Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Painting with a predefined custom brush, part of Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery.
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In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to a few of what I considere to be the most intriguing brushes that are included along with that M Brushes library, that we loaded in the previous exercise. I think you'll be fairly amazed by a few of these. It may make you scratch your head and wonder, what in the world is going on? Because a lot of these brushes are unlike anything most of us use on a routine basis inside Photoshop. Some of them behave in fairly spectacular ways. So I'm just going to show you what's up inside of this exercise.
Then we'll begin to sort of dissect what's going on with a few of these brushes in the next exercise, so you can figure out how to design your own amazing mesmerizing brushes. So I'm still working here inside Canvas texture.psd. By the way, you know what; I'm going to move these panels apart from each other a little bit, so that I have easier access to things. But first, I'm going to show you, I'm working inside the Brush Presets panel. If you want to switchover to the brushes panel, which shows you what's going on with the brushes, and allows you to make modifications to them, then you click on this little folder right there, so that'll take you right over to the Brush panel.
Then if you want to go back to Brush Presets, then you click on the Brush Presets button. So I just want you to know that both panels offer easy access to each other. I'm going to grab the Brush Presets panel, because notice the Brush panel is so enormous, takes up such a big area of the screen. We don't need it on a regular basis here, but we do need to see the Brush Presets on a regular basis. So I'm going to grab Brush Presets. You don't have to do this. But I'm going to grab them. I'm going to move them in between the Color panel group and the Layers panel group, like so. Then I'll reduce the size of my Layers panel group a little bit.
Just make sure you're working on that paint layer if you're working along with me. Then I'll hide the Brush panel. That'll give me a lot more room to work. Now then, check this guy out, crosshatch right there. I want you to go ahead and click on it, in order to select it. So it's the, what is it, the one, two, three, four, five, six, seventh brush down inside this M Brushes list. I'm going to use my stylus here, just so that I have a little more control. I'm going to press the Right Bracket key a few times to increase the size of this brush. Bear in mind that each one of these brushes is already sized to its ideal size.
In other words, there is no re- sampling going on when the brush is set to a diameter of 35 pixels. If you start increasing the size of the brush, then you will introduce a little bit of re-sampling. But sometimes, it's necessary if you want to get a thicker brush for example. Anyway, I'm just going to go ahead and show you something. I'll just paint with this brush. Notice it paints in a crosshatch. Those crosshatches actually rotate around the letters as I draw them, notice that. I'm just writing the word crosshatch. As long as I don't overlap anywhere with my brushstrokes here, so I'm being careful to make sure no brushstroke overlaps another one, nor does the brushstroke overlap itself.
Then what you'll see here is that you always get an exact number of crosshatches. Notice that there are no partial crosshatches in this group. So Photoshop is always completing each one of these triple slash patterns. Isn't that amazing? How in the world is that happening? How are these crosshatches so scrupulously avoiding overlapping each other, except where of course, they're meant to, because they're rotating randomly around. Well, let me show you something else that I think is even more amazing.
I'm going to just press the F12 key in order to get that stuff off the screen. That's the Revert command of course. Don't press the Backspace key, or the Delete key, or you'll get rid of this layer. Check out this guy right at top. It's called crosshatch gesture. It's actually a related brushstroke. I'm going to go ahead and click on it to select it. I'll increase its size a little bit, just so we can see what's going on here as well, to about 90 pixels let's say. Then I'm going to draw with this brush. What I want you to see is as I draw over these areas, notice that they're amassing on top of each other.
So we're actually increasing the size of that brushstroke as we drag back and forth on it. That might be a little thick to see what I'm talking about. So I'll reduce the size of my brush just a little bit. Now I'll drag back and forth. But see that right there, I got close to this brushstroke down here. It went ahead and filled in a little bit. But it's not filling in any of the previous brushstrokes I just got done drawing. So let me try this again right around here. I'm drawing Art by the way, just in case you're curious.
And I'm filling, in once again, neighboring brushstrokes, as long as they're part of the same gesture. Then when I start a new gesture, that will fill in on itself, but it's not going into the old gesture. So again, what kind of wacky stuff is going on? Is this Photoshop, or is this something special about this M Brushes library? Again, the answer is, this is Photoshop, by the way folks. I'll just go ahead and fill in the last of that word Art. Let's try something else here. I'll press the F12 key, just to go ahead and revert the image.
Notice this guy right here. It's called frosted glass. It looks like it's made of a bunch of bubbles of paint that are in the shape of a heart. Yet, it doesn't behave like that at all. So I'll go ahead and click on frosted glass. Also, another thing to notice so far, I've been painting with brushes that are not pressure sensitive, even though I'm using a pressure sensitive stylus, I'm not getting any pressure feedback. You can tell whether that's going to happen, those of you who are stylus owners, when you look at these brushes, if they don't taper, then there is no pressure sensitivity associated with the brush, by default, you can always override that.
I'll show you how to do that at the end of this exercise. But for now, I want to show you this guy, frosted glass, has a completely different response. The other ones had no response to pressure. This one has a very different response to pressure. If I paint sort of lightly here, I'll get a light version of the color. If I start bearing down, and notice I'm filling in the brushes again, I get a darker version of that color. If I paint in between, I get something in between. Notice it has a tendency to fill in the old brushes as you paint, the old brushstrokes that is.
When I say the old brushstrokes, I mean, it's all part of one gigantic gesture. So as I'm painting in this big gesture, it has a tendency to fill itself in first time around, when I'm going back and forth. So again, very interesting behavior associated with these brushes. You can exploit it, if you see what's going on, and you know what's going on, on the fly right here right here. All right, one more time with the F12 key, because I'm going to scroll down my list. There are all kinds of stuff to choose from this guy right here totally amazing by the way.
Also another one of these, it's called hypno line. I'll go ahead and select it. It's another one of these, like that crosshatch pattern. I'll increase the size by pressing the Right Bracket key. That paints in a series of these designs, and notice it doesn't paint in any partial designs, no matter what. So it's always filling in the design entirely. If you're careful to make sure that you don't overlap your own stroke, or overlap some other stroke, then it's not going to overlap itself. So again, pretty interesting I think. Anyway, I'm going to press the F12 key.
The last thing I want to share with you, I'm going to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list. There is this guy right here, Heavy Smear Wax Crayon. So I'll go ahead and click on it to make it active. I'll increase the size of my brush by pressing the Right Bracket key a few times. I'll start painting with this brushstroke. I really don't want it to be that big. But notice I'm not getting any pressure out of this guy. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac in order to undo that. Try a smaller brush by pressing the Left Bracket key. No matter how hard I press, I'm just getting a static brushstroke out of this.
Well, here is the thing that you can do. You can go up to the Options bar after undoing your brushstroke, you can go up to the Options bar and there is this final icon that says Tablet pressure controls size. It overrides the Brush panel settings. So regardless of what's going on inside the Brush panel, what the various settings are, and what pressure is related to, and I believe where this brush is concerned, it's related to nothing. You can override that and you can say, darn it, I want this to be a pressure sensitive brush. As soon as you click on it, in order to make that option active, and you start painting, notice I'm painting thin, and I'll get a thin stroke.
As I start painting thicker, I get a thicker stroke. So that's something to bear in mind as well. Also notice that this is a sticky option. So that's something you need to be aware of. Again, you Tablet users, if you switch to some other brushstroke that really doesn't take kindly to pressure sensitivity, like this guy right here, snakeskin. I'll go ahead and click on it to select it and then, you start painting with it. You'll notice that it is now also a pressure sensitive brush, where it actually behaves much better when it's nice and thick, because most of your typical snakes don't get really super-duper skinny, at least not that skinny at the very end.
So you just have to be aware of that. This guy exists, go ahead and take advantage of it when you want it. Go ahead and turn it off when you switch between brushstrokes. All right, so all of this is very entertaining. You've got a ton of brushstrokes to play with, if you so desire here, hours and the hours of fun, of course. Question is, what in the world is going on, and how do you exploit this information? How do you exploit this behavior, in order to create cool brushstrokes of your own? I'll answer those very questions in the next exercise.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
- Using masks and blend modes in radically new ways
- Mastering the Pen tool and Paths panel
- Transforming and maximizing Smart Objects
- Employing Smart Filters to create complex effects
- Exploring the capabilities of Bristle brushes and the Mixer Brush
- Merging multiple images into seamless panoramas
- Exploring the full range of luminance with HDR Pro
- Recording actions and batching-processing images