View Full Version : Brush Shapes...

Dark Matter
02-13-2008, 10:23 PM

I've been wondering about this for so long I just had to ask. When sketching in Photoshop, I see alot of people using irregularly shaped brushes. Is there an advantage to using these brushes as opposed to the circular ones? At first, I thought: TEXTURE! But when you're dragging the brush around, any holes left by the brush head itself are wiped up with the stroke unless you're "dabbing."

Angus :?:

02-15-2008, 11:15 PM
Yes and No. Like most things it comes down to personal preference. I don't think that I've seen hardly anyone who does really well in the middle. Either they use custom brushes and hardly ever paint with just a circular brush or vice versa.

Here's some good examples:

http://www.goodbrush.com - Lots of custom brushes
http://mv.cgcommunity.com/ - Mathias, Lots of custom brushes

dylancolestudio.com - Lots of use of the circular brush but painting really fine
http://dusso.com/ - Lots of circular brushes

It takes alot of practice and hard work to get custom brushes to work like real ones, I think that's why you'll see alot of conceptual artists use custom brushes because they can be very dynamic and unpredictable and give you alot of happy mistakes. In matte painting it can be really hard to use something so unpredictable to create fine work and so that's why I don't think you'll see very many matte artists use custom brushes (cept for maybe a pallette knife) in the final stages of a painting.

Dark Matter
02-16-2008, 01:14 PM
Okay, that does make sense.

Thank you!

02-17-2008, 07:27 AM
i find getting into the brush options helps alot. with shape rotation, scale, saturation etc etc and some spacing will allow you to get better use. i did an entire field of flowers and clovers with only one clover and only one flower as brushes

Dark Matter
02-17-2008, 09:44 AM
Ah ha! That solves my problem with textures Da_Elf. I always keep the spacing meter at or near minimum--making all my strokes come out smooth even if I'm using an irregularly shaped brush.

I'll be sure to play with the spacing from now on for textures.


02-17-2008, 11:42 AM
wow. i actually said something that made sence this time

02-17-2008, 10:22 PM
I was cleaning out the garage today and in looking at a piece of artist's chalk I remembered, Dylan uses a chalk type brush, Chalk 35 I think. But he doesn't change alot of the settings (at least in his DVD's) to crazy settings like some concept artists do.

There's some crazy stuff you can do with settings that change things you would never expect. Actually sitting down an taking the time to make your own custom brushes is a big help.

The hardest one is a good palette knife. I still haven't perfected mine yet.

Dark Matter
02-18-2008, 11:58 AM
What exactly is a palette knife? I've heard them mentioned in school, too.

02-18-2008, 01:52 PM
What exactly is a palette knife? I've heard them mentioned in school, too.

This is a very thin but long brush, check this tutorial (http://www.imaginefx.com/02287754333461721512/tutorial.pdf) (point 15) how to make your own :)

02-18-2008, 03:55 PM
A real pallet knife is used to mix oil paints and to apply paint to the canvas.
Google image search it and you'll see what I mean. The tut looks close but I
think Painter has a more realistic one.

Dark Matter
02-18-2008, 06:05 PM
Xdreamer79 -- Thanks for the link.

So, are palette knives exclusive to oil painting? What (in traditional painting) is the benefit of using a palette knife instead of a brush?

Thanks for your responses so far everyone. :D

02-18-2008, 06:37 PM
Yes, traditional art. Can be used with oil and acrylic. No real benefit, it's a
matter of style.

Dark Matter
02-18-2008, 06:45 PM
I see. One more question: Is there a proper "left-handed/right-handed" angle to a palette knife in photoshop? I see different tutorials using different angles.


02-18-2008, 07:01 PM
Nothing's proper in Photoshop, just experiment and have fun.

02-18-2008, 07:04 PM
Well pallette knives are generally used with oils because of the fact that oils are very dry paints are are much harder to mix with a brush.
Also, with pallette knives, you can get some really nice effects when you apply the paint to the canvas.

Bob Ross is usually a really easy example to show for this, but it seems like all his videos have been pulled from the public domain... All i can find now is weird spoofs...
Anyway, i found this one on stage 6 that shows him using a pallette knife. He was famous for his pallette knife mountains and unfortunately this one doesnt show that, but it should give you some idea...

http://www.stage6.com/user/glacier626/v ... amp;-Woods (http://www.stage6.com/user/glacier626/video/2049699/Bob-Ross---Waterfall-&-Woods)

The pallette knife techniques comes into play at about 13:00 minutes in. If you've never seen Bob Ross before you are in for a real treat too!! ;)


02-18-2008, 07:05 PM
Just found a video that shows bob doing his famous mountains:

http://www.stage6.com/user/gizmonicinst ... -of-Winter (http://www.stage6.com/user/gizmonicinstitute/video/2226584/Bob-Ross---1501---The-Splendor-of-Winter)

Anyone got any idea why all bob ross videos have been pulled from the net?


02-18-2008, 07:09 PM
space-sprayer wrote:
Anyone got any idea why all bob ross videos have been pulled from the net?

i guess because the bob ross foundation sells them
http://www.bobross.com/supplies.cfm?typ ... tructional (http://www.bobross.com/supplies.cfm?type=Videos%20/%20DVDs&special=Instructional)

02-18-2008, 07:12 PM
Ah ok... is that a recent thing then, coz Bob Ross did in 1995, but right up until late last year ive been able to get loads of Bob Ross vids on youtube...
Maybe they just had a clamp down...


02-18-2008, 07:15 PM
I guess they have tightened down. I remember seeing LOT's of his videos, on youtube too

02-19-2008, 09:14 AM
Dang. For a while those youtube Bob Ross videos kept me sane at work.

I would buy them if they sold them on itunes.

I am going to buy some anyway but I think there's a greater incentive to buy a digital download.

02-19-2008, 01:04 PM
If you guys are interested, I got tons of BR vids on my machine here ;)

04-13-2008, 02:55 PM
If you've never used them, there is something I have realized about custom brushes. It may not work for you, but maybe someone's interested.

I had my photoshop CS and seldom used the custom brushes, not even the ones that came by default with photoshop: they looked "unnatural" to me. I just use the defined circle and the "blurred edges" circle, and sometimes use the leaf brush... but I use it so that the leaf shape can never be seen in the result, only to make geometric textures.

Looking through photoshop websites, I started to know about customb brushes, and to download them. Lots. And tried to use them, seeing their creators had such talent. It was no use, so I forgot about them.

Until I was stuck with a cloudy sky, and ended up making my own custom brushes. And that was a whole new world.

I don't know if what works for me will work for others, but I think the "custom" really work when it's real custom, I mean when you do them yourself to satisfy a necessity you have. I have a long list of brushes with weird shapes that I can do nothing with for the sole reason that I don't know what the creator used them for. Mine, I very well control.

So, on the topic of custom brushes, I would recommend people to experiment with their own brushes. In the end, no one knows your necessities half as well as you do. When you are stuck at a certain drawing, think "would this be easier with another brush shape?" If the answer's yes, start making your own brushes. I rarely use custom brushes, but when I do, they save the whole drawing. My marble floors, clouds, ink-writings, feathers and stone floors were impossible to finish without my customized brushes. But I never had any use for other people's brushes, (save the photoshop leaf).

Of course, every person is their own world. I bet there's lots of people who can find good uses to any brush they find. I haven't been able to.

angus sheehan
04-14-2008, 01:46 PM
Thanks, Natsu.