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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Let's take a look at some of the options that we have when it comes to working with our cursors. So go ahead and click on the Cursors tab in your Preferences panel. The first thing we're going to look at is our Painting Cursors. We have a few different options here, and the first few options, I don't think they're very relevant or good. Let me show you why. If we choose Standard, we're going to see an icon which replicates the tool we were working with, but it is just not very precise. We can't see very much. Precise on the other hand will show us these crosshairs. This can be helpful, but also it doesn't really show us the size of our brush.
So typically, what you going to want to choose is either Normal or Full Size Brush Tip. Let me first show you Normal. I'll go ahead and click OK and then select one of my Brush tools, whether it's a Healing brush, the brush itself, Clone Stamp tool, Eraser, Blur, or Burn and Dodge. Again, we can select any of these. To keep it simple, I'll use the Brush tool. Now when I hover over this area, I can see my brush size. I can change this by going to the Options bar. Here, we have our brush size, also a brush Hardness. Notice that as I change the Hardness to make this a harder brush, you can see that my brush looks different.
Notice how big the circle is here. Let's then compare that to a smaller size. Now my brush is much smaller. So this brush is changing size based on the overall hardness or softness of the brush. Yet what's interesting about this is that when I have a soft edge brush, it's actually not that accurate, yet it's really helpful. Let me show you why. Well, here if I go ahead and paint on this background here--and I'll just paint with this default black--what you'll notice is that it's kind of filling up the circle. If I paint back and forth, eventually it's going to fill this up and go beyond the actual size of this brush.
In other words, it's just showing me how I'm going to initially paint with this tool. If ever I want this to be Precise, well, you can press the Caps Lock key. That then goes to these crosshairs. Notice that the Caps Lock key, though, is a sticky key. Once you press it, you have to press it again in order to undo that. The advantage of this is sometimes you want to get rid of that circle. Well, now I can, and I can paint. The disadvantage is that if I change my brush size--here I'll make it really big--well, the crosshairs they're still really small. So again, you can toggle back and forth between these modes by pressing Caps Lock.
Another way that we can work with cursors is if we go back to your Preferences. Here, for those cursors, is we can change this to a Full Size Brush Tip. Let's look at that option. Here, I'll click OK. Well, now my brush, it appears much differently. You can see that the edge shows me that I have some kind of an interesting type of a brush. What it's showing is that this is a soft edge brush. If we go back for Options bar and change the Hardness--also going to decrease the Size here so it's a little bit easier to look at-- what you'll notice now is my brush has changed.
It's a bit more of a straight line. So with this particular perspective, it's going to give us a more accurate perspective in regards, or accurate view or preview of the brush. In other words, it's going to show me how far out this brush will eventually extend. Some people prefer to work with this. In my own workflow, I find this view just distracting. I prefer the brush which is a little bit more simple. So let's go back to our Preferences. Here we'll choose Preferences and then the Cursors. In my own workflow, I find that normal brush tip typically works best.
Now you have two other options as well. You can choose to Show the Crosshairs inside of the Brush Tip, or you can choose to Only Show the Crosshair when you're Painting. In other words, when you press down, the crosshairs will show up. Well, again, in my own workflow, as a photographer I'm using these different tools to retouch or to Burn and Dodge or to heal different areas, so I want my brush to be as simple as possible. Therefore, I choose to just use this Normal Brush Tip. Yet what you'll want to do is experiment a little bit. Try out these different settings and see what settings might work well for you. All right! Well, what about other cursors? Well, other cursors, say, like the Eye Dropper tool.
You can either use an icon of the tool or Precise. Precise, again, shows us this little bit of a crosshair perspective. You want to choose the option which makes sense to your own workflow. The last thing I want to highlight here is Brush Preview. Do you remember when we talked about that heads-up preview and we could change the brush size and also the hardness or softness of the brush by using that shortcut, which was clicking and dragging with a few keys? Well, the preview color was red. We can change this to something different if we prefer. Here, I'll go ahead and try, say, perhaps blue. Click OK and then go ahead and click OK again.
Now with one of your Brush tools selected, you can hover over your image and then press those shortcut keys. On a Mac, it's Command+Option-click. On Windows, that's Alt+Right-drag. And here you can see the preview-- the heads-up preview that I'm seeing of this brush--is now blue, rather than previously it was red. And so by using this option, again, it just changes the way that you're previewing that heads-up preview. To change that back to the normal setting, go back to Preferences and choose Cursors. And here I'll go back to my color chip and I'll change this back to the default red there. All right! Well, that wraps up our look and how we can customize our Cursor Preferences.
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