Digital Painting Lesson 6: Custom Brushes

The Lesson
This was one of the most useful lessons, and I learned a lot of things that I'll continue to use and that will enable me to do all kinds of cool things.

The bulk of this assignment was instruction and it centered around the brush palette. Bobby showed us what every slider, button and menu item did and how they can be used to make different brushes. We made three brushes in this lesson: a paint brush, a marker brush, and a hair brush. You can make a brush out of just about any shape by going to Edit-->Define Brush Preset and playing with the settings in the brush palette.

For the paint brush, we used a seamless texture (which he also showed us how to make) to make a brush that appears to be a brush on canvas. To do it, we took the texture below, desaturated it, and made it seamless.


We attached the texture to two brushes, a round brush and the other to this splatter image (by selecting define brush preset):


The other brushes we made didn't have textures attached, but could be used to add texture to images.

The marker brush we didn't use, it was just a quick exercise to show us how we could use the brush settings to create something that looks like a marker.

Finally there was the hair brush, one that Bobby said he gets asked about a lot. This one was really cool, and it was simple to make. All it takes is 10 to 12 dots, and a few adjustments to the brush settings in the brush palette.

The hair brush lets you make clumps of hair that really add some depth and realism to a picture. After creating it, Bobby provided us a picture of a bald woman and had us paint hair on her. He painted the bald woman using the paint texture brush, so we used the same texture brush as a base for the hair and then brought in the hair brush for, you know, hair.

Below is the bald woman we were supplied, and next to it is what I turned in. We all had to turn in this hair style and color, though just for kicks and giggles he showed us how we could do darker blond and curly with the same brushes.


The Critique
I gave myself three stars because I struggled with the highlights a bit. Overall, I felt like I did a good job though, and it was a really fun and informative lesson.

Bobby gave me four stars (hooray!) and he did a bit of touching up on the hair. He fixed the highlight problems and he brought in some swoopy bangs, which I started to do but I scrapped because I couldn't get it to work right--you can see some of the remnants of that if you look hard. He also went in with a one pixel brush and added a few stray hairs. If there's one thing I've learned in this class it's that those tiny subtle touches are what really sell the picture.