Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Bristle tips, part of Natural-Media Painting in Photoshop.
- [Voiceover] Bristle tips represent the front end of Photoshop's natural media brushes. These tips respond to the various axes of motion as controlled by the artist's hand. The bristle tip controls provide adjustment for various attributes, including shape, the number of bristles, length, and stiffness. All of these controls work together to enable a convincing emulation of their traditional counterparts. In this movie, we'll take a look at these controls, and I'll show you how they affect a brush's expressive quality.
Let's get started. I've got a set of brushes loaded up here, and we'll look at these in-depth in a later movie, but I just want to select one and then open the brush panel, so we can talk about the qualities associated with bristle tips. You'll see that there are several types of tips available. I've got a little chart here that I could show you. Let's go ahead and switch to it.
There are basically two key types of brushes. There's round and there is flat, and you can see them broken up into categories between those two types. You have a point brush, so in a round brush it's gonna be a 360 degrees round brush, whereas here, this is flat, and as you can see, all of the ones on the bottom are flat versions of what are full round brushes up here. You've got a point, blunt, curve, angle, and fan.
Then by having either a flat or round one, it gives you a total of 10 different types of bristle tips. Right in the brush controls, when you have a bristle tip brush selected, you will see these specific controls set up for it. You've got things like the number of bristles. You can control the length. The longer a brush gets, the more it's going to kind of have a wiggly sort of character to it. I'll show you in a moment.
You've also got the thickness of the bristles. You can control stiffness as well as angle, and unless you're using a mouse, you're never really gonna go to this particular setting. Let's just take a look at a little bit of how this works. I'm gonna switch to another blank screen here, and we'll go ahead and we'll keep this open. This is a round blunt tip, and it happens to have a very minimal length on it right now, so I'm gonna increase that length quite a bit, so you can see the difference.
Now see visually we're seeing what it looks like on screen. In fact, I can open up this little tip preview, and this shows us what's going on with this brush as I move it around. Now you can control the look of this. If I hold down my Shift key and click on it, it switches it to a rendered view, although I find the color they use for the bristles and this grey background makes it a little difficult to read, so I prefer it actually in the skeletal version. The other thing you can do is if you hold down the Option key, this will change your viewpoint, like right now, it's as if I'm looking directly above my brush, and in fact when I tilt this and point it towards my chest, the back of my stylus, it's pointing forward just like it would, so this is a good viewpoint to have when you're using this, so you can see exactly what's happening.
You can see how a long length of bristle gives me the ability to work very small and then as I tilt my brush more and more, I get a very wide dispersion of my paint, because it's now using that long edge of the brush to apply all of the paint. You've got length and a lot of times I keep it very low. In this course the brush I've designed actually has a very low length. Bristles is going to give you how much or how little the shape of the stroke fills up.
If we turn this way down, you're gonna get absolutely minimal strokes, and as you turn it up, it starts to increase the number of individual hairs in your brush. Then you could also get into stiffness, and again, I'm not gonna play too much with that, but if a brush is not stiff at all, let me just clean that off, there we go. Okay so stiffness kind of plays in with the length, so if I have a long brush and it has no stiffness, you're gonna get a very kind of squirrelly behavior because it's bending, you can see even on the sample up there how it bends and looks kind of funny.
You can push these to extremes and there may be cases where you'd find these adjustments preferable for a certain type of brush, but in the main, you probably aren't gonna do some of these more exaggerated types of controls. If you really want to explore bristle tips, I encourage you to get in, play with these, and just try different sample strokes out. You'll get used to how the different controls interact with one another just through a bit of practice and going through all of these.
Now in our course, we're gonna have some specific brushes set up. You're free to make any alterations you want to them, but I've saved you the heavy lifting of having to go in here and construct brushes by having a curated set available for you. Bristle tips provide the attributes necessary to successfully emulate a traditional brush's appearance. In the next movie, we'll look at how Photoshop handles the emulation of paint behavior.