A lot of people ask me how I work so quickly in Photoshop – the truth is I use my own pre-made templates as well as ones downloaded from around the net. It is high time I shed some light on this subject. And here I’m going to do just that. Here are a few quick ways to simplify Photoshop for yourself with presets.
Note: At the end of this tutorial you can download a full collection of 17 presets all in one zip file.
Before we begin
If you haven’t done so already, check out my “introduction” tutorials for Photoshop. In the ones I have linked below you will learn the basics and go through all the essential knowledge about Photoshop:
Photoshop Presets and the Preset Manager
The Preset Manager is what you’re going to be using when it comes to importing and exporting presets. You can find it by going to Edit > Presets > Preset Manger.
The manager’s default view is Brushes. In this view it will display all brushes you have imported or made by yourself.
From the small gear located at the top right, you can chose a different display mode. My favourite is Large List, but feel free to check out the other ones as well.
From the Preset Type dropdown menu, you can select all other presets you can view. Each one also has its own keyboard shortcut, as shown below:
The manager allows you to rearrange, rename, save separate sets and delete presets. It’s a much better way of organising your presets rather than manually pasting downloaded ones in the respective directories.
What are they?
Brushes – the name speaks for itself. Simple tools for drawing, retouching, and a lot more. Whether you use Photoshop for drawing or not, you will notice that the newer versions feature brushes that come as close to the look of a realistic brush stroke as possible.
How can I make one?
Start by making a new document with an aspect ratio of 1:1. The larger the resolution, the more you will be able to scale the brush.
Use images, combine other brushes, or just experiment with full freedom until you get a brush that looks exactly the way you want it to.
Press Ctrl+Ato select your whole canvas, and then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset.
You can give your brush a name and then press OK to save it.
After saving, it will appear at the bottom of all your other brush presets.
Here’s Some of the Presets I Use (links and sources)
When making posters and other artwork, I really often include one of the brushes from the Watercolor Splatters by pstutorialsws.
For general work and drawing, I always keep going back to the Brush Professional Pack by Roman Melentyev.
Finally, I want to share my own brushes or download brushes shared by others, I go to the official Adobe Photoshop Exchange where I can download tons of presets just by logging in with my Adobe ID.
What are they?
Swatches are quick colours you can pick up and use at any point in time while working in Photoshop. These are very useful and come in handy for designers who like working by a strict color scheme.
How can I make one?
Adding a color to your swatches is probably one of the easiest things in Photoshop. Open the Color Picker by clicking on either the Foreground or Background color.
From here, you can play around and look for the specific color you would like to add.
After you’ve found the color, simply click the Add to Swatches button to the right.
Again, you will be able to add a name to your color.
Then it will appear at the bottom of all your other swatches.
Which ones do I use (links and sources)
I don’t use Swatches that often, so this set of 26 differently themed swathes from JustJaimee.com is all I need throughout any kind of work in Photoshop.