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Small Details with Brushes

Lesson 11 from: Advanced Techniques with Brushes in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

11. Small Details with Brushes

Lesson Info

Small Details with Brushes

Now we're gonna talk about some adding small details. And this is an ambient brush. I'm in love. I'm in love with this brush so much I can hardly tell you because there's something about the flow of it that is so beautiful. And it's called the dust brush, but you can use it for clouds, you can use it for white, for environmental, if you're trying to get some atmosphere in a room. And I just wanna demo it real quick. Here is, on the canvas here, what you're gonna see is I showed you what the dust brush looks like. I'm gonna go ahead and delete that. And what I have here is a little image. It's just a boy with some color correction, some blurring going on. And then I started painting dust over the top. And some color correction. I'd like to show you how the dust brush works. So what I'm gonna do is just delete the dust that is there in the picture. And I'm gonna go to my brushes. My favorite dust brush, by Lisa Carney. It's gonna be a children's book. (audience laughing) Totally kidding.

And whatever color you choose to use, I'm gonna use white. I'm gonna do it in the dark, just so you guys can see it on the screen. Now, I know you guys can't see anything. Do you wanna know why? It is the most beautiful, subtle brush. And it allows you to start building it up. It's a little small for this document, so here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna make it a little larger, just so you can see it. I am barely touching, the percentage is 70 to 10. The beauty of this brush makes this a really crappy demo and you're just gonna have to hear me out. What's beautiful about this brush is how gentle and how subtly it layers in dust. 'Cause you know people put atmosphere in files, you go, I know you've seen it on those Photoshop fail, where it's just blobby. This is subtle, you paint it in, it's so pretty. I think it's pretty. You know why it's pretty? I'm gonna tell the truth. True confessions of Lisa Carney. There are some retouchers out there who many of you probably know, who have such a beautiful, gentle hand when they paint. They're subtle, they can push gently. I'm not, I am a freight train, I'm a bull in a china shop. I am (growling), full, full, always. And I'm, I know that's shocking you, here in the room. I know that. (audience laughing) I'm gonna put that flow up to 100%, just so you can see this. What happens with this brush is it-- Make it white. Oh, sorry, thank you. What happens with this brush, is this kinda controls me. See, that's how I brush. I brush (explosive breath). Let's run for the walls. This brush will bring me in and say, girl, you need to relax. I'm gonna make it big, just so you can see it. I'm gonna keep it white. See, I'm pushin'. I'm pushin', it ain't coming. Okay, here it comes. And for some of us, it might be helpful to have a system that slows you down a little bit. Cool! Well, I hope you find that, it's just a tiny little brush, but before I wrap this up, I just want to say what you can use this for. So you can add it to add atmosphere on top of an image. If you have a road scene and you're trying to make it look misty, a river, a lake, and you're trying to add mist on top of that, this is perfect for that.

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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