Adding Adjustment Layers to your Radial Menu. (Intuos4 and Cintiq)

Last year at PMA in Melbourne some one asked me if they could create Adjustment Layers in Photoshop by either adding them to the Radial Menu or by adding them to the ExpressKeys. At the time I wasn’t sure, because I knew that by default Photoshop did not have shortcuts assigned to Adjustment Layers. So, I did a little playing around and you can definitely add your own custom shortcuts to add Adjustment Layers with in Photoshop. Here is how.

This guide is split in to two parts; Please note that this guide is designed for the Intuos4 Medium tablet, this means that the tablet preference file available for download will only work with the Intuos4 Medium tablet. If you’re using a different size Intuos4 then you’ll have to add all of the shortcuts to your Radial Menu manually. We have asked the relevant people at Wacom to have a look into this because I believe you should be able to setup your Radial Menu and then be able to use the shortcuts with all of your tablets. Also, this guide was prepared on the Mac OS, most of the screenshots look very similar in Windows. Getting to the Wacom Preferences is also a little different. Just go to the Start menu and look for “Wacom Tablet”.

1. Creating custom shortcuts in Photoshop.

2. Using the Wacom Tablet Driver to add functions to your Radial Menu.

Part 1.

We’re going to run through how to do this manually. At the end of the post I’ll provide a link where you can access a pre made Photoshop Keyboard Shortcut file.

To access your Keyboard Shortcuts dialog in Photoshop go to Edit -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Or ⌥⇧⌘K

Click to enlarge.

The Set: should say “Photoshop Defaults”, as soon as you modify one of the shortcuts it will change to “Photoshop Defaults (modified)”. Make sure the Shortcuts For: Drop down menu is on “Application Menus”. Scroll down to Layer and click the arrow, this will expand the menu. Scroll down a little further and you will see “New Adjustment Layer>” here you’ll notice all the names of your favourite Adjustment Layers. Now, to add your custom shortcuts it is as simple as clicking the name of the Adjustment Layer and then typing your keystrokes.

I assigned the shortcuts like so;

Click to enlarge.

Feel free to go ahead and assign them to what ever you like, I choose the above keystrokes because they didn’t really conflict with anything I already use. After you have punched in all your keystrokes either save them (so you can move them to another computer) or just hit ok.

To download a pre-made Photoshop Keyboard Shortcut file with the above shortcuts click here. (Mac platform only.) That file also contains the Wacom tablet Preferences file. More on that later.

To install this file, double click on it. Photoshop will open. Go into your Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog and you’ll notice that the Set: is “Photoshop Defaults (modified)”. Hit the save button (Floppy disk icon with a down arrow) and name your shortcut file what ever you want. Your shortcuts are now active.

Part 2.

Now we need to add these Keystrokes to our Radial Menu in our Wacom Driver. Go to System Preferences -> Wacom Tablet.

Choose your Tablet: Intuos4 M (or what ever tablet you’re using) your Tool: as Functions and Application: is Adobe Photoshop CS5 (will work with what ever version you have installed on your machine) and then finally make sure you choose Radial Menu.

Click to enlarge.

We’re going to add 11 keyboard shortcuts to our Radial Menu so we’re going to need to learn how to create a Submenu. Click on one of the empty ‘slices of pie’ and change the function to Submenu. Name that Submenu under Label: to Adjustment Layers.

Click to enlarge.

Now, in the box on the left hand side click the “Adjustment Layers” Submenu you just added. You’ll notice the Radial Menu will appear to be empty. You have just entered the Submenu with 8 more ‘slices’ you can customise. To do this, click on one of the ‘slices’ and change the function to Keystroke. Now punch in the first shortcut and name it. For our example it is Brightness/Contrast and the Keyboard shortcut in Photoshop is ⌥⇧⌘F1

Click to enlarge.

Continue to fill out the slices of the Radial Menu, we’ll need to leave one slice for another Submenu as there are 8 slices on this menu and we need to fit in 11 shortcuts. So, like we did before create another Submenu inside this Submenu and name it something like “More Adj Layers”

Click to enlarge.

Your “More Adj Layers” Submenu should look a little like this.

Click to enlarge

You have now customised your Radial Menu. Close this window. Now we want to save a backup to avoid losing all of these shortcuts. This also enables us to move these shortcuts to another machine.

Go to Applications -> Wacom Tablet -> Wacom Tablet Utility

Now, click Backup… and name your new Tablet Preferences.

In the future, to move these preferences to another machine you just need to move this file to another machine and either double click on it where a dialog box will open, hit Replace.

Or, click Restore… and navigate to the file through the finder window.

 

Click to enlarge.

If you downloaded the zip file from part1 you would have the corresponding Wacom Tablet Preference file already. Click here (Mac platform only.) if you would like to download it. Follow the above steps to install it.

Finally, when moving the shortcuts to another machine you’ll need to install the Photoshop Keyboard Shortcut file aswell as the Tablet Preferences. They work together to enable you to add your Adjustment Layers via the Radial Menu in Photoshop.

Click to enlarge.

I should add that this will only work with the Intuos4 and Cintiq range of Wacom Tablets. The Bamboo range does not have a Radial Menu built into the driver.

Hope this helps.

Joshua Jones.

Using Apple Zoom with your Wacom Intuos4 Toggle Ring.

One of the very few frustrations I faced when unplugging my mouse from my mac and having only my Intuos4 on my desk was the fact that I didn’t have the Apple Zoom (control + scroll up and down on the mousewheel or ⌘⌥= (Zoom In) ⌘⌥- (Zoom out) function at my finger tips.

I jumped into my google machine and found nothing to help me. I couldn’t figure it out until I asked one of the knowledgable guys at Wacom if he thought it was possible. Well, yes it is.

Lets have a look at how we do it.

1. Jump into your system preferences and then choose Universal Access. Now we’ll need you to turn Zoom off for now. The reason for this is that when we try to assign the keystrokes to our toggle ring it activates the zoom function and does not register as keystrokes.

Click to enlarge.

2. Go back to the main window of the system preferences and now click on the Wacom Tablet Icon.

3. Choose your Tablet: “Intuos4” your Tool: “Functions” and your Application: will be “All Other” and finally make sure you select “Touch Ring”. I’m going at assign the Apple Zoom function to the second toggle ring option which by default is set to “Cycle Layers”.

Click to enlarge.

4. Click the drop down menu for the second toggle ring function and choose Keystroke…

5. Select each window and hit “Clear” to remove the current keystrokes. In the top window hit the keys ⌘⌥= and in the bottom window hit ⌘⌥- Now name the function “Apple Zoom” and click OK.

Click to enlarge

6. Now go back to the Universal Access options from the system preferences and turn Zoom: back on.

That’s it! You’re done. Now when ever you’re in an application that does not have that particular function of your toggle ring assigned to something else you can use your Apple Zoom. So, touch the center of your toggle ring to get to the Apple Zoom function and scroll away!

Click to enlarge.

The above technique applies to changing any of the functions on your toggle ring to anything else you like. For example, Inside Photoshop I set the same function we just set to something different. I set it to Cycle Blending Modes as I would always zoom with Photoshop and not the Apple Zoom. If you want to do this, repeat the above steps but make sure when you choose Application you choose Adobe Photoshop (You may have to add it if it isn’t there, just hit the “+” key and add it.) Now just assign ⌥⇧= and ⌥⇧- as your keystrokes and name it “Cycle Blending Modes” . This is a great way for me to quickly preview how the layer looks with different blending modes. Now, whenever you’re in photoshop that same function of the toggle ring will cycle your blending modes instead of activating the Apple Zoom.

Click to enlarge.

Hope this helps.

Joshua Jones.