7 Photoshop Hacks You’ll Ever Need (GSB)


1. Full Screen Backgrounds


Find a beautiful high-resolution full-screen image. Here are possible sources

  • http://www.interfacelift.com
  • http://www.behance.net
  • Google Images


  1. Make sure the resolution of the image is greater than the resolution of your canvas size
  2. Make sure the background image is in the bottom most layer, but above your background layer
  3. If your image doesn’t have enough of a uniform color to create contrast to your content, use the blending options for that layer and activate the color overlay. Choose a white or black color overlay, and set the opacity of that overlay to an appropriate amount. Note that different monitors may have different sensitivities to shades of grey.

2. Lifting Objects Away From Their Background


Most often, you will be doing this with logos or products. Anything other than logos (like a person), it’s likely that the design you’re putting together will look kitschy.

Techniques (in order of usage):

  1. Removing the black or the white in the image: Blending Options -> Turn down the black or white slider near the bottom of the blending options window. Note that this doesn’t delete the black or white space, it just makes it disappear. If you use color overlay after you do this, the overlay will apply to the entire square box.
  2. Magic wand (shortcut W) – this tool will determine the color you’re clicking and autoselect the area around it with the same color. You can change the sensitivity by changing the Tolerance property above, and you can hold shift to add new areas and command-shift to remove previously selected areas. Note that you can only select rasterized layers – aka, no shapes or text unless they’re rasterized.
  3. Marquee tool – you can simply go into a layer, select the marquee tool, draw a box around your item, and use cut or copy to take it out of that layer. You can also used Copy Merged (command-shift-C) to basically copy whatever is ‘seen’ in the marquee tool (all the visible layers).
  4. Lasso tool – this is a tool where you literally draw around your object. Very frustrating. Very time consuming. Use the polygon lasso tool if the object has a lot of straight and sharp edges, and use the magnetic one for things like hair. You should always try to find a better more pre-isolated image before using the lasso tool.

3. Rounded Corners and Layer Clipping Mask


Rounded Corners:

  1. Right click the shapes tool and and choose Rounded Rectangle
  2. Adjust the ’roundness’ of it using the radius property at the top bar.

Clipping Mask

  1. Put the layer with content directly above the layer that will form the clipping mask (put the photo above the rounded rectangle or circle)
  2. Then move your mouse to the line that separates the two layers, hold alt/option and then click
  3. You can have multiple layers clip to a single object


4. Layer Groups +Layer Duplication


Put Layers in a Group:

  1. In the layer’s panel, all the way at the bottom, click the folder icon to create a new group
  2. Then just drag the layers you want into that group
  3. You can change the opacity and some blending options of a group at a time – you can also toggle the visibility of a group as a whole – you can also rasterize (merge) and entire group into a single layer, but it’s very difficult to reverse beyond an undo

Duplicating Layers or Group:

  1. Right click on a layer or group
  2. Click Duplicate Layer / Duplicate Group
  3. Name it and keep it in the same document, unless you want to duplicate it onto a different document.

5. Blending Options – Strokes, Color Overlays, and Shadows



  1. Right-Click the layer you want to create a stroke for and click blending options
  2. On the left menu, check-off stroke. The four properties you should take note of is the size, position, opacity, and color

Color Overlay:

  1. Right-click the layer upon which you want to use color-overlay and click blending options
  2. On the left menu, check-off color overlay. Change the color and the opacity. You can experiment with the blending options if you want.


  1. Right-click the layer upon which you want to use shadows and click blending options
  2. You can do inner shadow (the layer will look popped in) or drop shadow (the layer will look popped out)
  3. Keep in mind the color, opacity, distance, spread, and size


6. Screenshot and Paste

Mac: Command-shift-4 will allow you to cut anything from your screen and will save it as a JPEG on your desktop

PC: The snippet tool will allow you to snip anything from your screen and save it as a JPEG in the place of your choosing


7. Copy copy copy copy


Go to the following places to find inspiration and just emulate what they’re doing:

You’ll be able to find list upon lists upon lists of examples that you can emulate