I just have a basic new layer here that I've built that just has a white background. So we can just talk about what the brush is and how the brush works. When we think about a brush, we have to think about how are we using this brush. Are we using it with a Wacom tablet, or are we using it with a mouse? A Wacom tablet can really help with pressure sensitivity, and I'll show you exactly how you can use that. But the brush, to find the brush, all you have to do is press B for the brush tool. Or over here on your tool bar, wherever you have your tools setup for your brush, you can just click on the brush. Just like anything that we do in Photoshop, we have to be thinking about things in terms of layers. So what I'm gonna do before I even start teaching you the brush here, is I'm gonna add a new layer and just call it Brush Demo. So looking at this brush, I can see that it's a big circle, that's telling me how big that brush is. If we look up at the top area here, we're underneath our menu...
, which would be our secondary tool menu. This is telling me that I'm using a brush, this brush is a rather large brush at 900 pixels, we can see that there and it's got a hardness of zero. So if I were to click right here, you'd see that this is a blue swatch with a hardness of zero. That means that with the size of this brush being the size that it is, it's spray is going to ... It's gonna feather it's way out towards the edges of that spray with a very strong center. If I were to go ahead and change the hardness up to 100% and then click, instead of it having a hard center and feathering its way out to the edges, it now has a very hard edge. So when you think about these things in terms of masking, masking is all about blending and making things kinda blend in so that we don't have a big, white circle when we're trying to make a nice, beautiful transitioning vignette. We don't wanna have a big, black border around the edge, so we wanna have a nice soft-edge brush. A lot of times with masking, you're gonna pretty much find yourself between the hardnesses of maybe zero and 50% or something like that. At 50% if I were to use this brush right here, you can see that we have a pretty hard center but it slowly feathers out to the edges. On brushes also, we have a ton of brushes that are here in Photoshop. Typically, for photographer's purposes I don't go too far into many of the other brushes that we have available to us in Photoshop, other than a hard-edged brush or a soft-edged brush. Typically I'm working most, I would say 95%, with the soft-edged brush. But you can do a lot of things with brushes. You can even change the blend modes of these brushes. So, if you wanted to, as you're painting with these brushes, you can alter that paint stroke to have it's own blend mode. I find this a little bit confusing unless I'm doing some detailed layered work or maybe even some painting within Photoshop. So I tend to leave that at normal because if you forget about that and you're trying to paint on your mask and it's not working, one of the last places you're gonna think to look is gonna be in that blend mode. Instead, you have the option to use the blend modes right here within the layer that you're painting on. At this point, this isn't actually a mask. We're just showing the basics of the brush. But it's a good idea to keep all of those brush strokes on their own separate layer so that they can have their own blend modes and own opacity applied to them as well. With that you also have the ability to change the opacity of that brush that you're using. So if I were to go ahead and delete this, bring this down and delete it. I'll make my brush a little bit smaller. There's some hot keys here, instead of going up here and changing your brush size with the slider or typing in the pixel amount, you can press the left bracket key to make it smaller and the right bracket key to make it larger. So I'll make this a little bit smaller. Now if I change the opacity of this brush to something like 50% and then brush, you're gonna see that it's not full-on 100% blue like it was before. It's basically a 50% mix of what that blue would be. The interesting thing about opacity is that if I paint and I continue to paint up and down, it's not going to give me any more. It's restricting me to 50% but now if I were to paint in between these lines ... If you press and hold Shift as you paint up and down, it will restrict you to a straight, vertical line. So if you're wondering how that brushstroke is so perfect, just press and hold Shift and that will allow you to just maintain that straight perfect line up and down. I'll go and paint right here and also what it does when you do that, when you press Shift and then go to click the next one, it'll make a line from one place to the next. So it made a line from here all the way up to here. But you see with opacity set to 50%, that line in the middle if we go back here, and we just start painting right here and click on down, that line in the middle is maintaining 50% but it's allowing that brush to build up along-side that 50% with those next two layers next to it. Again, we go ahead and push that down and do it again, we're slowly starting to get ourself towards 100%. The difference between flow and opacity is that, if I were to come over to flow at this point, I'll turn my opacity up to 100%, if I were to come up to flow and change the flow to 50%, the flow is based on how much I click and hold on an area and as I move up and down it builds up for me. So opacity restricts you strictly to 50% per pass whereas flow will start out at 50% but as you paint around it's going to build up to 100% starting with the 50%. So if I were to bring this down to something like 10% and then click and drag around, you see how I'm starting to get darker and darker in that circle but the areas in the outside are remaining the same. If I were to try to do the same thing with my opacity set to 10%, I can go around and around and around all day long and it's not going to build up until I release the click and paint back on it. Release the click, paint back on it. Now I'm starting to build up. So opacity restricts that current stroke that you're using whereas flow allows you to build up from that 10%, working your way more towards 100%. The kicker here is also where we start to think about the Wacom tablet and where does a Wacom tablet play in? Well, there's a lot of bells and whistles with all these tablets these days. My main priority when it comes to a tablet is to ensure that it just does pressure sensitivity. For my purposes, I'm just masking. I'm masking and I might be painting some things in for dodging and burning so I just need it for very casual things. I don't need it to turn my canvas. I don't need to do any of that stuff. Now, that can be very beneficial to a lot of people who are doing things like digital paintings, but for my purposes and mainly my recommendation to individuals is it doesn't have to be fancy it just has to be pressure sensitive, because if I look here and I look at these little tick-boxes right here, these tick-boxes control my Wacom tablet. So at this point I'm telling my Wacom tablet that it can control ... It can control with pressure sensitivity, my opacity and my flow. If I just change this to opacity as I click and draw on here, the pressure sensitivity that I'm placing down is just working on that opacity there. If I push harder it's gonna bring on more opacity. So instead of me having to play around with the opacity settings from 10% to 100% I can just come in here with a very light brush and it's gonna be a small brush that then works up to a large brush with that opacity. The same thing happens with flow. If I turn on flow, turn off opacity, it's the same concept. It's set to 100% at flow at this point so if I were to go ahead and turn on flow and opacity I now have both controls with one pen stroke, which can be really awesome for masking also really great for dodging and burning. So I usually have these ticked, both of this ticked, for my Wacom tablet so that as I paint with my masks, it's a gradual build-up. Because when you're masking with strictly just a mouse, if you were to go ahead and paint a black swatch with just your mouse, you're gonna get all black. Well sometimes you just want a gradual build-up and a gradual push-back of that effect on that image and that's why a Wacom tablet can be one of your best friends. If you noticed I'm actually ambidextrous. This is kind of an accidental thing, growing up my dad was left-handed so everything had to be on the left side so I learned that and then I'm right-handed naturally, so if you can train your brain to do that it's really advantageous because you can have the pen in one hand, the mouse in the other hand and be working at the same time, however, if you try to do both at the same time you'll get this thing going on. If you're trying to do this and trying to teach yourself and you're like why is nothing moving it's cause your mouse and your pen are competing with one another to see who's gonna win that battle and nobody wins when it comes to that. When I'm working with my pen in this way, I typically have that pen a little bit farther off. This is just the brush settings that you have here. Inside this folder you have all kinds of different brushes that you can use within your masking process or your painting process. And I highly encourage you to go through those things, but typically for masking I really just recommend a really nice soft-edge brush with a Wacom tablet 'cause it'll help you build that up and I'll show you the difference when we start to get into the practical application of this.