When you have chosen a tool from the Toolbox, look in the Options bar for ways to apply settings to the tool. As you select a particular tool, the Options bar shows the settings for that tool in that context. So the Options bar always has different options available depending on the tool selected. Not all tools have options you can change, but most of them have some options you can change in the Options bar.
Understanding Paint Options
There are painting options available when one of the paint tools is selected. Paint tools include the Brush, the Pencil, the Gradient, and the Paint Bucket tools. Options you can change for these tools are the mode (which is the blending overlay effect as the tool paints), the opacity, and the flow, to name a few. Opacity settings for painting with these tools enable you to paint with a transparent ink, with one that is completely opaque, and with every percentage between.
Understanding Type Options
After you select one of the type tools, many options are available in the Options bar. Choose a font family from the font family menu. In Photoshop CS2, a preview of your font families shows up in the menu. If different font styles like Bold and Italic or Oblique are built into the font, those are available under the font style menu in the Options bar. Change the point size of the font from the Font Size menu. You can select one of the sizes in the menu or type your own value in the box. The highlighted text in the type layer is updated; if no type was selected, the next characters typed use these settings. When you use the Character and Paragraph palettes, these options and more are available, but the convenience of the Options bar is what makes it so valuable.
Many other options are available, depending on the tool selected. Although this book cannot cover all these options in detail, you will explore some of them as the tools are covered in the following pages.