For all you Photoshop brush junkies out there, here’s a Mac OS X Quick Look plugin to preview Photoshop Brush Files (.abr) in the Finder.
Scanned Sketch Prep — Free Photoshop Action
Here’s a freebie for all my loyal readers: a free Photoshop action I created myself to eliminate repetitive tasks I (used to) go through each time I scanned in a new sketch for further work in Photoshop. Boost your productivity with this free Photoshop download.
My custom Sketch Prep action — as you can see from the screenshot — simply resets your color swatches back to the default black/white, does a Select All on the background layer, cuts the image to a new layer (leaving you with a flat white background layer) and then bumps the opacity of the newly-created layer down to 20%. It then adds a fresh new blank layer for you to start drawing in.
6 Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts For Illustrator Users
Here are a few handy keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for those of you out there like me who spend an inordinate amount of time in the Creative Suite primarily using Illustrator. These are not keyboard shortcuts that you can use in Illustrator, but rather are keyboard shortcuts providing methods of doing things in Photoshop that you are used to doing in Illustrator that at first it might seem isn’t possible, like click directly on an object to select it, drag to a new layer, etc.
Video: Photoshop CS4 Drag-Resize Brush Keyboard Shortcut
Another brief video in my series introducing some great new features in Photoshop CS4 for artists, cartoonists, illustrators and anyone else who sketches or draws using Photoshop.
This video features the excellent new keyoard shortcuts that allow you to drag-resize the size of the brushes using the mouse pointer.
Video: Photoshop CS4 Spring-Loaded Keys
Another brief video in my instructional series introducing some great new features in Photoshop CS4 for artists, cartoonists, illustrators and anyone else who sketches or draws using Photoshop.
This video features the excellent new Spring-Loaded Keys feature that allows you to access a tool temporarily by holding down the key for that tool, similar to using the Spacebar for the Hand tool – only for every tool in Photoshop now.
Photoshop Cheatsheets and Reference Cards: Free Downloads
Great resource for Adobe Photoshop users — reference cards for quick overviews of Photoshop’s interface, specific and often-used tools.
Includes links to versions for Photoshop CS3 and CS4 as well as both Macintosh and Windows versions.
Some of the “cards” are actually links to Adobe’s own online help (which is where the default Help in CS4 apps now takes you). But the rest of the cards look helpful in learning or referencing common tools such as the Pen tool, the Marquee tool, and the Brush tool. Worth a look and a download for the reference cards that suit your workflow. Sure to enhance your productivity.
Creative Suite CS4 Plugin Availability
A quick note that as of the posting date, there are a handful of plugins not yet available for the Creative Suite CS4 applications.
The list for me so far includes: all font activation plugins for Linotype’s Font Explorer X, “Select Menu” for Illustrator CS4, Canon’s Scangear CS plugin to access your scanner from within Photoshop’s Import menu, and plugins from developer Worker72a such as the ‘Zoom To Selection’ plugin for Illustrator.
Creative Suite CS4: Custom Keyboard Shortcut Woes
Just a quick tip for those out there getting ready to upgrade to the new Adobe Creative Suite CS4: I discovered after the upgrade that CS3 customized keyboard shortcut files do not transition into CS4.
This is a huge bummer, as there is no easy way that I know of to display what you have changed compared to the default set. I can only speak for Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4 and InDesign CS4 as I do not use the rest of the programs in the Design Premium suite enough to customize keyboard shortcuts.
I can’t recall if this is the case with previous Creative Suite upgrades as well or if this is a CS4-only situation.
Zen Of The Pen
Sharon Steuer’s free “Zen Of The Pen” PDF is an excellent introduction to the inner mysteries of the vector pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.
Update: Sharon has kindly asked me to remove the link to that PDF, she’s working on an updated version. I highly suggested you head over to her website and sign up for updates. Sharon is the mastermind behind the excellent Illustrator WOW! vector tutorial books for Adobe Illustrator.
The pen tool is one of those obscure graphics programs tools that everyone tries once, and then gets so confused by that they never get any further with it. And understandably. It looks like a fountain pen, but it doesn’t act like one. Click and “draw”, you get weird “handles” sprouting out from a dot. Ignore that, and some annoying rubber band line gets stuck to your pen tip, all distorted out of — not even a straight line! Right there most Illustrator users think to themselves “this program sucks”.
But they couldn’t be further from the truth…