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Thread: Custom Brushes and Impasto Effect

  1. #1
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    Custom Brushes and Impasto Effect

    Hi, could anyone explain why the custom brushes do not interact at all with the impasto effect given off by the likes of the oil brushes? They don't seem to have any depth to them at all, and both the custom blenders and custom brushes in general appear to blend the colour data but not that of the impasto effect on the brush strokes of the non-custom brushes.

    Having the gap between the two really makes it a bit of a use one or the other situation. Is there some kind of workaround? Will there be a crossover between the two in the future?

    Cheers


  2. #2
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    The short version is they're literally completely different types of brush, so unfortunately, they don't really interact beyond the colour data.

    The longer version is that the natural media tools are live simulations - ArtRage calculates what should happen at every step based on lots of input factors like canvas texture, paint depth and stroke direction. There isn't a single dab and each stroke is unique. So instead of having one repeated dab, you have an actual stroke.

    The custom brush tool is not a simulation, it's just a straightforward series of dab and stroke effects (which you can obviously customize to get a wide range of effects). So there is no actual texture data, and it can't interact with the depth of the other paints. It can show canvas texture, but that's just adding an extra grain effect, it's still not proper natural media and has no depth/pressure data. If you set the palette knife to 0% pressure, you'll see the exact same blending effects the custom brush gives you - moving colour around, but no paint.

    Almost all other art programs use brushes that are exactly like the custom brush - flat pixel brushes with a range of dab shapes and patterns that you can tweak, or come premade. This is why the custom brush tool is a single tool, not a whole new range of tools, and it's why it's never shown up in ArtRage before; we added it simply to give people a wider range of options so that they could create brushes the way they do in other programs.

    (Also there are some tools like the Airbrush and Ink Pen that are dab based, and there are some extra ArtRage specific properties and effects available, but the basic divide is dab based flat pixel or natural media simulation).

    If you're trying to hide/replace paint texture, you can use the Bump Blend Modes in the layers (set the Custom Brush layer to 'replace'), but you can't add new texture with the custom brush.
    Ambient Design Tech Support & Community Manager

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  3. #3
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    Cheers for the heads up. I figured it would be built completely differently from the simulation brushes, and was looking for a way to combine them. I've just tested the following workflow and it works rather well as a bridge between the two...

    Export the image showing the layers you want as a png
    Re-import the image as a layer
    Put this layer above the original simulated layers
    Set bump blend mode to replace
    Use the eraser tool to erase any areas you wish to keep the original underlying impasto strokes
    Use whatever blenders you wish to blend the custom strokes with the originals

    Sure it isn't perfect, but it is close enough to work well and is fast enough to fit into a pipeline.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelebum View Post
    Cheers for the heads up. I figured it would be built completely differently from the simulation brushes, and was looking for a way to combine them. I've just tested the following workflow and it works rather well as a bridge between the two...

    Export the image showing the layers you want as a png
    Re-import the image as a layer
    Put this layer above the original simulated layers
    Set bump blend mode to replace
    Use the eraser tool to erase any areas you wish to keep the original underlying impasto strokes
    Use whatever blenders you wish to blend the custom strokes with the originals

    Sure it isn't perfect, but it is close enough to work well and is fast enough to fit into a pipeline.

    Thanks again.
    If you don't mind could I ask what is it you are trying to achieve that you can't achieve on a single layer with the normal tools (oil brushes, palette knife, eraser)?

  5. #5
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    Sure; I'm looking to blend between the brushes that simulate depth (all the original ones) and the ones that don't (custom brushes), as the blending leaves the bump but blends the colour.

  6. #6
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    Importing the layer as a tracing image might work as well in some cases; set 'sample tracing image' to 100% in the brush designer and the custom brush will automatically pick colours that you can blend back into the empty areas.

    The sticker spray might be something you can use as well; you can't directly blend into paint (so most of the time it won't be what you need), but it does have actual paint depth and you could recreate a lot of the custom brushes in it.
    Ambient Design Tech Support & Community Manager

    This is not my signature.

    Go forth and read the tutorials. Also, check out the featured artists!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelebum View Post
    Sure; I'm looking to blend between the brushes that simulate depth (all the original ones) and the ones that don't (custom brushes), as the blending leaves the bump but blends the colour.
    Original ones blend color though... why use custom brushes for blending color? Are you trying to achieve a particular blending effect?

  8. #8
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    What I mean is if I've been using both the original brushes, and then also the custom ones on the same image, and I want to blend between them. That kinda thing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelebum View Post
    What I mean is if I've been using both the original brushes, and then also the custom ones on the same image, and I want to blend between them. That kinda thing.
    Here are a few things you can do.


    First assume you have a layer A with impasto paint and plain color on it.

    You can create a layer with just color:

    1. Add a layer B above layer A
    2. Fill the entire layer B with white using the fill tool. Set color blending to Multiply. Since the layer is white the colors will show through unaltered. Set Bump blending for B to "Replace".
    3. Merge B and A. There should be no impasto in the layer but all the color should be there.

    You can make a combined color only and impasto layer into a "faux" impasto work by making a color only version on top of a "faux" impasto layer:

    1. While blending (perhaps with the custom brushes) in a layer (perhaps having oil impasto and just plain color) remember generally the size and direction of strokes you use for all strokes which lack impasto.
    2. Duplicate that layer (to save a copy)
    3. Convert the top version of that into a layer with just color (using the above procedure)
    4. After creating the layer with just color ensure bump blending for that layer is Add or Maximum. The impasto of the original (underneath the one with only color) should appear through the top one.
    5. Using oil brushes or the palette knife, make the strokes and marks in the lower layer which mimic the coloring or blending strokes you made with the custom brush. These will show through the top layer.

    6. If you want to, you can merge layers and you will have a layer full of real paint with the impasto designs you created.
    Last edited by DarkOwnt; 03-31-2017 at 02:19 AM. Reason: Clarification, removed stray sentence at the end

  10. #10
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    Cheers DarkOwnt - I shall give that a try today

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