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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.
Thickness controls how fat your bristles are. I like to think of it like dried paint within bristles. This dried paint bonds many of the individual brush hairs together to form a larger mark-making entity within the bristle tip. The Thickness slider enables you to mimic this behavior. So if we take a look at Thickness, we will see if we start to turn this up, we get very thick bristles. You may not see it here, but if we decrease the number of bristles, it becomes fairly obvious that we are now dealing with very fat individual brush hairs.
So I typically play around with both Bristles and Thickness to come up with a combination that I like. To be honest, most of the time I keep Thickness down, because I do like to see a lot of individual bristles within my brush strokes, but there are times that the Thickness slider can be useful. For example, if we turn Thickness up and Bristles down, well now I have a brush that's almost like a piece of chalk, and I won't say this will act or look just like a piece of chalk, fully developed into a brush, but it does give you a different kind of mark-making tool within the different qualities that you can get out of bristle tips.
The other thing that's possible is you can cheat, and with a fairly low number of bristles you can get a very thick brush appearance. And again, these are all things that you can use to find the sweet spot where on your particular system, the performance level you want for the brush works. So if you find things are getting slowed down, it may be that having thicker individual bristles and less total bristles is a better way to do a brush than one with a lot of very fine bristles.
It's all very dependent on your processor. Thickness enables you to substitute a few thick bristle hairs for many thinner ones. Thicker bristles will give you a more graphic look.
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