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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photoshop Tips: Understanding Brush Dynamics (settings)

If an artist does not create paintings digitally it is still useful for her/him to understand how the brush dynamics change the look and use of the different brush tip shapes in Photoshop. Brushes are very useful for adding signatures to paintings, creating textures, creating wash backgrounds, and touching up scanned images. The eraser tool also uses the brush tip shapes for different erased effects. Hint: Read "Photoshop Tip: How to create customized signature brush."

Custom brushes can be created by altering the settings (shape, scattering, texture, color, noise, etc.) of an existing brush tip shape or creating one from scratch to get the desired effect. Below are links to a comprehensive series of excellent Photoshop video tutorials by Robin Wood describing and showing the different brush dynamics. These videos were created with an older version of Photoshop and the brush panel is somewhat different and some of the dynamics are in different places on the brush panel if you are using CS5 or CS6. However, they operate the same so viewing these videos are worthwhile to learn about the different dynamics and how to alter them for different brush tip effects.

• "Brushes 1 - Photoshop Tutorial"

introduction of brush tip shapes in the brushes panel

• "Brushes 2- Shape Dynamics"

how to vary brush size, angle, and roundness with a jitter or with control

• "Brushes 3 - Scattering - Photoshop Tutorial"
how to adjust the Wacom pen and tablet, and using scattering dynamic in brushes

• "Brushes 4 - Textures - Photoshop Tutorial"

adding textures to a brush

• "Brushes 5 - Dual Brush - Photoshop Tutorial"
learning what the parameters do in a dual brush and seeing it in action

• "Brushes 6 - Color Dynamics - Photoshop Tutorial"

explanation of color dynamics panel in detail

• "Brushes 7 - Other Dynamics - Photoshop Tutorial"
brush opacity and flow demonstration

• "Brushes 8 - Below the Line - Photoshop Tutorial"
demonstration of noise, wet edges, airbrush, smoothing and protect texture

• "Brushes 9 - Making Your Own"
how to make and save custom brushes

Some of the above videos use a pressure sensitive tablet with a stylus such as a Waccom tablet. You do not need to use a tablet to use many of the brushes. But Photoshops new brushes that were introduced in CS5 can create some amazing results when used with a tablet and a special stylus. The brushes can be rotated and held at an angle to apply "paint" digitally just like actual paintbrushes can apply paint to a canvas. To see a demonstration of these brush tip shapes and bristle quality options view "Photoshop overview: Brush tip shapes and bristle qualities |"

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