Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Interface preferences, part of Photoshop CS4 for Photographers.
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In this movie we're going to continue to talk about preferences. In particular, we're going to talk about the interface preferences. All right, well I have this photograph open. It's a portrait that I took of Lynda Weinman and Lynda is such an amazing, inspiring person. All right, let's take this image to Full Screen View mode, I'll press the F key to do that, Spacebar key to access the Hand tool and then reposition the image. Now there is something that you may have noticed that's new to CS4. Well it's this drop shadow behind the image. We can see that. We also notice we have a gray background. Well, how can we customize that? Well, there are a couple of different ways. Here is one way. You can actually hover over the gray background and right-click or Ctrl- click and then change that. So I'm going to change it to black here, or I can choose a custom color. In order to remember whatever custom color I've selected previously, so I'll go ahead and select a new custom color. Let's make that red.
Now that's not going to look good, but just to illustrate, again it's going to remember whatever color I picked previously. Okay, well let's go back to the default gray. All right, well so far so good. We've seen now we can change that background color, but what about the Drop Shadow? Well for that, we need to go to our Preferences dialog. Let's open up the Preferences by pressing the shortcut key. On a Mac that's Command+K on a PC that's Ctrl+K. Again Command+K for the Mac, Ctrl+K for the PC, and then we'll click on the Interface option, which will open up our Interface Preferences.
All right, well, up top you will notice that we have some General Interface Preferences. Well, here we have our Standard Screen mode. Well that was the first screen mode that I was in, when the image was floating. So here I can have a gray background color and then a Drop Shadow as well, but I'm in Full Screen mode, right? So here we're in full screen with our menus visible. Now I can change that background color to black. I can also choose a custom color. We are going to go back to this default gray because I like that. I think that works pretty well. Now the only other thing that I might want to change is this Drop Shadow. I'm going to go ahead and select None. That will remove that Drop Shadow in its entirety, or I can choose Line and then I have that black line around the image. Now my preference actually is to choose None. I don't like having that Drop Shadow because it affects on viewing the image. Now my other recommendation for you is to potentially change this background gray. This background gray is actually pretty light. And you know that if you surround an image with a lot of brightness or a white or a light gray, the image feels a little bit brighter. Now, if you surround it with black, it feels a little bit more contrast to the colors, it feels a little bit more saturated.
So this background color that you choose is actually going to be contingent upon the Lighting mode of your work, let me explain. So I'm going to go ahead and choose Select Custom Color. This will then open up the color picker. Now I want to check off Only Web Colors, and what I'm interested in doing here is, going to a Brightness value of 50%, zero Saturation and zero Hue. H stands for Hue, S stands for Saturation, B stands for Brightness. So what I've here's middle gray. Now that's a pretty good option because it's not going to influence the image in huge ways, because it's right in the middle. Yet, that been said, one of the things that I have noticed is depending on the ambient light in your workspace, you may want to change this. You notice that this is a little bit brighter. So if I'm working in a dark office, I tend to want to brighten this off just a touch, and I find that that works pretty well, so I'll go ahead and click OK. Now that gray is a little bit darker than the default gray. Although again that's one of my preferences.
You have to experiment on your own to see what your own preferences. I'll go ahead and take this back to the default Gray, just to keep things simple for me. All right, well we also have the option for the Full Screen and there we can choose a Color and also a Border if you want to use that. All right, well let's jump down to a few other preferences. Use a Gray Scale Application Icon, this is the one option that we'll be able to see updated. We can see that icon is now gray and the reason they have that is, so that you can minimize the colors in the interface, so that you think less about the interface and you focus more on the image.
I'll go ahead and leave that back on because that blue isn't that distracting for me. Now the option to Show the Channels in Color. It's kind of interesting. Now choose that option and click OK, and I go to my Layers palette, and then navigate to my Channels palette and here you can see I now have these Channels in color. Now that's not very helpful for me. So I'm going to turn that preference off. Command+K on Mac, Ctrl+K on a PC to open up the Preferences dialog. Click on Interface and then check that Option off. Next we have the ability to Show menu Colors and Show Tool Tips. Well what are the tool tips? Well it determines whether to show the tool tips that you can see right below my cursor there. If I click that off and then I hover over that same message there or that same item, I'm not going to see that tool tip. So one of the things that I found to be helpful is to leave that on when you are new to Photoshop. Leave that on when you're learning about Photoshop, but eventually turn it off.
Now because this is a training title, I'm going to leave that on because I think it'll help us out. It'll help reinforce some of the things that we are already learning. Next on to panels & Documents. Now Auto-Collapse Iconic panels is pretty interesting. If I turn that on and go ahead and click OK, and then I collapse my panels to icons. What this mean is when I choose one of these options, let's say like Color here. And then I go and click on the image, that panel will auto-collapse. Pretty good option there. Now I can also change that in a number of different ways, and one of the ways that I can change that is by Ctrl-clicking or right-clicking on those double arrows and here you can see that option. I'll turn that off and now when I click on Color and I click on the image, the panel stays open.
So, again this is going to be one of those workflow decisions. If you find that you typically get what you need from the panel correct the first time, and it's kind of handy to have an Auto-Collapse. Yet in my own workflow, I find that I'll make an adjustment to a panel, then I'll do something, I realize that's not very good. I need to continually modify the adjustment, so I prefer to have that option turned off. But again you have to experiment to see what works for you. All right. Well we saw that we could change that by Ctrl-clicking or right-clicking. We can also Auto-Show Hidden Panels. What that means is when you hover over a panel, it'll then appear. We can find those same preferences by navigating to the Interface Options and this will then open up the Preference dialog window, and then again you see that we have those options here. So one of the things that you will discover really quickly about Photoshop is that you can do the same thing at multiple locations. And the reason they've done that is to give you flexibilities, so that you can find the technique that works best for you.
Now the next option you definitely want to have checked on is Remember Panel Locations. What this means is if I customize my panels or move them around, let's say I drag the Layers palette out and it's fully right here in the middle of the screen. Well if I close Photoshop and then reopen Photoshop, it's going to remember the exact layout of those panels. So you definitely want to leave that on it. It kind of helps out a little bit. Now on the other hand, if you find that you arrange your panels and things get a little cluttered and you want it to reset to the essentials or the default settings every time, click that option off. Now here is a new option inside of CS4, Open Documents As Tabs. You remember in previous versions of Photoshop, when you open up an image it could be floating, meaning they would be separated, they wouldn't be consolidated or grouped together. Well if you click this option on, what happens is when you open up new images; they become part of that consolidated group. So again you want to leave that one on because it found that to be really handy.
The next option, Enable Floating Document Window Docking. Again that's just another way to arrange your panels and again that can be helpful especially if you want to have panels on a second monitor. So I recommend you leave that one checked on as well. Last couple of options here, UI Text Options. You can change your UI font size and what that means is the font size we are seeing here for our Layers palette and some of the different areas where you see fonts. My preference is to have a real small font size, now I know other people would like to have it a little bit larger and they go for medium. And again it tells you that change won't take place until you restart Photoshop.
All right well that wraps up our conversation about interface preferences.
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