April 13, 2010

Video: In depth on Photoshop CS5’s new brush engine

Photoshop CS5 is far and away the biggest step forward in the app’s brushing & natural media features in the last eight years (since PS7 introduced a new brush engine). In this episode of The Complete Picture, Julieanne Kost shows off new painting features including the new Natural Media Bristle Tip Brushes.

Posted by John Nack at 10:58 AM on April 13, 2010

Comments

  • Al Lemieux — 1:12 PM on April 13, 2010

    Wow! Really cool stuff. This opens up the creative end of Photoshop more. It really looks like the brushes are more expressive and dynamic than before. I love all of the on-screen previews too. Makes the case for buying a new tablet too.

  • James Darknell — 3:21 PM on April 13, 2010

    Sooo cool! Super excited now. Some of these enhancements are things I’ve wanted for years. The icing on the cake would be having multiple tip shapes in a single brush and control how they get used.

  • Nekose — 5:20 PM on April 13, 2010

    So these are things that should have been addressed in sub-point releases years ago. New brush engine…shure. Ever heard of zbrush? It makes these updates pale…
    [The glass is half empty; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. –J.]

  • Thomas Denmark — 6:02 PM on April 13, 2010

    This is exactly what many artists were hoping Adobe would not do: make a complicated, overwrought Brushes tool.
    [Just click among the presets & be happy. You never have to pop the hood at all. In fact, we split out the Brush panel (full of sliders) from Brush Presets. And we can pair that with panels from the new Configurator to make things easier still. –J.]
    All that was needed was the ability to add color to the Smudge tool.
    This is replicating the same problem Painter has…

  • David — 7:18 PM on April 13, 2010

    I like the buttons on the options bar for making brush size and opacity pressure sensitive. Add the spacing slider and toggle to the bar, and I’ll almost never have to open the brushes panel again.
    One of the hardest things about learning Photoshop is that the options that affect any particular tool can be in many different places, some well hidden. I’d like to see more options in all of the tools’ options bars. One of the huge ones for me is sample size… it is only on the eye dropper options bar. I bet a lot of users never realize that the sample size affects how the magic wand works.
    That Picard/Jobs image is scary.

  • Herman — 5:41 AM on April 14, 2010

    John, thanks for this!
    I have a pressing question though :)
    [Pun intended? :-) –J.]
    Are those brush pressure overrides (opacity & size) shortcut-able?
    [Good question, but no, I don’t think so (good request). I’m checking, though. –J.]

  • Gazza — 7:01 AM on April 14, 2010

    Nice features but maybe this could have been a modular add on that you load from the installation DVD cutting down the application bloat.
    Just afraid that down the line Photoshop will end up being a massive all in one app that users only end up utilising 50% of. Surely the code is getting bigger by the version.

  • Scott Valentine — 8:37 AM on April 14, 2010

    Gazaa – the Mac installer is about 1G right now. There is a lot of stuff in PS, but I wouldn’t call it bloat… after all, it doesn’t yet do email. Not directly, anyway ;)
    [Oh, but you haven’t seen my upcoming post on that subject. (I’m mostly kidding–mostly.) Stay tuned. –J.]
    On my Mac Pro, the installation takes under 10 minutes from the time I launch the DMG file. That includes installing Bridge and Camera Raw, entering the serial number, setting the language, etc. After entering that info, I have just enough time to go fill a glass of water and bring it back to my desk.

  • Scott Valentine — 8:44 AM on April 14, 2010

    You can indeed get bogged down in the brushes options, and probably should spend some time tinkering. But once you figure out what you want, save a preset and you’re good to go.
    Honestly, when something like this is so powerful, you can tweak endlessly to develop your own style. John Derry has been blowing us away with his texture work, and I’m betting will have some custom settings available to the public soon. Now, you can use the defaults and mold your style to them, or you can mold the tools to your style. Without some level of complexity, you would not have that choice.
    One reason you may not notice real world media’s complexity is that you can manipulate it directly. But you’d also probably have a dozen or more brushes at the ready, with different paints & media, different substrates, etc. We are still dealing with a fundamentally limited interface (e.g., the computer), so there’s a trade-off to be had.
    I’d rather have customization, but that’s personal choice.

  • Dustin Wilson — 9:10 AM on April 14, 2010

    On every version of Photoshop since version 5 I’ve sent feature requests to you guys for this and finally my prayers are answered YEARS later.
    I don’t think I can express in words how much these features mean to me. I’ve ben illustrating for years with Photoshop and have wasted my money on a couple of versions of Painter just so I could perhaps finally oil paint digitally, but the programs have been just too damn slow. I’d always come back to Photoshop.
    Only thing missing that’s somewhat essential is something similar to Painter’s color wheel for selecting colors. It’d be great for the popup color selector you guys have added.
    To everyone stating this is bloat… suck it. Photoshop is for far more than making fake photos.
    [Heh. Thanks, Dustin. –J.]

  • Dustin Wilson — 9:19 AM on April 14, 2010

    Actually you did the color wheel, too! Oops! Moving on… Ha.

  • Kenzie LaMar — 4:01 PM on April 14, 2010

    All of this is what I have been hoping photoshop would include for years. There is one tool I can’t believe they haven’t added yet to photoshop that illustrator and flash both have as well as a few other companies art applications. Setting a smoothing value to correct strokes! Photoshop at this point only has a checkbox to turn it on or off but it needs to be a setting that has a value to increase or decrease the effect. If it is included and I haven’t seen it yet then great but if it isn’t I would like to point out that not only graphic designers and web designers need this tool. Anyone needing a clean drawn line needs this feature. For clean ink lines or paint strokes it is essential. As great as tablets are, the smooth surface still give many people a hard time to get a smooth stroke as nice as with a real pencil/pen on paper. And the photoshop pen tool isn’t good enough. It needs to be part of every drawing tool.
    To end on a positive note, I love the way the brush shape tracking updates real time now with not only rotation but angle. That is really awesome. Its the little things that really matter. Thanks!

  • thinsoldier — 8:26 PM on April 14, 2010

    I’m still hoping for better tools/interfaces for managing large collections of brushes downloaded from the web.
    I’m sure the authors of large brush sets would also like the ability to embed Lots more meta-data into them to help people give them credit.

  • Lynn — 9:18 AM on April 18, 2010

    Very interesting when you also view the painting demos by Dr Brown & John Derry. Pressure sesitivity, tilit and bearing response? Possible warning shot across the bow of Corel Painter?
    [I wouldn’t call it that. Painter offers a huge range of painting-specific features built up over two decades, and I think it’s unlikely for Photoshop to ever to try to match all of those. We simply want to make it easier & more fun to paint in Photoshop. We’re not trying to put anyone out of business. –J.]
    Painter has been languishing since the Corel acquisition, maybe this will get their team energized to correct long-standing bugs and deficiencies. I may be projecting, but it makes me think of Quark and the first iteration of InDesign. I’m just sayin’…

  • Mary Kent — 1:26 PM on May 12, 2010

    What about custom brushes from PS CS4? I have many textured brushes I created and when I imported them into PS CS5 in the application support presets folder (as suggested), Photoshop crashes when reading the brushes…. help!

  • lisa — 4:13 AM on May 31, 2010

    I just started using this today and my brush places no color on my layer using the new mixer brush tool why do they make it look so easy?
    Guess I will be online hunting down the answer.

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