I just tried the latest C1 release (Version 20, Build 13.1.0162).
Could you please bring back a "universal" brush?
In previous versions of C1, one just selected a (universal) brush (e.g., via the keyboard shortcut "B") and the brush would behave correctly, depending on the type of layer one used it. On an adjustment layer, the (universal) brush built the mask, on a heal layer, it built the target mask, etc.
This made it easy to revisit existing layers to adjust their masks. One just pressed "B" and started brushing; it didn't matter what the type of the selected layer was.
Now, when revisiting an existing layer, one has to either
1. select the right brush type, and
2. then select the target layer
(when changing from a different layer type,
C1 will select the topmost layer of the target layer type, which is
unlikely to be the target layer one really wants to adjust).
1. select the target layer, and
2. then manually match the correct brush type (adjustment, heal, or clone).
One cannot simply select a universal brush and let C1 figure out which brush type
to actually use.
Either way, this new system causes more work, and tedious work at that.
A recent prominent "victim" of the new design is Joe McNally.
Joe is about to start painting on an adjustment layer while still having the healing brush active. David Grover has to remind him to change the tool (in order to avoid having the layer selection change unwantedly). In my view, Joe's approach was completely natural (use a brush tool on a different layer) and if he had used the old brush design, he wouldn't have needed tutoring from David Grover.
A further problem with the new brush design is that it is no longer possible to map normal brushing to a certain shortcut (say "B") and the Eraser brush to the same shortcut but with "Alt" added (say "Alt-B"). In the previous design, I could press the same key, either with or without "Alt" to quickly change between brushing and erasing. The new brush design with its proliferation of brush types makes such an efficient mapping/mode of working impossible.
Finally, note that it is good practice to name one's layers. This is not encouraged by the new automatic layer creation approach because the layer is not created before one actually applies a brush (after having selected the brush). So this means, using the new system, one would choose a brush, then do a preliminary stroke, interrupt the brushing to name the layer, and finally go back to brushing.
For users frequently employing multiple layers, i.e., those who need to name their layers, it is more natural to, first create the layer, then name it, and finally start brushing. However, with the new system, one needs to match the brush type to the type of the layer one has created. Previously, one could just choose the universal brush and it would exhibit the right behaviour (depending on the type of layer).
Adding an additional universal brush type to the three existing ones, would
a) not affect the new design, but
b) give users who are used to work efficiently with a universal brush
a much better experience, both in terms of selecting layers and
also in terms of switching between normal (positive) brushing, and
Eraser (negative) brushing (as it would be possible again to use
one shortcut key with and without "Alt" for activating the
universal brush or the Eraser brush respectively).
If adding back a universal brush should for some reason not be possible -- I don't see why not, but just in case -- then it would be very crucial to allow temporarily engaging the Eraser brush by holding down the "Alt" (or "Option" on Mac) key (see my respective "Temporary Eraser Brush") feature suggestion.
To preempt the argument that one only will ever have one heal and/or clone layer and that therefore switching between layer types will rarely occur:
1. Even if it rarely occurs, there shouldn't be extra work for the user.
2. I'll still have many heal/clone layers in order to
a) organise edits so that I can quickly target editing areas (e.g., face vs body).
b) have independent opacity control over several heal/clone edits.
c) be able to split retouching so that I can copy some edits to other images
(e.g., edits to a static background),
while keeping image-specific edits in separate layers that I won't copy to other images.
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