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Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference

Lesson 14 from: Up to Speed with Photoshop and Bridge 2023

Ben Willmore

Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference

Lesson 14 from: Up to Speed with Photoshop and Bridge 2023

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

14. Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference

Identify the subtle yet impactful improvements to take full advantage of the updated program.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson discusses various small changes and updates in Adobe Photoshop that can make a big difference in the way users work with the software. Some of the changes include the ability to share images in different file formats, a tooltip for layer information, improved sky replacement feature, easier copying and pasting of text from Adobe Illustrator, new preferences for multi-threading and GPU compositing, options to save images on the computer or Adobe servers, removal of the Shake Reduction filter, changes to the share icon, enhancements for selecting hair and working with guides, easier use of emojis in the comments panel, video playback and editing on Apple's M1 or M2 chips, preferences for spring loaded tool shortcuts and select subject feature, neutral mode preference, improved neural filter called harmonization, and better quality results for adjustments in 16-bit images.


  1. What are some of the file formats that can now be used when sharing images in Photoshop?

    The new update allows for sharing images in file formats such as ping, jpeg, TIF, or pdf.

  2. How can you view the blending mode, opacity, and fill setting of a layer without making it active?

    You can hover over a layer with your mouse without clicking on it, and a tooltip will appear showing the blending mode, opacity, and fill setting.

  3. How can you reset an adjustment slider to its default settings?

    In the updated version, you can simply double-click on the adjustment slider to reset it to its default settings.

  4. What enhancements have been made to the sky replacement feature in Photoshop?

    The updated version adds a levels adjustment layer and a hue and saturation adjustment layer to improve the appearance of the sky replacement by adding contrast and lowering saturation.

  5. Can you copy and paste text directly from Adobe Illustrator into Photoshop?

    Yes, you can now copy and paste text from Adobe Illustrator into Photoshop, and it will appear as a normal text layer in the layers panel without changing its appearance.

  6. What new preferences are available for multi-threading and GPU compositing?

    The new preferences allow users to enable multi-threading for faster processing and use the graphics processor on their video card to speed up the screen redraw when compositing layers.

  7. What changes have been made to the default image saving location preference?

    Users can now choose to save their images on their computer's hard drive or on Adobe servers as part of Creative Cloud, and they can set their preferred default location.

  8. Why was the Shake Reduction filter removed from Photoshop?

    The Shake Reduction filter was removed because it required a lot of work for updating and very few people were using it, so Adobe decided it was not worth the investment.

  9. How can you delete or edit guides in Photoshop?

    With the Move tool, you can click on a guide to select it and press the delete key to remove it. Additionally, right-clicking on a guide allows you to choose "Edit Selected Guides" to change its orientation, position, or color.

  10. What is the purpose of the harmonization filter in Photoshop?

    The harmonization filter is designed to adjust the color of an image to match the overall color feeling of a background image, especially when combining two images.

Lesson Info

Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference

Now let's look at a list of the small changes that were done in Photoshop because there are so many little things that you wouldn't notice unless somebody pointed them out to you. But a lot of these things can make a big difference in the way you work in Photoshop. So let's take a look. There is a button near the upper right of Photoshop's interface that allows you to share an image. And it used to be that when you used it, it limited which file formats you could work with. So you had to use Photoshop, Photoshop BIG or PSDC file format. Well now you can use more common file formats like ping, jpeg, TIF or pdf. There's a new tool tip and that is if you pause with your mouse on top of a layer without actually clicking on it, a little tool tip will appear to indicate what the blending mode is, the opacity and the fill setting for that layer without actually having to make the layer active. And that can be nice when you're trying to figure out why a document has an unusual look and you kno...

w one of your layers probably has an odd setting. So you hover over the layers and you can tell that without actually making them active. I'm so used to working in Adobe Camera Raw where I can double click on an adjustment slider and it resets to the default setting that I use that feature or try to use that feature in Photoshop itself. But it used to be that there were very few areas where double clicking on a slider would reset it to its default settings. Well, they've been expanding it. So now all of these adjustments if you move an adjustment slider and you later want to get it back to default settings, just double click on the slider. But this might look like a large list but there's a whole bunch of things where it still doesn't work. Like for instance, when you're using the adjustment levels, double-clicking will not work. Now there is an improvement to the sky replacement feature. What you see in the left side of the screen is what an older version of Photoshop would produce. And you can see this kind of grayness around the edge. Well, the one on the right is what you might get in the new version and that's because they've changed it in a way that's gonna add a few enhancements to the end result. Lemme show you what it actually does. In your layers panel there are going to be two adjustment layers in your end result that wouldn't have been there with older versions. One, is a levels adjustment layer. And that levels adjustment layer is going to end up trying to add contrast. If you look it pulls in the upper left and the upper right sliders until they touch the histogram which is gonna give you full contrast in that area. Then it also adds a hue and saturation adjustment layer above that and it lowers the saturation. And doing both of those usually makes the edge in that transition look better. Now you can copy and paste text directly from Adobe Illustrator into Photoshop, and when you do, it's gonna ask you if you'd like to paste it as a layer. If you do paste it as a layer, it's going to appear in Photoshop's layers panel as a normal text layer and it shouldn't change appearance, which is really nice. We now have new preferences from multi-threading. Multi-threading is when Photoshop can do more than one thing simultaneously with the computer. It's a processor where it doesn't have to wait for one instruction to finish before another one begins. And there's a checkbox that enables this that's in your preferences under performance. There's also a new preference if you were to click on the advanced settings button that you see near the upper right, if you do that this comes up and there you're going to find a choice for GPU compositing. And that means you can use the graphics processor on your video card to speed up the redraw of the screen when it comes to compositing the layers together to just give you the look of the end result. The reason why they end up having these as things you could turn off is anytime you use your GPU for something, oftentimes it can produce artifacts that will not be in the file itself, but it'll be just in the way the screen is being redrawn. And if you find that there is some artifacting on your screen and you wanna be able to test if it is due to your video card or not, or if it's truly in your picture you could turn off that check box for GPU compositing and see if it clears up the issue. There is now a new preference for where you would like the default for where you save your images. Your choice is to either save them on your computer's hard drive or save them on Adobe servers as part of Creative Cloud where they're stored online. And it used to be that it would kind of bring it up and try to force you to go online. Well now you can end up telling it what you prefer. I personally prefer to save my images on my desktop. Now there was a filter that used to be in Photoshop and it was called Shake Reduction and it's actually been removed, and that's because they're upgrading some of the programming that's behind the scenes in Photoshop to take advantage of more modern features in your operating system. And that particular filter would take a lot of work to make it work. And they found that very few people used the filter so they just felt it wasn't worth investing the time to update it, so it went away. They also removed a share icon that used to be found on the upper right of your screen. It looked like a square with an arrow arrow pointing up. Well now there's another icon in the same location that instead says Share. And so, they just changed the general look of that. And they also changed some of the features set found within them. If you select hair with the object selection tool, it's going to give you a better looking end result than it would've in older versions. There are some enhancements for guides to add a guide to an image. It doesn't change the way that works. You just make your rulers visible. I usually do that by typing Command + R, Control + R if you're in Windows, then you can click within a ruler and drag into your image to add a guide. But here's the new stuff. Now, if you use the Move tool you can click on a guide that's already on your image to select it so it thinks it's active. Then you can hit the delete key to remove that guide. And if you right click on any guide, you can choose Edit Selected Guides. And if you do, this comes up and you can change the orientation of that guide from horizontal to vertical. You can tweak the position a little bit and you can also change the color and therefore, each guide could have a different color. If you hold down both Option and Shift on a Mac which would be Alt and Shift on Windows, you can select multiple guides when you're using the Move tool. Also, when you're using those same keyboard truck cuts, if you double click when those keyboard truck cuts are held down, it will bring up that little edit screen that I showed you earlier. There's a easier way of using emojis when you use the comments panel. In the comments panel at the very beginning before you type anything else, if you type a colon, you're gonna get an emoji picker where you can just type in the name of an emoji and then click on it to add it to your comment. There were issues when they first came out with a version of Photoshop that worked with Apple's M1 chips where Apple switched from Intel to their own chips and you weren't able to work with video in that setup. Well now, they have enabled video playback and editing if you're on Apple's new M1 or M2 chips. There's a new preference and it is called spring loaded tool shortcuts. And it's a timing. What it is, is if you end up pressing a keyboard shortcut for a tool, for instance, the letter V would switch you to the move tool whenever you're in Photoshop. Well, if you just press it and let go, like a very quick press it will switch you to that tool and leave you in that tool. But if you, instead, let's say you're in the paintbrush tool and you wanted to just use the move tool for a moment. Well, if you pressed and held down the letter V, which is the shortcut for the move tool, it would stay in the move tool only for the length of time that you held the key down. But that is as long as you held it down long enough for it to think of it as a long press. This setting determines how long you have to hold down that key before it thinks of it as a momentary use of that tool compared to switching to the tool. So the main thing is if you're used to using both momentary and switching to the tool using keyboards, that setting determines how quickly you have to press the key. And so, you could experiment with it if you've had issues with it in the past. There's a new preference under image processing and it determines if the select subject feature is going to be done using only your computer or if it's gonna send information over the internet to Adobe servers where their servers can do a better job on that. But it takes more time, so it ends up being slower. So you can decide your default and then regardless of what you choose there, now if you go to any selection tool and you look in the options bar there's usually a choice called select subject. It's just a button. And now they've added a little dropdown menu where if you click the little down pointing letter V, you can say, the next time I press this button, just for that time, should I do it on my device or should I do it on the cloud? And therefore, you can override that preference setting for just one use, if you'd like. And if you use the cloud for select subject, it's gonna do a better job with hair. So there's a good reason to be using the cloud option. There's a new preference called neutral mode and what it does is in the upper right of your screen, there's usually a share button. And for some reason, Adobe decided to make that button blue. But that's not common for the way Photoshop and things are designed. Usually your user interface is all gray so it doesn't compete with the colors in your image. Well now if you turn on that preference, that blue button will change to gray. That's pretty much all it does. There is a neural filter called harmonization, that's not new. But what it allowed you to do is if you had two images you were gonna combine together and the image you were gonna use as a background had a warm or a cool overall feeling to it, like this image which is a sunset, therefore it's got a warm feeling. If you were to put an image in there, like let's say a boat floating on the water that's there that you see the reflection, then that boat might not look right if it wasn't shot in a warm environment to begin with. Well, this harmonization filter would end up shifting the color of the boat that you might put in here to make it more match the overall color feeling of the background image. That's what that filter is kind of designed for. Well now they've improved the quality of the results. If you work with 16 bit images and that's usually what I use anytime I open a raw file, the onscreen redraw of that image is gonna look smoother when you apply adjustment layers and make other changes to the image. Also, histograms that represent the, try to show you the brightness levels that are found within the image will be more precise as well. And what this would do is in older versions of Photoshop if I made an adjustment using an adjustment layer, sometimes like an area of the sky that I know would look smooth before the adjustment would suddenly look stair stepped, more like the image that's on the left here. But when I was completely done with the image if I flattened the image so I no longer had an adjustment layer, instead, that adjustment had been permanently applied to the image that stair stepped appearance would go away and it would look like the image on the right, it would look smooth. So it was only the way, it was kind of previewing the layered image that wasn't looking right. Well, they fixed it. So now it always looks smooth. So now you should know where most of the little stuff is hidden be in Photoshop so you can take full advantage of the changes they've made.

Class Materials


Example images to use when practicing the techniques

Ratings and Reviews

Vincent Zuck

Thank you Ben! This course was very helpful. I definitely learned how to better use some of the new tools in PS, and I now have a firmer understanding of how they work and how to use them. The course is clearly presented and Ben gives a lot of examples on screen. He shows real time editing examples on several rather difficult scenarios, and talks us through his thought process as he does the editing. If one way doesn't work he explains his thoughts on what to try next and does it on screen. This was very helpful. Nicely done! I highly recommend this course!

Ann Wooledge

I love your classes Ben. I don't think anyone explains things any better than you do. However, I worked with updated PS 2023 and PS 2024 and I can find NO cylindrical wrap tool. This would be a great tool for me as I work a lot with product images that require changing the labels. Help!


I think this class is one we all need! All of the new features are explained clearly and demonstrated. I have been using some of these features already but after taking this class I understand the way to use them to get the best results. Highly recommend it.

Student Work