So far as I can see this probably applies more so for those who currently work in a large company of corporate environment, but feel free to read on nonetheless. Having worked for BMO Financial Group for a few years now I found there was a lot of repetition in the ads and graphics that needed updating or creation for online sites. Though this was not so fun for the creative side of my brain, I managed to find ways to automate the creation of these graphics so I can focus more of my time on projects that allow more creative freedom. This helped to decrease my turn around times and increase graphic integrity and consistency.
1. Use Photoshop Actions
If you haven’t tried using this before you should start looking into this, especially when it comes to things like resizing images of credit/debit cards for a site. Ever try resizing 250 JPG card images into 4 different sizes? That would have been a tedious task. Fortunately I only had to resize one card image into each size and the repeated the action using…well…Photoshop actions. Honestly it was the simplest thing I could have done. Hit the “record” button, do you editing, and then hit stop when you’re done. You can even set it to export each JPG into a folder of your choice.
2. Use Bridge to do Batch Jobs
If you thought that saved time, try using Photoshop actions and apply it to multiple images all at once in a batch job. Set your actions right and Photoshop can close each file upon completion of an action set. With this and Photoshop actions I was able to resize those 250+ cards into their four different sizes in a matter of minutes.
3. Try Photoshop Scripting
Are you tired of opening Photoshop or waiting on your designer all the time making a button or graphic with new text? For the more advanced designer/developer, try using Photoshop scripts to draw vector shapes, effects, and more. You’ll never need to contact your graphic artist again to do those minor updates to images.
4. Build a Repository of Symbols (Not a Library of Files!)
If you find yourself constantly importing graphics that seem to appear on every mock-up or image you’re making, it may be time for you to start using symbols. Whether you prefer to work in Photoshop or Fireworks (which rocks by the way!) open up your symbols window and start building a collection. You will save countless time by having them readily available to click and drag to your canvas. My suggestion would be to create symbols for things like logos and buttons first and then any other graphic symbols you use often. It saves you from having to open files and the annoying copy and paste method.
5. Use Your Swatches Panel
Sure if you’ve worked at one company long enough, you’ve already memorized the RGB or CMYK color codes but believe me its faster to click a swatch then hitting 6 keys and then hitting enter. Based on the rules of proximity on screen and on your desk area, it’s faster to use a swatch panel and click your preset company colors.
6. Use Hot Keys
If you’re doing any kind of repetitive graphic work, hot keys could be your best friend. Especially if you’re using them more than 10 times in one sitting, you’ll memorize those keys faster than you think. It will definitely speed up your work process.
Hopefully you’re now working smarter rather than harder. You’ll make your own life easier and your clients will thank you for such quick turnaround times!