"Using Brushes continued

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Brush size shortcut

You can change the brush size up and down in 10 point increments using the square bracket keys [and].

More shortcuts

On this month's CD you'll find PDF files that contain all the possible keyboard shortcuts for both PCs and Apple Macs..

EThis brings us on to the Brushes palette, which is opened by clicking the icon at the top-right of the Options bar.The palette contains a setting called Spacing.This controls how frequently Photoshop places a 'dab'of paint as you drag the brush.The default setting of 25% makes each dab overlap the next by three quarters of its diameter. Here's the result from a low Flow setting.

EBy reducing the Spacing you can get better results when using a low Flow setting. Here the Spacing is reduced to 5%, which means each dab overlaps by 95% of its diameter.This results in a much smoother stroke, but its also more opaque,as the brush tends to 'self build.

P^ | In order to counteract this effect,you need to use an even lower Flow setting. Here the flow has been reduced to 3% for a 5% spacing value.You can see that the strokes appear much smoother and build nicely as we apply more paint.

P8 I You can also turn Spacing off using I I the check-box in the Brushes palette. When it's off, Photoshop applies spacing depending on how quickly you draw your stroke.This can be good or bad,depending what you want the stroke to look like.

E Other brush properties include Hardness.This defines how sharp the edges of the brush are and can be varied from 0 to 100% in the Brushes panel.The brush on the left has a hardness of 100% while the one on the right has a Hardness of 0%.They are exactly the same diameter,but notice that the soft brush seems smaller because its edges are less opaque.

Soft brushes are very useful especially when used with other tools such as the Rubber Stamp,which uses the same brush interface as the Brush tool. A Hardness of 100% is not totally hard, however.There is still some edge smoothing because of the effect of 'anti-aliasing'(on the right stroke). If you want a totally hard brush (left stroke) switch to the Pencil tool.

When painting an image using brushes it can be a chore moving to the Options bar to change brush size and shape. However the preset pop-up is available right beneath your mouse if you right-click in your image. Mac users should hold down [Ctrl] and click for the same effect.

Also,while painting you can choose a new colour from the image by holding down the [Alt] key.The Brush tool changes to the Eye Dropper,allowing you to sample a colour from any pixel.

Brush shortcuts

Lots of Photoshop's tools use the same brushes interface. You can use the same shortcuts to change brush size and pop up the preset panel with any of them.Take a look at the PDF files included on the CD for a full list of shortcuts for both PC and Mac.

Straight ahead

To paint perfectly straight lines click once to place the star point of the stroke then shift-click elsewhere.A straight stroke will joint the two points.

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Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

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