Anything Photoshop or Photography


Image of three Roseate Spoonbill babies with Mom at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm RookeryA couple years ago this info was presented, but I feel it is an important topic – creating a reliable brush that will work most of the time. This brush is my SJ Pastel 3-painting brush, my “go-to brush” for cleaning up an image such as filling in spaces, cleaning up uneven edges, painting small places in layer masks, and adding in some texture where needed. This does not mean I do not use other brushes, I am a major Photoshop brush collector. But this brush is used to do all the little clean up and detail work that almost every image, whether a realistic photo image as above, or a more artistic creation, will require. The image of a Roseate Spoonbill family was taken at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery, a very noisy place at this time of year. I loved the bird expressions but it was difficult to get the birds to show up – they actually were nestled back in a tree and the light was very dappled and harsh. The brush created described below was used extensively to get in close to clean up the edges and even out some of the color. By sampling nearby colors and setting the brush in the Options Bar to 67% Brush Opacity, and adjusting the Flow as needed, it turned out to be quite useful. Need to experiment a little and I think you will get some good results with this brush. Another good image example that used 7 clean up layers with lots of sampling and painting is The Mighty Bat Flower from my recent Tidbits Blog.

My Favorite Brush

I have changed this brush only a little over the last 3 years to get what I consider is a really nice stroke effect. Here is the link to download the basic brush from a free set by Stacy David Wallingford at DeviantArt’s SDWHaven Pastel Brushes.abr to be used both personally and commercially. Photoshop makes it really easy to add these brushes to the Brush Preset list – first open up PS, then double click on the .abr file that was downloaded – they pop into the bottom of the brush list. The brush used is his Brush 11 at the very bottom of the list.

Open the Brush Panel by clicking F5 (or with the Brush Tool selected, choose the third icon over on the Options Bar at top) and make the following changes to the brush – be sure to click on the underlined word so it opens up the dialog for each section, except Smoothing which does not have settings.

Brush Tip Shape:
Size: It opens up at a huge 2130 px brush! The size was changed to 8 pixels. I like to use a small size for clean up, but this can be easily adjusted, when needed, like to add texture to an area.
Angle set to 137 degrees – change by dragging the arrow in the circle or adding in the Angle field
Roundness is 100% – can drag the little dots in the box to make tip elliptical
Spacing is 35%

Shape Dynamics:
All are set to 0 and Off except Angle Jitter slider set to 42% – this gives a slight variation of stroke effect, especially on the edges

Texture (which is really a pattern):
Uses the Rough pattern located in the free PS pattern set that come with the program called Erodible Textures. To load pattern, click on the little down arrow next to the texture window in the top of the panel, then press the little cog wheel that opens up drop-down menu. Select the Erodible Textures in the list which contains the last 8 textures in pattern list. Select Append in dialog box. See screenshot below and select the blue highlighted pattern called Rough.
Screenshot of Pattern panel in PhotoshopSelect Rough pattern
Scale is 87%
Brightness is -45
Contrast set to 0
Check Texture Each Tip
Mode is Multiply
Depth is 50%
Depth Jitter was set to 1%

Smoothing check box is turned on – it has no settings.

Be sure to save the brush as a Brush Preset by clicking on the Create New Brush at the bottom of the Brush Panel and Brush Preset Panel – it will appear at the bottom of your brush list. I personally saved the brush as a Brush Tool preset so that the Options Bar settings are also preserved which are set to Opacity 67% and Flow 100%. To do this, in the first icon on the Options Bar, select the little down arrow – click the Create new tool preset icon under the cog wheel icon and name your brush. It will always appear in the Tool Presets when the Brush is selected with the additional settings.

To add more texture into the brush, change to a different Texture pattern. I like the Guaze pattern which gives a hatch effect (it is located in the PS Artist Surfaces pattern set) to use for an interesting background effect – it especially looks good in a Mixer brush for both blending and adding color. Adjust the Scale, Brightness and Contrast sliders and change the Mode – watch the Brush Preview at bottom of Brush Panel to see what the changes are doing to the brush stroke. And of course try changing the Spacing in the Brush Tip Shape section and adding Scattering can result in an interesting brush to use. Check out my related blogs below for more info on saving and changing brushes.

I hope you will try the brush – it is pretty easy to create and with just a few tweaks, it works very nicely. And try using a different brush that has a different dab tip with the settings and see if you get an even better brush. I still use a soft round brush a lot, and many of my Grut Brushes (get a free brush to download every Monday) are other favorites, especially his Cloud and Inky Leaks Splatter brushes. But I still return to this stand-by of a brush for most of my clean up – it is always at the top of my brush list. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Save Your Favorite or Newly Created Brushes
Why Use the Tool Preset Panel? Photoshop Painters Listen Up!
What Does the Flow Slider in the Options Bar Do?
How to Use Photoshop’s Brush Texture Section for Painting Clean-Up

16 responses

  1. Amazing photo! You really brought out the features of these amazing birds. I’ve never seen anything quite like them. And thanks so much for the mention!

    06/10/2017 at 3:00 pm

    • Thanks Nicolai – I hope everyone will check out your brushes and download the free ones for a few weeks – they will not be disappointed!

      06/10/2017 at 9:36 pm

  2. Stunning photograph! You truly drawn out the elements of these astonishing flying creatures. I’ve never observed anything very like them. Also, thanks such a great amount for the specify!

    06/13/2017 at 3:41 am

    • Thanks for the kind comment on my photo! Apparently Roseate Spoonbills only live in parts of South American, Central America and Florida, that’s where I live. I love this breed of bird – they always seem so happy and are so much fun to watch!

      06/13/2017 at 10:40 am

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