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.
The drag-resize brush cursor feature was one of the top three features that enticed me to upgrade to the Adobe Creative Suite CS4 (Design Premium). While I primarily work with vector art in Adobe Illustrator (at least for my final artwork), I do a lot of sketching within Photoshop using my Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet.
As any Photoshop user will know, resizing the brushes can interrupt your workflow, especially when you are drawing or sketching. Not having to think about your tools is a big deal to me — I like to have the computer and the software get out of my way as much as possible.
With the new drag-resize brush cursor keyboard shortcuts, my productivity is very much increased now that I can — on the fly and exactly where I am working — change my brush size (as well as the hardness) of the brush. As a keyboard shortcut junkie, I am already used to having my left hand by the modifier keys on the Mac keyboard, so learning these required very little muscle memory.
I love being able resize the brushes with a gesture as opposed to having to stop what I am doing and size the brush up or down, then move the cursor back to where I was working (and repeat if necessary). As I mentioned, the hardness of the brush can also be controlled with keyboard shortcuts (the brush hardness is how soft the edges of the brush are).
Between the Spacebar for the Hand tool and these new shortcuts, for the most part I can almost work without needing to think about what I am doing at all. I also have the eraser tool mapped to one of the Wacom stylus buttons so I can quickly erase without switching tools.
If you work like I do, you’ll want to seriously consider an upgrade for this feature. It’s that great, honestly.
Oh — the other features in Photoshop CS4 that I upgraded for? The Rotate View tool and the Spring-Loaded Keys.