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Troubleshooting Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 1 of 5

Class Introduction: Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 1

Ben Willmore

Troubleshooting Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction: Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 1


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Class Introduction: Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 1

Now we're gonna get started on trouble shooting. Sometimes Photoshop is not gonna do as you expect. And when that happens it's good to have a game plan on how to solve issues. And so I'm actually gonna be looking down as some notes because there's so many little things that can go wrong. I don't wanna forget any of the things I have down here in my notes. The first thing you might run into is when you attempt to do something you might find that whatever it is you planned to use is grayed out. Right now I'd like to apply and adjustment and it's just not available or I want to come over here and apply a filter, not available. Maybe I wanna grab the paintbrush tool and paint on my image. If you look, it's giving me a no symbol. Well one of the things to think about when anything is not available is what's currently active. And if you look at my layers panel at the moment more than one layer is active and there's a lot of things you do in Photoshop that can't work on more than one layer at...

a time. So if I were to switch which layer is active and just make it a single layer then suddenly all the filters are available, all my adjustments are available and if I grab my paintbrush tool I no longer get a no symbol. The other time that can happen is if no layers are active. So if you click in the empty area below the layers so nothing is active, now it doesn't know which layer should it be changing or where it should be depositing any information you might be painting with. Another thing that can happen is even when a feature is available you might find that you come in here and you choose, let's say I wanna do a, I don't know a black and white adjust layer, turn this whole image black and white. It just didn't work, it didn't do anything at all. I expected something to happen and nothing happened. Well what you often need to do is see if a selection is active. Oftentimes you might be zoomed in on a picture. Let's say you're zoomed up on this part. This is what you're thinking about you've clicked on the layer that contains that particular content. Maybe you've even tested it by turning the eyeball on and off to know it's right layer then you come over here and you wanna blur that so you go on and try a filter and it doesn't matter how high you get this, it just doesn't work. Well when that's the case there's a very good chance that there's a selection active on your screen. And a selection would limit what you're doing so it can only effect that small area. Click cancel and here's how you can figure out if you ever have a selection. Go to the select menu and if the choice called deselect is available as a choice where it's not grayed out then it means there is a selection somewhere on your screen. It just might be scrolled off the edge of your screen or maybe you've typed command H to hide the edges and you can't see it. So you choose deselect and then try whatever you're doing again. And now I find it's working. Then on occasion you'll end up trying to use a keyboard shortcut and certain keyboard shortcuts won't work. Whenever they don't work, like right now I want to hit tab to hide my panels. Usually tab will hide all the panels on your screen and it's not working. I'd suggest to press the return key and then press escape on your keyboard. Why? Because anytime your keyboard shortcut doesn't work oftentimes what it means is somewhere on your screen a letter or a number is selected and it thinks you're typing wherever that selection is. In this particular case there's an number in my options bar up here at the top, called feather, and it happens to be selected. And so if I type a number, that's where it's going. If I type a letter, it's trying to put it in there. And by pressing the return key that usually means return focus to neutral meaning to nothing and also if you hit the escape key it means cancel any mode I might be in. And so return and then escape usually will make it so a keyboard shortcut that wasn't working previously often will start working once again. Other things that can cause issues with things being grayed out. If you find that certain filters and I think I'll eventually be able to find one here. Oh, this isn't, yeah. If I find that certain functions are not available one of the choices that it might be a 16 bit image and if you a 16 bit image and you go to the filter menu you will find that some of the filters like smart blur and they'll probably be more in here, won't be available like lighting effects, and so if there's filter that's not available just pop up here to the image menu, choose mode and see if you're in 16 bit mode. If you are, convert to 8 bit mode and then see if the filter becomes available because there are certain filters that will not work in 16 bit mode. Other things that are common issues is look at what type of layer is active. If you have a shape layer or a text layer or an adjustment layer active, then those aren't layers that contain normal pixels, so there are certain things that won't be available. So just make sure that the layer that is active is what you find is appropriate for whatever you're currently doing. Let's see what else here. We talked about keyboard shortcuts. Well there's one thing that messes up a lot of folks and that is if you are ever trying to use a paintbrush tool and in the paintbrush tool you find that your mouse looks like a crosshair. There are two instances when your mouse is gonna look like a crosshair. The first one is if the size of your brush is larger than the size of your screen. That can happen when you zoom up on your picture to look at it in fine detail and you happen to have a brush that is considerable in size, then the circle of your brush might be outside the edge of your screen. It's still trying to show you where your brush is, so it only shows you where the middle is. But if that's not the case, if your brush size is a smaller more reasonable size, then the other reason why would be the caps lock key on your keyboard. For as long as the caps lock key is pressed down you get what's known as precise cursors which is where you just see the center of the brush instead of seeing a circle that represents the whole thing. And therefore, make sure that's working. Now if you find adjustments show up but don't do anything it's very common when people end up doing an adjustment that there'll be a preview checkbox. Let's say I went up here and chose image, adjustments levels and I made some sort of a change and maybe I wanna see before and after. Here's the preview checkbox. Well if you have that turned off at the time you click okay well then it's gonna remember that. That setting is sticky and therefore the next time you go in there and you try to apply this same adjustment it might be a week later and now you're gonna try to move these sliders around and you find they have no result whatsoever no change in your image at all but when you click okay, it does change and it'll really mess with you. What that usually means is whatever adjustment you were using the preview check box was left off the last time somebody clicked okay, and therefore it's sticky and it remembers that setting. And therefore just turn it back on and click okay. Now it's going to start working again each time you try. Now if you're using any tools in your tools panel and you find they're acting erratically, most of the time when it comes to a painting tool it has to do with the opacity being too low or the blending mode being set to something odd. But on occasion it can be any kind of settings that are up here. So if you find any tool in Photoshop acting erratically whenever that tool is active you'll find up here in the options bar just the right of the home icon will be a copy of the icon for that tool. Press your right mouse button on that icon and you'll be able to reset that tool. And therefore if the blending mode was set to something odd or the opacity or some other setting was set oddly, when you right click on that and choose reset tool, all those options should revert back. Although I think anything that has to do with graphics tablet might not. So, I would end up resetting. The other reason why tools will sometimes not work the way expect in your layers panel, be very careful with the layer that is currently active, when it comes to the icons that are found right up here. If any of these lock symbols get turned on then you'll be limited in what you can do to a layer. This icon here will prevent you from changing the areas that look like a checkerboard. So if you suddenly can't paint across the transparent areas that might be turned on. This locks the pixels that make up your image and that means you cannot change any existing pixels that make up the picture. This locks the position of the layer. And so when you get over here to this it locks everything about the layer. And so if any of those lock symbols are turned on that's another reason why certain things might now work.

Class Description


  • Troubleshoot the most common issues with Tools, Selections, Layers, Masks, and Modes


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)