Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Photoshop isn't just a photo editing application. It also offers sophisticated brush features for digital artists. The Brushes panel alone offers a countless number of possible combinations of brushes. Before you open the Brushes panel, you have to select a Brush Type tool, or else the entire Brushes panel will be grayed out. Its options won't be available to you. A Brush Type tool includes not only the painting tools like the Brush tool and the Pencil tool, but any tool that uses a brush tip like the Toning tools, the Healing Brushes and the History Brushes.
I am going to select the regular Brush tool here in the toolbox. Now I can select a specific brush either from the Brushes panel or from up here in the Options bar, where there is a Brush Picker. I'll click on this arrow to open the Brush Picker. This isn't a bad place to go, if all you want is a plain, round, soft or hard edge brush. You can just select it here, and you can vary the diameter and hardness here or by using the bracket keys on your keyboard as I have taught you in other movies. I am going to click on the Options bar to close the Brush Picker though, because it really isn't the best option when you want to take advantage of all that Photoshop has to offer in the way of brushes.
Instead, I'm going to open my Brushes panel. You can do that from the Window menu or if you have the painting workspace selected as I do here, the Brushes panel will open right in that workspace. This is the way the Brushes panel looks when it first opens. The Brush Presets option is selected on the left and that displays in the box on the right, a preview of every one of the brushes in the default brush set. If you select one of those brushes here, you'll see a preview of the kind of stroke that it makes down here.
So let's say, for example, that I just select a regular round brush. I see the stroke change down here, and then I can go to the Brush Tip Shape option in the left-hand column to bring up some controls for changing the shape of this brush tip. So, for example, I could change the Roundness of the brush tip by typing another number in here. I have just made an oval brush and I see the stroke representation change. I put that back to a 100% to show you another setting here, the Spacing setting.
This controls the amount of space between each brush mark. If I drag that slider to the right, with a plain round brush, you get this interesting effect, which is basically a brush that draws a dotted line. So if I come into the image and drag, I can get a dotted line like that. I am going to undo that with Command+Z on a Mac or Ctrl+Z on a PC. So no matter which brush tip you select up here, you'll be able to customize that brush tip with these options in this area. But there are lots more options in the Brushes panel.
There are all these various dynamic options. The dynamic options introduce variations of color, size and scattering in the way that a brush paints. In order to show you some of these options, I would like to choose a more interesting brush. I am right over to the right and scroll down and select this grass brush. As an example of the dynamic options, let's take a look at Scattering. If I click the checkbox next to Scattering, that means that Scattering will be active for this selected brush. If I want to customize the way that Scattering occurs, I have to do something else, which is to click on the word Scattering.
And when I do that, I get these special controls for Scattering on the right. I use the brush stroke preview down here to see what the various controls are going to do. So for example, I'll take the Scatter slider and I'll move it to the right, and I can see that this makes the individual brush marks move apart from one another. If I try varying the Count slider, I can see that there are now more pieces of grass in every brush mark. There's no way you could possibly remember what all of the variations on all these options do. So what I suggest that you do is select the options with the brush that you want and just try them out and experiment.
Let's see for example what Color Dynamics does. This one is really interesting. I am going to make Color Dynamics active for this brush and I'm going to click on the word Color Dynamics to see these controls. Notice that a lot of the controls include the word Jitter. Jitter means randomness. So for example, if I were to increase the Hue Jitter, I would get brush strokes of varying random hues. To show you how this works, I am going to change the background and foreground colors in my toolbox. I could choose colors from the color picker or the Color panel or the Swatches.
I am going to do it by using the Eyedropper tool here. You'll notice that if you look at the Options bar for the Eyedropper, there are a couple of new features here. In the Sample Size menu, you now have more choices than you had before about the number of pixels at this tool will take into account when you click with it in an image. There's another choice here in the Sample menu. In Photoshop CS4, you can choose between sampling from All Layers in a file or from the Current Layer. This particular file has only one layer, but I wanted to bring those new features to your attention.
So with the Eyedropper tool, I am going to sample a color. I'll click on one of these green colors and then I'm going to switch my foreground and background colors by pressing X on the keyboard and I'll sample another color. Sampling colors out of an image is a good way to get colors that work well together. And then, I'll go back and get my Brush tool again to bring my Brushes' options back. Now I am going to take some of these Color Dynamics sliders and drag them over to the right. So I am going to increase the randomness between foreground and background colors, and the randomness of the Hue, the Saturation, the Brightness and the Purity of my brush strokes.
The results are always a surprise, but they're often a pleasant surprise. So now I am going to come into the image and I am going to drag with this brush and I can paint in some graphic brush strokes. And if I change these sliders again, I'll get different colors. Now if I want to set the Dynamic options in the Brushes panel back to their defaults for use with another brush, then what I need to do is to click on each option I want to reset, like the Color Dynamics for example, and then go to the Brushes panel menu over here and choose Clear Brush Controls.
I can protect any one of these categories from changes by clicking its lock. I am going to go back and click on Brush Presets, and I am going to select another brush. Here's another grass brush and then I'll change something about its Color Dynamics for example. I'll increase the Hue, and the Saturation, and the Brightness Jitter and I'll change some of its Scattering features, perhaps I'll scatter those brush strokes a little bit and I'll move the Count slider to the left, and then I'm going to drag with my brush to see what it does. Now let's say I really like those changes and I want to save them as a special custom brush.
To do that I'll go to be Brushes panel menu and I'll choose New Brush Preset. I'll give this brush a name, maybe Dune Grass 2, and I'll click OK. And now if I go back to my Brush Presets, I'll find that new brush here at the bottom of the default set of brushes. So I can select it at anytime. However, this brush really isn't safe, because there are other sets of brushes that I can load here. If I go back to the Brushes panel and I look down here, you'll see that Photoshop ships with quite a few other sets of brushes.
So if I were to choose one of those and load it, I would lose my brand-new brush that's been placed in the default brushes. So if I want to keep that brush then what I have to do is go to the Edit menu, choose Preset Manager, choose Brushes as the Preset Type, and from there click on my new brush and then click Save Set and that saves that whole set of brushes with the new brush in it. So I might save this as defaults with dune brush, and this new brush set will be saved along with all the other brush sets in the proper place for Photoshop to find it.
So I'll just click save and I'll click Done. And then even if I change the current set of brushes, I can always go back and load my custom brushes from the Brushes panel menu. This is only a taste of the many combinations of brushes that you can create with the controls in the Brushes panel. You can imagine that the combinations are almost countless and that the many options they offer give digital artists an almost infinite number of possibilities for expressing themselves.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 76786 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 94774 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 62182 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 31612 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.