I've been wanting something like that forever, and actually created an account today to voice this exact idea. I do a fair bit of concept art, and speed paint in my spare time....however I swear half the time in my production process is digging through my brush library...it's awful. So bad that I occasionally use Corel Painter instead simply because I can have multiple boxes for each type of brush open. I would have thought the guys at adobe would have been on this a long time ago...For instance if in CS5 I could create a palette of nothing but architectural brushes, another for textures, and yet another for detailing...., I'd be in painter's heaven. Then be able to save and close/re open those palettes as need be...seeing as how I usually wouldn't use architectural brushes for an organic concept like a character or creature design...(usually).
Outside of the whining though, I still keep coming back to photoshop as it's my main program for just about any and everything. The interface outside of the brushes is great...nice and clean.
(Since this is my first post, I also want to thank the people at adobe for creating such an amazing program...and actually listening to it's users ).
I would also like to "second" this suggestion.
In addition to a better way to organize brushes, would be the added capability to remember the last used state of a brush or brush preset. This is also similar to what Painter offers, that makes jumping back and forth between a series of brushes really fluid.
Maybe just a checkbox next to a brush or preset, to "Remember Dynamic Brush Settings". Checked remembers, unchecked and it returns to it's Default state/settings each time you choose it, which PS does now automatically...unfortunately. As it is now, using the "Lock" applies to all future brushes chosen or switched to... not on a brush by brush basis.
The other variation of the "Rember Dynamic Settings" checkbox, is to add one more panel, and a true "Brush Setting History"... again, this is similar to Painter's "Brush Tracker" panel.
This gives you the ability to step back and forward as to the settings you made to a brush, and each brush and it's settings in the order you have used it. You can also lock individual brushes in the panel, and save a Variant (Preset in PS terms) from the panel.
I would trust that Adobe could actually make this work much better than in Painter, because in Painter it can be a major headache and a cause of crashing (corrupt Tracker Settings file). But hey, Painter is a major headache all around, and I've switched to doing 90% of my illustration work now in PS. Only adding to the discussion so as to (hopefully!) replace Painter completely.... as are many artists on the pro-threads elsewhere on the web.
I'm really crossing my fingers for these upgrades for CS5, as these are simple UI tweaks that would change the world for us...and this newer version is finally really paying attention to us digital painters in the crowd (whose lives depend on it ). Having all the new brush physics and colour mixing without the simple ability to organize one's brushes would be a major oversight...
Also, any chance of changing up that colour picker so that we can have the option of anything from a wheel (like painter), to the classic adobe spectrum + box picker? As it stands right now, I'd say the oddball in the crowd for us painters (Art Rage) actually has the best colour pickers of the bunch (and 3 looks like it's really a viable competitor to Corel now...not just a 25$ toy).
-->And on a final random note, I love the ability to black out my screen in adobe and just paint, but it would be way handier if there were a space between the "complete blackout" and the blacked, but every tool box still in your face. Perhaps one that could be customized so just what you needed was there along with your painting while blacked out...so a colour wheel that stayed docked somewhere along with maybe a box of favourite brushes.....that would be bada$$ for lack of a more politically correct term.
(perhaps now I'm just dreaming and wish listing, haha)
You might like this: Painters Color Wheel for Photoshop
I didn't quite understand your wish regarding the palettes and black-out screen. You can do this now on a Mac, as I would expect on Windows as well. You just need to set the background color to black when using "View>Screen Mode>Full Screen Mode with MenuBar" You can get there by cycling with the "F" key, then Right-Click outside of the picture you're working on. You'll receive the choice to use Gray, Black, White, or a custom color of your choosing. I use a darker neutral gray personally. The only thing present will be the title bar at the top, and whatever palettes or buttons you choose to be there. You can even close the Options Toolbar, Tools bar, etc. if you don't like/need them, or as power-users do, just use their keyboard equivalents ("B" for Brush, "L" for Lasso, etc.)
Set up your palettes, buttons, full extended palettes, etc. however you want them... and then save the layout as Workspace. I have about a dozen, that I flip through depending on the project.
Also don't forget, the tab key. If you like everything "in your face" so to speak, try making a workspace with all of your palettes grouped around the middle of the screen, and then just use the tab key to show, then hide them.
Here's some low Res samples:
PS: Also on that stream you'll see my ideas that I sent to Corel regarding optimizing the Palettes in Painter.
Actually, all Photoshop presets need organizers. Right now, all color swatches, gradient presets, patterns, and styles are giant rooms where things get dumps. How about an ability to put sets into folders and such?
I like the above idea, that never dawned on me, i've only really noticed it with brushes more than anything because i have so many. i also have tones of pattern overlays to apply through blending options; an organiser of some sort there wouldnt go a miss either instead of a constant list from a drop down arrow.