Though I’ve used Photoshop in some fashion since the early 2000s, I’m always learning or re-learning things about it. To improve the speed of editing, there are a few things that make a big difference. I’ve been trying to incorporate the keyboard more into the editing process because it does speed up editing a lot.
I use Photoshop CS5, so if something doesn’t work for you then there might be a difference in how things are done for your version.
– Holding the space bar down will allow you to drag around the photo while keeping your current tool.
– There is an application level setting that you can change to have the scroll-wheel perform zoom and it doesn’t change your current tool selected. I always enable that whenever I need to (re)install Photoshop.
– The clone stamp tool is my go-to tool for editing cosplay photos. It’s easy to clone out harder to manage spots and areas with this tool compared to the others I’ve used. It takes more effort to use than the other related tools, so I try to use the others when I can to speed things up.
– The spot healing brush is good for quick removal of most moderately sized things you don’t want in the photo as long as the image around it isn’t too complex. This tool works best when editing inside something and not edges of things. The healing brush tool is a quicker alternative to the clone stamp tool as long as the surroundings are not complex.
– The patch tool is good for changing big areas as a starting point. It’s also good for under the eye darkness.
– To change brush size or hardness, hold alt+right mouse button and drag the mouse either up/down or left/right to change things.
– The blur tool is good for a number of things, especially making your larger edits like changing the background look more natural by blurring the edges of what is in the foreground.
– The sharpen tool helps fix some of the blurriness that some of the other tools like clone and heal result in.
– Dodge and burn are just generally good and adding realism to major edits or changing things like shadows to make them less harsh.
– If you are zoomed in and want to get a full view, use CTRL+0 to jump back out quickly. This is also helpful if you pulled in a selection that’s outside of your view but you want to see all of it.