Adobe Photoshop CC For Dummies
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This Cheat Sheet is handy to keep nearby when you're working in Photoshop as a quick reference to selection tricks, layer-merging tricks, filter gallery colors, and troubleshooting tips.

Troubleshooting in Photoshop CC

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

When Photoshop 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 on the tool icon at the left end of the Options bar and select choose Reset Tool from the drop-down menu.

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

When Photoshop 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→Presets→Preset Manager to save sets of styles, brushes, and other such bits and pieces you created. Use the Save Actions command in the Actions panel 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 then restart 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 and 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 CC

Say you want to work on a part, or selection, of an image instead of the whole photo. Photoshop CC 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 CC layer-merging tricks

Here are some tricks for working with layers in Photoshop CC 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 CC filter gallery colors

Many of Photoshop CC’s 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
Sketch→Plaster 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

Two filters that are not in the Filter Gallery use Foreground and Background colors. They are: Filter→Render→Clouds; and Filter→Render→Fibers.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Peter Bauer is an award-winning photographer and contributing writer for Photoshop User and Layers magazines. He is best known as the Help Desk Director for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), but he has also authored or coauthored a dozen books on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, computer graphics, and photography.

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