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1.2 Brush Tool Essentials

Moving on to the second lesson of this course, we’ll dive straight into the Brush Tool’s essential settings. From keyboard shortcuts to Brush Presets and more, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this amazing Photoshop tool. Learn how to create your own custom brushes, as well as a few great tricks and tips for incorporating the Brush Tool into your workflow.

1.How to Use the Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop
3 lessons, 12:33


Brush Tool Essentials


1.2 Brush Tool Essentials

[MUSIC] Hello and welcome back to this Coffee Break Course all about Photoshop's Brush Tool. My name is Melody Nieves. And in this lesson, I'll cover the essentials and show you a variety of applications from drawing to design. So let's jump right in. Now the Brush Tool isn't hard to find. It's located on Photoshop CC's main Toolbar on the far left side. And depending on how you have the Toolbar displayed, it's either underneath the Spot Healing Brush or just to the right of it. The main options you'll find for the Brush Tool are located at the top Toolbar and include the settings for brush size, hardness, brush mode, opacity and flow, as well as additional options for pen pressure. With as many settings as you could get to know these are by far the most important. So let's quickly run through them. First things first, the drop down menu at the top shows you the full selection of your brushes. Size controls the size of your brush of course and hardness controls how crisp or soft the brush is. Simply put, the higher the hardness the less the edges start to feather out. So in the end you're left with a nice solid stroke. If you're familiar with layer blend modes then you probably know all the incredible color effects that come along with them. With Brush Mode you can change the way each stroke affects the pixels already applied to the current layer. As a rule of thumb always keep the Brush Mode to normal. As a digital painter it's very rare that I personally experiment with Brush Mode, but I find that it's always good to customize your workflow to your specific needs. Moving on to Brush Opacity and Flow, these settings control how much paint you put onto the canvas. Adjusting the opacity will either make your brush stroke solid or increasingly opaque. Flow, on the other hand, controls the build up of each stroke. So if you set Flow to anything other than 100%, your brush strokes will slowly build up in smaller increments. Last but not least, we've got the Airbrush setting as well as the options dedicated to pen pressure sensitivity. Selecting the airbrush helps to imitate the real thing, while pen pressure works in collaboration with a pressure sensitive graphics tablet. I use a Wacom Intuos Draw whenever drawing or painting, but there are a wide variety of pen tablets on the market that you can choose from. But before I talk a little bit more about working with the pen tablet, let's quickly go over some keyboard shortcuts for the Brush Tool. You can also access these settings by knowing a few keyboard shortcuts. To access the Brush Tool for instance, simply hit the letter B on your keyboard. To make the brush smaller, press the left parentheses key. And to make the brush larger, press the right parentheses key. If you hold these keys down for a while, the brush will steadily decrease or increase in size. Another option you have is to adjust the brush hardness. To decrease or increase the brush hardness, press the left or right curly bracket keys. And although you have the top Toolbar for the settings you can always right click on the canvas to bring up a smaller panel that features your brushes, brush size, and hardness. But we're not done with the Brush Tool settings just yet. Hit F5 on your keyboard to bring up the brush panel. In this panel you'll find additional settings to adjust the brush tip shape, shape dynamics, and more. You can also click over to the brush presets to see the wide range of brushes already included in Photoshop CC, as well as your own custom ones. At first, the brush panel will feel like foreign territory. Aside from some obvious things, like adjusting the spacing or rotation, there may be some settings that are harder to understand. So get comfortable by practicing with the brush presets first. With each preset, check out the settings and see how they differ under each section. Was there an additional texture added, does it create a cool color effect as well, or is that brush best used only if you have a graphics tablet? There is no need to take this part too seriously in the beginning, so just go through each brush and make a couple of test strokes to see how they look. This also helps to develop muscle memory by getting you used to how each brush handles. But what if Photoshop doesn't have the brush you need? How do you then create a custom brush? Let's take this butterfly silhouette, for example. I grabbed this free stock from Pixabay and opened it in Photoshop knowing that I would like to turn it into a brush. If you want the brush to be a smaller size you might want to adjust the butterfly with the Free Transform Tool first. Now select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and pull a selection over the butterfly. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset, when the box comes up, name your new brush and hit OK. Now you can stamp this brush all over your designs and if you'd like to adjust the settings even further, simply hit Create New Brush when you're finished to add to your personal brush packs, or to even share them online. So far we've learned what the Brush Tool is, now let's tackle what it can be used for. I'd say that one of the biggest misconceptions about the Brush Tool is that it's merely used for digital drawing and painting. But with a little imagination, you can incorporate this tool into a variety of design applications. First up, let's talk photo manipulations and photo retouching. As a side note, all of the photography used in this Coffee Break Course can be downloaded for free from Pixabay. So feel free to try out these tips on the same examples. There are many tools you can use to clear skin, remove wrinkles, and smooth out pores, and you should consider the Brush Tool as one of them. In this example, the model's pores are pretty visible as well as some wrinkles under her eyes. What most people do when they see this is they opt to blur the skin with filters or the Blur Tool. Although these are good techniques for the scenario, sometimes the result can look too blurry and unnatural. So here, I'm going to take a Soft Round brush with zero percent hardness and hover the brush over the skin. By pressing the Alt key while still using the Brush Tool, my brush now turns to the Eye Dropper Tool, and I'm able to click and set the color of the skin as my foreground color. Now lightly paint over the skin. Adjust the opacity to a lower percentage if you need to. Notice how the pores start to soften as you begin to paint over the skin. Play with this technique and use it in moderation to achieve a believable effect. Another great way to use the Brush Tool while editing your photos is to use it in combination with Layer blend modes. Let's say you want to change the color of an object. Here I'll take this beautiful flower and change it to a blue color. First I'll create a selection around the entire flowers with a Polygonal Lasso Tool. Next, I'll set the Layer blend mode to Difference because I'm using a warm color to paint over the flower. Cover the petals completely, or choose only a few petals to paint. Just like that, you're able to change the color of any object in a matter of seconds. The Brush Tool is also a great partner to the Pen Tool. For beautiful fluid lines, create the shape you desire first using the Pen Tool. Then, right click and select Stroke Path. Make sure that the Brush Tool is selected as well as the option to simulate pen pressure. Once you hit OK, this setting will give you a beautiful line based off the existing settings under the Brush Tool. Delete the path to reveal the line, and here you have one more great technique to use for your designs. Last but not least, here are some quick tips for working with the Brush Tool for your digital drawings and paintings. As a digital artist myself, I love to paint in Photoshop CC. And the most important thing I could tell you is that the brush you're using is not as important as how much you adjust the settings. For instance, get in the habit of adjusting the brush hardness and size often. Most beginners think that if they just have the right brush they'll be able to achieve incredible digital paintings on just one setting. But the reality is that digital artists take a lot of time to study and practice basic art principles. So simulating different designs, textures, and lighting scenarios requires constant adjustment. Here are my top three brushes for digital drawing and painting. These are actually brush presets that already come with Photoshop CC, and because they work so well with pen tablets you can achieve strokes that simulate traditional pencils and paint brushes. For clean solid sketches use either the Hard Round Pressure size brush, or the Hard Round Pressure Opacity brush. And for general painting and texture, I like to use both the Hard Round brush and the Chalk brush for a nice effect. And working with a pressure sensitive graphics tablet is key here. Not only does it give you more fluidity and freedom over the typical optical mouse, but you can also utilize options like Pen Pressure for opacity to make your brush strokes even more luxurious. Now that you're armed with a little more knowledge about Photoshop's Brush Tool, you can go on to creating incredible designs and digital art like you wouldn't imagine. Stay tuned for the last lesson of this Coffee Break Course where we'll go over a recap of everything we've learned.

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