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2.7 How to Make a Photoshop Brush

In this lesson we are going to make our own Photoshop brushes, using a photograph as a base. We will be using these brushes to paint with.

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2.7 How to Make a Photoshop Brush

Hi and welcome to the fundamentals of digital painting. My name is Nas Peters, and in this video, we're going to make our own brushes using a photograph as base. We will be using these brushes to paint with. You don't have to make your own brushes, you could find great sets for free online or even buy them on marketplaces such as Graphic River. But it's good to know how to make them if you can't find what you're looking for in stock. For this course, I bought a cloud photograph from PhotoDune, which has a high contrast between white and blue. To load this in, go to File > Open, and then locate the file on your computer. Once you have, click Open and it will appear in Photoshop. Duplicate the layer. This is in case you make an error and wanted to start over. Now we are going to turn the photo black and white. Go into Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. We are now going to invert the colors of the photograph so the white clouds turn black. If you want to make a brush out of white shapes, it wouldn't take it into account. To invert the colors, press Ctrl plus the letter I on your keyboard. The background needs to be completely white as well, otherwise the gray tints will be included into the brush. So, bring up the Levels panel by going into Image > Adjustments > Levels. Select the eye dropper tool in the Levels panel and then click on the gray section in the photo. Keep clicking until the background is white. Click OK when you are done. Then select the original photograph underneath your manipulated layer and fill it in with a white color. I have it as the background color, so I press Alt+Backspace on my keyboard to fill it in. Once complete, select the eraser tool and remove all the small random bits of clouds dotted across the picture, since those aren't necessary, and remove the shapes you don't want to use as a brush either. In this case, I only want to use the upper right one and the middle right one. Using the lasso tool, I select the upper right one and move it down a bit for easier access. Now you want to zoom in and continue erasing small spots dotted around the cloud to clean up the shape. Let's turn this shape into a brush. Use the lasso tool to create a selection around the cloud. Then go into Edit > Define Brush Preset. Title it, if you want, and then click OK. And that's it. If you go into your brushes, you'll see that the shape has been added at the bottom of your brushes list. If you want to keep some of the roughness the cloud shape had, go into the Brush panel and then into Shape Dynamics. You can change the size jitter, which will make the brush stroke less smooth. The angle jitter option will make the roughness even more prominent. You can then go into the transfer options and change the opacity percentage to give the brush different opacity levels across the brush stroke. When you test it out you can see the difference between the two different settings. Remember that when you change the brush settings, it will applied on all brushes, so you'll need to switch the settings back when you want to use the smoother brush strokes. Apply the same process on the second shape. I decide that I want a more round-edged shape, so I go back into the manipulated photo and locate a cloud that is more round. There we are. We now have three custom-made brushes with different shapes which we can now use in the next painting steps. In the next video we are going to paint skin and give the face of the character a more realistic look. Thank you for listening

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