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Painting with the Mixer Brush

From: Photoshop for Designers: Textures

Video: Painting with the Mixer Brush

A simple effective and fun way of creating your own textured background is to paint in yourself using the Bristle Brushes and the Mixer Brush tool. As our starting point, I'm employing a grid here, so I've gone to the View menu and turned my Grid on, that's not strictly necessary, but if you want to do that and if you want to set the Grid options that's in your Preferences, I've chosen to have a grid line every 20% and a subdivision of 1. Very important for the effect that I'm trying to achieve is that I have a background of transparency, because when we use the Mixer Brush, if that background will white or any other color then the brush strokes would blend into that color.

Painting with the Mixer Brush

A simple effective and fun way of creating your own textured background is to paint in yourself using the Bristle Brushes and the Mixer Brush tool. As our starting point, I'm employing a grid here, so I've gone to the View menu and turned my Grid on, that's not strictly necessary, but if you want to do that and if you want to set the Grid options that's in your Preferences, I've chosen to have a grid line every 20% and a subdivision of 1. Very important for the effect that I'm trying to achieve is that I have a background of transparency, because when we use the Mixer Brush, if that background will white or any other color then the brush strokes would blend into that color.

So to start with I want to just lay down the color without a blending into anything else. Also, I'm going to need to turn off my type layer to begin with. I'm going to use this preset of Wet which is going to lay down the paint, nice and quickly, but I don't want to paint in black. So I'm going to Undo those brush strokes and I'm going to decide upon a color theme and I'm going to have Kuler help me out. So I'm going to come to Window>Extensions>Kuler.

Now I could create my own theme, but just to be quick and expedient about this, I'm going to use one of the already created things from other Kuler users and I'm going to use this one, skater. To add that to my Swatches, I'll click on that button, and then I'll come and dismiss Kuler. So now all on my layer, my Mixer Brush tool chosen, choose the color that I want, Wet as my mixer brush preset. I need to make sure that both of these options load brush after each stroke and clean brush both of these on.

So then I'm just going to start painting in. There really is no right or wrong with this and I'm just going to get a different result and that's fine. So I'm going to be deliberately sloppy which for me isn't hard and you'll see how as I stop painting with the darker color and it interacts with the lighter color, we get this interesting so blend of the two, maybe I'll increase my Brush Size a bit. Something to bear in mind about using the Mixer Brush is that it is very taxing on your computers processes, so if you're working with a large file or if you don't have as much RAM as you might like and frankly, who does, then your brush strokes can get behind you.

We're working with a relatively small file size here. Then I'll choose my third color and again, we get a nice blend of those colors where they interact and we're building the texture with the strokes of the Bristle Brush. Now I could finish there. Maybe that's all I need, but if I wanted to maybe get a bit more interaction of these colors, I'm going to just come and change my options. I'm going to choose now to have Very Wet as the preset that I'm using and I'm going to turn these two options off.

So basically, what we're working with now is the color that's already there and it's going to stop blending these colors into each other and let's get it nice and dirty. So this wall that I'm painting here was obviously painted by a very unskilled painter, but that's good that's the effect that we're off to. You see as I moving to gray, swipe over that, I can then bring some of that color back into my lighter color up here paint in those brush strokes. To finish off my background, I'm going to add a solid layer of white and I want this to go underneath layer 1, so I'm going to hold down my Command key while I click on Create New layer and then Command and my Backspace key to fill it with white, just so we're not seeing any transparency coming through that.

Now I'll turn my Type on, so I'm going to change the color of my Type and White is my Background Color so I'll press Command and my Backspace key to make it white. Maybe I'll reduce its Opacity and finally, I will turn of my grid, Command+", we will do that or View menu Show>Grid. Now, just to work this background texture into the type, I am going to turn off the type layer, come to my Channels panel, Command+click on the RGB channel, full that background texture.

Come back to my layers, turn my Type back on and then make that into a layer mask, so if you were to see this without the background and let me just make that solid color for a moment. It would look like that we still have the texture of the brush strokes in the letters and it just makes for a better blend of the type and the background. So there we see one of the many things that you can do with the Mixer Brush and the Bristle Brushes, two new and exciting tools in Photoshop CS5.

I highly recommend you check out John Derry's course in the lynda.com Online Training Library on using the Mixer Brush tool.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Textures
Photoshop for Designers: Textures

60 video lessons · 19319 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
  2. 6m 52s
    1. Working with textures
      6m 52s
  3. 30m 19s
    1. Creating a rocklike texture with Clouds
      6m 17s
    2. Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds
      3m 43s
    3. Creating a grunge effect with Fibers
      11m 30s
    4. Applying a texture channel with Lighting Effects
      4m 22s
    5. Adding an effect and blending with Lens Flare
      4m 27s
  4. 15m 20s
    1. Applying textures with Texturizer
      6m 8s
    2. Applying realistic cracks with Craquelure
      5m 11s
    3. Preparing an image for a stained glass effect
      4m 1s
  5. 30m 48s
    1. Adding noise to an overlay layer
      1m 33s
    2. Adding film grain
      6m 5s
    3. Painting with grain
      4m 10s
    4. Adding grain to a Camera Raw image
      2m 21s
    5. Matching grain when cloning
      5m 32s
    6. Accentuating texture with Speckle grain
      3m 4s
    7. Creating a split-toning effect with Stippled grain
      4m 20s
    8. Beyond the Mezzotint filter
      3m 43s
  6. 18m 5s
    1. Creating deckled edges and sepia tone
      8m 6s
    2. Adding water stains
      5m 41s
    3. Adding cracks
      4m 18s
  7. 38m 16s
    1. Blending textures with Soft Light
      4m 15s
    2. Blending textures with Hard Light
      54s
    3. Blending groups
      3m 59s
    4. Blending textures with layer masks
      3m 49s
    5. Creating an antique poster
      5m 59s
    6. Blending mode sandwich
      4m 34s
    7. Blending texture from a pattern fill
      4m 9s
    8. Applying texture to an uneven surface
      10m 37s
  8. 42m 43s
    1. Creating a watercolor effect
      5m 30s
    2. Painting on canvas
      9m 57s
    3. Creating a rubber stamp
      8m 42s
    4. Converting a photograph to a drawing with Find Edges
      2m 58s
    5. Combining a black-and-white halftone with color images
      5m 6s
    6. Creating a textured duotone effect with Conté Crayon
      2m 33s
    7. Creating an abstract image with Mosaic
      6m 2s
    8. Creating a reticulation effect
      1m 55s
  9. 59m 11s
    1. Finding and installing brushes
      2m 19s
    2. Creating a shatter effect
      3m 58s
    3. Creating a smoke brush
      3m 50s
    4. Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush
      9m 56s
    5. Creating coffee rings
      4m 13s
    6. Creating a Bokeh texture
      9m 50s
    7. Creating corner brushes
      4m 24s
    8. Sampling a brush stroke
      3m 3s
    9. Creating a rust jewel brush
      5m 43s
    10. Building density with brush settings
      6m 45s
    11. Painting with the Mixer Brush
      5m 10s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Adding texture to type using clipping masks
      2m 25s
    2. Applying texture to type with layer effects
      2m 53s
    3. Applying texture to type using a layer mask
      5m 33s
    4. Painting with a texture brush
      4m 31s
    5. Blending type into background texture
      2m 8s
  11. 17m 55s
    1. Using the texture actions set
      3m 12s
    2. Editing an action
      3m 18s
    3. Creating your own texture action
      5m 14s
    4. Finding, downloading, and installing actions
      3m 2s
    5. Applying texture styles
      3m 9s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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