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Adjusting brush stiffness

From: Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Video: Adjusting brush stiffness

Bristle stiffness works in concert with length. The less stiff bristles are, the more they will have a tendency to bend and separate based on pressure and bearing. Correspondingly, longer length and less stiffness will make for what I call a very floppy brush. Conversely, short bristles and higher stiffness results in a very controlled brush. Let's take a look. So we have our Stiffness slider here, and let's just consider 50%, or thereabouts, to be the average of stiffness, and if we start with that as our model, we will see that as I press down, that intermediate stiffness allows the brush to bend and separate somewhat.

Adjusting brush stiffness

Bristle stiffness works in concert with length. The less stiff bristles are, the more they will have a tendency to bend and separate based on pressure and bearing. Correspondingly, longer length and less stiffness will make for what I call a very floppy brush. Conversely, short bristles and higher stiffness results in a very controlled brush. Let's take a look. So we have our Stiffness slider here, and let's just consider 50%, or thereabouts, to be the average of stiffness, and if we start with that as our model, we will see that as I press down, that intermediate stiffness allows the brush to bend and separate somewhat.

If we turn this all the way down, this is going to be the least amount of stiffness, and this is where we get that very floppy style brush. You can see that, based on just bearing down, how the bristles want to separate and splay out, and maybe if we reduce our thickness a bit here, we will see, with finer bristles, exactly what we are getting here. See how I can get those splayed out marks? Now those can be useful marks in creating some very interesting kinds of strokes and abstract shapes within a stroke.

Let's take a different color, and you can just start to see here how that floppy quality makes for a lot of interesting express-ability. Now if I go to the other end and make these very stiff, well, now I get a very controlled stroke. Nothing at all is really happening when I press down. So like some other attributes we have talked about, Stiffness, or the lack thereof, can actually make the brush a little bit more processor-intensive because it's having to dynamically adjust that shape and width and the amount of contact with the canvas dynamically, and that's where a little extra horsepower may be needed, or if you don't have that horsepower, you'll start to see a decrease in performance of your brush.

And on the other hand, you've got stiffer bristles, which will give you a more controlled style stroke. So you may need to play around with the degree of Stiffness in concert with Length and Bristles in order to find out where that sweet spot is where you're going to get the maximum performance as well as the look that you are after. Now the Stiffness control should be used sparingly. It's very sensitive to small adjustments; be sure to take time testing your brush as you make small adjustments.

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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 · 16626 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  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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