Customise tools in Photoshop

When Adobe sings the praises of Photoshop's intuitive interface, the company isn't just chanting about the way floating palettes dock together. One of the main reasons Photoshop is so accessible is that Adobe has combined the dual advantage of having lots of ready-to-go features (such as colour swatches and effects filters) and do-ityourself customisation. In other words, Photoshop's defaults are powerful enough to get you started, but they can also be customised and automated quickly to take you to a higher level.

But while working with custom swatches and layer styles is common enough, many Photoshop users have yet to explore other ways of personalising the program. Personalisation often gets a bad press, as if changing the look and feel of a program is best left to anal retentives and people with too much time on their hands. Here, we want to encourage you to personalise your copy of Photoshop as a means of speeding up your work rather than slowing it down.

This tutorial introduces the process of customising and saving new brushes and shapes for re-use and sharing, setting up complex automated Actions, and even automating the triggering of Actions across any number of images with little more than a click and a drag. To start with, though, we take a look at a sadly overlooked personalisation feature in Photoshop known as custom 'workspaces'. The one common thread through these customisation functions is that they're intended not so much for the most organised Photoshoppers, but actually for the sloppiest.

Click here to download the tutorial for free