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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Creating a "tiling" texture is a very useful skill for digital painters. This video introduces the basic concepts, and shows how a simple photographic tile can add gritty texture to a brush. This is a technique generally reserved for Texture Artists working in video games, but I've found it to be a versatile skill for illustration in general.

Reader Etheryte is kind enough to show alternative tiling texture technique in this video

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Do you have a favorite few brushes? Do you like to use them with specific flow/opacity settings? "Tool Presets" might be for you! This feature is often overlooked or confused with "Brush Presets", but it is extremely useful for digital painters. This video explains how "Tool Presets" can add a big dose of efficiency and speed to your workflow.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Traditional painters often start with a "ground" - giving them a neutral, textured surface to begin their painting on. This video introduces a custom brush which will quickly generate such a ground for your digital painting. Unlike most brushes I mention, this one is designed to work with the Smudge Tool. To download the brush for yourself, click here!

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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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!