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- Setting up a Wacom tablet
- Removing lens distortions
- Correcting distracting image elements
- Making shadow and highlight adjustments
- Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
- Modifying color
- Cloning layers
- Using a traditional paint color swatch set
- Using custom actions
- Working with canvas texture
- Creating physical surface texture effects
- Painting with custom brushes
Skill Level Intermediate
When you start amassing a large variety of brushes, organizing them can get pretty messy if you don't have some sort of system for categorizing them. Well, I've done the heavy lifting for you and I've come up with a naming convention that makes it easy to quickly locate the brush you want. Let's take a look. Now, I'm going to be describing specifically four Tool Preset libraries, and let's open up the fly-out menu on the Tool Preset panel to see that. The ones we're going to be concentrating on are the category Airbrushes, Artists' Brushes, Dry Media, and Pencil Mixer Brush.
Now, why are those important? Well, each one of those has the crucial Cloner category of brush in it that needs to be used in concert with the Cloning Layer action that's over in the Actions palette. There's no big signage here in Photoshop to tell you, hey, get this over here and use it over there. You need to be taught to do that, and that's why you're looking at this title right now. I'm showing you how you use these two components in two different places in Photoshop to bring them together and utilize them.
If you don't find this out, you're going to look at each one of them individually, and have no idea what the meaningfulness of it is. Okay. So, we know that we have these categories of brushes. By default, the way I initially organized these brushes was by their tip type, and let's look at the mixer brush right here. We have these ten tip types. And really, there's only five tip types, but you have a round variant and a flat variant. So you've got Point, Blunt, Curve, Angle, and Fan, and then they're repeated just so they can have a flat set and a round set of them.
But, when the Mixer Brush came out this seemed to be the most important component of the Mixer Brush for organization. And as a result, the brushes by default are organized that way, they're organized by Angle, then the Blunt, the Fan, and the Point. And if we look at this little chart I've created, you can see exactly how it was done. Shape is most important, so I use that as the primary way to identify a brush, and then we go into, you know, are they flat or round? And next, what kind of function do they have? Are they a Blender? Are they Opaque? You know? Whatever that behavior was, that was how it was organized.
And then, the final component of behavior is are they Dirty? A Dirty brush, for example, is set up so that each time you apply a brush stroke, whatever color was underneath the brush at the end of that stroke, when you pick up the brush and go to create another stroke, some of that color will be blended along with whatever your current color is. And it sets up what is a very realistic scenario. What happens in the physical world, you paint, and whatever paint is underneath that brush when you pick it up, it's going to be on the brush the next time you apply a stroke.
It's great in the real world and it's nice to have that here in Photoshop, but I don't use it a lot because I prefer to not have that real world capability and it's nice to not have Dirty brushes. And you get into Dry brushes, which are a short stroke, they quickly run out of paint and so on. So you've got these behaviors that you work with and that was the rationale for the original organization of these Tool Presets. However, after using these for over a year or almost two years now, it became obvious to me that I really wanted to organize these according to their behavior, so what I came up with was a behavior-oriented list.
So, I want to say find a Cloner, for example, especially if I'm cloning, OK, there's one, then there's one down here. There's one here. You can see it's a little hard to find that behavior, whereas, if they're organized by behavior, there they are, the Cloners are all organized together. And I simply reorganize these so that I go from brushes that fully lay color down to apply less and less color till you finally get down to a blender that doesn't even have color, it just mixes color it finds underneath the brush.
And then finally, the Cloner category itself. So, the behavior-based brushes are another way to organize how these brushes appear in the list. So, if you've installed the optional content, and if you haven't, you want to go back to the introductory chapter and look at the video about installing the optional content, you will now find the sorted version. So if I click on this and replace it, there's my list according to behavior.
And so, each one of those categories we looked at will have a sorted variant library associated with it in your list after you've installed that optional content. Another thing that's very important to point out here, is when you're working with the Tool Presets, by default, Current Tool Only is going to be turned on. You don't want that turned on and I'll show you why. If I go to another tool, like the Move tool, my Tool Presets just disappeared. And so, even though I could be in the Move tool, I may want to go over and select a brush and start working.
I can't when this is enabled. If I turn it off, it will be on no matter what tool you're in. So, when I select, say, a Cloner, Flat Fan brush, it switched to that brush for me. So, the whole idea behind this is, this gives you one click access to the brushes. No matter what tool you're in, as long as you have Current Tool Only disabled, you will be able to work within any tool and still have this list available and you'll be able to quickly click on it to select a specific tool.
So, I've just given you a quick overview of how these brushes are organized, as well as an optional way by behavior, you can have these brushes organized. So, it's up to you which one seems to be the better way for your working methods, but you now have a choice over which one of these types of organization you're going to work with.