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10 Big Photoshop Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Working in Photoshop can be extremely daunting and overwhelming for beginners, however with the right tricks even the technologically challenged can breeze through it. There are ample resources on how to use Photoshop and Photoshop tutorials for beginners, but they do not teach you vital tricks & tips to increase your workflow efficiency.

Here are a list of amateur mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Forgetting to Use Shortcuts:
Shortcuts are key if you want to use Photoshop efficiently and effectively. Shortcuts help us save time and energy as a designer. The most common shortcuts can be found in here. Learning these Photoshop tips and tricks is a Herculean task in itself and may take some time to get used to however once they are part of your muscle memory, your workflow speed increases exponentially. Photoshop also allows to create your own shortcuts and can be done so by selecting Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

2. Not Saving Regularly:
We've all been there, working hard on a project and when the battery drains out or there is a power outage all our work goes down the drain. This is one of the most common mistakes in the Photoshop community and there is a simple solution to this; hitting cmd+S or ctrl+S every 10 minutes.

3. Not using Layers and Folders:
Photoshop's vital features are layers and folders that make a project much easier to edit, duplicate, etc. Not creating enough layers is number 2 on the list of adobe Photoshop common mistakes. Many experienced designers also fail to organize their layers and structure them into proper folders. This may seem like an unimportant time waster, but is incredibly handy to keep your project organized.

4. Relying too much on Stock Imagery:
Relying too much on stock imagery is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid by graphic designers. Using stock imagery for a project should be a rare occasion as it is preferred to shoot or illustrate the image yourself. However, whenever using stock imagery you must use relevant images and improve the image wherever necessary.

5. Defaulting to CMYK:
CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It isn't the best colour scale option while using Photoshop especially when it's for print work. CMYK can be limiting as certain functions and filters are not compatible and the file size is larger compared to RGB. An alternative would be to use RGB mode with colour proofing during the initial stages and converting to CMYK during later stages.

6. Making Permanent Adjustments:
Making permanent changes to pixels within projects without having a way to go back to the original or an earlier version can prove to be a costly mistake. To avoid this, it's good practice to use layer masks instead of the eraser tool and smart objects rather than rasterized layers.

7. Going Overboard with Retouching:
One big mistake to avoid while using Photoshop, for designers is to not be too overzealous with the airbrush. Many designers get carried away with retouching and airbrushing that the image looks too perfect and comes across as fake, uninteresting and distorted.

8. Using Photoshop for Everything:
Photoshop in all its versatility is not a panacea. Various other software's like Illustrator, Sketch and Adobe's Experience design may work better depending on the type of project you are working on.

9. Working in 72 dots per inch (dpi):
Photoshop is set to a default resolution of 72dpi or dots per inch which is fine for web applications, however for print applications, it is recommended that you set your resolution to at least 300dpi. Doing this before starting a project will save you the pain of working with pixilated print images in the future.

10. Saving in PSD and JPEG format:
Once your project has been completed and it's time to save your final image it is good practice to always save your image as a PSD file too. This will save your work with each layer and will allow you to undo your action and help make changes in the future. Saving the image as a JPEG helps compress the file size, thus making it easier to print.

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