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Advanced Techniques with Brushes in Photoshop CC

Lesson 9 of 22

Paper Choices, Patterns & Textures

Lisa Carney

Advanced Techniques with Brushes in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

9. Paper Choices, Patterns & Textures

Lesson Info

Paper Choices, Patterns & Textures

You ready for some buried treasure? All right, inside Kyle's brushes. This took me so long to figure out. It really, mmm. There's a phrase I have for it, but it's vulgar and I can't say it. Inside Kyle's brushes is, he has textures. And I'm gonna go ahead and do a quick little demo. I'm gonna have to pull out my cheat sheet for this because it's a lot of paper information. Inside Kyle's texture brushes there are, I mean, pardon me, inside his impressionist brushes there are textures. Anatomy of a brush. And this is me playing. And by the way, for whoever gives a darn, this is me figuring it out. Do you remember, I said you take a black, you turn off all the settings, and you click it once so you can get the brush? That's me doing it. So I'm like, what the heck is that tip head? It took me forever to find out, how do you get the tip head out so I could see what he did. I mean, I could see it on the little icon, but that little icon is this big. I want it on paper. So this is me doing di...

fferent testing of tip heads. All right, I'm gonna do a little demo about the texture. Okay, so I'm gonna take a brush and I'm gonna put a high red. And let's just do the basic Cezanne one, okay? And let's make it a little big. And I'm just gonna do a brush. And I, didn't I pick that? I did not. Remember, when you, nevermind. There you go. So there's my little Cezanne. And we're gonna go to the settings. All right, let's take a look at this. So with the texture, and I'm saying texture. Why don't we go to the texture brush? What the heck? What's buried inside? So Kyle's got textures buried inside his file. He doesn't tell you about 'em, but there. Well, I click there, I don't see anything. I'm gonna hit escape. I'm gonna click. Oh, my little icon's not active. Come on, baby. All right. All right, it's not working for me, but I'll get, I'll show you something else in a second. All right, so this is Kyle's texture. I'm gonna click here, on a texture, and I'm gonna change, I'm gonna change his setting. How about the ant farm paper? Do you wanna see that? All right. Same exact brush, you guys. This is the exact same brush. And all I changed is the texture. So here's what I want you to look at. When you guys are experimenting and changing your brushes, do you remember I said don't change a lot? Just don't change a lot. This is the exact same brush with a texture change. And I'm gonna show a few different things. I'm sorry, I'm gonna have to bounce back and forth, but I just wanna tell you what I'm gonna change. So not only, what I just showed you was the paper got changed, okay? Just the paper got changed. Now I'm gonna go back. And I'm gonna go back to that setting. I'm gonna put that back in here so we can get a little more room. All right, we're gonna make another, oops, sorry. We're gonna make another change. I'm gonna brush with this brush. Let's go back to the original Cezanne, and I'm gonna change something else. And please, I really beg of you to consider doing this. Don't change too much at one time. All right. So we've got that brush. We're gonna go back to the brush settings. Ai, dios mio. I'm makin' some room, here. Ignore the girl in the corner. She's just cleaning her house real quick. All right, so I've got some brush settings here and we're gonna go to texture. And what we're gonna change now is this one. All right, this one, this one killed me. I'm just gonna say the truth. Like, trying to figure this out really, really killed me. It is on height. Right now, it defaults to height. If you turn it to subtract, let me see if you can check. I think what I'm gonna do for this demo, I might change the color, 'cause I think it might be a little hard to see. If you do it on subtract to 100, 100, 100. Do not panic, you have all of this on paper, okay? It's all in red, it's all right here. If you change it, this is what the brush does. And what, I wanna explain to you, this took me forever to figure out. What it's actually doing is subtracting the paper texture or adding the paper texture. Like, the way the names are doesn't work for my brain, personally. So what it is, it's almost as if, you know when you have paper or a desk and you do a charcoal rub? That's what it's doing, but with the paint. So the same, exact brush. All I did was I changed that one mode in the settings and I got this. Have I mentioned there's 1,200 brushes? (audience laughing) Have I mentioned there's 17 of these windows? Have I mentioned that within each window, there are a gazillion different options? At this point, feel free to panic. (audience laughing) This is absolutely like, sweet Jesus, Mary, mother of God. However, what I'm gonna suggest is I have, I have very little hair left now because I've lost it all trying to do this. If you go through this guide, you can go through it and start changing and get a little bit of a handle on what's going on while you're making your choices. I mean, let alone just trying his brushes and painting with doing nothing but out of the can will be a year of fun and love. And then the following year, perhaps you go down this avenue. Now, in addition to changing that, because I wasn't content enough to leave it alone, I also changed this one little button right there. Texture tip. And that changed how it looked, too. (laughing) What? Everything's changing. So what happens now, do you see how it's smudgy? And it's not quite as gritty? Now, and someone in inter-land has a better command on this whole analog computer programming. I have to tell you, subtract versus height, I can show you what it does, right there. This is height, that's subtract. I can not tell you what that does. At best, what I can tell you is, I feel like the Cezanne original brush looks like the paint is coming up higher. And when it's subtracting, it looks like it's roughing along the paper. That's the best, I'm sorry, I wish I was better at this. But that's the best I can do. At least you have a visual sample. And, all right, we were just on one panel. One panel. We made two changes and it's a completely different brush. I know, there's tears. I see them. (audience laughing) I see them I'd be crying a little too. All right. It's exciting, though. I mean, it's good, it's bad, it's fantastic, it's scary, it's all of that.

Class Description

The brush tool allows you to paint onto your image in a way that makes your final photo truly a work of art. Hollywood high-end retoucher Lisa Carney goes in depth on how to control and take advantage of the opportunities that brush tools give you. With the 2017 updates to Adobe® Photoshop® CC®, using brushes has become even easier. 

Lisa will teach:

  • How to create custom brushes
  • Organizing techniques
  • How to illustrate in Photoshop® for the “non painter”
  • Retouching with brushes for hair and skin

There are many different ways to use brushes within Adobe Photoshop, and you can start to master them with this in-depth course.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brushes Companion Handout

Adobe Stock Contributor

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Knowledgeable Lisa is the best teacher. She makes learning Photoshop fun. Great course. Lisa has a great teaching style. She mixes in a great speech cadence, great voice up and down and pausing, jokes, and is extremely knowledgeable and fun to watch. Awesome course. Really helpful course for getting my feet wet with brushes.


This is a comprehensive overview of Ps CC Brushes, what they do, how they work and how to control, manage & modify them. I found it extremely useful to learn about the functionality/features that Ps CC brushes can provide even though I'm a photographer and not an illustrator or painter. I will never ever be able to employ everything Lisa explained & demo'd in the class - she covered a wide gamut of info. But she served the purpose, in this class, of being essentially what I'd call an 'idea sparker'. Once you see how she works with brushes and you find out how you can adapt (or create) brush tools to suit your personal artistic style the options for creativity are unlimited. I might re-title this class "Oh the Places Brushes Can Go" (apologies to Dr Seuss and his classic graduation gift book 'Oh, the Places You'll Go...'). Keep in mind a few things about this class (& back away from it and your credit card if you don't note a few key facts...): (1) It is called 'Advanced Techniques' - it is for intermediate to advanced Ps users, not newbies unless you're a child prodigy who picks things up really fast, (2) This is not a 'Paint with Lisa' class - we don't all paint a butterfly like a color by numbers together. Rather we learn about Ps brushes, how they work, what they look like and how to modify them and change their dynamics for different types of artistic/retouching/post-processing uses. Each person will have to experiment - there's no one 'this is it' formula that can be provided, (3) Lisa talks and thinks fast and has a pretty amusing patter too (she's clearly very intelligent!) - so be prepared to hit the Pause button. She repeatedly advises during the class, don't overload your brain with all there is to absorb with regard to Ps Brushes. Take breaks to try the info she shares & see what works for you before going on to a different section of the class. Don't buy this class thinking you'll whizz through it in 15 minutes & figure out how to complete a job you've committed to deliver in 2 hours, (4) There's a large packet of material that comes with a purchase of the class (descriptions, definitions, brush settings, drawing examples, etc.). Item #4 is the only thing I'd ding this class on. While the handout material contains lots of really really useful info it is - sadly - microscopic print. The text is exceedingly difficult for my poor old eyes to read. I value that there's plenty of white space on the pages to write notes as Lisa talks - I've done so prodigiously. But the print in that accompanying brushes class guide needs to be larger. I honestly wish I could enlarge the print in some way (unless it is a PDF that I can alter & I haven't figured it out). If there is a way to re-print with larger type font sizes someone please let me know! Bottom line: I highly recommend this class to more advanced Ps users who want a comprehensive overview of Brushes and working with them. It's definitely not a class for someone who wants a linear, step x step, "do this then do that" type of recipe class. As I've noted above, it's best as a way to learn about richly varied Ps tools you may have only had superficial exposure to previously; and get enough new knowledge to make you dangerous (and, dare I say it, boldly creative!).

Skye Taten

Lisa is the BEST teacher!!!!! Everyone should take this class!!!!!!! This class is utterly phenomenal!!!! Lisa is so knowledgable and so very talented. She is incredibly smart, super funny and so very helpful. This class contains so much valuable information, and at this price it's a complete steal. This class has forever changed my life!!! I'm so happy to have a new skill set. Thank you Lisa from the bottom of all of our hearts you are completely incredible and have touched all of our editing in photoshop lives forever!!!!! You are so very talented thank you so much for sharing your incredible skills and knowledge with us, you are a true beautiful talented soul. xoxo, Skye