PHOTOSHOP: Improving the Mixer Brush Tool

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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I would like to suggest an improvement to the Mixer Brush Tool. At the moment, the Mixer Brush Tool seems to focus on imitating traditional paint, but a lot of digital painters who use Photoshop aren't necessarily after the traditional paint look. Personally, I quite like the look of the computed blending that some other painting software achieve. I've tried to illustrate what I mean in the following picture, where I use the blending brush found in PaintTool SAI, and compare its effect with the Mixer Brush Tool.

(Here's the image link, in case the embedding breaks:

In this example I tried to get as close to the same brush effect as I was able to in the two programs, and the result achieved by PaintTool SAI is quite a bit more useful to digital painters whose work doesn't have a painterly style.

When doing digital painting, it is usually considered best to get as much done with as few strokes of the brush as possible. Few deliberate strokes give the impression of work made by an artist who knows what they're doing. But, at the moment, the most common way of blending colors in Photoshop is using the regular Brush tool, picking a color, placing a stroke, picking a resulting mid-value, placing a new stroke, and so on until you achieve a fairly smooth gradient between two colors. This results in a lot of tiny brush strokes, which, as opposed to few strokes, gives the impression of an artist who is insecure about what they're doing. So a tool that helps cut down the necessary number of paint strokes would be a very popular addition to Photoshop among digital painters.

In its current state, the Mixer Brush does have potential. I like it. But after many attempts over the past few months, I just haven't been able to properly implement it into my workflow. It would be very helpful if the Mixer Brush was given settings which can achieve the computed blending look in addition to the traditional painting effect it currently has. This would make the tool a lot more versatile and easy to use.

I'm hoping that the illustrated example I provided can give you an idea of specifically what digital painters are after in a good color blending tool as well as ideas on how to solve it.

If you would like to know more about the characteristics of a useful color blending brush, feel free to let me know, and I'll do my best to explain.

Also, while I like to think I have done my research on the topic, do keep in mind that this is only my interpretation of what digital painters want from a blending tool. Getting the opinions of more painters is always better.

Apologies for the lengthy post. I felt a thorough explanation would be useful here. :)
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Yngvar Asplund

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Posted 5 years ago

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