Inside Photoshop


Understanding the airbrush process will help you paint better in Photoshop

Inside Photoshop

by Jim Whitcomb

Because the Brush tool stroke, used with the Airbrush option, looks and reacts exactly like an airbrush, let’s take a moment to study how an airbrush works and how the spray stroke behaves. An airbrush, as shown in Figure A, is essentially a tube connected by a hose to a source of compressed air. Located either on the bottom, or in this case, the top of the tube is a small attachment that connects to a container holding a color medium such as a paint or dye. When you press the control button, the air travels through the tube, creating a vacuum. The vacuum picks up the color and, in turn, sprays it out the nozzle.

Article figure image
A

You can set the spray stroke to anything from a fine mist to a course splatter; and you can adjust the rate to anything from a slow trickle to a full wash, resulting in a wide range of spray strokes. As the color spray leaves the nozzle, it spreads out in a conical shape. The majority of the color is concentrated in the middle and begins to thin as it reaches the outer part of the cone.[…]

 

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