Grrrripe: The Tyranny of Photoshop Brush “Spacing”


Where my pixel monkeys at? Can I get a what-​​what? I have literally been pushing pixels since I was twelve years old, seeing what I could make a Commodore 64 and a 320x240 pixel monitor do. Answer: nothing. But The Print Shop was pretty fun, and I was able to get even crazier with MS Paint317836_224883397564585_2706502_n

We’re talking one pixel at a time, people. I shudder to think of how many hours I burned on this stuff. The Vortex Night Club still hasn’t paid me for their black & white vortex.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve been pushing pixels for just about as long as anyone has, so I carry some authority when I say this: Photoshop Brush Spacing is stupid. Yeah, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong (seriously, quit doing that), I believe that Spacing has its place, but I’m at a loss to understand why that place is on by default. You can use it to create free-​​flowing dotted lines, for example — in a destructive manner, mind you, and Illustrator would be a much smarter place to do so. And then there’s… um… no, I can’t think of any other use for it. And that’s why Adobe’s persistence that it should be on by default makes zero sense. Adobe, do you seriously think that designers are usually trying to paint anything other than a smooth line with the Brush tool? Huh? Do ya? (hint: you apparently do)

But wait, why is this a big deal, Whit?” you’re now saying out loud to yourself, which is drawing some funny looks from your coworkers. Here’s why, loud-​​mouth: when you’re down in the pixel nitty-​​gritty, trying to ever-​​so-​​delicately paint a mask edge or perfectly tweak a website favicon or create the world’s tiniest digital signature, you don’t want that brush to go, “PAINT… pause… pause… PAINT… pause pause… PAINT.” You want it go, “PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINT” and stop when you say stop, not before.

That’s the point. We choose the Brush and start painting because we’re trying (by default, anyway) to paint something smoothly, not with your arbitrary 25% Spacing default setting. Smooth is the natural default, not choppy. Stop being stupid, Adobe. Stop pushing Spacing. Or at least give us a global option to turn the damned thing off all the time.

Do you agree? Well, don’t just sit there sporting your disenfranchised face, tell them so! »

by Whit

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