Photoshop CS5 Trickery & FX: Simplifying The Interface - Part 2
Understanding The Paint Brush Engine
Since Photoshop 6.0, the Paint Brush engine has gone through extensive changes. You can now produce effects such as fire, smoke, sparks, and textures by using the Paint Brush’s animated options. This engine has been optimized to use a digitized pen like that of the Wacom tablet. Let’s get to know the basics of animating and altering brush properties and saving custom brushes.
When you click the Paint Brush icon in your toolbar, you’ll see the Options bar. Click the Brush Preset Picker.
A drop-down menu of default paint strokes is listed. You can resize this menu by clicking the bottom-right corner of the palette and pulling it to any size to see more options. Use Figure 1.31 as a guide.
You can apply or view any variable brush properties in the Brush palette (Windows > Brushes) to achieve dynamic special effects via the Paint Brush. We will explore the creative possibilities in detail beginning in Chapter 6. Figure 1.32 shows the Maple Leaf brush selected.
Creating Your Own Animated Paint Brush
Now let’s see how each dynamic works to create a single animated brush.
1. Select the Maple Leaf brush and clear the Shape Dynamics option of any jitter properties (see Figure 1.33A).
2. Select Brush Tip Shape at the top of the left column. New options will appear in the right column of the Brush palette. At the bottom of the new options, you will see the Spacing function. Play with this slider to spread out the frequency of the brush strokes. You will see the result of your changes displayed in real time in the preview window (see Figure 1.33B).
3. Additionally, play with the diameter by clicking the dots on the outside of the circle and altering the shape and rotation of the brush (see Figure 1.33C).
4. Click the Shape Dynamics option and make sure that all variables are turned off. The stroke of the brush in the preview window should show one continuous size and spacing (see Figure 1.33D).
5. While still in the Shape Dynamics, adjust your jitter to 92% and notice the stroke update in the preview window, as shown in Figure 1.33E. Jitter is simply the random application of a technique over the length of the stroke. The higher the percentage, the more drastic and varied the result will be.
6. Move the Minimum Diameter slider and watch how the size of the stroke is varied over time (see Figure 1.34F).
7. As you adjust the Angle Jitter slider, notice that the brush applies a percentage of rotation over the length of each stroke. This is great for debris and cloud effects (see Figure 1.34G).
8. As you experiment with the Roundness Jitter slider, notice that this option allows you to apply the full diameter of your mouse shape or squish it for an elliptical effect over the length of the stroke (see Figure 1.34H).
9. Use the Minimum Roundness slider to set the minimum distortion that you want to apply to your image. In conjunction with the other properties, this adds a little more control (see Figure 1.34I).