Friday, March 25, 2011

[TIPS] How to work faster in Photoshop

In this post I'll be giving some tips that can help you improve your working speed when using Photoshop.

1) Know the most important keyboard shortcuts.

Use keyboard shortcuts when transforming, selecting tools, merging layers, copying layers, etc... There two roads: a long one and a short one. Why would you choose the long one when the shortest one is so easy to find?
HERE's a photo showing the default photoshop keyboard shortcuts:

2) "Play" in Photoshop

"Playing" is a natural instinct that helps you discover the world ever since you are born. Photoshop makes no exception. A great way of learning and developing your photoshop skills is to open a new Photoshop document and start doodleing (use different brush tool settings, apply different effects, photo filters, etc...). Don't think to much about what should you draw, just go for it.

3) Develop "Photoshop thinking"

Before even thinking about searching for a specific Photoshop tutorial you should always think about the way you can achieve the desired results. Think about the steps that may be needed in order to create the effect you want, by using the effects you already know. This way you can create new effects and creations using the ones you know, so you won't have to search for tutorials.

4) Do it from scratch

Another way of improving your workflow in Photoshop is to be able to do anything you need from scratch. For that, it's a good ideea that whenever you need an icon, wallpaper, etc... you design it from scratch even if you've done that before. Let's say you need to include in a design an icon of a soccer ball. There are lots of soccer-ball icons on the net and you may have also created a simillar icon but it's still important to do it again, from scratch. Who knows, maybe the resulted icon will be better then anything else you can find on the web.

5) Improve your PC specs.

Having a better PC/Mac configuration really speeds up the designing procces. If you have a "not so good PC" it can take even 4-5 seconds before an image zoom will be finished, or a large sized brush will be drawn.
Also, having a better PC allows you to create larger designs (full HD, quad full HD, etc..)

6) Buy a Graphics Tablet

Having a tablet allows you not only to work faster, but also to create designs that you couldn't make without one. It may be a bit hard at the beginning, but then you'll use your tablet more then your mouse.
I personally have a small Wacom tablet (the left in the picture above) and I can say it's good enough for me.
You can buy one for around 150$.

7) Buy a larger monitor

As a designer you need much more space then the "average user". A simple user can easily browse the web and do his work on a 17" or 19" monitor, but for a designer it's a bit harder.
First of all, if you're using Photoshop or Illustrator you'll have many windows & panels opened, so that there will remain only a small part of the artboard visible.
Another problem if you're a webdesigner is that if you have a small monitor you can't see how your website or application will look on larger screens.
Also, having 2 or more monitors is also helpful. For example you can open Photoshop on one monitor and Illustrator on the other.
You can buy a 24" monitor for 250$ - 300$.

What makes (or made you) work faster in Photoshop? (excluding a tight deadline :) )


  1. Thanks, pretty good simple tutorial

  2. Yes, I tried to keep it simple. I personally don't like reading long articles and not to learn much.
    I prefer learning more from fewer information :)