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The Photoshop 7 Paint Engine, Part 1

Defining a custom brush tip shape By Dave Nagel
Slap on your smocks and bust out your easels! We're getting down and dirty with some natural media effects in Photoshop 7's Paint Engine. Yes, this week we leave the timid realm of compositing for a while and kick off a new series exploring the sloppy side of digital art.

This new series was prompted, I suppose, by the overwhelming interest in the Nagel Series 1 Brushes I posted here on DMN a few weeks back. (My DMN subscribers can access the ad-free version of that story here.) Rather than answering every single "How'd you do that?" e-mail I've received on the subject, I thought I'd take the opportunity to walk you through the process and hopefully teach you some tricks with the Photoshop 7 Paint Engine along the way.


We begin today with a look at creating custom tip shapes for our paint brushes. Granted, the tip shapes are just minor details in the overall functionality of the Paint Engine. But they do constitute the first step along the way of creating your own brushes that can go way beyond those included in the default Photoshop 7 brush sets.

The basics
The creation of a custom tip shape can be as simple as placing a few dots on the canvas or as complex as generating recursive tips that build upon the foundation of a basic brush tip shape. For our example today, we'll look at the method used to create some of the "cloth" shapes used in the Nagel Series 1 Brushes. begin with a fairly large canvas--say 300 x 300 pixels--so that you can have some maneuvering room for the tip shape creation process. Then follow these steps.

1. First, define an irregular area on the canvas using the Lasso tool. After you've created the shape, hold down the Option key and use the Lasso tool to cut into the shape to create something of the effect of creases or gaps.



2. Fill the shape with black or dark gray using the Paint Bucket tool. You can use other colors, but keep in mind that when we actually get to the step of defining our shape as a brush, Photoshop will use luminosity information as part of the shape's definition. Grays and black are the easiest to work with for this purpose.



3. Choose Select > Feather, and feather the shape by about 15 pixels.



4. Choose Select > Inverse, and then hit your Delete or Backspace key two or three times. This will soften up the outer edges of our shape, which is essential for this process.




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Related Keywords:The Photoshop 7 Paint Engine, Part 1 Defining a custom brush tip shape Slap on your smocks and bust out your easels! Were getting down and dirty with some natural media effects in Photoshop 7s Paint Engine. Yes, this week we leave the timid realm of compositing for a while and kick off a new series exploring the sloppy side of digital art.

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