Top ten tools I use in Adobe Photoshop CS6

Loraine van Tonder. (Ryn Katryn Digital Art)
Guest Columnist

Hi everyone! First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Loraine van Tonder. I am a 25 year old digital artist residing in South Africa and have been creating artwork for over 8 years. I have been titled Graphic Design Manager at two publishing houses based in the USA for who I create book covers, audio covers and more. It’s a lot of fun.
Here are the top ten tools that I use in Adobe Photoshop CS6 when creating my digital art.

1. The Pen tool – The pen tool is great to use whether you are using a mouse or a tablet. It allows you to select and cut out images without leaving rough edges on the selection. It’s also great when you want to stroke certain parts of an image to add highlights or even strands of hair.
2. The Sharpen tool – If you want to make a certain part of an image stand out from the rest, sharpening the area with the sharpen tool will do just that.
3. The Quick Selection tool – I guess the name says it all. This tool allows you to select certain parts of an image much quicker than the Pen tool. Although using this tool can be unpredictable simply because it will jump to the same hues that are selected and lines may end up being rough and jagged. Nonetheless, if you’re faced with a simple background or want a quick colour change, this tool can definitely be helpful.
4. The Layer Mask tool – This tool is a better version of the eraser. Simply because it allows you to erase whatever you want to by simply hiding it in a linked layer.
5. The Liquify tool – This particular tool is great to use when you want to shape or warp certain parts of an image without affecting the image as a whole. A lot of designers will use this tool to make a person seem thinner or bigger than they actually are. Go figure!
6. The Smudge tool – When you want to smoothen out skin or clothes, this tool can come in pretty handy. Yes, I know some people go way overboard with this one, but believe me, if you use this tool right, the results can be spectacular.
7. The Burn tool – I perceive this tool to be the evil twin of the dodge tool as it allows you to add or darken shadows. Just be careful not to overdo it with this one. Too much darkness is never a good thing.
8. The Dodge tool – And here’s the other twin. While burning is good for shadows, the dodge tool is the exact opposite of its twin. It is great for amplifying highlights or altering the light source.
9. The Lock Transparent Pixels tool – When you want to paint over a certain layer and keep within its boundaries, this tool is the one to use.
10. The Colour Balance tool – I usually use this tool more than once in an image. It’s great to alter the colours of an individual layer, or as a whole to add some final touches to your design.

These are the basic top ten tools that I use in almost every design I create. Be sure to follow me on social media to check out some of my designs. Adios!

Facebook page –
Website –
Twitter –
Deviantart –


Malvern Daily Records Friends 2 Follow