Photoshop: List of observed usability frustrations

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  • Updated 8 years ago
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Hello. Here is a collection of the problems I experience with Photoshop that make it frustrating to use and so these areas represent some simple improvements that could be made to the usability.

* Despite selecting a layer and a selection rectangle - You need to carefully click on the pixels of the layer you already selected or it will select and move a totally different layer. This is extremely frustrating. 99% of the time you will need to find the exact pixel on a dithered object, or carefully navigate to a known part of the layer, despite the fact you clearly have the layer you want to work on selected.

* When you paste something, it is often time in the center of the screen, and in order to move it you need to carefully click on a part of the object (not the rectangle) in the layer you wish to move, despite having selected the layer you wish to work in on the layers panel, and selected a rectangle that you want to interact with on that layer.

* When you want to save a JPG, PNG or something, you need to go through a complicated series of dialog boxes, every single time. There is no direct editing of these files with a convenient edit/save, edit/save.

* When you press Edit->Undo (Ctrl+Z) it undoes not only the last thing you did, but also if you switched the layer selection. So if you select a layer, draw something, press Ctrl+Z to undo it, draw again.. You will be drawing in the wrong layer only to find out you mixed pixels together and need to scrap it completely.

* When resizing or rotating a selection, and in various other situations, it displays a green checkbox and red x. I hate this feature. Every single time I perform an operation I need to aim and click an arbitrary widget or press enter, even though I would easily perform an undo if I didn't want the operation to have occurred.

* The layers in the layer panel are too small. These can be resized though. A good size is 48px.

* The tiny icons at the bottom of the layers panel are too small. These icons you must carefully aim at, and this is a pain to do with a pen stylus, or even a mouse really.

* There should be an easier way to change brush options. Do you realize how difficult it is to aim at the brush size drop-down box, and then need to use a tiny horizontal slider in order to adjust the pen size, or aim precisely at the text and drag right/left. Reaching over to the keyboard is also not convenient. When you're doing production work, these things really bother you. I have these mapped to keys, but anyway. It would seem there should be a brush options box that could remain on the screen.
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Jonathan Nix

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Posted 8 years ago

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Jonathan Nix

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* Transparent pixels cannot be selected by themselves. This eliminates a range of techniques that are used. Not being able to select and move around transparent pixels is not a feature. You want to overwrite other elements with transparent pixels.

* Moving a selection doesn't overwrite neighbors in the same layer, but blends into them. Resizing horizontally doesn't overwrite neighbors, but blends into them. As such a range of techniques are eliminated. Suppose you draw a lighting tinge to an object and you want to resize it to apply the same effect to neighbor pixels, you can't. It applies additively.

* After making a selection moving it around, pressing ESC doesn't clear the selection rectangle as it does in other tools. There is no convenient way to clear the selection rectangle so you can see what you're working on. You have to CMD+Click.

* Clicking in a transparent area displays an error message "Could not use the move tool because no pixels are selected." or "Could not transform...". You need to then reach over and clear out of the error message. What if you want to move transparent pixels? What if you need to move the selection box, you need to reach over to a different tool.

* While the green check-mark and red-x are displayed on screen you can't do anything anywhere until you painstakingly aim at the green check-mark, or you reach over interrupting your work flow and press the enter key.

* Tools on the tool palette are nested. If you frequently use a circular marquee after a rectangular marquee you need to painstakingly click-hold select drop-out tool to switch over to the other tool, or reach over and press the keyboard.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Jonathan, are you referring to Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements 9? Your topic isn't tagged with a product.
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Dan Smith

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With all due respect, you need to read the elements user manual or get a book like the pse 9 missing manual:

For instance you can't move transparent pixels (pixels with no values) because there's nothing there to move, hence the message:"Could not use the move tool because no pixels are selected." You can however easily select the transparent areas on a layer by Cmd clicking on the layer thumbnail and then Select>Inverse.

The only one of your "frustrations" that could use some changes to elements
is the undo operations and rest can be explained by knowing how photoshop elements is supposed to work