Photoshop: How do I make a circle?

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The fact that I have to go online to find a video just make a CIRCLE! Shows PS as an awful, poorly designed and not well thought out this program. Here's all I had to do just to make a circle.
1. locate and right click a button that shows a rectangle ('cuz that makes sense) OR click on search and type ellipse, to create an ellipse (NOTE: Not a circle)
2. I have to hold shift, or go into view to create a horizontal and vertical "guide" that allows me to create the elusive "circle."
3. Seriously, this is just purely asinine. You people who design this program. I think a test to place you all in a tank of freezing water, then hand a dozen laptops to a dozen random people on the street who have never used photoshop and ask them to try and make a circle. For however long it takes them to accomplish this task should give you proper motivation to design a program that isn't a bloated technical nightmare.
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Blade

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Posted 1 month ago

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Cristen Gillespie

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Well, a whole bunch of us who learned before the Internet was all that big a deal, did RTFM first. You decided to skip all those Learn videos they now include? The reason it's hidden (doesn't have to be if you make a custom toolbar, but that's a bit advanced for a beginner), is simply because there are too many tools in PS to string them all out individually. So they're grouped.

That's not to say I can't myself think of improvements to the UI, but some stuff you want will always have to be hidden. Other people need the features you think is bloat, and PS does try to accommodate all of us to some degree—so ends up pleasing none completely. But what you want is probably there—somewhere.  '-}

But now you've got PS, you might try the Learn section on the Home Screen. And in Preferences, you might make sure Rich Tooltips is enabled. It should be by default. It won't help you discover that tools are "hidden" under the triangle next to the tool on top —long press will pop up the entire list. But you've got that now. Rich tooltips can help you learn how to use the tools once you've found them, though.

Just trying to help you prepare for the next hurdle. It's coming. <BG>
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David Bleja

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Does no one read user manuals any longer?
Of course not
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Dave Grainger

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They damn well should
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David Bleja

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Hmm, my post above was truncated for some reason and probably comes across as more curt than intended. 

Anyway, I personally always read manuals for physical products, but I never found software manuals to be of much use. Especially for such broad software like Photoshop where the manual has to cover everything, yet you won't ever use 90% of its functions. 

Most people will learn much quicker and much more enjoyably by following some well-constructed tutorials in the niche of their choice, then consulting the help file on an as-needed basis, in my opinion. 
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Dave Grainger

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David Bleja: re post truncated phenomenon... What I have discovered is that if I am editing or commenting at the same time as someone else, if that other person hits Submit before I do, then my typing was for naught or is truncated.. Maybe that is what happened...
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David Bleja

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Interesting! What strange behaviour. Thanks for validating that, for a part of me was wondering if I was just going crazy and had imagined that I'd written more.
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Warren Heaton

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Fortunately, Photoshop allows for the creation of far more than just circles.  Probably the tricky part is that I can think of three ways to create a circle right of the top off my head, each with a different pro/con to it.

Might you be over-reacting just a little bit?  A circle is an ellipse just like a square is a rectangle.

Have you attended a class on Photoshop?  Or mentored with anyone?   That may be worth it.

Also, did you try to do a search for "Circle"?  When I do it, I get a link to the following instructions:
https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/drawing-shapes.html?mv=product&mv2=ps&x-product=Phot...#

The first five steps show how to draw a circle.




(Edited)
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Keith Anderson

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... might you be overreacting ...


Well, it depends upon what product Adobe wants Photoshop to be.  Many therapeutic chemicals can be bought only from a pharmacist with a degree in pharmacy and only if a physician has written a prescription.  Most building authorities will allow buildings to be built only if an engineer with an appropriate degree has signed a pile of documents.  If Photoshop is intended to be used only by people who have attended training courses to acquire relevant formal qualifications, then Blade shouldn't have bought it and Adobe shouldn't have sold it to him or her.  Or me.


I think Adobe want Photoshop to be popular and modern and they seemed very pleased when I bought it, and many of the "tutorial" videos try to make everything look easy, so I think they want customers like Blade and me to feel welcome.  In that case, Blade's complaint about drawing a circle isn't an overreaction.  It is natural for beginners to start with something simple, to check that they understand. 

Some tools, like the spot healing brush work almost like magic and are usually easy to use, but tools beginners expect to be easy to use often aren't, and it is natural to be upset when seemingly easy tasks are amazingly complicated, and this surprise discourages us from discovering that Photoshop isn't always like a weird computer game where a trap lurks behind everything we try to do.
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Dave Grainger

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Try Studying instead of Blind Bitching about things that are new to you. There is a large number of very good video courses available, some free and some (the better ones) bear a reasonable membership fee, that will bring you up to speed.

That is how the rest of us have learned what we know on this and many other topics. This is NOT a video game!
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Warren Heaton

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I can’t help but think that this thread could have started with, “I understand that Photoshop is feature rich which is daunting for a beginner. What are approaches to creating a circle?”

There’s no shortage of Photoshop users that are happy to share their experience with using the application. Why not tap into that by being courteous?
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David Bleja

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You make some fair points. But the problem is that your complaint needs to be directed at people who are all long dead, or at least in old age homes. 

I exaggerate of course, but the point is that things like the ellipse tool* being grouped together with the rectangle tool are literally decades old. Even if the present-day developers wanted to change stuff like that, it probably wouldn't be a good idea as it would be disruptive to the legions of users who have grown used to the system.

A case in point is when they changed the default transform behaviour to automatically constrain symmetrically without pressing shift. Objectively speaking, this change made intuitive sense, but most of us long-time users despised it because it conflicted with years of muscle memory. Adobe were flooded with outraged complaints and had to build the old system back in. 

Photoshop isn't very intuitive for total beginners. I remember how frustrated I was when I first used it back in 2002 - I remember spending an hour and not being able to draw a single thing, because I didn't have my head around how the layers and marquee tools interacted. But I got there with a little trial and error and a few tutorials, and I've been very happy with the interface ever since. 

If you want a program that will be more immediately intuitive, then you should probably look into Photoshop Elements. If you still find Elements to be unintuitive, then your complaints will have more weight, because Elements is supposed to be the more streamlined, newbie-friendly version.

But if you're sticking with Photoshop, just watch some online tutorials. It's almost always the best way to learn any new software, and you're spoilt for choice compared to what was available back in 2002 when I was learning it. 

Best of luck!



* A circle is technically an ellipse, by the way, just as a square is technically a rectangle. Naming the tool in question the "ellipse tool" may be ambiguous, but what's the better alternative? Naming it the "circle tool"? That would definitely be incorrect since it doesn't just do perfect circles. Creating a separate tool that just does perfect circles and calling it the circle tool? That would add unnecessary bloat.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> Either way, they risk losing the other.

Yes. Either way, if they don't remain the application for pros, they will lose. There's plenty of competition, even from their own software, for almost everything Photoshop does. But PS isn't a can opener. It's a Swiss Army knife. They lose that, there go all the pros—and their reputation which gets people buying PS in the first place. Maybe misguidedly buying PS, but it IS the reputation that gets people to go for it.

I agree 100% with the difficulty in not having a clear path to learning, at least not for free, but most people haven't wanted to pay for a good, comprehensive book since free YouTube videos took off even if they could afford it. Not being able to afford a complete education in Photoshop has always been a problem, actually worse in the "good old days." But people have managed.

Today I watched a webinar recording by a very good artist showing how he accomplishes just a couple of things in his pieces. He lives in India, couldn't afford books, couldn't afford courses. But sheer cussedness appears to work because he's an artist today. Took him a few years and he admits there's a lot he doesn't know about the program still. Bit by bit, though, he learns what he needs to for the piece he's working on. That's pretty much how we all learned what we know now.

> and it is natural to be upset when seemingly easy tasks are amazingly complicated, and this surprise discourages us from discovering that Photoshop isn't always like a weird computer game where a trap lurks behind everything we try to do.

But it IS a weird computer game full of traps for the unwary. <BG>

There are many ways the PS interface could be modernized, and I want to see it happen too. But every time it is, you can bet it will break  workflows for a lot of unhappy people. I want it to change and I'm willing to adapt and make the effort to unlearn what I used to do and learn what to do now, but obviously, I am no different from anyone else. I want the changes I want. Not the other ones. LOL

It's just been used by pros to make a living for so long that there are too many entrenched workflows with livelihoods depending upon them. Adobe's job is to try to balance the needs of the pros with the needs of those coming on board. If they do a bad job of it, they'll fail all of us all around, as you've said. But we have a job to do, too. My teachers always used to say they couldn't open our heads and pour the information in. We had to work at it. That hasn't changed just because analog turned digital, no matter how easy or obvious you decide something "should" be.

> and it is natural to be upset when seemingly easy tasks are amazingly complicated,

Hey, it's also upsetting when very difficult tasks aren't made easier even though the technology and design exists—somewhere out there. Waiting for it is very hard on one's patience. I'm still waiting for Sensei to light the scene—something they showed at MAX a few years back.  But "hiding" tools isn't something only PS does. It's common to all powerful image editing programs. No way can we have all we want and show it, too.

I can remember how hard it was, and I know how hard it often still is. I sympathize. But that and $8 might get you a cup of coffee, I'm afraid. As Warren said, a lot of us are here to try to help walk you through the nightmare. That's as much as we can do.
(Edited)
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Dave Grainger

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Cristen Gillespie: Agree with you completely... You wrote "a lot of us are here to try to help walk you through the nightmare. That's as much as we can do."

Operative words herein were "walk you through"... I see posts on the forum where the desire seems to be that the poster wants to be hand carried through in a Sedan Chair sipping lemonade and not having to think...
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Cristen Gillespie

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Then they've had their expectations set by a few mobile phone apps that do just that—except soon you're simply repeating yourself—same look on every image.<G> Me, I hate having to think, too. Learning the basics, in fact, can be frustrating, but it's easier than thinking. Deciding how I want an image to look like at the end, and then figuring out how to get there or even close to there—much too hard.

But so far, a couple decades doing this and I still haven't found a way around all the thinking and figuring— no matter how many presets and LUTS and filters and other plugins I use.  '-}
(Edited)
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Jerry S'alur

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Agree with OP.
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Warren Heaton

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We could weigh the inexperience of Blade (the original poster) against the numerous intermediate users and numerous advanced users and conclude that if they all made it past being a beginner that he certainly can, too.
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Dave Grainger

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But,  like everybody, Blade must make the effort to learn and not just want others to do his thinking.
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Keith Anderson

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I told myself that I wouldn't buy into this squabble again, but so many of the recent comments are so hostile and unhelpful that I can't help buying in and ask for a bit more respect. 

I'm reasonably confident that Adobe want Photoshop to be a popular product that everyone will use.  They might accept "lots and lots of people" as an approximation of "everyone".  They are busily migrating it to a variety of convenient gadgets that people carry about and expect to be easy to use.  They don't expect it to become confined to a secret religious order that admits only a tiny minority who can remember the secret chants and rituals, and that runs only on secret computers sold only to national security agencies. 

The bottom line of many of the comments above seems to be that mere mortals like Blade and me shouldn't even attempt to use Photoshop but should stick to other products from other suppliers.  I'm not confident that Adobe would be pleased with that attitude. 

I think it is very reasonable to ask, "Why is it so beeping difficult to draw a circle that most kids can draw easily with a piece of paper and a cheap drawing compass?  This software stuff is sold as stuff that makes doing jobs using it easier than doing those jobs without it.  I think it is reasonable to complain when we encounter a user interface that resembles an impenetrable thicket protecting Sleeping Beauty from evil knights. 

Curiously, I did find another way to draw the circles I want.  Select: Type>Panels>Glyphs and scroll through a huge selection of glyphs to find a character, aka a glyph, that looks like a circle.  In a suitable font size and a suitable line weight, it might do the job.  Obvious now I know, not obvious before I knew.  What thesaurus lists "Type" or "Panel" or Glyph" as a synonym of "circle"? 

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Cristen Gillespie

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Are you upset with how hard you think the interface itself makes creating a circle of some sort, or at how hard you think it is for someone to find the educational materials they need to understand how to create the kind of circle they want?

Because I've been responding to how hard it is to learn PS without resorting to educational materials, which is what the OP appeared to think should be possible. You here appear to be concerned with how hard it is to find educational materials. And I can agree that there's no straight path, no 'structured course' available out there for free. Books of varying quality,  college courses, complete video courses, professional trainers—they're all available—for a price.

But I'm not sure it's any software company's obligation to create and maintain such a structured course  at their expense (which you know they'd pass on to the rest of us anyway). I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice—but that's not about being a bloated technical nightmare. And fun fact—when they provided us with printed manuals in olden times, every survey by software companies showed that they were losing money big time because people didn't bother to read the very complete manuals. They only wanted the quick start guide, at best.

> I think the words I muttered to myself when I discovered how difficult it is to draw a circle were much less polite than "bloatware".

"Bloatware" is pejorative no matter how calm or frustrated you are. It may pass the internet family friendly language test, but it implies that a product is so full of unnecessary useless fluff that no one can productively get to any of the features that are actually needed and useful, or use those good features because all the fluff is hogging the computer's resources.

And "bloatware" implies we who use the program are all darned fools because it should be obvious that most of what is there is useless fluff hindering our ability to do a proper job—such fools we can't even see the obvious—or such fools we actually enjoy using the fluff at the expense of basics, performance, and productivity.

So back to my opening question. Is it too hard to draw a circle, or too hard to learn how to draw the kind of circle you want? Pick up the pencil tool, draw a circle. That's as good as analog. How much easier do you need it to be? Even the icons for 2 of the most basic circle tools show you a circle. That could be a clue, IF you first know how to find those icons.

For the rest of how to use it, how should they make that "obvious" and "easy?" And without always getting in the way of those who have already learned? What do they need to do to provide the right amount of information to just those who need it—in the active program itself—and without slowing anyone else down, either with their computer's performance  because so much information has to be loaded, or by being an obstacle to their own use of the feature?

If you have a good idea, don't be shy. I'm sure Adobe wants to know, even if it does take forever and a day to get all the good ideas implemented. My one good idea has always been to at least give us an INDEX of the online manual. Not holding my breath for it, and I don't think it would have helped the OP, either. I think the Ctrl/Cmd-F is a good start. I wish they'd had it when I started out. At this point, I'm with you on the frustration trying to find a needle in a haystack online, but I'm out of ideas how to make it better.

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Keith Anderson

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My brain tells me I shouldn't respond.  You and the other experts seem determined to tell the rest of us that it is silly and wrong for mere mortals like Blade, Jerry S'alur and me to complain when we struggle with unnecessary difficulties using Photoshop.  Blade and Jerry seem to be much smarter than me.  They seem to have realized that this is your territory and that they shouldn't have trespassed.  They haven't dared to trespass again, so you've obviously had a satisfying victory.  Foolishly, I thought that this was a genuine discussion forum where I could support a novice seeking help without getting a big lecture about Reading Manuals.  But you ask a specific question, so I can't resist the temptation to make a big mistake.

I refer to your question about "hard" and "learn".  My answer is that it is a bit of both.  If it was easy to draw a circle, it wouldn't matter that learning is difficult.  If learning was easy, it wouldn't matter that doing it is difficult.  If the job was one mere mortals expected to be difficult, it wouldn't matter if it was both hard to do and hard to learn.  The incongruity and frustration arises when a job most mortals expect to be easy is both hard to do and hard to learn. 

And I suspect that you don't know Photoshop quite as well as you think you do.  I'm reasonably confident that the tools you mention that look like a circle don't draw a circle.  At least not a circle like the circle a child would draw with a drawing compass.  They all seem to insist on filling the circle, turning it into a circular blob, and I seem to need to know something extra to work out how to persuade any of the tools, I've discovered about five so far, not to do that. 

Looking ahead to another impolite comment, I feel like I've bought a kitchen gadget that might make a soufflé but that can't beat an egg. 
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Dave Grainger

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What you have "bought" is a very sophisticated set of programs [actually licensed on a monthly basis] which is NOT a box of playdoh and does require some knowledge to operate. If your expectation is that it is "just another point and shoot app on your phone" you are sadly mistaken. 

If you bought a truck load of aluminum, and expected that you could turn that into a space station or even a Cessna without more knowledge, you would be perceived as a fool.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> And I suspect that you don't know Photoshop quite as well as you think you do. I'm reasonably confident that the tools you mention that look like a circle don't draw a circle.  At least not a circle like the circle a child would draw with a drawing compass. >

Any tool I've mentioned can create a circle. What kind of circle for what purpose wasn't specified, or the OP's reason for posting as he'd already found his answer. But as I keep saying, user choice is why PS is a large program. It has to be able to make a reasonable facsimile of any type of circle the user wants. It would be too difficult for the user to insist that every user draw a circle to a predetermined size, which is what you have to do with a drawing compass. You can't easily change the size with the analog version after you've drawn it, either. OTOH, it has to allow you to create a circle at a predetermined size if that's what you want to do, or make it bigger or smaller or more or less elliptical on the fly. So the program is large. We learn to take learning it in bits.

I have never referred to myself as an expert. I've never said how well I know Photoshop. In fact, I've said I'm continually having to learn. Why you have insisted on insulting me over and over as if I've claimed to live on Mt. Olympus, I'm at a loss for. I've tried to explain how difficult it is for all involved—the engineers trying to design the features, us trying to learn how to use them. Yet you keep insulting me and everyone else who has tried to explain why the program is large, why it's difficult to learn. And to paraphrase you—oh dear, I just did that again. I just tried again to explain something you don't apparently want to hear.

Me, I want Photoshop to get even bigger — node editing, for example, could be added. Now there's a technical nightmare for you—unless you've ever used node editing and seen how creative and easy it can be compared to the way it's done now. I'm sure the engineers groan at the thought of asking their users to learn how to use anything that foreign to most of them, though. So I won't get what I want. In a sick sad way, I guess that makes us even.

I'm sorry we couldn't find any common ground. I accept being frequently frustrated by my lack of knowledge and the difficulty in finding what I want to know, and even in not getting all the features I really, really want. Except for the lack of an Index for the User Guide. I swear a lot at that.  So I guess we just aren't going to see eye to eye.

I'll step aside now. I'm a little tired of being insulted for not agreeing that Photoshop is bloatware, and I'm not going to apologize for having put up with the difficulties it can present. It has served me remarkably well, enabled me to reach goals I didn't even have when I began. I use other software, want other features, but Photoshop still gets me where I want to go and no other program I've used has been able to replace it.

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David Bleja

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@Keith, I think much of the hostility you perceive here is in your head. Yes, one or two grumpy old men may have dropped a snide remark here or there, but there have also been a number of people who took the time to write very long, well articulated explanations of why things are the way they are.

They've been frank and direct, but they've also offered encouragement for beginners like you to stick it out through the learning curve and join the club. If we were being "territorial" as you suspect, then why on Earth would we have spent so much time engaging with you, giving pointers, providing links to help you get over the speed bumps and join us on the fun side of the learning curve?

However, one thing that no one here is going to be prepared to do is to bend reality till it meets your perception of it. The bottom line is that Photoshop is advanced software with a gazillion features. As I said above, I actually agree that Photoshop is bloated, but this bloat is unavoidable, and intrinsically tied to what makes Photoshop so amazingly powerful.

It's frankly misguided to open up any piece of advanced software and expect it to have a shallow learning curve. The world just doesn't work that way. Software can be designed to be easy to grasp by any beginner, or it can offer power users 1001 complex functions. Good software does one of those things. Bad software does neither. No software does both. 

Of course, you can continue to shake your fist at the sky and demand that it turns green, if you like. And you can continue to feel insulted by anyone who has the gall to tell you that it's blue. That's your call to make. 
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David Converse

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I don't suppose the OP has ever tried to use Excel, or play the piano, or make a souffle, or swim, or anything else that looks easy but actually isn't.

Some things require training and practice. Photoshop is one of those things.
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David Bleja

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Boy, I wish I had the gift of succinctness. I said basically the exact same thing above, but it took me 20 times more words to say it :D
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Dave Grainger

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Or, may I add, "raise a teenager"
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David Bleja

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No one's ever made raising a teenager look easy
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Joel Sigerson

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Every time Adobe's tried to dumb down the interface they've removed or altered some essential functionality for professional users. I suggest finding the right application for your purpose rather than complaining that a CNC machine isn't a hammer.