by Weston Maggio

Optimizing Photoshop Brushes for Use With a Wacom Tablet

Of all the tools in Photoshop, one could argue that the Brush tool is in the most demand. Artists, designers, photographers and other creatives all count on brushes for hands-on workflow functions. They use them to draw, paint, retouch images and more. From the simplest of brushes, such as a soft, round brush to a brush recreating the look of pastel on coarse paper, there is a brush for every task. That said, not every brush is created equal. And you may or may not have the ideal brush for the task at hand.

Without making things too complex, to best understand “the brush” let’s break it down to its parts. There is the brush tool itself, and then there is the brush tip, or it’s more common reference, the brush preset. It is the brush preset that makes this tool unique and appealing to the broad spectrum of users.

A brush preset is a brush tip that has been assigned various settings to give a preferred appearance, and then saved for later use. Photoshop comes with a default set of brush presets that you can use right out of the box. Additionally, you can find thousands of brushes online by simply searching “Photoshop Brushes”. Brush presets are a great place to start, but enabling their various settings for pen pressure, you can yield an alternative behavior and appearance possible only with a pen tablet.

For example, you can modify a brush preset so that you can change the size of a brush stroke based on how hard you press your pen to the tablet. Pressing lightly yields a thin brush stroke, while pressing harder gives you a wider stroke. You can change a brush’s settings for your desired behavior as needed, or save your changes as a new brush preset.

Watch the video to learn how easy it is to create, modify and save a brush preset for use with your tablet.

As a side note, you should also know that the Brush tool alone is not the only tool that utilizes brush presets, in fact there are 14 tools in all that deliver brush-like functionality. Aside from the obvious (History, Eraser, etc.), the clone stamp tool for example can utilize different brush presets to clone with texture. This can be quite helpful when restoring old photos or matching grain.

Stay tuned to the Wacom Community for more tips.

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