Friday, July 20, 2012

"Photoshop CS6 New Features: Brushes" Released

I'm happy to announce the release of my latest title, Photoshop CS6 New Features: Brushes. This set of tutorials detail the inner-workings of CS6's new natural-media tools. These include the Airbrushes, Artists' Brushes, Dry Media, and Mixer Brush Pencils, which are a part of the Tool Presets' default libraries.

If some of these presets sound familiar, it is because they represent a subset of my Artists' Brushes and Dry Media offerings. I additionally created the Airbrushes and Mixer Brush Pencil libraries for CS6.

The image below shows where these tool preset libraries are located in CS6:

My other contribution to CS6 is the Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup action. This action enables a non-destructive layer painting environment in which a clone painting is built up via a set of independent layers.

The image below shows where the Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup is located:

Starting with a source image (typically a photograph), this action creates a set of unique layers that have the source invisibly embedded in each layer. When painted on with Cloner brushes (found in the above-mentioned tool preset libraries), the colors of the source image are applied to the clone layer utilizing the expressive character of the particular Cloner brush used. The result is as if the colors of the image flow through the Cloner brush onto the cloning layer.

The default setup creates 3 cloning layers: Underpainting, Intermediate Strokes, and Detail Strokes. Using this arrangement, you can build up a painting with progressively smaller brush strokes, with each degree of refinement on its own layer. You can even paint underneath existing brushwork...try that with traditional painting!

Each cloning layer is grouped with its own Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. This enables localized adjustment of each cloning layer. For example, you may want to decrease the saturation of the underpainting layer to emphasize the details of the image's subject.

The image below shows the resulting layer setup when the Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup action is applied to an initial source image:

Accompanying Photoshop CS6 New Features: Brushes is my Cloning Layer Extras action set (available to subscribers). These actions extend the functionality of the default Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup.

With this addition, you can assign F-keys to conveniently toggle the Reference Layer on and off. The Create Cloning Layer Group action is included to enable quick creation of additional cloning layers when you need them.

Does the inclusion of these natural-media tools in Photoshop CS6 obsolete my Artists' Brushes and Dry Media for-sale offerings? No! The for-sale packages have a much larger array of brushes. And, if you don't have CS6, my tool presets are compatible with both Photoshop CS5 and CS6. Photoshop CS6 New Features: Brushes. will enable you to get the most out of CS6's natural-media features. If you're looking to paint with Photoshop, this title will help you achieve your goal.


  1. Can I add more layers to the main set? and if yes how do I do it that it will work? duplicate?

    1. Yes, you can. A quick way to do this is to make a copy of one of the Cloning Layer groups before you use all three in the default set (Underpainting / Intermediate / Detail).

      Use the copied Clone Layer set to make additional copies as necessary.

  2. I've installed the cloning layers action set, but cannot find where the toggle reference layer on and off is located. Clicking on my F13 and F14 keys doesn't do anything. I've looked through all the keyboard shortcuts but cannot find. Any suggestions? Thanks

  3. Cheryl:

    You need to assign the F-keys to the actions. To do this:

    1. Highlight one of the Reference toggle options in the Actions list.
    2. Open the Actions panel fly-out options list and select "Action Options..."
    3. From the Function Key drop-down list, assign the desired F-key.

    With the F-keys now assigned, they will correctly trigger the Show and Hide Reference toggles.

    1. Thank you, John! Now I know why the F13 and F14 keys didn't work. I have an apple keyboard on my Win 7 PC. Windows just doesn't recognize those keys, so I changed them to F10 and F11 (now that I know how, thanks to you) and it works great.