Natural Media Tool Palette for Photoshop CS4
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last week rebuilding some of the tools from the first NKS panel and refining the overall tool selection to be more efficient and more dynamic. I wont be having much time available to retrofit this kit anytime soon, so wanted to make sure this version was well thought out and worthy of the effort.
The tools are somewhat personalized around my workflow in the sense that I use pencils, markers, ball pens and ink quite frequently. However the selection remains wide enough that I feel many concept artists, graphic designers and product designers could utilize them effectively- in any capacity from ideation to rendering. I’ve attempted to keep the tools true to their name and real life functionality, so lead should look and act like lead, and so on. If you experience any shortcomings in their effect it’s due either to a fault of my observation or the extent to which brushes can currently be modulated in Photoshop, which is probably somewhat true of all of the tools to some degree.
I’ve made a short screencast showing the install procedure and a quick overview of the tools in action to give you a sense of their effect without committing to a download.
Please note that about 50 seconds into the video (where I first start using the tools) that they’re only putting down dots. This is due to a setting at the bottom of the Tool Preset window [Current Tools Only] being checked – this needs to be unchecked for the palette to function properly. Aside from just putting down dots, you could get an error message like ‘Cannot execute the ‘Select’ command’, or other nonsense. So make sure you ‘uncheck’ that if you haven’t already.
One of the cool features of this kit, aside from centralization, is the fact that you can reset the initial state of any of these tools to better suit your personal taste. Say for instance that you like a darker lead, or would like the grease pencil to start out with a circular tip and a lighter tone. All you need to do is create a new tool preset (with your settings) and rename it identically to the existing tool preset (i.e. ‘Grease’, etc) which can all be done in Photoshops ‘Tool Preset’ palette.
Another nice feature about having tool presets triggered by actions is that you can assign hotkeys to them in the Actions Palette. For example if you primarily use markers and pencils you could set the Dull Lead to F1, Sharp Lead to Shift-F1, Lt Marker to F2.. and so on, you get the idea. I hope eventually that Photoshop will support hotkey addressing of custom actions with regular keys (non-function). I think Autodesk Maya is terrific example for Adobe to emulate in this regard.
This custom tool panel, like the first version, is only compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and newer. It was created with the Adobe Configurator utility, and should be used with the most current version of Adobe Extension Manager (2.1 or newer). So make sure you get that installed before giving it a go. You can grab the newest version here.
p.s. if anyone feels they’re able to improve the natural effect or feel of any one of these tools – please send me the updated preset and I’ll evaluate it for inclusion in the next version. I’m more than happy to give credit (and a high-five) to anyone who does so – however I cannot offer any monetary compensation as this is a freeware effort.
(right-click and save)
NKS2 by NKURENCE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.