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Adding 3D appearance to strokes

From: Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Video: Adding 3D appearance to strokes

The appearance of grain or texture within painted strokes is but one visual cue that the brush is painting on a surface. Another visual cue is the result of highlight and shadowing on a 3D surface. In this video, I'll show you how to easily introduce apparent surface sliding to your brushstrokes. Now, the basic trick behind this is taking advantage of layers and one of the layer effects that we can apply. And if I double-click on my layer, this brings up my Layer Style panel.

Adding 3D appearance to strokes

The appearance of grain or texture within painted strokes is but one visual cue that the brush is painting on a surface. Another visual cue is the result of highlight and shadowing on a 3D surface. In this video, I'll show you how to easily introduce apparent surface sliding to your brushstrokes. Now, the basic trick behind this is taking advantage of layers and one of the layer effects that we can apply. And if I double-click on my layer, this brings up my Layer Style panel.

And I'm going to select Bevel and Emboss. And I'm also going to check Contour. Now, one of the things about the way this works, you have to first set this up to look like something before you can paint strokes, but it's most likely that you're wanting to make adjustments to that. Let's just take the default settings here. And on this layer, I'll start to paint. And you can see now that it looks like these strokes have highlights and shadows. If I turn this on and off, you can see the difference between what it looks like without and with.

So without, we get just what looks like flat paint. With it on, it imbues the strokes with a three-dimensional character. Now, once you see this, you can go back into Bevel and Emboss and start to make some changes to it. And I find it's almost universal that when you start playing with this, you tend to go a little nuts and give it more than it really should have. You don't want this to overly attract the eye. You just want it to be visible enough that it does add some dimensionality to the strokes, but not making it something that actually ends up being distracting.

You can see here, I've got it down to the minimum settings, and I can still see it. I may want to adjust it, but I don't want to make it too strong. The other thing we can do is, in the Shading, I can control the opacity of both the highlights and the shadows. And you can see onscreen how that does make a difference. So that is yet another control you have. Also, you can play with the location of the lighting angle. I found I kind of like it directly above, roughly a 90 degree angle. Then you can also play with how straight above the lighting is, and the farther it is offset to the side, the more you're going to get a side angle on that lighting, and it will enhance the look of the strokes to be a bit more apparent.

Now, the good news is once you set this up, this is all nondestructive. So you could paint an entire painting looking at your imagery as if it were 3D like this, and later on you may the next day say, boy, I really went too far with this. So you can always open up this and decide, I need to tone this down a bit. Maybe I need to reduce the amount of highlight and shadow, or maybe the shadow lighting is too strong, but you can always go back and change it. The other thing I'll tell you that's really useful is, once you've done this, just go ahead, if you want to work with multiple layers, and make a copy, and go ahead and select All Delete to get rid of this.

And now I've got a new layer. Let's take in another color here. And now I can start painting on this layer with its own three-dimensional effects. Now, why would you do this? What you'll see here - I'll do this with some darker shade of color - what happens is there isn't an infinite amount of depth to the 3D channel, and as a result, light strokes will show 3D - and maybe we want to attenuate it here just a little bit to get across what I'm talking about. I'll go ahead and turn these up, and that should do it.

So it looks like 3D, but once you kind of overlay all these strokes, you can see, it just flattens back out. So it actually works to have some gaps in your brushstrokes. So more thinly populated bristles and also letting texture show through really helps. And I do want to show you, I played around a bit, and I found that in the Photoshop default set, this third one, which is Burlap, makes for a very good texture that works well with adding the Bevel and Emboss to your 3D strokes.

Finally, if you want to take this one step further, we can go in, once again, double-click on the layer and add a drop shadow. And you can play around with how far away this drop shadow is, how soft it is. But let's do that. And now I'll create another layer with that. And once again, we'll do Ctrl+ Alt+Delete or Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. So now I've got a new layer I can paint on. Let's take a color here. And now I'm painting with 3D shadows. And to be able to actually see this while you're painting is really neat.

So it gives you a way to do a very kind of interesting abstract illusionist effect as you paint. And as you build up more and more layers, you can keep offsetting the shadow distance by a greater degree and reducing its opacity, and you can get a very realistic effect of what looks like multiple floating layers of paint strokes in a shallow 3D environment. So you can take advantage of the layer effects to add some interesting qualities to your brushstrokes, particularly when you're working with texture, to add things like Bevel and Emboss for three- dimensionality and Drop Shadows to even make your strokes appear to be floating in a shallow three-dimensional space.

So I think once you play around with this, you'll find this is a very powerful add-on to getting some interesting effects with your brushes that you wouldn't otherwise be able to achieve.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

36 video lessons · 16872 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 29s
    1. Introduction
      1m 26s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 3s
  2. 9m 10s
    1. Understanding the axes of motion
      2m 51s
    2. Assigning TouchRing functions
      6m 19s
  3. 22m 18s
    1. Monitoring brush orientation with the 3D Brush preview
      4m 55s
    2. Choosing the right brush shape
      3m 32s
    3. Using bristle tips
      2m 7s
    4. Adjusting bristle length
      2m 18s
    5. Changing the thickness of the bristles
      2m 1s
    6. Adjusting brush stiffness
      2m 35s
    7. Understanding options for angle adjustment
      2m 15s
    8. Changing bristle spacing
      2m 35s
  4. 26m 1s
    1. Using the Preset Brush Behavior menu
      2m 32s
    2. Color wells: Reservoir and pickup
      2m 11s
    3. Using the Wet, Load, Mix, and Flow controls to adjust color behavior
      5m 39s
    4. Loading and cleaning the Mixer Brush: Manual or automatic
      4m 54s
    5. Sampling color from all layers
      4m 31s
    6. Using the Transfer panel to adjust paint dynamics
      6m 14s
  5. 17m 8s
    1. Selecting patterns from the Pattern Library
      2m 1s
    2. Simulating canvas texture
      4m 15s
    3. Setting texture scale
      2m 33s
    4. Locking textures
      2m 44s
    5. Adding 3D appearance to strokes
      5m 35s
  6. 14m 13s
    1. Understanding tool presets and brush presets
      3m 15s
    2. Saving tool presets
      6m 55s
    3. Organizing the Tool Presets panel
      4m 3s
  7. 22m 23s
    1. Quickly loading and cleaning the Mixer Brush with keyboard shortcuts
      7m 3s
    2. Loading the brush with multiple colors from an image
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Color Picker Heads-Up Display
      5m 55s
    4. Using additional color selection options
      4m 32s
  8. 11m 45s
    1. Creating an underpaint layer to remove photographic detail
      5m 8s
    2. Restoring detail
      6m 37s
  9. 21m 8s
    1. Creating a color mixing layer
      7m 39s
    2. Loading brushes to enhance visual interest
      5m 17s
    3. Adding detail to a painting
      8m 12s
  10. 25s
    1. Goodbye
      25s

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