Personalizing TK8

Over the years I’ve received several suggestions on ways users want to customize their Photoshop panels in order to find their favorite features more easily. I liked these ideas and incorporated most of them. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how doing so definitely makes modules like Combo and Cx easier to use both in terms of finding the things I use most and also finding my way around these modules in general. If you’ve not already done so, I suggest trying some of the things listed below. In the video at the end of this blog, Dave Kelly demonstrates how to access and set up many of the customization options in more detail.

The preferences interface is the place to start personalizing TK8. It’s accessed via the “TK” button on the main interface of each module. For example, in the Combo module’s preferences shown below, the color saturation of the buttons throughout the panel can be set with the “Button Color” slider (green box) and the user interface language can be set with the language buttons (red box).

Other options here include whether or not you want tooltips to show all the time. Unchecking the “Show tooltips” checkbox once you know your way around TK8 turns off the “always-on” tooltips, but still allows you to access them by holding down the “ALT” key on Windows or the “option” key on Mac.

Whether or not to uncheck “Close TK ►” and “Close User ►” checkboxes is best explained in Dave Kelly’s video below. Unchecking these provides a method to better utilize both the Combo and Cx modules at the same time.

Beyond the preferences section for each module, there are two other customization pathways.

  • Color-tagging–Buttons, TK actions, and User actions can all be highlighted to make your favorites more visible. This can be particularly useful for creating your personal roadmap for the main user interface on the Combo and Cx modules. Once you tag your favorite buttons with a brighter color, you’ll likely use them more frequently. They’ll also serve as guideposts for finding other less-frequently used button on the module. So definitely color-tag your favorite buttons and actions as it makes the Combo and Cx modules more user-friendly.
  • Personal actions–Button actions, the Instant Action, and User actions are all places where each user can insert their own favorite personal actions into the Combo and Cx modules. The new method for adding personal actions in TK8 is very easy, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. The buttons outlined in red below can all be reprogrammed and renamed to run personal actions, and once again, Dave Kelly shows how to do it in the video. Even more, Dave also shows the method for adding ANY menu item to the panel as a personal action.

There are a couple of important things to know about personal actions. They are added from actions already recorded in Photoshop’s regular Actions panel. For button actions, you want to give these actions short names so that the name fits on the button it’s assigned to. Usually three to five characters depending on the width of the button. However, you can also use two words. The two words will “wrap” on the button and still fit with one word above the other. So, if you’re actions have long names, it’s best to rename them in Photoshop’s Actions panel before adding them to the Combo and Cx modules. This is easily done by double-clicking the action’s name on the Actions panel. Also, for any action that will be added to the module, avoid special characters in the name. Action names consisting of letters and numbers only are best to insure that the actions run properly when added to the module.

I think you’ll enjoy the video below. Dave Kelly does a nice job of demonstrating how to personalize TK8 in order to get the most out of it.