Act 13

March 31, 2008

Resistance is Fertile—Photoshop Brushes
I am a big user of Photoshop. While I find it has its own language that is not very intuitive to beginner users (as compared to, say, ms word) I find that once you learn that language the program makes a unique kind of sense, and it is so amazingly packed full of features that an experienced amateur such as myself can continually find new ways to use it. Another thing I like about it is the many parallels the program has to traditional paper and textile crafts—for example the layering, which seems to be the most confusing part of Photoshop for beginners, makes a lot of sense when you think of it in terms of layering physical craft objects (transparent papers, paint, stamps, fabric) on top of each other. One use of these layers that has become particularly popular with user icon makers is adding layers marked with the Photoshop brush tool. I am particularly interested in this usage, because although I suspect the brush tool started out as a tool for creating lines with the users desired thickness and textural properties, it seems to have evolved into use as a stamp like feature. Icon makers in particular will commonly use the brush tool like a stencil or stamp for adding detail and decoration to an image, rather than using it as a *brush* to spread pixels around with. Another exciting aspect of this brush/stamp phenomenon is that brushes are easy to share, and people do share them—check out the brush_fantastic community on live journal as an example of this, and there are many more that can be found by doing a search for brushes on LJ.

This week I have designed a set of brushes to share. I wanted to do something organic and representative of growth and emergence—I drew inspiration from this photo I found on flickr by doing a search for images tagged with ‘organic’ and ‘fertile’


image by hfabulous

I absolutely adore the tag line in the graffiti–Resistance is Fertile. I love the idea that often our actions towards a greater good, which can so often feel futile (as the saying goes), really can sprout something wonderful if we just keep at it.

With this in mind as inspiration I have put together a set of seven brushes, which can be used together in any combination, or separately as desired.

The seven brushes:
brush 1.jpg

brush 2.jpg

brush 3.jpg

brush 4.jpg

brush 5.jpg

brush 6.jpg

brush 7.jpg

The fronds and the kangaroo paw images are adapted from an earlier work I did for the Borderlands issue 10 cover, and the chrysanthemum is adapted from a piece of fabric I have had for some years now–I love its sprawling tentical like qualities.

Some sample I cons I made using a combination of the brushes over a single base image:

resistance1.jpg

resistance2.jpg

secret message.jpg

yoghurty yum.jpg

The .abr brush set file can be downloaded from here. To use it download the file to your computer, then, in photoshop open the brushes pallet from the ‘window’ menu, and choose ‘load brushes’ from the menu in the pallet. Choose the file from the location you saved it, then you can use the individual brushes by selecting the ‘brush tool’ and scrolling to the bottom of the ‘brush preset picker’.

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3 Responses to “Act 13”

  1. Rosalie Says:

    This project is so wonderful. Your last two posts took my breath away. Thank you. I look forward to Act 14.

  2. hfabulous Says:

    Hey, I’m glad that photo inspired you to do something so cool – the brushes you made are fun to play with are fun to play with.

  3. hfabulous Says:

    (looks like I cyber-stuttered! Sorry!)


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