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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.
The Spacing slider is very important. This adjustment has a great deal of bearing on the performance of your brush. If spacing is too fine, your brush performance will suffer. You'll need to look for what I call the 'sweet spot' to match your system's performance with an acceptable brush performance. Now, I like to think of the Spacing slider as a performance throttle, and to show you this, I'm going to use my Right Bracket key here to enlarge this brush, because I want to get a brush that actually has a bit of lag in it.
And we may need to really go out of our way to make that happen on this fast system. Let's just try it here. Okay. You can see there's a little bit of lag in this brush, and this is artificially large, but it will get the point across. If I adjust the Spacing upwards, now let's undo and try it again, you can see that brush is now a real-time brush. However, we're starting to get some artifacts from the fact that ultimately these are a series of individual brush stamps that are spaced close together, to give the illusion of a continuous brushstroke.
So I want to play around of taking it down, and this is a very sensitive control. I've found that just a percent or two can make a huge difference in the look of the brush, and yet affect performance. Now I'm starting to get a faster brush, and there is a little bit of artifacting in there, but it's still a matter of really playing around with it. Let's just try, sometimes it's 6%. I find for some reason to be a good value, at least on my system at home. So we're starting to run into a little bit of a performance problem, and it looks like for this particular size, around 8% - I can close this to see some more - is giving me close to what I want.
Later on, we're going to take a look at texture, and I'll show you how we can actually use texture to hide some of these artifacts in the brushstroke, and in fact, actually provide a greater sense of realism in the overall painting when texture is applied. But without texture, you're at the mercy of the Spacing slider to basically play around with that sweet spot that you can find, that matches what you want with the performance of the brush on your particular system.
So spacing should be the first control you go to if you are having difficulties with the performance of your brush as you paint. If your brush is lagging or staying behind your strokes, use the Spacing slider to adjust the brush, until you get to the performance, or sweet spot, that you like.
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