Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Monitoring brush orientation with the 3D Brush preview, part of Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush.
When you're working with a traditional brush, how you move this brush in your hand, and the way it contacts with the surface of the canvas changes the way the mark is expressed on the surface of the canvas. And with the Wacom Tablet, you have the same ability to be able to gesture all of these various axes of motions through to Photoshop CS5, and Photoshop now has a Bristle Tip Preview that feeds back to you the same information you would see if you had a traditional brush in your hand.
By seeing this information, it gives you a great understanding of how you're going to be making the various marks that are being made in contact with the canvas within Photoshop. In this movie, we'll take a look at this. The Bristle Tip Preview is a great way to see how you are actually manipulating the brush in your hand. When you can see this information visually, you get a very clear indication of what the brush tip is doing, and how it is connecting with the surface. Having this information gives you a great deal of feedback as to how the marks you are making will be created, and makes for a great learning situation. Let's take a look.
We'll begin by going over to the Tool palette, and I am going to drop down to my Brush tool, and let's just click and hold here for a little flyout, and at the bottom here, we'll find the Mixer brush. Next, I am going over, and I am going to, in the icon stack here, select the Brush icon for the Brushes panel, and you'll notice at the top, where all of the icons for the various tips are, there is a new set of tips in here that are part of CS5, and these represent the bristle tips themselves.
They're divided into two categories; you'll see there's white and black tips. The white tips represent round points, and the black tips represents flat points, and we'll get into some more detail about these a little later, but I just want you to be aware of where they're located. In order to work with the Bristle tip, we need to select one. So I'm going in and selecting the Flat Fan brush. Now, the first thing you'll notice is my tip is actually referencing how this looks, and giving me an outline view of it. So as I am manipulating and moving my Wacom Art Pen in my hand, it is updating to show me how this will affect the mark being made on the canvas.
I can see it in a little more detail, if we drop down to the bottom of the Brush panel and click on the Eye and Brush icon, and you can see now I have a much better indication through the 3D Preview of what's going on. This is the simple Preview, and if I hold down the Shift Key and click, we get the Render Preview, and this just gives you a little more dressing on how it looks. But basically I find this to be a little hard to read, because there's not much color difference between the gray background and the bristle tips, so it's little hard to read.
By holding down the Shift key and clicking back, I find this to be a little more readable, but the choice is up to you. You'll just hold the Shift key to make that choice. Now that I've got the setup, you can see how the information streaming from the 6D pen is giving me full capability of seeing exactly what's going on here, and this is particularly important when you're trying to understand why a particular brush is making a certain mark. If I go ahead now and draw a little bit, you'll see that it is responding based on the way the shape of the brush is currently set up.
Notice across the bottom of the Preview, there is a little dotted line. This represents the canvas itself. And if I go over here and just adjust Stiffness, we'll see that when I press down, you can see how there is actually a physical deformation that goes on with regard to those tips, and those deformations are actually altering the look of the brush tip, as I apply pressure. Now if I switch and use my mouse, you'll see that none of that deformation is changing.
That's why the Wacom makes such a great tool in collaboration with the bristle tips, because it's all how the various components of your arm, wrist and hand, translated through tilt bearing and pressure, all come together to enable one brush with one tip to have so many different kinds of marks within the same shape. That's where you're going to get the full expression out of these brushes is by combining it with a Wacom brush and stylus in a way that you really have much more control over the marks being made.
While the Brush Tip Preview is a great way to learn how the brush works, you won't want to have it on all the time. After awhile, the Preview can get a bit distracting, but it's good to know that it's available at anytime, when you want to get a good idea of how the brush is behaving for a particular brush that you are working with.
- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
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.
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