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30 Great Photoshop Tips and Tricks to Help Your Computer Graphic Skills

Photoshop is a powerful, but complex, graphics program that can be difficult to learn and frustrating to use. We have published many articles about tips and tricks for using Photoshop and how to fix annoying issues you may encounter.

This article compiles 30 of the best tips and tricks we have documented to help you get the most out of Photoshop.


10 Common Photoshop Frustrations (and How to Fix Them in Five Minutes)

01_ten_common_frustrationsDo your cursor or panels in Photoshop keep disappearing? Are your important image files no longer associated with Photoshop? Have you lost control over the automatic “Smart Quotes?” You may have encounter these frustrating issues and can’t figure out how to fix them. The following article lists 10 of the most common Photoshop frustrations and simple solutions to fix them.

10 Common Photoshop Frustrations (and How to Fix Them in Five Minutes)


Remove Backgrounds Automatically with a Free Photoshop Action

02_remove_background_with_actionPhotoshop actions are recordable programs you can create and save without any knowledge of programming. There are many ways to isolate an object in an image or remove a background in Photoshop. The following article shows you a very easy, one-button method using an action file you can download.

Remove Backgrounds Automatically with a Free Photoshop Action


How to Make Hundreds of Complex Photo Edits in Seconds With Photoshop Actions

03_tweak_many_images_using_actionsThe previous tip provided you with a ready-made, downloadable Action file for removing backgrounds automatically. You can create Photoshop Actions to perform just about any task very quickly and easily. Do you need to make tweaks to a large number of images? The following article shows you to use Photoshop Actions to perform some complicated tweaks to many images at one time automatically.

How To Make Hundreds of Complex Photo Edits in Seconds With Photoshop Actions


How to Save, Share, Download, and Install Custom Photoshop Actions

04_save_share_download_actionsWe’ve shown you how to tweak many images at once using Photoshop Actions and provided you with a downloadable Action file for removing backgrounds automatically. You can export Actions you create to share or archive, and even download actions you find on the internet. However, exporting, sharing, and installing downloaded actions can be confusing. The following article provides simple instructions on how to do all three.

How To Save, Share, Download, and Install Custom Photoshop Actions


50+ Tools & Techniques to Remove Image Backgrounds in Photoshop

05_fifty_ways_to_remove_backgroundsWe showed you earlier in this article how to remove image backgrounds easily using an action. However, there are many other ways to remove backgrounds and isolate objects in Photoshop. The following three-part article shows you more than 50 ways backgrounds can be deleted, erased, masked, hidden, and removed.

50+ Tools & Techniques to Remove Image Backgrounds in Photoshop, pt 1

50+ Tools & Techniques to Remove Image Backgrounds in Photoshop, pt 2

50+ Tools & Techniques to Remove Image Backgrounds in Photoshop, pt 3


How to Use Layer Masks and Vector Masks to Remove Complex Backgrounds in Photoshop

06_using_layer_masksLayer Masks and Vector Masks were discussed briefly in the article about 50+ ways to remove image backgrounds in Photoshop. You can use these tools to remove a background and allow yourself to use parts of the removed background later, if you decide. The following article explains what a Layer Mask is and shows you two methods to use them that works in almost any version of Photoshop. One method is a simpler example for less experienced Photoshop users, and the other is for users with more experience and who are comfortable using the Pen tool and vectors.

How To Use Layer Masks and Vector Masks to Remove Complex Backgrounds in Photoshop


3 Easy Tips to Fix Ugly Edges When Removing Backgrounds

07_fixing_ugly_edgesWe’ve shown you many ways to remove backgrounds. However, what do you do when you’ve removed the background or cut out objects from photographs and end up with some rough, ugly looking edges? The following article shows you three different scenarios for fixing the ugly edges and make your image look great on any background.

3 Easy Tips to Fix Ugly Edges When Removing Backgrounds


Learn How to Make HDR Images in Photoshop or GIMP With a Simple Trick

08_make_hdr_imagesHigh Dynamic Range (HDR) is a post-processing method of drawing out a lot of details from a series of exposures of an image, using many techniques to create images you could not obtain from normal cameras. The following article shows you how to apply your image editing skills and some manual settings in Photoshop to create some amazing HDR photographs.

Learn How to Make HDR Images in Photoshop or GIMP With a Simple Trick


How to Make Faux HDR Photos With Stylized Shadows and Details

09_make_faux_hdr_photosNow, that you’ve learned how to make HDR images in Photoshop, we’ll show you how to get an effect on your photos similar to the heavy, stylized shadows of HDR photography. The following article shows a beginner method using Photoshop and a more advanced method using a freeware program called Raw Therapee to use stylized shadows and details to make faux HDR photos.

How to Make Faux HDR Photos With Stylized Shadows and Details


My Photos Look Different on the Internet! How Can I Fix Them?

10_image_looks_different_on_internetIt’s very frustrating to spend a long time getting a photo to look just right, only to find it looks completely different in your browser once you’ve uploaded it to your site. You may have thought it was just the way the browser displays photos and it couldn’t be fixed. We explain why this happens in the following article and how you can easily fix the problem.

My Photos Look Different on the Internet! How Can I Fix Them?


How to Fix the Dark Shadows that Ruin Great Photos

11_fix_dark_shadowsIf you’ve taken a photo that turned out great, except for those annoying shadows that ruin it, we can help you salvage that photo. The following article shows you how to use Photoshop and GIMP to quickly turn those photos from “almost perfect” to great, bringing the detail back out of the shadows.

How To Fix the Dark Shadows that Ruin Great Photos


How to Make Classic Red/Cyan 3D Photos Out of Any Image

12_make_classic_3d_photosHave you ever thought it would be fun to create your own 3D photos, you can easily do so using Photoshop. The following article shows you how to create classic Red/Cyan 3D photos from any image using simple trick image editing. There’s a simple method for beginner users of Photoshop, and an optional second part that adds a “little more oomph” to your photos.

How To Make Classic Red/Cyan 3D Photos Out of Any Image


What is a Histogram, and How Can I Use it to Improve My Photos?

13_histogramsA Histogram is an important and powerful tool in the digital imagemaker’s toolbox. An in-camera histogram can help improve your photographs as you take them. However, you can also use histograms in Photoshop to improve camera raw photos. The following article shows you how to correctly read a histogram and teaches you a few simple rules that can make you a better image editor and also allow you to shoot better photographs in the first place.

What is a Histogram, and How Can I Use it to Improve My Photos?


Create Instagram Style Photo Effects with GIMP or Photoshop

14_vintage_effectsHave you ever wanted to create your own vintage photo effects? There are special programs that help you create vintage effects, like Instagram. However, these effects can easily be replicated in Photoshop, or even GIMP. The following article shows you how to easily approximate or reverse engineer vintage effects like those generated by Instagram.

Create Instagram Style Photo Effects with GIMP or Photoshop


The Best HTG Photoshop Effects in One Free Download: Action Pack #1

15_htg_action_packNow, that you’ve learned how to apply some fun Photoshop effects manually, you can also apply them quickly and automatically using Actions. We explained Actions earlier in this article as recordable programs you can create and save without any knowledge of programming. We have created the free How-To Geek Photoshop Action Pack to allow you to easily apply great effects to your images with the touch of a button. The following article provides the link to the download and lists the effects available in the pack. The “How to Save, Share, Download, and Install Custom Photoshop Actions” tip earlier in this article describes how to install downloaded Actions.

The Best HTG Photoshop Effects in One Free Download: Action Pack #1


HTG Explains: Cameras, Lenses, and How Photography Works

16_how_cameras_workHave you bought a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera and gotten totally confused once you started to try to learn the photography jargon and how to use the different features of the camera? The following article explains photography basics and how your camera works. Learning the basics can help you take better pictures whether you are using a digital SLR camera or a cell phone camera.

HTG Explains: Cameras, Lenses, and How Photography Works


RGB? CMYK? Alpha? What Are Image Channels and What Do They Mean?

17_image_channels_color_pickerHave you ever wondered what image channels are? And what about RGB and CMYK? The channels panel in Photoshop is one of the least used and misunderstood features of the program. But, all images have image channels, whether you are using Photoshop or another image editor. The following article explains what color channels are, what RGB and CMYK are, and teaches you how image files work. The more you understand about image files, the better image editor you’ll become.

RGB? CMYK? Alpha? What Are Image Channels and What Do They Mean?


How to Use Clipping Masks (And Not Layer Masks) in Photoshop

18_create_clipping_maskEarlier in this article we talked about using Layer Masks to remove complex backgrounds. The following article shows you how to use Clipping Masks to dynamically transform text, brush strokes, vectors, or any sort of layer with ease and explains the difference between Layer Masks and Clipping Masks. The article also provides a video tutorial about using Clipping Masks.

How To Use Clipping Masks (And Not Layer Masks) in Photoshop


How to Create an Easy Pixel Art Avatar in Photoshop or GIMP

19_creating_pixel_artDo you like pixel art? Do you want to create a pixel art avatar for yourself? You can do so easily using a few simple filters in Photoshop or GIMP. We have covered different methods of creating pixel art from ordinary images, but this method uses a different technique. The following article shows you two examples of turning ordinary photographs into pixel art using both Photoshop and GIMP.

How to Create an Easy Pixel Art Avatar in Photoshop or GIMP


How to Create Your Own Custom ASCII Art from Any Image

20_creating_ascii_artThis may be a useless task, but creating pictures from monospaced ASCII characters can be fun. They’re used sometimes in text-based FAQs and monospaced email signatures. If you’ve wondered how they were made, the following article shows you how to do it using a free tool you can download.

How To Create Your Own Custom ASCII Art from Any Image – How-To Geek


How to Get Amazing Color from Photos in Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET

21_adjusting_color_in_imagesIf the color in some of your digital photos didn’t turn out the way you wanted, Photoshop and GIMP (and even Paint.NET) have excellent color correction tools. These tools allow you to change color problems in your photos that may have been caused by the environment, lighting, or maybe settings on the camera when you took the picture. The following article shows you the tools that can help you adjust the color in your images for each of the three programs listed.

How to Get Amazing Color from Photos in Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET


What Can Super Mario Teach Us About Graphics Technology?

22_learning_from_marioYou may think that Super Mario Brothers or Mario Galaxy are only games played for fun. However, they can teach you lessons about graphics and the concepts behind them. The following article will help you learn from Mario about pixels, polygons, computers, and math.

What Can Super Mario Teach Us About Graphics Technology?


Inspire Geek Love with These Hilarious Geek Valentines

23_custom_valentines_cardsIt may only be Thanksgiving next week, but Valentine’s Day is not that far away. How would you like to send people the old elementary school-style, but geeky, valentines? The following article shows you how to make your own custom Valentine’s Day cards and provides a link to download the How-To Geek ready-made, geeky Valentine’s Day cards.

Inspire Geek Love with These Hilarious Geek Valentines


How to Colorize Black and White Vintage Photographs in Photoshop

24_add_color_to_black_and_whiteHave you scanned in old black and white vintage photographs and wished you could add color to them. The following article shows you how easy it is to use Photoshop to quickly add color to any black and white photograph.

How To Colorize Black and White Vintage Photographs in Photoshop


How to Process Camera Raw Without Paying for Adobe Photoshop

25_raw_therapeeIf you need to process Camera RAW, or what can be thought of a digital negative, you may think you need an expensive program like Photoshop, or even a more modestly priced program like Lightroom. However, there is a freeware option that can help you achieve professional results without the prohibitive costs. The following article shows you a great freeware option, called Raw Therapee, and how to use it properly.

How To Process Camera Raw Without Paying for Adobe Photoshop


How to Use and Master the Notoriously Difficult Pen Tool in Photoshop

26_pen_toolIf you’ve been scared off by the notorious Pen Tool in Photoshop, don’t give up hope yet. It may seem intimidating, but you can master it. The following article provides tips and videos to help you learn to use the complex, but easy, Pen Tool.

How to Use and Master the Notoriously Difficult Pen Tool in Photoshop


HTG Projects: Create a Pop Art Sci-Fi Poster with an Inkjet Printer

27_posterizationWould you like to create your own cool artwork to decorate your house? You can easily create a Pop Art style poster in minutes using some Sci-Fi pictures and simple tools. The following article shows how to use a simple process called “posterization” to easily create a cool poster on your inkjet printer.

HTG Projects: Create a Pop Art Sci-Fi Poster with an Inkjet Printer


How to Make Photos Look Like Pencil Drawings in About One Minute

28_pencil_artHave you ever watched someone at a mall photobooth create a “pencil drawing” from a photo and wished you could do that? The following article shows you some smart adjustments and an easy technique suitable for beginners that will allow you to turn your favorite photos into tonal, pencil art style images.

How to Make Photos Look Like Pencil Drawings in About One Minute


How to Make a YouTube Video Into an Animated GIF

29_create_animated_gifs_from_youtubeAnimated GIFs may not be very useful, but they can be fun to make and turn out funny. The following article shows you how to quickly turn your favorite YouTube videos into animated GIFs using Photoshop.

How To Make a YouTube Video Into an Animated GIF


How to Remove People and Objects From Photographs in Photoshop

30_remove_objectsEarlier in this article we discussed removing backgrounds from photographs. Photoshop also makes it easy to remove people and objects from your photographs. If you have some photographs where one person in the photo managed to ruin an otherwise good photo, the following article shows you how you can easily remove that person from the photo.

How To Remove People and Objects From Photographs In Photoshop


These tips and tricks should help you to create some awesome images and not be so intimidated by Photoshop. But, wait! We’re not done yet. Here is a bonus that will save you time when using the Photoshop tools we’ve discussed here and more.

Download the How-To Geek Photoshop CS5 Cheat Sheet

Have Fun!

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 11/19/11

Comments (10)

  1. Sridhar

    Wow!

  2. markiz

    Maybe a Paint.NET alternative guide would also be good?

  3. e1sunz

    Thanks soo much for this im a complete noob and had photoshop cs5 for an year and didnt do anything with it as i find it so hard this might help abit thanks!!

  4. morg

    Any chance that someone has something similar in relation to PSP (Paint Shop Pro) ?

  5. Hossam Hassan

    really useful articles, many thanks to this website :)

  6. tezm

    paint, and live photo gallery, i cant say i hear any shouts for or i missed those that have..i actually live my (artwork/spare time) life round paint and photo gallery and that is putting it mildly.I have downloaded various other similar programmes and i just cant get the same realness, i mean that if there is that many different (but unused mostly) features you can spend a lot of time experimenting or overworking a picture just because you havent used the full 999 fantastic features..which to me brings it down to this, if you dont have the state of the “art ” set up then you have to work to get your finished picture and thats a good thing..i do the same with the photos i take, i limit myself to my 5mp N95 mobile camera which is brilliant quality,i get a lot of my artwork made into A1 & A2 posters and you can see how good the nokia really is…better than my 8.1 or 2mp sony eric W995…..having said all this , i would love to know if there are any compatible extra programmes out there? but i would be lost without what i use now,its better than i can explain,so i wont…Win 7 PAINT & LIVE PHOTO GALLERY versus ??? any offers?

  7. Andrew

    I’m just starting to use GIMP. Anything like this with a more GIMP focus would be fantastic. Yes, I know some already include GIMP.

  8. kbsojourner

    I love the HTG photoshop tutorials and actions but find many of them don’t apply to Photoshop Elements. It would be nice to know which tutorials are applicable to both programs in the intro.

  9. Layne

    I ditto Andrew. How about a series on GIMP? Or PaintShop Pro?

  10. Albert Cahal

    When I see a HTG article I like, I try to DL it in PDF format so I can read it in full later. The only problem is that any photos or charts included in the Article are not there. Any suggestions to fix this???

    AC

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