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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Sampling color from all layers


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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry

Video: Sampling color from all layers

Sample All Layers determines whether you paint and pick up color on a single layer or take all color into account. Whether a Sample All Layers is on or not will make a difference in the appearance of your strokes. Let's take a look. Up until now, we've been looking at imagery that's on the canvas, but now we are going to start talking about layers, and layers provides a great deal of power in connection with the Mixer brush. You can start to pick up color from underlying layers, paint on multiple layers, and build up an image, essentially, in the series of layers, and by doing so, it creates a safety net that enables you to do things that you might not otherwise try.
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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

Sampling color from all layers

Sample All Layers determines whether you paint and pick up color on a single layer or take all color into account. Whether a Sample All Layers is on or not will make a difference in the appearance of your strokes. Let's take a look. Up until now, we've been looking at imagery that's on the canvas, but now we are going to start talking about layers, and layers provides a great deal of power in connection with the Mixer brush. You can start to pick up color from underlying layers, paint on multiple layers, and build up an image, essentially, in the series of layers, and by doing so, it creates a safety net that enables you to do things that you might not otherwise try.

So we've now got a layer on here, and we are going to do a few things. First of all, the brush I am working with here, you know, it's somewhat wet. It's not going to run out of paint very quickly, and there is a little bit of mixed ratio going on, but let's just start by turning off the Load Capability. And if you remember from before, this makes this a brush that smears. Well, let's go ahead and smear now. Well, nothing is happening. Why not? Well, now we are working on a layer, and Sample All Layers is not enabled.

I want to show you this because this is one of the situations you can find yourself in where for some reason the brush isn't painting, and you don't understand why. The first thing you should do when you went into this situation is check to see if Sample All Layers is enabled. Once it is, we now have a brush that is acting as if it's a flat canvas, but in fact, this is a separate individual layer, and that's where the power of this comes in. You start to be able to do these things in a situation that is not altering artwork underneath of it.

Now another thing I wanted to show you here is I am going to create a new layer, and I am going to set this up, so I can paint, and I am going to take some black and just paint on this layer. What I want to show you is, when we go back to our intermediate layer and I turn off the Automatic Load command and enable some Wetness, I can once again uses this to smear, but I want to show you what happens. Remember, we are in an intermediate layer, but notice it's picking up from all layers.

So remember, this name is Sample All Layers. Even though we are underneath this black layer, Sample All Layers does not know the difference between working on top of color or being sandwiched in between of it. As a result, you'll get this effect. If you don't want this to happen, this is where you can take advantage - I'll do undo here - of been able to have Sample All Layers on, but turn off this layer. Now, I can go in here, and I can smear this, and I'm not having anything happen with the artwork underneath of it.

So one practice you might want to adapt to is when you're working, and you don't want to have this contamination from color above, is to just temporarily turn those layers off in order to be able to do your smearing, or whatever activity you are doing beneath it, without interacting with the color on the layer or layers above. Another important consideration to make is that when Sample All Layers is enabled, it imposes what I refer to as a performance tax.

Now on this particular image, which is at low- resolution, we are not going to notice any kind of slow-down because Sample All Layers is on, but I can tell you from experience, once you start working with higher resolution images, and just based on your system's performance, you can start to see some slow-down when Sample All Layers is on. So it is an effect that, in certain circumstances, you may find you need to be judicious about when it's turned on and when it's not turned on.

But just remember that it does have this performance tax that you may notice when you get into higher resolution imagery. Sample All Layers is a very powerful control, but it can also eat up processing power; otherwise, it opens up another door to be able to do some interesting brushwork that you might not otherwise be able to do, particularly in situations where you're working with layers.

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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