There's a billion different ways to customize a brush. Kyle covers it really well in this post. But what about the default tools? The default tools are locked down in some ways, and you can only change basic attributes. Why would you want to use the airbrush? The felt pen?
BKAB is a series of quick simple tutorials on the default brushes in your tool palette. It's meant to help you understand each tool individually, and inspire you to think about how use them, and how to customize brushes.
THE AIRBRUSH TOOL
1) STROKE ATTRIBUTES
In order to properly simulate an airbrush, the tool has a fuzzy quality to it. The larger the stroke, the fuzzier the edges, even at 100% opacity. This is just like a real airbrush!
Shading with the airbrush is like a dream! Like I said last time, I'm kind of a shading nut- I want everything smooth and blended. The airbush and I get along really well. Here's how I like to work:
First, I lay down huge patches of value to block in my shading. I don't mind being sloppy- we're going to clean it up.Then I take the airbrush tool at a very low opacity and a medium size, maybe 25 radius and .01 opacity. I select one color of value- like the super dark color on my cube.
I take my brush and run it along the edge of the dark color and the lighter color. Because the brush is a low opacity, this creates an inbetween color that is half the lighter color and half the darker color. That's perfect- it's what I wanted. I then select this new inbetween color, and run it over the edge of where it meets the dark.
I keep going this over and over again- select, lay down light opacity color, select, lay down light opacity color, and eventually things start looking pretty smooth!
3) FINAL IMAGE
I wanted to make something fluffy for my final image. I have a story idea I've been kicking around about Moon Sheep. They have buoyant wool that floats down to earth to create our clouds. The dark size of the moon is covered in grass- and that's how they're able to sustain living on the moon!
There's several different textures I'll need to simulate for the image- fluffy wool, spikey grass, and bumpy moon texture. I use the size quality of the brush to help me describe the textures- sharp at small sizes and blurry at larger ones.
Grass: This is where the small sharp brush comes in handy. First I lay down big patches of color using a big brush, but then I go down to 5.0 to describe the spikey grass.
Moon: Same idea, different kind of stroke! I use the big fat brush for large areas, and then I scale it down to make little bumps, holes, and pits.
Wool: I sketched my Moon Sheep out first, and then used the big fat brush to give him fluffy volume. I used the thin stroke at 5.0 to make little stringy bits of fluff.
Here's my final image-
I made a timelapse of the progress too.
Now, get out there and make some fluff!