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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.
In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the Mixer Brush which is a new tool inside of Photoshop CS5. Now, don't worry we'll come back to Bristle brush as now the we've learned so much about them before we are done with this chapter. In fact, our final project will be to combine the Mixer Brush, which is a tool, along with the Bristle brushes, which as you know our custom brush settings in order to transform a photograph into a painting. It's a very exciting project. But in the meantime, I need to show you how the Mixer Brush works. So, go ahead and open Color stripes.psd it's found inside the 31_bristle_brushes folder.
Then click and hold on the brush tool icon here in the toolbox and choose the Mixer Brush tool. Now, you may notice, those of you who loaded dekeKeys, that I've got the B key cycling between the Brush tool and the Pencil tool. Frankly, that's probably not the way you want things to work. You probably want the B key to cycle between the Brush tool and the Mixer Brush. If that's sounds attractive to you let me show you what to do here. Go up to the Edit menu and choose the Keyboard Shortcuts command or you can mash your fist and press the K key, and then switch your Shortcuts to tools.
So, by default it's going to be Application menus. I want you to go ahead and choose tools. Then scroll your way down until you come to the various Brush tools, Brush, Pencil, Color Replacement and Mixer Brush. Click on the Pencil tool shortcut to make it active then press the Backspace key, then click in the shortcut column next to the Mixer Brush tool and press the B key. You don't have to press Shift+B, by the way, B by itself is fine. And then click on the Accept button. Now, I'd like you to update whatever shortcuts you are working on now. A while back, I went ahead and saved out a new shortcuts file that's based on dekeKeys that's I have been calling One-on-One.
Whatever yours is called go ahead and update it by clicking on this first of the two floppy disk icons and then click OK. Now, if you bring up this flyout menu once again. You'll see that B switches you between the Brush tool and the Mixer Brush tool. All right, with the Mixer Brush active, I want you to go ahead and right-click inside the Image window and scroll to the top of the brushes list right there. You'll see that list of six round brushes in a row. I want you to select the final one which is Hard Round Pressure Opacity.
In other words, if you're using a pressure sensitive stylus, it's going to affect the opacity of the stroke as opposed to its size. So, go ahead and select that guy. The Hardness value will immediately be a 100%. That's not going to produce the best looking results but it will produce the most illustrative results. You'll be able to see what in the world's going on with this brush. I am also going to increase the Size of the brush to something like 175 px let's say and then press the Enter key a couple of times in order to hide that panel.
Now, with any luck you're seeing the Default settings which are Wet set to 80, Loads set to 75, Mix set to 90 and Flow set to a 100%. I would like you to go ahead and turn Sample All Layers on. What that means is we are working on an independent layer called paint here inside the Layers panel. So, make sure that top layer is selected. We are going to be able to sample from all the other layers below it and above if they existed, and paint the new information onto an independent layer which is the best way to work under most circumstances.
Now, I am going to dial in a color of bright red. So, the Hue value is already at 0 degrees so I'll change the Saturation value to 100 and Brightness to 100 as well. We are now ready to go ahead and give the Mixer Brush a try. I am just going to paint from one side of the image over to the other in order to smear all the other colors inside the composition. Now, basically what's happening is this. The Mixer Brush goes ahead and loads the cursor with the foreground color by default.
But you can also load it with the sampled area from your image that might contain multiple colors at a time and that's what Adobe calls the Reservoir. So, this color is supposedly the reservoir from which you're drawing color and then mixing it into the image. I don't really care to think of it as a reservoir because I am not sure that we need to make up a new word for it but it's just a color that we are painting in. And we are painting that color into the extent determined by this Wet value there combined with Load and Mix.
So, for example, the Wet value is determining how wet the canvas is, that is how wet the other colors inside of your image are. If you have a high Wet value then you are going to be drawing a lot of the colors from the larger composition as opposed to that foreground color. If you reduce the Wet value - and the easiest way to do this by the way, one of the little bugs here on a PC anyway, is if I enter let's say 7, notice that my insertion marker, my blinking insertion marker there, moves automatically before the 7.
So, if I try to enter 70 then I end up changing that value to 07 instead. So, you're better off working one of two ways if you want to modify this value. Either, click on this arrowhead and then just go ahead and modify the slider or of course, you can scrub the value as well. You can scrub Wet if you want to, or notice this. If you press the key on the keyboard when the Mixer Brush is active then it's going to affect the Wet value. So, 0 makes the Wet value of 100%, 1 makes it 10%, 01 makes it 1% and so on.
I'm going to go ahead and crank that guy down to 0%. Now, notice if I go ahead and paint yet another brush stroke all we are seeing is foreground color because the canvas is no longer wet. The image itself is dry and so I am drawing color exclusively from the foreground color and nothing more. Now, one other value I want you to understand at this point is the Flow value because it's very easy to demonstrate when the Wet value is set to 0%. The Flow value is how the dollops of paint interact with each other.
Recall that from our earlier discussions of brushes back in the fundamentals portion of the series. So, it's not strictly speaking opacity although it ends up looking a lot like opacity. But let's say I take this value down to 20%. So, normally it's 100%, I'll take it down to 20% and then I'll paint with this low Wetness value. Notice that we are seeing the various brushes overlap and interact with each other. If I take that value down even lower, let's say I take it down to 10% and try that again.
Then we end up with something that looks like a fairly translucent brushstroke. But what's really happening is each one of these dollops, each one of these circles is interacting with the one preceding it at an opacity value of 10%. So, when you're working with a hard brush like this you can really see that interaction, when you're working with a soft brush everything tends to blend together into one translucent brushstroke. Generally, speaking you are going to leave this guy set to 100% but I just want you to have a sense of how it works.
All right, so there's a couple of values that are available to us Wet and Flow. Also, notice that when I set the Wet value down to 0% Mix disappears, Mix becomes dimmed because you have to have a little bit of wetness, little bit of interaction for the Mix value to have any meaning. I'll explain both how Wet and Mix interact with each other, as well as how you use the Load option, in the next exercise.
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