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Brush on a Path

Lesson 21 from: Advanced Techniques with Brushes in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

21. Brush on a Path

Next Lesson: Brush Settings

Lesson Info

Brush on a Path

Can we talk about brush on a path real quick? We doing all right? All right, brush on a path. And then we're almost done you guys. I just have some settings stuff to talk to you about that'll hurt your head a little bit. But only a little bit. So, what else can you use brushes for that's really cool, that's not just illustration? This is a flat out retouching job. It was really fun. It was for a drag queen who, not that everybody knows what drag queens do in their shows, but this particular show, they make these like, six to seven foot panels that go behind them and their costume, and what they do is they walk out and they wear it, and then they, when they wear it, they take it and they put it down and it's their set, and they do their thing. So they have to actually walk out. It was really fascinating. And this friend said, I need this thing. And you know, Chicago, like a movie billboard. He had nothing. He had absolutely nothing, so this is built from nothing. And just trying to figu...

re out how we can create something. And we used brushes for a lot of this. That type is done with a type effect. It's just regular type. And then the brush that I wanna show you in the stroking of the path is to figure out how to do all this lettering. All this was done sharp, and in focus, and then we had to blur it down to make it not look like it was done with a brush in Photoshop with a stroke. We wanted to make it look a little real. So let me open up the working file for you. Just at the header. All right, so here's the header. And that's a base. This is, I'm just gonna show you Chicago real quick. Little glow; this is just a little bit of paint. And then here's where the brushes come in. This is a, it's a... The Bs, all right, they're just not gonna happen today. I'm 100% certain that I cannot say a B today. So this is just a brush that we made. Do you remember the bubble brush we made with the polar coordinates? This is not that, this is actually made from a light bulb, but it's the same idea, and frankly now I know about the polar coordinates, I would just do it with the polar coordinates bubble, and I would make it. So, I'm gonna pull up that brush. Another bubble brush, soft round... I wonder if I could just use that one. No, do it with what you did. What? Who would ever save their brush in the Job folder so that when you're in front of all those people and you can't remember where your brush is. You don't care, 'cause you saved it in your Job folder. (mumbles) All right. Light bulb. Ding. Here is my light bulb brush. And I'm gonna just for giggles... Do you remember I said earlier, sometimes it's good to just make a layer on top, and hide everything, and do your work? Now lord willing, and the creek don't rise, I... Oh, look in there. Got my paths. Now I can't see them right now, so let me zoom out and find a path that I wanna use. I'm gonna use this outside one. So I have a path here. And do you remember at the beginning of day, about 500 hours ago, when you and I talked about the symmetry, and the symmetry is a brush, brush tool, and inside it you have a path? Well right here I have a path. It's a blue path, it's a really pretty path. I have a spacing issue. This happens to the best of us. We all do try. It's not a big deal. What I did is I made the brush, and I didn't think about it, put it away. All I have to do is turn my spacing off. You're not gonna panic, I'm not panicking. Whew! All is good. Now, I just wanna see what I've got. All right, that's not gonna work. It's not a stamp brush. I'm trying to do what you guys might do at home. So instead, oh, I think I do need to do spacing, but what I need to do is just space it out. We're not panicking. It's all good. Everyone knows what's going on here. Now, I'm gonna turn the smoothing off. And do you remember at the beginning with the symmetry we just stroked? We just hit return to stroke. I'm on my brush, my path is active, I'm on my brush, and I'm on a layer; it's right back there. I'm gonna turn it on so you can see it. Oh, I'm on a flat layer. We don't wanna do that. So let's do bulbs. And I'm gonna hit the return key. There they are. So if you are brilliant and you pathed out every letter you needed and every tiny little bulb. That's a big bulb. Let's do another one. Come on, it's exciting stuff. You know this is true. Someone's excited out there. Someone just realized that they could have saved themselves hours of work. Well that bubble is clearly not gonna work. It's too huge. Let's try this. That's a $500 filter right there. I'm not gonna charge two seconds for that job. Well, he's my friend. I did it for free. But, if I was gonna charge someone for that, that is what I like to call, knowledge in the bank. Now, okay, it's not exactly right. No big deal, we're all experts here. Well, we're becoming experts. I'm gonna delete the layer. Please be careful. I just hit the delete key because I'm so used to it. When you're on a path, and a layer, if you hit delete you might delete your path. I just deleted the path. Calm down, take your hands off the wheel. Go back, go to your layer. Command, A. Delete. Oh, it's still gonna do it. All right, let me get off my path. Command, A, delete. Now I can start over. So let's go back to our path. Let's go back to our brush. Maybe change the size. So I don't know if you guys noticed, I was changing my brush size by using my brackets, but you can also do it here. All right, that looks a little better. Well, we don't want white brushes. I mean white bulbs. We want yellow bulbs. Well, why don't we do this. Why don't we copy. Why don't we make yellow bulbs underneath. Yellow bulbs underneath, and leave the white ones on top. And the yellow ones underneath, let's double them up a bunch. Merge 'em. And let's blur 'em. Let's be daring. And then maybe we leave the white ones on top, just for definition. And now they're glowing. $500 filter right there. All right, so that is stroking a path with a brush, and it's, in kind of a weird way, it's bringing it full circle. This is old school technology. This got nothing to do with Kyle, any of the new stuff. We made a bubble brush using polar coordinates. For those of you who weren't at the filter class, the polar coordinates are on the hand outs, so you can read all of that. And what we did is we just went to the brush settings and changed our spacing. So this is old school. I know you guys know this. And what's different here, perhaps for some of you, is we used a path that we created. And we talked about the paths before, 'cause we talked about 'em on the symmetry. So it's all stuff we've talked about. We're just using it a little different. Now, as some of you guys know, there are third party products that you can use to help you. Let me just show you the piece, sorry. It's a billboard. It's big. And they like to have a lot of this fairy dust, kind of look. I'm just gonna turn this off. So, that's the base. That's the logo and some darkening. And then there's a bunch of swirly bits, and a lot of this. This was done well before Kyle's brushes came out. Now I would have a whole new respect and love for what I can do because I've learned so much. But what I wanted to show you is just this simple idea of stroking on a path. So, that same thing we just did with the fairy dust, I did it with flare. It's, excuse me, the same thing we did with the light bulb. I just happen to have done it with a flare. And I can show you real quickly how to make a basic flare brush if you need to. But the path, so the path is basic, easy path. I'm gonna make a black, black fill, just so we can see what we're doing. I'm gonna try to do a black fill as best I can. Command, delete doesn't wanna work. Well, all right. I'm stuck in the menu there. There we go. All right, so that's what that little, little object looks like. So with a pixie dust... Why don't we do this with something just really basic? I'm gonna make a little box. I'm gonna make a brush real quickly. We've made brushes before today. This is nothing new. Just gonna make a little box. I'm gonna fill it. It's still active, it's still got marching ants around it. I'm gonna go to Render, and I'm gonna go to Lens Flare, and I'm just gonna make a tiny little lens flare. Tiny little lens flare. I'm gonna make it white. Or, black and white. Excuse me. Command, U. It's nothing. This is just a tiny little flare. You guys render; it's nothing. Now, as you guys have known because I've beaten it into your foreheads, you cannot make a brush... Well you can make a brush like this, but what's gonna be laying down is everything but the flare. You don't want that, so I'm gonna invert this. Command, I. Now I'm gonna take that little selection, I'm gonna click on it. Command, click on the, on the layer. Just that little box. Define Brush Preset. Little flare. You can actually delete that now. You don't even need this. Let's go to your brushes. We've got a spacing issue. I'm not worried about it. And let's take a look. I'm kinda winging this, so I hope it looks okay. What I can tell from the outset; I've got a little bit of a hard line that I didn't cut. So when you make the flare, you're just gonna have to darken that up a little bit, so it's not perfect. I'm just gonna hit the return key. Oh, I suppose you need a path. If this is brush along a path, you need to have a path. I don't know. Just an idea. Look, I just happen to have one here. Isn't that handy? And for giggles, so you can see what's going on. I'm gonna zoom out. I've got the brush. It's got spacing. I don't know if the spacing is right. We're gonna have to see. We don't know. We don't know 'til we see it in effect. And I've got my path. Oh, that... It looks a little big, doesn't it? Do you see the icon? It's showing you it's a little big. Just make it a little smaller using the brackets. And I'm gonna hit return. You know what you could do? You know when you have Christmas lights up, and you need to make a... Look, we just did it! It's Christmas lights. We can make 'em red. What I'm hoping is gonna happen is you guys are gonna start having ideas, you know, maybe you're of a different faith, and you wanna do blue ones. Look! You can do whatever you need to do. What I'm trying to do with all of this is I'm keep doing the same thing, only I'm changing a tip head. I'm changing a nib. It's all the same stuff, but look how much you can do with it. It's pretty amazing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brushes Companion Handout
Adobe Stock Contributor

Ratings and Reviews


Knowledgeable Lisa is the best teacher. She makes learning Photoshop fun. Great course. Lisa has a great teaching style. She mixes in a great speech cadence, great voice up and down and pausing, jokes, and is extremely knowledgeable and fun to watch. Awesome course. Really helpful course for getting my feet wet with brushes.


This is a comprehensive overview of Ps CC Brushes, what they do, how they work and how to control, manage & modify them. I found it extremely useful to learn about the functionality/features that Ps CC brushes can provide even though I'm a photographer and not an illustrator or painter. I will never ever be able to employ everything Lisa explained & demo'd in the class - she covered a wide gamut of info. But she served the purpose, in this class, of being essentially what I'd call an 'idea sparker'. Once you see how she works with brushes and you find out how you can adapt (or create) brush tools to suit your personal artistic style the options for creativity are unlimited. I might re-title this class "Oh the Places Brushes Can Go" (apologies to Dr Seuss and his classic graduation gift book 'Oh, the Places You'll Go...'). Keep in mind a few things about this class (& back away from it and your credit card if you don't note a few key facts...): (1) It is called 'Advanced Techniques' - it is for intermediate to advanced Ps users, not newbies unless you're a child prodigy who picks things up really fast, (2) This is not a 'Paint with Lisa' class - we don't all paint a butterfly like a color by numbers together. Rather we learn about Ps brushes, how they work, what they look like and how to modify them and change their dynamics for different types of artistic/retouching/post-processing uses. Each person will have to experiment - there's no one 'this is it' formula that can be provided, (3) Lisa talks and thinks fast and has a pretty amusing patter too (she's clearly very intelligent!) - so be prepared to hit the Pause button. She repeatedly advises during the class, don't overload your brain with all there is to absorb with regard to Ps Brushes. Take breaks to try the info she shares & see what works for you before going on to a different section of the class. Don't buy this class thinking you'll whizz through it in 15 minutes & figure out how to complete a job you've committed to deliver in 2 hours, (4) There's a large packet of material that comes with a purchase of the class (descriptions, definitions, brush settings, drawing examples, etc.). Item #4 is the only thing I'd ding this class on. While the handout material contains lots of really really useful info it is - sadly - microscopic print. The text is exceedingly difficult for my poor old eyes to read. I value that there's plenty of white space on the pages to write notes as Lisa talks - I've done so prodigiously. But the print in that accompanying brushes class guide needs to be larger. I honestly wish I could enlarge the print in some way (unless it is a PDF that I can alter & I haven't figured it out). If there is a way to re-print with larger type font sizes someone please let me know! Bottom line: I highly recommend this class to more advanced Ps users who want a comprehensive overview of Brushes and working with them. It's definitely not a class for someone who wants a linear, step x step, "do this then do that" type of recipe class. As I've noted above, it's best as a way to learn about richly varied Ps tools you may have only had superficial exposure to previously; and get enough new knowledge to make you dangerous (and, dare I say it, boldly creative!).

Skye Taten

Lisa is the BEST teacher!!!!! Everyone should take this class!!!!!!! This class is utterly phenomenal!!!! Lisa is so knowledgable and so very talented. She is incredibly smart, super funny and so very helpful. This class contains so much valuable information, and at this price it's a complete steal. This class has forever changed my life!!! I'm so happy to have a new skill set. Thank you Lisa from the bottom of all of our hearts you are completely incredible and have touched all of our editing in photoshop lives forever!!!!! You are so very talented thank you so much for sharing your incredible skills and knowledge with us, you are a true beautiful talented soul. xoxo, Skye

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