Thursday, May 21, 2015

"What kind of brushes did you use for this?" (My CS6 brushes)

As much as it is mocked by people, this is actually not a bad question! Although it can be difficult to answer, because it's not what the brush is that makes it great, it's what you use it for. That said, the tool you're using is still a critical part of what you accomplish: saying good painting is not about the brushes is like telling the mechanic that fixing the car isn't about the wrenches. I definitely learned this when I switched from Painter to Photoshop a couple years ago: I felt suddenly inept as a painter using all these clunky, awful brushes. This is when my long search for great brushes began.

The last time I posted some of my brushes, they were all in CS4. I've had various requests for my CS6 brushes, but I've hesitated to post them because my toolset was getting so large and unwieldy. I've found a way to organize them now that will hopefully make sense. Some of these are my favorites out of these collections, or from Chris Wahl's sets. His spatter and inking brushes are especially great, so if you like the ones I picked, I'd recommend you check out his full sets. The rest of the brushes are either heavily customized or created by myself.

I've been using and modifying a lot of brushes from the Kyle Webster Megapack lately also, which is absolutely worth the money, especially if you do a lot of inking.


So my new idea for organizing brushes is to put different categories of brush into separate toolsets, separated according to the type of work that needs to be done. Then if you use "Load Tool Presets," you can append however many preset groups you need. If a set gets too large then I have the option to break it into even more specific categories. This makes finding the brush I want while I'm painting faster and easier.

Here are my current categories. The title of each has the link to the brush download. You load these up from the Toolset menu, not from the brushes menu!

The Base Set
This brush set is mostly drawing brushes, but it includes some other tools I use all the time, like the rounded eraser and the Smudge Nice tool I created. The idea is to keep this set loaded and append the others to it. You'll notice that I use the tilt function a lot in my brushes---you'll need a Intros 4 or higher model to see what these brushes are really meant to do.


The Painting Set
I add this set in when I'm past the sketching phase and ready for painting. The occlusion brushes are a quick and dirty way to paint ambient occlusion around edges of objects. Again, you'll need the tilt function to use it.


Blenders
I have my two most used blending tools as part of the base set, but there are a bunch of other effects it's nice to have handy. This might be another set I load in when I start painting.


Spatter/Texture and Organic/effect brushes.

I put both of these in the "other" category; they're both specialized for when I need leaves, ground cover, or other textural effects. I imagine as the set grows that I'll separate character elements (fur) from environment elements (clouds and trees), but right now there aren't too many to keep track of. The way I see it, if you like this system of organization, you could add your own tool sets of tech elements, particle effects, or whatever you like, without bogging down your UI or workflow with too many things all at once. Take what you want, delete what you don't, and have fun!

25 comments:

  1. I have been using Kyle's Brushes for a while myself now and the only gripe I have with them is that there are so many of them. So what I did - in order to keep my Tool Preset-List under 8 foot long - was to make situational Tool Preset Packages. On loading they would just clean out the whole list and leave me with a good dozen settings for brushes and erasers.

    Oh yeah, I do keep a strategic set of my 5 favorite brushtips on the first 5 slots in the brush-popup-menu - the one you get, when you right-click with the brush active. That allows me to quickly shift the shape of a tool without changing all the other parameters.

    I like your approach of using smaller, but modal, pieces better, as it allows for a more flexible loadout of brushes. I'll try and figure out a way to get the importing done with one of those iconized script-panels that have been popping up. Those are really cool, especially when you work on a single monitor with little screen space. I'm looking at you, 12"-Cintiq.

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    1. Yeah, there are a lot of Kyle brushes. I've been cleaning them out as I use the set more and figuring out which ones I never touch. After a while I might have it pared down enough to integrate into this newer system.

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  2. Dream you Sam, this probably the best organized and smartest set of brushes i saw. Great job and thank you so much for sharing this.

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    1. No problem, glad I could help!

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  3. Certainly today I have adventured playing with them. Thanks alot for this brushes! that I am sure you have spent quite sometime organising them. Cheers.

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  4. Thanks for sharing these, very useful!

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  5. So, does that mean you no longer use painter? I've decided to revisit it since painter 2015 is actually pretty speedy on my machine and I still really love the real 2B pencil brush it has. I have yet to find anything that replaces it on photoshop. Kyle T. Webster's tilteriffic brush comes close, but it bothers me how I can't make the thinnest line it has just a LITTLE thicker, and I can't seem to be able to modify it's minimum thickness.

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    1. I occasionally open Painter to do something, but I'm almost completely Photoshop now. I'll have to check out Painter 2015 though, since part of the reason for my switch to PS was the speed of strokes---Painter was okay with a tablet but too laggy for a Cintiq. I'll take a look into the pencil thing, I feel like it ought to be possible, but I don't know.

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  6. Sam I;m using cs5 and looking for a good blender brush for your Schoolism class. I have cs5 though. does the blender brushes from this post work with cs5? i can't seem to get them to load in the tool presets or the brush presets. sorry for the necro thread!

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    1. These brushes will only work in CS6+. Sorry! You can use the blenders from the CS4 set I released earlier (linked in this post), but those will be missing the mixer brush set.

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    2. ah ok, thanks, Sam

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    3. can u give me this brushes ??

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    4. They are in the link at the top of the post.

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  7. Occlusion brush, this is was crazy and useful as always. Great Sam!!

    Thanks by the brushes and feedback

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  8. Now that I have Sam's paint brushes, my digital art won't suck! Mwahaha! ;)

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    1. Haha, I hope it at least helps something. :)

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  9. For some reason, I was unable to download the last two sets (spatter/texture + organic/effect). These brushes are a great set! I loved using your old CS4 set; they felt really natural to use. Thank you for sharing them!

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    1. That's strange, there isn't anything wrong with the files or the links. Maybe try again.

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  10. Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.


    Eye Brushes

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  11. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!
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    Airless Spray Gun

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Thank you! Your blog and brush were recommended on the Palavra Nerd channel and I loved it!

    ReplyDelete