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Speeding up your work-flow is important for any Photoshop user because you will save a lot of time and because you will be able to focus on what you like best, designing. In this tutorial I will show you some shortcuts and tips that I use everyday when I’m in Photoshop and I promise there are at least a few ones you didn’t know about.
Working fast in Photoshop and using all kinds of keyboard shortcuts and mouse combinations is really important for me especially since I started to write tutorials. I have to optimize my time, spend more time in the design rather than navigating through the menus. I discovered some shortcuts by myself by accident and I have to admit that they really made things easier for me. It’s not something that I learned because I was bored, they were a necessity for me.
You will have to practice all these shortcuts for yourself if you want to learn them, there is no other way. Some of them might not be that easy to understand so I STRONGLY recommend you to open Photoshop and practice as you read. So let’s start. I used the names of Windows and Mac keys cause I know many of you wok in MAC. This is the format used when referring to keys: WINDOWS/MAC

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In this photoshop tutorial I will show you how to use stock images to make a beautiful digital artwork with nicely colored lights. All you need for this tutorial is my Colors in Motion textures pack and a model.

I found the model on deviantArt. You can download the picture here. If you want to use another stock image, try the gallery if ISO Stock, you will find very good stock images there. For this tutorial I will use the girl that you see on the preview.
So, power up Photoshop and let’s get started.

Step 1

Open the girl model in photoshop and using the Pen Tool (P), trace the contour but make sure you have the paths selected. I suggest using the pen tool technique because it’s a lot more accurate. Also, when you’re dealing with high resolution images like this, try to subtract the subject from the background before scaling down the original image because you will be more accurate.
After you traced the contour, with the pen tool active, right click and choose “Make Selection”. Delete the background.
Create a new document 1500×2026 pixels and paste the girl, name this layer model. Create a new layer below the model layer, use a radial Gradient (G) and draw from the top left corner of the canvas to the bottom right. Use a light gray 66686b as foreground color and 474b4e for the background. See the image below.

Step 2

Now we are going to make some adjustments to the color and the contrast and add some shadows.
Make some color adjustments and increase the contrast of the girl. I used Adjustments Layers because they are non destructive, in other words, you can eliminate the adjustment layer or modify it without affecting the original image.

Levels settings to increase contrast.

Saturation settings to increase color

After making this adjustments, make some shadows on the ground to give a more realistic look, otherwise it looks like the girl is hanging in the air.
To add the shadows like I did in the image below, use different size brushes and hardnesses on different layers. For the contact shadows use a 35% hardness brush and diameter 30 pixels. Set Flow and Opacity of the brush to 40-50% and make several passes along the inner edge of both feet.
To make the big ground shadow use a bigger soft brush. Try to get something like the image below. The next tutorial will be all about shading techniques so don’t worry now if you don’t get it right.

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