June 17, 2009

Brush locking (aka “Huh?”)

We’d like to discard an obscure feature in Photoshop & replace it with something better. First, though, I’d like to sanity-check that no one needs the existing feature. (Fair warning: This is some nerdy, slightly esoteric stuff.)

In Photoshop 6 and earlier, it was simple to control the relationship between tablet input & brush size and/or opacity. The app featured two independent checkboxes, one meaning “pressure = size” and the other meaning “pressure = opacity.” Easy peasy.

In Photoshop 7, the brush engine became much more powerful, and in the process these options got a bit harder to use. Brushes gained many new parameters (scattering, hue variation, etc.), each of which had the ability to respond to many new inputs (pen tilt, rotation, stylus wheel, etc.). Therefore the two simple checkboxes had to give way, being replaced by a series of popup menus spread throughout the Brushes panel. The placement was less obvious, but the power was much greater.

The real usability snag, however, came from the lack of clarity around brush presets (which include pressure settings & more) and brush tip shapes. People click presets, thinking they’re just changing brush tip, and they end up changing other settings as well. (From this screenshot, you can see why it’s easy to confuse the two.) The results sound like this:

“Okay, where the heck is the setting for pressure = size? [rummage, rummage] Okay, found it. Now, switch to a different brush… Wait, the pressure setting turned off. WTF? Switch it on again, then switch brushes and… [insert stream of profanity]“

At least that’s what I imagine. And that brings us to the feature in question, brush locking. In Photoshop 8.0 (CS), we tried to make things better by adding a little lock icon next to each set of parameters. The idea was that you could set some parameters (e.g. pressure = size), then lock them down so that they wouldn’t change when you applied different brush presets. That is, the locks would override whatever settings the presets included.

Locking was never a great solution, but it was what time permitted back in the CS cycle. Since then I’ve heard less complaining, but I don’t think that’s because people are using locking. (Am I wrong?) I think it’s simply a matter of folks eventually figuring out how things work or learning to live with some strangeness.

In any case, we think we can do better in the future. Photoshop could offer a pair of checkboxes on the Options Bar (the thing that runs below your menus) that control “pressure = size” and “pressure = opacity,” overriding whatever’s set in the Brushes panel. We also have some thoughts about better differentiating brush presets from brush tip shapes.

So, if you use brush locking in Photoshop and see a good reason to keep it around, please speak up. Otherwise it’s toast.

Thanks,

J.

Posted by John Nack at 4:15 PM on June 17, 2009

Comments

  • jim Pogozelski — 4:37 PM on June 17, 2009

    I always set-as-I-go (didn’t even notice the locks until right now). So it wouldn’t bother me to loose them.

  • barrymcw — 4:48 PM on June 17, 2009

    I don’t use brush locking. Instead I just use a bunch of custom brushes.
    Can I use this soapbox to ask for a Painter-style brush engine to be folded into Photoshop? Photoshop owns Painter when it comes to general usability but whenever i bounce between the two, I find myself missing true color mixing & being frustrated that I have to work around the “stamping” effect.
    Cheers

  • julius0377 — 5:10 PM on June 17, 2009

    Toast.

  • Ben Richardson — 5:20 PM on June 17, 2009

    I never locked, but I also don’t use (and I have never understood why anyone uses) “pressure = opacity”. I always have opacity at 100%, “airbrush” on, and “pressure = flow”.
    This is the only combination that makes sense to me, it’s like a real world application of paint: you can spray/paint more or less quickly, but if you *keep on* painting you eventually get to 100% density.
    (Accidentally setting “pressure = opacity” or opacity less than 100% always has me scratching my head for a few moments. Am I alone?)
    In answer, John: as long as the change doesn’t affect the way “pressure = flow” works, I’m fine.

  • ValkyrieStudio — 6:15 PM on June 17, 2009

    I’ve always known the lock icons were there, but never paid them any mind, so add me to the ‘don’t use them’ column.

  • Daniel Sofer — 6:38 PM on June 17, 2009

    I like the checkboxes in the options bar. Controlling tablet is way to complex the way it is now.

  • Jolin — 7:14 PM on June 17, 2009

    Toast it

  • Enrique de la Huelga — 9:03 PM on June 17, 2009

    Now that you’ve told us how to use it, you’re going to change it? :-)
    Honestly, rarely used the locks, but I’m all for simplifying tablet control; checkboxes sound good.

  • Pedro Estarque — 9:36 PM on June 17, 2009

    I say toast it, specially if a better solution is coming.
    Can’t wait for CS5.

  • Alan Gilbertson — 11:04 PM on June 17, 2009

    Criminy, John, that’s one obscure feature. I’ve never used it, didn’t realize it was there, just got infuriated when the pressure thing wouldn’t work. (In CS4, sadly, it oftentimes just plain doesn’t work, period, regardless of settings in the options panel, until PS has been quite and relaunched, but that’s a different issue.)

  • Lisa Sage — 11:34 PM on June 17, 2009

    Sheesh, maybe the reason adobe hasn’t been hearing all the grumbling is because so many of us are loving our brushes and working with them quite happily. If I’m switching between two brushes I don’t want to stop and reset every slider do I? Of course not I click the cute little locks and I trade to the second brush and take my color, size, angle, opacity, and flow settings with me.
    Your proposal isn’t an even trade by a long shot. In the palette when I set opacity and flow to ‘pen pressure’ I can use the settings in the option bar to set the upper limit. So at maximum pen pressure I’ll be cut off at 50% opacity if that’s what I have in the options bar and the same goes for flow. If you absolutely must change something about the brushes how about coming up with the algorithm that would allow ‘protect texture’ to allow the texture of the digital ‘paper’ to interact with the paint brush more along the lines of natural media, or update the color picker to allow color blending in palette. Any of these would move photoshop forward without causing pain to those that use the paintbrush tool almost exclusively.

    • David — 11:33 AM on March 23, 2012

      Yes, and isn’t clicking the “lock” icon next to the “Texture” option the same effect as clicking the “Protect Texture” option? Isn’t this redundant? And why is there a “lock” icon next to “Protect Texture”? (sort of like locking a lock, which seems redundant.) If these “lock” icons should be kept, then ditch the “Protect Texture” option, or make “Protect Texture” into a shortcut for “lock” “Texture” options, so when you check the box, the “lock” icon next to “Texture” automatically locks.

  • Martin — 12:25 AM on June 18, 2009

    Hi
    I rarely used the locks. But I think the brushes panel could stay as it is. A thing I want to see is a “live” preview of the brush tip on the canvas – at least concerning the rotation.
    Martin

  • DrWatson — 12:47 AM on June 18, 2009

    Aah, that’s what the icon stands for. Now that I know… I still won’t use it ;) But yeah, give us those checkboxes in the option bar, these would be real helpers. I switch between mouse and pen a lot, but I don’t like to have the brush panel open all the time (too big). But switching on and off pressure=size is essential, however, for another reason as well: click with the brush and then shift-click with the brush again to draw a straight line between where you clicked won’t work with pressure=size activated (and I use this, even with the pen, pretty often).
    Conclusion: toast this lock-icon and go for the checkboxes in the options bar. Yay!

  • Peter — 4:50 AM on June 18, 2009

    Oh wow, I always assumed these locks were there to prevent unintended changes, like the locks in the layers panel. I guess I should have read the manual more. Now that I know what they really do, I might actually use them from time to time, but I wouldn’t mind at all if you ditched them in favor of a better and more consistent/logical solution.
    The thing that confused me the most when I got started using Photoshop was the lack of clarity whether changing the settings would change the actual preset (i.e. would it automatically update the brush library?) or whether clicking a preset would simply create a work copy.
    Personally I found the distinction between tip shapes and presets quite obvious. The real gotcha in that area in my opinion is that switching the panel from expanded view into compact view always shows you your presets, even if you had the “Brush Tip Shape” or the “Dual Brush” page active before that. It makes a lot of sense, but since the lists look so similar a beginner could assume that the compact view lists the tips or the dual brush settings, not the presets.
    The other thing that might lead to confusion is that you don’t just have brush tip shapes and brush presets, but also brush tool presets. I suspect that the distinction between those may not be very intuitive for a novice user.
    Back when I got started ages ago, it also took me forever to figure out that there are actually two types of brushes (computed brushes and sampled brushes) and that there are two totally different places where you create them.
    And then there is still that old thing that you can only drag-reorder and multi-select brush presets in the Preset Manager. I suppose this is also something that few peope figure out on their own.
    Another brush engine related issue is that there is no way to assign brush presets in the “Stroke” layer style options or the “Edit > Stroke…” command as one would probably expect. And currently, there is also no way to assign a brush preset to a path like in Fireworks (except the destructive “Stroke Path” command). This is particularly strange considering that filling a path is no problem at all using shape layers and clipping masks or a Pattern Overlay style.

  • shoaf — 5:45 AM on June 18, 2009

    I don’t use Brush Locking… but then I don’t switch brushes so frequently. I do change size, opacity, etc, VERY frequently, so the idea of having checkboxes in the Options Bar to turn off/on opacity and size control sounds great to me. It would save me from having to make a trip into the Brushes Panel.

  • David — 7:19 AM on June 18, 2009

    I didn’t pay attention to the locks, so having them go away won’t affect me. Now that I know their purpose, I still don’t think I will use them, either.

  • Rufus — 7:22 AM on June 18, 2009

    I never use brush locking; I just learned to deal with the settings. There’s an interesting article about this at DocumentLab’s Photoshop page

  • Elizabeth Stacy — 7:22 AM on June 18, 2009

    I never use brush settings so I say goodbye.

  • Jerry Harris — 9:10 AM on June 18, 2009

    Lisa, so you like the locks. I get the texture case, I would like to better understand the shape dynamics case. Do you every use the lock to do anything besides lock pressure == size? Are there other subpanels you use those locks for on a consistent basis (other than texture?). Also, besides texture, what other brush attributes might benefit from upleveling in the UI?
    Peter, what if you had a brush styles list that also included the tool presets for the currently active tool. Would that improve matters in terms of discoverability/usability?

  • Nick — 9:19 AM on June 18, 2009

    Sometimes you miss the obvious – I use brushes all the time and never realised it was possible to lock Shape Dynamics OFF!
    I hate shape dynamics (it is not something I ever need) and whatever changes get made, please ensure that the dynamics can be disabled effectively without the need to constantly open the palette and check.
    Thanks!!

  • Shangara — 9:43 AM on June 18, 2009

    I think some of the brush options could do with being added to the options bar. I really like the Control panel (options bar) in InDesign. It looks crowded but, boy, is it useful.
    Some minor tweaks that would help: highlight the clickable headings in the left column in the Brushes panel when you mouse over them (apply same change to Layer Style dialog too).
    Let user scroll through presets and tips by using the left, right, up, down arrow keys (expected behavior), instead of the lesser and greater keys, as they can do in the Brush Presets pop-up panel.
    [We're thinking of splitting the Brushes panel in two. A simplified panel would list brush presets (each depicted as a stroke) while providing just a couple of controls (size and hardness). In other words, this panel would be much like the set of brush options that pops down off the Options Bar.
    A more complex "brush options" panel would take on everything else, showing brush tips as just tips (and thus hopefully making a clearer differentiation between them & brush presets). --J.]

  • Kirk Nelson — 9:58 AM on June 18, 2009

    Always knew they were there, have pointed them out to students, but not once have I used them.
    If I want to keep my settings to use on a different brush, I just change the brush tip, not the preset.
    I’m guessing whatever changes this little feature is standing in the way of must be really exciting though. Can’t wait to see what’s going on with painting in CS5!

  • shoaf — 11:23 AM on June 18, 2009

    Re: separate panels mentioned in reply to Shangara — fwiw, that’s pretty much how I work anyways. I use the drop-down off the Options Bar to select the tip shape (then adjust size, opacity as necessary via key modifiers) and hit the Brushes Panel much less frequently to adjust/enable/disable pressure-sensitive parameters.

  • Peter — 12:38 PM on June 18, 2009

    @Jerry: Sounds like a good idea, but I have been using Photoshop for so long that it has become a little hard to see the software with the eyes of someone who has never used it before. An alternative to an inclusion in the list might be to limit the tool presets to really just store the tool settings (like Aligned on/off for the Clone Stamp etc.) while keeping them independent of the paint engine settings in the Brushes panel. But your solution is probably better and more versatile for most users.
    @John: As far as splitting the brushes panel in two is concerned, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. You already have the regular and expanded views, and there are enough panels in Photoshop already. It also seems to me that the number of panels added per version has increased with recent releases. So a second Brushes panel would increase the screen clutter even more, and in scenarios like PS on a laptop additional panels would be a step backwards.
    My suggestion would be to expand the Options Bar into something like the Properties Panel in Fireworks or the Control Panel in InDesign. That way you could get the Clone Source panel, the 3D stuff, and the functionality of the smaller one of the two potential future Brushes panels into that expanded Options Bar. If you add several icon buttons to switch between pages (similar to the Info Window in Apple’s Pages or the Paragraph/Character modes in in the Type tool version of InDesign’s Control Panel) you could get quite a lot of context sensitive UI into very little screen space without making it harder to access, possibly even easier.
    It would also be more discoverable since a new user wouldn’t have to know that there is a panel that provides additional options for the clone tool for instance.
    You could also offer a two-stage-expansion model like Dreamweaver’s Properties panel where the advanced or less frequently used attributes can be collapsed using an disclosure triangle.
    Such an expanded Options Bar would even allow you to get all the controls for filters like Vanishing Point and possibly even Liquify into the main UI instead of those huge modal dialog boxes (which a lot of people would consider debatable from a UI design point of view). The controls would basically only appear in the Options Bar when the main Vanishing Point or Liquify tool is activated from the main tool bar. You could make them pseudo-modal with a Commit button like the Crop tool or Free Transform (which is technically a tool in disguise as it seems, I never quite understood why you put it into the menu instead of the tool bar in the first place).
    @Lisa: Regarding that color picker thing, you can keep a small document open as a color mixing palette and use the brush and smudge tools to mix your colors. You can then sample them using the eyedropper whenever you want to use them in your main document.

  • drs18 — 1:29 PM on June 18, 2009

    I’ve used the locking feature but always thought that I was locking the settings that I saved as a preset. Obviously I’m wrong. Maybe there could be more options in the “Save Preset” box- now I can choose to save color with the preset; maybe I could also choose to include or not include other options in the “save”?

  • Jerry Harris — 2:06 PM on June 18, 2009

    On splitting the views..As you can see from this short thread, the actual use in the wild is diverse. Some use what we have called “the fistful of brushes” or tool/brush presets. Other just tweak the heck out of the current tip (using the on canvas or popups). The brush palette that shows styles would suit the person just switching between a bunch of custom canned settings.
    We view the heavy UI in the brush palette as a brush editor, more of a formal big palette, which might be cognitively invasive to the painting workflow (at least for speed painters), as well as visually distracting. As you can see, users already find a way to avoid thinking about how to tweak their brush while they work but rather focus their creativity on the expressing their ideas on the canvas.

  • Jerry Harris — 3:52 PM on June 18, 2009

    BTW. Two panels do not take up more screen real-estate if you dock the palettes in the same window, and just switch between them via the tabs. The idea is if we can make it less necessary to have the brush editor up, we can use a more concise palette for just showing presets. On the other hand, if you have two monitors or just one really large one you would be free to show both at the same time, if you desired that.
    [Well said, Jerry; thanks. --J.]

  • Stephen Walker — 4:09 PM on June 18, 2009

    Think that’s something that can be trashed. Use the settings but have never locked them.
    Just out of curiosity – I have a Wacom Intuos 4 – would it be possible to allow the Touch Ring to move the source point around the destination point when using the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush Tools. That way you could do the cloning but have the ability to rotate the source point around the area you are painting – for me it would be even better than the Clone Source Panel’s ability to store different source points. Or is this something Wacom have to implement ? Just a thought – for me it would be a really cool option.
    PS – have Apple patented the word WHEEL – Ring seems such an odd word ?!?

  • dsr — 4:37 PM on June 18, 2009

    Never used them. Toast it.

  • Doug Nelson — 7:49 PM on June 18, 2009

    I do not use the locks, but I regularly use reset brushes to achieve a similar goal. It’s less important to me to have a specific setting preserved than it is to know the exact state of a brush. Reset allows me to know they’re at default, locks let you know they’re at your custom setting.
    The whole thing for me would be skipped if there was some visual way to tell if a setting group (ie: shape dynamics) has been changed from the default. Change the text to bold or something.
    It’s relatively painless to set a brush to how I want it, but it’s a major pain to open each setting group to see which has been changed from where you wanted it.

  • Jerry Harris — 7:44 AM on June 19, 2009

    Doug, a question regarding “has been changed from the default”. What default A) anything turned on or B) something that is different from the preset you clicked on as part of getting to the current state?
    While far from being comprehensive or scientific, what I am hearing is most of you ignore locks, but a few of you absolutely rely on the locks. It seems visually benign in terms of being distracting, and powerful for those that have picked up the habit of using it.

  • Mike Morales — 9:28 AM on June 19, 2009

    I never use brush locking. I’ve always vaguely known the option was there since CS, but I can’t remember a time when its ever come in handy for me. I either set my brushes as I go, or create a new preset. If they go away I won’t miss them.

  • Marky — 1:37 PM on June 19, 2009

    I like the idea of the tabs in the Option bar – again designed I suppose for people without the basic time, and initiative to learn the functions of Photoshop (a group increasingly catered for it seems).
    But – WHY remove things? – the tiny lock icon takes practically no space. Seriously I don’t see much value in removing things that are potentially useful.
    I also think that increasing the number of panels is generally not a good idea – UNLESS these panels improve existing functionality, or make features available that were absent before. Now a CUSTOMIZABLE single brushes panel on the other hand – I could see the value in that

  • Jp Cooper — 5:29 PM on June 19, 2009

    John -
    I know of these options. I think I used them when PS6 first hit – haven’t used them much since.
    I like your thoughts for the evolution in the Options Bar.
    TOAST THEM!

  • Lisa Sage — 9:44 PM on June 19, 2009

    Hi Jerry, I actually love the locks!! I started experimenting with painting and drawing in Photoshop before my wrist forced me to buy a Wacom. Many of my favorite brushes were developed for the mouse but they got so much better with options like Other dynamics (two sliders), Color dynamics (4 sliders) and scattering (2 sliders) locked down. This way ‘pen pressure’ now applies to all of my made-for-the-mouse brushes. I’m sure you’re now thinking ‘why the hey doesn’t she just remake them or save them as a preset’?
    I could. After all it shouldn’t take that long to remake 5Gb of custom brushes . . . well, except for the two days I lost trying to nail the perfect ‘veil’ brush so I didn’t have to agonize over replacing the background of another bridal shot, or the 14 hours I lost to perfecting a smoke brush that lets me swirl smoke where ever I want it and not just ‘stamp’ it.
    Even so with my newest brushes I wouldn’t want to be without the locks. The best example I can give you would be a set of brushes I created for feathers. Because of their structure and perspective issues, I couldn’t get just one brush to handle the feathers of both left and right wings as well as tail feathers. It’s not difficult to navigate between the three brushes as long as I can keep my hue (+10), saturation(+7) and brightness(+7) and purity(+15) settings by locking down color dynamics. Without this I’d have to reset each time I switched brushes, which happens very often.
    Shape dynamics comes into play anytime I’m working on a structural drawing. I shouldn’t admit it but I love taking advantage of Photoshop’s click/shift-click feature for straight lines. As someone has already said, accidentally tripping over shape dynamics will frustrate the workflow something fierce. Before starting a structural drawing I know to immediately lock Shape dynamics off.
    Peter, I actually I do create my color blends in a new file but new files do not float and stay open in front after you have sampled and gone back to work. I can’t count how many times I’ve crashed Photoshop only to find out I had a ridiculous number of new files abandoned behind the document I was painting on.

  • Peter Witham — 10:18 PM on June 19, 2009

    Darn it! I just started using this feature on my new tablet!

  • thinsoldier — 12:32 AM on June 20, 2009

    I use the locks but I should admit that I still have no clue what the real difference between opacity and flow is. All I know for sure is I hate painting in photoshop because I fell like I have no control. If it weren’t for Sketchbook pro I’d be regretting all the money I spent on my wacom (although I still suck at “painting”.)
    Here’s why I use the locks.
    1) Currently my Brush Presets view shows 6 columns and 12 rows of brushes. I have 72 items to choose from. If I switch to Brush Tip Shape I have 6 columns and 7 rows. I can only see 42. With Brush Presets view I have more room to see, imagine, pick at random, experiment with brushes. In the Tip Shape view I do a lot of scrolling. So I just prefer to just pick a brush with who-knows-what crazy settings, play with it, lock down the aspects of the settings I like and switch to other brushes for their tip shape rather than actually using the “tip shape” tab.
    2) I was under the false impression that even if I “Replace Brushes” with a custom .abr the “tip shapes” would remain as the defaults. Don’t know why I thought that. Only realized just now when I tested it that I was wrong.
    I would like to see Brush Tool Presets listed over in the Brushes panel though. Having it over there in the upper left is like out-of-sight, out-of-mind for me. I don’t think I’ve used a tool preset since… whatever year they were first added.
    –Do you every use the lock to do anything besides lock pressure == size? Are there other subpanels you use those locks for on a consistent basis (other than texture?).–
    Other dynamics, scattering, airbrush, noise, dual brush, smoothing. In that order.
    Did I mention that the entire interface for working with brushes needs a user friendly and “custom brush Community friendly” TOTAL overhaul. Not talking about brush/paining functionality (I’ll talk about that later!) but actually management of vast collections of brushes downloaded from the internet over the last 9+ years.
    P.S.
    I could really use a lengthy post about opacity vs flow with lots of visual aids that a six-year-old could comprehend.
    Also, ditch the cheesy, low quality default brushes like scattered maple leaves and hypno lines, or at least increase their resolution. Remember, photoshop defaults DEFINE the look of a whole generation of crap uploaded to the internet. You should at least try to have attractive defaults. Same goes for the awful default patterns.

  • Doug Nelson — 9:55 AM on June 20, 2009

    Jerry:
    Ideally, it would know the state the brush was created in, and indicate if anything within that group had changed since then. Kind of like the little asterisk in the document titlebar, only for each separate control group.

  • Lisa Sage — 9:59 AM on June 20, 2009

    Thinsoldier you make some very good points that have long been overlooked by Adobe! On the larger monitors the left (brush presets) to right (brush palette) stretch is a little ridiculous especially since CS3 took away the ability to dock palettes in the Options bar (the thing is 30 inches long and I can’t even use it-what’s with that?).
    Having absolutely no way of viewing Presets to selectively load is costing way too much time and yet, loading all of them turns start-up time into an endurance test. Sure I could spend the $50 bucks for a third party preset viewer on the Mac but it’ll end up being a waste just like the NuLooq and every other third party ‘fix’ that was abandoned instead of updated. Shoot, I had to wait two months for Wacom to come up to speed with Mac OSX on update 10.4.6! Just setting Angle jitter to ‘Direction’ would crash Photoshop and the system within 5 strokes. The only ‘answer’ I got from Wacom was ‘don’t upgrade until we have the fix’. But I needed the latest version of Xcode for my coursework. It seems like everyone wants to hop on the Adobe money-train but they suck at keeping pace. Realistically how long are we supposed to wait for a decent Preset viewer?
    Well, anyway the point is there are things you could do that would be wonderfully constructive instead of taking away a feature that the majority never knew about but is HUGELY important to those that paint in Photoshop. There are just too many short comings in the painting workflow as it is.
    Oh, thinsoldier, I don’t know if this will help but ‘flow’ is like using a dry brush in the real world. If you mess around with the Rough Round Bristle brush that PS ships with you’ll see the difference. As you lower the flow the brush becomes more ‘scratchy’ not more transparent.

  • Twitter Fail — 10:22 AM on June 20, 2009

    I use the locks. I’ve never understood why software developers remove features in upgrades. I would rather see more options, rather than dumbing down the software just because some people don’t take the time to learn how to use all the features.

  • Marky — 5:43 PM on June 20, 2009

    Well said Twitter. “I’ve never understood why software developers remove features in upgrades.” – well if they are going to REPLACE the feature with something better maybe. But in this case what we are talking about are tiny unobrusive “lock” icons. They are obviously trying to revamp the brushes interface in some way – but hardly worth removing things.

  • Jerry Harris — 4:31 AM on June 21, 2009

    We hear you, a tune I heard in the early 70′s is now ringing in my head..”Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset up…” This is not a tug o war contest where larger numbers on one side of an issue will pull the rest of you in the mud;-)
    We, like everyone out there have to fight our brains tendency to want generalize, and categorize. This brain trait is both a blessing and a curse. It is the only way we make it through this world. We need to be vigil in insuring it is not dumbing down reality (as it does in almost every aspect of our lives).
    A few followups.. Are there cases where you do want more than a dozen custom tool/brush presets visible at once? One thing we have heard is when such connoisseurs of brushes have so many tips they would like to add their own custom graphic to represent them in the palette. Would that be helpful?
    I want to thank those that participate, and for those that don’t feel free to speak up. Clearly, I am setting an example for someone that does not let a lack of grammar skills impede interaction.

  • Avery — 1:41 AM on June 22, 2009

    Won’t miss it, John. And thanks for asking :-)

  • Lisa Sage — 4:05 PM on June 22, 2009

    Hi Jerry, sorry for coming on so strong. I really dread the idea of setting as I go if the locks are being ditched! There are just too many settings for that.
    On the follow-up questions; I usually end up with more than a dozen presets loaded whether I like it or not. I’m not sure if a custom tip would help but on the other hand it can’t hurt. It’s very hard to tell the difference just by the tip. It’s also not unusual to have different settings using the same tip. I’ve noticed that tips for brushes that work like stamps are easier to distinguish than the tips for my high res. custom brushes that work like real brushes. I hope that makes sense?
    I do sometimes wish the Preset Manager would allow previews of the ABR files or let us color code brushes once they are loaded. But anything you could do to make managing Presets a little easier would be fantastic.

  • Jim Dittmer — 9:52 AM on June 24, 2009

    Hi John,
    I’m just starting to use a tablet. Having used a mouse for retouching for some 14 years and a SciTex puck for 10 years prior to that, it’s been an exciting learning challenge. I’d never noticed the lock function, so whether it’s there or not wouldn’t effect me. Much of my work involves masking using QuickMask and a frustration for me is that so many of the brushes have pen pressure turned on forcing me to stop, go to the Brush menu, select the proper menu and turn it off. Then going back to reverse the process when the feature is needed a couple minutes later! How about a checkbox on the cntl-click Brush menu that could quickly turn it on and off? Or perhaps some masking presets that would take whatever brush you were using and apply certain attributes (Soft, Medium, or Hard edge; no pen pressure. etc.)
    [Jim, a couple of things:
    It sounds like brush locking might help you. Set up pressure the way you like it, then lock down those settings.
    You may want to switch among brush tips, not brush presets (the latter of which affect pressure settings).
    We plan to put top-level (Options Bar) checkboxes in the app that'll apply pressure settings globally, without regard to what's set in the Brushes panel/applied by presets.

    --J.]

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