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The ten styles of bristle brushes

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: The ten styles of bristle brushes

All right so I've made some slight modifications to my robot since the last time we spoke and I've got ahead and saved the file as Terrified robot.psd found inside the 31_bristle_brushes folder. We'll come back and color in some of the pieces of this robot. If you're so inclined, if you want work on a different project, something of your own, if you have a different aesthetic than my obviously wacky cartoon aesthetic here, then you're more than welcome to do so. In the meantime we're going to transition to Bristle Brushes. I want you to understand how they work before we get too far into them, because I think they're generally presented as magical, and that's actually far from true.

The ten styles of bristle brushes

All right so I've made some slight modifications to my robot since the last time we spoke and I've got ahead and saved the file as Terrified robot.psd found inside the 31_bristle_brushes folder. We'll come back and color in some of the pieces of this robot. If you're so inclined, if you want work on a different project, something of your own, if you have a different aesthetic than my obviously wacky cartoon aesthetic here, then you're more than welcome to do so. In the meantime we're going to transition to Bristle Brushes. I want you to understand how they work before we get too far into them, because I think they're generally presented as magical, and that's actually far from true.

They're very similar in terms of the structure to the brushes that we've been working with so far inside of Photoshop. It's just that they're more intelligently rendered as we'll be seeing. I've got another file here and it's a demonstrational file. It's called Bristle brush demos.psd found once again inside 31_bristle_brushes folder and it includes paint strokes, brushstrokes created with every single one of the ten styles of bristle brush. That's all you have inside of Photoshop is ten bristle brush styles.

By default, I should say that you do have every single one of those styles represented albeit using completely different setting. So if I press the B key in order to switch over to the Brush tool and I happen to have a layer selected that I can't paint on which is why my cursor is a little Ghostbusters' cursor. Don't worry about that. I'm going to scroll up the Brush Presets panel right here and you'll see about seven brushstrokes down there is this little sideways brush icon and that's the first of the bristle brushes, and then there are nine others in this list.

Every one of them is represented by one of these sideways icons. Now I made the icons or thumbnails, what have you, much bigger so that we can see what each one of these bristle brushes theoretically looks like or at least what Adobe is trying to emulate and I got those by the way by going to the Brush Presets flyout menu and I chose Large Thumbnail. So just so know where these came from now of the ten styles of bristle brush, there are Five Round Bristles and there are Five Flat Bristles. Now what's the difference? Well, round is going to be the same all the way around the brush.

So in other words if you had a real brush and you were sitting there twisting it every angle, it's going to be the same. Whereas, with the flat bristle brushes, they're calligraphic. So if you were to twist them then you're going to get a different angled brush. Now they're all set by default to be vertical which is why they produce very thin brushstrokes when I paint vertical lines as I have inside of this illustration. So I'm going to show you examples of horizontal ones as well inside this exact same file.

I've got some layer Comps set up here. Now of each one of these camps - so we have the round brush camp and then we have the flat brush camp - We have five different styles inside of those and they are repeated, notice that, on both sides. So we have Point and you can see that it ends in a point, the brush that is ends in a point. We have Blunt, which ends fairly flat. We have Curve, which ends round when you're looking at it sideways once again. We have Angle, which is a flat cut brush like that, and then we have Fan. Now Fan looks like it's only going in one direction, however with the round brushes the bristles are pointing out in all directions, whereas these exact same styles represented as flat brushes, Fan for example is flat in one direction.

Now you can also tell the difference between these guys by their coloring. So notice that all the round bristle brush thumbnails at least look light and all the flat ones look dark. So if you're ever looking through the list, that's how you can tell the difference between the two. So notice if I go back to the list these guys right here are all the flat ones in the second half of list and these guys at top that are bright are all of the round ones. Now you get these little brushstrokes simulations that are associated with each. I don't know how terribly accurate they are especially when we're working with a pressure sensitive stylus, which is why I've gone ahead and drawn a brushstroke with each one of these bristle brushes.

Now I'm going to skip to my next layer comp. If you bring up the layer Comps panel, you'll see that I've got four layer Comps in all and I'm going to be switching between them from the keyboard, because I set up a keyboard shortcut with dekeKeys of Ctrl+Shift+Alt or Cmd+Shift+Option+F12. I don't expect you remember that, but I'm just telling you that, because that's the way I'm going to work here. So if I press that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12 or Cmd+Shift+Option+F12, then what I'm doing is I'm hiding those bristle brush thumbnails so that we can see the tops and the bottoms of each one of these brushstrokes.

Now these are hand rendered brushstrokes, so they're not necessarily altogether smooth. Although, I worked like heck to make them as smooth as possible, and they're not going to be exactly identical in terms of the amount of pressure I applied. But what I tried to do was start with light pressure at the top, get heavier in the middle, and then end up light again. Now with some brushes that doesn't make a terrible amount of difference. For example, the round Fan brush, we get just a small amount of variation depending on the pressure.

A lot of that has to do with the settings that are associated with each one of these brush dials by default. So if I were to select one of these brushes for example inside of my Brush Presets panel and for some reason every once in a while this panel decides to scroll automatically on me. There, I went ahead and selected it. So that happens to be the Round Point Stiff. There are variations of each one of these that you can create. For example, there's no stiff listed in this group. That's because the actual style of the brush is a round point.

Stiff is a name that Adobe decided to give to this group of settings. To see what those settings are you once again bring up the Brush panel which you can get of course by pressing F5 if you like and notice these settings right there. In addition to a couple of familiar setting Size and then Spacing, and that's very important. Spacing is still here, because these brushes are still laying down dollops of paint just as we saw back in chapter 9 when I was discussing how brushes work in the first place inside of Photoshop back in the fundamentals portion of this series.

Each brush is actually laying down dollops of paint in a row and that's what's happening with the bristle brushes as well. I'll illustrate that in a little more detail in the next exercise. But for now notice that in addition to Size and Spacing we also have five unique numerical settings, all of which apply to every single one of these bristle brushes. So we have Bristles, Link, Thickness, Stiffness, and Angle, and I'll explain how each of these work shortly. But in the meantime just know that Adobe has seen fit where its ten brushes are concerned, these brushes that it chooses to share with you by default here.

Each one of them uses a totally different group of settings as you can see as I hover over them. So you're going to get different results by default than you might get if you spend a little time adjusting these settings. So anyway that's why Fan delivers us a very thin result all the way through and it's fairly uniform as well, because of the way that Adobe has defined those default round Fan settings. That brush is set up by default as Round Fan Stiff Thin Bristles. So it adds the word Stiff Thin Bristles to describe what settings are applied here.

Whereas the default Round Angled Brush is called, gosh, I don't even know what it's called. It's called Round Angle Low Stiffness and any time you have a low stiffness by the way you're going to be able to press the brush into the canvas to a higher degree and you're going to get a lot more variation and as a result we have this big globby brush right here. Anyway, again, these are just brushstrokes that I created for you just so you can get a sense of what's going on. Now you're not really going to understand what's happening with the Flat brushes just by looking at a bunch of vertical brushstrokes because that's the thinnest they are going to be since by default they're angled vertically.

So let's take a look at some horizontal variations. I've got another layer Comp for you, I'm going to press that same keyboard shortcut to switch over to it and here are the five round bristle brushes over here on the left-hand side and the five flat ones over here in right-hand side. Notice also by the way that I'm keeping this consistent. I've rendered all the round brushes in this kind of dark brown and all the flat brushes in a dark blue. Notice the round brushes are looking pretty similar to a certain extent, although notice Fan is now thicker and Angle is much thinner even though once again I started thin with my brush stroke.

That is I started light and then I pressed very heavily in the middle, I mean very heavily. Then I let up at the end and it had less of an effect where Angle is concerned when I painted a horizontal brushstroke than when I painted a vertical one. We get bigger effects out of the flat brush strokes when we're painting horizontally, because all of them are oriented vertically. So just bear that in mind. Again, your results may vary a little bit. All of these brushstrokes were set to a diameter of 43 pixels which is not the default, but that is the way I chose to work for this file.

Then I'll go and press that keyboard shortcut again to go ahead and hide the icons, the thumbnails that is, so that you can see the brushstrokes in a little better detail. You can see how they start and how they end and how they appear in the middle. So that's a basic introduction to what's going on with the bristles. Just remember that there are ten styles of bristle brush in all. They fall into two camps, Round and Flat and beyond that there are five variations within each one of the camps, Point, Blunt, Curve, Angle, and Fan. Then you have five numerical modifiers that you can use to customize each one of these styles.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43832 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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