A preset is simply a set of saved settings that can be easily reloaded to make the tool behave the exact same way each time the preset is used. Presets are organized into sets that can be loaded for each tool or panel and then easily selected. You will work with presets throughout the book, but this section is designed to familiarize you with what presets are and the tools that you use to select and manage them.
Selecting tool presets
The simplest way to select tool presets is from the Preset menu option that’s in every tool options bar, as shown in Figure 2.14. For the Crop tool, you see presets for each of the standard photo sizes. Selecting one of the presets configures the Crop tool to crop the image to the specific size without changing the settings manually.
The Presets option in the tool options bar allows you to quickly configure settings for the tool by selecting a preset from a list of tool configurations.
Presets can be selected from the Tool Presets panel. If you deselect the Current Tool Only option, the list in the tool options menu and in the Tool Presets panel displays all currently loaded presets instead of just those for the current tool. Selecting a preset switches to that tool with the appropriate settings.
Presets are organized into sets, and each set is saved as a separate file on the file system. The Preset Manager, shown in Figure 2.15, allows you to create, load, and manage the sets of tool presets. To access the Preset Manager, select Edit ➪ Preset Manager, or click the menu icon of the Preset list shown in Figure 2.15 and select Preset Manger from the pop-up menu.
The Preset Manager provides the Preset Type option that allows you to select the preset types. In addition to tool presets, you find presets for paint brushes, color swatches, styles, and others. When you select a different type, the list of presets changes to reflect the presets for that type.
You can use the mouse to select presets from the list, including any new ones you have created, and then use the Save Set button to save the selected presets as a new set. To load additional presets, click the Load button. When you try to load a new set, you are prompted to add the set to the current list or to append the loaded set to the existing list.
The Preset Manager allows you to load, save, and manage presets for Photoshop tools as well as other settings types such as brushes, text, and colors.
Clicking the Preset Manager Menu button loads a menu similar to the one in Figure 2.15. The menu is different for each preset type, but they are all organized into the following sections:
- List options: This defines how to display the presets. You can select icons only, lists with icons, and different sizes of icons, depending on the preset type.
- Reset options: The Reset Presets option resets the preset list for the selected preset type to the Photoshop default. This option is a must when you begin tweaking lists and appending sets. The Replace Presets option allows you to load a preset list from a file on disk and replace the current preset list.
- Preconfigured presets: Photoshop provides several preconfigured preset sets that can be applied to the current set. The list of preconfigured presets is different for each preset type. When you select one of these sets, you are prompted to either replace the current list or append the new list to the current list.
Presets are created differently depending on what type of preset you are creating. Follow these steps to create a new tool preset:
- Select a tool from the Toolbox.
- Adjust the settings in the tool options menu.
- Open the Preset option for the tool, as shown in Figure 2.15.
- Click the Add New Preset button.
- Enter the name that you want to use for the preset, and click OK.
- Select a layer that is not locked.
- Select one of the options in the Add a Layer Style button at the bottom of the Layers panel to launch the Layer Style dialog box.
- Adjust the options for each effect to be included in the preset.
- Click the New Style button in the Layer Style dialog box, and name the preset.
Follow these steps to create a custom brush or pattern preset:
- Select the pixels you want to use to create the brush or pattern.
- Select Edit ➪ Define Brush Preset or Edit ➪ Define Pattern from the main menu.
- Name the Brush or Pattern and click OK.
- Select the Brush tool if you are creating a custom brush preset.
- Refine the brush or pattern by adjusting the settings in the Brushes panel.
Follow these steps to create a custom shape preset:
- Create the path.
- Select a path in the Paths panel.
- Select Edit ➪ Define Custom Shape from the main menu.
- Name the shape preset.
Follow these steps to create a custom color swatch preset:
- Click the Foreground color in the Toolbox to launch a Color Picker.
- Define the custom color.
- Hover the mouse cursor over a blank area in the Swatches panel until the cursor changes to a paint bucket.
- Click to add the color to the Swatches.
When you save preset lists, the filename must be saved with the appropriate file extension. This actually makes the preset files easy to locate later by searching the filesystem if you forget where you saved them. The default extensions are brushes (.abr), color swatches (.aco), contours (.sch), custom shapes (.csh), gradients (.grd), patterns (.pat), styles (.asl), and tools (.tpl).
In this tutorial:
- Photoshop Workspace
- Workspace Overview
- The Document Workspace
- The Application Bar
- The Workspace Presets
- The Toolbox and Tool Options Bar
- Cruising Main Menus
- Understanding Panels
- Understanding Tools in Toolbox
- Using Presets
- Setting Preferences
- Interface Preferences
- File Handling Preferences
- Transparency Gamut Preferences
- Customizing Shortcuts and Menus