Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush

with John Derry
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Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush
Video duration: 0s 2h 26m Intermediate


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


Hi! I am John Derry, and I'd like to welcome you to Photoshop CS5 Painting with the Mixer Brush. In this course, I am going to introduce you to Photoshop CS5's exciting new Mixer brush. This expressive tool allows you to realistically simulate the mark-making effects of real paintbrushes. I will show you how to use a Wacom tablet, so you can see what an invaluable tool it is. We will explore the expressive range of the Mixer brush, and the painting possibilities it offers.

We will analyze the new Bristle Tips feature, which enables a wide range of mark-making styles. I will show you how to load paint, adjust wetness, and mix colors with your digital brush, just like you would with a real brush and paint palette. Finally, we will see some real world uses of these tools by painting from scratch, as well as interpreting a photograph into a painting. The Mixer brush is an exciting new feature in Photoshop CS5. For the first time, you can make realistic brushstrokes that look exactly like marks you would make with physical media on canvas.

As a digital painting pioneer, I'm excited to share all of my tips and techniques for getting the most out of Photoshop's new, expressive, natural media painting tools. Now let's get started with Photoshop CS5 Painting with the Mixer brush.

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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