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Mixer with Layer Styles

Lesson 15 from: Advanced Techniques with Brushes in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

15. Mixer with Layer Styles

Next Lesson: Brush as Mask

Lesson Info

Mixer with Layer Styles

With the mixture brush, because it's putting down color, does the wet and dry factor matter, then? It'll put a different texture, wet or dry, you're gonna gain a different result, yeah. I'm sorry, I really wish I could articulate in a painterly way, what the difference is, but I think it's one of those, as Kyle will tell you on his videos, you just gotta try it. What I want you all to be really, really clear about, is try it. What she's asking is right here. Wet or dry, the best thing to do, if you ask me, is okay, you've got your original brush. You take it, do one stroke at whatever it's set at, 100%. Then, move it all the way down to zero, do it, and then do it at 50%, and then you will know what it feels like. Not unlike if you had a paint. You know, when you add a little more turpentine to it, and you oh, okay now I get it. If you were doing that and an instructor was trying to tell you what it really was. How do you explain that kind of ethereal change? Ethereal, that was weird...

. I'm a little weird. Anyway, now, oh Lisa, don't go away. On your handouts it will say in multiple places the other difference between a mixer brush and a blender brush, is with the mixer brush you also have the added benefit of texture. Holy guacamole, that damn pattern once again. Everything we're talking about has that pattern. With a mixer brush, you have the option of also having a texture. The mixer brushes are really complicated. They're brilliant, they scare me a little bit. Alright, so let's take a look at this brush. Let's look at the brush. Tell you what, I'm gonna just start. Well, what the hell is that? Oh, do you remember? I said a mixer brush will allow you to add color. (sighs) I just clicked the clear and now it's gonna pick up what's underneath. You know what? Maybe the thing to do is to start with a blender brush before, because you can't kinda make as many errors. It's a little easier. Training wheels, the blender brush is training wheels. The oil brush, I mean, excuse me, the mixer brush is probably a little more complicated. Or, screw the blender brush, never use it. Only use the mixer brush and just dive in. Whatever you like. Here are the settings on your brush that we're using right now. We've got shape dynamics. On the handout to you, I took the brush heads out. You can see them. You can see what they look like. And then texture, oh, what's he using? I just clicked on the texture button and I cannot see anything highlighted. Do you guys know what it means? Yes, it's not loaded. It's one of those top secret, textures. I'm gonna click there on this icon. This icon is basically add the texture that you-- Oh, it means create a new preset from the current pattern. It's called Fine Grain. You now have it. You guys are in control at all times. Now I'm just gonna go ahead and work on it. I wanna show you a really big difference here. You can also, don't lose your mind here. You ready? I'm gonna hold the option key and click and when I do that, I want you to look at what happens right in here. Right now it is not picking up anything. It's not putting down anything other than what it's picking up from down below, because I've sample all layers on. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? It is not putting down anything else other than what it sees already. If I option click on the document-- Option click, oh, you gotta be on the right layer. If I option click-- Oh, are you gonna ruin my demo? It should be picking up what's down below. Do you see that? I have to have that turned off. There we go, alright, these dang buttons. That was highlighted, which would not let me do it. You can panic now. There's so many different variables, right? You can panic, it's terrible, it's awesome. It's terrible, it's awesome. If, when you're at home, and you're trying this technique and something's not working, chances are it's these two little culprits right here. Watch what's gonna happen. I'm gonna click right here on this little delta. It's load solid colors only. I clicked what's down below, and it just picked up a solid color. If I command z that and I toggle that off, and now I pick up what's down below, now it picked up multiple colors. Wait, what? Okay, let me say it again a little slower. If you have this item toggled on, it will pick up one solid color. It's still blending, it's still a blending brush. It's not a regular pain brush, it's a blending brush. If you say, "No thank you, I don't want that," and you option click on an area, look at that little square, it's not gonna pick up multiple colors that you have under there. If you're crying a little bit, it's fair, it's 100% fair. All you need to do is refer to your sheets, go slowly, and then go and paint. After that, I'm gonna clear that brush and then turn that off. I've now cleared the brush. I did two steps, I cleared it, and then I turned it off. Then you can go back and just paint. So, project oriented. Take your time. Try different things. You're gonna make mistakes. It's not gonna work. You've got this handout, you can take a look at it. Isn't that kinda cool? You can do the impasto after the fact. Do you remember that little blur at the bottom bit I did on the other files? You can do the same, and then you're starting. You just get there, and what I like about this is this stuff doesn't look filtery to me. It looks like something you've made that-- You know, you're making choices on your own. On this one, because I lost my mind, I started doing impasto gesso on here, and then I turned the color off. I wanted to fade it out a little bit, and then I did the patterning. I think I really like the patterning. Some people may think it's cheesy. This is a pattern that looks more like thumb prints. I put a little canvas on top. It's canvas and then thumb prints. Little thumb print pattern. This pattern is not in the piece. If you took this to another person's machine, you wouldn't have this pattern. Once again, you wanna click on that icon and then it will show up, and it's Wow Canvas Brush Overlay Large. How you guys doing? It's a lot, I know it's a lot. But it's really fantastic. The takeaways are here, are there's-- The mixer brush is way, way, way more complicated than the blender brush, but they're also, dare I say, a little more interesting? The textures, you can change your textures. What that means is you can load that Italian canvas and then do that smudging through the Italian canvas. If you go in there-- Do you remember that linear height? You could change that, and if you change that-- Do you remember the Cezanne brush we did right at the beginning? And you scraped it, and it really showed the paper more than the texture. If you change that right here and you put subtract and you make all those 100, then the same thing that happened on the Cezanne brush is gonna happen with your mixer brush. You're gonna see more paper, or whatever's underneath. So, it'll be clear. I don't want you to freak out. I want you to keep coming, and for you, on your notes at home, the thing you've got to put a danger Will Robinson is this right here. This is what's gonna jack you up. Well, it jacked me up, but this area right here. And then (laughs) you wanna go figure out the wet? Good luck to you honey, I didn't have time. It was too much.

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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