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Thoughts and musing from within Highlander
Updated: 53 min 2 sec ago

Tips for using Brushes in Photoshop

Tue, 2014-12-16 13:40

Using Photoshop generally means using a brush at some point, and not just for painting. Several tools within Photoshop  also use a brush – Eraser, Dodge, Burn, etc. Here are some useful shortcuts when using a tool that uses brushes…

Constraining Brushes

Click, let go and shift – click elsewhere in your document and you will get a straight line

Click and hold with your mouse button, then hold the shift key, and then move your mouse – you will be constrained to horizontal/vertical lines.

Multiple steps using brushes

When using things like eraser, dodge, burn, etc, Photoshop sees one stroke as mouse-down and mouse-up. If you just paint with one mouse down, and then let go, you will get one long stroke with one application of your effect (like with the dodge tool you will only lighten a little bit, not build up as you might expect). With this in mind it is best to use short strokes, and let go of the mouse, short strokes, etc.  This means that you can also do multiple undos and so have a lot of control of how you step back, and you can see the effect build up as well.

Changing the Size and Hardness of a Brush

Using the [ and ] keys will let you decrease/increase your brush size on the fly, or use Shift + { and } keys to decrease / increase the brush hardness – very useful.

Better still hold the Alt key then right click (nb: right click not left click) and drag up or down on the image and you can change the hardness setting.  If you do the same and drag left or right you can change the brush size.

If you want to switch to the Previous or Next Brush then just hit the , or . keys to do so.

Switch between Foreground and Background colour

If you want to quickly switch between the foreground and background colour simply click on the X key to do so.

If you can think of any other shortcuts you find useful when working with brushes, just post them in the comments below.

Working with Masters in InDesign

Mon, 2014-12-15 16:59

Masters within InDesign are very useful – they provide a common background for whichever page(s) you are working with. But here are some not so well known/used tips regarding masters and pages.

A master can have a master

Say you want a master for Chapter 1 – usually a header and footer. But the footer may be fairly general, just Page X say. This would be the same for Chapter 2, 3 etc.

If you setup a master with just that footer, the next time you create a master (Pages panel > options in the top right-hand corner > New master) notice that you have the option of basing the new master on one already created.

It is here that you can choose the background master just created, i.e the one with just the footer in it. What you will end up with is a set of chapter masters, each of which have another master set as their background – then these are applied to you pages.

This can save you a lot of time in creating and maintaining your pages.

Save time by reusing past Masters

Why spend time creating a Master from scratch when you used one that was almost identical in that last catalogue / magazine / flyer etc. In the pages panel go to the Master Pages option and load master pages from a previous InDesign document.

This will load the masters straight into your pages panel and save you having to recreate them from scratch.

Master pages (for facing page documents) do not have to be identical.

The left page can be set up for two columns and the right for three, say. Just make sure that you have one master page (left or right) selected within the pages panel when changing the columns/margins (Layout > Margins and Columns).

What’s the black triangle?

Have you ever wondered what the little upside down black triangle is at the top of page 1 in your pages panel?

This is the section marker – this indicates when a new section is to appear and how the pages are to be numbered.

To create a new section (and a new black triangle will appear above the page you select), just right-mouse click on a page within the Pages panel and go to Numbering and Section options. Once there you can specify how the page numbering is to be handled, i.e. as letters, numbers etc, and also whether you wish to restart the page numbering – useful for contents pages and index pages.

Which Master are used where?

Sometimes it can be hard to see the little letters on the Page thumbnails, that identify which master has been applied. Why not give the masters a Color Label. This can be found in the Pages Panel menu under Page Attributes and puts a small coloured bar under both the master pages and any pages they are applied to, so you can see at a glance which Master are being used.