How To Get More Out Of A Simple Photoshop Brush

As you know, Photoshop comes with many brushes installed, and there are thousands and thousands more available for download in all shapes and sizes. However if you take a closer look into the Brushes palette, you’ll find that even the simplest brushes, that may not look too exciting at first glance, can be varied to create some very nice effects. Here’s some tips on varying options in the Brush palette.

1. Make a dotted line
To make a nice dotted line brush, choose a small brush tip from the drop down menu of brushes on the tool options bar. I picked a one-pixel tip with hardness set to 100%.

brush1

When you paint with this brush in its default state, it looks like this:
brush2
If it’s not already open, you can open up the Brushes palette by choosing Window > Brushes or hit F5.

Click on the words Brush Tip Shape and you’ll see some new options. At the bottom of the palette, increase the spacing to about 400% if you want the dots to appear very close together, or 800% if you want a big space between them. In the small preview window you’ll the brush stroke change.

brush3

When you paint with the brush the effect kicks in. Hold down the Shift key to get a straight line.

brush4

2. Vary the size of the dots
You can vary the size of the dots by changing the shape dynamics of the brush. This time I’m using a hard brush tip of size 13. Click on the words Shape Dynamics on the Brushes palette and then increase the Size Jitter at the top of the palette. You’ll get something that looks a little bit like this:

brush5

3. Vary the colors in the brush stroke
Click on the words Color Dynamics in the brushes palette. Foreground/Background Jitter and Control Specifies how paint varies between the foreground color and background color. In the example below I set the Jitter to 100%. The first dotted line has a purity of 0% and the one beneath it has a purity of about 80%. Purity increases or decreases the saturation of the color.

brush6

This is really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the brushes palette. There are sliders to drag, check boxes to check and drop down menus to choose from. You’ll find you can create many cool effects using the simplest of brushes.

Do you have any brush palette tips to share, I’d love to hear them.

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  • Joni

    That is cool. What about in Adobe Illustrator, can you do something similar? I have Adobe Illustrator CS2.

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    i never knew you could hold down shift for a straight line though – nice one :)

  • lynn_absinthe

    I’m just learning to use photoshop and this article gives me additional infos on the many usage of the brush palette in adjusting the hues and shades on my images. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Thank you

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk TomBradshaw

    Thanks for the tip, I never knew how to do this!

  • aemciv

    Sweet, and 2nd on not knowing about the straight line shortcut. you can also click once, then hold down shift and click another spot and you can do straight angles. Similar to the pen tool.

  • bebopdesigner

    Brilliant! this is so handy. Cheers!

  • MOBIFY

    This is awesome. Thanks!

  • reflash

    Great post. I never knew some of this stuff!