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Using Modifier keys in Photoshop By Ko Maruyama
When you're using Photoshop on a Mac, you should get a tablet and stylus.  Of course, I would recommend a Wacom tablet, but there are certainly others on the market that you might want instead.  When choosing a tablet, make sure that the pen has an option to assign a CONTROL key modifier.  This will help you to select stacked layers.

In Photoshop, it is very easy, and common to stack layers on top of each other.  Not just in the layers palette, but stacking pixels over pixels in your composition. 

With 10s or even 100s of layers in your composition, you'll find that it's easier to use Photoshop's contextual menu instead of scrolling through dozens of layers and groups in your palettes.  All of the Adobe products have contextual menus, and on a Mac, you can access them with either a "right click" or a modifier key. 

If you've assigned the CTRL key to one of your stylus switches, you can use your pen to select your layers right inside your composition window. (see image on the right: which appears in your Wacom preferences)

Click on any of these images for larger pictures..

Using CTRL-click, you can select from a pop-up list of layers in your comp.

If you choose the SELECT SIMILAR instead of navigating to a specific layer, Photoshop will select all of the layers that share the same attribute (Type,  Raster, Shape, etc...).

This makes it really easy to navigate through your layers without having to unfold groups of Photoshop layers, or scroll down the list in the layers window.

REMEMBER: F7 will open and close the layers palette for you, even if all of the toolbars are hidden.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:tutorial, adobe photoshop CS3, Adobe Photoshop, choosing layers, contextual menu, Wacom Pen, Wacom Tablet

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