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Photoshop Tutorial: Using the new brush tips in Photoshop CS6

What you’ll learn in this Photoshop Tutorial:

  • Saving the new Brush
  • Adding strokes to vector images

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe Photoshop brushes. It is the first lesson in the Adobe Photoshop CS6 Digital Classroom book. For more Adobe Photoshop training options, visit AGI’s Photoshop Classes.

Photoshop Tutorial: Using the new brush tips in Photoshop CS6

The Erodible and Airbrush tips were added to Photoshop CS6. The Erodible tip allows you to scribble, draw, and wear out your brush tip much like a pencil or piece of chalk. The Airbrush tip offers extra controls and settings that allow the brush to act more like a real airbrush. In this example, you will use one of the new Airbrush tips to make snow blow off the skier. Airbrushing is a painting technique that uses a stream of air to apply the paint to a surface.

1 Select Background in the Layers panel, press and hold the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key, and click the Create a new layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. This opens the New Layer dialog box so that you can immediately name the layer.

2 Type Strokes in the Name text field, and then click OK.

3 Select the Brush tool (), and then select Window > Brush; the Brush panel appears.

4 Scroll down in the Brushes panel to select the Airbrush tip labeled 80. Once the brush is selected, you see that options specific to the selected brush tip appear at the bottom of the Brushes panel. You can experiment with the settings and see a preview of your brush stroke.

Hardness: Use it to set the Airbrush tip hardness.

Distortion: Use it to set the distortion of the airbrush.

Granularity: Use it to set the granularity (particles) of the brush tip.

Spatter Size: Use it to set the airbrush spatter size.

Spatter Amount: Use it to set the spatter amount.

Spacing: Use it to adjust the space between brush applications. Spacing set at 100% will give you even spaces between applications.

Select the 80 Airbrush tip and experiment with its settings.

5 Change settings and paint the image area. You can use any color. Experiment with different settings to see how the changes affect the brush stroke in the image area.

6 Once you are finished experimenting, choose Select > All, and then press the Delete key. You can repeat this step any time you want to paint again.

7 Reset your 80 Airbrush to the default settings by clicking the brush again in the Brush panel.

8 Enter these settings:

Hardness: 5%

Distortion: 0%

Granularity: 45%

Spatter Size: 15%

Spatter Amount: 50%

Spacing Amount: 25%

9 With the Brush tool still selected, change the following in the Options bar:

Change the Flow to 25%. Changing this setting lessens the flow of “paint” when painting.

Click the Enable airbrush-style build-up effects. If you hold the mouse button on one place, this feature spreads the paint much like an actual airbrush.

Set flow and build-up options in the Options bar.

10 If your Foreground color is not white, press the letter D to return to the Default colors of a Black Foreground and a White Background.

11 Press X to swap the Foreground and Background color so that White is forward.

12 Confirm that you still have the blank Strokes layer in the Layers panel selected, and start painting snow flying behind the skier. If you want to start over again, choose Select > All and press Delete.

Saving the new Brush

You can save your own customized brushes by following these steps.

1 To save the Brush, click the New icon () located in the bottom-right of the Brush panel. The Brush Name dialog box appears.

2 Type MyBrush in the Name text field, and then click OK.

3 If you want to use your brush in the future, you can find it by selecting Window > Brush Presets and scrolling to the bottom of the list. Your saved brush appears there.

4 Choose File > Save to save this file. Keep it open for the next part of this lesson. If a Photoshop options dialog box appears, click OK.

These tutorials are created by and the team of expert instructors at American Graphics Institute.