Work Smarter, Not Harder, with Photoshop

Making changes in Photoshop can be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Learn to Work smarter, not harder, with Photoshop hosted by Chris Converse

It’s Friday afternoon and your boss has asked for a lot of changes to your design files. Button colors, images, and layouts all need to be updated. Making these changes in Photoshop can be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Keep your team’s design assets up-to-date.

It can be quite a challenge to manage a series of creative assets across a design team, especially when you add image managing a series of assets for different projects across that same team. And considering the fact that branding guidelines change, logos get modified, and the corporate color palette can change with the season — keeping your design team up-to-date becomes a nearly impossible task.

Creative Cloud Libraries to the rescue.

Libraries allow you to store, organize, and share creative assets with your design team, and the capabilities go far beyond logo files and photos. Library entries can include color swatches, paragraph and character styles, fonts, layer styles and effects, 3D objects and patterns — well, just about anything you use everyday when designing your projects.

What makes libraries indispensable is the fact that all of the these creative assets are synchronized across all devices and team members. Create something on your mobile device, and your colleagues have it on their desktop computer. Update a library item after a client meeting, and everyone on your team has that new creative. A collaborative creative process becomes a reality with libraries.

Finding the perfect image on Adobe Stock.

Begin your search directly from within Photoshop (File > Search Adobe Stock), or go to the Stock option in your Creative Cloud app. Your results will be displayed in a web browser, where you can browse the results. When you find an image of interest, save a preview of the image directly to any of your saved Libraries — right from the website!

This integration between the web services and your Creative Cloud account provides the fastest and most efficient workflow for you and your design team.

Smart objects get even smarter.

The moment you consider scaling, adjusting, or duplicating a layer, convert that layer into a smart object. This feature allows you to encapsulate the original artwork and protect it from manipulations you perform in Photoshop. This means you can always revert the artwork back to its original state. What’s more, when you duplicate a smart object, it has minimal effect on your file size — as opposed to duplicating a traditional layer.

In addition to preserving the original artwork, updating a smart object will update all duplications — or instances — of the smart object within your Photoshop document.

To take all of this one step further, smart objects can be linked to a separate file, either on your hard drive or in a Library. This means updating artwork in your team’s design Library will, in turn, update within any Photoshop file linked to that asset.

Design and experiment faster with layer comps.

Your design workflow can be greatly improved with layer comps. This feature allows you to capture and recall states of your Layers panel. Layers lie at the heart of Photoshop’s composite features, and many of the effects and styles we apply are based on layered artwork.

Layer comps store all non-destructive aspects of your layers, and capture them as a state of your design. This essentially gives you an unlimited set of design options, without creating an unmanageable number of layers in the Layers Panel. Reuse layers in any number of combinations during your design exploration, or use them to demonstrate the interactive states of a digital project.

And once you’ve completed your design variations, export your layer comps to individual files, or generate a multi-page PDF with a single Export.

Combining smart objects and layer comps.

One of the most amazing things about Photoshop is its ability to combine features. Individually, smart objects and layer comps can increase your productivity a great deal. Combine these two features, and your productivity increases even more.

To demonstrate one possible workflow, we’ll use a Photoshop file with a series of defined layer comps. Next, we’ll import that native Photoshop file into another, multi-artboard Photoshop file composition as a linked smart object.

When selecting each instance of the linked smart object, the Properties panel reveals the ability to select and activate one of the layer comps found in the original Photoshop file. And what makes this so powerful is that you can activate a different layer comp for each instance throughout your file and artboards.

It’s also worth noting that this same activated layer comp workflow works in InDesign and Illustrator as well.

Now, add your original Photoshop file to your Library and control a whole series of compositions with your Creative Cloud design team.

Watch these features in action!

Join me in this recorded webinar, where we’ll explore some best practices for working with layer styles, layer comps, art boards, CC Libraries, and PDF exporting that will help get your design changes done in no time.

In this session you’ll learn about:

_Adobe Creative Cloud e-learning series:
_Work smarter, not harder, with Adobe Photoshop CC