Hotkeys saves tons of time in Photoshop, and here's proof

Anyone who knows anything about computers is already intimately aware of the benefits of keyboard shortcuts (or hotkeys). This is why the above empirical demonstration of the superiority of the hotkey over the dreadful point-and-click is so rewarding. It is a measurable, verifiable, and repeatable experiment that proves just how much time can be saved by keeping your hand off the mouse except when absolutely necessary.

In the video, found via PetaPixel, photographer and soon-to-be YouTube sensation David Justice retouches two similar portraits in Adobe Photoshop. For the first, he uses the enlightened method of hotkeys, but for the second, he regresses back to the Dark Ages and relies solely on the mouse. The results speak for themselves: with hotkeys, Justice was nearly two minutes faster on an edit that was less than seven minutes in total. On more involved jobs, or when editing entire sets of images, the savings would only increase.

A mouse cursor (or pointer) still has its uses in modern computing. In Photoshop, for example, it’s simply not feasible to paint things with the keyboard alone. Most of the time, however, a pointer is a terribly inadequate device for navigating user interfaces, capable of pointing at only one thing at one time, and often having to traverse great distances to point at the next thing (if you’ve ever worked on dual monitors, you know this pain all too well). Hotkeys allow users to skip all the fuss, invoking tools and actions in rapid succession without any lost time.

Keyboard shortcuts don’t just come in handy when you’re using Photoshop. Even reading your email in the morning can be faster if you learn the commands for next message, delete, reply, etc. As a teenager, navigating my computer without lifting my hands from home position became a point of pride. (Even today, thanks to apps like Alfred on MacOS and Apple’s native trackpad gestures, it’s rarely necessary to call upon the painstakingly inefficient pointer.)

Justice’s video may be old news to anyone of a similar disposition, but it is nonetheless important, and may serve to motivate others to consider a change in approach.


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