Skip to main content

Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 34 of 118

Brush Basics

Blake Rudis

Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Blake Rudis

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

34. Brush Basics


Class Trailer
1 Bootcamp Introduction 16:22 2 The Bridge Interface 13:33 3 Setting up Bridge 06:55 4 Overview of Bridge 11:29 5 Practical Application of Bridge 27:56 6 Introduction to Raw Editing 11:00 7 Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface 07:39 8 Global Tools Part 1 16:44
9 Global Tools Part 2 20:01 10 Local Tools 22:56 11 Introduction to the Photoshop Interface 07:13 12 Toolbars, Menus and Windows 25:07 13 Setup and Interface 11:48 14 Adobe Libraries 05:57 15 Saving Files 07:39 16 Introduction to Cropping 12:10 17 Cropping for Composition in ACR 04:44 18 Cropping for Composition in Photoshop 12:40 19 Cropping for the Subject in Post 03:25 20 Cropping for Print 07:34 21 Perspective Cropping in Photoshop 07:11 22 Introduction to Layers 08:42 23 Vector & Raster Layers Basics 05:05 24 Adjustment Layers in Photoshop 27:35 25 Organizing and Managing Layers 15:35 26 Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes 21:34 27 Screen and Multiply and Overlay 09:15 28 Soft Light Blend Mode 07:34 29 Color and Luminosity Blend Modes 12:47 30 Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes 07:43 31 Introduction to Layer Styles 11:43 32 Practical Application: Layer Tools 13:06 33 Introduction to Masks and Brushes 04:43 34 Brush Basics 09:22 35 Custom Brushes 04:01 36 Brush Mask: Vignettes 06:58 37 Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn 06:53 38 Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation 07:52 39 Mask Groups 05:52 40 Clipping Masks 04:11 41 Masking in Adobe Camera Raw 07:06 42 Practical Applications: Masks 14:03 43 Introduction to Selections 05:42 44 Basic Selection Tools 17:41 45 The Pen Tool 11:56 46 Masks from Selections 04:22 47 Selecting Subjects and Masking 07:11 48 Color Range Mask 17:35 49 Luminosity Masks Basics 12:00 50 Introduction to Cleanup Tools 07:02 51 Adobe Camera Raw 10:16 52 Healing and Spot Healing Brush 14:56 53 The Clone Stamp Tool 10:20 54 The Patch Tool 06:38 55 Content Aware Move Tool 04:56 56 Content Aware Fill 06:46 57 Custom Cleanup Selections 15:42 58 Introduction to Shapes and Text 13:46 59 Text Basics 15:57 60 Shape Basics 07:00 61 Adding Text to Pictures 09:46 62 Custom Water Marks 14:05 63 Introduction to Smart Objects 04:37 64 Smart Object Basics 09:13 65 Smart Objects and Filters 09:05 66 Smart Objects and Image Transformation 10:57 67 Smart Objects and Album Layouts 11:40 68 Smart Objects and Composites 10:47 69 Introduction to Image Transforming 04:34 70 ACR and Lens Correction 09:45 71 Photoshop and Lens Correction 14:26 72 The Warp Tool 11:16 73 Perspective Transformations 20:33 74 Introduction to Actions in Photoshop 09:27 75 Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface 05:06 76 Making Your First Action 03:49 77 Modifying Actions After You Record Them 11:38 78 Adding Stops to Actions 04:01 79 Conditional Actions 07:36 80 Actions that Communicate 25:26 81 Introduction to Filters 04:38 82 ACR as a Filter 09:20 83 Helpful Artistic Filters 17:08 84 Helpful Practical Filters 07:08 85 Sharpening with Filters 07:32 86 Rendering Trees 08:20 87 The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters 15:08 88 Introduction to Editing Video 06:20 89 Timeline for Video 08:15 90 Cropping Video 03:34 91 Adjustment Layers and Video 05:25 92 Building Lookup Tables 07:00 93 Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type 15:11 94 ACR to Edit Video 06:10 95 Animated Gifs 11:39 96 Introduction to Creative Effects 06:08 97 Black, White, and Monochrome 18:05 98 Matte and Cinematic Effects 08:23 99 Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades 12:20 100 Gradients 04:21 101 Glow and Haze 10:23 102 Introduction to Natural Retouching 05:33 103 Brightening Teeth 10:25 104 Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool 08:07 105 Cleaning and Brightening Eyes 16:58 106 Advanced Clean Up Techniques 24:47 107 Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization 14:47 108 ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits 21:27 109 Portrait Workflow Techniques 18:46 110 Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization 12:17 111 Landscape Workflow Techniques 37:36 112 Introduction to Compositing & Bridge 06:59 113 Composite Workflow Techniques 34:01 114 Landscape Composite Projects 24:14 115 Bonus: Rothko and Workspace 05:15 116 Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos 07:05 117 Bonus: The Mask (Extras) 05:18 118 Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR 04:54

Lesson Info

Brush Basics

I just have a basic new layer here that I've built that just has a white background. So we can just talk about what the brush is and how the brush works. When we think about a brush, we have to think about how are we using this brush. Are we using it with a Wacom tablet, or are we using it with a mouse? A Wacom tablet can really help with pressure sensitivity, and I'll show you exactly how you can use that. But the brush, to find the brush, all you have to do is press B for the brush tool. Or over here on your tool bar, wherever you have your tools setup for your brush, you can just click on the brush. Just like anything that we do in Photoshop, we have to be thinking about things in terms of layers. So what I'm gonna do before I even start teaching you the brush here, is I'm gonna add a new layer and just call it Brush Demo. So looking at this brush, I can see that it's a big circle, that's telling me how big that brush is. If we look up at the top area here, we're underneath our menu...

, which would be our secondary tool menu. This is telling me that I'm using a brush, this brush is a rather large brush at 900 pixels, we can see that there and it's got a hardness of zero. So if I were to click right here, you'd see that this is a blue swatch with a hardness of zero. That means that with the size of this brush being the size that it is, it's spray is going to ... It's gonna feather it's way out towards the edges of that spray with a very strong center. If I were to go ahead and change the hardness up to 100% and then click, instead of it having a hard center and feathering its way out to the edges, it now has a very hard edge. So when you think about these things in terms of masking, masking is all about blending and making things kinda blend in so that we don't have a big, white circle when we're trying to make a nice, beautiful transitioning vignette. We don't wanna have a big, black border around the edge, so we wanna have a nice soft-edge brush. A lot of times with masking, you're gonna pretty much find yourself between the hardnesses of maybe zero and 50% or something like that. At 50% if I were to use this brush right here, you can see that we have a pretty hard center but it slowly feathers out to the edges. On brushes also, we have a ton of brushes that are here in Photoshop. Typically, for photographer's purposes I don't go too far into many of the other brushes that we have available to us in Photoshop, other than a hard-edged brush or a soft-edged brush. Typically I'm working most, I would say 95%, with the soft-edged brush. But you can do a lot of things with brushes. You can even change the blend modes of these brushes. So, if you wanted to, as you're painting with these brushes, you can alter that paint stroke to have it's own blend mode. I find this a little bit confusing unless I'm doing some detailed layered work or maybe even some painting within Photoshop. So I tend to leave that at normal because if you forget about that and you're trying to paint on your mask and it's not working, one of the last places you're gonna think to look is gonna be in that blend mode. Instead, you have the option to use the blend modes right here within the layer that you're painting on. At this point, this isn't actually a mask. We're just showing the basics of the brush. But it's a good idea to keep all of those brush strokes on their own separate layer so that they can have their own blend modes and own opacity applied to them as well. With that you also have the ability to change the opacity of that brush that you're using. So if I were to go ahead and delete this, bring this down and delete it. I'll make my brush a little bit smaller. There's some hot keys here, instead of going up here and changing your brush size with the slider or typing in the pixel amount, you can press the left bracket key to make it smaller and the right bracket key to make it larger. So I'll make this a little bit smaller. Now if I change the opacity of this brush to something like 50% and then brush, you're gonna see that it's not full-on 100% blue like it was before. It's basically a 50% mix of what that blue would be. The interesting thing about opacity is that if I paint and I continue to paint up and down, it's not going to give me any more. It's restricting me to 50% but now if I were to paint in between these lines ... If you press and hold Shift as you paint up and down, it will restrict you to a straight, vertical line. So if you're wondering how that brushstroke is so perfect, just press and hold Shift and that will allow you to just maintain that straight perfect line up and down. I'll go and paint right here and also what it does when you do that, when you press Shift and then go to click the next one, it'll make a line from one place to the next. So it made a line from here all the way up to here. But you see with opacity set to 50%, that line in the middle if we go back here, and we just start painting right here and click on down, that line in the middle is maintaining 50% but it's allowing that brush to build up along-side that 50% with those next two layers next to it. Again, we go ahead and push that down and do it again, we're slowly starting to get ourself towards 100%. The difference between flow and opacity is that, if I were to come over to flow at this point, I'll turn my opacity up to 100%, if I were to come up to flow and change the flow to 50%, the flow is based on how much I click and hold on an area and as I move up and down it builds up for me. So opacity restricts you strictly to 50% per pass whereas flow will start out at 50% but as you paint around it's going to build up to 100% starting with the 50%. So if I were to bring this down to something like 10% and then click and drag around, you see how I'm starting to get darker and darker in that circle but the areas in the outside are remaining the same. If I were to try to do the same thing with my opacity set to 10%, I can go around and around and around all day long and it's not going to build up until I release the click and paint back on it. Release the click, paint back on it. Now I'm starting to build up. So opacity restricts that current stroke that you're using whereas flow allows you to build up from that 10%, working your way more towards 100%. The kicker here is also where we start to think about the Wacom tablet and where does a Wacom tablet play in? Well, there's a lot of bells and whistles with all these tablets these days. My main priority when it comes to a tablet is to ensure that it just does pressure sensitivity. For my purposes, I'm just masking. I'm masking and I might be painting some things in for dodging and burning so I just need it for very casual things. I don't need it to turn my canvas. I don't need to do any of that stuff. Now, that can be very beneficial to a lot of people who are doing things like digital paintings, but for my purposes and mainly my recommendation to individuals is it doesn't have to be fancy it just has to be pressure sensitive, because if I look here and I look at these little tick-boxes right here, these tick-boxes control my Wacom tablet. So at this point I'm telling my Wacom tablet that it can control ... It can control with pressure sensitivity, my opacity and my flow. If I just change this to opacity as I click and draw on here, the pressure sensitivity that I'm placing down is just working on that opacity there. If I push harder it's gonna bring on more opacity. So instead of me having to play around with the opacity settings from 10% to 100% I can just come in here with a very light brush and it's gonna be a small brush that then works up to a large brush with that opacity. The same thing happens with flow. If I turn on flow, turn off opacity, it's the same concept. It's set to 100% at flow at this point so if I were to go ahead and turn on flow and opacity I now have both controls with one pen stroke, which can be really awesome for masking also really great for dodging and burning. So I usually have these ticked, both of this ticked, for my Wacom tablet so that as I paint with my masks, it's a gradual build-up. Because when you're masking with strictly just a mouse, if you were to go ahead and paint a black swatch with just your mouse, you're gonna get all black. Well sometimes you just want a gradual build-up and a gradual push-back of that effect on that image and that's why a Wacom tablet can be one of your best friends. If you noticed I'm actually ambidextrous. This is kind of an accidental thing, growing up my dad was left-handed so everything had to be on the left side so I learned that and then I'm right-handed naturally, so if you can train your brain to do that it's really advantageous because you can have the pen in one hand, the mouse in the other hand and be working at the same time, however, if you try to do both at the same time you'll get this thing going on. If you're trying to do this and trying to teach yourself and you're like why is nothing moving it's cause your mouse and your pen are competing with one another to see who's gonna win that battle and nobody wins when it comes to that. When I'm working with my pen in this way, I typically have that pen a little bit farther off. This is just the brush settings that you have here. Inside this folder you have all kinds of different brushes that you can use within your masking process or your painting process. And I highly encourage you to go through those things, but typically for masking I really just recommend a really nice soft-edge brush with a Wacom tablet 'cause it'll help you build that up and I'll show you the difference when we start to get into the practical application of this.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!