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31. The Brush tool

From: Photoshop Top 40

Video: 31. The Brush tool

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! All right gang, here is this crazy hair image from photographer Stas Perov. Now we've gotten this far with her mask. We've managed to identify the hair detail using feature #33 the Calculations command. Then we selected the arms and the dress using feature #32, the Pen tool. Now what we need to do is increase the contrast of this image so that she and her hair are perfectly white and the background is perfectly dark.

31. The Brush tool

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! All right gang, here is this crazy hair image from photographer Stas Perov. Now we've gotten this far with her mask. We've managed to identify the hair detail using feature #33 the Calculations command. Then we selected the arms and the dress using feature #32, the Pen tool. Now what we need to do is increase the contrast of this image so that she and her hair are perfectly white and the background is perfectly dark.

We're going to achieve that effect using Photoshop feature #31, the Brush tool. Now the Brush tool has all sorts of uses inside of Photoshop. It's ultimately a free-form painting tool that you can control using the Brushes palette if you like, and I can bring up the Brushes palette by clicking on this little icon up here in the Options bar. So there's all sorts of brushes that you can choose from. The Brush tool also responds to pressure sensitivity, so if you have something like a Wacom Intuos Tablet, then you can paint organic lines using the tool. What we are going to do however is we are going to use it as a Contrast Enhancement tool.

So, I am going to start things off by increasing the size of my brush and the easiest way to do that is to press the Right-bracket key. That's your Right Square-bracket key on an American keyboard. The bracket keys are located to the right of the P as in Paul key. Anyway, I want a pretty big brush as I have here. If you want to make the brush smaller at some point you can press the Left-bracket key. I also want a nice soft brush. I could check that my brush is soft by clicking this down-pointing arrowhead, and making sure that the Hardness value is set to 0%. Then I want to change the blend mode to Overlay.

That's going to allow me to increase the darkness of this mask without affecting the bright white areas and I'll show you what I mean. I am going to go ahead and switch my foreground and background colors. So my foreground color is black, by the way when you are painting with the Brush tool you're always painting with the foreground color. Now watch this. I am going to paint around the arm and you can see that the arm is not affected, the whites are protected, because I am working with the Overlay mode and I'm just paining the dark areas black. So, I am going to go ahead and scroll up a little bit in over, so that I could see this far left region of my image.

Then when I start painting into the hair now we do start darkening up some of the edges of the hair, and you may feel like gosh, you know we are kind of losing detail up there and especially once I paint over this top area, you notice those hairs go away. But where masking is concerned, my experience is that you're better off selecting too little than too much, because when you select too much of the image and you make the hair too thick for example, then you end up getting color fringing when you go to select that image when you convert that mask to a selection outline. All right. Now, I am going to paint down here in this area.

I am making kind of quick work of it here just for the sake of the video. I'll paint down in this region as well, notice the entire time those whites are protected. It's just a fantastic function, this combination of the Brush tool along with the Overlay mode. Notice throughout this experience I am leaving the opacity value up there inside of the Options Bar set to 100% and you can vary that if you want to, but you are going to get sort of weak results. You're not going to get really deep blacks if you go that route. So I am sticking with 100% opacity and I'm just losing hair occasionally.

That's okay if I lose those tips, because she's got more than enough hair to work with. I don't think anybody is going to look at the final result of this mask and say hey, you didn't get enough hair in there. We are going to still have tons of hair. So this looks pretty good to me around the hair detail like so. Now I need to then follow up by increasing the whites inside of this image. So I'm going to press the X key in order to switch my foreground and background color. So white is now the foreground color. Now I'll paint in these regions in order to make the white details brighter and every once in a while you may need to restart your brushing.

So I'm clicking and painting all over the place inside of this image as you see me do right here. So I've probably applied something like 50 brush strokes by now. Then if you run into a little detail like this that you can't address with the Brush tool, go ahead and switch over to one of your Selection tools such as Lasso tool, and just go ahead and lasso that region and press in our case Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill it with white. That is it folks. That is how you create a mask using a combination of feature #33 the Calculations command, feature #32 the Pen tool, and feature #31 the Brush tool.

Powerful features one in all here inside Photoshop.

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Photoshop Top 40

41 video lessons · 37804 viewers

Deke McClelland
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