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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

Using the Transfer panel to adjust paint dynamics


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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry
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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

Video: Using the Transfer panel to adjust paint dynamics

Inside the Brush panel, you'll find a subpanel known as the Transfer panel. This panel allows you to use pressure to control various aspects of the color wells. You'll get a much more subtle brushstroke when you take advantage of your stylus pressure in conjunction with these controls. Let's take a look. I am going to go over and use my little icon here to open up the Brush panel, and we'll see that we have access to a number of subpanels here, and the one we are going to focus on right now is the Transfer panel.

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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

Using the Transfer panel to adjust paint dynamics

Inside the Brush panel, you'll find a subpanel known as the Transfer panel. This panel allows you to use pressure to control various aspects of the color wells. You'll get a much more subtle brushstroke when you take advantage of your stylus pressure in conjunction with these controls. Let's take a look. I am going to go over and use my little icon here to open up the Brush panel, and we'll see that we have access to a number of subpanels here, and the one we are going to focus on right now is the Transfer panel.

Now it's named this because it allows you to transfer control of the brush to various mechanisms. And in this case, we are going to be taking advantage of the control pop-up menu to get to Pen Pressure, and I am going to go through each one of these and show you how it works. So you can see how they apply individually to the Mixer brush, but then you can also gang these up to do even more sophisticated activities with the brush. So let's start with Flow, and Flow Jitter is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes you can use this slider to jitter flow, and if you look down in the little sample, you'll see that it's kind of dotted and speckly. That's because it's taking the individual unit of the Mixer brush, and when Jitter is turned up, its randomizing how much flow each individual dab of the brush has. So when it's turned all the way up, you get this rather erratic randomization within the stroke. That's really not what you want to deal with, and I am telling you this because in each of the case of these controls, these are not important sliders.

You're not going to want to turn these up under typical circumstances. What is important is that we can address pressure through the control pop-up. Now that that's on - in fact, let's start with it off, so we can see how the brush behaves by default. Okay, so it's a brush, and it runs out of paint because we have a short load on it, but let's go ahead and turn Pressure on. Now, I have a brush that, depending on how hard I'm pressing, I can control the amount of opacity of that brush.

And as I mentioned in an earlier movie, Flow for the Mixer brush essentially replaces opacity. So that you can turn load all the way up, and now have a brush that, based on your pressure, you can control exactly how heavy of a stroke you're applying. So right there, that offers a very nice ability to modulate the expressive quality of the brush through opacity, or in this case, Flow.

Now let's take another color, and I'm now going to shut this off. Let's go down to Wetness, and I am going to turn it to Pen Pressure now, via its control pop-up. And for this to work, it has to have some Wetness engaged - right now we are zero - so we need to have some amount of wetness for this to work, otherwise you won't see any difference. But now we are controlling Wetness through Pressure. So when I take this brush and press very lightly, it's wet, but it's not applying a lot of color.

As I press down, it gets wetter, but it also adds more color into the brush. So you can see this very light pressure, all I'm doing is modulating the underlying color through wetness, but as I press down, I am able to not only make it more wet, but at the same time, it's applying more color. Okay, now let's isolate the Mix control, and in order for the Mix control to have any value under pressure, you do have to have some mix value in here.

If it's turned all the way down, it's not going to do anything. But with this turned up, we can now use pressure to modulate the degree of Wetness and Load within the brush stroke. So we have got another color here, and at this point, it's mostly at very light pressure, applying the green. As I press down, it really adds green into the mix, because we're modulating from its full wetness at light pressure, and as I bear down in pressure, the ratio is transferring to where load becomes the predominant part of the equation to be applied.

So we're using light pressure, just gives us wetness, and then increasing pressure modulates from that to primarily a load-based brush. Now you can start to combine these together and in fact many of the brushes that I create, I have either two or sometimes three different categories of these on. At first, the brush is very transparent because there's not much opacity associated with it, but as I now bear down in pressure, all of these categories are coming to bear, and it's just adds a very complex quality to the overall stroke that's created.

And it's just a matter, really, of playing around these various controls and seeing what different combinations will give you, and based on how these are set and then secondarily, what the degree of each one of these controls are set to, offer almost an infinite possibility set of what the brush can do based on pressure. So there's a lot of power inside the Transfer subpanel, and each one of these controls, by switching to pressure to address what's having that is in the brush stroke, gives you an amazing range of potential express-ability.

So take time to go into the Transfer panel and play with various combinations of the Flow, Wetness and Mix controls being addressed by Pressure. And I think you'll be very happy with the range of possibilities you are going to find, once you get into this.

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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