Skip to main content

Tweaking Brush Settings

Lesson 22 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

Tweaking Brush Settings

Lesson 22 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

22. Tweaking Brush Settings


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Tweaking Brush Settings

we are going, Teoh, take a simple brush and we're going to affect them in different ways. So I'm gonna show you in a little bit how we'll create kind of like that Maple leaf that's all scattered in different colors will show you that in a minute. But I also want to point out a brush here like this one is called grass. There's dune grass and grass. Dune grass is my favorite. But in this case, I'll show you regular grass and you might be like, Oh, that's great! When am I gonna use that? Well, you might not, especially if red and yellow are your colors here. But I want to show you what happens if we go get an image like Here's the elephant that we put the birthday had on earlier and I'm gonna have him loaded as a selection so you can follow along at home. You don't even have to select the elephant, so I'll go to select and choose load selection, and I'll choose elephant for the channel and click OK, and I'm going to copy him and paste him into this dancing image. And he's too big soul. Sc...

ale them down with Commander Control T. But we're going to run into a problem here not just because he's big, but let's say I I put him in the document about like this not quite sure of the scale of, like, human toe Elefant. Maybe. Is it like that? I don't know. You know what else since I hung out with in elevate, But I'll go ahead and commit this now and now. What is going on with the feet? We have a little situation because this is an image in the grass. And if we're gonna put an elephant or anything into the grass, we should be able to see the grass like come up and kind of cover their feet a little bit. So we need to mask this eso we'll do as we've done. Click the little mascot button and we paint with a brush. That's one of the way we do masks, as we saw in the Apocalypse image when we painted the little running man to make it look like he was behind the trade. But it would be really hard to just paint grass if we didn't have a grass brush, so we actually have this brush. So look what we can do with this. Uh, first of all, we want the black on top because we're gonna hide or block part of the elephant from showing up. So I'll flip flat my colors by choosing X to exchange them, and then actually need to change one other setting. Because the way that this brush operates as we saw over here, if I zoom in, you can see that it's pulling from my foreground and background, and it's mixing and blending my foreground and background, and it's also like going a little bit out of those boundaries. So that's why we're getting like, green over here. So it's using those two colors, and we don't want that in the case where we're masking the elephant. So we need to change the way this brush behaves. So to do that, to get into the brush behaviors, you click this little folder right here, and they're called brush settings. But they're really more like behaviors. I think so. All of these settings that are here, we'll take a look at more of them in a minute, but right now, just know that there's sort of a salad buffet of options here. Not all of them are turned on, so our plate only has a few. We have shaped dynamics scattering color dynamics, transfer blood. Um, the color dynamics is where we're having this problem because there's something here called foreground and background jitter. So by default, this brushes jittering dancing back and forth between our foreground background colors. That's why we had red and yellow maple leaves and red and yellow grass. But in this case, when we're painting on a mask, we just went black. I just need black like grass, basically. So I'm gonna take this jittering and turn it off by dragging it to zero so I can paint with black and it'll just be black and it won't be gray and every other stayed between black and white, So we'll turn that off. Uh, you can leave the rest, I think. And now maybe, hold on, let's go back. One other thing. Let's go to shape dynamics. I don't think I want the size Jenner. So here, under shape dynamics, I don't want the size jitter on 100% either, because I kind of need to control how big the grass is going to be So I'm gonna lower that. I do want to jitter a little bit because I don't want it all exactly the same, but not so much so photoshopped can randomize the size of the brush. That's what the size jitter does. I do want some random ization to the angle. Jitter. I don't want this much because I don't want upside down grass can see the preview down here. What? I do want a little bit so, like, 10. And we'll come back and talk through all these settings again. So hang in there. But for right now, we're just gonna turn off this situation with color dynamics. In fact, we can even just turn off the check mark to just take it off our plate. Um, and then under shape, dynamics will lower the size deter, and I think we should be good. Okay, so let's see what happens. It never fails. But when you're working with brushes, you think you have them set, and then you do something and you have to go back. So again, trial and error. All right, but I've got black paint. I'm on my mask and I've got my brush tools now I'm just gonna paint like that. You know, you kind of experiment. Like maybe the brush should be a little bit bigger to match this grass. I don't know. Maybe all just make it a smidge bigger. But I don't want a pink too high up here because then I'll see the sky behind him like that. So what we're doing is just hiding the, um, the elephant in such a way that it looks like he's standing in the grass. So we get a much more realistic effect than if than if we had just put him in like this, right? So these brushes a lot of times, you may think that is ridiculous. When am I ever gonna use this grass brush? This is exactly when you abuse it. We're not actually painting grass. Were painting a mask that sort of in the shape of grass so they can come in very handy in all kinds of different weights. And I'm gonna show you some other stuff we can do with our brushes. We'll do some fairy dust and some glitter thes. They're going to use the same techniques, but sort of a different effect. So here is this image from photo spin, I guess. Fun e forgot. They have a lot of great stuff like this. So what we are going to dio is this is a very surreal, fanciful image, and we're going to just add some, like, sparkly, not glitter, but like, uh, pixie sort of dust stuff. Glowing pixie dust. So first thing is, we're gonna make a new blank layer because we always work with blank layers when we are painting. Then I'm gonna come up here and I'm just going to get, like, a normal no, nothing special hard round brush. So like this. OK, so this is what it does. Just nothing spectacular. But we're gonna tweak it now in the settings. So with our hard round brush will click right here to open up our brush settings. This is also a little panel, so you can open it from here or here. But honestly, I can never remember which I can't. It is so I usually come up here because in if it's just easier. So you've got this brush. We're going Teoh click to add different things to our buffet plate, different settings. So we do want to tweak the shape dynamics, so we'll click to activate that. Put it on our plates, and I'm gonna just the size Geter Uh, maybe 50 ish percent. And the angle jitter won't matter here because it's a round brush. So no matter how you spend the circle, it's a round circle so we can leave that one alone. And maybe we want to play with the roundness a little, and we'll see more what this does later. But we'll just that a smidge and let's come up also to tip shape. This is a key thing under spacing, spacing controls, basically the little instances of your brush. What you may not realize is in photo shop. When you click and drag and paint with your brush, your taking, whatever the brush tip shape is in this case, a circle, and you're basically like, ah, line is just a series of dots, right? But they're all really close together, and that's what makes a line. But if we come into the spacing, we can drag that to their right, and then this line becomes a bunch of dots, depending on how we space it. So I'm going to space it out. Uh, quite, I guess a bit. So maybe something about here that should be good. And then we'll we'll come down to the scattering option. So we were just in brush tip shape. Now we're going to come down to scattering and scattering. Tells Photoshopped to take all those dots instead of making them in perfect like path of where you draw their brush. It's gonna kind of just blow them a little out. Kind of like leaves on a windy day. You rake him all up, and then they blow like that, so we'll scatter them a little bit. The count controls how many dots there are, so we'll leave that where it is. Maybe the Geter can be Count Geter a little bit randomize. Is that so? I think this might be pretty good. Something like this. We'll see. Who knows? I may make a brushstroke and be like, you know, so we have to tweet back. That's real life for you. I'm gonna get a color, so I'll come up here to my swatches panel and get like a nice, very pixel yellow right. And then I'm just gonna make my brush. Tiny ish like I don't know 40 pixels and just pain. That looks silly. Okay, so let's adjust this, um, way too many dots way too close together. So we'll undo that. Go back over here. Let's scatter the dots. Let's go back to the brush, tip sheep and really spread out the spacing. And what else could we do that would help with this? Let's see, not Let's not deter the count. Let's keep the count one and don't generate. Now, let's see if that makes it better. Kind of. Okay, I dig it. Let's change the size a little bit more. We'll go back to our settings to shape dynamics and maybe boost the size dinner. Maybe even, I think, 100%. All right. I think we're getting close. Yes. All right. So now I'm going to make sort of just a woche swirl through there, and it doesn't look like very dust. I get it. We're going to fix that. Okay. First thing we're gonna do is add an outer glow to it. So we painted on this layer here. Let's rename it leg pixie dust, because obviously we can't see anything over here. So, pixie dust, we're gonna add an effect so from the effects button down below, or click and add a outer glow. And, um, we'll have the blend mode be scream and the size I'm going to make rather large, uh, kind of large, I don't know, 150 ish pixels, something in there and screen blend mode. Opacity. 100%. The spread will be zero. Then that all looks good. We'll leave everything else like it is and click. OK, we can barely see that we're going to duplicate this layer three times. So I'm gonna press commander controlled J three times. 123 And what that did was make a copy three times. And then I'm gonna merge three of these into one layer so I can select this layer. And if I shift, click down here. I've got these three copies, and I could just smush them all into one by pressing Commander Control E like Etem. Eat em all into one, or you can also right click or control click on shoes somewhere merged layers. All right, we're getting closer now We're going to blur them. So now that we've duplicated them, which really amplified the outer glow now we're gonna blur it. So we'll choose the filter menu and choose blur Gaussian blur. And now you can play with us to really create some different How much you want to blur it. Higher number makes it more blurred. Lower number keeps it. So can you want something in here? I don't know. 26 pistol pixels and click. OK, now, I think looking at this, I should have made the brush size way smaller for this pixie brush. Um, like, way smaller? Oh, yeah. Like even like that. Really? So you have to experiment something like this very tiny and add that outer glow. I'm just repeating this process to see if I can get it to look a little better. They're so something a little more like that. So you can see it's really a lot of trial and error, especially when it comes to the brush settings, because you really don't know until you start painting with it and then you're like a new radio. So don't be afraid to experiment. Let's take that same idea or that same technique. We're gonna apply it here to create a glitter effect. So, in the brushes panel, uhm, I'm going to just we'll just start where we left off. Eso Same same thing. We have the same brush, but we're gonna make different settings. So first I'm gonna add a new blank layer because thoughts of good practice and I'm going to select a color right out of this image. So I'm just gonna press the, um the eyedropper and or with the brush tool active I can also just hit all toward option to get the brush and I'll pick maybe like, this kind of this color right here and we'll zoom in on these lips so we can see what we're doing. And we're going to turn our pixie brush into a glitter brush. So go back to my brush settings again. Here, in the panel or up here, we'll go to brush tips, seep and the spacing. I'm gonna spread out a little bit. We'll go to shape dynamics and sighs deter about maybe halfway through angle jitter doesn't matter. Roundness tutor A little, Not much, maybe, like 10% scattering. This is where we want to get these. I want the dots to be just kind of spread out like this. And I should also point out that these settings air relative to the size of your brush. So if you're tweaking your settings like I currently have a seven pixel brush, if you're tweaking your settings and you have a 300 pixel brush, the numbers are going to be different. But what's important is not to focus on the numbers and to focus more on what the stroke is looking like. So increase the scattering and come back to the brush tip shape. I kind of want him on top of each other a little bit and let's take the size dinner. And maybe just to show you what's possible here, also, you can control the size here, too, with your tablet. So if you have a tablet, I can turn on pen pressure and it will change the size with my pressure to. So that's not required. But it's an option. So before we start painting, we need to make some magic happen. If we want this to look like Glitter, here's how we're gonna do it, and this files included to this glitter background, we're gonna turn this background into a pattern that we can overlay. Basically, we're gonna paint glitter with our brush not only because we'll have little dots that will be like litter, but they will actually have glitter in them because we're going apply it at the pattern. So to define the pattern to create the pattern will go to this image press commander, control A to select the whole thing. Then we'll choose at it defined pattern, and we'll call it Glitter. And then we can close that file question. Get the mike. Yep, shouldn't come under control. What A To select all of it to select everything. And then you choose at it and you choose defined pattern to turn this election into a pattern on. And then you can name it something recognizable. All right, now if I just paint right now, it's so not impressive. Like here is my brush. Here's the marks that it makes right now. I mean, it kind of have, like the feel of glitter in that it's little like lumpy little blobs. But, um, it's not look like letter, but watch this before we paint. We'll come over here or after, I guess, too, but it's more dramatic this way. We'll go to our layer, and I'll just call this like lip glitter. I'm going to click on that and then down under the effects button will click effects, and we're gonna add a pattern overlay. Remember that we just defined a pattern right here. Actually, mine's already loaded because I have, like, 10 copies of here. So when you do this, you'll have just one until you do it a bunch, then you'll have a bunch. But we'll just click to select it, and you can change the blend mode. So if we leave it set to normal, it will be gold glitter, and that might be fine. But if we want our, uh, glitter to take on the color of our paintbrush, then we want to change this blend mode from normal to luminosity, so I'll change that all set the luminosity a passage e 100% and scale is how big the pattern is gonna appear. Basically within our image and for the lip glitter. I want it pretty tiny, like 20% scale. So I'll click. OK, and now fingers crossed that it all yeah, works out. Look at that. Fingers crossed because you never know if you like your brush settings or not. So on. Always when you're on camera teaching this, it never quite goes how you planned. Um, so anyway, look at that. So now there's glitter. I mean, we could just We could do anything. Ah, and paint glitter wherever we want, which is pretty awesome. Okay, so that's lip glitter. She has some lip glitter happening there, but let's make another layer. And if I turn on the, uh, layer here, that's says glitter in quotes. This is a type player that I added. Um, and I converted it from type to just this, uh, so that we could so that you wouldn't get a font error when you're playing with this stuff. But what we're going to dio is turn this layer. We're gonna apply the glitter to the type player. So that's pretty easy. We'll just all tore option click and will drag the pattern overlay effect from the lip glitter layer that we just applied it. Ah, Hold alter option click drag up here. No, sorry mistake. Drag the altar option. The pattern overlay to this layer with the text on it. That's give me for a second. I thought, what has happened? Um, okay, so I applied it now to this text, so we'll zoom in and look now if I want the glitter to appear larger, which I dio, I'm gonna target that layer. Here's the glitter layer. I'll double click the pattern overlay to bring up the effect, and I can go in and take the scale slider and drag it up. Do you see how it got bigger in the picture? So if I want the glitter like bigger or smaller, I could do that so I wouldn't want to go beyond 100% because that means that it's being, like, falsely enlarged and it won't look it. So I'm going to go with I don't know if 75% and I'll click. OK, now here's where it gets really fun. That looks pretty good until you realize, like Glitter would never conform to this hard edge like this around all of these letters. So if you really want Teoh make this realistic, then go to this blank layer that we created a minute ago that I dragged that effect to by mistake earlier and now I want to take the same pattern overlay from this layer that says glitter. Ah, hold down option and or salt. Copy that to this blank layer. And with my brush, I will paint basically around the edges a little bit. So with that brush that we just created, I'm just going to go around the edges to add realism, because Glitter would never like. If you put glitter on a page, you'll never have razor sharp edges like this so you could go around it. This is time consuming, so I'm not going to do it all on camera. I have a final touch layer where I already did that. So here, if we turn that layer on and off, we can see the effect that it had, and you can see how that really makes it look much more realistic. So that's a look. A glitter, which is just, I mean, who doesn't want to be able to paint with glitter so much fun. I should point out that once you create a brush that you like like this, So let's say you just like love glitter and you want to save this brush you wanna open? Click this little drop down up here in the options bar, The drop down arrow here and these are your brush presets. So if you click away from this brush and you click back, you'll lose all the settings you just made, which I mean, you can remake them. But if you just. If you experimented a lot and you finally got it where you want it, make sure you save it. So to do that, all you do is click this little button right here to create a new brush preset. So you click that you give it a name like my favorite glitter brush. Whatever you want to make sure, you sure that you're including the settings and you may or may not care to include capture size, but then you go ahead and click, OK, and it will add it right here and now it's actually saved. So now you can, like, click away and you'll get it back right there. And so you can see all of your brushes with this little icon. This is a new thing in the newer release of Creative Cloud that you see the icon here, so if you're in an older version, you won't see a little icon in the corner. But you will still be able to make your brush. Yeah, just really quickly for a couple people who are living this glitter aspect, Catherine said, How did you make the glitter pink? And then Beth had asked if Glitter is in photo shop somewhere, or if that was something that you know that comes with the court. Yeah, that's a class file. That's a class file that you actually that I linked to and you can download. It's free, but I can't I don't have rights to distribute that winter. Um, so that's a class file. And then other question was, How do we make it pink? Because we chose pink for our color. So I selected it. Oh, I selected it, actually, from the image I sampled it from, like appear, I think. But just to show you I mean, if I come to the swatches panel and I get, like, turquoise or something, and then I paint now I'm going to get turquoise splitter. And that's because when we created that glitter pattern, when we applied it in the effects panel here, we changed the blend mode to luminosity. So what's happening is if I put this in normal than when I paint with it. Um, you can see it. It just becomes gold because it's just normal. But when we change that effect to are the blend mode from normal toe luminosity you can see over here even its previewing then the only things that were going to come through are the shades and highlights. So that's what creates the illusion of glitter. And then it just takes on whatever color you, you know, choose. So I only got so much fun like, I just want to sit and and I'm not like a glitter girl in real life because oh my God, it's so messy. I can't handle it But in Photoshopped bring it on. I like I will just I could photoshopped glitter all day.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop Resource Guide
Practical Photoshop Basics (PS action file)
Word Art
Course Files

Ratings and Reviews

Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

Student Work