Photoshop Brushes in Rectangle World | Joseph Francis | Skillshare

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Photoshop Brushes in Rectangle World

teacher avatar Joseph Francis, Check out my classes!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Welcome to Rectangle World!

    • 2. How Brushes Work

    • 3. Stylized Grass - From Scratch

    • 4. Making Brush Angles Align with Strokes

    • 5. Waterfall and Tree

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About This Class


We're going to make a world out of rectangles, and explore the capabilities of Photoshop brushes along the way.

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Joseph Francis

Check out my classes!


I started in New York at what is now called RGA Digital Studios, but was then called R/Greenberg Associates. I've worked at many of the top motion graphics and title design companies including yU+Co and Imaginary Forces, and with top creative directors including Kyle Cooper (Prologue).

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1. Welcome to Rectangle World!: today, we're going to visit a stylized place called Rectangle World and explore some of the capabilities of the photo shop brushes. Everything we make today is gonna be made out of rectangles or squares, and we're going to learn how to do it fairly rapidly. 2. How Brushes Work: So let's begin and make this piece of artwork which uses Photoshopped rushes in unusual way . First thing we're gonna need to do is make a brush. I'm gonna make it. Let me Didn't just show you how brushes work. If you say file new and you set up a new image and I'm gonna go with 2 56 square happens to be a preset sitting there and eight bits um, black. I'm gonna make it white as a base create. Now here is an image with a white background. And if you go over here and say default, you could hit the letter D or you can hit this little icon over here. I'm gonna hit d get the default black and white and black is on top. I'm gonna go for a brush and, um actually f five. I'm gonna look at some other presets for brushes and here we go. So let's see, let's put a dot there and adopt there and adopt their and maybe like that just for the fun of it. And maybe I'll make it smaller and I really need to be doing this. But I'm just gonna throw it in just so you can get a sense of what you can do with these brushes that you make for yourself. So there's an image. Now this is gonna be the tip of the brush, and whatever is black here is going to be whatever color you assigned later, when you say, What color are you painting and whatever is white is going to be non existent. So what we do is we say at it, um, defined brush preset and you give it a name. Say OK, you see, it's already here. It's kind of swept it. You can see what it looks like when it's been swept along a path. So if we say file new and let's make, um, it's making image that is 10 24 by 10 24 and it can be eight bits and white is fine. Doesn't really matter. Now. Notice that you see the way it's it's it's already being treated like a brush. You can see the outline there. In fact, you don't need this image anymore. You can delete it. So now if you pick a color over here and let's pick a just a purple for the fun of it, and let's make this smaller. I hit the brackets, so you see, it's kind of like, um, bristles. And if you turn the opacity way down, you could treat it as if it's, Ah, a bristle painting brush. That would be one way to do that course here you're stuck with. You could see what exactly what it's doing. It's if I just touch it. I'm just tapping it. If I tap and drag, you can see that's what's going on. So with that in mind, let's make a different brush. 3. Stylized Grass - From Scratch: and the brush we're gonna make is a perfect square. So let's say new and we'll go back and we'll make ourselves a to 56 square image. This it's a decent size, although since we're making a square, doesn't really matter that much. What the resolution is doesn't really have any detail in it. But let's let's stick with this. And let's switch this to black eight bits is fine. There's no advantage to going higher create. So here is there's no advantage to going higher and what we're doing. I mean, there could be cases where you might want to be working in higher bid depths, but this isn't going to be one of those cases. So here is ah, black image, and we're going to say it it. Define brush preset, and we'll call it Square Square to 56 because it's 2 56 by 2 56 So there's a brush. You can see that right now. It's already being treated as a brush when we are brushing over something so you like that we don't need this image anymore, either, and we can say file new and let's say, Ah, let's go with 2048 square. And if you don't have these presets, you could just make them yourself while I'm doing is typing in 2048 by 2048 resolution is irrelevant in that box 16 bits is unnecessary for this project. And, um, black. We could say White doesn't matter can change it later, But let's go with white. So here is what we just created. And here's our Here's our single box brush. So if we brush with it, we get this control all Z on a windows and that lets you back up through the history list so that you can the words if I make three strokes and I go control Z control Z control Z control Z, it just toggles back and forth. But if I could control all the control, all of the control policy, it goes backwards in the history now brackets small brackets. And so what we want to do is, first of all, we could change the spacing on the brush we're gonna we're gonna end up visiting a lot of the functions that define a brush, and we're gonna make it do what we wanted to do. So if we space it out. Now you can see that the brush is only dabbed periodically, you could see that you could space it out quite a bit. And now, even though I'm stroking continuously, it's only dropping a square every so often. Control Z. Let's put this back down so that they're closer to each other. There we go Now we're ultimately gonna be working with a rectangle. I just started with a square just to kind of show you that aspect of how you can change the shape of a brush. You can kind of squeeze it in certain ways. We could have started with a rectangle is Well, so let's go and see what sorts of things we can do with this brush. Our goal is to make a tree and maybe a waterfall. Maybe some grass. Let's start with Let's start with grass. So let's see for grass. We probably want agreeing color like a yellowish green color, and maybe we want a second color, which is also green. But maybe a little llama darker side. Let's see like that that could be good. So if we say color dynamics and let's see what that does apply per tip. That means every time you every every time it lands, it's going to do something different not per stroke, but per tip. In other words, well, you'll see in a moment if you haven't already used this. Ah, foreground and background jitter 100%. So let's just see what we got out So you can see that we have all different kinds of colors . Some of them are gray. Well, let's look and see what this Ah, saturation, Jeter said. 100%. Well, we don't want to jitter the saturation. We want the saturation to remain high. So we're gonna take the saturation down saturation jitter down to 0%. Which means it's not gonna It's not gonna randomly change the jitter. It's gonna leave it where we've defined these colors. So now you can see that there were no graze in the strokes. If by the way I take off, apply per tip and I do a stroke like this, you can see it's that color. Now it's this color. Now it's this color. Now it's this color, and that's that's useful also, but not for what we're doing. So I'm gonna go back to apply per tip. Foreground background jitter 100%. Let's see what happens if we take that down. So here we have it looks like it's all pretty much one color here. It's a little bit of variation, and here is a much variation, as we have defined between these two colors. If we made these colors different, we would be controlling. We would have different results over here. Control all Z control Z control of the on a Windows machine. Mac is, I guess, command option, the huge inter. So we conjecture the hue as well. In addition to the foreground background, um, colors that we specified weaken further Jeter the hue. So here's no jitter of the hue other than what's defined here in this pair of colors. And here is full Jeter of the hue you can see that's, you know, party confetti. It's all kinds of colors, huge jittering of the hue. So if we take the huge it or down to pretty low, you can see that we're you know, we're back into our grass colors. What we've added a little bit more variety than just what you get between these two colors and what's directly between them. So saturation. Jeter. We already talked about. If we take that up, we're going to get some grays. We don't want grace, brightness, Jeter. We could try that. See what that does. Okay, that gives us some blacks because it takes some of the colors quite dark. And so brightness. Jitter. Maybe just a little bit. So now you've got some variation in the brightness, but not not much. Let's just let's yes, well, believe it. Low purity. That's really kind of a saturation. Thanks. You can see these colors. They're quite bright, but they were bright to begin with. And then if you do this, you can see that it's all black and white. So let's just leave these at. I may not have looked like it did much when I boosted its 100% but it does actually boost the saturation. It's a little spit. Okay, so that's the color dynamics tab now. I didn't really come here to talk about these locks, but they are kind of interesting if you hit this lock than every other brush you define, will also have this characteristic that you created here, so it's not really lock in the sense of don't change it, It's It's more like broadcast. This attributes all the other brushes. I don't use it that often, but I love you don't understand what those locks. Therefore, that's actually what they do transfer. So that's good for, um, getting capacity to be light with your pen low. And I'm using a wakame tablet and I'm pressing hard now, and I'm pressing softly now. You probably want to invest in a pen if you're doing this kind of work, and now I'm using a mouse, and occasionally you'll find that when you are setting the opacity to pen pressure, you'll get an explanation point there it iss now. That's because I'm doing what I'm doing is using a mouse, so it's impossible to give it variation in pen pressure because I'm not using a pen. So if you see that exclamation point, that's one possibility, and that the only solution for that particular symptom is to use a pen. So now I'm touching with a pan right now, and I was hoping that the check mark would go away, but I think I have to maybe go off of it and come back onto it again. And there there's no there it is. There's no, uh, exclamation point. If you If that doesn't solve your problem and it doesn't always, then you've got some other problem going on. Like sometimes there's a weird, um, interaction between Windows Inc and the Wakame tablets. That can be frustrating, and the only solution to that is to Google. See what other people have done. The cell that comes up every so often can be frustrating. But, um, that's not the case here. It's just a matter of using a pen to get rid of that exclamation point. Now let's see. Brush pose. What's What's that all about? I'm gonna leave that alone. Noise, wet edges, buildups, moving. Protect texture, shape dynamics. Let's play with that. Okay, So size Jeter. Right now, you can see they're all the same size. And if I increase sized Jeter quite a bit, then you can see that they are random. If I make size Jeter proportional to pin pressure, then I can press lightly. Press hard, press lightly and you can see that I got, um the small ones are at either end. Um, minimum diameter is you could see down here kind of a preview. Minimum diameter is quite small. If I go like this, then they're all going to be. The minimum they'll be is is bigas. The maximum the minimum will be is half the size of the maximum. The minimum they will be is very small. So if you want not much variation You set that there, Um angle. Jitter. Okay, well, we're Lett's to grass, so we'll do a little bit of angle. Jitter cause grass, um, you know isn't always perfectly in the same direction. Roundness, Geter. That'll make some crushed more than others. I think we want the blades of grass to be all pretty much the same with We're gonna make them out of these squares. It's a stylized thing that I'm doing up. This isn't realistic grass. It's It's a fun illustration. Style grass roundness, Geter. We'll leave that off in terms of so we'll just have it. Be random. Um, and let's see, brush tip shape spacing. We already played with angle. Now you can type in a number here like that, or you can play with this graphic here and roundness. Let's make the roundness. Um, right. In other words, if the brush were round than roundness. 100% would be a perfect circle, but if we put in, say, 10 then it's a 10%. It's a crush. 90% crash of our circle. So you can see that are are what used to be squares there now kind of blades of grass so that their lying on their sides. So let's make this be 90 degrees. So now it's 90 degrees plus or minus a Geter, and we could maybe make the grass a little bigger. Bracket, bracket, bracket, bracket, bracket. You will take it down a little bit. Okay? And let's see space saying we could bring them closer together So this could be a way that we could make grass and it fill with white. Okay, now put make a new layer and maybe we have a hill. Could be offense on it. Something like that rocks. Um, press lightly, press hard, get different size variations, color variations, impressing harder. Now you can see that it's building up. So this could be I was gonna put maybe ah ah, hillside underneath. That's way I changed it. Let's try different brush and let's make the color brown you will paint on the background. I still have all this other stuff going on. Take that out. Take that out. So here I'm painting under the grass. Now you could see that this would be a way that you could maybe make a grass element. 4. Making Brush Angles Align with Strokes: Let's start from scratch and make a tree. So the first thing we're gonna want to do is have a pair of brown colors, so that could be good, maybe a little bit darker. That looks pretty good. And now another color. And let's make that get more saturated. Okay, so you can see there's all kinds of crazy colors in between those two brown colors that's coming from our color dynamics. That's coming from the huge ITER. So let's take that out completely. Here we go now. We're just having the colors that air directly between the two over here. And let's work with a bit of a darker color there in a bit of a darker color there. And let's take transfer off so that we're seeing actually the colors, because I was I was doing it with a light touch, and the opacity was letting us see through to the white. So now that have taken transfer off. We're seeing full opacity colors. Now let's see brush tip shape, 10% seems pretty good for what we're doing. Spacing. Ah, shape, dynamics size, Geter scattering That makes them scared, both axes that makes them scatter away from the line that you just painted count is another way to really make them pile up. It's kind of a multiplier for what it normally would have been. Um, brush, tip, shape angle 10%. Now that's the problem. I thought e want around this 10% and the angle we'll set that zero. So they're all pointing horizontally. And now there is a new thing that we want to do. And that's, um, shape dynamics, I believe, angle. And we want angle to be dependent on direction. Now. What that means is, even though you're you're seeing a brush which isn't which is still lying on its side. If I draw an s shape, you can see that the strokes or the planks kind of laid down in the direction of what I actually drew. So if we go back to brush, tip shape and spacing and make the spacing a lot closer together, there we go. Now. You can imagine already right now that if I made this water colored, we're well on our way to making a waterfall 5. Waterfall and Tree: In fact, now that I've come that far, maybe I'll do that. So there's some water. Here's some more water. Sort of splash, very pale. Could make a fountain. You could make a waterfall. You have a hit a rock and bounced this way and put it. Put a rock there. You could have it be a lazy river which is coming out of the distance, and you could set it up. So that is You press harder, the pieces get bigger. So now let's do so. That was basically that's basically the waterfall. Now let's try our tree. So tree saturation and let's go with Okay, let's see what that looks like. That's decent for a tree. Could be. So now let's make this smaller and let's make the count on the scattering more. So now we could do something like this. We can take the pen tool and notice that there is, ah, freeform people are afraid to use the pencil. There's a freeform pen tool right here, and so maybe we'll try that for for in experiments will go to paths. We'll go to layers and we'll draw here so we'll have it come up like this and like that, we'll have another one come up like this. And there. This there, this and they're this in there. This there. This in there. Listen there, Listen. There. What's called at a tree Do it really fast. I'm putting the pen down and going to the mouse clicking off of this, Okay, wherein pass it says work path over there. I'm gonna double click on it. And I'm just gonna let it name itself. Path one. Now, if I click off of it, it seems to vanish. But if we click back onto it, we see it again. The paths. So I'm going to make sure that I'm over on brush here and I'm going to right click, and I'm gonna say stroke path simulate pressure. That means that either end of the path is gonna be a light touch. So if we've done anything that's pressure dependent, it's gonna ease in and ease out of the beginning of the past. If I take that off, it's gonna be equivalent pressure along the entire thing. So we could call that, um you call that our tree? You know, you could stylized and work with exactly what you want to do. And the other thing that we could do is we could take the brush. You're gonna make it a little bit smaller. You know, we can draw out our own roots. We don't need the pen tool so we can add to it. And if we think this isn't working here and you know we can change our colors here too. So brightness saturation. We could give the tree a light side, a dark side. What kind of work? With it like that. And then finally, we could make our leaves be like this and we go to brush tip shape and we take our roundness to 100% and we take our scattering count. If you take that down a little bit. Color dynamics, moving shape, dynamics, angle, jitter. We go all the way up and round this jittery. Leave it alone. So now let's see what we got. That's too big. And we could go back to brush tip shape and put the spacing out further. It's too infrequent. Um, scattering. Take it all the way down to There we go. So now make this a little bit bigger. So this could be a tree in our world where we've already looked at what grass looks like there. We've looked at what possibly a waterfall could look like they're and this could be our tree there. And by the time if you do this exercise and make this tree, you'll know a fair amount about all the different options that brushes offer in Photoshop if you don't already, and I look forward to seeing what it is that you create.