Streamlining your editing workflow.

1. Change your default Photoshop workspace. Photoshop default workspace generally looks like this. The tool bar is on the left.  So each time you need to select a tool you have to move the mouse to the opposite side of the screen. After awhile this adds up in time.  Simply by grabbing the top of the bar and dragging it over to the right panel and lining it up against the panel, it will turn blue, when aligned it will attach to the right panel. 

The next step is to customise the panels. Think about what you use the most in your panels.

To customise the panel , click on Window in the menu and tick the options you would like to have in your panels.  Now it is a matter of moving them around to suit your editing.

To save your new workspace, Menu >window>workspace>new workspace. And follow the prompts.

I like to see the layers I have available so this is my preferred set up for now.

Map out your editing workflow.

Do you have a structured approach to editing? What do you do first? Do you create a blank layer and select the healing brush to start cleaning.  This brings me to creating customised brushes you use regularly in your editing.

For example one of my first steps is to create a new layer select the healing brush tool, zoom in and start cleaning up the image. For portraits that is removing distractions such as blemishes.  However depending on the image I might want to have the blending mode to darken, lighten or normal.  I know I zoom in on the image so I set the brush size to match generally what I will be editing if it is a blemish I need the brush size to be 17px.  Then I have the option of changing the blending mode.  By creating a brush that has these settings one for normal, darken or lighten.  I simply select these brushes from the brush panel and I know they are set specifically for the job.  One click instead of 3 adjustments.  I also have done this for the clone stamp tool.  The two scripts I use shown in the images I use to edit every image.  Beauty Retouching Panel and Conny Van’s Retouching tool kit.  Both have reduce the amount of time editing. As you can see the Retouching panel includes preset brushes for dodge and burning. However I still have made a few of my own editing actions to compliment these.

Now it’s time for tip number 3.

Creating your own editing actions.

Now its time to put those brushes to action. I know I have to edit fly away hair in portraits. To edit hair there is a process.

I know I have to have my clone brush set to 100% opacity at 20% flow to start with, I know I need to work on a blank layer. I know at some stage I will add a mask to that layer and want to brush back over the hair to achieve the result I want.  So why not make that a one click action. Instead of setting up each step for each image I edit.  Initially it is a bit tricky to make sure each step is recorded in your action, Youtube is there to help. But once you have created these actions, you will hopefully notice a decrease in the amount of time you spend editing.   So here is that action I created as well as a background clean up action that normally is run near the end of the edit and not the start where I would clean up the fly away hairs.

Other actions you can create.  Increase or decrease in curves.

Stamp visible and making it a smart object. 

Add contrast.

Adjust highlights.

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