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In Photoshop CS4 New Features, leading industry expert Deke McClelland covers the latest developments in Adobe's powerhouse image editor, Photoshop CS4. Deke explores the new tabbed window interface and the Adjustments and Masks palettes, the enhanced toning tools, content-aware scaling and the latest versions of Camera Raw and Bridge, which prove nearly indispensable to the digital photographer's workflow. From the interface to integration, Deke leaves no stone unturned.
This next feature isn't really a feature; it's a keyboard trick. So there is a new keyboard trick for changing the size and hardness of a brush in Photoshop CS4. I'm going to go ahead and grab the Brush tool, so I can demonstrate this. Right now we have a very tiny brush. We could change the size of the brush by right-clicking here inside the Image window and we will get this pop-up panel, and then I could change the Diameter in order to make the brush bigger or smaller, and I could change the Hardness value to make the brush sharper or softer. So that's one way to work. I will go ahead and press the Escape key to hide that panel. You can also take advantage of the traditional shortcuts, the square bracket key shortcuts. So if you press the Right Bracket key, and you can also press and hold the Right Bracket key to make the brush bigger or press the Left Bracket key or press and hold the Left Bracket key to make it smaller.
Then you also have the option of making the brush either harder or softer by pressing Shift. So Shift+ Right Bracket gives you a harder brush, Shift+Left Bracket gives you a softer one. Thing is, you can't really preview what that brush is going to look like until you start painting. This new trick allows you to preview the brush as you resize it. Now it's a strange trick, and it doesn't map properly across the platform. So it's a totally different trick on the Mac than it is on the PC. I will go ahead and start with the PC version of this trick. You press and hold the Alt key and then you click the right mouse button and drag, and that allows you, by Alt-right dragging, you can change the size of the brush and preview that size on the fly. Now you are not really painting in red, so don't feel like if you get it wrong, you need to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z, because it's not an undoable operation. You are just changing the size of the brush.
This red is merely a preview. Then if you want to change the hardness, then you press both Shift and Alt, and right-drag. So if I drag outward, I'm going to make the brush sharper, if I drag inward, I'm going to make the brush softer. Now red is the default preview color. If you don't like red, you can go to the Preferences command, which is under the Edit menu here on the PC; it's under the Photoshop menu on the Mac. And I will drop down to Preferences here and then I will choose Cursors, and you have got this Brush Preview Color right there. Change it to whatever you want.
All right, I'm going to Cancel out, because red is fine for my purposes. Now, if you are working on the Mac, totally different, all right? You press the Ctrl and Option keys. That's the Ctrl and Option keys, not Command. Ctrl and Option, and then you just go ahead and drag to make that brush smaller or larger. All right, I'm going to make it a little smaller because it is getting out of control here. Then if you want to change the hardness of the brush, you press Command+Ctrl+Option, all three of those keys in a row, and you go ahead and drag once again.
So this is a Command+Ctrl+Option-drag to change the hardness of the brush, and there you go. Those are new methods for changing the size and hardness of the brush. Some of you are going to really take to that technique, others maybe not so much. I'll let you decide which camp you fall in.
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