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Creating a color mixing layer

From: Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Video: Creating a color mixing layer

In this movie, we are going to take all of the things we learned throughout the title and put it together into the creation of a piece of artwork from scratch. Now I am going to start off by talking about how bristles and brushstrokes take on added importance. They can even become the subject of a painting. Strokes made up of solid color tend to be static. In this movie, we are going to go ahead and take all of the things we've learned in the previous chapters and put them together into a project, which in this case is going to be an image painted from scratch.

Creating a color mixing layer

In this movie, we are going to take all of the things we learned throughout the title and put it together into the creation of a piece of artwork from scratch. Now I am going to start off by talking about how bristles and brushstrokes take on added importance. They can even become the subject of a painting. Strokes made up of solid color tend to be static. In this movie, we are going to go ahead and take all of the things we've learned in the previous chapters and put them together into a project, which in this case is going to be an image painted from scratch.

Specifically, I want to talk about when you are painting from scratch, brushstrokes take on added importance. They can even become the subject. Strokes made up of solid color tend to be static. An approach to visually energizing strokes is to utilize a loaded brush technique. This technique applies multiple colors to the brush. The result is a stroke, which with color energy and complexity. To do this, we are going to be creating a mixing layer, and I want to explain what this is.

This is just going to be a layer that later on is going to be discarded. Photoshop currently doesn't have any kind of palette that you can mix color in, so we are cobbling one together just by having a layer that will later on not be part of the artwork. If you're working with imagery that is in a specific format, in terms of its size, you may want to use the Extend Canvas command to temporarily make your canvas a little larger, wherever you prefer. I tend to do it over on the left side, but in this case, I am just going to paint right on the edge of the current image.

But in the case of a specific image format, you may want to add that imagery, go ahead and mix there, create the image, and when you're done, delete that layer and then crop the image down to the size that is in accordance with your project. So we've created a layer. I am now going to start using my brushes, and these Tool presets are brushes that are included in your exercise files. I showed you how to import this library in the Organizing the Tool Presets panel movie. These brushes are not required for this chapter.

You can create your own brushes based on what you've learned in the Mixer brush and Bristle Tips chapters and hopefully, you will; that's the way you are going to get the best result - use your own brushes. Now before I start, I want to show you something you can do with the Tool presets. There is some brushes I am going to want to use in here. I want to use the floppy brushes right here, and they are towards the bottom of the list. I'm also going to want to be using these blunt brushes. Now, the way I have go this configured right now, it's a little difficult to have all of these up here in the same location in my list.

So as a result, I would have to be moving up and down the list to get to different brushes, but you can reorganize these brushes. The way to do that is, in the Tool presets panel, go to the flyout menu and drop down to Preset Manager. This is where I can now go in here and take these floppy brushes, and if I hold my Shift key, I will just click on the three here that I think I'm to be using, and I am going to put them between the long and short round blunt brushes. So now they are relocated within that list.

So I can say I am done, and the other thing I can do is these icons actually make these list entries a little larger. So the other thing I am going to do here is to just say Text Only. You can see now I can get two or three more brushes to appear in that panel. But now I can set this up so that I have my Blunt Long and Blunt Short, as well as the Floppy brushes all available within that window, and that's how you can easily organize these brushes to your liking. So we've got a basic layer here, and this is going to be my mixing layer.

I am going to use this to then start mixing some colors, and the advantage to this is when you know what your subject is going to be, if you take the time to pre-mix your colors, you are going to end up with a much more color-organized result in the final image because some forethought was put into what colors you are using, what values scale - all of these things come into play. So creating the colors you are going to use upfront will result in a better organized image as the final product.

Now, I know this is going be a beach scene, so I am going to have some water, some sky, some sand color, some flora, green, so I am going to mix these basic colors. I start with a Opaque brush, and I will just kind of put some color samples on here. The idea here is that we are going to create a loaded brush technique. So having different values is going to enrich the stroke when we paint with it. Now the other thing I will do is I will take the Blender brush, and I will just kind of mix these up.

So, now this gives me not three colors, but now I've got several colors within here, a range of that blue. The other thing I can do is now I can take like another color, like, I will take this one, and I am going to go in here, and I am going to turn Texture on. I can play around with how this is going to look. I'm going to use this texture, and I like the way it looks. Within the stroke, I might want to play around a little bit with the depth. Also, I want to be able to press down and get a fully loaded stroke that's solid, but I do like to have in the lighter areas of the stroke some bristling appearing and close this now.

I will just test it over here, and I need to, in this case, get my Opaque brush. Now I can see where I can have some color, but still some white is showing through. This lets me just paint into this area, and I may be able to sample this so that not only do I have some transition of color in my stroke, but I've even got some heavier color that's peppered into that color. Just to show you what I mean, if I go in here now, and I'm using the front barrel button on my stylus, I can grab, say, right here, and when I paint with this stroke, you can see how there is variation within the colors in that stroke.

That's all based on picking up all of these various tonalities and color differences so that it gives me a way to get a stroke that is far more interesting than, say, just a flat, colored stroke. That's the idea behind this; mixing these colors in advance is going to give the areas I can sample to get this look within the strokes. So I am going to go through now and mix up all of my colors. Okay, I have now got my color palette of mixed colors created. I am now going to start off, and I am going to start off by painting in my sky.

So I am just going to grab some mix color here, and I want to do this on an individual layer, and the best part of the trick here is don't get confused and accidentally start painting on your mixing layer. Typically, you are going to be doing it away from here, and if you make a mistake, you can do a selection and delete it. But I'm just telling you it is kind of easy to sometimes accidentally find yourself painting on the mixer layer, so you got to watch what you are doing over here. I am going to go now create my background layer and start putting in some sky.

Applying some discipline during the painting preparation process will pay dividends when the painting is finished. Plus, I will share a little secret with you: You can build up a library of reusable mixing palettes for future use by instead of discarding your mixing palette, you save it off in a separate document. Over time, you will come up with a really nice library of preset color sets you can use to create loaded brushes with.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

36 video lessons · 16695 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

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