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.
Adobe Apps: Backup Your Prefs
It’s happened to all of us digital creatives. The dreaded day when you just cannot get one of your Adobe applications to launch. Usually there’s a deadline looming (of course). You’ve restarted your computer (three times) and still you cannot get Photoshop to launch. You’ve tried a few tips from some Google searches, but still nothing. Your geek cred is showing it’s limitations. And your deadline isn’t getting any further away.
What if I told you this could be avoided, virtually forever? And also, that you can get back to work with all your settings just the way you like them?
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.
Adobe Illustrator Eraser Brush Tip: Option-Erase
Hold down the Option key when erasing using the Eraser Brush, and you’ll get a marquee that you can drag to erase a perfectly rectangular area.
Bonus Eraser Tool tip: edit the keyboard shortcuts so the Eraser uses the “E” key, and remap the Free Transform tool to Shift-E (essentially swapping the keyboard shortcuts for the two tools). Seems much more intuitive this way.
Both tips via FreeTransform
Wacom: Bamboo Dock
Wacom has a new online service and free companion software tool download called Bamboo Dock. The apps available so far are basic — a drawing/doodling app, a map you can draw on and a handwriting recognition app. The others I couldn’t demo as a Wacom Bamboo serial number is required.
The online service is a sort of virtual sketchpad, allowing you to doodle, draw, scrapbook and upload files to “spaces” which are like collections, and inside of each one can add multiple canvases with different contents, themes and such.
I am having a hard time imagining a use for the online portion, but the companion apps look like they might be handy and should be interesting to see how things progress as new tools are developed/released.
Symmetries – Vector Path Software Tool
Symmetries from Earthlinksoft Software is an interesting symmetrical vector object generator tool.
The control system is very intuitive, requring no knowledge of how to manipulate vector paths. While simplistic, it gives one a high level of control over exploring interesting symmetrical objects. I did find that there seemed to be a bit of a genre of shapes that were the calling card for this tool, but maybe I just didn’t play with it enough.
Symmetries does not generate tiled patterns, but rather single vector objects, which then can be pasted into the vector software of your choosing for futher editing. The demo mode doesn’t allow this, so I couldn’t test it.
Essential Adobe Illustrator Plug-in: Select Menu
A plugin that I always forget to tout, since the functionality it provides seems so intrinsic to Illustrator once it’s installed, I forget it’s a third-party enhancement.
Select Menu for Adobe Illustrator (Mac and Windows, free) from Graffix Software is available for every version of Illustrator from 8 on up to CS3. It adds additional selectable items under the Select -> Objects menu.
This plugin really comes in handy at the production stage of prepping your art, allowing you to find all sorts of items that you need to preflight. It especially comes in handy after flattening transparency, such as when you export art to an older version of Illustrator. I find lots of klunky and open paths all over the place after flattening transparency, and I couldn’t imagine how much of a pain in the neck it would be to clean up art without Select Menu.
Color Blindness Software Tools for Artists
Just stumbled across these handy Mac OS X software applications to help designers and artists simulate the effects of color blindness on-screen: Sim Daltonism and Color Oracle.
Sim Daltonism works as a floating palette which converts an area under your mouse cursor to the selected type of color blindness — it works similar to the Apple Digital Color Meter sampling utility. There are 8 different types of color blindness to test. Color Oracle works as a menubar item which converts the entire monitor to the selected mode of color blindness, but only offers the three most common forms.
Default Folder X – Essential Mac Productivity Utility Software
Default Folder X is one of those shareware utility applications that seem pretty handy while you are demoing, but until you use another Mac without Default Folder installed (or the demo runs out), you don’t realize exactly how perfect the software actually is.
I constantly run across these “714 Absolutely Essential Mac Applications” blog posts that always leave this one out. And I think the only reason is that the author is unaware of it’s existence. There’s no other explanation. Half of the time the apps I see on those lists are so-so anyways.
So what is this so-called “Default Folder” anyways? In short, it’s a way for you to access — from the Open/Save dialog windows — not only commonly used folders, but also recently used folders and open Finder windows, all with (mostly) user-defined keyboard shortcuts.