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Another way in which painting has been improved in Photoshop CS5 is with the introduction of a new tool, the Mixer Brush tool, which allows you to realistically mix paint blending colors on the brush with colors on the canvas as you paint. You can use the Mixer Brush to create a painting from scratch or you can use it on it on a photograph creating a painting of sorts from the photograph. You can see an example here. This example took me only about 10 or 20 minutes to make. And I don't have any particular painting skills. I am a photographer. Here's the original image from which I started and here's I where I ended up using the Mixer Brush along with several Preset Bristle tips.
Here's another painting that I made from a photograph. And here's the original photograph on which I am going to work in this movie to show you how to use the Mixer Brush. First, I will go over to the toolbar and I'll select the Mixer Brush tool. Then I am going to go to the Brush Presets panel and I'll select the first of the Bristle Tips here, the Round Point Stiff. And then I am going to go to the Brush panel, I'll make sure that Brush Tip Shape is highlighted and if it's not I'll click on it. And then I'll go to the Bristle Qualities, where I can change various properties of this bristle tip.
I'll make it little less stiff and maybe I'll change its angle. Both important things to do when you are painting with the mouse rather than a tablet. Next, I am going to make a new layer to paint on. I'll open the Layers panel and make a new layer and then I'll go up to the options bar for the tool, and I am going to check Sample All Layers so that it picks up paint from the background layer. Next, I am going to select a color to load on to the brush. There are many ways to do that. I am just going to press the I key and leave it held down which switches me temporarily to the Eyedropper tool and then I'll come into the image and I am going to click and hold for a second and you'll see the sampling ring.
That's a new option for the Eyedropper tool. I'll select this red color, and then I'll release my I key which takes me back to the Mixer Brush. Up here in the Options bar for the Mixer Brush, you can see that color in the Current Brush Load well. Before I start painting, I want to set some options in the Options bar of the Mixer Brush that will impact the way that the paint on the brush interacts with the paint on the canvas. The Wet setting determines the wetness of the paint on the canvas, not the wetness of the paint on the brush.
The Load setting determines how much paint will load onto the brush. The less paint loaded the faster the brush will dry out, as I make a stroke. And the Mix setting defines the amount of paint that's mixed from canvas to brush. When the mix is high, I won't get much of the color that I've loaded on the brush when I paint. If I want the brush to contribute more color to the mix and have less of the underlying color from the photo, then I'd lower the Mix percentage. Rather than have to choose each one of these options separately every time, I'll like to use the preset combinations over here in this menu.
For example, if I choose Dry, which gives me these settings, I'll just be painting with the color that I've loaded on the brush without mixing in any of the underlying paint. So I'll come in here and paint a little bit on the tent and you will see what I mean. I'll use zoom in a bit so you can see that closer. If I go back up to that menu of Presets and I choose Very Wet that gives me different settings. These settings will paint with the loaded color but mix it with the paint on the canvas as if the paint on the canvas were wet.
So if I come back to the tent and I start painting with red now, and I go and enter the blue area of the tent, you can see that the colors are mixing as I paint. Now, I am going to select another bristle tip for the Mixer Brush. I'll go back to the Brush Presets panel and I'll select the round blunt medium stiff bristle tip. I'll go to the Brush panel, I am going to reduce the density of the number of bristles in this brush, and then I might change the angle a little too. I am going to zoom back out so you can see the whole image, and then I am going to come down to the bottom right of the image and select the green from the grass here.
Again pressing the I key, clicking, releasing and releasing the I key. I still have this preset set to Very Wet. So now when I come in and start to paint here, my brush is interacting with the green colors in the grass of the photo below. And so I can get this nice variegated color in the grass. So far, I have been painting with the solid colors on the brush, but I can also paint with multiple colors on the brush. To do that, I am going to sample multiple colors from the image.
I'll get another bristle tip to show this feature. I am going to go back to the Round Point Stiff Brush and then I am going to come into the image and I want to sample some colors from this tree bark and then paint the tree. I am going to make the brush a little bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key. Then I am going to hold down the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on the PC to sample multiple colors from the tree. As I do, keep your eye up here on the Current Brush Load well, and you'll multiple colors appear there. So I hold the Option or the Alt key, I'll click to sample color and then I'll release the Option or Alt key and I am going to paint with this multiple colors, up the tree giving a painterly look to the tree bark.
And notice that the same colors remain up here in the Current Brush Load Well as I make multiple strokes. Those colors will stay there until I select another single color or multiple colors to paint with. There are a couple of options for loading and cleaning the brush that you should know about. This is the Auto Clean icon that removes paint from the brush after every stroke. If you leave this enabled, there's less mixing of paint because the only mixing will be on a stroke-by-stroke basis. If you prefer the look of the dirty brush, then you will want to disable this option by clicking it.
I usually leave it enabled. I also leave enabled the icon next to it, which loads the brush after every stroke. If that icon is off, it's like painting with a dry brush. The brush will crush underlying pixels around. And most of the time, you are going to want to have some color on your brush to mix with the underlying color in the image. Regardless of whether Auto Clean and Auto Load are enabled or not, I can always go and clean or load on a one-time basis by going up to the Current Brush Load Well and clicking the arrow there and choosing Clean Brush or Load Brush.
So if I clean the brush now, I no longer have those multiple colors available with which to paint. And I would have to come back into the image and sample colors again by holding the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on the PC and clicking. Another option in that menu is to Load Solid Colors Only. So if I select that and then I click in the image on multiple colors, holding the Option or Alt key, I'll be sampling a single solid color from under my cursor. So that's a look at the new mixer brush, a great way to achieve real looking paintings from photos or from scratch that blend color from the brush with color from the underlying image.
And using the mixer brush with some of the new bristle tips enhances the organic realism that this painting tools offer to professional artist and to those who may be new to digital painting.
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