Photoshop Tips: The Brush Tool
The brush tool in Photoshop is extremely useful and has been used to form the foundations of some breathtaking designs. When I first used Photoshop at about age 14, the program revolved around the brush tool for me and I was of the mindset that you couldn’t really put a design together without the use of countless custom brush sets! Since then, I’ve – erm – matured a little as a designer and it’s fair to say I rarely use custom brushes now.
Now, we all know that there are some amazing and elaborate brush sets out there, but we’re going to take a look at the default brushes in Photoshop and see just how creative you can be with them.
The default brush tool can appear basic at face value and unable to achieve a lot. We’re going to look at how we can expand its capabilities with the
Brush palette, which is hidden away by default so can be quite hard to come accross if you’re not already aware of it. To access it go to Window > Brush or hit F5 on a PC.
So let’s have a play around with it…
1. Start with a background
Firstly, open a new document in Photoshop; it doesn’t really matter what size but I’ve made mine 800×600 pixels so we have a nice sized canvas to work with.
Next, we need a basic background – the effect were going to create works quite well on gradients so I’ve used a simple blue gradient.
2. Select your Brush
Now, make a
New Layer and select the
Brush Tool. Right click on your canvas and select the hard round brush and push the size up to about 200px, as shown below.
3. Tinkering with the Settings
Still with the brush tool selected, you now need to open up the Brush palette. You can see that there are various options you can tick on the left hand side, each with their own settings. Firstly, click on
Brush Tip Shape and alter the settings according to the image below.
Now tick the
Shape Dynamics option using the following settings.
Next, select the
Scattering option and apply the following settings.
Finally, select the
Transfer option with the following settings.
4. Start Brushing!
Now we have our brush ready to use. Change your foreground colour to a colour that is slightly lighter than your background – in this case, a light blue. Then click and drag around your canvas until you have something like what you can see below.
Okay, so we’re nearly there now.
5. More Tinkering
Now, you need to make a
New Layer and select the brush tool once again. This time, select a soft brush at around 85 pixels.
Open up your Brush palette again and apply the following settings.
Now, you need to select the same options as we did the first time; Shape Dynamics, Scattering and Transfer, all with exactly the same settings as we used the first time.
6. Finishing Off
Next, you need to change your foreground colour to white and in your new layer, click and drag around the canvas with your new brush. Finally set this layer to
Overlay in the layers palette.
And that’s your lot! Hopefully you’ve learned something today and your result looks a little like what I ended up with below (click to enlarge). This is a very basic example and this technique can be used to far greater effect.
I hope you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial! If you did, please help me out by sharing with your friends and followers.
About Stephen Greig
Stephen Greig is a 25 year old Freelance Web Designer/Front-end guy, currently living in Nottingham, UK. Stephen is also the creator of messivsronaldo.net and author of CSS3 Pushing the Limits, a book on advanced CSS3. You should follow him on Twitter where he talks about the web, sports, music and swears a lot. Stephen's also on Google+ if that's more your bag.