Brushes and Tablets

Brushes and Tablets

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Use a Tablet in Photoshop



Painting in Photoshop with a mouse can be very frustrating. By connecting a tablet to your computer, you can control the paint strokes just like a real brush. You can set the brush to be sensitive to pressure, tilt and direction.

Tablets come in a variety of sizes and configurations. If possible, try out several tablets before purchasing your first one. You may find that a medium size tablet is actually more comfortable and natural for the way you work.


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 your brushes 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

Also open the Tool Presets panel by choosing Window > Tool Presets. By dragging them to a single panel, you can quickly toggle between the Tool Presets and the Brushes panels.

Step Five

From the Tool Presets panel pull-down menu, select Artist Brushes. Click the Fan - Flat Opaque brush. In the Brush tool options, change the Load to 100% and Flow to 40%.

Step Six

Set a new brush color. As you paint with the stylus on the tablet, notice how the opacity changes based on the pen pressure.

Step Seven

From the Tool Presets panel pull-down menu, click the Angle - Flat Opaque brush. Change the Load to 100% and Flow to 20%.

Step Eight

As you paint, notice that the brush responds to the pen pressure and the stylus tilt.

Step Nine

To fine tune your tablet settings, open the tablet settings in your computer System Preferences. You can adjust the sensitivity and other stylus settings.

Saving Your New Brush

By starting with a preset Bristle Brush, you can modify the settings, then choose New Brush Preset from the Brush palette pull-down menu. You can also save your brush by clicking the Create New Brush icon in the bottom of the Brushes panel.

Brush Pose Settings

When you paint with a tablet and use a Mixer Brush, the brush opacity is determined by the pressure. A Bristle Brush's tilt is also controlled by the stylus. The Brush Pose section of the Brush panel is used to manually set the Tilt, Rotation and Pressure when using a mouse instead of a tablet.

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.


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