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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'll explain how the Load option works and how to best take advantage of Wet and Mix interacting with each other. Now the Load value is kind of a no- brainer frankly and it's not the most terribly useful value on earth. I'll go ahead and crank Load all the way down to 1% and basically, what it's determining is how loaded with paint is your brush, which I got to say is, I think, carrying the metaphor a little bit too far. But if you crank that Load value down, so notice that Wet is set to 0% which means that a red brush is going have no interaction with the other colors inside the image.
Because the brush is loaded with color to the least extent it can be, it's ultimately going to run out of color as we paint. So notice how it just went ahead and faded away. But you can already do that with the Brush tool; there's a Fade value if you want to fade your brush strokes and you can also fade brushstrokes by relenting on the stylus. You can let off the stylus and let the brushstroke drift away, that's another way to work. Not sure we need this darn Load value. But anyway, that's what it does and you can see, even at a very low value, it takes a while to run out of steam.
Anyway, I think it's very difficult to predict. What I suggest you do with the Load value is go ahead and crank it up to 100%. But don't try entering a hundred, 1-0- 0 because you'll end up getting some whacky mix of numbers there. Just go ahead and scrub the value all the way up or click the slider or that kind of thing. Now notice, if I drag inside of my Image window, I never run out of paint and why would I ever want to run out of paint, frankly. Then you might say, well, I can think of a good reason; why would you just want to sit here and paint a bunch of red all over your image and have no interaction whatsoever, doesn't it make sense to eventually run out of paint? Well, not if you're continuously loading paint from the image itself.
So, I'll go ahead and undo that brushstroke and I am going to take the Wet value up to something like 50% so that we are having a moderate amount of interaction between the foreground color and the colors inside the image. All right, I'll go ahead and press the Enter key to accept that change. Now, I'm going to change the Mix value. Now the Mix value determines how much of the foreground color is mixed with how much of the colors inherent inside of your composition. A higher Mix value goes ahead and favors the colors inside the composition; a lower Mix value favors the foreground color.
So let's go and take the Mix value down to something like 20%, for example, and then I'll go ahead paint in another brushstroke. You can see that we have a healthy interaction between the foreground color, red, and the other colors inside of the image. But mostly, we're getting red out of the mix, and we're just seeing the other colors come in from those background stripes around the edge of the brushstroke. All right, compare that to pretty much the opposite. Let's go ahead and take the Mix value this time up to 80%, so that we are favoring the other colors inside the composition and I'll paint a new brushstroke.
This time you can see how we have very little red at work that's being deposited by our brush. But we have an awful lot of the other colors being brought into the brushstroke as we paint along. Now, this item right here, in case you are thinking, well, I get the mix; the mix makes sense. We are trying to determine how much of the compositional colors are being mixed with the foreground color. That's fine, low values favor the foreground color; high values favor the compositional colors. What is with Wet? How are we creating what kind of interaction? What's going on there? Well, notice, how the color shifted as I painted through them.
So, the violets from the first stripe moved quite a bit inward and then we have the greens from the second stripe, and the blues from the third stripe and yellows from the fourth stripe. All right, I'm going to go ahead and undo these two brushstrokes by pressing Ctrl+Alt+E a couple of times there and let's go ahead and reduce that Wet value to 10%. I do engage the Arrow key to make that work there. Now, I'll paint across all of those colors like so, and notice, they just barely scoot along, so the violet moves over just a little bit; same with green; same with blue; same with yellow.
It's producing this kind of mosaic effect because I'm working with a hard brush. Again, the hard brush does not produce good-looking effects but we can clearly see what's going on, whereas if I go ahead and increase the Wet value to 90%, which I can do just by pressing the 9 key, then when I paint like so, I end up smearing the colors like crazy. So the violet moves all the way in to here and it gets mixed up with the green and the blue and the yellow and so on. So we are not seeing a clear smear of colors this time around; instead, we're just seeing all the colors pretty much get mixed in with each other.
If you want more of a smear effect, then you want to reduce that value, for example, let's say, I take it down to 40 degrees by pressing the 4 key and I will paint another brushstroke, and you can clearly see the colors smearing into each other. So that's how the Load, Mix, and Wet values work. In the next exercise, I'll explain how to use these two icons and load multiple colors into the so-called reservoir.
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