Every business has some good practices and some bad practices. The professionals of the trade discover these good practices and then follow them to reach the top. The designing field is no different; We also enjoy good practices which will take you to the class of successful professionals.
This article will tell you about some of the best ‘good practices’ of Adobe Photoshop. I wrote this article not just for one type of readers, such as beginners or seasoned professionals; it is instead divided into sections, the first one is for beginners and the second one is obviously for the experienced guys.
But I’d strongly recommend that (despite your level of expertise) you read the whole article, not the just the section that you think is made for you. Hopefully you’ll like it, and don’t forget to comment.
Good Practices for Everyone
In this section, we are presenting some of the basic good practices or should I call ‘tips’ that if one follows, will prevent many bad experiences.
Image Courtesy Creative Curio
When you right-click over any layer in Photoshop, you find a command “Convert to Smart Object”. If you don’t know what it does, here’s a briefing: it converts your layer into “smart” object. This smart object is actually a group of object (though in a single layer) and it could contain text, brush strokes or anything actually, and this object can be re-sized a bit.
This is useful, because when you are drawing something, you should keep it as a Smart Object, that way you can scale it a bit and the graphic will not lose its quality and the smart object can also be bridged to other Adobe applications, such as Illustrator.
When drawing a bitmap graphic in Photoshop, make sure you draw it at a very large resolution and also reduce it when you have made the final proof. Still keep the large resolution file, you never know when you might need it. This is because if later you feel to make a part (for example a brush stroke) larger than the size you earlier had in mind, you could be able to do that.
Cropping and Hiding
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When you have selected the crop tool, there’s an option in the Options bar asking you whether you want to crop the image or just hide.
If you select Hide, only the canvas shrinks when you crop, and image is retained. If you ever need to recall the image, just enlarge the canvas, or even moving the layers would work. This command is only available when you have selected a layer that is not locked.
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Process of organizing is something that we have hard time learning. Our desktops are flooded with files. Well, that isn’t actually that bad, but having too many layers without their appropriate names, THAT is terrible. For example, all your phone books had names like person no. 1 person no. 2 and so on…. You will never be able to dial the proper person at the first time. Same way, name the layers and all your date properly.
Always, always delete the empty layers. Empty layers are a synonym for “virus” for a PSD files.
Use a Grid
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You may not believe it, but grid brings great sophistication in your designs, especially drawings of any kind. So next time, whenever you are creating a design, make sure you use a grid.
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Keyboard shortcut keys are one of the basic things which make a professional look like a professional. So you should try to memorize the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. I have made two articles which can be very helpful for learning shortcuts, take a look at them.
Good Practices for Professionals
You have studied the basic ones, now you know where you have been making mistakes in the early part of your career, now it is time to check out some advanced tips so you don’t make the same mistake twice.
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Most of the professionals use a customized workspace. The panel locations is different than the default one, so it is a good idea to save your workspace and so that you can load it any time you want.
Two in One Color Palette
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Use one color mode as the spectrum and another as the sliders. This is a great tip to view the values of the both types of colors.
Image Courtesy Free Photoshop Actions
An action is a set of recorded commands that you may use on several images for a particular purpose. For example, you are getting a photo album ready for a website. You have to sharpen, resize and add a few effects on every image.
I shared some of the best ready-made actions, a few days ago. Click the link below to check them out.
Keep the Old Ones
There are many times that a designer designs something, and that is not used. This happens a lot in logo designing. Many logos are designed and one is selected. The rest can become your inspiration for future and of course, with a little edits, you can use it the design for some other client. Just compile all your designs and keep them in your disk.
Even some professionals don’t follow this golden rule. Whenever you are making a design, make it on a paper first. This will help you a great deal in visualizing your design to perfect level.