Graphics Programs Reference
Mixer Brush Tool
The Mixer Brush tool was a new addition to Photoshop CS5 and
goes a long way toward simulating realistic paint strokes. It mim-
ics real-life brushes by allowing colors to mix on the canvas and
simulating properties like stroke wetness.
1. Open the file Ch06_Color_Mixer.tif from the Chapter 6 folder.
2. Select the Mixer Brush tool (click and hold the Brush tool in
the Tools panel to reveal the Mixer Brush).
3. Choose a soft brush and make sure it is a large size (25 px or
greater). Set the Spacing to 5% for tighter strokes.
Using the Mixer Brush
4. Click the Preset list in the Options bar to try different presets.
For this image, use the Very Wet, Heavy Mix option.
The Wet Controls affect how much paint the brush picks
up from the canvas. A higher setting produces longer paint
5. Select the layer called Swatches in the Layers
panel and try painting brush strokes near the
intersection of different-colored squares to see
the colors mix. Try painting circular stokes as
well to see the color values mix.
6. Try changing the blending mode or opacity
for the layer containing brush strokes to blend
it with the original photo layer below.
Now that you see how the strokes can mix, let's
explore a more realistic use for the tool. The
Mixer Brush can be used effectively on a photo-
graph to create paint strokes based on the colored image. This can
produce an attractive effect, creating a painterly like image.
1. Tu r n off f t he v i s ibi l it y icon for t he Sw a t ches layer a nd s elect t he
Be sure to experiment with the
automatic Load or Clean options for
the Mixer Brush. These make it easy
to keep the brush clean and mix the
color details in a picture.
2. Choose the Moist, Heavy Mix preset. In the Options bar select
the Sample All Layers check box.
3. Create a new, empty layer.
4. Select a brush preset. Option-click (Alt-click) on the image to
sample a color, and then paint in the canvas.