Planet Photoshop

strange_brushes

Strange Brushes

Photoshop uses pixels to display graphics. Bits of light and darkness that make a map of the image. We are going to take advantage of that today.

Because Photoshop is a “bitmap” graphics package, everything it deals with is in pixels. You can create all sorts of images because of this. You can manipulate photos, erase backgrounds, bevel, emboss and even paint like a traditional artist. As we talk about traditional artists, there is something that we should be thinking about… brushes. Painters use brushes to create their work. In Photoshop you have brushes too. But Photoshop brushes are infinitely more powerful than horsehair. Almost anything is possible.

To demonstrate, I am going to show you how to create a brush that is beyond a traditional painter’s imagination. It’s a simple way to do a complex thing… create art.

I am going to start with an image. This happens to be a turntable. I bring the image into Photoshop and begin.

To create a brush, I want to create a grayscale image that will serve as a bitmap for my brush. A greyscale image is based on 256 shades of grey, from white to black. When creating brushes, remember that the black will be solid and the white will be transparentis. This will all be more clear in a moment.

With your image in Photoshop desaturate it. Hit Image -> Adjust -> Desaturate. This creates a black-and-white (greyscale in digital terms), image. Now you want to hit Image -> Adjust -> Auto Levels. This will balance the white a black parts of the image. It makes it more clear.

Now select the entire image. Hit Edit -> Define Brush. It will ask you for a name. I chose Turntable. Once you choose a name, hit OK. Now start a new canvas. Make it much larger than the image that we just created the brush in. Select your Brush tool, and in the options palette click the drop-down brushes box. The last brush in the palette will be your new one. Select a color and click once inside the image area. Poof, instant art. The brush is now your’s forever.

Notice how the darkest areas in the greyscale image are now solid. The grey areas are slightly more transparent. I hope that makes i t slightly more clear.

Anyway, this is a great little trick. You can even save brushes to disk and share them with friends or give them to me. It only takes a second and you have created a lasting piece of art. You can do this for texture too.

Scan some scotch tape on a piece of paper, or anything you can think of. You will create strange grungy brushes. It’s great.

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