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Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush

From: Photoshop for Designers: Textures

Video: Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush

In this example we are going to create a sample brush from this picture of a spider web and we are going to have Illustrator help Photoshop out in the creation of this brush. Then we are going to use this brush to create an image like this one where we put this spider web over this bowl of fruit, the original image looks like that. I am going to start out in Illustrator where I'll go to the File menu and choose Place and the file I want is in the Chapter 8 folder.

Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush

In this example we are going to create a sample brush from this picture of a spider web and we are going to have Illustrator help Photoshop out in the creation of this brush. Then we are going to use this brush to create an image like this one where we put this spider web over this bowl of fruit, the original image looks like that. I am going to start out in Illustrator where I'll go to the File menu and choose Place and the file I want is in the Chapter 8 folder.

Spiderweb_begin okay now here what we are going to do is we are going to live trace this. But we are not just going to live trace it, we are going to live trace it and we will see the result is not quite what we want. So we are going to take advantage of the fact that this is a linked file, based upon the feedback that we get from live trace will go back to Photoshop make a few modifications, come back and see them update in Illustrator with the live trace. Then we are going to copy the result back to Photoshop sample that as a brush, and then we'll paint with the brush.

So first of all I live trace it, that's the result we get and it's not bad but you can see that we are losing detail title up here. So now what I am going to do is switch back to Photoshop, noting where these problem areas and in Photoshop I am going to add Levels Adjustment layer and I am going to make things a little bit darker, a bit more contrast. Now we don't need more contrast down below that was working just fine. So I am going to switch to my Gradient tool and I have black as my foreground and I am going to choose Foreground to Transparent, and then I will do something like that, so now I am swiping from the bottom to the top so that the levels is only taking effect of the top of the image.

I am now going to save this Command+S and I will switch back to Illustrator, I will get this message some files are missing or modified, do I want to update and yes I do. And when I update them look things have improved, still not quite right, we still need to fix that little spot right. So back to Photoshop again, now the problem area is write up here it's going to be easier for us to paint in an exposure adjustment up there and the easiest way or my preferred way at least is to come and add a whole separate Dodge and Burn layer.

And I am going to do that by holding down the Alt key or the Option key and clicking on Create new layer and then choose Overlay as my Blend mode, fill with Overlay neutral color 50% grey. Now if this is filled with 50% grey it's going to have no effect. The reason we are filling it with color is that the Burn tool which I'm about to use now need some pixels to work with and we can see where the adjustment has taken place. The reason I'm not just doing this directly on the background layers if I go wrong then I am stuck doing it this way is completely nondestructive.

So with black as my foreground color, with Dodge tool chosen, it's dodging the shadows, Exposure 30% that's fine. I am just going to come up there and do a bit of that, just add a bit of contrast in to that area that the alive trace was having trouble with. I am then going to safe that Command+S or Ctrl+S, go back to Illustrator again, I will get this same message warning me, yes I do want to update them, problem solved. Now that's just a fantastic result that makes me very happy.

I think what we need to do now is may be come and adjust live trace options or at least look at the live trace options, we do have the Threshold command and if I move this one way or the other I know I need to turn on my preview. We can see that's going to get us more or less black. Yeah actually I think that looks pretty good because the danger that we run into here is the things they are going to stop breaking up a bit, but if we just briefly pull back to Photoshop we can see that in the original there are parts where web has been broken up, anyway we are going to reconstruct it.

So I think I am going to just leave it with the 50% threshold or the value at 128, turn off my preview, turn it back on again. But now on reflection I think that is giving us strands of the web that are a little bit too thick. So I am going to go up a bit from there. All right so I am now going to perform the trace. Then to modify this further which I need to do I am going to click on the Expand button. So what I now have are vectors and I am going to use this tool the Blob Brush tool and I am going to use this to just reconstruct parts of the web of a broken.

So I need to get into a comfortable view size and change the size of my brush so that's about the size of these strands of the spider web, and then I can just paint those in, like so. So when you have reconstructed your spider web and it doesn't have to absolutely perfect, of course it has a few breaks in it and that's all just added authenticity. What I am going to do now is select piece of black I am using my Direct selection tool my white arrow, click on a bit of the black and come to the Select menu, Sign>Fill color that's going to get me all the black areas which I am then going to delete now if I press Command+A I see that the web is still there its just white, that's where we are not seeing it, and then I am actually going to change the color of the web to Black so that we can see it.

Right so there is now vector web, another advantage of this is that of course as vectors its completely scalable, so if we wanted to make a brush that's bigger than the image that we put sampled it from. This would be one way that you could do that. So I am going to select it and I'm going to copy it and now move back to Photoshop. I am just going to create a new layer in this document I will turn the other layers off and I am going to paste it in their and I am going to paste it as pixels.

Okay there it is, press Return to accept that. So now I am going to reduce the Opacity of the web down to about 40% and the reason I'm doing this is so that when we paint with the brush will be at a see through the strands of the Web. And I will come up to the Edit menu and choose Define Brush Preset and I am going to call it spiderweb. So now let's see how this is going to work in practice. I am going to switch to this document and I already have the brush chosen, if you don't have it chosen you can go and choose it over the last one and you will list as the most recently added brush.

I need to create a layer on which to paint with this brush and I'm going to switch my foreground color to white. Now bear in mind that your brush and your image need to be of equivalent sizes, sort of proportional to each other. Now I will paint with this, okay. So this is how its going to look, I am going to just back away from that now I have got a sense of what's is going on. Let's zoom out a little bit more, I am going to press my Caps lock key so I don't need to look at this massive cursor and then just start painting away and I will overlap it, something like that.

Now I can turn down the Opacity of this layer and I can also mask the web, if I come and make a quick selection or fruit bowl. I can try them on the background layer. I am just dragging over this with my Quick Selection too. Let's also get this shadow over here and we'll turn the Brush on and apply that selection as a layer mask so that we see our spider web over a bowl of fruit.

Looks a little bit cheesy over here I have to say so may be I need to come in and choose my Brush tool again just to add a little bit more over there to make it look a bit less like a brush that was just recently sampled as vectors in Illustrator. And what I can also do just to refine this is I can come to the mask I can feather it, I can perhaps take down its density and I'm then going to get just a normal brush.

It's a soft round brush and turn my caps look off now so I can't see the size of my cursor. Reduce the size of that and then just to reintroduce some of the web into the foreground I am going to paint with white but at a reduced Opacity, probably let's sort of say about 25, let's brush that in a bit over there and I will just brush this over, may be back and forth, now I will switch to black maybe slightly different Opacity just to kind of work that in, make it look a little bit more plausible.

Okay so, we saw the creation all of a sample brush, derived from the spider web and the whole process was helped out by using Illustrator to live trace it and then once we got the brush and application of what we can actually do with it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Textures
Photoshop for Designers: Textures

60 video lessons · 19350 viewers

Nigel French

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 6m 52s
    1. Working with textures
      6m 52s
  3. 30m 19s
    1. Creating a rocklike texture with Clouds
      6m 17s
    2. Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds
      3m 43s
    3. Creating a grunge effect with Fibers
      11m 30s
    4. Applying a texture channel with Lighting Effects
      4m 22s
    5. Adding an effect and blending with Lens Flare
      4m 27s
  4. 15m 20s
    1. Applying textures with Texturizer
      6m 8s
    2. Applying realistic cracks with Craquelure
      5m 11s
    3. Preparing an image for a stained glass effect
      4m 1s
  5. 30m 48s
    1. Adding noise to an overlay layer
      1m 33s
    2. Adding film grain
      6m 5s
    3. Painting with grain
      4m 10s
    4. Adding grain to a Camera Raw image
      2m 21s
    5. Matching grain when cloning
      5m 32s
    6. Accentuating texture with Speckle grain
      3m 4s
    7. Creating a split-toning effect with Stippled grain
      4m 20s
    8. Beyond the Mezzotint filter
      3m 43s
  6. 18m 5s
    1. Creating deckled edges and sepia tone
      8m 6s
    2. Adding water stains
      5m 41s
    3. Adding cracks
      4m 18s
  7. 38m 16s
    1. Blending textures with Soft Light
      4m 15s
    2. Blending textures with Hard Light
    3. Blending groups
      3m 59s
    4. Blending textures with layer masks
      3m 49s
    5. Creating an antique poster
      5m 59s
    6. Blending mode sandwich
      4m 34s
    7. Blending texture from a pattern fill
      4m 9s
    8. Applying texture to an uneven surface
      10m 37s
  8. 42m 43s
    1. Creating a watercolor effect
      5m 30s
    2. Painting on canvas
      9m 57s
    3. Creating a rubber stamp
      8m 42s
    4. Converting a photograph to a drawing with Find Edges
      2m 58s
    5. Combining a black-and-white halftone with color images
      5m 6s
    6. Creating a textured duotone effect with Conté Crayon
      2m 33s
    7. Creating an abstract image with Mosaic
      6m 2s
    8. Creating a reticulation effect
      1m 55s
  9. 59m 11s
    1. Finding and installing brushes
      2m 19s
    2. Creating a shatter effect
      3m 58s
    3. Creating a smoke brush
      3m 50s
    4. Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush
      9m 56s
    5. Creating coffee rings
      4m 13s
    6. Creating a Bokeh texture
      9m 50s
    7. Creating corner brushes
      4m 24s
    8. Sampling a brush stroke
      3m 3s
    9. Creating a rust jewel brush
      5m 43s
    10. Building density with brush settings
      6m 45s
    11. Painting with the Mixer Brush
      5m 10s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Adding texture to type using clipping masks
      2m 25s
    2. Applying texture to type with layer effects
      2m 53s
    3. Applying texture to type using a layer mask
      5m 33s
    4. Painting with a texture brush
      4m 31s
    5. Blending type into background texture
      2m 8s
  11. 17m 55s
    1. Using the texture actions set
      3m 12s
    2. Editing an action
      3m 18s
    3. Creating your own texture action
      5m 14s
    4. Finding, downloading, and installing actions
      3m 2s
    5. Applying texture styles
      3m 9s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye

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