5 Photoshop Tips & Tricks – Using It To Your Advantage

Yes, for the most part, Photoshop is just your essential design tool which allows you to be super creative and do virtually anything you want within reason. However, getting onto those harder, more in-depth tasks can sometimes be an absolute drain and kill productivity. That’s however if you don’t know how to be efficient…

We’ll jump into a top five of my favourite tips & tricks I’ve picked up within Photoshop that’ll save you plenty of time in a minute, but before that, you need to ask yourself. Are you efficient in Photoshop? If not, you’re definitely not using it to your advantage and you could be losing minutes or hours every time you do a task. Sure, it doesn’t sound a lot but if you have a lot of repetitive tasks, minutes over the course of a year really does add up! Not only that, who wants to spend time on a boring task that could be done in a few clicks of a button?

Let’s get stuck right in at the deep end with number one. This one is tricky, both are brilliant and I personally couldn’t truly work efficiently without either of these. I’m going with the one that saves me more time than anything for this one as I believe both are just as good as each other efficiency wise.

Actions (including Batch options)

This might seem like a strange number one option for some (strange is probably an understatement, they’re probably ripping their hair out and wondering what they’re reading!) however, Actions is an absolutely fantastic tool which is probably the most time-saving option in Photoshop, the only downside is it’s overlooked by most people and you won’t find many third-party (so to speak) actions to download. However, this doesn’t matter it’s easier to set it up for your own usage anyways. The important thing to remember is many of these tools work together but wouldn’t work standalone which is a big point for actions.

Now if you’re sat there thinking, why Actions. What can I do with Actions? It’s time to think outside of the box.

Those images you’re cutting to size every week? Setup an action, do it in one click. Got 50 to do at a time? Again, set up an action. Use batch, do it in seconds and you’re probably saving a good 15-20 minutes if not more.

Using an artwork on multiple files? Don’t create separate artwork files, use one main PSD, place it as a linked file in all your work and batch update it. (We’ll get into this more as this is in the list further down).

Smart Objects/Layers

Now you’re probably thinking smart objects, next. But hold on, I know it’s pretty common and most will probably use smart objects but again this isn’t just about the tools, it’s about efficiency whilst using them too.

I love smart objects for many reasons, one of the main being resizing artwork. Place everything in at max res and smart object, as you’ll probably know already if you’re making it at 1000px squared it’s not huge but who knows, you may need it a week later at A4 size. But lucky us, we’ve got everything in smart objects so we’ve saved ourselves so much time creating the assets again.

Adding multiple assets that have got shadows e.g. maybe putting objects on a table and need many shadows? Create your first one all as smart objects and then duplicate it. It’s nice and easy from there, just change your asset and you have all your shadows in perfect position from the previous. It doesn’t get much easier!

I could go on forever about smart objects but you get the point!

Placing Linked Artwork

Another one of my favourites, as I mentioned earlier from Actions it pairs together an absolute dream. We occasionally work with artwork that’s used on many different sized projects so you can imagine having to create it and place it in every individual project is extremely time consuming so this is where this comes in an absolute treat (especially when you’re working with 100+ projects for one artwork as we do here very often!).

There’s not much to say about this one as it’s so simple and straightforward just often forgotten about, just remember always think outside of the box on your projects!

Again, this is the perfect pair with the Actions & Batch tools so don’t forget about those!

Image Processor

One of most used tools in Photoshop, it’s nothing insanely special at all but it does save lots and lots of time. If you’re not using it and have to save many images at once you really need to start! The only downside to image processor is you need to have a good/organised folder for your artwork otherwise this isn’t going to work for you at all. (Maybe this might teach you to get more organised though if you aren’t already!).

Image processor allows you to save PSDs into JPEGs instantly just by choosing a folder, you can even allow it to access sub-folders and save them in the exact same folder construction to save even more time which is amazing for heavy workloads with deep folder structures. The only downside to image processor is that it only supports JPEG currently. Hopefully, we might see it include other file types in the future. Nonetheless, it is still an amazing tool you must use!

Layers to File

Last but not least, another file saving method again it’s not the most complex tool but one that’s more than likely forgotten about. It’s hard to stay on top of all the useful tools included in Photoshop and there are loads I can’t include in this top five.

Whilst probably not useful to a lot, saving layers to file is great for anything where all the images need to be to the same dimension (I personally find it great for web files e.g. logo/brand carousels, product images and so on).

Just remember to organise your layers properly, making sure everything is rasterized together and all with names as these will be saved as the file name when exported. The great thing with this is you can save your layers as pretty much any file type you want making it perfect for bulk exporting transparent images which you can’t do with image processor, unfortunately.

As before, there’s not much to say about this one because it’s such a simple tool, but as simple as it is, it’s pretty much essentially especially if you’re saving for web images as I mentioned previously.

That’s all my top five, for now. I hope you take some good pointers from the above. It would be great to hear if you already use these or how you get on with them, or even better what is your favourite time-saving tool in Photoshop, let us know in the comments!

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