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Looking for a better brush for realistic skin in Photoshop?  Stop looking and make your own custom brush with this tutorial from Digital Painting Techniques.

You can download a custom brush (ABR) file to accompany this tutorial from www.focalpress.com/digitalartmasters

Excerpt by Mélanie Delon, 3D Total
The Speckled Brush
This brush is the best that I have used so far to achieve a painterly feel, and the great thing about it is that you can use it for everything!

Create I t !
The technique is really simple … On a new white canvas with a basic round–edged brush, I’ll paint little random black dots of different shapes and sizes. I usually start without a lot of dots, and I want my brush very low in opacity (Fig.01). I’ll then add more dots, but with a very low opacity, just to bring more texture to the future brush (Fig.02). Once this step is OK I’ll define this image as a brush, by going into the Edit mode and clicking on Define Brush Preset (Fig.03), and then clicking OK in the pop-up. Now I have my new brush in the list, ready to be used.

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Brush Settings
Now the fun part begins … As you can see (Fig.04), this brush is basically unusable as it is (Fig.05), so I now have to tweak it. For
this, I go into the brushes palette where I set the control setting under the Opacity Jitter to Pen Pressure (Fig.06) and the Spacing to 6%
(Fig.07). The settings are now OK, and this new brush looks much better (Fig.08) so I’ll save it (Fig.09).

You can make different versions of the same brush, some with more dots or less – just try them! It’s good to have several speckled brushes and combine them to create a great texture.

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Fig 8

Fig 9

The Brush in Action
Now, how to use it … This kind of brush is good when you need to bring texture and color variation; you can use it to bring life to a base
done with a basic round edge (Fig.10), to paint hair (Fig.11), or to paint fabric (Fig.12). This brush can be used for unlimited purposes!

Fig 10

Fig 11

Fig 12

The “ Smooth-Textured ” Brush
This one is a kind of hybrid brush; it’s a mix of a basic round edge and a speckled brush, so let’s see how to create it.

Fig 13

Fig 14

Fig 15

Create It !
For the base (on a white canvas), I’ll use a speckled brush and scribble an oval shape softly with a very low opacity (Fig.13). Then
I’ll add more intensity here and there with another speckled brush, or a basic round edge (Fig.14). I’m now satisfi ed with the general
shape so I’ll defi ne it as a new brush (Edit >Define Brush Preset) (Fig.15) and move on to the settings.

Fig 16

Fig 17

Fig 18

Brush Settings
As usual, I set the Opacity Jitter to Pen Pressure and the Spacing to 12%, and then I save the new presets (Fig.16). The brush will
now look like that shown in Fig.17. You can of course play with the different settings to find nice effects, like the Scattering mode (Fig.18) which is pretty handy for creating textured brushes.

The Brush in Action
Most of the time, I use this one (see Fig.17) after the speckled brush when I want to smooth the skin (Fig.19). This brush will not destroy
those little color variations obtained previously, so you don’t need to worry about that – the only rule is to use it with a very low opacity. This step will bring the last smoothing touches and unify the whole texture (Fig.20). You can also use it as a starting point for most textures!

Fig 19

Fig 20

You can download a custom brush (ABR) file to accompany this tutorial from www.focalpress.com/digitalartmasters

This is an excerpt from Digital Painting Techniques Digital Painting Techniques can be purchased at Amazon.com, BN.com, and wherever fine books can be found.



  •    Angelique said on June 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Wow, thanks a lot for sharing this!!!

  •    Gregory said on June 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    This is cool! thank you!

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