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Photoshop CS5 New Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips

With each new upgrade to PhotoshopR, AdobeR adds a little more realism to their natural paint brushes. In Photoshop CS5, there are some new Bristle Tips and a new Mixer Brush engine.

For those of you who like to manipulate photographs with "painterly" effects, you will probably like these new tools. I can see certain applications for this photo manipulation painting technique but, I was hoping for more advanced features such as we find in CorelR PainterTM. Adobe is getting closer but still isn't ready to compete with Painter.

It's very easy to open a photograph into Photoshop, add a new layer and, using the new tools, paint on this new layer to create a "painting" from the underlying photograph. With this technique, you have many controls over how these naturalistic brushes behave. In the Options panel for the Mixer Brush, you have several options for Brush Combinations from Dry, Moist, Wet to Very Wet. You can also control the wetness of the canvas, the amount of paint on the brush and the amount of paint on the canvas. These settings in the Options panel determine the result of paint on canvas.

But, we also need to control the Bristle brush characteristics. Along with the familiar brush options we have always had in the Brush panel, we have new controls for the Bristle tips. Here we have a new Bristle Qualities section with controls for the Shape and Angle of the brush, the Bristles, Length, Thickness and Stiffness. As you refine these settings, there is a small preview representation of the Bristle brush in the corner of your painting which updates to reflect your settings. You can save your settings as a custom Bristle tip for later use.

We also have a new HUD Color Picker which comes in handy when painting on a blank canvas. When painting without an underlying photograph, the Mixer brush uses two wells of paints; the Reservoir and Pickup wells. How the colors in the wells interact is determined by the settings in the Option panel.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.


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