The tablet brush settings is one of features that really sets a Wacom tablet (Intuos or Intuos Pro) apart from a mouse.
When you're using Photoshop tools with an Intuos or Intuos Pro tablet installed on eithr your Mac or Windows computer you can decide how those tools will react to varying pressure on the pen - and that's impossible with a mouse.
What the tablet brush setting do is move things like Opacity and Brush Size from the Options bar at the top of the screen right into your hand and that is so much more intuitive.
One thing you need to know is that the Tablet Drivers absolutely have to be installed for the pressure sensitive brushes to work.
The Brush Palette
The brushes palette (F5) is Photoshop’s central control panel for absolutely everything to do with the brush settings for the brush tool and many of the other Photoshop tools for that matter.
The brush settings palette has three views ...
The Presets View is available when you click on the words “Brush Presets” at the top of the palette.
What this palette shows is the shape and the size of each of the brushes that are currently available.
To change the brushes or append a new brush set to the existing ones just click on the little right facing arrow (top right of the palette). This will bring up a list of available brushes that can be added.
There are also a lot of neat and interesting brushes that can be downloaded from many different sites - or you can even make your own!
At the bottom of the palette is a sample stroke with the currently selected brush.
Above the sample stroke is the Master Diameter setting (in pixels) which changes the size of the brush.
The palette is very similar to the drop down palette in the Options Bar at the top of the Photoshop screen.
This part of the palette is visible when the words “Brush Tip Shape” is selected.
As the name implies, each box represents the actual tip shape of the brush - from round to little stars or whatever the tip.
There is more to this palette than just pretty little pictures ...
Flip X - flips the brush on its X axis
Flip Y - flips the brush on its Y axis
Angle - with a brush that is not round the angle can be changed. Either type in a new angle or move the cursor over the little arrow and spin the circle around
Roundness - 100% is the default and it can also be changed by typing in a new value or move the cursor over the little circle and moving the black dots in toward the middle of the circle.
Hardness - defines how sharp an edge each brush has. At 0% the stroke will have very soft edges and at 100% the stroke will be well defined.
Spacing - controls the distance between the brush marks in a stroke. To change the spacing, type a number, or use the slider to enter a value that is a percentage of the brush diameter. When this option is deselected, the speed of the cursor determines the spacing.
At the bottom of the palette is a preview of a stroke for the selected brush.
Pressure Sensitive Tools
Photoshop has a lot of pressure sensitive tools that work perfectly with a Wacom tablet, including ...
The dynamics you can change with pen pressure include
"So What" You Ask
Having the ability to change the way your brush behaves dynamically (on the fly) provides un-matched control over your Photoshop digital editing projects.
Brush Settings Samples
This part of the brush settings tutorial will assume that you have a Wacom pen and tablet plugged into a USB port on your computer and that the drivers for the tablet are also installed.
I will refer to the Wacom brand (Intuos and Intuos Pro) but there are other pen and tablet manufacturers whose products may work the same.
The following brush settings are accessed by putting a check mark next to the setting. The controls are accessed by clicking on the words next to the check mark so that it looks just like this ...
If you want to lock the settings so they don't change then click on the little lock at the right end of the selected dynamic (in this image it is Shape Dynamics). I didn't know this until a YouTube user pointed it out to me in a comment on the video ...
There sure are a lot of different brush settings available with a Wacom tablet installed!
Shape Dynamics (Size)
With this setting checked the size of the brush stroke will change as more or less pressure is applied to the pen.
Shape dynamics are set by dropping the Control: menu down and choosing Pen Pressure.
The Minimum Diameter slider allows you to set the smallest size of your brush. At 0% the size is 1 pixel.
The preview at the bottom of the dialogue shows what will happen with pressure - as more is applied the stroke becomes larger up to the maximum set for the brush.
There are also three settings for Jitter, Size, Angle and Roundness ...
According to the dictionary on my MacBook, Jitter is "slight irregular movement, variation, or unsteadiness" and this agrees to some degree with the definition given for Jitter by Adobe ...
"Jitter percentages specify the randomness of dynamic elements. At 0%, an element does not change over the course of a stroke; at 100%, an element has the maximum amount of randomness".
Have you ever had the jitters? Sure you have - now the definition is clear.
Each of the Jitters (Size, Angle and Roundness) can be modified with Pen Pressure by dropping down their individual Control: menus and selecting Pen Pressure.
As one of the Jitters is placed under control of pen pressure and an amount is selected the preview at the bottom of the palette will show the change.
Other Dynamics (Opacity) - AKA Transfer in CS5 and CS6
This is how Adobe says Opacity.
With the control set to pen pressure the opacity of the brush stroke will change according to how much pressure is applied to the pen and this is fabulous when working with a Layer Mask.
This control has two jitters - Opacity and Flow. What they do is set the flow of the paint in each stroke.
The stroke begins with the Background color and as you press harder the color morphs to the Foreground color.
With light pen pressure the brush stroke is the
background color and as more pressure is applied the color changes to
the foreground color and to two are blended at about 50% pressure.
Each setting is described and there is an example coloring project that demonstrates the dynamics in action!Understanding the Jitter settings is really useful when you do any kind of digital coloring. Click the thumbnail to learn more about the Jitter settings.
this one is fun! As more pressure is applied to the pen the
brush stokes are flung about the canvas in a seemingly random pattern.
All four of the brush settings checked - grab yourself a really neat brush like the stars or the leaves, turn on all of the dynamics (Size, Opacity, Color and Scatter), set them all to Pen Pressure, and have at it!
Be creative and have fun with the wide variety of brush settings available in Photoshop!
Brush Settings links
Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?
Return to top
| Homepage | Bamboo | Blog | Digital Darkroom | Intuos3 | Intuos4 | Cintiq | Links| Photoshop Brush Settings |Contact Form to ask questions, provide feedback or comments. Questions are good - so are comments - or requests!
| Photoshop Tutorials | Photoshop Elements | Paint Shop Pro | Painter Essentials
| Tablet Videos | Photoshop Videos| Elements Videos| Paint Shop Pro |
Return to Photoshop Tutorials from Brush Settings