If you use Photoshop, then I'm sure you use brushes in some way on your images. If you only ever utilize Adobe's default brushes, you are seriously missing out.
I really can't think of an area of the industry that doesn't use brushes in the editing of their work. Most photographers use masks, do cloning, or take advantage of dodging and burning to make their images better. Many of us use all these features in Photoshop daily. Yet, how many of you use custom brushes? I have to admit that I'm a late adopter of custom brushes, but they are light years ahead of what Adobe provides. The majority of the time, brushwork needs to be as inconspicuous as possible. There is nothing worse than seeing visible streak lines or very obvious repeating patterns that scream to the viewer that your picture has been heavily worked on. This is where custom brushes can come to the rescue, as they can add randomness and subtleties, which will help you achieve the perfect blend every time.
Blake Rudis of f64 Academy is back once again to explore the subject of brushes in his latest video. Not only does the video walk us through the process of how to make our own brushes from scratch, but Rudis also kindly offers the brushes he makes in a free download. While many will rush to download the files, I do think watching the video in full is well worth doing. The video talks through many of the important brush settings such as "shape dynamics," "texture," and "jitter," as well as how to save brushes that you make. By understanding these settings, you will be able to tweak existing brushes you have and make them work best for your needs.
The video ends with some comparisons of the newly made brushes to the ones Adobe offers as default. I think you'll agree that the ones which Rudis made are much better. Having used custom brushes for many years now, I would say they can dramatically speed up your workflow and are much more convincing. This will result in you needing to make fewer corrections to your brushwork as you go. Less time editing means more time shooting, and that is always good in my book.
Do you already use custom brushes? Care to share any recommendations? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Lead image by Alice Dietrich, used under Creative Commons.