The Brushes palette

Unless you were completely asleep at the wheel when you launched Photoshop 6 for the first time, you no doubt noticed the Options bar stretching across the top of the program window. In computer lingo, the Options bar is known as a context-sensitive toolbar, meaning that the options on the bar change depending on what tool you're using. When you work with the paint and edit tools, the Options bar gives you access to a choice of brush shapes. To browse through the available brushes, open the Brush palette by clicking the triangle next to the brush icon, as shown in Figure 5-16.

Click to display Brush palette

Click for palette menu

Click to display Brush palette

Click for palette menu

Figure 5-16: The new Brush drop-down palette looks and acts like the old Brushes palette in some regards, but can't be freed from the confines of the Options bar or grouped with other palettes.

Note Adobe refers to the Brush palette as the Brush menu, but I'm going to be contrary and go with "drop down palette." For the most part, the Brush menu looks and works like the old Brushes palette. You can resize it by dragging the size box. And clicking the triangle in the upper-right corner displays a submenu, just as in a palette. Because I can't bring myself to refer to this submenu as the "Brush menu menu," I'm sticking with Brush drop-down palette. Sometimes I may even get really bold and just use "palette." I trust you will not be too distressed by the court's ruling on this matter.

That said, this Brush palette does differ from a regular palette in a few important ways. You can't tear it away from the Options bar or combine it with other palettes, as you can with the "real" palettes (Layers, Channels, and other palettes listed on the Window menu). Furthermore, the old shortcut for displaying the Brushes palette, F5, has absolutely no effect on the new Brush palette. You have to press Enter with a paint or edit tool active, double-click the tool's icon in the toolbox, or choose Window ^ Show Options to display the Options bar and all its drop-down palettes.

You can switch brush shapes without opening the Brush palette by pressing the left-bracket key and right-bracket key, as in previous editions of Photoshop. But if you're in the habit of using these shortcuts, listen up, because the bracket keys work differently now: Each press of the left bracket decreases the diameter of the active brush by 10 pixels. Pressing the right bracket increases the brush diameter by 10 pixels. The brush icon on the Options bar shows the current diameter.

If all you want to do is move from one brush in the palette to another, use the arrow keys. For example, press the up-arrow key to select the brush that's immediately above the current brush. You have to use this technique if you want to switch from a hard brush to a soft one using the keyboard. Unfortunately, the old shortcut for selecting the first brush and the last brush, Shift and the bracket keys, no longer has any effect.

If you haven't altered the current brush — changing its softness, for example — you can also use these shortcuts: Press the comma key to toggle to the previously selected brush. Press the period key to go the other direction. You also can press the greater than key (Shift plus the period key) to select the last brush in the palette; press the less than key (Shift plus the comma key) to select the first brush in the palette.

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Responses

  • Richard
    What is drop down palette ?
    8 years ago

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