44 PhotoShop hidden tricks and shortcut!


It’s a good and helpfull topic. :slight_smile:


Wow. That’s a list to print out and stick beside the screen until you know the tips by hart! Great, thanks!


Nice tips. thanks a lot. :applause:


Very useful thread! Thanks :slight_smile:


I found out by acciedent that holding Alt+Space+LeftMouseButton while moving to left/right zooms In and Out in a smooth way.

Thanks for all the other tips, there where a few i didn’t knew.


Not really a “trick” or a shortcut but I think this is useful anyway:

If you think that the blend modes are confusing think of them as groups:
A “darken” group, a “lighten” group, a “contrast” group, a “math” group and a “color” group.

Color Burn will darken your pixels, Linear Dodge Add will lighten them. Overlay will let the high contrast areas through (shadows and highlights) but not midtones so much (127 or 128 grey for example does nothing). Difference, Exclusion, Subtract and Divide does mathematical operations, channel-by-channel, pixel-by-pixel. And last: the HSCL layers (bottom 4) does changes to the hue, saturation, color and luminosity values.

ALSO: MANY of these blend modes behave totally different if you drag the “Fill” slider instead of the Opacity slider. In many cases “Fill” controls the strength of a blend mode - not the transparency which “Opacity” does. Knowing this, the “Hard mix” blend mode is not so mysterious anymore: you just have to use it with a weak fill value.


Here’s a new book (by me) on the topic of blend modes.

I’m only posting because it’s relevant - not spamming the thread.


Yes, I knew about the darken, lighten, contrast, etc groups idea but what I didn’t know before was about what the fill slider did - having tried it and found the effect meaningless or the same as Opacity - but I must not have tried it with HardMix before. This information is definitely enlightening, thanks very much.


You are welcome
Hard Mix belongs to a “special 8” category of blend modes. The other 7 are: Color Burn, Linear Burn, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge (add), Vivid Light, Linear Light and Difference. They all behave differently when tweaking the Fill Slider.


As Martin points out, the “special 8” react differently. This has to do with the alpha element in the equations, and while the specifics are proprietary, you can use this to your advantage by mixing the two sliders with those special modes.

Also, as a result of the difference in alpha handling, the layer styles are not affected by Fill - you can make transparent all the solid pixels on a layer and leave the effect behind. An obvious example is drop shadows on type, but something less obvious is to paint with soft and hard brushes on a layer with a drop shadow (or other edge-based layer style), with Fill set to zero.


Oh? Difference but not Exclusion? I’ve been inclined to think of difference and exclusion together - although I do know that sometimes the effect of Difference is very similar to Exclusion but sometimes it isn’t - and I hadn’t understood why.
(and no, I can’t remember what I was doing when I noticed that - I was just trying different layers with different blend modes to see what result I liked - I can’t even remember what original image it would have been.)

But I have been inclined to think of those 8 ( or 9 with exclusion) as somehow different to the other more ‘normal’ effects, so finding they are a ‘special’ category does not surprise me.


I had noticed the different reactions, didn’t know it was because of Alpha elements.

Also, as a result of the difference in alpha handling, the layer styles are not affected by Fill - you can make transparent all the solid pixels on a layer and leave the effect behind. An obvious example is drop shadows on type, but something less obvious is to paint with soft and hard brushes on a layer with a drop shadow (or other edge-based layer style), with Fill set to zero.

Not entirely sure what you mean by that “you can make transparent all the solid pixels on a layer and leave the effect behind.” and layer styles not affected by fill… hmmm - nope I just can’t picture it…

I’ll have to try the ‘hard N soft brushes with drop shadow and set fill to zero’ and see what that does.

Hmmm, well I tried the soft N hard brushes thing - I painted hard green dots on one layer and soft blue ones on another then did a ‘stamp visible’ and put the layer effect on that layer (with fill at zero) and hid the original layers - did you just mean with fill at zero you loose the colour and you can thus isolate the drop shadows?
That’s all I see… trouble is I’ll bet that by the time I see a need for this I’ll have forgotten all about it. At the moment I can’t imagine one.

Anyway - thanks for telling us about it, it’s all very interesting.


You essentially did the right thing, but here’s a more definite set of steps:

Paint with a hard-edge brush on a blank layer (or add some type)
Apply a layer style that affects the edges - drop shadow or bevel/emboss are good to start with
Lower Fill to zero (which I think you did)

The solid pixels on the layer all become transparent, but the style you applied stays behind. There are some interesting uses for this, aside from making watermarks, etc.

One approach is to use a soft brush on a layer over a portrait for making subtle changes to shading, almost like dodging and burning, but using Bevel/Emboss, you can do special effects like bumps under the skin quite easily. I’ve also set up a set of styles for use in making zombie-like effects - rotting skin edges and the like.

Depending on your style of art and your work flow, there are tons of approaches. My style is more experimental, and I lean heavily on problem solving for others over producing my own art (I’m an educator and author after my day job is done). If you’re interested, send me a PM and I’ll see if I can find a nifty use for your particular work flow that takes advantage of the Fill slider.


Exclusion is basically the same as Difference, except that when similiar colors cancel each other out, the resulting color is grey instead of black.

You can read some more in-depth info about the blend modes here:

…which also covers some math in case you are a programmer.


The thread is awesome!
I have Photoshop CS5…and I have recently noticed that eraser can also paint . When I make a mistake (f.e. erase too much area) I can hold the “alt” key and move the mouse. Then Photoshop paint exactly the same image as it was. Great function.


Very cool thread. Thanks a lot. :thumbsup:


Thank you for this, it helped me very much. :slight_smile:


That’s a great thread. I want to learn photoshop from a long time ago. I have seen many video tutorials ago but I can’t see this category thread before. Thanks for sharing this. I have created a copy it and save my PC for later use. Please share more like this if you have a lot of tips like this…


F5 = brush palette
F6 = color palette
F7 = layer palette

tab = hide gui
shift tab = hide half gui

q = selection mode

ctrl+0 = fit resolution
ctrl + alt + 0 = zoom in full resolution

ctrl + shift + alt + n = new layer

numbers with move tool changes opacity of the layer
with brush tool or other for colors change opacity of the tool

shift + numbers on top of the keyboard with brush tool change flow

(example 5 = 50% 05 = 5% 55 = 55%)

shift + alt + n = normal
shift + alt + m = multiply
shift + alt + s = screen
shift + alt + o = overlay
shift + alt + f = soft light
shift + alt + d = color dodge
shift + alt + b = color burn
shift + alt + c = color

same thing, with move tool change layer blending mode, with brush tool change tool blending mode

alt + backspace = fill with foreground
ctrl + backspace = fill with background
shift + backspace = fill with settings

if you apply something calling the same shortcut + alt recall the same effect with previous settings

ctrl + l = levels
if you press ok
ctrl + alt + l remember the previous change and you can apply to multiple layers
it works also for filters

ctrl + f reapply filter
ctrl + alt + f reapply same filter with settings remembering the previous settings

ctrl + shift + alt + t remember the transform setting, it works also for the movement, is like duplicate special in maya

/ or ù depends on keyboards or software version is pixel lock

if you know a shortcut for the tools, where ther is an arrow shift + shortcut call the different tool in the same category

example m = selection (maybe rectangular) shift + m = circular selection

if f change view going forward shift + f change view going backward

ctrl + tab change document to work with

ctrl + alt + v = perspective painting

ctrl + shift + x = liquify

working with text ctrl + enter or ctrl + alt + enter = apply

ctrl + click on layer pick layer selection
ctrl + click on channel pick channel selection
alt + click on layer mask go in the layer mask mode
shift + click on layer mask disable layer mask

alt + click on eye icon of the layer go in solo mode

with brush

alt + click = pick a color

alt + right click and drag horizontally change brush size
alt + right click vertically change brush hardness

shift + alt + right click choose color in place

ctrl + alt + spacebar = zoom dinamically
ctrl + + zoom in
ctrl + - zoom out
ctrl + alt + + zoom in with the window
ctrl + alt + - zoom out with the window

if you ctrl + click on new layer button it makes a new layer below instead above

ctrl + shift + u = desaturate

shift + F6 = feather selection

ctrl + w = close document
ctrl + alt + w = close all documents

with move tool if you hit ctrl + click on a layer in the document (not the layer stack) it takes, select that layer


An interesting shortcut that cuts back some extra clicks. Image source