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Dissecting a custom brush


Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Dissecting a custom brush

I've gone ahead and restored the saved version of Canvas texture.psd. In this exercise we're going to dissect a couple of those brushes that are included with the M Brushes collection. We'll see how they rely on a handful of advanced settings in the Brushes panel. Then in the next exercise, we'll exploit those advanced settings to create a custom brush of our own. So I'm going to switchover to this brush right here inside of the Brush Presets list. It's that crosshatch brush that we saw in the previous exercise. I want you to notice that the Brush Presets panel goes ahead and lists two columns of previews.
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  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 27s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
20h 1m Advanced Sep 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.

Topics include:
  • Using masks and blend modes in radically new ways
  • Mastering the Pen tool and Paths panel
  • Transforming and maximizing Smart Objects
  • Employing Smart Filters to create complex effects
  • Exploring the capabilities of Bristle brushes and the Mixer Brush
  • Merging multiple images into seamless panoramas
  • Exploring the full range of luminance with HDR Pro
  • Recording actions and batching-processing images
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Dissecting a custom brush

I've gone ahead and restored the saved version of Canvas texture.psd. In this exercise we're going to dissect a couple of those brushes that are included with the M Brushes collection. We'll see how they rely on a handful of advanced settings in the Brushes panel. Then in the next exercise, we'll exploit those advanced settings to create a custom brush of our own. So I'm going to switchover to this brush right here inside of the Brush Presets list. It's that crosshatch brush that we saw in the previous exercise. I want you to notice that the Brush Presets panel goes ahead and lists two columns of previews.

So on the right-hand side, we see a brushstroke. That's the brush itself, subject to the many settings that you assign inside the Brush panel. Over here on the left-hand side we have what's known as the brush preset, which is the core brush that's apparently being scribbled all over the place in little dollops, as I was telling you way back in the Fundamentals portion of this series, in order to create our larger brushstroke, which doesn't necessarily make any sense. Notice the brush preset here, is a 35 pixel hard brush.

Yet, we end up getting a crosshatch pattern. How in the world is that even possible? Meanwhile, we have a bunch of little dollops of paint that are arranged into a kind of Valentine and that gives us that frosted glass effect that we also saw in the previous exercise. Again, it doesn't make any darn sense. Well, what's at work here is that there are actually two brushes working together for almost every single one of these brushes that's part of the M Brushes collection, and many of the other more interesting brush collections as well.

We have two brushes at work, one that's working inside of the other. So this brush preset that we're seeing right now, that's the parent brush. It serves as a mask for the crosshatch pattern inside of it in our case. So let me show you what I'm talking about before we look at the settings. I'll increase the size my brush by pressing the Right Bracket key a few times. Then I'll go ahead and paint my brushstroke. You can see that I'm laying down three hash marks at a time. They're never clipped either at the beginning of the brushstroke or at the end.

They rotate automatically. Notice that arbitrarily I should say, as I paint my brushstroke. So they're also masked inside of this larger parent brush as well. All right, now I'm going to bring up the brushes panel. I'd like you to go ahead and switch to Brush Tip Shape, so that you can see the parent brush. I'm going to click, because I had changed the size my brush by pressing the Right Bracket key. I'm going to click on crosshatch again, just to reinstate its original settings. So there is my 35 pixel round brush, nothing special going on.

Notice that it has a diameter of 35 pixels. It's absolutely circular. It has a Hardness of 100%, Spacing 25%, all very standard stuff as we saw back in Chapter_9 of the fundamentals portion of the series. Not all that much extra going on either. We know that, because there are very few check boxes turned on over here on the left-hand side of the panel. We have Smoothing turned on. That just tries to smooth out the path of your drag, and actually doesn't do all that much, to be perfectly honest with you.

By the way, all five of these check boxes down here at the bottom of the list, these are single shot options. So you either turn them on or off, end of story. Whereas the guys at the top of the list bring up entire panels, entire sub panels of options. So the only thing of any merit that's going on is Dual Brush. I'll go ahead and click on it. Now this is pretty deceiving. Photoshop pretends to show you the Dual Brush sets at work, but that ain't it. It isn't this little smudgy poo right there. In fact, it's just showing you the last Dual Brush that you selected.

So it has nothing to do with the active brushstroke, which is a bit of an oversight on Photoshop's part in my mind. But let's say that you're trying to figure out how brushes are really put together, because you want to build a derivative brush of your own. Why then what you do, is you check out the Size value, 21 pixels. Then you look in the list for a brush that has that size, which is sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack, because there are so many of them. You can't sort them by Size, or anything helpful like that.

So you just sort of have to stare at this list for few minutes until you find something that looks right. Now in our case, it's not that hard to find, because it's obviously these three hash marks. If you want to try it out, and it says 21 by the way, so the size matches. Now if you feel like confirming that, you want to make sure that indeed this is the Dual Brush. Then watch your brush preview down here at the bottom of the panel, and click on that Dual Brush. As long as the brush preview doesn't change, which it didn't for me, then everything is hunky dory.

All right, so there is your Size control. If you want to change it, you can change this size independently of the other brush size if you like. We also have Spacing controls. Same dif, we can move the dollops of paint further away from each other or closer to each other. You've got a Scatter that will scatter those dollops outward. Notice they're getting masked. Notice how they're dropping out there around the outside of that larger brushstroke, the parent brushstroke. Then if your brushes are getting spread out, so that they're too sparse, you can increase the Count value, like so.

Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and click on crosshatch over here in the Brush Presets list once again to reset my values. Now what's conspicuously missing is anything that would rotate these hash marks. So there is no rotate value. There is no control offered to you. It just happens automatically. Dual brushes always rotate arbitrarily. That's just the name of the game. So if you want to switch out for a different Dual Brush, you could. For example, I can click this guy. You may recall that we used a brush that relied on this preset right there, in the previous exercise. I'll click on it.

Sure enough, they're rotating around as well. All right, let's checkout something a little more complicated. This guy, next guy down, known as frosted glass. Go ahead and click on it to make it active. Here in Brush Tip Shape, we can see that the dollops arranged in a Valentine are the parent brush. If I go to Shape Dynamics, it's turned on. Now Shape Dynamics is what's responsible for what we normally think of as pressure sensitivity. That is, when you bear down hard on the stylus, you get a thick stroke. When you let up, you get a thin stroke. If we check out what's going on here.

That Control is turned off. So apparently, we don't have any pressure sensitivity, any size sensitivity associated with this stroke. If you want to, if you want size sensitivity, you would switch to this very first option here inside Shape Dynamics to Pen Pressure. In my case, it's going to get mad at me. It's going to say, you don't have a Pressure Sensitive Tablet, what is wrong with you? Well, it's just because I'm sitting here using my mouse right now. What I have to do is move my cursor into the image window, and hover my stylus very close to the tablet, or even click if necessary.

Anyway, then that makes that go away. That warning goes away and it says, oh, oh, you do have a stylus. Okay, fair enough. Everything is okay. Anyway, I'm going to switch that back to off, because that doesn't really work for this affect. The only Shape Dynamic that works in fact is this little bit of Angle Jitter, so that the angle of the primary brush, the parent brush is sort of switching back and forth. In other words, it's rotating, ever so slightly and arbitrarily by the way. Scatter, we've got a little bit of Scatter going on. If you want to test a Scatter value, then you just watch that preview at the bottom of the panel, and you play with the Scatter value to move the dollops apart, or move them back close together.

Then we've got the Dual Brush. This time around the Dual Brush is not that guy. Like I said, it's just the last Dual Brush I selected that shows up there. We want something that's 45 pixels in Size. I bet it was that original sort of gooey thing there. I'll click on it. Sure enough, my brush preview doesn't change. So that must be it. You can play with these values. It is getting rotated arbitrarily by the way. Also by the way, we've got mode. All I'm going to tell you about mode, mode makes no sense. Let's start there.

All that stuff I told you about how blend modes works is pretty much inverted where blending the Dual Brush along with the parent brush is concerned. So Multiply actually ends up lightening. Darken ends up producing a lighter effect as well. If you go down here to Linear Burn, we're going to get a still lighter effect out of it. If we want a pretty darn dark effect, we'll choose Overlay to mush these two on top of each other. That is, the Dual Brush with the parent brush getting mushed together to create this amazing sort of blown out effect down here at the bottom of the panel.

If you want something that's truly dark indeed, you choose the lightening mode, which is Color Dodge. There is a totally different one called Linear Height that makes an absolute mess out of the brush. So you can experiment with those if you want to. However, if you want to do what is traditionally done, that is you're masking the Dual Brush inside of the larger brush, then go ahead and choose Multiply. Let me make this very clear. I'm going to switch back to crosshatch for just a second here. I want you to see what happens if I turn off Dual Brush. Notice that mode is set to Multiply for this one too. It generally is.

That's what most folks use when they're designing custom brushes. If I turn off Dual Brush, notice that I am just seeing the 35 pixel hard brush, and nothing else. If I paint a brushstroke out here in the image window, sure enough, I just get a standard brushstroke. That's because, this is the mask. As soon as you turn on the Dual Brush, and you set that dual brush, the hash marks in our case, to Multiply, then you're going to go ahead and lighten that background stroke. So the parent stroke actually disappears, and serves as a mask for the Dual Brush subject to Multiply once again.

So that's just how it works. Anyway, I'm going to switch over here to frosted glass again. We also have some Color Dynamics. That's where I'm going to end things. I want you to see that Pen Pressure Control is assigned to the Foreground/Background Jitter. Notice the Jitter value is set to 0%. That's fine. That way, what Jitter does occur is totally related to Pen Pressure and nothing more, because if you up that Jitter value, you're going to introduce random variations between the Foreground and Background color inside of the various dollops of paint and you don't want that.

So notice now what happens, when I go ahead and paint very lightly. I'm painting with the background color. If I paint harder, I'm painting with the foreground color. Notice the masking that's happened. Notice as soon as I pass over, brushstrokes that I've already drawn, that is areas that I've drawn inside the same brushstroke, while I'm pressing harder with the stylus, then I am increasing the darkness of those brushstrokes. If I start painting lighter, I'm decreasing the brightness of those brushstrokes, strictly because my background color is lighter, incidentally.

So that's where that masking comes into play. And that's how those advanced Brush options work, especially the Dual Brush options, which are so incredibly useful here inside the Brush panel. In the next exercise we're going to create our own custom brush.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Presets/Keyboard Shortcuts

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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