Sometimes the basic hard round brush leaves your lines feeling... flat.  If you want to throw in some quick pencil texture at the end of a digital sketch, Photoshop makes it easy! This video is not a replacement for custom brushes, but it works well in a pinch.  

Note:  In the video I use the 'Multiply" blending mode, though sometimes others are more effective.  Overlay is a nice alternative depending on the value range of your texture image.  

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Custom brushes can be a challenge to use successfully. Digital painters often think of them in terms of traditional brushes: flat, bristle, fan - etc. To get the most out of Photoshop's custom brush engine, a digital painter needs to broaden their definition of 'brush'. This mini-series aims to shed some light on the unusual ways custom brushes can be manipulated in a painting workflow. 

If you want to know more about making your own custom brushes from scratch, make sure to check out the premium seriesCustom Brush Design.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Painting color can be done in one of two ways: direct and indirect. Indirect painting is the process of glazing colors on top of one another to achieve a slow build-up. Like traditional some oil painters, many digital painters prefer this method to working 'directly'. If you want to learn about going from a grayscale underpainting to a fully colored image, check out "Grayscale to Color" in the store.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting

The way the stylus lays down marks in photoshop has a certain 'feel' to it; in the same way that you could say painting with a brush has a different feel than drawing with a pencil. Unlike these traditional tools, you can customize the way your stylus 'feels'. Do you have a soft or a light touch?  This video expolres both the Wacom Tablet Properties, as well as 3rd party software designed to customize the stylus experience.

Update 1/29/2012: Apparently the newest Intuos 4 drivers have addressed this issue!  Make sure to get the newest drivers if you have an intuos 4.

And reader Dado Almeida brings up a crucial point about tablet wear & tear:

"[This is] really important stuff to know if you deal with a Wacom stylus in the daily basis. Using a hard grip, for months, in the same spot of your Tablet surface could dameage the cover plastic faster. Have you noticed how the center area of our Tablets are more scratched?  To make my experience with the Wacom smoother I´m using this tool + a protection plastic (those used in the iPad screens) to cover my little Intuos.  This way I can change the cover from time to time without any damage in the original surface."

And, as a reminder, this is unofficial software.   It might not give you the results you're looking for.  If you have a problem using it - or it screws something up - you can restore the factory defaults by re-installing the Wacom drivers.  Good luck, and have fun!

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Paintings often start as line drawings. Eventually, you'll paint over those lines - resulting in a full painting. If you made that line drawing on its own layer in photoshop, you're able to remove those lines in a totally risk-free way! This video shows how to use a layer mask to easily remove the linework and replace it with a painting.

If you don't know about the basics of masks, make sure to watch these three videos first: Masking 101 pt 1,  Masking 101 pt 2, and Masking 101 pt 3

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Edge control is a huge factor for painting technique. To properly describe form you'll need to use both hard and soft edges. This video explores a practice routine designed to hone your edge control. I can be tricky learning to observe hard and soft edges, but they are essential.

I encourage you to give this technique a try!  Download the lesson file here (it's a .PSD).  Have fun!

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Digital painting relies on your ability to comfortably wield the Brush Tool. Keyboard shortcuts are a huge part of that, and committing them to memory is an important step in your learning. This video proposes a 'maze' drill for you to hone your brush tool chops. It may seem a bit unusual, but it's not all that different from an athlete running through an obstacle course to improve their agility! Most importantly, have fun with this! And make sure to download the brush maze drill here.  And if you want a refresher on the brush tool and its hidden features, check out this digital painting 101 video

A safe approach to most drawing is going from general to specific. Large scale before details. This video shows how apply that general form to sketching line-work in Photoshop using layers. Of course, drawing is a personal process and your technique might differ. This is the method I derived over time from my experience as a Comic Book student in art school, and a concept artist after college.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
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Light and shadow reveal the form of an object. The way to create a likeness lies in the accurate depiction of shadows cast across form. So what should you look out for when painting light and shadow? This video explores shadows' tendency to have both hard and soft edges.

Note:  It's not clearly mentioned in the video, but this technique is only relevant in the case of strong directional lighting.  If you were looking at an object on a cloudy day, this principle would not apply.

Finally, if you want to know more about this topic you will enjoy the premium series available in the store: Basic Photoshop Rendering.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Mechanically, painting is very simple: add paint to the canvas, and blend it with the paint that you've already applied. That said, blending technique is a subtle art and can be a lifetime pursuit. This video shows some basic blending techniques for photoshop. And if the brushes aren't working the way you want them to, watch this video on brush controls.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Even if you're aware of 'glossiness', and can observe its effects, you still need to be able to reproduce it in your own paintings. This video offers some practical advice for doing exactly that. Focusing on brushwork, I'll show how to use layers effectively to work on the specular highlight separately from the base form.

Hopefully the first two videos have sufficiently impressed you with the power of masks. If not, this video about editing masks with the brush tool absolutely will. By this point you've seen the power of masks, but haven't seen how they relate to a painting process. Once you begin adding nuance and painterly edges to your mask with the brush tool, you'll see what you've been missing all this time. It can be hard to explain in words, but all experienced digital painters will agree that masks bring unique power to the painting process.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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The brush tool is the heart of digital painting. It can be a bit confusing, and this video will help familiarize you with the basic components like Opacity and Diameter. Interestingly, the way to make the brush tool more useful is to limit the functionality. In this video I explore the difference between my two favorite types of brushes: Opacity Brushes use the pen pressure on your stylus to control the amount of pigment, and have a fixed diameter.  Keyboard shortcuts are used to change the diameter.

Diameter brushes use the pen pressure to control the diameter, and have a fixed amount of pigment.  This creates the effect of applying ink with a bristle brush -- you get a varied line weight, but a consistent intensity of ink.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Painting is generally done with basic, versatile, brushes. Sometimes however, you're better off using a custom brush to accomplish a specific end. In this video I showcase a brush pack designed to make the task of painting machine guns and muzzle flares easier. The brush pack is free, so feel free to download it!

And if you're intrigued by this concept of custom brushes, there's an entire Premium Series dedicated to it in the Ctrl+Paint store!