Anything Photoshop or Photography

Photoshop Brushes

QUICK AND EASY PHOTOSHOP PAINTING FUN!

Image of an egret at Sea World OrlandoRecently I purchased a video class called Quick & Easy Digital Painting Like a Professional by Kristen Palana from Udemy. Not sure how often I will use the technique, but it was a lot of fun. The image above was taken during a show for the seals at SeaWorld Orlando a few years ago. This was actually a live egret walking along the fence. Kristen’s techniques create an underpainting layer, a regular painting layer, a drawing layer, and an effect layer, at a minimum. She tells you what brushes to use and how to paint the layer effects. On the above, all of her steps were not followed, but it has her illustrative look to it. On the Spoonbill image (from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery) below, I tried to follow all the steps. I still do not quite get similar results, but I did learn a few new painting techniques and created a couple new brushes to use for my own style. She does supply an image to work along with her and that was very helpful. I like to try out the different procedures as they are presented. Overall it was a lot of fun to do. The Spoonbill image also used on top French Kiss (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) texture Atelier Canvas Overlay set to Vivid Light blend mode and 37% layer opacity to get the canvas effect, and a Matt Kloskowski vignette (see my How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog).

Image of a Roseate Spoonbill from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm RookeryYou may not be a professional after trying this tutorial, but good results can be obtained with a just a little effort. The instructions are not too difficult to understand, and if you make the brushes as she explains, the images end up with a nice illustrative feel to them. Kristen’s technique is great for illustrating books. I thought the postcard effect was kind of nice. The process seems to create a little vintage feel in the images. One thing I learned is that by using a drawing layer, many areas of an image can be emphasized or short-comings on the painting can be diminished. This will be useful for all types of painting techniques. On the Spoonbill, the line drawing effect was greatly reduced but on the top image, it had more of an emphasis. If you want to have some plain ole’ painting fun, this is a nice little video. Watch Udemy’s website as they often have big savings on their videos – it is a great place to pick up all kinds of Photoshop and Photography instruction. Hope everyone in the US is having a great holiday – see ya later!…..Digital Lady Syd


SOME WATERCOLOR FUN!

View from Stirling Castle in ScotlandJust another quick post to pass on a pretty nifty short tutorial that Chris Spooner at Spoon Graphics posted this week. It is called How to Create a Water Painting Effect in Photoshop and it was pretty easy to follow. I have tried it out on a couple different images using different paper, painting brushes, and a few different filters after applying the ones he suggested. Since a Smart Object is created to get the base effect, images can be swapped out without changing the rest of the set up or border once created.

This image is one I took from Stirling Castle in Scotland. After applying the filters and adding a layer mask, a border was created using the McBad Brush 30 that Chris links to in his post for creating the watercolor effect border. In the Brush Panel, try changing the Shape Dynamics Angle Jitter of the brush to something pretty high like 70% to get some nice edge work on the border. For this image, a stamped (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) layer (with the Paper border layer turned off) was created on top of the layers but underneath the border paper. Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression 2’s Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis preset was applied and set to, of all things, Division blend mode at 0.50 opacity. It gave the image more of an overall watercolor effect. I think many of the Impression presets would work well with this technique. A New Layer was added and using Grut I Dusty Covet Brush, lines around the tops of the buildings were sketched in to add a bit of realism and definition to the roofs – then lowered the layer opacity to 80%. On another stamped layer (with the paper layer off) Topaz ReStyle was applied – this time I had a preset created a while ago, but there were probably 20 presets that looked good on it. It seemed to even out the colors that in the final image. To give the image a real watercolor look, Grut’s W Mud Puddle Watercolor Brush was used to extend out the edges of the image into the border with strokes and paint in some solid roof colors and tree areas. As a side note, Nicolai at GrutBrushes has some really good things going at his brush site: a free brush every week (I definitely take advantage of this as different media brushes are presented), a free Photoshop Brushes Sampler with lots of nice brushes and a free Watercolor Brush called Cherry Pectin that is also in the sampler. The Cherry Pectin brush would have worked great for painting border edges also. I think this made a huge difference from the slightly canned look the original tutorial supplied. The image was way too vivid for my taste as a watercolor, so a New Layer was filled with white above and set to 16% layer opacity to calm it down a bit. The last step was to add Nik Viveza 2 to draw the eye to the orange buildings in the lower left corner and the painted bridge.

Well, still taking it easy but wanted to share – hope you get a chance to try out this technique. Chris Spooner has several nice tutorials on his site you might also like. Later…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Get Painting Effects from Actions-Part 1
A Little Watercolor Fun


ADDING A CREATIVE PAINT EFFECT

Image of King James V at Stirling Castle, ScotlandThis week I am presenting a little tutorial on how to add an interesting an painterly or artistic effect to your images. This technique goes hand-in-hand with the use of other creative filters, but is a great way to add a personal touch to those canned filters results. The image above is from Stirling Castle (completion date cc 1542) where the face of the palace is lined with statues. This statue is thought to be King James V of Scotland in yeoman attire as he wandered incognito among his subjects and calling himself the Gudeman of Ballengeich (tenant farmer of Ballengeich, a place near Stirling).

This technique comes from a really nice tutorial by Sebastian Michaels who is a total genius when it comes to using Photoshop. Several years ago he created a video called Custom Brush Technique at Light Stalking where he discussed several different ways of creating brushes. He made a grunge brush that he used to paint in an effect similar to the above. I took a little liberty here and downloaded similar brushes to create some of my effects.

What is shown here is how to add a white layer with a layer mask – by painting with black in the layer mask with unique and textured brushes, a very artistic result can be achieved. The steps are as follows:

  1. Adjust photo and on a duplicate layer (CTRL+J), add in any special effects such as filters.
  2. To add even more variety to the image, copy the duplicated layer from Step 1 and add adjustments layers, filters such as Topaz (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression or ReStyle, or go to Image ->Adjustment->Hue/Saturation (not an Adjustment Layer) set to colorize to change the overall color of the image. My image was turned into a bluish colorized look on the original filter layer, but could have been done on another duplicated copy.
  3. Add a New Layer on top and fill it with white (can go into Edit->Fill and Content: White (SHIFT+F5), or just change the color swatches to default Black/White (D) and press CTRL+BACKSPACE to fill with white (FYI: ALT+BACKSPACE fills with black).
  4. Add a Layer Mask to this layer (2nd icon from left at bottom of Layers Panel).
  5. Using several different brushes in the layer mask, build up the effect. Set the brushes to 20-30% only and change the rotation of the brush with each tap down. It is easiest to do if the Brush Panel is opened and set to the Brush Tip Shape section. Flip the little circle around to set the stroke so edges appear different when painted in the mask. Also, can right click in the Options Bar the Brush Preset Picker (2nd icon) to change the rotation and size quickly. Start by adding a bit of vignette feel on the edges. If you want the brush to rotate randomly with each stroke, can ago into the Shape Dynamics section and set the Angle Jitter to some amount – I use 19% on many of my brushes. Look at the Preview field to see what the effect will be when changes are made in the Brush Panel.
  6. If the layer was duplicated and more than one filter or effect was created (as in Step 2), also add a layer mask to all these layers and paint out parts so the original color of the image shows through. This gives a nice split tone look.

To get an interesting effect, try grunge brushes, splatter brushes for the edges, and soft round or smaller sized textured brushes to paint back any important details. Different sizes, rotations and opacities of brushes really vary the effect. And remember the Properties Panel can be used to adjust the layer mask opacity if the final result is too strong. The actual layer blend mode and opacity can be adjusted also. Lots of flexibility can be found here.

The above followed Sebastion’s steps from his video pretty closely including using Photoshop’s Filter Gallery to create a watercolor effect (Watercolor filter – Brush Detail 9, Shadow Intensity 1, Texure 2; and  Crosshatch filter – Stroke Length 9, Sharpness 6, Strength 1). This was added to the layer first before the Hue/Saturation Colorize effect was applied. Then the White Layer was placed on top. Three different types of brushes were used on both layer masks: a grunge brush (Shadowhouse Creations’ Grunge Brush Set 2-G4 brush), a grunge brush made using a texture somewhat like Sebastian’s, and Grut FX IL Ratatatsplat brush (from his wonderful Inky Leaks Splatter set) was used for the edge effect. Finished up with Nik Viveza 2 to just pull the eye into the statue area and lightly lighten the face.

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Image of BlueberriesThis blueberry image used the same workflow. It does not seem as if adding a white layer on top would make much of a difference here, but it actually did. It lightened the image overall before bringing in the color from the layers below and can add some beautiful texture with the right brushes. For this image, Topaz Impression was opened and one of my presets was applied called SJ WC like effect on bldgs (see end of blog for settings). On a duplicate layer, an Image->Adjustments>Hue/Sat-Colorize was set to Hue 46/Sat 27/Lightness +2 – a gold sepia tone. The color did not look right so a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer was clipped to the layer (ALT+click between the layers) and changed to a more pink color. This layer was set to 33% layer opacity. Brushes used in white top layer mask and the Impression and Colorized layer masks were:  SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter (see end of blog on how to create this brush-one of my favorites as it adds just a touch of texture to the stroke at a small size and nice splatter brush at larger size) at 25% br opa and 502 px and rotated around edges; Shadowhouse Grunge GB-4 again at 1200 px and rotated around center; and ABlaise-Canvas Texture Br 46 32-350px (this brush added some nice texture into the image). The brush sizes and rotation were varied in each mask. Topaz ReStyle’s Zambezi Zest preset was used to get the French vineyard colors in the image. (Settings: ReStyle Opacity 62% and Soft Light blend mode; Color Style Primary 0.58; and Lum Primary 0.47; Texture Strength 1.00; Basic Temp 0.22, Tint 0.34, and Sat 0.08; Tone Black Level -0.14, Midtones 0.03, and White Level -0.39; and Detail Structure -1.00 and Sharpness 0.63; and Masking – with Strength set to 0.36, painted out the green leaf at bottom and the berries to give more detail in just those areas.) Finished up with the standard Red Channel Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer, Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode, and Nik Viveza 2 to bring out the focal points.

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Image of Urquhart Castle in ScotlandHere is another example of how this technique could be used. This is an image of Urquhart Castle in Scotland on a very rainy day. Topaz ReStyle was applied using the exact same preset and settings from the blueberry image. Then a white layer was added on top with a mask. The Castle image was painted back in using the same brushes as above or the newly created Grunge Brush, the SJ 1 Color-Paint fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush (settings below) and once again Aaron Blaise’s Texture brush – his textured brushes really help with this effect when used in a layer mask. The layer was set to 35% layer opacity. On the ReStyle layer, a layer mask was added and parts of the trees and castle were painted out so the original image color showed through. At the top a New Layer was added and filled with a light gold-yellow color. A layer mask was added and once again the image was painted back using the same Grut-FX IL Ratatatsplat for the edges and my SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur brush at a small size for the detail areas. This layer was set to Linear Dodge (Add). To get the final effect, the Layer Style was opened by double clicking on the layer. In the Blend If sliders, the Underlying Layer black tab was split (by holding ALT and pulling the tab apart) and setting it to 10/70. This does not always work, but it definitely worth trying out to see what happens. In this case it brought out the structure more clearly. Nik Viveza 2 was used to pinpoint the focal point which is where the red umbrella is located. Anyway, just note that you are not limited to a white color top layer or using just one color layer. With a little experimenting, a very nice image can be produced. I believe I will use the above image on note cards.

Hope this gives you another little trick to try in your artistic endeavors and maybe it will give your images that extra level of interest it needs. And try out my brush – I am finding it is very useful in lot of different types of images. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Topaz Impression’s SJ WC like effect on bldgs Settings: Thought I would share the preset settings as it really does give some interesting results sometimes with a little masking when looking for creative effects. The preset was made in Topaz Impression 1:  Started with Watercolor II preset and these were the final settings: Stroke Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 26, Coverage 1.00, Color Overall Hue 0.15, Saturation -0.20 and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, Vignette 0, and Light Direction X0.33 and Y0.06; and Texture Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type solid white, and Background color used #d38967 – all other settings not listed at 0. Adjust your color swatches to get other color tones. These changes  were made to the preset in Topaz Impression 2 for the blueberry image: Number of Strokes High; Color Aqua Sat 0.25 and Lightness 0.51; Lighting Highlight 0.40, Shadow -0.39; and Texture Strength 0.

SJ 1 Color-Paint Fur-AD Sketch Splatter brush has become a favorite brush for all kinds of things. With these brush settings, it is great to paint animal skin but it works great wherever a little soft edge with subtle texture is needed. It is my go-to clean up brush when color needs to be added to fill in some rough spots. Here are the settings: First download these free brushes from Alex Dukal – Adobe Sketch Brushes and select AD Sketch Splatter – 143 px brush. This brush had the brush tip I liked but most of the brush settings were changed. Here are the Brush Panel settings as I use the brush: Brush Tip Shape – Size 9 px, Angle 13 degrees, Roundness 100% and spacing 120%; Shape Dynamics – only the Control field was set to Pen Pressure (for tablet use); Scattering – check Both Axes, Scatter 149%, Count 9, and Count Jitter 54%; Transfer – only the Opacity Control field was set to Pen Pressure, and Smoothing checked. Be sure to create a Brush Preset and a Brush Tool Preset (1st icon on the Options Bar – open the drop down and click the Create New Preset icon – this saves the Options Bar settings). Adjust and paint with different sizes. Can add Texture and Color Dynamics for different look. Also Dual Brush can be interesting. I use this brush sometimes as small as 4 px to clean parts of an image by sampling adjacent colors. Try out the original brush provided as it is a really nice splatter brush.


GETTING THAT POSTER EFFECT

Image of the Video Arcade Sign at the Magic KingdomThis week I watched an interesting short video by Chris Spooner of Spoon Graphics called Airbrushed Film Poster Effect so I decided to give it a try. The images in this blog are all the result of using of his steps or variations of them. This first image from Disney World follows most of his steps closely. I wanted to start by trying the actual steps to really understand how this effect is achieved. Also, I found it easier to understand what he is saying by turning on the closed captions for this video. Chris says this effect works best with darker low key photos with lots of details.

The basic steps are listed below, but I found some better ways to create some of these effect using Photoshop plug-ins from vendors as opposed to all the PS filters in this workflow. First off, the image needs to be in 8-bit Mode if using the PS filters so go to Image -> Mode -> 8 Bits/Channels. Chris starts with using the High Pass Filter set to a fairly low Radius and the top image used the filter with a Radius of 2 pixels. Chris used the Oil Paint Filter for the painterly effect on his image, but this just is not one of my favorites so the layer was taken into Topaz Impression 2 where Abstract Settings-Blake Rudis preset was applied. That is my only deviation from the workflow.

This next step is one that could be useful for other workflows. A RGB Luminosity Channel was selected by going to the Channels Panel and CTRL+clicking on the thumbnail to select the Highlights in the image. Once selected, changed to the Layers Panel. Copy and Paste (Edit -> Copy and Edit -> Paste) creates a new layer showing just the highlights on the layer. It is set to Vivid Light and the opacity is lowered. Then go to Select -> Reselect and create a New Layer. Fill selection with white using CTRL+Backspace if colors set to default black and white or Edit -> Select and set Contents to White. This layer was set to Soft Light blend mode. These steps really give an interesting look to the image and could be good for other types of effects.

This video used the Poster Edges in the Artistic Effects filter and set them to Edge Thickness 0/Edge Intensity 0 and Posterization 6 which adds dark lines into image. To get similar results for light lines, on a duplicate layer the color was desaturated (SHIFT+CTRL+U) and the Glowing Edges filter (Edge Width 1, Edge Brightness 2, and Smoothness 1) in the Stylize section was applied. It was set to Screen blend mode and the opacity was adjusted. The last few steps involved adding Noise by filling a layer with 50% Gray and than applying the Add Noise at 20% to give some grain to the image. Chris then added a tan paper texture on top and set it to Soft Light blend mode. For the above image, 2 Little Owl’s Color Bokeh Grunge Set No. 6 (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) was used to get the grungy effect.

The process is a bit tricky as there are a lot of things going on, but once attempted, you can see how to make the image look more like that airbrushed effect in posters.

*****Image of Native American demonstrating Horn PlayingThe above is of Jim Sawgrass, the Master of Ceremonies at the Ormond Beach Native American Festivals, who gives excellent talks on the traditions and lives of Native Americans throughout the country. It was my second attempt to get this poster effect and several workflow steps were changed to get this result. For starters this man was selected from the original image using PS Select and Refine Command – this works pretty well on rather detailed objects. Lucis Pro 6.0.9 (no longer available but I keep looking for it) to sharpen the image since this filter gives a nice poster feel, but Topaz (for website link see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Detail or Clarity could have been used. No painterly effect was used on this image. Same steps as above were then followed except the RGB Luminosity layer was set to Pin Light blend mode at 71% layer opacity instead of Vivid Light. No layer was desaturated (accidentally) but it turned out fine. Same PS filter settings. Jai Johnson’s Daily Textures Unpredictable (No. 6) was placed underneath the man and on top 2 Little Owl’s Color Bokeh Grunge Set texture with a layer mask added to paint back the player. Just some clean up was done after this. I went back and added Nik Color Efex Pro on this image after finishing the horses as the results really enforced the poster feel. Therefore, Bleach Bypass, Darken/Lighten Center, and Film Efex Nostalgic Film Type 7 filters were applied – used different opacities to get the effect.

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Image of two toy horses from the Native American FestivalA similar workflow as above was used on this toy horse image also taken at the Native American Festival. This image looks even more like a Poster. After selecting the horses, to get the airbrushed effect Topaz Impression 2 was opened and the Painterly II preset was used. This preset seems to give a great slightly painterly feel that a poster requires. The white highlights layer was set to Color Dodge blend mode instead of Soft Light and was set to 74% layer opacity. The Poster Edges filter was applied with the Edge Intensity changed to 2. The Glowing Edges filter settings were changed to Edge Width 2, Edge Brightness 4, and Smoothness 3. These sliders can all be adjusted to get a needed effect. The grainy look needed to be applied so this time Nik Color Efex Pro 2 was opened and Film Efex: Vintage filter was applied and then the Bleach Bypass filter as it looked really good. The Nik filters really seemed to enhance the poster effect so try different ones to pop the colors especially. Another one of Jai Johnson’s Daily Textures Unpredictable 16 was placed underneath the horses.

There is a little trick here that I figured out to help add that poster look. On a New Layer on top, my SJ Pastel 3 brush was used to just lightly paint over some of the edges around the horses. It made some of the hard edges sort of fade into the image and by using a color that matched the background a little, it added to the overall painterly effect. This was done to a lesser extent to the Native American horn blower. For info on making this brush, see my How to Use Photoshop’s Brush Texture Section for Painting Clean-up blog.

If you like the airbrushed poster effect, this is a pretty good workflow and lots of options to make it look more like your own creation. Remember the results depend a lot on what the resolution and brightness of the image is at the beginning. I appreciate Chris Spooner sharing this type of workflow which is so flexible and gives everyone a chance to create the effect. Until next week…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
The Road to Hana


A FEW BRUSH TIPS IN PHOTOSHOP

Digital painting of the Swamp or Wetlands in Florida Just was not ready with a new technique but have been enjoying painting, so thought I would go over a couple little tricks I’ve  learned that might help save you some time while digital painting. It can get pretty sophisticated once you figure out where the image is going. The above Photoshop painting is called Spring in the Swamp and contains 61 layers. Even if this is not exactly your type of painting or expression, maybe there are a few tips here that will speed up your image production.

My painting started with just a basic sketch of a stream before just adding some floral brush strokes. Over the last few months I have spent hours figuring out exactly what brushes work with my painting style and creating new ones as tool presets when needed. This results in lots of brushes that can be very cumbersome to have piled up in the Brush and Tool Panels in PS.

TIP No. 1: Create several groups of brushes and save them as Tool Presets so they can be opened up anytime you want to paint those effects.

For my paintings I currently use 6 major sections: At the top of my Tool Presets Panel (top left icon in Options Bar shows current tool selected) are the signature brushes and brushes used on an almost daily basis for all kinds of touch up on both photos and my paintings. The Tool Preset Picker (click the arrow beside the Tool Presets Icon to open) and click the little square icon with the corner folded up to create a New Tool Preset – name it Drawing Brushes section. Any regular brush can be used for this since it is not being used as a brush. It will be listed at the bottom of the Tool Preset list. I find that capital letters stand out really good. Now drag it into the spot needed above the described brushes for quick use.

Regular Brushes Tool Preset in my Photoshop

The sections must be set up in the Preset Manager which can opened in a couple ways. To go directly to the Tool Preset Manager, open the Tool Preset Picker in the Options Bar and click on the top icon – a little cog wheel – in the drop-down, select Preset Manager. You will see not just the Regular Brush Tool Preset, but all kinds of brush tool presets – Mixers, Smudge, Burn, Dodge, Smudge, Erasers, etc. – the Regular Brushes have the paintbrush as an icon. Alternatively, go to the Brush Panel or Brush Picker Panel and click on the 2nd icon over at the bottom of each called Open Preset Manager. Once opened, the Preset Type is set to Brushes, not the Tool Presets, so open click on the little field to open a drop-down, and select Tools – it is now at the same place as described above. Now the brushes can be moved around by just dragging them. Also SHIFT+Highlight or CTRL+Highlight to move several brushes. Create sections by moving the header above each group to be used – i.e., Drawing Tools and then adding underneath the brushes as shown in the screenshot. Now select the Header and all the accompanying brushes and click Save Set. Once saved, the whole section can be deleted out of the Preset Manager and reloaded anytime this set of brushes is needed again. Very handy and a safe way not to loose these so important brushes if you paint. (For more info on this, check out my Why Use the Tool Preset Panel? Photoshop Painters Listen Up! blog.) The 6 major sections that work for me are: my basic brushes at top, Drawing Tools, Landscape Brushes, Snow Tools, Fur Tools, and Spatter Brushes. Brushes I am trying out are at the bottom. At this point only the Regular brushes are kept in sections. If I switch to my Mixer Brushes in the Tool Presets, there are several more brushes but not as many so I have not divided them into sections, but rather just keep them grouped together for quick use.

TIP No. 2: Name the Tool Preset Brushes so you know what they are.

When I modify a brush that is from someone else, the tool or brush is renamed using my initials at the beginning and then using the original brush title – usually these brushes all have a unique dab types that I could not have created without the original creators help. Creating several of these brushes have been explained several other blogs so I will not go into that. For example the Drawing Tools are from various people and represent very different types of brushes for creating an actual drawing effect. In the screen shot above are many examples of the way my brushes are named.

TIP No. 3: Keeping all Tool Presets open.

If you do not have Check Current Tool Only checked, all the Tool Presets loaded will be shown. I do not do this as there are so many brushes in my Tool Presets, but many people save lots of time by opening leaving open the Tool Preset Panel (Windows -> Tool Presets) – then you can actually switch between tool types very quickly, like a particular Regular Brush and a Mixer or Eraser.

TIP No. 4: Use the Brush Picker to get back to the last 7 brushes used! Can be a major time-saver.

Once Photoshop removed the ability to create your own panels to access your favorite brushes quickly (original CC and CS6), it became a real problem to paint in PS. I was constantly going back to CS6. The Brush Picker now has this great little gem that can be indispensable for painting. The last 7 brushes used are displayed at the top – just note each time you change a size it will be listed at the top again under that size. What is so great is that if the size or something else is modified in the Brush Panel, by clicking on the brush icons at the top, these settings are retained as long as the icon is showing. If you clicked back on the brush in the Brush Panel, the settings would be lost. If you click on the settings in the Tool Preset, the brush will also reset. But if you press on the brush icon in the Brush Picker, the correct Brush Panel settings are retained. This can be helpful if you are switching back and forth a lot. The thing that you must be careful about is that the settings for the Options Bar do not change as the brushes are switched – this is just for Brush Panel modifications. So watch the brush modes, opacities and flows to get correct results. Not always useful, but can be a real time saver. Oh yes, same goes for the Libraries Panel – if a brush is placed in there it will act the same as the brushes in the Brush Panel. The Options Bar settings will not be retained. The Libraries Panel is another place to put your favorite brushes though.

TIP No. 5: Use the Mode Clear to erase on a layer when painting.

My friend Nicholai over at Grut Brushes is where I learned this tip (check out his website for some really great brushes and his free brush of the week). This can be handy to erase away an area using the same dabs of what you were painting. So for example, if you are painting clouds, set the brush to Clear to get a nice cut away when parts of the clouds need to be removed. Very handy!

TIP No. 6: Use the Blur Tool to quickly soften parts of a flower or tree or bird that is too sharp.

The Blur Tool was used in several places on the above – just create a New Layer and keep the setting at no more than 50% to get some nice controlled blurred strokes. This tool was not that good in previous versions (in CS6 it does not work that well), but it works great now.

Guess this is enough for this week. Hope you find the tips handy and time-saving! Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO USE A BRUSH SET TO LINEAR DODGE (ADD)

Painting of a Giraffe's HomeI ran across this little brush technique in Advanced Photoshop Magazine No. 81’s DVD (several years old) in a PDF called Photoshop Uncovered: Forgotten Features. This particular tip was by designer/illustrator Radim Malinic of Brand Nu. I am not sure I have completely mastered his technique yet, but it was fun trying to figure out how he uses it to create some really great art.

Exactly what does setting a brush to a Linear Dodge (Add) mode in the Options Bar do? According to Radim, “As the color dodges, the overall shade goes lighter with every brush stroke.” Usually he tries to stick to just one color for his image, so this was my goal in my blog images. His basic technique involves creating a colored image, then desaturating the image, adjusting contrast with a Levels Adjustment, and adding in background textures and shapes.

On a New Layer with any brush selected, the Options Bar was set to Linear Dodge (Add) mode, Opacity 30% and Flow no more than 30%. Choose a darker shade of any color wanted to dominate your image. As you dab, colors will become brighter each time a stroke is overlapped – be careful not to overdo this effect as it is easy to get carried away. A New Layer is needed to get the effect as a white background layer will not show any strokes. If the last dab is too strong, go to Edit -> Fade Brush Tool to reduce the effect and change the blend mode for a better look if needed. The bright linear dodge strokes can be seen in the plants and giraffe in the bottom image below.

Tych Panel of images used to create painting

The Tych Panel shows how I created this image. I was attempting to try and just use a nice color of green to do all the painting in this image. The upper left image is what was initially created using several layers and various colors! This involved adding the background textures and creating a group of layers that contained my plant brushes. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created on top. Next a Black and White Adjustment Layer was used to get a nice tone – this was merged down (highlight both layers and press CTRL+E) so now my main image is black and white. It was set to 94% layer opacity – that is why there is some slight color showing in the image. Therefore, a white filled New Layer was placed underneath so the colors below did not show through.

Now the fun began. Just started painting using the Linear Dodge (Add) mode in the Options Bar at 30% Opacity and 30% Flow. A light green was painted over the image. A giraffe silhouette brush was added and a layer mask was used to put some of the plants in front of his legs. On a New Layer painted in with the green colors on the giraffe – see the variation of the colors as the brush is dabbed over the same areas. A Levels Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between layers) to some layers to soften the effect so it blends in better with the plants. 12 more layers were created to paint in the different object using different brushes. I found that by varying the brush Opacity but not the Flow over 30%, the various shades of the color could be easily obtained. Also the layer opacity or Edit Fade command can be used if the effect is just too strong. To finish up, Nik Viveza 2 was applied to adjust the focal point and add a slight vignette effect for drawing the eye. I decided the green was overwhelming the image as seen in the bottom part of the Tych Panel. Therefore a bright dark blue Solid Color Adjustment Layer was added. It was set to Color blend mode at 35% layer opacity. This seemed to balance out the over green to a level I liked as shown in the top image.

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Painting of a Magical Bird in a Magical ForestThe above is another example of using this same technique. It was first painted in color and then turned to black and white before creating a New Layer and using Linear Dodge (Add) brush mode to paint with a cyan blue color in the image again. This technique does take a bit of practice to get a good result, but I do see a possible use for this type of brush in doing a regular painting. It is nice to just emphasize a certain area in an object using this method – in fact several digital painters use this method for dodging their images. It  has been fun to try and paint with a monochromatic color scheme. Definitely have to think about what the values are in your image. Hope you get a chance to experiment with this brush mode and come up with some interesting results!…..Digital Lady Syd

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HOW TO USE A PATTERN FILL ADJUSTMENT LAYER

Digitally painted image of the Last Snow before Spring
This is a pretty basic post on how to use a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer to add some subtle detail to image objects. This may be something you are already doing, but if not, give my short workflow below a try. A Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was used on the flying birds in the digital painting above. The birds are a free download from Cheryl Tarrant – for download link and more image details, see Image 1 info at end of blog. Bird objects work well with Pattern Fills, but any painted strokes, text or objects placed on a layer by themselves will work. Below is the quick workflow and the rest of the blog goes into more detail regarding Patterns.

Workflow for Adding a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer

  1. Open up a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer above image by going to the bottom of Layers Panel and clicking on the Black & White circle icon (fourth one over) and select Pattern (third one down). By default the last pattern in your Pattern Picker list will be selected.
  2. Clip the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer to the one below by ALT+clicking between the two layers. (See below for more options.)
  3. Double click on the pattern to open the Pattern Fill Dialog and choose your pattern. (To add more patterns, click on cog wheel in the upper right corner – PS has packaged several sets that can be clicked on or add your own. See below.)
  4. Adjust the Scale slider and drag on pattern in image to get the location and size of pattern for the effect required.
  5. Set the blend mode and opacities for both the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer and the object layer below.

Difference Between Textures and Patterns and Where Patterns Are Used

A little background material here so you understand what a pattern is much less how to use it in a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer. In PS, a pattern is a fairly small file, often times repeated without edges (lots of tutorials out there on this), that can be added to an image in various ways. A texture is a much larger file usually using the .JPG file format. Textures are added in as a layer that goes over the whole image – can alter them with a layer mask and/or different blend modes and layer opacities. Since Patterns are much smaller in size, they are added to an image with PS tools, commands, layer styles or a Pattern Fill adjustment layer. Several tools have an option to add a Pattern like the Regular Brush Tool (and Stamp Tool, Smudge Tool, Dodge Tool, Burn Tool, and Sponge Tool) in the Brushes Panel Texture Section, the Spot Healing Tool, Pattern Stamp Tool, and the Paint Bucket Tool (who knew?). (Note: In the Brush Panel, the Texture section is really adding a Pattern from the Pattern Picker to add texture to the stroke.) Also the Rectangular Tool and all the tools grouped with it can use a Pattern when set to Shape – look in the Stroke drop down. The Edit -> Fill dialog with the contents set to Pattern gets some very cool pattern effects with the Script drop-down box. Layer styles using patterns are the Bevel & Emboss Texture subsection, Stroke Fill Type, and Pattern Overlay sections. Oddly enough, the PS filters do not appear to use .PAT pattern files (they use regular texture .PSD files instead). Just wanted everyone to know patterns are located in many places, and sometimes quite hidden places (and I might have missed a few), just in case a need arises and a different technique could be used.

Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer Dialog

My favorite method for using a Pattern is with the Fill Adjustment Layer. It does not have a lot of adjustment sliders (only the Scale can be adjusted but since it is its own layer, the blend mode and layer opacity can be adjusted. There is also a layer mask so the effect can be locally masked in or out. Very easy way to adjust the results. And perhaps best of all, it can be clipped (see next paragraph) to an object layer so only what is on the layer is affected by the pattern effect. That is how the birds above look like a natural brownish color instead of the original black silhouette object. Below is a screenshot of the Pattern Fill dialog that was used on the birds above.Screenshot of a Pattern Fill Adjustment LayerIt can be seen that first Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (the indented layer) to the birds layer. There are several ways to clip a layer, but my preferred way is to hold down the ALT key and click between the two layers to link them together. Can right click on adjustment layer and select Create Clipping Mask; or go to the Menu and choose Layer -> Create Clipping Mask; or just press CTRL+ALT+G on the highlighted layer – all work equally well.

From the latest Photoshop Manual (can download as .PDF file) search for Pattern: “Click the pattern, and choose a pattern from the pop-up panel. Click Scale, and enter a value or drag the slider. Click Snap To Origin (button) to make the origin of the pattern the same as the origin of the document (pattern opens up set to upper left corner). Select Link With Layer if you want the pattern to move along with the layer as the layer moves (moves with object layer as it is moved in the Layers Panel). When Link With Layer is selected, you can drag in the image to position the pattern while the Pattern Fill dialog box is open.” I usually just select the pattern and set the scale here. The really important thing to know is that by dragging in the image, the pattern can be moved to make it look correct on your objects if the Link with Layer box is checked. The Create a New Preset seem useless since all the patterns are already loaded.

Any color of patterns can be used (although all patterns are added turned to black and whites for the Brush Tools Texture section since brushes only use black to white tones). Using the colorful patterns can give really nice results on objects like birds or rocks or text. The one used above was included in a free Obsidian Dawn’s Grungy Dirty Patterns set which I use all the time.  Some other patterns I use a lot are 10 Splatters Patterns by Idealhut and  Vintage Floral Patterns by flashtuchka. I tend to like patterns that show bright colors and contrast. Also watercolor patterns are very useful. Try some of the loaded PS patterns, but I do not use them much. To add the patterns into your list, open up the Pattern Picker and select the little pop-out wheel where it says Load. Now just go to where the patterns were saved and open them up. They will appear at the end of your pattern list. Click on Preset Manager to add, remove or change the order (just drag to move) of the patterns loaded. With the Pattern Picker open, the different patterns can be clicked on and a live preview on the image will be seen. For the above the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer Scale slider was set to 155%, then back on the actual layer, it was set to Normal blend mode at 67% layer opacity. The birds underneath were set to Normal blend mode at 45% layer opacity. The combination gave a really nice subtle bird effect.

Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer or Pattern Overlay Layer Style

There are a couple major reasons I like the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer. The Pattern Overlay Layer Style can do pretty much everything the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer does. But it is easy to run into problems with the other Layer Style sections that are applied on top of this section. It can block out the whole section being added. One advantage of the Layer Style is that the blend mode and opacity can be set for the actual dialog, then the adjustment layer’ blend mode and opacity can also be set. I find the Pattern Overlay section works well with text layer especially since strokes and glows can be added in easily. Note that you can use both a clipped Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer and a Layer Style on the bird layer to get extra effects. There is so much that can be done! Just remember that if you want to add a layer mask to the bird layer with a Layer Style on, be sure to check in the Blending Options section “Layer Mask Hides Effects.” Otherwise the masking will look bad.

Painted image of fauna for birdsI created this image to show how both Pattern Fill Layers and Pattern Overlay Layer Styles can be combined to get a really nice effect. Several of the plant layers used Pattern Overlay Layer Styles and many have Pattern Fill Adjustments Layers clipped to them. For example, the text layer applied both a Pattern Overlay and Drop Shadow Layer Style sections and a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer clipped to the text layer. For more info on this painting, check out Image 2 below.

How to Create a Pattern from Your Own Textures

This is probably the easiest part of this blog. I had several great textures I created and bought that would make good patterns. To convert them from a .PSD file or .JPG file to a .PAT file, go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Then name the pattern and it is placed at the bottom of your pattern list to use the next time the Pattern Picker is opened. If you are using PS CS5 or older, there is a Pattern Maker filter in the Other category that can be used to make patterns – not sure why Adobe removed it.

I hope you try this technique on your images. Adding a pattern to just a few strokes on a layer can add some real interest in an image – it does not have to be an object. I am finding I am using patterns more and more to get that extra level of creativity and blending that seems to be lacking in a lot of the original images I am seeing. Know this was a little long, but I hope this helps a little about how to do this!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image Info:

Image 1: This started out as a spring image but finished up as the Last Snow before Spring. That is what I love about Photoshop, sometimes major surprises result! Most of this image was painted in Corel Painter, but many details were completed in Photoshop. This seems to be the only way I can paint. In Painter, mainly used John Lowther’s Landscape Collection brushes along with various Karen Bonaker and Melissa Gallo brushes – all three of these people are incredible digital painters! In Photoshop, 37 layers were created so lots of different brushes went into this image. Several of Grut’s FX Cloud brushes were used along with Seishido Biz Favytunic’s brushes (can’t seem to locate them now-older brushes) and Frostbo’s Grass Set2 brushes. Also used several of Melissa Gallo’s Photoshop brushes from her video class (incredible class BTW). The snow was added using a brush created by following Corey Barker’s Corey’s Universal Particle Brush video which teaches how to make a terrific snow brush. (See my How to Paint in a Snow Storm blog.) The snow appears a lot more natural to me now. Also the birds are from Cheryl Tarrant’s Distressed+Seasonal+Flock+Birds+Brushes set – Brush 05 – some of the nicest bird brushes around. The texture used was by Kim Klassen called Cool Grunge (not sure this texture is still available) and was set to Multiply at 29% layer opacity. My basic PS workflow was followed after creating all the detail layers. Used Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle’s White Swan Feathers preset. Nik Viveza 2 to draw in focus, and some Curves Adjustment Layers to restore contrast.

Image 2: The Birds of a Feather image was first painted in Paintstorm Studio with each type of brush painted on individual layers –  the image was eventually saved as a .PSD file for more adjusting in PS. In this case 13 different Paintstorm layers were created using several of my own brushes, some Double Brushes, Pens, and Multi Brushes and opened in PS. The bottom layer was one of my watercolor textures and two Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers were clipped to it – the first a light beige watercolor pattern set to 417% Scale and Normal blend mode at 91% layer opacity, and the second a Bobby Chiu Colored Paint Texture which was created from his video Building My Favorite Photoshop Custom Brush – it was set to 1000% Scale and Vivid Light blend mode at 25% layer opacity. The birds are on their own layer from Lisa Glanz called Flying Geese (could not find the download link) with a brown watercolor Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer attached. The text layer was added with a Pattern Overlay Layer Style using a bright watercolor pattern set to 265% scale and 39% opacity and a simple drop shadow. Then a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped to this layer using a small yellow/orange/green small print pattern set to 417% scale and a layer opacity of 78%. The last step in this image used a Kyle T. Webster layer style called Fresh Fun set to 0 Fill and painted over the plants and birds to give a little extra texture effect.