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Cheat Sheet

Photoshop CS5 For Dummies

From Photoshop CS5 For Dummies by Peter Bauer

To use Photoshop CS5, you need to know more than the basics, but also how to troubleshoot problems and use selection and layer-merging tricks. Also become familiar with Photoshop's filter gallery and its colors.

Troubleshooting in Photoshop CS5

When you run into a problem with Photoshop CS5, like the program won’t do what you want it to, or Photoshop simply won’t do anything, try these quick fixes to troubleshoot:

Tools don’t work

  1. Deselect. Unless you’re trying to work within an active selection, press Command+D (Mac) or Ctrl+D (Windows) to deselect. An active selection elsewhere may be restricting your work.

  2. Reset the tool. Right-click (Control+click for a trackpad) on the tool icon at the left end of the Options bar and select Reset Tool.

  3. Check the Layers and Channels palette. Make sure you have the correct layer active and that the layer (not a layer mask) is active. Check the Channels palette to make sure you have the color channels active.

Commands aren’t available

You move the cursor to the menu and click, only to discover that the command you want is grayed out! Your next stop should be the Image→Mode menu. Check to make sure that the image’s color mode and color depth are appropriate for the command you want to use. (Many of Photoshop’s filters, for example, can be used only with 8-bit/RGB images.)

Fixing Photoshop

When Photoshop just won’t work properly, try replacing the Preferences file by using this procedure:

  1. Open Photoshop and save your custom goodies. Choose Edit→Preset Manager to save sets of styles, brushes, and other such bits and pieces you created. Use the Save Actions command in the Actions palette menu to save any sets of custom Actions.

  2. Review your Preferences. Open Photoshop’s Preferences and go through each pane, noting your preferred settings so that you can restore your work environment later.

  3. Quit Photoshop. You can close the program like this:

    • On a Mac: Hold down Command+Shift+Option and restart Photoshop. When prompted, release the modifier keys and confirm, that yes, you do want to replace the Photoshop settings.

    • On a PC: Restart Photoshop; then immediately press and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Alt. When prompted, release the modifier keys and confirm, that yes, you do want to replace the Photoshop settings.

Selection Tricks in Photoshop CS5

Say you want to work on a part, or selection, of an image instead of the whole photo. Photoshop CS5 has a large group of selection commands and tools. Here are a few tricks to add to your repertoire:

To: Do:
Make a selection of all pixels on a layer Command+click/Ctrl+click the layer thumbnail.
Load a layer mask as a selection Command+click/Ctrl+click the mask thumbnail.
Load an alpha channel as a selection Command+click/Ctrl+click the channel thumbnail.
Load all pixels according to luminosity Command+click/Ctrl+click the RGB channel thumbnail.

Photoshop CS5 Layer-Merging Tricks

Here are some tricks for working with layers in Photoshop CS5 if the Layers palette gets too crowded, or if you need to apply the same filter to multiple layers, streamline your Layers palette, or work with multiple layers as a single entity:

To: Do:
Merge the active layer into the layer below Command+E/Ctrl+E
Merge all visible layers into the active layer Command+Shift+E/Ctrl+Shift+E
Merge a copy of all visible layers into a new layer Command+Shift+Option+E/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E

Photoshop CS5 Filter Gallery Colors

Most Photoshop CS5 creative filters use foreground color, background color, or both, and you should select these colors before you get into the Filter gallery. Use this list for important Photoshop filters and the colors they use:

Filter Color(s) Filter Color(s)
Artistic→Colored Pencil Background Sketch→Graphic Pen Foreground + background
Artistic→Neon Glow Foreground + background Sketch→Halftone Pattern Foreground + background
Brush Strokes→Accented Edges Foreground + background Sketch→Note Paper Foreground + background
Distort→Diffuse Glow Background Sketch→Photocopy Foreground + background
Render→Clouds Foreground + background Sketch→Plaster Foreground + background
Render→Fibers Foreground + background Sketch→Reticulation Foreground + background
Sketch→Bas Relief Foreground + background Sketch→Stamp Foreground + background
Sketch→Chalk & Charcoal Foreground + background Sketch→Torn Edges Foreground + background
Sketch→Conte Crayon Foreground + background Texture→Stained Glass Foreground
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