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Color wells represent the source of colors that makes the mark. The Color Reservoir supplies the color that flows from the brush. The Pickup Reservoir represents the color that is picked up from the canvas and mixed with the reservoir color. Let's take a look. The key to the Mixer brush behavior is its multiple color reservoirs, or wells. These wells represent sources of color used by the Mixer brush. The color well is the color that flows from the brush.
You're already familiar with a color well from previous models of brushes in Photoshop. In the previous iterations of Photoshop, the color typically comes from the current color square, and that constitutes the color well that makes up those brushes. The color well, in relation to the Mixer brush, is controlled by the Load adjustment on the Mixer brush option bar. Higher values represent greater well capacity, for example, a brush that will have a longer stroke life.
The pickup well is the underlying color that is picked up by the brush. The pickup well is controlled by the Wet adjustment on the Mixer brush option bar. Higher values represent greater well capacity. For example, brushstrokes that will tend to pickup the underlying color. The Mix control adjusts the ratio of Well to Pickup color. Higher values represent greater proportional Pickup color in the resulting stroke, for example, a stroke that primarily smears the underlying color.
A brush with both the Color and Pickup Reservoirs empty creates a dirty brush. This is a brush that will start with the color of whatever was at the end of the previous brushstroke, very much like a traditional wet-on-wet technique. The Flow control adjusts the master output of the other combined controls. Understanding the color wells unlocks the power of the Mixer brush. Once you understand these vital controls, you can create a very wide range of appearance within your brushstrokes.
In the next few videos, we'll take a look at how to quickly and easily adjust these Mixer brush components to get the most out of them.
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