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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 am going to demonstrate what to do if you're getting strange results when painting with a Bristle brush in combination with a pressure sensitive stylus. I'm still working inside Brush settings diagram.psd. I've modified the contents of the RBM along path layer but whether you did that along with me or not is inconsequential because we are going to be switching to a different layer comp. Now, bear in mind that what we want is this effect right there, particularly if we go ahead and reinstate our settings. I'm going to do that because I did make one modification you may recall.
I am going to switch to the Brush panel, grab that Stiffness value, which I raised in the previous exercise, and lower it back to 50% or if you did this along with me, if you created a new brush then you can click on that brush there inside the Brush Presets panel and that will go ahead and reload those settings as well. But however you get there the Size value should be 75 pixels, Shape should be Round Blunt, Bristles 30% all the way down the list as diagramed here inside the image window. All right, so I am going to close the Brush panel for a moment.
This is the brush stroke that we should get if we are working with the standard pressure sensitive stylus. However I'm going to switch to the very last layer comp. It's called Experiment down here at the bottom. It goes ahead and switches out all the brush strokes for an empty layer so that we have the opportunity to paint our own and it features a headline that says, "Try' Em Out for Yourself," by golly. Anyway, I'm going to close the Layer Comps panel. I'm going to scroll to the bottom of layers list, and right there, third from the bottom of the stack is a layer called paint on me. I am going to do it.
I'll start by painting with the mouse and notice what a widely different effect you get when painting with a mouse. Now, it's not to say it's necessarily bad. You can actually achieve some pretty great effects using a mouse. The only problem is that your paint strokes are likely to be a little clumsy and of course you don't have any of that pressure sensitive or tilt input. All right, I'll go ahead and undo that mouse stroke and I'll grab my pressure sensitive stylus right here and things aren't really looking right. Notice that I'm just seeing this collection of dots and that's it, which is of course the brush itself, the dollops of paint associated with the brush.
Then if I paint with the brush I end up getting this really light effect here. Now, I am bearing down but as soon as I start releasing I can see the individual bristles in this Bristle brush and that doesn't look anything like that brush I saw a moment ago. If I bring back up my Layer Comps panel and click on the very first layer comp I should be seeing this. Why in the world am I seeing this? They are the exact same brush stroke. I am using a pressure sensitive stylus. I've got my Wacom Intuos4. What in the world is the problem? Well, let's go ahead and hide the Layer Comps panel once again.
I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+A, Cmd+A on the Mac in order to select the contents of this layer and then press the Backspace key to get rid of that brushstroke so I can redraw it and get to the bottom of this. I'll go to the Brush Presets panel since it's handy and click on that little eye next to the Brush icon to bring up my Bristle brush preview. Now, I'll go ahead and draw this brushstroke again and notice - this is very curious. My brush in the Bristle Brush Preview is straight up and down. It's never wavering back and forth and I am tilting my stylus like crazy.
What in the world is the problem? Well, you can try a variety of different things. Basically what's happened is Photoshop has gotten mixed up. So, the driver and Photoshop and the tablet and the stylus, somewhere along the line we have a breakdown in communications. So, you could try turning your tablet on and off if you want to, you could try updating your driver software. That's sort of a defcon thing to do because it takes you know a certain amount of time. The easiest thing to do in my opinion and the thing that always works is to just quit Photoshop.
So, go up to the File menu and choose the Exit command or you can press Ctrl+Q or Cmd+Q on the Mac where you would choose the Quit command and then if you want to save your changes, by all means do. I don't want to, so I'll click on the No button or the Don't save button on the Mac and then that takes me back to the Bridge in my case because I had the Bridge running in the background. Now, I'll just make sure I am in the 31_bristle_brushes folders, as I am. I'll double-click on Brush settings diagram.psd to relaunch Photoshop and then I'll go ahead and zoom in a click here.
I still have the Brush tool selected and I'm still obviously working with that same Bristle brush because I can see the Bristle brush preview. I am probably not working on the proper layer comp. So let's go ahead and advance from Round Blunt Medium, check out what it looks like, to Experiment, and I'll close the Layer Comps panel. Make sure that the paint on me layer is active, which it is, and let's try it again. Now, I'll grab my stylus and good news, the cursor is responding as if I have tilt going on. As soon as I began painting I can see the tilt there inside the Bristle brush preview and now I'm getting the proper result.
So, just bear that in mind. The biggest problem that can occur, in my experience anyway - because you might have problems with the pen pressure being recognized as well. But the biggest problem I run into is all of a sudden the tilt control goes out the window. Photoshop is absolutely unaware of the tilt. You can see what a big difference that tilt is going to make in the quality of your brushstrokes. So, if at any point you're seeing this effect here, you have a pressure sensitive stylus and yet you're not seeing any depth associated with your cursor and you're not seeing any back and forth movement in the Bristle brush preview, that means the tilt control has gone and you have to reboot Photoshop.
If you are seeing this number where the Bristle brush preview is moving around all over the place and you can see tilt in your cursor then everything is A-OK.
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