Category Archives: Brushes

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 helpsĀ 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.


Some Custom Brushes

Whilst I have been looking at existing custom brushes to use in photoshop, I have also been creating my own. I want to add texture and a painterly look to my paintings. To this end I looked at how actual brushes interact with paint and the shapes they make.

Brushes 1 showcase


These are my initial attempts at brush creation. The first four are inspired by flat brushes loaded with heavy paint, and so are very blocky and solid. The first two are a bit too flat and dull, but prove very useful for silhouetting and thumbnails. Brushes 3 and 4 offer more texture, with 3 being smooth and imitating a lot of wet paint and 4 being much dryer and rougher.

Next I looked at creating some rounder, more bristly brushes. 5 is just a basic photoshop scatter brush with some shape dynamics, but as can be seen it is quite blurry at larger sizes. Thus I made my own scatter pattern and mucked around with this instead. These are bit too pointy/scratchy at larger sizes bust are nice below 100px. 7 in particular is quite nice for breaking up lines between colours.

The last 3 brushes combine the textures of the first few with the bristles of the others. I am really pleased with the textures of these and they will definitely prove useful. Unfortunately, since they make use of textures, duel brushes, and complicated stamps it gets very laggy at large sizes.

I have a few brushes made by other people that I want to try out and see how they work, which should be fun. Ryan also suggested looking at using overly textures of painted canvases which sounds fun, but I need to buy supplies