Getting the Most from Photoshop

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Photoshop, one the mainstays of designers, is an invaluable tool but if you are a newbie then read on for some smart tips to help you make the most out of it.

1. Believe in your own style, there are several ways of achieving end results in Photoshop, which is true for any creative work. The key is practice, practice, practice. And find techniques that work for you.

2. Always keep an eye for new techniques, keep on learning, find tutorials on the web, on social media and even through the Adobe website and forums.

3. Have fun, make fun and do something fun. I remember when I started learning about the software. It was my first job, 12 years ago as a design associate and I was a little nervous as I had been asked to digitally produce a perspective. I had been trained to render and draw perspectives and do presentations manually in my university days so hadn’t done too much digitally. PSD was very new to me so I had a lot to learn. I started by editing photos distorting them to change faces, swapping heads and bodies. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot but more importantly it made me appreciate the software and its capabilities. I have been using this technique ever since in my spare time creating greeting cards, invitations and party favours.

When using Photoshop:

1. The most important thing to remember is save your work. Previous versions of Photoshop don’t have backups and the programme crashes when your computer runs out of memory. I learned the hard way with this constantly losing work and having to start again. The good news though is that Photoshop CS6 has introduced autosave and backup so this helps.

2. Know what is the expected final output / print size, this will be your benchmark as to which resolution you will use.

3. Remember your layer system, keeping them organised and simple.

4. Keep your file size small, keep only the necessary layers, merge or flatten or purge history in your file.

5. It pays to learn keyboard shortcuts, you can also personalise them and have your own shortcut keys. This also lessens your time spent on looking for the tools.

by Christine Espinosa