Using The Brushes And Pencil Tools

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This chapter introduces you to Photoshop's more arty tools, the Brushes. However, as we'l see, you can use these versatile tools for far more than just painting

Photoshop is traditionally known for image manipulation, retouching, effects and colour correction, but not so much as a painter's tool. This has partly been due to the fact that the artistic capabilities of the program were severely limited due to the poor support for artistic media simulation. Other programs such as Corel Painter used to lead the market here, but the last few versions of Photoshop has seen it's Brushes system completely overhauled, making it much more useful as an artistic media program.

Having said that, Brushes have always been essential for just about everything else in Photoshop, and getting the most out of the Brush tools involves finding out all the little secrets and features buried inside the program. Actually they're not that secret but its surprising how few of the shortcuts some Photoshop users know. It's usually those who have been using it since the early days that know all the best tips.

Spoilt for choice

In a way, the later, feature-rich versions spoil you by giving you so many options to work with. The History palette, introduced in version 5, is a fantastic time-saving device. It's also an incredible feature

Page 41 Dual Brushes offer the user Page 43 The History Brush offers Page 45 The Art History Brush allows unprecedented levels of detail superb photo manipulation options you to turn an image into a painting

Page 41 Dual Brushes offer the user Page 43 The History Brush offers Page 45 The Art History Brush allows unprecedented levels of detail superb photo manipulation options you to turn an image into a painting that takes the basic Photoshop functions and multiplies their capabilities tenfold. The History palette essentially adds a kind of non-linear undo to the program. Previously undo was limited to just hopping back step-by-step. The History palette displays all your operations (up to a maximum number that you specify) in a list, complete with the tool used and its icon. By clicking on any of these steps you can immediately jump straight back to the document as it was at that point in time.

Even more impressive is the ability to store permanent snapshots of the state of the document at any time. These will not 'fall off the back' like items in the undo list would when the list exceeded the number of steps set in the Preferences. However all this power and flexibility comes at a cost: disk space. The History states can consume very large amounts of 'scratch disk' space, the random storage bin that Photoshop uses as a kind of virtual memory.

Performance figures

Keep a large amount of hard disk space free for Photoshop - as much as 2 to 4GB if working on large images. Ideally, partition your disk and dedicate one part to Photoshop.

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