Six Things Every Designer Should Do Right Now

6things

By: Art Director, Jake Silva

I get really excited about learning new shortcuts and tools in programs I already know, love and use on a daily basis. Especially when it speeds up workflow and increases productivity. It is estimated that you could save up to 8 days a year just by using shortcuts while designing. So allow me to geek out a bit – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend a talk hosted by Adobe’s Senior Creative Cloud Evangelist ­– Paul Trani. Paul is one of those presenters who’s laid back style and intelligent wit leaves you with a hunger for more. His talk was just as entertaining as it was informative and I found myself struggling to write down all his words of wisdom.

 

The lowdown: below is a high level selection of my favorite tips, tricks, shortcuts for Photoshop (Ps) and Illustrator (Ai). For the full list and additional tutorials, check out https://paultrani.com/

 

  1. Pay attention to current design trends… for example
  • Double Exposure
  • Low Poly (artificial 3D)
  • Long Shadow
  • Zentangle
  • Hand Lettering
  • Murals
  • Ink
  • Calligraphy
  • Creating vectors from objects in photography (Adobe Capture)

 

  1. Speed up your workflow (it’s hard to break from what’s familiar)
  • De-clutter your desktop workspace regularly by using CMD-H (hide)
  • Change opacity of a layer in Ps with keyboard numbers (6 = 60% opacity etc)
  • Shift key – (+)(–) to cycle through layer blend modes
  • Shift-Option M (multiply) to jump right to a layer specific blend mode etc
  • Command – J to duplicate a layer
  • Bracket keys increase/decrease size of a brush or eraser, hold shift to change the softness
  • N and K are the only (non-used keys) on a keyboard available to assign to a shortcut
  • Name your Layers
  • Layer pallet filter: filter the layers pallet by Kind, Name etc to find artwork faster

 

  1. Work non-destructively
  • Convert layers to Smart Objects
  • Use layer masks + brushes rather than eraser tool
  • Use bridge to load/combine files into the layers of one Ps file
  • Uncheck “Auto-Select” in the upper toolbar and use the command key – click to automatically select a layer
  • Select – focus area (auto select the part of the image that is in focus) the refine the edge
  • Hold option between layers to make a clipping mask
  • Layer – New – Artboard to create an Artboard from a selection of layers (then use the option key and click and drag to duplicate the entire Artboard)
  • Filter – Camera Raw Filter to adjust everything in a photo without needing multiple layer styles.
  • For the full list of Ps shortcuts: paultrani.com/2016/03/photoshop-shortcuts
  1. Work Connected (between applications and within them)
  • Use libraries
  • Save an object to the library so you can always go back and edit it.
  1. Produce and Output Graphics Quickly (in Ps)
  • File – Generate – Image assets (name the Ps layer the file type you want to output to (i.e. image.jpg will export the layer as a JPG). Use percentages (50% in the filename) to export at 50% opacity
  • Right click on the layer – export
  • Right click on the layer – export CSS
  1. Use the right tool for the job
  • Check out the Adobe Experience Manager (XD)

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