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How to Make a Photoshop Brush/Eraser toggle switch on your Stylus

1. Open Tablet Properties
2. Change one of the buttons to ‘erase’

Now when you are in brush mode and you hold down that button on your stylus, your brush will temporarily turn into an eraser! Just release it to return to brush mode and keep painting.

The temporary eraser will have the same settings as the last eraser you used

BONUS TIP: To do this without changing your preferences, just press and HOLD the “e” key to erase temporarily. Keep holding the “e” key until you are done erasing, then when you lift your stylus and then release the “e” key your tool will switch back to the brush tool!

I know you can flip the stylus over and erase, but why interrupt your flow when you can just press on a button?

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Testing the ‘Meko’ Paper Texture in Photoshop (Video)

Here I am testing one of the Art Surfaces (Meko). Notice how it adds light as well as shadow.

That’s one of the hardest parts to tweak (the distribution of values between light and dark)

It’s difficult to get a good gradient ramp when the details are so fine. It’s much easier to deal with course textures like a gravel road than something that is mostly one tonal value like paper. Too much contrast and you won’t be able to see anything you paint on it, too little and you don’t get any surface definition

While working in 16 or 32 bits per channel would give me more flexibility in tweaking these but these templates are already so large a higher channel bit rate would be impractical. They are already averaging about 85 megabytes per PSD.  They are seamless tiles, but they start at 2048 by 2048 pixels, at 300 DPI.

To learn more, try a free one and get on the list to be notified when they’re available go to the new paper textures page

A question for you – what would you pay for one of these and what would you pay for 10 of them? Let me know in the comments.

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Adobe update breaks brush-to-eraser-tool hack Here’s a workaround

If, like me, you loved being able to select any tool (usually the eraser) and then pick from your most recent brushes to convert a paint brush to an eraser, or a mixer brush, or a smudge tool with all dynamic setting intact you can’t do this anymore with the latest Photoshop update (v 19) You can still use the clear mode trick to convert your brush to an eraser which I go over in the aboce video inclusing the keyboard shortcuts.

The keyboard shortcut I use in the video are
Normal Mode:
WIN: Shift+Alt+N
MAC: Shift+Alt+N)

Clear Mode (eraser mode)
WIN: Shift+Alt+R
MAC: Shift+Option+R

You can find the full list of brush mode keyboard shortcuts on the Adobe website here It’s a long list so search the page for “Use for blending modes”

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Lisandro Trepeu

Digital Illustration by Lisandro Trepeu
Illustration by Lisandro Trepeu

This enchantingly beautiful illustration was lovingly painted in Photoshop by Lisandro Trepeu with the humble assistance of some GrutBrushes. I’m thrilled to add this to the gallery page today where Lisandro’s piece joins a growing list of wonderful work by talented artists and illustrators. You can see more of Lisandro Trepeu’s work on his Behance portfolio page here.

If you have work you created using GrutBrushes that you would like to share in the gallery or even just to show me what you’re working on, please don’t wait, send it to me today!

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Free Impasto Oil Brush

This week’s free Photoshop brush of the week (#120!!) is this creamy oil impasto brush “Butter Bits” These are my favourite types, I could smush digital paint around with these all day long.
Don’t forget there is also an excellent free impasto brush in the Sampler set (from the Photoshop oil impasto brush set)

Come back next week when there will be a brand new Photoshop brush to download.

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New to the Gallery – Herman Serrano

Digital Painting by Herman Serrano
Digital Painting by Herman Serrano

When I saw what Herman Serrano was creating with my brushes I couldn’t wait to put it in the gallery. Stay tuned because he has graciously agreed to an interview about his truly amazing work. Until then I am delighted to add this piece to the growing gallery of artists using GrutBrushes. You can see more of Herman Serrano’s work here

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Free Photoshop Brush of the Week #112

Get this week’s free Photoshop brush through Sunday when there will be a new brush available.

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Artist Mike Sobey’s Mammoths Come to Life!

Woolly Mammoths painted in Photoshop using GrutBrushes
Mammoth painted by Mike Sobey in Photoshop using GrutBrushes
Artist Mike Sobey painted these fantastic Mammoths in Photoshop using GrutBrushes.
I really love his brash use of the brush textures to bring these majestic creatures back to life, not to mention his amazing grasp of light and colour.
 
You can see this piece alongside plenty more examples of digital paintings created with GrutBrushes here in the gallery
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Mary Manning, Illustrator and Character Designer New in the Gallery

"Salon" illustration by Mary Manning
Salon by Mary Manning

One of my big frustrations as an amateur doodler is that I so rarely get to see my brushes used to their full potential. That’s why it is such a thrill for me to see them used by talented professionals. When I do, I promptly beg them to let me show their work in the GrutBrushes Gallery. This week I’m happy to be able to add Salon, a wonderful digital painting by Children’s book illustrator Mary Manning.

Customers often ask me questions about pursuing a career in illustration. I’m neither an illustrator nor do I have any answers, but I’m just as curious, so I ask actual professionals any chance I get. Mary was kind enough to answer my questions and I’m happy to share them with you here.

Nicolai: Do you have a background in traditional media, and if so, do you ever mix traditional and digital painting?
Mary: Yes, I used to work in watercolor and finish it off digitally.  I liked the look, but have long since abandoned that since it takes too much time, so I now work digitally only.

Nicolai:  How did you find your first clients?
Mary:  From putting my work out there in as many places as I can.  But make sure your work is good enough before you do.  You’ll be up against a lot of competition and skilled artists who know what’s what, and they can spot an amateur a mile away – and so can everyone else.

"The Strangest Thing" illustration by Mary Manning
The Strangest Thing  by Mary Manning

Nicolai:  How much creative freedom do you have with client work and How specific is the direction you get?
Mary:  That varies widely.  Every client and/or publisher is different, but be prepared for anything.

Nicolai:  How do you stop deadlines from interfering with making great images?
Mary:  That’s a hard one, but you need to remember that as a professional, you have to do the best you can with whatever time limit or project you have.

Nicolai:  What do you do to get ‘un-stuck’ when a project feels uninspiring?
Mary:  I don’t ever really have that problem.  If it’s your own work, then obviously do something else.  If it’s client work, and if you find yourself getting frustrated or can’t seem to “fix” a certain design, then step away for 10 min.  When you come back you should be able to see the solution.  Works for me every time. 😉

The Wild Ride illustration by Mary Manning
The Wild Ride by Mary Manning

Nicolai:  Do ever do any drawing or painting exercises and if so, are there any you feel are particularly useful?
Mary:  I always make sure I’m doing a personal piece on the side no matter what else I’m on.  It helps keep me sane when I can do what I want, especially if you’re on a project that you dislike in some way, and believe me, you’ll get plenty of those.

Nicolai:  What would your ideal project be?
Mary:  To be able to design everything the way I want of course 😉

Mary had some nice words to say about GrutBrushes too…

“I’m really happy I found them!  I use them a lot in my illustrations, and I love the very cool effects I can get from them!”

Thanks Mary!
You can learn much more about Mary Manning and see more of her work here on her website

Then come back and visit the GrutBrushes Gallery to be inspired by what these amazing artists are doing with GrutBrushes.