Custom brush

Few words about making a custom Photoshop brush using only brush options. As an example I'll show how to create a brush which I sometimes use for painting fur. I'm going to create in only by choosing some options, there is nothing complicated in that and no magic is happening (sadly). Brush options window is really worth exploring as it often proves itself useful.

If something's not clear or is not working, please let me know. I'll try to correct mistakes and put some additional explanations to help you out.

Small window with brush options, if its not visible, you can open by using a keyboard shortcut (press F5) or simply choosing it from the menu. When it finally shows up you can see small menu on the left and bunch of brushes on the right part of it. On the bottom there is also a small preview, showing how brush is going to work. I'm not going to explain every single options because that would put us both to sleep, I recommend playing with it a little to get to know it. I'll just guide you through the process of creating a fur drawing brush.

First option in the menu in the options window is about the shape of the brush. There is also a very important option there, about spaces between traces with brush leaves. I want fur lines to be separated so I change this option by sliding the slider. Next I need to change the shape of the brush. At the beginning my brush was hard and round, but this simple shape can be changed easily - I need to adjust it a little in the small window just below table with brushes. I flatten the circle and make it vertical.

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Next position in the menu is Shape Dynamics. The most useful thing in this part of options window is the opportunity to make brush change it's size according to pen pressure or something else. I wont my fur to vary, with length too, nobody shaved my animal for it to have a constant fur length ;P After choosing this option I made my fur to be a little messy, that will also make it look more natural.

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The last option I'm going to choose is not necessary but very useful. I change Angle Jitter Control to Direction, so all fur will be perpendicular to the direction of drawing. You can see the difference on the first image from those below. Second ellipse was drawn without this option, first one, with this option turned on. It helps when you need to draw fur on (for example) sides of animal.

Of course every brush (or maybe set of brush options) you can save as a new brush. You just need to press your right mouse key in the empty spot in the first panel of options window, where brushes are displayed. Photoshop will ask you about the name for a new brush and it's going to be saved. When you choose it again every option you chose will switched on again and you can draw all the fur you want without going through the process again ;)

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Brush from two last pictures above, which show how to save your brush, is the one I use to paint skin texture. It's fairly easy to make, you just need to choose soft round brush as a base and in the Shape Dynamics change some scattering options. Sometimes changing distances between strokes is also needed.

I can only say that I recommend playing with all those options. Photoshop allows not only to change brush shape dynamically but also opacity or color. All this is supposed to make drawing easier so it's good to learn how to use it ;)