Ten Steps to Photoshop Mastery

1. Practice Makes Perfect. Learning Photoshop is a lot like learning a musical instrument. No
matter how many books or videos you buy, gaining proficiency requires spending some
quality time with the application. Set aside just 15 minutes a day to working in Photoshop
applying the lessons in this Total Training series and youʼll be a impressing your friends,
colleagues, and yourself in no time.
2. Save Early and Often. Thereʼs nothing more frustrating than losing hours worth of
painstaking work due to a computer malfunction. Get in the habit of saving open documents
at least every five minutes and youʼll never be too far from setting things back to normal.
3. Shortcuts to Success. Keyboard shortcuts are incredible timesavers. Youʼll be amazed at
how much more responsive Photoshop feels when you eliminate trips to the Tools panel,
menu bar, and use the Return/Enter keys to invoke Save and OK commands.
4. Buy More Memory. Ignore the minimum requirements listed on the Photoshop box. The
more memory you have installed, the more efficiently the program runs, and the less time
youʼll spend watching progress bars. Iʼd recommend 4GB of RAM as a starting point. Add
more if you plan to work with digital camera files, create documents with multiple image
layers or make extensive use of filters.
5. Recycle. Many of the tools in Photoshopʼs Adjustments Panel offer a Save Presets and Load
Presets option. If you come up with a particularly good adjustment, save it to your hard drive
and you can always call it up in the future should the need arise. This is a great way to
quickly apply identical edits to a series of images. And if youʼre feeling generous, by all
means share your presets with others.
6. Learn from the Pros. Whether your goal is to earn a living with Photoshop or simply make
your own images look better, youʼll benefit from seeing examples of the work of
professionals. Open any magazine and youʼre guaranteed to be looking at images that have
been through Photoshop. Take a close look at the cover images in particular. Pay attention to
skin texture on portraits. Notice the shadows on headline type. Examine how seamlessly the
cover model is silhouetted over the title logo. Try your hand at duplicating these results.
7. Two Monitors Are Better than One. If youʼre going to be working on large image files,
consider adding a second monitor. It doesnʼt have to be expensive or even as large as your
current display. Youʼll use it to store Photoshopʼs numerous panels, freeing up space on your
main screen for an uncluttered view of your image.
8. Create Projects. Nothing gets your skills up to speed like solving problems. Assign yourself
small projects to work on, like improving a bad photograph, designing a flyer or retouching
wrinkles and blemishes. If youʼre out of project ideas, ask your friends; theyʼll jump at the
offer of free Photoshop work.
9. Each One Teach One. Thereʼs no better way to make sure you understand a topic than by
explaining it to someone else. When you learn a new technique, share it with a friend or
colleague. Communicating this information to someone else forces you to think very clearly
about each individual step in the process; this analysis can often lead you to refine the
10. Have Fun. Ask any Photoshop whiz how they got so good and theyʼll reply, “by playing”.
Using Photoshop should never feel like a chore. Youʼve entered a world of fantastic
possibilities with hidden nooks and crannies just waiting to be explored. Ever wondered what
a particular tool does? Try it. Curious about a checkbox, slider or filter? Go for it. Never be
afraid to press the Red button. Experimentation is the best way to learn new techniques and
improve on old ones

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