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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this first exercise I want to give you a sense of how brushing works inside of Photoshop. The reason is, all of the tools that we're going to be discussing in this chapter whether we're talking about let's say the Healing Brush or the Dodge tool or any of the tools in this midsection of the toolbox with the exception by the way, of the Gradient tool and the Paint Bucket tool, the rest of them, all rely on what's known as the Photoshop Brush Engine, which means that you're basically brushing in your edits ultimately, which means that you're ultimately brushing in your modifications.
The big challenge there is getting credible results, because you never want people to be able to see your brush strokes. You don't want them to see a clear delineation between what you modified and what you didn't modify. So it's very tricky; in order to figure that out especially if you're new to Photoshop, you need to have an understanding of what's going on under the hood where brushing is concerned. So I'm going to demonstrate the brush engine using the Brush tool right there, which is the most obvious way to demonstrate brushing in Photoshop.
You can get that tool either by clicking on it, the second tool in the second group right there or you can press the B key. So I'll go ahead and select the Brush. Notice that I'm working by the way inside of this image called Multiple exposures.psd. I'm responsible for this one. I shot a variety of different textures, and then I merged them together using the Overlay Blend mode. I was able to achieve a pretty interesting result here. That's going to serve as a great backdrop for my demonstration of the brush engine. In order to change the Size and Hardness which are your two primary Brush attributes inside of Photoshop, you can either go up here to the Options Bar and click on this down-pointing arrowhead, and then you'll notice that you have the Size value which is the diameter of your Brush and you have the Hardness which is exactly what you'd figure.
It's going to either give you a very soft or a hard brush. A Hardness of 0% gives you a very fuzzy brush indeed, whereas a Hardness of 100% gives you a sharp brush. Now, it's not jagged. I should tell you that, you're not going to get jagged edges unless you switch over to the Pencil tool, which always gives you jagged edges inside of Photoshop. But you're left with just a slim line of smoothing around the edge of that Circular Brush. That's the way things start off by default inside of Photoshop, circular that is.
Anyway, that's one way to get to the Brush attributes. The other way is to right-click with that Brush tool anywhere inside the Image window, and that brings up this pop-up panel here. I'm going to change the Size value, the Diameter to 40 pixels. I'm going to change the Hardness to 0%. So we have a soft brush. Then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel. Now, one of the things I should tell you is in these first few exercises, I'm going to be working with the Pen Tablet. Let me demonstrate why. If I were working with a mouse, if I just start painting with the mouse, then I get some pretty crude results and that's my attempt, drawing a circle with the mouse.
That's after 26 years of experience and you're painting with the mouse, not necessary one of my skills. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. And Before I start in with my Pen Tablet here, I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N in order to create a New layer. I'm going to call that New layer Sketchy. That way, I don't harm my original background image. Now notice that my attempt to the circle is much more elegant. I'm going to go ahead and undo. I should mention that the tablet that I'm using is a Wacom Intuos4 which is a really great device.
They start at about 230 bucks I believe. So if you're interested in getting great results, better results than you can achieve with the mouse that's for sure. If I can basically render a halfway decent cartoon here in front of you using the Brush tool, then just imagine the kind of things I might be able to pull off, or I use in the other tools whose results are much more forgiving by the way, because you're going to see obvious brush strokes when you're painting with the Brush tool.
That's kind of the idea. But when you're painting with the likes of the Healing Brush and let's say the Dodge tool and the Burn tool and those guys, your effects are a lot more subtle and therefore your modifications are less likely to go noticed. In just a moment, I'll go ahead and finish up here. But one of the things I want you to notice is that these brush strokes look like fairly traditional brush strokes, maybe a little air brushy, because they have sort of a soft quality to them. But the thing is painting inside of Photoshop delivers very different results than what you're going to achieve using traditional tools.
The biggest difference is that Photoshop is incapable of painting a continuous line. Now, that may surprise you, because it looks like we have an awful lot of continuous brush strokes inside this image. But I'll demonstrate just what an illusion that is in the very next exercise.
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