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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
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Loading brushes to enhance visual interest


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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry

Video: Loading brushes to enhance visual interest

With a prepared mixing layer, you can quickly load your brush with visually rich strokes. In this video, we will take a look at putting this technique to work. So where are we? I've now got my mixing layer set up, and I am going to start painting on layer 2, which I want to be sure I'm on. Now, I can go ahead and start sampling colors from these layers. One thing you want to make sure you have turned on is Sample All Layers. The way I am doing this is I am using the front barrel button of my Wacom Pen.
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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 brushes to enhance visual interest

With a prepared mixing layer, you can quickly load your brush with visually rich strokes. In this video, we will take a look at putting this technique to work. So where are we? I've now got my mixing layer set up, and I am going to start painting on layer 2, which I want to be sure I'm on. Now, I can go ahead and start sampling colors from these layers. One thing you want to make sure you have turned on is Sample All Layers. The way I am doing this is I am using the front barrel button of my Wacom Pen.

I've mapped the Option or Alt key to that button which is the way you pick up multiple colors in the Mixer brush. So just click down, and now I can start to paint my sky. You can see there is a couple of things going on here. We have color variation within the stroke, and I have also got my Texture turned on, so that the stokes also have some quality of the canvas in them as well, and that's what we want you here. So the combination starts to give you many qualities that you could match up to what you see in our traditional painting.

Okay that's a good start. I am going to do my water. Here's another little trick. Because this is a layer, I can switch, and if I want to just move this over away and center a little more, I can. Again, that's one of the benefits of having things on separate layers is not only does it isolate the painting, but it even means that those elements are movable relative to one another.

Now another little technique I sometimes use in this case is we have applied basic color, but I might add just a little bit of more visual interest into these color fields by taking a second color, and in this case, I am going to take a little darker green yellow kind of in here, and I am going to apply it very lightly so that I am just kind of skipping along the top of my canvas grain. So that I'm not completely replacing the color, but I am actually adding a secondary color over that color field, so that now there is kind of an optical blend that's happening within the viewer's eye.

Same here; I will grab a light color, and I am just going to just add a little visual interest here. In fact, I can even lighten this up. I will just temporally grab a solid color here. But you can see how I'm not replacing the color. I'm just adding a little bit of complexity to the textural element of this. I might want to do this so that my sky has a bit of a pseudo-gradient in it by going from a little more pressure to a little less pressure at the top, so there is a transition in my sky.

Okay, we've got our background. That's a good point to break to a new layer. Each time I can isolate these elements, it is going to make it easier to try things out, as well adjust the location, if I need to. Okay, well now that I've finished my first good layer and created a new one here, this might be a good time to save. You know, I always say, save often, save early. You can avoid headaches later on. I will go to the File menu, go to Save As, and I will put it in my Completed Painting folder, and I am going to call this beach_1.

Okay, we are now going to, on this third layer, I am going to put in a little bit of a distant island, and this is where I am going to switch to my Floppy Opaque. I will just show you a sample of this, quickly. One reason I like this brush is it has got a lot of variation in the stroke. It is all based on kind of the angle. You can see it almost kind of has a sumi brush sort of look, and I like that. There is a very expressive character that occurs with this brush. So I am going to start to introduce a little more detail by using a brush that has a little more character.

This is very mundane kind of just background, and that's all it is intended to be. While the island is intended to be background, too, I may want to just have a little more noticeable character to it. So let's just put an island in here. Where I make little errors like that, I can go in with my eraser and just clean it up. Now that I have that, one thing I might want to do is deal with the color of it.

It is a rather bright color right now, a little bit too much. So if I use the Command+U or Ctrl+U, I can call up my Hue Saturation dialog and here is where I can take down that saturation, maybe darken that a little bit, just play around with it, so I could kind of gets into the look that I want. Something in there looks good, something off in the distance, and definitely some atmospherics happening to it. So I am to a point here now where I have basically used my mixing palette to create some background art, and in the next movie, I am going to move forward, and now we are going to create the foreground elements. And I am going to show you an interesting technique we can take advantage of to make the work look very kind of interesting and complex and yet still have a way to use very loose strokes to create it.

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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