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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Setting Display & Cursors Preferences

The Display & Cursors page of the Preferences dialog box enables you to choose how cursors, image channels, and images themselves are presented onscreen. Look at Figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 The Display & Cursors page of the Preferences dialog box.


In the Display area, you can set three options:

  • Color Channels in Color. We've been puzzling about this one for a long time and have concluded that to show, for example, a blue channel in shades of black and blue would simply be a visual reminder that you are working in the blue channel. We recommend that you turn this novelty off and work with color component channels in grayscale because this is the way color information is stored—as varying amounts of tones (grayscale): the whitest being full contribution of the component color to the color composite (RGB) image, while 100% black indicates no contribution. Additionally, you can easily lighten or darken the channel with a number of toolbox tools and commands to refine a component of an image.

  • Use Diffusion Dither. This option applies only to users whose video card has something like 20KB of video memory—as well as to many laptop users. Seriously, you will almost never work on a system today that doesn't support 24-bit color, so you can leave this box unchecked. This option will dither images that are beyond the video capacity of your system settings for video.

  • Use Pixel Doubling. Enable this? Not really, unless you want to view your movements on an image at half the image area's resolution. It's disconcerting to see an image area move at low resolution and then go to normal resolution after it's been moved. Today's processors usually remove any need for this fancy screen mapping while you edit.

Painting Cursors

In the Painting Cursors area (refer to Figure 3.7), you have three choices for the display of a painting cursor: Standard, Precise, and Brush Size. These cursors include the Brush cursor and the Clone Stamp tool—in other words, tools that apply paint, as opposed to editing, selection, annotation, and other cursors. We recommend the Brush Size option. This option shows you the outline of the tip of your current painting tool brush, which is darned handy when you have, say, a 300-pixel diameter brush defined; you can see exactly what you're going to hit and what you'll miss while editing an image.

Other Cursors

When you get around to choosing Other Cursors, we recommend you choose Standard cursors for two reasons. First, a Standard cursor will show you onscreen exactly which tool you are using; and with as many new tools as Photoshop has, this is a blessing. The callouts in Figure 3.7 show a magnified view of both cursors.

The second reason we recommend the Standard "other" cursor is that the Precise cursor is small, especially on 1,024x768 and higher screen resolutions. However, if you need pin-point accuracy to change a single pixel onscreen, you want the Precise (crosshair) cursor. And you know what? You don't have to come to this Preferences dialog box to access a Precise cursor for any tool. Simply press the Caps Lock key on your keyboard, and poof!—you've toggled to a Precise cursor.

Let's tackle the invisible now—Transparency & Gamut preferences. Click on Next. Onscreen, of course—not in this book.

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