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Playing with custom brushes in Photoshop - Tips on using, making and working with custom brushes in Photoshop.
Extend canvasOpen your image and extend the canvas, if you need to, so there's space for out custom brush shapes to flow into.
Adjust the backgroundOur background is grey and we want it to be white so we used the Magic Erase tool to remove the colour by clicking on part of the background. Now the background is empty we can create a new one for our instrument to sit on. We want the background to be white so with the foreground colour as white we selected the Fill tool and clicked on the background to change it to white. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool and draw an oval in the centre of the image.
Create another new layer (Layer>New Layer) and call this one 'colour'. Use the Eyedropper tool to sample colour from the object your shapes are going to be 'flying' from then with the Paintbrush tool, draw in a funnel shape out from your object on the colour layer you've just created. It may look a little messy at the moment but trust us! It will work.
Layer MaskNext we need to make a layer Mask on this layer. To do this click on the circle that's sat inside a rectangle at the bottom of the layers palette then hit Shift + backspace to fill the mask with black. This will hide the paint you've just applied to the image.
Now we are going to add the notes that are going to 'fly' from the end of the bass. This will be done in two stages: one, painting white notes onto the end of the bass to give the impression they've cut away from it and two, adding black notes that will be scattered through the air to the right of the bass.
Add the custom shape
Duplicate the layer which has your object on, which in our case is the bass, so any changes you make won't be applied to the original then select the Paintbrush tool. Look to the toolbar at the top of Photoshop and click on the arrow next to Brush.
You can now spend ages clicking and creating individual brush shapes until you have created the scattered effect we're looking for, however there's a much quicker and easier way to do this. Go to Window>Brushes to open the Brushes dialogue box. Here you can custom create brushes which means we can make one click and create several notes at the same time instead of having to click and repeat the process over and over again.
Custom brushesTick and click on Shape Dynamics adjust the Size Jitter slider to 100% and if you want the individual shapes to appear at different angles change the Angle Jitter slider. The more towards 100% you drag the slider the more uneven the shapes will be. Next click on Scattering and drag the slider to the right to scatter the shapes. We also adjust the Opacity Jitter in the Other Dynamics menu to alter the shade of some of the notes. Once you're happy with your custom brush selections close the window.
Use your custom brushMake sure your foreground colour matches the shade of your background, in our case it's white, double-check the new object layer is selected and with the Paintbrush tool, click over the end of your object so it looks like the shapes have cut into it. If you make a single click one shape will appear and each time the size and angle of it will change. However, click and drag the mouse and the scatter effect you created will be applied. Take your time with this, changing the opacity and size of the brush to alter the effect. If you make a mistake there's always the history tab where you can go back and remove your previous steps. Or as you duplicated the layer you can always delete it and start again.
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