Category: Digital Painting

How To Remove A Selection In GIMP

How To Remove A Selection In GIMP

How do I make this selection go away? Once you’ve selected something in GIMP, it’s not super obvious how you unselect so you can do on editing everywhere on your canvas.

So how do you make a selection go away in GIMP? Simple. It only takes one little step.

Remove a Selection In GIMP

To get rid of the current selection without saving it first:

  • Go to Select > None in the Main Menu. The selection will be removed.
  • Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift Ctrl A on a Mac, or Shift Cmd A in Windows.

If you want to save the selection before you get rid of it, you can save it as a Path which you can turn back into a selection later.

  • To do that, first go to Select > To Path.
  • You can check that your selection was saved as a path by going to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Paths in the Main Menu to open the Paths Dialog. You can dock this dialog to the Toolbox if you want to keep your saved paths handy.
  • Then go to Select > None to remove the active selection from the image.
  • Now, if you want to re-activate the selection, go to the Paths Dialog, highlight the correct path, then go to Select > From Path in the Main Menu. The path will be turned into a selection.


See? Making a selection go away in GIMP isn’t super obvious, but it’s not exactly hard either.


How to Learn Photoshop Hotkeys Like A Boss

How to Learn Photoshop Hotkeys Like A Boss

Hotkeys (or keyboard shortcuts) make working in Photoshop So. Much. Faster.  But if you’re just getting started with Photoshop it can seem daunting to try to learn a whole set of hotkeys while you’re also learning the basics of the program.

But if you’re systematic about using those keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be able to learn them pretty painlessly, even if you’re a Photoshop beginner.

Here’s how I approach learning Photoshop hotkeys.

Step One: Decide Which Hotkeys To Focus On

make a list of the keyboard shortcuts you want to focus on

Photoshop has a keyboard shortcut for almost everything. But if you aren’t using a feature, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to learn the hotkey for it.

What actions in Photoshop are you actually using, and which ones are really slowing you down? Those are the hotkeys you’ll want to focus on.

Fire up Photoshop, and start working on a typical project.  Pay attention to how you are working right now, without hotkeys. Make note of the following:

  • What tools are you using frequently?
  • What actions are the slowest for you?
  • Which tools are the hardest for you to access, or the hardest to find?

The hotkeys for these tools will make the most appreciable difference to your workflow, and since you’ll have a chance to use them frequently, they’ll be the easiest to learn. If your list is more than a few tools/actions long, you might want to focus on the top two or three for now so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Now that you’ve figured out which keys to focus on, you can move on to step two.

Step Two: Grab A Hotkey Reference

Some of Photoshop’s hotkeys

Photoshop has a built-in keyboard shortcut reference buried in its preferences, and an online reference but you’ll want something handier than that as you start using these hotkeys. Photoshop’s official list can be found here. We’ll start with that, but we’re not going to use it as-is.

Here’s how I recommend using your hotkey reference:

  • Double check to make sure the reference is for your operating system and version of Photoshop. Mac keyboard shortcuts are often different than Windows shortcuts, and shortcuts may have changed between versions of Photoshop.
  • From Photoshops reference, make a list of only the hotkeys you want to learn right now. Alternatively, put those hot keys at the top of the list. You don’t want to search through a long list for the shortcut you need.
  • Consider printing the list and keeping it next to your computer. Otherwise, make sure it’s in a andy place that you can access quickly. Again, if it’s hard to find, it’s defeating the purpose.

My simplified keyboard shortcut reference might look like this:

simplified keyboard shortcut reference

Now that you’ve got a handy reference for the hotkeys you actually want to use, you can move on to using them.

Step Three: Actually Use The Shortcuts

you have to actually use the hotkeys to learn them

The first two steps are designed to make using shortcuts as painless as possible. Because if it’s painful, you won’t do it. Now that you have a set of shortcuts narrowed down, and you know what they are at a glance, the last step is to actually use them. The more often you use them, the faster you’ll commit them to muscle memory, and the sooner you can move on to learning more shortcuts.

Here are a few tricks to actually make yourself use those keyboard shortcuts:

  • Start with a small/quick Photoshop project. Force yourself to use the shortcuts instead of the long way for the whole project. (That’s why it’s important to make it a SMALL project. Make up a quick 10 minute project if you have to!)
  • Use your handy reference! This is supposed to be painless. There’s no use beating yourself up over not remembering a combination of keys, so look at your reference if you need to.
  • Use spaced repetition. Learning a new skill, waiting a while, then reviewing it again helps cement things into your memory. Once that small Photoshop project is complete, wait a while. A few minutes to an hour should do. Now fire up Photoshop again. Make another simple micro project and practice using your shortcuts. The next day, make another project and do the same thing.

By now you should have the beginnings of muscle memory happening, and it won’t be long before you don’t have to look at your reference at all.

Congrats, Photoshop Hotkey Boss!

If you’re anything like me, learning hotkeys is something I’m grateful for after the fact, but reluctant to do in the moment. I know it will speed up my process in the long run, but when I feel like I have to learn a whole bunch of new things it feels even slower in the short term.

Thankfully, you can get a lot of benefit from shortcuts even if you only learn a few. And being systematic about your choices can help you learn those hotkeys lightning fast.

Now, go make your list of Photoshop hotkeys to learn and get cracking!

Digital Art News | How to GIMP Roundup

Digital Art News | How to GIMP Roundup

I consume so much info about photo editing, graphic design, typography, and other digital art topics throughout the week… it’s kind of crazy. Since I’m taking so much in, I thought it would be fun to curate a list of links from my favorite design and digital art tutorial and news sources.

Photo Editing News

This week published a post on creating a consistant visual style in your photography and post processing. If you find your style is all over the place (as I sometimes do!) their post might help.

Digital Painting News

My current YouTube obsession, Borodante, posted a tutorial/overpaint video on digitally painting night scenes. This guy is seriously entertaining, a master at Photoshop and other digital painting software, and has taught me more about light than I can even describe. His videos are seriously a must watch.

Graphic Design News

I’m a sucker for a good free font, and the good folks over at Free Typography wrote about a font called Mr Grieves recently. It’s a blocky, hand drawn, grungy font that’s free for personal and commercial use. That’s a winning combination for me. Looking forward to making a T-Shirt design or two with it.


Let’s wrap things up on an exciting note: in GIMP news, reported they received a $100,000 donation, which is sweet because that should keep development chugging while GIMP stays 100% free for you and me.

That’s it for the roundup. I hope you’re having a great week, and I wish you good fortune with any digital art endeavors you’re tackling in the week to come.