CS5 has several new refinements for the layer panel that will smooth over a few rough spots in your Photoshop workflow, particularly when creating web or interactive designs which require the use of many layers to build out the user interface or site design.
Adjust multiple layers at once
When creating interactive documents you often have several similarly styled layers for navigational elements like buttons, page links, etc. Making a simple design change often involves several separate steps. Now, in Photoshop CS5, you can change the opacity of several layers simultaneously by CMD/CTRL-clicking to select them in the layers panel then adjusting the layer opacity.
Auto-select (Parameters, TAT)
Are you the type of person who would rather control your changes using the arrow keys on your keyboard than your mouse? Or, are you the type that relishes the Targeted Adjustment Tool in Curves because it allows you to escape the geekery of the dialog box and interact directly with your images? Whichever method you prefer, Photoshop CS5 has you covered. By enabling the Auto-Select Parameter feature from the flyout menu in the Adjustments panel, or the Auto-Select Targeted Adjustment Tool in Curves, you’ll automatically be delivered to your image correction mode of choice. For example, when Auto-Select Parameter is enabled and a Black and White adjustment layer is created, the you can immediately begin using your arrow keys to begin modifying the black and white mixing controls. (Pressing Tab allows you to jump to the next color; Shift-Tab jumps to the previous color).
In Curves, enabling the Auto-Select Targeted Adjustment Tool automatically activates the Targeted Adjustment Tool allowing you to immediately begin clicking and dragging on the image itself to modify the tonal values of your photo.
Note: The Auto-select is not currently working with HSL layers on Mac 10.6.3: Details
Sticky layer styles
As a part of the user interface design, you’ll want to style your layers for aesthetics or to indicate the different layer states. The new sticky layer styles make it easier to achieve consistency within your project, or between projects by remembering the settings used in the previous layer style. This way the drop shadows you add to products will remain consistent from shot to shot, and the styled buttons you make for web sites will look just as cool from the first to the last site. If you’ve really found your groove, you can choose to define your settings as the new default.