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Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2008, 05:53 PM
DannyRaphael's Avatar
DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Just in case you are unable to find a suitable brush among the 268 brush files that come with Impressionist, you can always create your own or install brush files created by others.

To get started, let's install a custom brush I created and experiment a bit with it. (We'll tackle creating custom brushes in a future addition to this thread.)

Things to know:

FILE FORMAT
* Brush files can be in TIFF (.tif), bitmap (.bmp), or Targa (.tga) format.
* For consistency I save my custom brushes as .tif files so they are the same format as the factory installed files.

LOCATION
* Brush files must reside inside this folder: \Impressionist Accessories\Brushes

Note: It's OK to have subfolders inside \Brushes, in fact I encourage you to consider creating one or more subfolders for custom brush files. This practice makes it much easier to find find custom brush files.

To organize my collection of custom brush files I created these subfolders inside my

\Impressionist Accessories\Brushes:
. . \#djr - for custom brush files I have created
. . \CH - for ones created by Cheryl H
. . \FB - for ones created by Fluffbutt
. . \Other - for all the rest

FILE NAMES
* I have not run into any file name restrictions so far.
* If you want to create a "Brush Family," open Impressionist's HELP function and read the Brush Family topic.

===================

EXERCISE 1 - Preparation

1. Create a subfolder (name: \Custom brushes - or whatever you decide to call it) inside your \Impressionist Accessories\Brushes

2. Download file DJRwLoveHV2.zip (below).

3. Unzip DJRwLoveHV2.zip and drag brush file DJRwLoveHV2.tif into \Custom brushes

4. Open your image editing program

5. Open a test image on which to experiment

6. Duplicate the Background layer

7. Invoke the Impressionist plugin

8. Click the Style button and select Natural > Wild Cave Painting

9. Click the Apply button jut to see the results of this style


EXERCISE 2 – Apply a custom brush

1. Duplicate the Background again

2. Drag the duplicate layer to the top of the layer stack

3. Invoke Impressionist (Natural > Wild Cave Painting is already selected)

4. If button Fewer Controls is visible at the bottom of the dialog, go to the next step. Otherwise click button More Controls.

5. From the General dropdown menu (top-left), choose Brush.

6. In the Brush panel notice that brush glyf1b.tifis the brush in effect at the moment.

7. Click the Custom button.

8. In the Load Brush dialog navigate to where you saved DJRwLoveHV2.tif.

9. Click on file name DJRwLoveHV2.tif to select it and then the Open button. What you have done here is tell Impressionist to use brush file DJRwLoveHV2.tif instead of glyf1b.tif.

10. Click the Apply button.

Congratulations. You have just installed and applied a custom brush!

===================

QUESTIONS? Please ask. Comments, suggestions welcome.

Until next time:
· Read HELP topics “Basic Controls” and “Advanced Controls”
· Experiment with various settings
Attached Files
File Type: zip DJRwLoveHV2.zip (15.3 KB, 143 views)
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2008, 08:18 PM
Janet Petty's Avatar
Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Thank you for the clear, concise, and very helpful instructions. I don't think I've ever seen the instructions printed elsewhere. This is truly a wonderful resource.

Way to go Danny!!!

Janet
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2008, 01:16 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Thanks for the kind words, Janet.

=========================

OK... moving on.

Let's say at this point you REALLY like your modified style and want to save it for future use to avoid going through the Custom button / Load Brush procedure each time.

EXERCISE 4 – Saving a modified style

See attachment screen shot below.

1. Click the SAVE button (top right of the Impressionist dialog)

2. Category name: This is the name that will appear in the Style menu. Your call here. Make it something meaningful to you.

Suggestion: Precede the Category name with a special character like #, @, $ or !. Doing so results in your categories listed before the default categories in the Style menu.

3. Variant name: Your call here. Make it something meaningful to you.

4. File name: This is the name that Impressionist assigns to the .set file created in folder \User Settings.

Suggestion: Make File name the same as Category name. Doing so makes custom style management easier in the future as your custom style collection grows and you define additional new categories.


EXERCISE 5 – Experimenting

The reason I uploaded the "Love" brush and had you use the Natural > Wild Cave Painting style is because this combination affords many opportunities to experiment. The directions that follow apply to ANY brush file (installed with Impressionist or custom) and ANY style (installed with Impressionist or custom).

1. Open a test image.

2. Invoke Impressionist and choose your newly saved LOVE style.

3. If button Fewer Controls is visible at the bottom of the dialog, go to the next step. Otherwise click button More Controls.

4. From the Advanced Settings dropdown menu (top left, where General is the default choice), choose Placement.

5. Notice Place the strokes: "On Grid" which tells Impressionist to place the strokes on a regularly-spaced square grid pattern throughout the image. The grid spacing can be set with Grid Size.

6. Change the Grid Size value to 5 (from 3.125).

7. Click the >> button (at the bottom) 2 times (or choose Orientation from the dropdown menu) to navigate to the Orientation panel.

8. Change the setting value of Number of Angles to 1 and Start Angle to 0.

9. Click APPLY.

10. Invoke Impressionist.

11. Change the setting value of Start Angle to 45.

12. Click APPLY.

13. Invoke Impressionist.

14. Click Fewer Controls.

15. Click on the tan Background color swatch.

16. In the Color dialog click on one of “bright colors” among the Basic Colors (yellow or lime green is a good choice) and then click OK to close the dialog.

17. Click APPLY. Notice the background color change.



ON YOUR OWN

· Experiment with the settings in the Orientation and Placement panels, especially Grid Size, Jitter, Number of Angles and Start Angle.

· See if you can figure out the difference between Place the strokes “On Grid” and “Randomly”.



BONUS: Another custom brush to play with.

· See if you can install it in the appropriate folder.
· Try it with Geometric > Poker Chips
· Save the modified Poker Chips style in your custom category
Attached Images
File Type: jpg save style.jpg (99.2 KB, 64 views)
Attached Files
File Type: zip DJRdiamond1.zip (10.0 KB, 62 views)
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  #4  
Old 10-06-2008, 01:43 PM
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palms palms is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Danny thank you for the great Tutorials, my one complaint is why hasnt it been done sooner ?
some of it i had learnt by trial and error but have a better understanding now, cant wait for the next installement

Palms
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2008, 12:37 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by palms1 View Post
Danny thank you for the great Tutorials, my one complaint is why hasnt it been done sooner ?
It's been on my 'to do' list for a couple years. I struggled with how to approach the topic... so many options and variations, you know. How should I explain them? How do I connect the dots?



I decided the other day to "Do something, even if it's wrong!" So, here we go -- a little at a time.

Quote:
some of it i had learnt by trial and error but have a better understanding now, cant wait for the next installement

"Learning" Impressionist has always been a T&E exercise. I've found only one book (Image Composer for Dummies) with any mention of it. In it there is a single chapter (about 15 pages) mostly on "what", very little on "how." There is very little technical content on the Internet.

The BEST learning resource IMO is the built-in HELP.

--------------------

Moving on...

EXERCISE 6 – MORE Experimenting

1. Open a test image.

2. Invoke Impressionist.

3. If you haven't yet, open style Geometric > Poker Chips, assign the DJRdiamond1.tif custom brush (see above) and save this custom style as DIAMOND.

4. Click Apply to see the result.

5. Ctrl + Z to Undo.

6. Invoke Impressionist.

If button Fewer Controls is visible at the bottom of the dialog, go to the next step. Otherwise click button More Controls.

7. In the General panel:
* Change Background setting to: Grayscale image
* Change Brush size setting to: 400

8. Click Apply. Result: Larger diamond shapes; greyscale background.

9. Ctrl + Z to Undo.

10. Invoke Impressionist.

If button Fewer Controls is visible at the bottom of the dialog, go to the next step. Otherwise click button More Controls.

11. Navigate to the Placement panel.
* Change the Grid Size to 25

12. Click Apply. Result: Diamond shapes are more spread out, placed on a larger grid.

13. Ctrl + Z to Undo.

14. Invoke Impressionist.

- - - - -

NOTICE: At the top of the panel next to the STYLE button it says something like:

@My custom settings: Diamond (modified)

(or whatever Category and Style names you assigned)

"(modified)" indicates setting changes were made.

- - - - -

15. Invoke your equivalent of @My custom settings > Diamond

NOTICE: At the top of the panel next to the STYLE button only the Category and Style names are displayed.

The absence of "(modified)" indicates no settings have been changed.

- - - - -

If button Fewer Controls is visible at the bottom of the dialog, go to the next step. Otherwise click button More Controls.

16. Navigate to the Placement panel.
* Change the Place the Strokes value to Randomly (from On Grid)

17. Navigate to the General panel.
* Change the Brush size value to 400
* Change the Coverage value to 25

18. Click Apply. Result: Diamond shapes are placed “randomly,” not lined up on a grid.”

ON YOUR OWN:
* Open various Impressionist styles and try assigning different brushes to them. Natural > Tied Grass Mosaic with brush letr1b.tif is very interesting.
* Experiment withsettings such as Brush Size, Coverage and Pressure.
* Be sure to understand the difference between Placement options On grid and Randomly.
* Open Impressionist's \Brush folder in Windows Explorer and view the files as Thumbnails.
* Invoke Pencil Sketch > Detailed Monochrome, replace its brush with the attached custom brush file and experiment.
Attached Files
File Type: zip DJRpnclA.zip (18.1 KB, 72 views)
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2008, 04:06 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Before moving on, here are answers to some questions I have received so far by e-mail:

Q: “I appreciate the many little exercises you have included to illustrate Impressionist features and functions, but it’s a little bit of a pain in the (back side) to keep invoking Impressionist over and over from the Filter menu.”

A: Good point. Here’s what I do: I press F12, the function key to which I assigned a Photoshop action that invokes Impressionist. Press F12. Up comes Impressionist.

Here’s a quickie on how to do that:
· Open any image
· From the Actions Palette start recording a new action
· Invoke Impressionist and apply any style
· STOP recording
· Click on the action name
· From the Actions Palette menu choose Action Options
· In the Action Options dialog, assign an available keyboard shortcut. From then on, Impressionist will open when the keyboard shortcut is pressed.

If you're not into Action recording, e-mail me (click my name above) and I'll send you mine.

Q: The results of using custom brushes like DJRdiamonds1.tif areinteresting, but not really my thing. When are you going to get into more “painterly brushes”?

A: Soon. Be patient. I’ll get there.

Q: The title of this thread is, “Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes,” but so far there’s no mention how to "build a custom brush."

A: Good point. I’ll do that now.

- - - - -

GUIDELINES FOR CREATING A CUSTOM BRUSH

From HELP: “For best results, the brush shape should be defined by white or bright pixels and the background by black or dark pixels.”

Just about anything goes. Think “white on black.” Items can be scanned or photographed. I have had some success using Google Images for source material.

“Rough edged or textured” shapes yield a more painterly look. It’s better for the shape to have some areas of transparency, too.

If you're using Photoshop or Elements, the Threshold command is helpful in rendering a black and white image.

What length and width should a custom brush be? There is no specific requirement. See the screenshots for representative sizes of Impressionist’s largest, smallest and brushes “about in the middle.” Rule of thumb: 85 pxl x 175 pxl

High resolution files (300 ppi) ensure favorable outcomes when applied to high resolution images.

Remember to flatten the file and save it in .tif format here:

\Impressionist Accessories\Brushes or a subfolder within this folder.

Advanced warning: You will definitely need to experiment with creating custom brushes.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg screen grab brushes - std.jpg (166.9 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg screen grab brushes - custom ch.jpg (115.0 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Brush dimensions.jpg (153.9 KB, 44 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 02-27-2010 at 06:33 PM. Reason: delete old (broken) lnk
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2008, 05:23 PM
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Alcar Alcar is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Danny, excellent thread and some great information. How about asking for custom Impressionist Styles? I might contribute one of mine. It's been awhile since there was a lot of contributions.
Alan
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:52 PM
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Fluffbutt Fluffbutt is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

I sometimes do a goolge image search for 'paintbrush' or 'brushstroke', then in IrfanView I greyscale it, invert it, clean it up (contrast, mainly), then resize to about 180 x ?? (whatever), then save as mybrsh#, tif.

Then go have fun - some things work REALLY nicely - I find that the more wierd the brush (wavey, brushy types), the better the final image is.

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 10-14-2008 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Moved .zip to reply 10
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2008, 12:15 AM
DannyRaphael's Avatar
DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluffbutt View Post
I sometimes do a goolge image search for 'paintbrush' or 'brushstroke', then in IrfanView I greyscale it, invert it, clean it up (contrast, mainly), then resize to about 180 x ?? (whatever), then save as mybrsh#, tif.

Then go have fun - some things work REALLY nicely - I find that the more wierd the brush (wavey, brushy types), the better the final image is.
Hi Fluff... Long time, no meow. Nice to see you check in.

Good advice on "characteristics" and using Google Image to search for custom brush candidates. I've had some luck with that myself. Here's a good one:

http://andidas.deviantart.net/wallpaper/1280/brushstroke1280byandidas.jpg


- - - - -

As one of the pioneers of custom Impressionist styles and brushes, may I ask a favor?: If you'd zip a few of your custom brushes and upload 'em, many (myself included) would sure appreciate it.

Keep in touch. I'll always have fresh food and a bowl of milk for you.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2008, 08:35 AM
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Fluffbutt Fluffbutt is offline
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Re: Impressionist plugin: Custom brushes

<Fluffbutt PUUURRRRRRSSSS around Danny's ankles>

Ahh yup, already got and done that one (LOL) - it makes a great thick (3D) oil brush!

Sure thing on the custom brushes - i'll go through them and see what I've 'customed'.

<I just re-read what I posted... what on earth is a 'goolge' search?? Looking for goolge's?> LOL!

Try the ones in MyBrsh 2.zip; i just found them on DevArt, and converted them

You need to try various settings - the flat spiky thing is great for chalk or charcoal.
Attached Files
File Type: zip MyBrsh 1.zip (21.0 KB, 81 views)
File Type: zip MyBrsh 2.zip (97.7 KB, 77 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 10-14-2008 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Consolidated files into a single post
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