Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Photoshop Brushes: Brush Panel

In my previous posts, I covered the Brush Presets, which are a permanent library of Brushes. The Brush Panel gives the digital painter ways to temporarily modify the Presets. Of course, if you find a good combination of Brush and settings, you can save the Brush into your Preset library (hit the New Brush icon on the Brush Panel; it's the graphic of the page with the corner turned up, bottom righthand corner). In this post I'm going to highlight some of the features on the Brush Panel.

To get started, choose a Brush (hit the "B" key) and open up the Brush Panel (F5).

The top button ("Brush Presets") is yet another way to access the Photoshop Brush library.

Click "Brush Tip Shape." Here you can adjust size and angle, but also check out "Spacing."Move the slider to the right and you can see how Photoshop's Brush Engine works: It's taking a shape and repeating that shape to create the effect of a brush stroke. The Bristle Brushes, introduced in CS5, actually track individual bristles, which is why the Bristle Brushes are a great feature for us painters.

Open up the Spacing to see how the brush stroke 
is generated. I usually leave the spacing all the
way to the left for actual painting.
(Click any image to enlarge).

Now click on "Shape Dynamics." If you're using a pressure-sensitive tablet (like a Wacom), make sure to select "Pen Pressure." I have to admit that I often paint with my Wacom Intuos4 and turn off the pressure sensitivity. However, if I'm drawing a line in Photoshop or touching up a pencil drawing, then I'll turn on the "Pen Pressure."

The "Scattering" option, the next one under "Shape Dynamics," breaks up the otherwise smooth flow of the shapes in the brush stroke. Adding a little Scattering can give the effect of drawing on a slightly textured surface. If you add in some pressure-sensitivity, then you have a line with some character!

Select "Pen Pressure" (under Shape Dynamics) to
take advantage of  pressure sensitive tablets. Notice
the slightly bumpy line in the Brush Preview
(bottom of the Panel) that you can get by adding
a little Scattering.

The "Texture" controls (see graphic below) are very important in creating custom Brushes and making your digital work look textured and organic. So important, in fact, that I covered this feature in more detail in a previous blog post.

The Texture feature.

There are some decent textures in the Photoshop library, but I tend to make my own (which I also covered in the "Adding Texture to a Brush" post). For one thing, I don't think that the Photoshop preset textures tile well; the swatches are too small. However, you should still load and try out some of them (see below):

The Texture Library. Check them out, and
remember to try different settings, especially 
for Invert, Texture Each Tip, and Mode.

The "Dual Brush" option can be magical. It allows you to mix the effects of your current Brush with an additional Brush, which can give you interesting and unexpected results. Some of Photoshop's most interesting default Brushes use this feature. I've noticed that adding a Dual Brush effect can cause the texture in a Brush to scale up, which I like because it gives you another way to vary your texture. 

The Dual Brush feature. Notice that Bristle Brushes 
don't work here because they're driven by a different
Brush engine. Definitely play around with some of the
options here (look at the cool Brush that I just created
in the Preview area). When you find a combo that you
like, make sure to click the "New Brush" icon (I've circled
it above) in the bottom righthand corner.

As a footnote, I'd like to show the difference between Brush Opacity and Flow in the screen shot below. The top stroke is 50% Opacity, which is a solid stroke of 50% of the foreground color (which in this case is black). The bottom stroke is at 50% Flow. You can see that Flow affects the rate of this repeating shape. I talk about the Spacing (and that repeating shape) in the first part of this post. I usually leave Flow alone and just adjust Opacity.

The top shows 50% Opacity, the bottom shows 50% Flow.


Maria said...

Thabks for sharing the tutorials and required parameters for this Adobe Photoshop brush! Cool post!

David Opie said...

Maria, thanks for stopping by!