Our Top 5 Photoshop Features

Feb 12, 2014 | Creativity, Graphic Design, Technology

If you want to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, here are five features you’ll absolutely need to know.

1. Folders & Layers


Layers and folders will help you organize your files. Understanding how they work is as easy as dragging and dropping. It’s basically a hierarchy system with the folders parenting the layers. Folders can also parent folders and be mixed with layers on the same level. Check out my example below for a visual of this.


Photoshop folders and layers
 

2. Subtle Shadows


The drop shadow is becoming nostalgic in design. Not completely, but the days of the distant blur from your object or text just isn’t trending anymore, and it hasn’t for a long time now. With the flat design trend, more and more designers are doing a flat drop shadow. One way to get this effect is to duplicate your layer, move it where you like your shadow to be and mess around with the color and/or opacity. The simple way to do it is to double click on the layer to open the styling menu. Then, just check the box and play around with the settings to get your desired shadow.

Photoshop subtle shadow
 

3. The Use of Masks


Masks in Photoshop have various uses. If you have an image and would like to cut out a shape, masking is the best way to do so. Masking is also my favorite way to cut out images for people or products when you want to get rid of the background.

Photoshop mask on a layer Photoshop mask icon
 

4. Actions


Actions are a series of recorded steps by the action creator to help a designer achieve a look without having to manually apply each process. It’s kind of like an auto-pilot feature. You can write your own or search through hundreds of free actions online.


Photoshop actions Photoshop play action icon
 

5. Custom Shapes


If you’d like to make something more than a rectangle, rounded rectangle, circle, or line, then you need to do a custom shape. Like in the actions feature, you can create your own custom shapes or download many for free. By clicking on the Direct Selection Tool, you can grab the anchor points of a shape and edit them further.

Photoshop custom shapes examples Photoshop custom shapes tool in menu
 
If you’re having trouble or have questions on how to use any of these five features, let us know!

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