Workshops

Patrick Reilly
COUNTRY: US CLIENTS: Disney, United Artists, Bacardi, Truth, Coca-Cola Patrick lives in Miami, Florida, and has been creating fantasy and sci-fi illustrations as far back as he can remember. He currently creates freelance concept art and storyboards for videos, shows, commercials and films.
preilly.deviantart.com

Artist insight

25 CUSTOM BRUSH TIPS

Patrick Reilly shares his secrets on how to create, customise and manage brushes in Photoshop

78

March 2007

UNI15.tips_brush 78

31/1/07 12:56:30

Artist insight Custom brush tips March 2007 79 UNI15.tips_brush 79 31/1/07 12:56:41 .

4 CUSTOMISING BRUSHES Sometimes people wonder why their brushes aren’t reacting to the pressure sensitivity of their tablet. and then clicking New Brush Preset. This is not the case. Access your Hard Round brush’s setting. make sure you run your tablet drivers. on the Brush Preset window click the little black arrow on the upper right corner. then change the Opacity Jitter to Pen Pressure. Select the brush tool. A new window will appear with several setting options and sliders. The Natural Brushes are a set of brushes which have already been customised by Photoshop and provide a good sense of traditional painting strokes. clicking the little black arrow in the upper right corner. it will be reset to default when you switch to a different brush. Well. Experiment with these settings for a while to get an idea of how they work. a few adjustments need to be made first. To get the best performance out of your brushes. 2 PHOTOSHOP’S BRUSH LIBRARIES 3 COMMONLY USED BRUSHES PROVIDED BY PHOTOSHOP If you’re not in the mood for creating your own custom brushes and just want to get right down to painting.tips_brush 80 31/1/07 12:56:46 . Occasionally. you can always rely on one of Photoshop’s most commonly used libraries. 6 POPULAR BRUSH SETTINGS 5 SAVING CUSTOMISED BRUSHES Once you’re satisfied with the modifications to a brush you can save it by going to your Brush Preset Picker. If you don’t save your preset. poor brush performance is caused by tablet settings. click on Other Dynamics. artists with newly acquired tablets will assume they just plug in the tablet and they’re ready to go. To access your brush settings go into Photoshop’s Window menu and select Brushes. Keep in mind if you don’t save the preset of your custom brush. 80 March 2007 UNI15. Now. Load up some sets and explore for a while. You can also go a step further and set the Flow Jitter to Pen Pressure as well. then just right click on the canvas. and adjust the settings of your tablet that best fit your personal stroke and style. To access Photoshop’s brush libraries you’ll need to open the Brush Preset Picker.Workshops 1 GRAPHIC TABLET SETTINGS Often. You will now see a list of Photoshop’s different brush sets at the bottom of the dropdown window. it will be reset when you switch to a different brush A commonly used brush is the Hard Round brush with the Opacity Jitter set to Pen Pressure.

) Once you have your image. To break up the smoothness of the line. Now just select the desired texture from sample window. activate the Spacing and move the slider to 30 per cent. use the Diameter slider.tips_brush 81 31/1/07 12:56:54 . For instance. adjust to 72dpi and keep the size range small to avoid using too much memory and lagging. tilt and so on. 12 WHY CREATE BRUSHES? Custom created brushes are excellent for illustrating detail. Let’s say you want to create a flock of bats. 11 CREATING BRUSHES FROM SCRATCH Create a black and white or greyscale image on your canvas (maybe a sketch. some weird lines or objects. 7 BRUSH TEXTURES If you find brushes that lag. 9 SHAPE DYNAMICS Shape Dynamics enables you to control the shape of your brush by the amount of pressure. the thicker the line. adjust the Spacing slider. Adjusting the Spacing is a good way reduce the amount of lagging. Make the image into a brush. To get harder or softer edges. Just tilt your stylus and move it in the direction in which the tip is pointed. March 2007 81 UNI15. you could create a bat brush that can make an entire flock in a few simple strokes. Go to Shape Dynamics and set Angle Jitter to 11 per cent. which previews the currently selected texture. use Angle and Roundness settings. give it a tight crop.Artist insight Custom brush tips From your brush library you can add the textures to your brushes. then click on Texture. 8 SHAPE FEATURES To adjust the thickness of your brush. Set Scattering to 137 per cent. Go to Brush Tip Shape. use the Hardness slider. You could spend several hours creating each bat or. 13 BAT BRUSH SAMPLE Create a sketch of a couple of bats in flight. The harder you press. adjusting the Spacing is a good way to reduce the lagging 10 USING THE TILT FEATURE This feature is found in Shape Dynamics. Go into Other Dynamics and set controls to Pen Pressure. This will lead your brush with either its wide surface or thin surface (depending on the shape of the created brush). if you want to control the thickness of the line by the amount of pressure applied to your stylus you can adjust the Minimum Diameter to 0 per cent and set the Size Jitter to Pen Pressure. Go Photoshop’s Edit menu and click Define Brush Preset. It works best with brushes that have oblong shapes. To adjust the angle of brush. textures and repetitive elements in a very short amount of time. Occasionally you’ll find some brushes that lag. even a photo. Your new brush is now in your library. After you have selected a texture you can adjust the Depth and Scale using the sliders provided. of your stylus. Go into Photoshop’s Window menu and select Brushes.

Go to Other Dynamics and change the Opacity Jitter and Flow Jitter to Pen Pressure. Now you’ve got a Palette Knife. Minimum Diameter at 20 per cent. 15 PALETTE KNIFE Create a very thin vertical oval and make a new brush. and Flip X jitter and Flip Y jitter on. For example. set Opacity Jitter and Flow Jitter to Pen Pressure. 20 ROCK BRUSH 17 TECHNIQUES 2 Improvise and use some of the tips above to create some textured brushes. Angle Jitter at 40 per cent. then use the Leaves On A Branch brush to create a Tree brush. 19 LOADING A LIBRARY To load a library just access the Brush Preset picker. click the little arrow on the upper right hand corner. Create a Scattered Leaves brush. go to Other Dynamics and change to Opacity Jitter to Pen Pressure. Go to Shape Dynamics and set everything to 0 per cent. Saving and loading brushes comes in very handy when you are going to be working on more than one computer. You can easily save your brushes on a small flash drive and load them on to any computer. Use tip 13 and substitute the bats with speckles of dirt and grit. then turn on your Flip X Jitter and Flip Y Jitter. Create a brush from it. You can easily save your brushes by opening Photoshop’s Brush Preset picker. Saving and loading brushes comes in handy when working on more than one computer 16 TECHNIQUES 1 When using these new brushes try experimenting with every aspect. In Other Dynamics. clicking the little black arrow on the upper right hand corner and then selecting Save Brushes. and so on. 82 March 2007 UNI15. It takes a little bit of practice to control the Angle feature with your stylus though. 18 SAVING A LIBRARY OF BRUSHES Pretty soon you’ll find that you have created your own custom library of brushes and you may want to save them. then click Load Brushes. set the Angle Jitter. Now. Set Angle Jitter Control to Pen Tilt. Roundness Jitter at 100 per cent.tips_brush 82 31/1/07 12:57:09 . Use this to quickly create rocky mountains. then use it to create a Leaves On A Branch brush. create a rocky hill with your Rock brush then turn your Rock brush into an eraser and cut into your hill to create more interesting shapes.Workshops 14 CLOUD BRUSH Sketch out a puff of smoke. In Shape Dynamics. change Size Jitter to Pen Pressure at 60 per cent. Roundness Jitter and Minimum Roundness to about 30 per cent. Now go to Shape Dynamics and change Size Jitter to Pen Pressure. Sketch an image of a rock and convert it into a brush. A Speckled Dirt And Grit brush would come in handy in creating a Rock brush.

a Girder brush for the girders around the rubble.com. and gfxartist. a Cloud brush for the clouds and dust. Need to create a straight vertical or horizontal line? Just hold down Shift. March 2007 83 UNI15. One particular DVD. a Palette Knife for some of the highlight cuts in the rubble. cgtalk. Need to change the diameter for your brush? Just tap the [ for smaller size or ] for larger size. Along with custom brush building.org. To adjust the Flow just click a number on your number pad. A line is now connected to both points. 21 ORGANISING YOUR LIBRARY Sometimes you may feel like your brush library is a bit messy. A Texture brush for the speckles on the rocks.com. You can create limitless amounts of brushes from your imagination 22 BRUSH SHORTCUTS If you’re using a brush and need access the colour picker. and then click Preset Manager. and a Rain brush for the rain effects. Release Alt/Option and your brush is back. values. 25 CUSTOM BRUSH ARTWORK SAMPLE This image was created with several custom brushes.Artist insight Custom brush tips ONLINE RESOURCES AND FURTHER INFO Check out these websites. From Speedpainting to Concept Art by David Levy.com. a brush that creates lights on the buildings. To organise your brushes just access your Brush Preset picker. You might want to rearrange some brushes or just delete some of them. You can now drag brushes to your desired order.com. You can also check out some instructional DVDs that are available at thegnomonworkshop. 24 MAKING UNIQUE BRUSHES Although I’ve shared some very basic tips on making and customising brushes. textures and so on. click that little black arrow again.tips_brush 83 31/1/07 12:57:15 . 23 MORE SHORTCUTS Need a straight line other than vertical or horizontal? On your canvas make a dot with your brush. conceptart. DVDs and books to find out more about customising your brushes You can find other information on customising and creating brushes by exploring around the internet or by visiting discussion forums on some of the more popular digital art sites such as imaginefx. the best way to really learn about it is to experiment and explore. For books on the subject you can try Digital Character Design and Painting by Don Seegmiller – Photoshop CS edition (ISBN 1584502320). and your line will be horizontal or vertical. has a wealth of information on customising and creating brushes. There are huge numbers of brush setting combinations and limitless amounts of brushes that can be created from your own imagination. instead of going to your toolbar just hold down Alt/Option and your brush automatically becomes a colour picker. Digital Character Design and Painting also has tips on the basics of colour. then hold Shift and create another dot.

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