The Paint Brush tool (the tenth tool from the top in the Tool palette; it looks like a small paint brush) enables you to draw and paint freehand lines with a variety of brushes and textures. After selecting the Paint Brush tool, you can set the various options in the Tool Options window (see Figure 38.1).
Figure 38.1. The Tool Options window, showing the controls for the Paint Brush tool.
Using the Tool Controls
From within the Tool Options window, under the Paint Brush Options tab (the leftmost tab), you can set the shape and the brush type (this option is accessible under a small icon containing a brush and a small black triangle placed in the upper-right corner of the Tool Options window). You can also set the size, opacity, hardness, density, and step. Clicking the Brush Types icon opens a pull-down menu from which you can select the brush type.
To see how these settings work, open a new 500x500 image with the resolution set to 72 pixels per inch, the background color set to white, and the image type set to 16.7 million colors. Then follow these steps:
The mark made by the pencil is different from the mark made by the brush. In addition, you can see the first two lines through the third line (see Figure 38.4).
Figure 38.4. Drawing a third line with the Paint Brush.
Try drawing some lines with the other options. Each is a different brush shape.
Try varying the opacity and the color that you're using. If you'd like to draw with the background color, you can do so by clicking and dragging with the right mouse button.
When you've drawn a few lines, you can try the Density control. Density controls how much paint the brush lays down. The higher the density, the more paint is laid down. To see how the Density setting controls the output, follow these steps:
Changing the various settings gives you quite a bit of control over the Paint Brush tool.
The Step setting is a bit more mysterious than the other settings. It works in combination with a brush's diameter. The "step" is a percentage of the diameter of the brush. For example, with the brush Size set to 30 and the Step set to 30, the brush operates at 100 percent and draws a definite line (because 30 is 100 percent of 30).
With Size set to 30 and Step set to 60, the brush paints only 50 percent of the time (because 30 is 50 percent of 60; see Figure 38.5).
Figure 38.5. The left line shows the Step option at 100 percent (both Size and Step set to 30), and the right line shows the Step option at 50 percent (Size set to 30 and Step set to 60).
As you increase Step relative to the brush size, less paint is used.
Play around with the Size and Step settings until you're comfortable with them.
Custom Brush Tips
You've seen how the various controls work, and you've used several brush tips. You can also use custom brushes to create new effects.
Click the Brush Options icon and, from the pull-down menu, choose Custom. Use the Custom Brush dialog box to select a custom brush (see Figure 38.6).
Figure 38.6. The Custom Brush dialog box.
Choose one of the brushes and click and drag within the image. The pattern you've chosen is used as a brush for the lines you're drawing.
Figure 38.7 shows some paint strokes drawn with the leaf brush in various colors.
Figure 38.7. The Custom Brush, used to draw some leaves in different colors.
You might notice that some of the settings for the Paint Brush tool are grayed out in the Controls palette. These tools are not available for use with this particular brush.
Practice using some of the brushes. When you're done, you can set the Paint Brush tool back to Normal or to one of the other options.
Using Patterns and Textures
Along with the different tips and other settings, you can choose from several patterns and textures.
You can choose a pattern from the Color palette by clicking the Foreground Style icon and choosing from the pull-down menu in the open Pattern dialog box. Choices include Blue String, Cement, Fabric, Finished Wood, and more.
To see how the patterns work, click the Foreground Style icon and choose a pattern. When you draw or paint, the pattern appears under your brush strokes. In Figure 38.8, the Finished Wood pattern has been applied with a very wide Normal brush.
Figure 38.8. Finished Wood pattern applied with a wide brush set to Normal.
Applying a texture is similar to applying a pattern. To try out a texture, click Edit, Undo (if you just finished trying out the pattern brush) to clear the image and click the Foreground Texture icon in the Color palette. From the flyout menu select Texture and release the mouse button. Click the Foreground Texture icon again to bring up the Texture dialog box and choose a texture. With the texture chosen, simply apply it using the Paint Brush tool. Figure 38.9 shows a Woodgrain texture applied with a large brush.
Figure 38.9. Woodgrain texture applied with a wide brush set to Normal.
There are many textures that you can try, including Clouds, Course Canvas, and Crumpled Paper.