Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Create and Use an Airbrush in Photoshop



An airbrush is unique in that it atomizes the paint and sprays the paint based on the flow and the movement of the nozzle. For instance, if you were painting with a spray can and doubled back on a painted area, the paint opacity would build.


Step One

Open a new 1,024 pixel x 1,024 pixel document with a white background in Photoshop (File > New).

Step Two

Click the Create a New Layer icon to add a new blank layer. You can experiment with the airbrush on this layer.

Step Three

Select the Mixer Brush tool and open the Brush palette by clicking the Brush palette icon or choosing Window > Brushes.

Step Four

Open the Tool Presets panel by choosing Window > Tool Presets. The Tool Presets and Brush panels should both be open.

Step Five

From the Tool Presets panel pull-down menu, select Airbrushes. Click the Airbrush - Smooth Opaque brush and paint in the workspace.

Step Six

If you are using a tablet, the paint stroke becomes narrow as you add more pressure. Low pressure works best with an Airbrush.

Step Seven

In the Mixer Brush tool options, set the Flow to 10% and paint another stroke. This decreases the amount of paint coming from the nozzle.

Step Eight

To change the Airbrush settings, open the Brush panel, Brush Tip Shape section. You can adjust the Hardness and Distortion.

Step Nine

You can also adjust the Granularity, Splatter Size and Splatter Amount. To see the effect of changing these parameters, click the Airbrush-Grainy Opaque brush in the Tool Presets panel and paint in the document.

Step Ten

By adjusting the Spacing, you get a glimpse at how the brush was assembled.

Step Eleven

Try adding brush strokes with the various Tool Preset brushes to familiarize yourself with the Airbrush.

Saving Your New Brush

By starting with a preset Airbrush, you can modify the settings, then choose New Brush Preset from the Brush palette pull-down menu.

Brushes Work With Many Tools

In addition to the Brush tool, the brushes also work with the Art History Brush, Blur, Burn, Clone Stamp, Dodge, Eraser, History Brush, Mixer Brush, Pattern Stamp tool, Pencil, Sharpen, Smudge and Sponge.

A limited round brush version is available with the Healing Brush tool and Spot Healing tool,

Why the Airbrush icon in the Brush Tool Options?

In previous versions of Photoshop, you would simulate an airbrush by clicking the Airbrush icon in the Brush tool options. With the new Airbrush tools, this option is no longer necessary.