NKS3 – Natural Media Tool Palette for Photoshop CS4

Jan 28

NKS3 - Natural Media Toolkit for Photoshop CS4

NKS3 is a custom tool palette built for Adobe Photoshop CS4 using Adobe Configurator. The purpose of NKS3 is to provide a fast and realistic natural media drawing experience within the Adobe Photoshop environment by facilitating an excellent array of custom-built tools in a compact, centralized palette.

NKS3 is not aimed at creating fast or cheap effects, but at providing universal, quality tools that can be used in any number of situations, but primarily geared for concept designers, industrial designers, illustrators, and general sketch making.

The NKS3 palette is divided into 5 sections, broken down as follows:

Document Utilities
1. New Document: opens a new document, fills the background with a hi-res scan of a sketch pad, locks the layer, creates a new layer for drawing, notches on the left and bottom edge are aligned at 1/4″ increments with the documents grid
2. Color Bar: intended for use within a document created via. the ‘New Document’ tool; loads a complimentary color bar into a locked layer for sampling
3. Rotate 90°: rotates the current document 90° clockwise
4. Flip Horizontal: flips the current document horizontally

Natural Media Tools:
1. Lead, Sharp: newly tipped lead
2. Lead, Dull: used and dull lead
3. Lead, Blue: 0.7mm Pentel Blue lead
4. Ball Point: standard issue ball point pen
5. Ball Point, Dirty: very well used ball point pen
6. Ink Pen: standard issue gel-ink pen, with slight falloff from ink buildup
7. Ink Brush: hard-edge, dynamic brush
8. Stipple 1: single-dot stipple tip, for feathering
9. Stipple 2: multi-dot stipple tip, for main shading
10. Marker, Round: round-tipped marker, based on Copic N1
11. Marker, Wedge: wedge-tipped marker, based on Copic N1
12. Grease: grease pencil
13. Bristles: simple comb-tipped brush with falloff
14. Pastel: soft, crayon tip
15. Spray Paint: wide, noisy spray paint (no drips, sorry)
16. Wash: light, pigment build-up tool
17. Water: dirty water

Texturing Tools:
1. Grain: fine grain
2. Grit: fine grain with chunks and rubbish
3. Fibers: wide paper fiber
4. Banana: organic texture, sampled from a scan of banana skin
5. Powder Coat: basic powder coat texture

Blending Tools:
1. Blend, Fast: finger-paint with scatter
2. Blent, Fine: click-hold, and agitate quickly across desired path
3. Smedge: could also be a ‘smoke’ brush, blends but also drops an initial splotch of paint

General Utilities:
1. Glow: basic dodge brush with feathered nozzle
2. Radial Gradient: gradient tool, set to radial, foreground -> transparent
3. 1px Line: basic line tool for drawing out guides

In addition to the new NKS panel, I suggest everyone check out Anastasiy’s custom color picker panel for Photoshop. Check out his site here.

Installation instructions included in the zip.
NKS3 is a freeware offering, and is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS4, on Mac OS or Windows machines.

>Download NKS3

(ZIP 11.6 MB) (Right-click + Save-As)

If you’re using Adobe Photoshop CS5, please download the updated version here.

Creative Commons License
NKS3 by NKURENCE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

17 Responses to “NKS3 – Natural Media Tool Palette for Photoshop CS4”

  1. nkurence says:

    I probably should have noted this somewhere, but you can customize any of the presets any way you like. Each of the buttons on the palette is linked to an action, which in most cases is merely selecting a custom tool preset. So if you want to change the marker to have a denser flow, and no initial color, just make the adjustments you want and replace the tool preset. I realize that everyone has their own preferences and workflow, so please feel free to make it your own and customize it however you like.

  2. Kurtmel says:

    Installed NKS3 to Photoshop CS4 Extended, the first time I accessed it I received an error about security or setting, to close down photoshop. Once I re-opened photoshop I was able to bring up the NKS3 menu, but no matter what option I choose I received the following or very similar error:

    “Error: General Photoshop error occured. This functionality may not be available in this version of Photoshop – the object “action “new Document” of set “NKS3″” is not currently available.”

    This looks like a really cool tool to use, I didn’t think I did anything wrong, but would really like to get this working. Does the tablet have to be plugged in for this to work? I have multiple tablets, one small hand-held and a larger 9X11, but not WACOM. That’s the only thing I could think of that may be the problem, but please give me any other suggestions. for I tried plugging in the smaller WACOM, and it didn’t seem to matter.

  3. Kurtmel says:

    Hi again, I tried to reintall the other files again, and it now seems to be working, so for some reason it didn’t take the first time. Thanks for another option for working with natural media effects – NICE JOB!!

  4. Alastair says:

    Hi I just installed on PPC G5 OS X 10.5.8 PS CS4.

    I followed the install instructions. The palette loads but the button actions all produce errors.

    Typical error dialogue:

    Also when I start PS with the NKS3 palette open, all my open recent list of files is greyed out. If I close NKS3 the files menu items are selectable again. Hint to source of error?

  5. Ken says:

    I try to paint from photographs in Photoshop. Your “offline version” of NKS3 sounds good and I would like to give it a try. Can you assist.


  6. nkurence says:

    Hi Ken,
    The first offline version will be NKS4. Once that’s done, if there’s still a need for it, I’ll see to a NKS3 offline. Out of curiosity what version PS are you using now?


  7. Robin says:

    Thanks for providing this tool. I installed the NKS3CS5 and when I try to run the actions I get an error message: The command “Select” is not currently available. I am using PS5. Do you know what may be causing this, or there another step I need to do?


  8. Robin says:

    It’s working now. The extension did not correctly register, so I followed your instructions and loaded them directly into Photoshop.

  9. Pierre says:

    I have installed NKS3 for “CS5 Extended version 12.0.4 x64″ about 5 days ago and everything was working well. But today the panel comes on with the arrows but without the descriptions. In place of the descriptions there is a box with “reload” inside which does nothing. If I select an arrow the function works, but I have to check the image above this site to know what I will be doing. That is an inconvenient.
    I uninstalled and reinstalled it but to no avail.
    Is there a solution?

  10. nkurence says:

    Alastair, not certain but it looks as though the actions aren’t installed. Please refer to the readme and reinstall the components; hopefully it’s as simple as that!

    Pierre, that’s a tough one that I unfortunately don’t have an immediate answer for. I have the same issue on my home computer actually– it’s just not loading the GUI, and I’ve triple-checked the net connections, everything is fine–so I’ve just got the Tools palette open in it’s place. Although it’s been delayed quite a bit I am still working on NKS4, which will be 100% local and skinned to properly match the PS GUI with proper icons and all. That’s the real fix ;) Until that’s completed I don’t have much to offer for a solve. If you make any progress on your side please share.

  11. Pierre says:

    Thanks, I certainly hope I won’t miss NKS4 then.

    Have a good time,

  12. Hal says:

    Hi, I tried installing NKS3 (currently running CS4 64-bit) but the error message “Can’t create folder ‘C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64 Bit)\Plug-Ings\Panels\NKS3′ comes up everytime I try to install it in the extension manager. I have no idea why it does this. What can I do to fix it?

  13. nkurence says:

    Hi Hal,
    Are you able to install other PS extensions successfully through Extension Manager? It sounds like it could possibly be a write permission issue, unfortunately I don’t have access to that system configuration to do any testing and I haven’t had any similar user feedback/solutions.

    I did a quick search on Adobe’s User Forums and a found a similar error from Extension Manager, though there’s no feedback — you might ping this chap to see if he had any luck:

    Sorry for the lack of an easy fix. Best of luck + if you make any progress please post your results.

  14. Manish Thorat says:


    I would like to try and use this but my photoshop is installed on a computer which is not connected to the internet. Can you please put up a link for the offline version ??


  15. Hal says:

    Fixed the problem! Just had to manually run the Adobe Extension Manager as administrator. Everything’s working fine now and I’m absolutely loving NKS3.

  16. nkurence says:

    That’s great to hear! Glad it’s working now :)

  17. nkurence says:

    Yep, I’m putting the finishing touches on the next version now — going to seed to a few people to beta over the coming weeks and hope to have it live sometime early April. Been a while coming but it’ll be worth the wait–it’s better in every possible way.

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