There is no denying the speed and efficiency that keyboard short-cuts bring to the usability of computer software, and non-more so than in architecture.
A short-cut helps to maintain workflow and concentration by removing that “where is it” moment when you can’t find the required tool.
As architects and students, we use a huge amount of virtual tools from a diverse range of architectural 3D, CAD and image making programs, and learning all of the different short-cut combinations can be a very difficult task.
Focusing here on Photoshop, we have produced a list of our favourite and most used architecture based Photoshop shortcuts that will help you to work smarter and quicker.
As well as providing a quick go to reference, we hope this will go on to helping you to learn them from memory.
- Merge and copy all layers – Cmd/Ctrl + Shif t+ Alt + E
- Invert layer – Cmd/Ctrl + I
- Quick full layer masks – Alt – click (on layer)
- Brush size – ] and [
- Hide guides – Cmd/Ctrl + :
- Hide tools – Tab
- Cut – Cmd/Ctrl + X
- Paste in place – Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + V
- Show rulers – R
- Move tool – V
- Marque select – M
- Lasso select – L
- Pan around image – Hold and drag Space Bar
- Change foreground & background colours – X
- Reset foreground and background colours to black and white – D
- Pan – Space Bar
- Edit layer – Cmd/Ctrl +T
- Save – Cmd/Ctrl = S
- Fit to screen – Ctrl + 0
- Fill section – Alt + Backspace
- Open curves adjustment – Cmd/Ctrl + M
- Open colour balance – Cmd/Ctrl + B
- Text – T
- Open levels – Cmd/Ctrl + L
- Scale layer proportionally – Hold shift and drag
Other Photoshop Tools For Architects
There are many additonal methods and tools that can help architects and designers when using Photoshop, such as a larger and higher resolution monitor, a specifically graphic orientated mouse and/or a drawing tablet.
A designated mouse provides its user with additional controls to access tools via its own buttons, rather than typing shortcuts into a keyboard, or manually selecting the tool from a drop down menu. They are also ergonomically very different mainly due to their increased functionality, with many users preferring their usability to a conventional mouse.
This does however make them to look a little unconventional and for this reason some people may be put off by them, but for serious graphic production there are a lot of benefits to take advantage of.
Additionally, when producing or editing graphics and images, a drawing tablet offers a level of flexibility and creativity that a standard mouse and keyboard just can’t do. The user experience is much closer to that of actually drawing or painting, and for most people provides a more precise and calculated level of feedback.
There are a number of popular tablets on the market all at varying prices, but for the most cost effect solution you want to aim for a screen-less product.
The Huion H420 Graphics Drawing Tablet has won many reviews for being the best budget drawing tablet out there.
And at the upper end a drawing tablet market, with a designated screen the Wacom Cintiq 13 HD is said to offer the “ultimate virtual drawing experience”.
There are also a diverce range tablet pens in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colours available. These bring a level of uniqueness to your workspace, with some very well designed options out there that will inspire even the most design conscious among us.
Try the Microsoft Surface Pen
Like anything it all just takes practice, the more you use Photoshop the easier it will become, and once you’ve established a workflow they’ll be no looking back.