Opacity, pressure, and exposure

Another way to change the performance of a paint or an edit tool is to adjust the Pressure, Opacity, or Exposure value, depending on what tool you're using. In Version 6, the controls appear on the Options bar, which replaces the former Options palette. Regardless of which setting you want to change, you click the triangle to display a slider bar, drag the slider to raise or lower the value, and then press Enter. Alternatively, you can double-click the option box, type a value, and press Enter.

Here's a look at how these options work:

♦ Opacity: The Opacity value determines the translucency of colors applied with the paint bucket, gradient, line, pencil, paintbrush, eraser, or rubber stamp tools. At 100 percent, the applied colors appear opaque, completely covering the image behind them. (The one exception is the paintbrush with Wet Edges active, which is always translucent.) At lower settings, the applied colors mix with the existing colors in the image.

You can change the opacity of pixels that you just altered by choosing Edit ^ Fade (Ctrl+Shift+F) and dragging the Opacity slider in the Fade dialog box. While you're in the dialog box, you can apply one of Photoshop's brush modes to further change how the edited pixels blend with the originals. Chapter 10 discusses the Fade command in detail; you can get an introduction to brush modes at the end of this chapter in the "Brush Modes" section.

♦ Pressure: The Pressure value affects different tools in different ways. When you use the airbrush tool, the Pressure value controls the opacity of each spot of color the tool delivers. The effect appears unique because the airbrush lays each spot of color onto the previous spot, mixing them together. This results in a progressive effect. Meanwhile, the paintbrush and pencil tools are not progressive, so their spots blend to form smooth lines.

When you use the smudge tool, the Pressure value controls the distance the tool drags colors in the image. And in the case of the blur, sharpen, or sponge tool, the value determines the degree to which the tool changes the focus or saturation of the image, 1 percent being the minimum and 100 percent being the maximum.

♦ Exposure: Available when you select the dodge or burn tool, Exposure controls how much the tools lighten or darken the image, respectively. A setting of 100 percent applies the maximum amount of lightening or darkening, which is still far short of either absolute white or black.

The factory default setting for all Exposure and Pressure values is 50 percent; the default setting for all Opacity values is 100 percent.

Tip As long as one of the tools listed in this section is selected, you can change the

Opacity, Pressure, or Exposure setting in 10 percent increments by pressing a num ber key on the keyboard or keypad. Press 1 to change the setting to 10 percent, press 2 for 20 percent, and so on, all the way up to 0 for 100 percent.

Want to change the Opacity, Pressure, or Exposure setting in 1-percent increments? No problem — just press two keys in a row. Press 4 twice for 44 percent, 0 and 7 for 7 percent, and so on. This tip and the preceding one work whether or not the Options bar is visible. Get in the habit of using the number keys and you'll thank yourself later.

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

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