I have so many people ask me how I move through photoshop so fast, well, I'll tell you... the keyboard shortcuts. Photoshop/PSE made it easy to use the keyboard to get things done faster. I want to share the ones I use the very most... :)
All the tools have a keyboard shortcut. If you mouse-over each tool, it will tell you the name of it and the keyboard shortcut for it.
Here are the tools I use the most:
v - Move tool (It's so great, you don't have to push anything else with v, just v... same with all the rest)
b - Brush Tool
u - Shapes Tool
t - Type Tool
o - Dodge/Burn Tool
m - Marque Tool
To Change the Opacity of the Layer:
If you want to change the opacity of the layer you are on, just push "v" on your keyboard (to get the move tool) and then press a number on your keyboard. If you press 5, the layer you are on will change to 50% opacity. If you press 8, the layer will change to 80% opacity, and so on. Anytime you are on the move tool and press a number on the keyboard, it will change the opacity of whatever layer you are on in the layers palette.
To Change the Opacity of the Brush:
While you are using the brush (b), you can press a number on the keyboard and change the opacity of the brush you are using. This is great because sometimes you want to paint a little lighter and the sliders are a pain. While on the brush tool, if you press 4 on the keyboard, your brush opacity will go to 40%, pressing 9 will give you 90%, and so on.
To Change the Size of the Brush:
I think we all agree that the sliders are a pain in the butt for resizing our brushes. The easiest way to re-size your brush is using the brackets on your keyboard. ([ ]). The left bracket ([) will make your brush smaller, while the right bracket (]) will make your brush bigger. (You don't need to push the parenthesis, just push the bracket keys).
To Change the Softness/Hardness of the Brush:
This is my favorite trick when using the brush... If you hold SHIFT while pressing the left bracket ([), your brush will get softer by 25%. Pushing it multiple times will make your brush the softest it can go. On the reverse, if you hold SHIFT while pressing the right bracket (]), your brush will get harder by 25%. Pushing those keys multiple times will make your brush the hardest it can go.
Here are some examples of a soft brush and a hard brush:
I hope you enjoy my tip of the week and I hope it helps you get faster in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements! Feel free to ask me questions if you have any! :)