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Video:Using the Mixer Brush in Photoshop CS5

with Matthew Hendershot

The mixer brush in Photoshop creates painted artwork affects. Learn how to use the mixer brush, as well as efficient tips and tricks.See Transcript

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Transcript:Using the Mixer Brush in Photoshop CS5

What Is the Mixer Brush?

The Mixer Brush is a new tool in the Brush family that samples colors from your canvas and reapplies them to the artwork by blending together those colors with the existing colors on the canvas, creating a realistic painted on effect from a photograph or any other piece of artwork.

How to Use the Mixer Brush in Photoshop?

The Mixer Brush is located under the Brush family in the Painting set of tools. Click and hold on the brush, and mouse down to select the last option, which is the new Mixer Brush. With the brush selected, your painting options can be set and modified in the Options Bar. Any of the brush presets are available, including all of the new Bristle Tip brushes, as well as a specific drop down menu for Mixer Brush painting presets.

Mixer Brush Options: Wet Setting

Each Mixer Brush preset is a combination of three brush options, Wet, Load, and Mix. The Wet setting controls how much of the paint on the canvas is picked up and moved with each brush stroke. Much like using traditional paints, the wetter the canvas is, the more the paint will be smeared or streaked when brushed over.

Mixer Brush Options: Load Setting

The Load setting can be thought of as how deeply you are dipping your brush into a paint color to be applied to the canvas. With a low load, you will see that the color will fade with shorter strokes of the brush, while a higher load will allow for longer applications of a sampled color. Colors can be loaded onto the brush by holding down the Option key while you click anywhere on the canvas. This will pick up the color you have clicked, much like the color picking functionality of the eyedropper.

Mixer Brush Options: Mix Setting

The Mix controls the ratio at which paint colors are sampled as you brush across your canvas. At 0%, all of the color applied while you paint is dictated by what is loaded onto the brush. Conversely, 100% Mix samples only colors that exist on the canvas as you paint across them. Keep in mind that the Mix controls and Wet controls still operate independently, so even at 0% mix, you will still see streaking of canvas colors if you have a high Wetness setting.

Mixer Brush Settings

There are also options available in the Brush Options Bar for automatic Loading and Cleaning of the Mixer brush. With either or both of these options selected, Photoshop will set itself to either Load or Clean the brush automatically after each brush stroke.

Using the Mixer Brush options along with the variety of Brush and Tip settings and options can help even the most basic Photoshop painter create realistic looking, painted artwork from a photo, illustration, or any other pre-existing piece of art.
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