Exploring the Brush Dynamics palette

The Brush Dynamics drop-down palette, shown in Figure 5-26, holds the secret to plying the paint and edit tools in strokes that vary from one end to the other. Click the brush icon at the right end of the Options bar to display the palette.

Figure 5-26: Click the brush icon to display the Brush Dynamics palette, the key to creating fading and tapered lines.

You get different options depending on the active tool; you can read about the options for the paint and edit tools in the next few sections. (Also see Chapter 7, which covers certain other tools affected by these settings.) But all the options have the same purpose: to enable you alter the effect of a tool as you drag. And in all cases, you can select one of three settings:

♦ Off: If you choose this option, the tools apply paint or edit effects consistently throughout the entire length of your drag.

♦ Fade: Select Fade to change the effect of a paint or edit tool gradually over the course of the drag. Enter a value in the option box to specify the distance over which the fading should occur. (More about that topic in the next section.)

The tool attributes that you can fade depend on the tool. For the paintbrush and pencil, you can vary brush size, opacity, and color. When working with the airbrush, you can adjust pressure and opacity. For the edit tools discussed in this chapter (dodge, burn, sponge, sharpen, blur, and smudge), you can alter pressure and brush size. And for the eraser, rubber stamp, history brush, art history brush, and pattern stamp, all covered in Chapter 7, you can adjust size and opacity.

No matter what tool you're using, Photoshop applies it initially at the setting you established elsewhere on the Options bar and then gradually reduces the value to the lowest possible value as you drag. For example, if you set the Opacity slider on the Options bar to 70 and select Fade from the Opacity popup menu in the Brush Dynamics palette, dragging with the paintbrush gives you a stroke that fades from 70 percent opacity to full transparency. And if you select a 100-pixel brush and drag with the Size option set to Fade, your paint stroke tapers from 100 pixels wide at the start to 1 pixel at the end.

* Stylus: If you use a pressure-sensitive tablet with Photoshop, the paint and edit tool effects vary according to the amount of pressure you apply as you draw on the tablet. The upcoming section "Setting up pressure-sensitive tablets" provides some additional information on working with a tablet.

The next sections explain how the Brush Dynamics settings affect the paint and edit tools, and these sections also give you a real-life example to inspire your own investigation of these options.

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Photoshop Secrets

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