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The options bar

From: Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

Video: The options bar

Below the menu bar in Photoshop you'll find the Options bar. The Options bar is context sensitive, which means the controls you find here depend upon which tool you're currently using. In other words, the Options bar is the location where you'll adjust the various options for the tool that's currently in use. As I switch between some of the tools, for example, we'll see a clear indication of the differences and the context of what's found on the options bar. For example, with the crop tool, we'll obviously see options where we can adjust the size of our cropping. We can straighten the image and we can even choose whether we want to delete pixels or hide them when we crop for the brush tool and you'll find a variety of options related to the behavior of the brush.

The options bar

Below the menu bar in Photoshop you'll find the Options bar. The Options bar is context sensitive, which means the controls you find here depend upon which tool you're currently using. In other words, the Options bar is the location where you'll adjust the various options for the tool that's currently in use. As I switch between some of the tools, for example, we'll see a clear indication of the differences and the context of what's found on the options bar. For example, with the crop tool, we'll obviously see options where we can adjust the size of our cropping. We can straighten the image and we can even choose whether we want to delete pixels or hide them when we crop for the brush tool and you'll find a variety of options related to the behavior of the brush.

For example, we can change the shape or size of the brush. We can also change the blend mode which affects how the brush strokes that we paint interact with the rest of the image. We can also adjust, for example, the opacity of our brushstroke. So whenever you choose a tool from the toolbox, it's important to take a look at the options bar and check for the settings that are currently established and possibly change them. For example, generally speaking if you're painting on an image, you probably want to paint at a full opacity. If you had recently been painting at a reduced opacity, then that setting will be sticky. Anything we establish on the options bar will stay that way until we change it. And so painting it in reduced opacity, and the you later switch back to the brush tool, you'll start painting, and not necessarily get the behavior you are expecting.

One feature that is common on the options bar, is the Preset option. We can save Presets for our particular tools. So, for example, if I had my Brush set up to Paint in the Overlay Blend Mode and at a 20% opacity, then I could save those settings. I'll go ahead and establish those settings first. And then, I can click on the Preset popup and click the New Preset button over on the right side of that popup. I'll type a new name. I'll just call this Brush tool. Overlay 20 percent.

And I'll go ahead and click okay. And that will save that preset. So, in the future, if I had been working with a different setup for the brush tool, for example. I can quickly get back to that configuration by choosing brush tool, overlay, 20 percent. As you get more familiar with all of the tools that are available to you in Photoshop, you'll no doubt want to take advantage of a wide variety of different options that are available on the options bar.

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Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

31 video lessons · 2499 viewers

Tim Grey
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