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The combination of layers and a Mixer Brush uses a lot of processor power. So much so that sampling the color found on underlying layers can slow down brush performance. In this video, we'll take a look at the Mixer Brush Sample All Layers option and see how we can avoid potential interruptions in your creative flow. First and foremost, we want to see, well, where is this Sample All Layers thing you're talking about? If you're in the Mixer Brush and you go up to the Options bar, you'll see right here, you have the option to enable Sample All Layers.
Why wouldn't you want to turn this on? Well, it used to be a bigger problem in CS5, but they've done some work under the hood so it's not as bad as it used to be, but it's all tied up in how much memory do you have, what kind of processor you have, are you running under multiple processors? All of that is part of the equation that will dictate whether or not you are going to encounter some kind of slow-down when Sample All Layers is enabled. And I'll show you how I've come up with a workaround for it.
Here's some layers and I've just kind of created an artificial situation. So from one point of view, this may look like it's just a single layer, but if we look over here, you can see these are components on different layers. And in a real painting, you're going to quite often run into that situation. So, the first question becomes, well why would I want Sample All Layers on at all? Well, if Sample All Layers is not enabled, and if you've installed the optional content that I have, I've set up things on the Wacom tablet so that when I press the little button, the Forward button, it allows me to pick up color.
So, if I pick up color here, for example, nothing happens. Why didn't anything happen? Well, I'm actually on a layer on top of all of these layers, that doesn't have anything on it. Because it can't sample all the layers, I picked up nothing. If I go to, say, this middle layer and I go and sample color. Okay, well now, I've picked up some but not all of the color. What happens if I say Sample All Layers, and then up here and I sample it. OK. I'll sample there.
See now, I pick up all of that color on all of those layers, and that's whats important, particularly if you want to emulate loaded brush strokes, which are multiple colors across the face of your brush so that you get these more complex combinations than you do with just, say, a solid color stroke. You know, if I do this, that's very interesting, but it's also not nearly as interesting as being able to pick up what in, like I say, in traditional painting is called a loaded brush.
You go and you pick up color off of your palette where there are multiple colors, and then you paint with those multiple colors. So, this isn't nearly as interesting when it's just a solid color. I'm also going to go in here and just slightly adjust my depth up. There we go. So, how do we get around this problem? Well, one of the things that I installed and I show you in the tablet video in the introduction is I've got a button on my tablet. And you'll notice now I'm turning that on and off, I'm not actually going up here and turning it on and off, I've been able to enable and disable that.
So, if I'm in a situation where I temporarily want to pick up multiple colors, you know, let's say, I'm painting away, and it's like, oh, I'd love to grab this combination of colors here. I just press the button on my Wacom tablet, I'm temporarily in Sample All Colors, I press the Forward button on my Wacom tablet, press down, disable with my button on my Wacom tablet, Sample All Colors, and now I am painting away with that particular combination. So, I can very quickly go over, enable sample, I've got a different set of colors on my brush.
Go over, temporarily enable sample, and now I'm painting with that set of colors. So, the combination of the Front button of the Wacom tablet being able to pick up color, as well as the ability with a button on the control surface of the Wacom tablet, to be able to temporarily enable Sample All Colors, gives me a workflow where I can quickly go in and pick up the various colors on my multilayered painting surface and get those multiple colors so that I can paint with a loaded brush.
So, that's a long winded way of saying, I can very quickly paint in a very natural way with a couple of modifications to the buttons on my tablet pen as well as the tablet surface to get this kind of behavior. So, the Sample All Layers can be very useful for blending colors on overlapping multiple-layer underlaying color. But in doing so, you can also dramatically affect your brush performance. So, being able to have this built-in, on and off capability embedded in the control surface of your Wacom tablet, gives you a way to work as if you have Sample All Layers on all the time.
But you're able to dictate when and why you have it enabled with that button on your Wacom tablet.
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