Be­gin­ning With Brushes

Get to know the Pho­to­shop’s de­fault brushes, then start adding your own

ImagineFX - - Photoshop Quick Fixes -

1 Brush op­tions

Once you’ve se­lected the Brush icon from the tool­bar, right-click­ing any­where on the can­vas will bring up a small menu with shape and size op­tions. Size is pretty straight­for­ward, with a slider on the top right. Each of the strange shapes lo­cated in the white boxes be­low are al­ter­nate tip shapes, en­abling you to cre­ate all kinds of dif­fer­ent marks.

2 Al­ter your brush edges

Some tips, like the ba­sic Round brush you start with, can also have the hard­ness of their edges ad­justed. Ac­cess­ing the slider la­belled Hard­ness and mov­ing it to the right will make for more dis­tinct, hard-edged brush strokes, while mov­ing it to the far left will cre­ate a soft air­brush ef­fect.

3 Brush modes

When the Brush Tool is se­lected, there’ll be an op­tions bar at the top of the screen with Mode and Opac­ity drop-downs menus. Th­ese both work the same way that their Lay­ers win­dow coun­ter­parts do, and the Mode set­tings are ex­actly the same for both (Lighten, Darken, Over­lay and so on). In­stead of con­trol­ling a whole layer, though, they’re just ap­ply­ing those set­tings to your in­di­vid­ual brush­strokes.

4 Tip set­tings

The brush is the tool you’ll be us­ing most of­ten as an il­lus­tra­tor or con­cept artist, so take the time to get to know its fea­tures. Go to Win­dow> Brush to open the Brush Win­dow, where you’ll see a list of op­tions such as Shape Dy­nam­ics (pres­sure on your draw­ing tool of choice dic­tates brush size), Dual Brush (use two brushes at once), Color Dy­nam­ics (use mul­ti­ple colours at once) and Scat­ter­ing (turns brush strokes into a scat­ter­ing of marks in the shape of the brush tip).

5 Cre­ate your own brush

Pho­to­shop comes with an im­pres­sive as­sort­ment of brush op­tions, but when some­thing more spe­cific is needed you can cre­ate your own cus­tom ones. Open a new doc­u­ment, and then draw your de­sired tip shape. Go to Edit>De­fine Brush Pre­set… from the top menu and it’ll add the new brush tip to your as­sort­ment, shap­ing it from the black and leav­ing trans­par­ent any white parts of the can­vas.

6 Load­ing cus­tom brushes

The in­ter­net is full of cus­tom brushes avail­able for down­load. I have some Nagel brushes that have served me well over the years. You’ll most likely be down­load­ing the files in .Abr for­mat, which you can then move to the Adobe Pho­to­shop CS>Pre­sets> Brushes folder on your hard drive. Open the Brush Pre­set win­dow and click the drop-down menu op­tion to bring up the Load Brushes op­tion. Nav­i­gate to the file, dou­ble-click it and the new tip will ap­pear in your menu.

Se­lect the Brush tool

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