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This course explores the newest version of Photoshop from a photographer's perspective—helping users of previous versions of Photoshop make upgrade decisions and get up to speed with CS6. Author Chris Orwig covers the improvements to Camera Raw, including the improved exposure controls, Adjustment Brush tool, and Lens Correction filter. He then addresses the enhancements in Photoshop, such as the new Layer panel behavior, which makes renaming and organizing layers almost effortless, and image-editing features like content-aware retouching, photorealistic blur effects, and redefined nondestructive cropping; plus the brand-new ability to edit video in Photoshop. The final chapter addresses the new Creative Cloud subscription option, detailing features of interest to photographers: the enhanced Blur Gallery and Liquify filters, conditional actions, and improvements to the Crop tool.
Here we're going to focus in on a helpful new feature which allows us to change our brush characteristics on the fly. Now this particular technique, it works with many different tools, yet first let's start off with working with the Brush tool. Go ahead and click on the Brush tool in your Tools panel. The next thing I want you to do is to navigate to your options bar. You can click on this icon here. You can change your brush size, also your brush hardness or softness--move it to the left in order to have a softer-edged brush. All right, once you've defined those characteristics, go ahead and open up a blank document, as I've done here, and just paint a little bit.
In this case, I'm going to make a really simple smiley face. All right. Well, let's say that I want to change some of these brush characteristics. Perhaps I don't want as soft of an edge, or maybe you want a bigger brush size. Well, you can change those characteristics on the fly, and you can do so by using a helpful shortcut and then clicking and dragging either vertically or horizontally. Let me share with you the shortcut. Well, on a Mac, if you hold down Ctrl and Option and then click and drag, on Windows if you press the Alt key and then right-click and drag, you can access this option.
Well, go ahead and press that shortcut and then click and drag to the left or the right. Here you can see I can change my overall brush size. Click and drag up and down. You can see I can change the hardness of this brush. In this way I can really quickly define my brush size, and then I can go ahead and make an adjustment, say, to what I'm working on. Well, in this case I'm obviously just making a silly drawing here, but you can also use these shortcuts with other tools, say, like the Clone Stamp tool. Again, hover over your document, press that shortcut--it's Ctrl+Option on a Mac, that's Alt+Right Drag on Windows--and then click and drag up and down, you can change your brush edge. Or left and right, you can change your brush size.
In this particular technique it works with almost all of these tools here in this area of our Tools panel. You can also change how this works. Let's say that rather than controlling your brush edge and also the size, you can flip this around a little bit, and you can do this by navigating to your Preference dialog. Let's go ahead and take a look at how we can do this. If you go to Photoshop and then Preferences and then click on General, in the General preferences area, you can go about three quarters of the way down.
There's an option which is turned on by default, and it's this option here: Vary Round Brush Hardness based on HUD vertical movement. In other words, when you move up and down vertically, well, you're going to change the hardness or the softness of the brush. If you turn this option off, rather than modifying hardness or softness, this will now allow you to modify the opacity of the tool. Well, here let's go ahead and click OK and go back to our document. Press that shortcut or use those shortcut keys-- Ctrl+Option on Mac, Alt+Right Drag on Windows-- and then click Up and Down.
Here you can see rather than changing the edge of the brush, it's changing the overall opacity. So in this way I can quickly change the opacity. Well, if you want to use this tool in this way, again, turn that preference off. If you prefer to have the up and down vertical movement change the hardness or the softness of the edge, well, all that you need to do is to go back to your Preferences--and here we'll do that and just turn this option on, and it will then change that back to that default setting. Well, either way you want to choose the preference which will work for you, and you want to write down the shortcut, because it's a really helpful one, and this will really help you out, whether you're cloning or healing or racing or burning and dodging or just painting an adjustment into your image.
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