Fun with a Brush

So last semester I downloaded some brushes [link] created to to imitate Oil Brushes and the textures/effects they can create. However, I was still very knew to the mechanics behind Photoshop brushes and unsure of how a lot of the settings worked. Thus I found myself struggling to correctly use them a lot of the time and ended up turning off a lot of the settings, using them only as brushes with nice textures. Over the last few months though I have learnt a lot about Photoshop brushes as I have been creating my own to varying degrees of complexity (and success).

So I decided to go back to these brushes and see what I could do with them. In the end I only used one of the brushes, many of the others were simple Stamp Brushes (which I am not a big fan of) or did pretty much the same as the brush I picked. So I stuck to the one brush and opened up the settings to see what it looked like. Most of the settings were simple: transfer and shape dynamics; a overlaying texture to give the rough canvas appearance; and a dual brush mechanic to control these textures better. But it’s the Colour Dynamics that really made the brush special.


The Hue and Saturation Jitter allow the brush to alter the properties of the chosen colour to varying degrees, and recreate the subtle inconsistencies found in real paint. I lowered these from the original settings as they were a bit too strong for my liking, but you still get a nice variety of colour in a single stroke. The real magic happens with the Foreground/Background Jitter. The brush initially had this set to both a percentage and the pen pressure, but this was too strong for my liking and so I changed it to just Pen Pressure. What this setting does is mix the chosen foreground and background colours as you paint, giving the illusion of paint mixing together naturally. The lighter the pressure the more the background colour is prominent, and vice versa. It takes a while to get used to this setting, and I had to change my painting style to fit it because you need to pay attention to both your fore- and background colours or you get something completely different from what you need. A sad side effect is that it also slows down the painting process as bit, as you need to be continuously changing these colours to avoid muddy results.

But the results are impressive.

Playing with the brush 1 Playing with the brush 2 Playing with the brush 3 Playing with the brush 4

As I said it is a tricky science with this brush, but experimenting has taught me a lot. For example I found that making the background colour a bit desaturated makes the mixing work a lot better and helps to avoid muddy transitions or gaudy, overly-vibrant clashes.

Given its rough texture, I think this brush will mostly be kept to background work as it is far too cumbersome for much detail. I might use it for blocking in the face, having that texture underlying would be nice, but it also might be easily lost in the detail stages. I’ll need experiment a bit more to find out.


Posted on March 12, 2015, in Brushes. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Fun with a Brush.

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