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Creating a Signature Brush

Lesson 6 from: Customize Photoshop's Panels, Shortcuts, and Menus

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

6. Creating a Signature Brush

Next Lesson: Using CC Libraries

Lesson Info

Creating a Signature Brush

I want to be able to when I'm finished the photograph and I want to put a water mark or maybe my signature or something like that. So quite a long time ago, I took a photograph of a sharpie and signed a piece of white paper took a photo of it and what I used to do, it's funny now to think about it at the time, it wasn't every time I wanted to add my signature. This is what I would do file open and spend ten minutes searching go where the heck did I put that file with my signature and then drag it in and take all this time removing the white backgrounds, which was it worked, but that was kind of like, why am I doing this so hard? Because there are ways that you can build that stuff right into photo show. Regardless of your version, I'll show you in a bit a new function in photo shops. Sisi twenty fourteen the latest update that's really cool, but even if you're talking like photoshopped six nazi s six, but just six, this goes back a long time, so what you do is you get yourself a file a...

nd I would suggest better to err on the side of making it too big. Then wishing you'd made it bigger later, so when I signed it, it was my normal signature, but I photographed it so it came into focus off as a fairly large file, and the important thing that you need to know is we're going to make this into a brush on the way a brush works and photo shop is, whatever is black is one hundred percent opaque and your brush whatever's white is one hundred percent see through. So I've seen tutorials on my least favorite place youtube, where people who think they know what they're doing say, let me show you how to make a signature brush and they go through all this effort to remove all the white was absolutely unnecessary drives me nuts, especially since they have a million views and I'm thinking all these people running the wrong way to do this. Can you tell I really get perturbed youtube something it's just the other day I actually watch one and I was like, I think you two bees to change their approach that you have to at least watch for five minutes to make it counters of you because I started watching the editorial was actually called how to add your signature and I'm not kidding you this is what it sounded like today, they will show you howto make it brush from your signature first of all, after about five fifteen, fifteen seconds I was like yeah, but then he was like he brought in he was like here's how you remove the white I'm sitting at home waiting no that's not how you do it ok get up my old youtube soapbox okay, so as long as you have black on white now a few sided with the blue pen blue is not black, so that means right away it will be somewhat see through, which might be ok, but in the ideal world you want to start with black on white okay, if you open your signature and you're like that background looks a little like grayish because of the lighting, then you might want to use something like levels and just take your white eyedropper and click on the background just to make sure it's pure white because you really want as pure white as you can get otherwise what will happen is when you use this brush, you'll see just a very, very faint, almost in perceivable box around your whole thing, which you don't want so that's the hard part the easy part is the next step of making this into a brush and it's surprising the number of people who I guess it's one of the things that you've never made a brush before you wouldn't know that it's you know easy now you will so and as you see, this theory applies anything I'm doing signature. It could be your logo. A black and white version of it. You make a brush out of that again let me stress ideally, you want this file to be quite large now there is a limit depending on your version of photo shop. In earlier versions, it was five thousand pixels was the limit. Now I believe it's higher that's probably a little overkill unless you're doing like huge sizes. So this one is, for example, fourteen hundred pixels white so that's decent it's a decent size. So then really has said that's it at this point I do anything else a lot of people go to all this trouble of removing white or selecting the black? Nope. It's just black is my brush white is see through now as you might guess, there's something between black and white called gray. So grey is somewhere in the middle. It means those areas will be somewhat see through and that's. Ok, when I look at my logo here, my signature, there are areas because in my real signature, when the brush there might penn goes fast, it does look semisi through so the parts that are kind of grayish there will be somewhat see through, but that, well, that's fine but that's just so you know, a lot of people make the mistake of bringing in a pencil sketch and because it's a light gray the brush of you hardly will even see it so I said that's the hard part then you just do this define brush preset that's it pops up a little box and says what do you want to call it? Call it whatever you want click ok that's it now I have a brush so from now on any time I want to add my signature instead of doing that hole where the heck did I save that thing it's now built into photo shop from now on I would add a new layer because I like to use layers press b for brush and because it's the brush I just made its already there. If it wasn't I'd have to go to my brush picker and all any custom brushes air towards the end then you just decide I think I want my brush to be white sorry white and you click on there's my signature now I didn't check my capacities let's put it to one hundred we go and now you can see if I moving around there's my signature brush ready to go now what is likely that you would do is go through that a couple of times with different variations or something and try it I find if I'm starting a new brush for the first time often do it a couple times in the first time go I think I need to darken match so I thought it was black but maybe it isn't black enough I would recommend with very few exceptions try to define your brush at one hundred that black and the reason for that is if I say I took a pencil mark like a scribble with my pencil that brushes going because it's gray the ceiling will be set at say around fifty or sixty percent so that means I could never go more opaque I'd rather have everything with the ability to be one hundred percent and then use layers to pull it back so if I decide I want the signature b fifty percent I'll do that with the layers panel but I want my brush to be one hundred percent black now the theory applies for anything so you could also do something like this where you decide just want a copyright notice or your name and address and phone number or something whatever it is just text so we'll just make sure our text is black here because I want and I want black text on white and it was changing so we can actually see the whole thing again I'm making it airing on the side of being larger than not being big enough because the difference is very important type is scaleable so I could take a type player and later on decided wanted three times larger and you will not lose inequality because you khun scale type if I made the brush really tiny to begin with and then tried to make it bigger, it will not look as good so I'd rather have a big brush that aiken scale down than the other way around we're going to get better results that way now it happens that this is on a layer by itself, but again the same theory applies it's the fact that it's black on white not the fact the layer has nothing to do with it. So once again I define brush preset and call it something once you've done it now if you are really thinking ahead, you could save this file in next year, change the year and make a new brush, but I'm not going to that right now because it's just demonstration but the same theory applies make a new layer to be for brush again. It happens because I'm doing this in order that each time it's now picking the brush I just made but that's because I just made it in that order I could always put the brush picker and you khun to a certain degree make it bigger but a certain point you see the quality loses a little bit of detail because I'm making the brush bigger so whenever I'm making a text based brush, I usually make it almost over killed too big and then I can scale it down because that I'd rather have that worry cause scaling a brush down you don't lose any quality now the real my real aim and these sessions is talk about practical day to day kind of stuff, but I also want to plan to see in your head you can make anything into a brush and I mean anything so if you see like on old map on a wall in like that's kind of cool, take a photograph of it and you could make it into a brush and do interesting things with it. So for example, I have other ones that I previously done there in here that are just like, here is a bunch of old text that I saw somewhere that I just thought was really cool that like I wouldn't actually put over a photograph of a building but maybe a wedding photo of something you just want some really subtle kind of love poem or something I mean anything you can point your camera at or if you have a scanner now some of us scanner was a device we usedto have you got you could scan things and there's actually even if you have the creative cloud and at the moment the ios apple system there's actually on app called adobe brush it's still kind of freaks me out of this convert this way you take a photo with your phone and it makes him tow a brush and it shows up in your library and photoshopped within seconds so you could be literally walking down the street and go. That old sign on that building is really interesting. Take a photo of it and now it's a brush you can use in a photo shop for various purposes. So you you can like us that make anything into a brush. I did a class here. One of my first class is actually we took a smoke machine and took photos of smoke and made smoky brushes just because we could, because then it's something you can add in and if you ever have, like time to kill, just going to google and type free photoshopped brushes, you'll be good to go for, like four hours because there are so many people out there that make brushes and just give them away. And I bet you you would how can I say this? There would never be a situation where I could say I bet no one has ever thought of this is brushes I bet you they have I mean, you could literally say paint splatter, smoke, old type postcards? Yep, they're brushes there and then they just become this put it, make a new layer, click with a color and add texture or something else you can make your own. The one downside is your brush panel will get quite large if you're like me because you keep adding more and more brushes now one thing that you might want to consider doing whenever you make a brush preset it saved in photo shop right now, but as I've said before, there is a probably a fairly remote possibility, but still there is a possibility that you would quit photo shop and restart and go what happened to those five brushes I just made, especially if they're really cool brushes you took some time I would not want to have that happen I would not want to find myself going all those brushes are gone, so at a certain point I recommend that you create a backup file of brushes you've created for two reasons one organizationally is just easier toe load brushes as you need them, but bea, you don't wanna have to redo work you previously done so if you have spent some time playing around said I just made fourteen brushes the next step I would just do is going to save a backup set just so you have them in the way you do that is with this thing called the preset manager the preset manager serves two very important roles with photo shop one is it determines the contents of any panel that has pre sets in it like this watches panel and things of that nature. So if you look at and go, I never used these things that are in here, you can reorganized elite, do whatever you want just to affect the appearance of those pounds. So for example, here's it's showing me this is what your brushes panel looks like right now. If I decide, for example, that I liked this signature brush so much, I'd like it to be much higher up, I can move it up, and then from now on, it'll appear higher up in the list of, um, the appearance of my brushes, but from a backup standpoint, this is the other important thing, and this takes a bit more effort, but it's still very important to do so I'm going to look and say, starting right here is the first brush that I made and click once on the first one I made hold on the shift key and click on the last one so that you can see all of those brushes air now selected, and then you choose this function called save set when you do that, it's going to prompt you initially to save it into the brushes preset folder inside the photo shop applications folder which is a pretty good idea because that means now those brushes will be accessible right from within photo shop so let's give this another name safe but what I would recommend is you then immediately do it again so the first time save it in whatever folder it prompts you to save it which is the appropriate preset folder whatever one year in this case brushes but then you hit save set again and this time go outside like right to your desktop or something to make a folder called my presets and save it into there that will mean a couple of things for you first of all now if you will wish to share your brushes with someone else or another machine there right there little file called my brushes dot a br and you can transfer that email it are taking on a thumb drive and install another machine but also then it becomes a backup because if photo shop has a a rare horrible crash burn where everything's get lost you know you have that backup now I've been saying that for years I've never actually heard of it happening to someone but I'd much rather have that little backup than not and go that was a photo I took of that building in rome and I'll never be back there so that brushes literally gone I'd much rather take that extra step unfortunately there's no auto save kind of function here so it's the onus is on you to remember if I had created brushes I need to remember to save them because it's not gonna happen otherwise what happens the most people is they remember to save them when they disappear is that gonna win like oh I should have saved those that's a little late then so somewhere along the way is part of your thought process of backing up files and stuff you also want to think about I have back these things up all right I need to back these things up now the other reason that I do this is because if your brushes panel becomes unmanageable and I've seen some people that they scroll for thirteen minutes trying to find a brush the other option I'm goingto take a stop first I can say this use with caution okay what I'm about to say because it's a different way of managing your brushes and you have to kind of follow a specific syriza's steps or you could kind of mess yourself up so please take this with a that the cautionary tale than about to tell you is that this could be an excellent way to make your work with any pre set more efficient but you have to be very specific about the way you do it okay so at this point here's what I've got I've got all my brushes and I just saved them as a set of pre cents, right? You saw me do that, so I'm gonna hit done. So now, when I go to my brushes panel, instead of seeing all these brushes, what I might do is choose, reset brushes, and when you choose reset, it means reset to the default set that adobe provides, which means any custom brushes you have made will go away. So needless to say, you don't want to do that unless you have previously save your own set. So that's, the cautionary part is you have to make sure you think, wait, did I save all of my new brushes? Because it will warn you and say, you want to replace the current brushes with the default ones? Ok, do you want to save the ones you've already done? So it gives you an opportunity? But I know I already have going to say no that's, fine. So what happens? You see, now I have a smaller set of brushes, and I did before. So now, if I'm working on a project, I need to use some of those cool brushes that I made. I can choose load brushes or come down here and here's all the brushes that I previously saved, and I could load my brushes that I'd say previously, and say I'm going to replace the existing ones, so now at first glance, it looks like I deleted all those brushes. What I've really done is temporarily said, I just want to use my brushes and then once I'm finished using my brushes, I reset them back to the defaults again. Now that some people hear that go, I don't. That just seems like there's danger lurking, which is true, but for me, I found the alternate was I had a ridiculously big brushes panel that I'd be forever going where on earth that I say that copyright brush now I pull up a little set that's like I've named copyright brushes or something like that so it's completely up to you be aware, though, that if you just keep hitting upend that's the fancy word for ad too, so that just keeps making your thing bigger and bigger and bigger, which is not really I suppose that bad except for the problem that you literally have to go. I know it's in here somewhere, and as much as you can try, you can't really make the brushes that much bigger by size and you can a little bit you could display it in different ways, but a certain point it's hard to see, so I personally I use that system and has it ever burned me? Yes at least once where I thought I'd say the brush, and I didn't. But that just reminded me to get in the habit of make some cool new brushes. Save a backup. And then I can start using this system.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dave Cross - Customizing Photoshops Panels Shortcuts Menus - Reference Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


Thank you so much Dave for this awesome course. I can tell already that my work in Photoshop is going to be so much more effective. I actually did stop the videos and make some tool presets and a curve preset. Thanks Creative Live for featuring such an easy to follow and understand instructor like Dave.

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