+Shift+Right-Click | Select your layers
  • Ctrl+G | Group Layers

4. OCD Layer Sort

Rearrange your layers quickly and easily. Great cure for you neuroticism.

  • F7 | Show Layer Palette
  • Alt+[ or Alt+] or Alt+, or Alt+. | Select a layer
  • Shift+Alt+[ or Shift+Alt+] or Shift+Alt+, or Shift+Alt+. | Select more layers
  • Ctrl+[ or Ctrl+] or Shift+Ctrl+[ or Shift+Control+] | Move layers down or up or send to bottom or bring to top

3. Ultimate Flattener

Merge All Layers (even those hidden). Quick way to flatten a file.

  • Alt+. | Select Top Layer
  • Shift+Alt+, | Select all layers between currently selected and bottom layer
  • Ctrl+E | Merge the selected layers

2. Infinite Dupe

Duplicate and evenly distribute or transform items. Nice way to distribute something like nav buttons.

  • Ctrl+T | Transform
  • {Transform/Move} | Manually Move or Transform
  • Enter | Commit Transform
  • (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T) | Duplicate and transform relative to the newest item

1. Finishing Move – The Web Extractor

Extract a selection and save it for the web. Extremely useful when pulling individual elements from a design, such as buttons or rules.

  • {Create Selection} | Select the area you want to extract
  • Ctrl+Shift+C | Copy Merged to clipboard
  • Ctrl+N | Create New Image based on selection size
  • Enter | Confirm New Image
  • Ctrl+V | Paste from clipboard
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S | Save for the Web

Editor’s note

This post is one of the finalists of our guest author contest2. Over three weeks selected top-10-lists and discussion articles will be published. To rate the articles we’ll analyze their popularity, users activity, quality of backlinks, traffic and further data.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://flickr.com/photos/chengxin/2250213463/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/17/write-a-guest-post-and-win-apple-macbook-air/

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Tom Giannattasio happily makes things at nclud. He works as an Editor for Smashing Magazine and teaches at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts. He loves to experiment and share his work on his personal site: attasi.

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  1. 1

    Kristoffer Kvale

    July 30, 2013 12:04 pm

    This is something out of the ordinary, it is good and helpful. Good job on this Tom!

    1
  2. 102

    maybe you should work in a big add agency (300 ppl or so)
    where you work like a pig from morning to evening doing multiple designs in one day.
    believe me these keyboard shortcuts are time savers.

    Great list BTW, thank you :)

    1

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