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If you select a brush from the list of recently used brushes at the top of the Brushes panel, the tool can change. If you hover your cursor over a recently use brush, a tool tip will display the tool that is associated with it.
This is a deliberate change that Adobe decided to make and it has upset a lot of users.
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I'm sorry, but I was literally about to leave the house when I posted my quick reply. What has changed is that brush management can now save tool presets along with brush presets. But if you turn on all the brush preview options, you can see if a particular preset has a tool preset. In the example below, we can see a couple of Smudge tools, and Eraser, and some Mixer brush presets.
The workaround is to select the preset, and click on make new preset, and save it making sure Include Tool Settings is unchecked. You can then use that preset with any tool. Or select a preset that does not have a tool preset attached, as they are obviously optimized for that tool.
But please check the video I posted back up the thread. The new brush management system is a huge improvement, and has some great, and long awaited, features.
How is this a benefit in any way? It seems punitive and limiting and for what possible benefit?
Here's the deal, I have the paintbrush tool selected when I open the Brush panel, what do I expect to see? BRUSHES FOR THE TOOL I AM USING. Period. End of story. That's how it has always been and that's how it should be.
If I wanted the smudge tool, I would have selected the smudge tool before showing the brushes pallet.
If some developer with more brains than sense about him/her insisted that this was an improvement (that you could select the tool you want, then have to hover over the brushes pallet for about 1/2 hour finding which brushes would work with your chosen tool) they could have at least filter the brush results to show ONLY the brushes and presets that work with the tool selected. Maybe, then you could select other brushes as an OPTION from the options menu on the pallet.
Why would there be any reason to make my tool selector something completely new? Every time I use Photoshop now, after having used it since 1988, I pick a brush and have to go back and forth between the Brushes pallet (which you could at least change the name of it to what it really is: Tool Present Selector) and the tool pallet. Now I have yet another reason to go back to CS6--this sucks.
If you want to create a new way of doing tool selection, it should at least be an option setting FIRST. Then do some analysis of how many people use the NEW setting and after a year or six months, depending on adoption rates, THEN YOU MAKE IT THE DEFAULT.
Why is Adobe development so painfully unaware of common sense protocol for modifying software that people have used half of their adult lives. The developers were likely still wearing diapers when I started using this program--what makes them think that they are qualified to make sweeping changes to the most basic aspect of tool selection, yet they still refuse to account for the fact that you can more easily choose to extend a 3D object by 500 times the size of your document than you can by 5 pixels. Somebody is simply not making good decisions about priorities with Photoshop and other Adobe products.
If I were in charge at Adobe, I'd fire the product manager and hire someone who understands how to implement changes better. This is outrageous and disrespectful and Adobe should be ashamed.
As Trevor.Dennis mentioned there have been many useful enhancements to the brushes.
However, I agree that the unexpected brush tool change when selecting a brush is not one of them. For now, all we can do is post a request. There are enough users opposed to this particular change that hopefully Adobe will consider revising the brush behavior.
I just encountered this for the first time and was about to go insane. This is the stupidest thing Adobe has ever done. It's AWFUL. Just AWFUL. Thank you for posting a thread that is 100% exactly what I am experiencing. Ugh.
This could be a mistake, but after I go through and save the preset out as a non tool-specific brush, I am deleting the preset brush. Screw that.