When you're working with a large batch of product photos and you need consistency, knowing some key Photoshop CC 2019 and clipping path shortcuts will optimize your workflow and ensure your images convert.
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In this guide:
- How to use clipping path keyboard shortcuts
- How to create a crop preset for product images
- How to quickly export images for your website
- How to easily create a true white background
How to use clipping path keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop
We've previously discussed how to use the Magic Wand tool to remove a background from your product image using Select Subject.
But if your background has similar focus or coloring as your foreground, the Magic Wand tool won't work.
In these cases, creating clipping graphics using paths is your best option to remove the background. We've also put together a tutorial to help you learn how to use the Pen Tool to edit product images and remove the background in Photoshop.
If you plan to use a clipping path to separate a product image from its background, there are a series of key command shortcuts you can use to make the process quicker and easier.
Quick clipping paths are achieved with both of your hands: one hand typing on the keyboard, the other drawing with the mouse or stylus. Your keyboard hand types in the shortcut key commands to toggle quickly between tools so that your other hand can continue to draw the path quickly.
Before you create the clipping path, set up your workspace. Make sure both your Pen tool and your Direct Selection tool are visible in the Toolbar.
You should be able to see both your Layers panel and your Paths panel.
Note: If these panels aren't visible, you can make them visible by selecting them from the Window dropdown menu at the top of the application window.
Clipping path shortcut key commands
- P: select Pen tool
- A: select Direct Selection tool (to adjust points created with the Pen tool)
- H: select Hand tool
- ALT+CLICK (OPTION+CLICK on Mac) on point: create corner at point as you draw with Pen tool
- CTRL+= (COMMAND+= on a Mac): zoom in
- CTRL+- (COMMAND+- on a Mac): zoom out
- SHIFT+CTRL+N (SHIFT+COMMAND+N on a Mac): create a new layer
- SHIFT+F5 (FN+SHIFT+F5 on a Mac laptop): Fill layer with color
There are also some useful shortcuts within the Layers and Paths panels that will shave whole minutes off of your editing time.
How to create a crop preset for product images in Photoshop
It's important that your images have a consistent aesthetic across your site. You can set up your Crop tool to quickly crop similar product images so they'll all be the same size and resolution.
When the Crop tool is visible in your Toolbar, type C to access it quickly.
Once the Crop tool is selected, you'll have access to a series of options at the top of the Photoshop window.
In the first dropdown in the Options bar, choose W x H x Resolution.
Set your width and height to the final dimensions you want all your product photos to be.
For websites and apps, you'll want your width and height to be in pixels, and your resolution at 72ppi for standard web graphics. If you need your images to appear properly on a retina display, double both the height and width dimensions (so, a 400px x 400px image would now be set at 800px x 800px).
You can also click on the dropdown next to the grid icon to choose which guidelines you want to use to position your product image as you crop it. By default, this is set to Rule of Thirds.
Once you have your dimensions set, select the W x H x Resolution dropdown again and choose New Crop Preset. Give your preset a name that will help you remember what product images these crop settings will be applied to, such as "product thumbnail."
With your crop preset created, you can click on any product image with the crop tool, select your custom preset from the W x H x Resolution dropdown, and use the guides to position the subject of your photo in a similar fashion across all images.
The crop tool also offers you some other useful tricks to ensure consistency. Click on the Straighten icon and draw a line along the edge of your product photo to straighten your image.
Check Content-Aware to fill in any extra areas around your cropped area with pixels that match the edges of your original image. Hover your mouse over the edges of your crop guides to rotate your image within the crop bounds.
Once you're satisfied with your crop, click the check mark in the Options bar. Then repeat with the next image in your product series.
How to quickly export images for your website in Photoshop
Like the crop tool, a little bit of setup with your export functions can save hours of time in your workflow.
If you know you'll be working on a large batch of web-ready photos that need to have the same file format, you can set up your Quick Export settings and then rapidly export each file into a web-ready format.
To set up your Quick Export settings, go to File > Export > Export Preferences….
In the dialog box that appears, you can choose what file format you want your image to export to (JPG, PNG, GIF or SVG), the location where you want the exported file to live, and what color space you want the exported file to be in. If you've created a metadata template with copyright information, you can choose to have that applied to exported files here as well.
Once you've set up your preferences, click OK.
By default, Quick Export doesn't have its own shortcut key command, but you can make your own! To create a keyboard shortcut, go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts….
In the dialog window that appears, choose Application Menus next to Shortcuts For: and click on File in the scrolling menu at the center of the window.
Scroll down until you see Quick Export for [your file type]. For instance, if you set up your file to be exported as a JPG in Quick Export, this option will look like Quick Export for JPG.
When you click on Quick Export the option will become highlighted, and a text box will appear to its right. Here, you can type in a specific key command shortcut. You'll find that most key codes you can imagine are already in use somewhere in Photoshop, but there are some still available, such as SHIFT+CTRL+, (SHIFT+COMMAND+, on a Mac).
Once you've found a key command that is suitable for Quick Export, click Accept. Then click OK.
Note: Do not click Add Shortcut as you risk overwriting all of your File menu shortcuts by doing so.
The next time you need to export your image for your site, all you need to do is type your chosen key command — the image will automatically export with all of your Quick Export settings.
How to quickly make your background a true white in Photoshop
If you've shot your product against a white backdrop and don't need to remove it from the background, chances are you still need to do some editing to make sure the white background in one image has the same brightness as the background in the next. This eyedropper shortcut will help you do just that in a matter of seconds.
With your product image open in Photoshop, choose Image > Adjustments > Curves… from the dropdown menu at the top of the application window. You can also bring up Curves by typing CTRL+M (COMMAND+M on a Mac).
In the Curves dialog box that appears, you'll see three eyedropper tools at the bottom of the window. Choose the eyedropper on the far right. This is the Set White Point eyedropper.
With the eyedropper tool selected, click on the background of the product image. Choose the darkest part of your white background that is not a shadow. The eyedropper will make those pixels 100% white, and will adjust the rest of the image accordingly.
You can repeat the process with the rest of your product photos. If all your photos were shot using the same lighting, you will retain the consistency throughout while brightening the background.