Think you know your way around Photoshop? Here are five awesome Photoshop icons you may not have used before, what they do and how they will benefit your digital workflow.
Always Use Pressure for Size
You may have seen this little icon popping up regularly in the Options bar at the top of your Photoshop Workspace. Its a really cool button that, when activated, allows you to control the size of your brush via the pressure you apply with a pen on a Wacom tablet. The harder you press down on the tablet, the bigger the brush gets, allowing you to switch between fine lines and bold marks without having to change your settings. Found in the Heal, Brush, Clone, Art History, Eraser, Smudge and Dodge/Burn tools, this feature is a favourite for retouchers and illustrators.
Always Use Pressure for Opacity
Often found accompanying the Pressure for Size icon in the Options bar at the top of your Photoshop Workspace, the Pressure for Opacity tool in another Wacom based feature, allowing you to control the opacity of your brush through the same pressure controls. The two can be used independently of each other, but together they are capable of creating some great effects that mimic the fluidity and style of lines found in typical hand drawn art. If you’ve got a tablet at home, give them a try!
If (like me) you’re not very good at keeping your camera straight whilst shooting freehand, there’s a brilliant feature built into the Crop tool that allows you to correct the angle by simply drawing a line across a straight edge in your image. Next to the word ‘Straighten’, click on the spirit level icon to access the feature. Photoshop will automatically correct the line to Horizontal or Vertical, whichever is the closest angle. A brilliant tool for photographers and retouchers, as well as anyone working with scanned images.
Ignore Adjustment Layers When Cloning
If you’re working in the Clone Tool, look out for this really handy icon that allows you to clone areas of your image without the need to turn off any adjustment layers currently affecting the layer in question. Its a great time saver, especially for those who like to work non-destructively in Photoshop. This tool will appeal particularly to photographers and retouchers.
Bored of the same old brushes? In the Brush, Clone, Eraser, Dodge/Burn and Smudge tools, next to the brush drown down menu, you will find an icon of a paint pot and brushes. Clicking on this icon brings up the Brush Preset panel, where you can design your own range of brushes with fully bespoke pen angles and texture effects. Having that Wacom tablet will also come in handy here too, as you can use the pen pressure and tilt to access even more features, like multicoloured brushes. Brush presets will appeal to illustrators and digital artists rather than photographers, retouchers and web based designers, but they are fun to play around with if you find yourself looking to fill a few hours at your desk!
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