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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Assigning TouchRing functions


From:

Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry
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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

Video: Assigning TouchRing functions

One of the nice things about the Wacom Intuos4 is an item on the Control surface called the Touch Ring, and the Touch Ring is just a circular area with a depression in it that makes it very easy, like a slight groove, to run your fingers through. In the center, is a button that you can assign four different functions to, to use this Touch Ring to, say, rotate your canvas. I am going to show you now how you can assign those elements to the Touch Ring to take advantage of it within Photoshop CS5.

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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
2h 27m Intermediate Jul 20, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join John Derry, a pioneer in the field of digital painting, as he shows how to master the natural-media painting features introduced in Photoshop CS5 in Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush. This course shows how to use the Mixer Brush, the Bristle Tips feature, and a new mechanism for blending colors in Photoshop to add beautiful, painterly effects to photographs, enhance artwork with paint-like strokes and illustrations, and paint entirely new art from scratch. This course also covers customizing brush characteristics and surface textures, applying keyboard shortcuts to paint smoothly and efficiently, and using a Wacom tablet to get the most out of Photoshop CS5’s painting features. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the axes of motion with a Wacom tablet
  • Choosing a brush shape and Bristle Tip
  • Adjusting brush angle
  • Loading color and control the behavior of the Mixer Brush
  • Modifying surface texture
  • Simulating the texture of canvas
  • Saving tool presets for brushes
  • Creating a painting from a photograph
  • Painting from scratch with the Mixer Brush
Subjects:
Design Digital Painting
Software:
Photoshop Wacom
Author:
John Derry

Assigning TouchRing functions

One of the nice things about the Wacom Intuos4 is an item on the Control surface called the Touch Ring, and the Touch Ring is just a circular area with a depression in it that makes it very easy, like a slight groove, to run your fingers through. In the center, is a button that you can assign four different functions to, to use this Touch Ring to, say, rotate your canvas. I am going to show you now how you can assign those elements to the Touch Ring to take advantage of it within Photoshop CS5.

I will show you right now. I am going to click through this so you can see that each time I click, I can get to one of four functions I have assigned to my Touch Ring. This is really nice. In the initial iteration of the Intuos4, they didn't show this on the screen so you were left to have to remember the order of things you put in here. It's really nice that this now shows up. So let's go through, and I will show you each one of these. The Auto Zoom and Scroll lets me do just that.

I'm using my finger on the Touch Ring, so without having to take my hand away from the tablet or put the stylus down, I have this ability. The second one is probably my favorite one, and let's first zoom up to 100% here, so you can see this. This enables me to scroll back and forth through the history. Now right now, I have got 10 states in here, so it doesn't go back long ways, but you can adjust that certainly in the Photoshop Preferences. What I've done is I have just set it up so that a counterclockwise gets me backwards, and then clockwise takes me forwards.

So it's a really nice way to be able to undo some things, and I even find kind of going forward and backwards like this sometimes give me some insights that I wouldn't otherwise see about how I was constructing an image. The next one is Brush Size; this is another very useful one. This lets me take my brush, and you can see here that I'm scrolling it up and down. So once again counterclockwise takes it down and clockwise makes it larger. Finally, we have Canvas Rotation. So this lets me rotate the canvas.

Depending on the kind of artwork you're doing, this can be really useful. For example, it might be more useful to have the canvas at an angle to paint certain lines in an image, and then I can quickly get back. One nice thing I like about this, too, is there seems to be a little detente for certain angles, and one of them is 0. So it's not difficult to snap back to 0 just by rotating, and once you get close to the default angle, it just snaps into place for you. So these functions are very useful, and if you do some exploring, you may even find other things to do with them.

But I will show you exactly how I'm doing it, and I'm going to the Apple menu and go to System Preferences; on Windows, you'll go to the Start menu and go to Control Panels, and we will navigate our way down here to the Wacom tablet. What we want to do here then is make sure that - you know most people aren't going to have more than one tablet installed, but you start with your tablet. We are going to go to Functions, and I already have Photoshop set up in here, but if you don't, you're going to want to create a new application-specific icon in here, so you can assign keyboard shortcuts that only affect that application and not, say, the Finder.

So to do that, you are going to click on plus and since I already have Photoshop in here, I am going to go ahead and browse, and let's say we wanted to add something like Illustrator. So I will go in here and go to Illustrator CS5 and find the application, say OK, and now I have got an application that I can start to assign keyboard shortcuts to. In this case, we are going to go to the Photoshop CS5 icon that I have already have installed here, and let's take a look at how I did the modifiers.

What we want to do is go to the Touch Ring, and now this is where I can actually go in here and assign specific kinds of functionality to the four different functions that are capable of being addressed by the Touch Ring. The top one, I just used one of the default commands that you can do here, and that is Auto Scroll/Zoom. So this one is very simple; you just select that. For Undo/Redo History, I used Keystrokes, and if we take a look at what I did here, on the Mac, I used the Shift+Command+Z to undo, and I used Option+Command+Z to redo.

On Windows, you are going to use Shift+ Ctrl+Z, and for a redo, you are going to use Alt+Ctrl+Z. Once you have assigned the functions, you can go ahead and give it a name, and this is what will appear on the little onscreen heads-up display when you click on the center button. We say OK. Now for Brush Size, this one is pretty simple; I just go in and I use my left and right bracket keys to enlarge and reduce my image. So in this case, I use the right bracket key to make my brushes larger and the left bracket key to make brushes smaller.

Then once again, I gave it the name Brush Size and said OK, and that's that. Then finally, for Canvas Rotation, this is another one, if you go into Keystrokes, you use on the Mac the Option+F13 key to rotate clockwise, and you use the Option+F14 key to rotate counterclockwise, and on Windows you would substitute the option for Alt, and then I gave it the name Canvas Rotation. Once you're all done with that, then you have what we see when I click on my middle button; I've now got those functions built right into my tablet.

This is another one of those functions - once you install them and start using them, you will wonder how you got along without them. So the Touch Ring is yet another tool you can use to improve workflow, and really take full advantage of the Wacom tablet. I'll be honest with you. I used to use the tablet and didn't use much of the control service; I really didn't think there was much use to it. But once I got into it, I can't do without it anymore. So take full advantage of, not just the stylus, but the control surface on your Wacom Intuos4.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush.


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Q: What factors affect how well the mixer brushes in Photoshop perform? Does document size (i.e. 72dpi vs. 240dpi) affect the performance of the brushes? How can I maximize brush performance?
A: The recordings for this tutorial were generally done at a standard screen resolution, but a real-world situation will often require higher resolutions. For example, offset printing generally dictates files at 300ppi (pixels per inch). Inkjet printing is often discussed in terms of 240ppi. For web-based viewing, imagery at 72ppi is considered acceptable. You can easily determine the pixel resolution of an image by multiplying the size in inches by the above ppi (pixels per inch) factors.
Let's use a typical real-world size as an example: 20" X 24". This is a common photographic print and frame size.

72ppi = 1440p X 1728p = 2,488,320 pixels
150ppi = 3000p X 3600p = 10,800,000 pixels
300ppi = 6000p X 7200p = 43,200,000 pixels

Note that each of these resolution factors quadruples the total pixel count.
It is the amount of pixels being manipulated that dictates both application and brush performance. With this in mind, we can state that performance decreases as image pixel size increases. There are three primary factors that affect an application's ability to handle large pixel-based manipulation.
For the full FAQ, please download the PDF file here
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