The first thing to do is create a blank canvas; I usually make sure it’s set at 300 dpi resolution, around 500 by 500 pixels, so the brush itself doesn’t become pixelated or incapable of scaling to larger sizes when working on a large image.
First brush design is going to be geared toward foliage, specifically a Maple Leaf, which will be used to create quick, easy batches of leaves without going through too much rendering trouble. So to begin, grab any of the default brushes supplied by Photoshop and just start to draw out a silhouetted shape, in this case the Maple Leaf.
Since we do want a bit of depth to the brush, block in some of the veins and you can also fade some areas so everything isn’t on the same level which helps give a bit of variation.
I used a new layer to do the veins with Chalk Brush.
Added 50% White Opacity of Soft Round Brush to make some fade areas.
Now that you’ve created the brush shape itself, you need to save it. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and then choose a name and click OK.
You’ll notice that the new brush, with the name you’ve chosen, will show up in the brush list at the very bottom. The next step is to select the new brush you’ve just created and click the Brushes Option window, pressing F5. This brings down the brush settings you can apply to your custom brush.
Leaving the brush settings at a default doesn’t allow for much control or variation in the strokes, so the first thing to do is allow for some pressure sensitivity; you do this using the Other Dynamics (Transfer on CS5) settings.
NOTE: this settings will be applied correctly if you've been using the graphic tablet.
Set the Opacity Jitter to approximately 50% and make sure the control setting is set to Pen Pressure. To provide some variation in the direction and scale of the brush, choose the Shape Dynamics settings.
Set the Size Jitter to 100% and make sure the control settings under Angle Jitter are set to Initial Direction. The control setting under the Roundness Jitter should be set to Pen Tilt, and a minimum roundness of approximately 25%.
One of the last settings I adjusted before finding the right feel for this custom brush was the Brush Tip Shape where I applied 70% spacing to the separation of the brush flow.
Now that we know where the settings for the brush options are, feel free to test them and play around with different variations, different percentages of control and varying dynamics, including Scatter, Texture, and Dual Brush modes.
OK, so now our brush settings are complete all that we need to do is save the brush options that have been applied. It’s very important throughout this process that you don’t choose another brush, or else you may lose all the settings you have applied to your custom brush. Click the Brushes Option window (F5) as previously, and now choose New Brush Preset. Label your new brush, click OK, and the custom brush you created earlier will now be saved with the new settings you’ve applied, and located at the bottom of your brush list.
The next step is just as quick and basically a recap of what we just went over. I’m going to create a quick variation of the Maple Leaf by getting rid of the stem and adjusting the shape of the points.
First, erase the stem of the original brush, then choose Select > All, then Edit > Transform > Warp.
You’ll notice that the entire box has been selected with the dotted lines, and once you choose the Warp transformation option; you can choose points on this graphed box to mold and skew the brush shape.
You can also grab anywhere inside the box and just drag it to transform its original outline, and then apply the transformation (using enter button) to confirm the change.
After applying a few of the same brush options as before, such as the Other Dynamics (Transfer) and Shape Dynamics, I’ve played around with it and I’m happy with this variation on our original brush.
Illustration below represents the entire image creation using with the new custom brushes only.
Feel free to scatter around your new custom brushes, use your own imagination & creativity to create trees, bushes, grasses or even entire landscape scenery.
Save the brush preset, as we did previously, and it will be added to your list. Lastly, now that we have two custom Maple Leaf brushes, both with the default shape and the brush settings saved as preset brushes, you’ll want to save the brush list. On your brush list there is an arrow next to the top right of this box. Click the arrow then Save Brushes and label your brush list; they will be stored and can be used at any time you wish.
We arrived to the end of this tutorial. I appreciate so much for following me through all of these simply steps to achieve something creative.
Do not hesitate to try your own experiments. Custom Brushes are powerful & versatile on its own. It takes time and patience, but at the end, you will be more than just happy to know that you can speed up your digital paintings with a lot of uniqueness.
Good luck in your journey through Digital Arts, everyone!