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One of the novel uses of sponges as a mark-making tool is as a graphic stamp. A natural sponge's structure is made up of a complex cellular arrangement, contained within a three-dimensional volume. The surface of this material presents a complex organic structure. Dabbed with paint and used as a stamp, the surface can create an amazing texture, especially when overlaid with multiple colors. In this movie, we'll take a look at how this variant is able to apply this texture as well as discover what a gaping opening it makes for creating a wide variety of other brushes.
Let's take a look at sponges. I'll go up to the Brush Selector Bar and we will drop down here Sponges and we're going to work specifically with the Sponge tool and the first thing you want to know about this brush is that it takes advantage of what's called the captured dab. And if you look at the Size palette, you'll see that rather than just a simple circle, we've got a very complex pattern or something going on here and if we reduce the size of this, you'll see that this is actually a sponge-like texture that is the dab of this brush.
And you can capture any graphic element and make it into a dab for a brush and this means in some ways, this is the most customizable brush possible within Painter, because what that dab is totally impacts everything else about how the stroke is going to look and then you have, as well, all the little stroke controls to do things with this particular dab. So, let's take a look at how the Sponge utilizes this dab and then I'll show you how you can actually create your own dabs.
So, I'm going to just take a color here and as I'll start to paint, you'll see it's taking that dab shape and it's just applying it to the surface of the image and just by changing colors, you'll get an interesting buildup because some of the original colors shows through the transparent parts of the stamp and other parts are clouded with the new color, so just a few passes of color will start to build up interesting textures based on the combination of color and overlaying textures, as they're applied.
So, right off the bat, I think you can see how a captured dab can be a very powerful tool to create any wide- ranging ideas that you may have for a particular kind of graphic image or brush you want to create. So, let's take a look at how this is actually created. I'll go ahead and clear off my canvas and let me explain that when you create a dab, it can only be black and white. You would never see color within this window and that's because the way the dab works is black areas are considered opaque, white areas are considered transparent and any gray scale in between black and white are considered varying levels of transparency.
So with that knowledge, you can use this to create a brush that has very opaque parts, very transparent parts and all levels of transparency in between. So, for this exercise, I'm just going to make something like a cloudy, foggy brush and I'm not sure what it's going to end up looking like, but let's try and see what we get. So, I'm going to use my airbrush to do this. And I'm going to start with some black and I'm just going to apply some texture here.
I'm also going to turn down my Opacity quite a bit. So, I've dropped it down to 10. I will probably just go ahead and start over, because I want to make sure, yeah this is better. So, I'm just going to create interesting kind of textural thing using kind of a wavy type stroke pattern here. The thing about this is there is somewhat of an experimental aspect to it, because it's hard to know exactly what a dab is going to do once it's on the end of our brush. And you may have to do multiple iterations in order to find out what works.
So, I'm just building up density here to get just an interesting kind of organic style pattern. Let me go back in with some white here and just kind of break it up even a little bit more, maybe with some direction in this way. Since we're going to put it right in the same slot basically that the Sponge dab was in. So, all of the other behavior associated with the brush will remain. Maybe a little bit of size change here will also adjust it. That's too small. Maybe a little bit of intermediate size here will work.
So, we are not going to spend too much time to make the perfect brush, but I just want you to see what happens when we take this and put into the placeholder that right now is the sponge texture. So, let's go back. We want to go back to the sponge because we want to make sure that's the brush we're going to apply this to and to capture this we use a rectangular selection. And if I just click and then hold down the Space key, this will constrain this to a square.
And I'm just going to make sure that I've gotten enough space in this to fit my entire graphic and then I will fit it in here this way. Now that we've got that, we're going to go ahead and go up to the Brush Selector Bar, and right here at the top we've got Capture Dab. So, I say Capture Dab and you can see what's instantly happened is it's changed what was the sponge texture for our new texture we've just created. Let's open up a new image and every other bit of behavior will be the same here.
It'll just be that the dab is now changed. So, let's go ahead and draw with this and we will just try some color. Now, you'll see that sometimes this happens and what you have to do, it's still in memory what the old brush is. Just by changing this slider at all will update it. So now it's using the new texture. That's something that if you don't know that, you could wonder why didn't it take. And the reason is it needs to be updated by just adjusting that Size slider in order to see it.
I'm going to reduce the Scale a bit, so that we are not looking at such a large brush, and what may be not working really well for this is the particular method. So, this is where everything we've been learning about in this title starts to come into play. I can try different methods, like I'm thinking Soft Cover might be better. So, there is a nice kind of soft cover and you know this may not end up being a brush that you would particularly want to save, but you can see how the fact that this is automatically rotating every time it's applied, and it's even changing scale a little bit starts to create a very complex pattern that there was no brush in the world that did this before and now we've got a brush that does this.
So, the world of brushes are available to you in terms of customizing and I've found over time that the most customizable aspect of brush making is the captured dab. It just really opens up a very major opportunity for creating a very wide range of expressive possibilities. So, definitely check out the captured dab and my best advice is do what we just did here.
Take an existing captured dab brush, because it's already been set up with a certain set of behaviors that are intended to work with a captured dab, so it's probably your best starting point. And then from there, you can start to make the adjustments as we did here and just tweak it till you get the brush you're looking for.
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