Natural Color Adobe Photoshop

When I paint textures, I like to use my special custom brushes that have a certain amount of hue, saturation, and brightness variations built in. This gives a more natural look, especially to solid color objects. Without these variations, the objects tend to look flat, computer generated, or fake. The following steps create one of the brushes I use often.

  1. Grab a soft brush as I’ve done in . I chose a 75-pixel-wide soft brush with 0 percent hardness.
  2. You can make a custom brush from one of the existing presets.

    custom brush from one of the existing presets

  3. At the Brush Tip Shape options, increase the spacing a bit. Aim for a spattered look like you see in.
  4. Give some space to your stroke, so it’s not a solid line.

    some space to your stroke, so it’s not a solid line

  5. Select Shape Dynamics and give a bit of size jitter to your brush.
  6. The size jitter, spacing, and scattering break up the stroke so it looks less uniform.

    size jitter, spacing, and scattering break up the stroke so it looks less uniform

    This ensures that the variations you add don’t look as mechanical, since the brushstroke’s size variation masks any color pattern.

  7. Go to the Scattering options and give the brush a bit of scatter. This allows the different colors and sizes to show up more, because the brushstroke isn’t confined to a single vector. Now comes the really nice stuff. This is a function I used to love Painter for and always complained about Photoshop for lacking.
  8. Select the Color Dynamics Options and play with the Hue, Saturation, and Brightness Jitter settings you.
  9. This is what gives an organic effect to your brush

    what gives an organic effect to your brush

    The goal is to have a setting that doesn’t create a calico bright and multicolored) effect, but subtly varies the color enough that it doesn’t seem flat.

  10. Now that you have a setting that is nice, save it the same way you saved the dirt brush.
  11. Go to your tool presets and click the New Tool Preset button.
  12. Give your brush a descriptive name and click OK.
  13. You lose all your settings unless you make a point to save your brush as a new tool preset.

    settings unless you make a point to save your brush as a new tool preset

Now take a look at how this particular brush makes a difference in a finished render. Notice in how flat the solid colors look in the left image? See how much more natural the right image looks? The only differences between the two are the color maps.

The left has solid painted color maps. The right is the same but with color maps that were painted with your brush.

solid painted color maps

You’ll be amazed at the variety of uses you can find for this brush—and this is just the tip of the iceberg! You can scan a leaf and create a leaf brush or make a fish brush or produce a brush that paints cats’ paw prints over everything.


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