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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
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Loading the brush with multiple colors from an image


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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry

Video: Loading the brush with multiple colors from an image

Painting with a brush loaded with multiple colors produces a vibrant, rich stroke that adds complexity to artwork. In this video, we will look at how to pick up multiple colors using the keyboard shortcut. Now normally, when I paint with my brush, I get a solid color, and that's what I've been doing pretty much all through the title. But I want to show you now how you can really enrich your brushstrokes. It's very simple. All you need to use is the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows, and in doing so, I am going to hold it down now.
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  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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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
2h 27m Intermediate Jul 20, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join John Derry, a pioneer in the field of digital painting, as he shows how to master the natural-media painting features introduced in Photoshop CS5 in Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush. This course shows how to use the Mixer Brush, the Bristle Tips feature, and a new mechanism for blending colors in Photoshop to add beautiful, painterly effects to photographs, enhance artwork with paint-like strokes and illustrations, and paint entirely new art from scratch. This course also covers customizing brush characteristics and surface textures, applying keyboard shortcuts to paint smoothly and efficiently, and using a Wacom tablet to get the most out of Photoshop CS5’s painting features. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the axes of motion with a Wacom tablet
  • Choosing a brush shape and Bristle Tip
  • Adjusting brush angle
  • Loading color and control the behavior of the Mixer Brush
  • Modifying surface texture
  • Simulating the texture of canvas
  • Saving tool presets for brushes
  • Creating a painting from a photograph
  • Painting from scratch with the Mixer Brush
Subjects:
Design Digital Painting
Software:
Photoshop Wacom
Author:
John Derry

Loading the brush with multiple colors from an image

Painting with a brush loaded with multiple colors produces a vibrant, rich stroke that adds complexity to artwork. In this video, we will look at how to pick up multiple colors using the keyboard shortcut. Now normally, when I paint with my brush, I get a solid color, and that's what I've been doing pretty much all through the title. But I want to show you now how you can really enrich your brushstrokes. It's very simple. All you need to use is the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows, and in doing so, I am going to hold it down now.

You can see that when I hold it down I get a different cursor, and this is telling me that this is going to pick up multiple colors. So let's just take a very obvious place here on some colors I have pre-mixed onscreen. I am just clicking on there. Now when I paint, you can see the stroke has multiple colors on it and depending on which angle and which way you go, you'll either add mixture from one side of the brush or the other, or you will also get the mixture exactly as you saw it on the screen. But I find that, as you have seen here, I have kind of added two or three colors in places so that I can intelligently load my brush.

For example, let's go right here, and now I have got a brush that's combined yellow and red. Or here, I can do a red and a purple. So this gives me a really nice way to start to have a much more complexity going on in my strokes. You can already see, just looking at the strokes onscreen, there is a lot more energy happening in the strokes, because they're more complex. Multiple colors in a brush stroke will give you a very nice enrichment of your strokes that really adds vibrance and energy and life to them.

So this is one way you can really add this character to your brushstrokes. I can use the Option or Alt key, but what I've done is I use the Stylus button on the barrel of the Wacom Pen, and I assign that right to the front button. This lets me select colors right off the screen and then paint with them. I am going to show you how to do that now. We will go to System Preferences, and that would be your Control Panel on Windows, and what we want to make sure is here now you want to select the pen you want to assign this, to and once again, if you haven't done this you want to assign this to an application-specific setting, so that you can have it exactly working in Photoshop and not other applications.

You will see here that a modifier is something you can add to your barrel button. I'm using the front one. Again, you may choose to do something else, but I just selected the Option key and made that the preferred keyboard shortcut for the front of that. Now while we're here, I am going to show you another trick I did. I used the back barrel button, and I assigned keystroke to it. So I went in the Keystroke, and all I put in there was zero, okay? Just put a zero in there.

I am naming it Paint/Smear Toggle, which will now appear on my little LED readout on the control surface, but I will show you what this means once this is here, both as a keyboard shortcut and as a shortcut on the Wacom pen. So now that I've got this on here, I'm just holding down my Option key, clicking and painting. I find this to be so intuitive because it's the button right near the front of the pen, which is conceptually where the paint is coming out of your brush. So by having this button right here, it just makes total sense to use with Mixer brush.

Now let's look at this other one. I want you to notice up here what's going to happen with Wet. When I press zero once, it switches to 100%. When I click it in rapid succession twice, it changes back to zero. So one click gets me to a full, wet, smeary brush. A double-click of zero gets me back to my previous opaque state. I've got my barrel pen set at the same way. So a single click, and you can watch up here, I am now in a very smeary brush.

A quick double-click on my button, and I am back to my Opaque brush. So you have got two very powerful functions mapped to the Barrel buttons on the Wacom pen, and the combination of these gives you a very elegant solution to altering, on the fly, the behavior of your brush, and I can't state highly enough how much this really makes sense to put these functions on the Barrel button. Then other nice thing is when you're in other tools, for example, the Option key will become useful in various ways.

So not only do you have the ability to use it with the Mixer brush itself, but it also becomes a very useful tool outside of the Mixer brush itself. So I really like having these functions assigned to the button, and I think once you try it, you'll like it as well.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush.


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Q: What factors affect how well the mixer brushes in Photoshop perform? Does document size (i.e. 72dpi vs. 240dpi) affect the performance of the brushes? How can I maximize brush performance?
A: The recordings for this tutorial were generally done at a standard screen resolution, but a real-world situation will often require higher resolutions. For example, offset printing generally dictates files at 300ppi (pixels per inch). Inkjet printing is often discussed in terms of 240ppi. For web-based viewing, imagery at 72ppi is considered acceptable. You can easily determine the pixel resolution of an image by multiplying the size in inches by the above ppi (pixels per inch) factors.
Let's use a typical real-world size as an example: 20" X 24". This is a common photographic print and frame size.

72ppi = 1440p X 1728p = 2,488,320 pixels
150ppi = 3000p X 3600p = 10,800,000 pixels
300ppi = 6000p X 7200p = 43,200,000 pixels

Note that each of these resolution factors quadruples the total pixel count.
It is the amount of pixels being manipulated that dictates both application and brush performance. With this in mind, we can state that performance decreases as image pixel size increases. There are three primary factors that affect an application's ability to handle large pixel-based manipulation.
For the full FAQ, please download the PDF file here
 
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