In this tutorial you will be shown how to create blood, paint or dirt brushes for your chosen art program by using a drinking straw, syringe, measuring jug and a sieve. Most of these items you may have around your house or they can be purchased from a store fairly cheaply. It’s unlikely that you would want to use them for non art related projects again, depending on the ingredients used. Photoshop was also used in this example to give you a visual idea on how to add these to your art program.
This tutorial was a joint effort, a collaboration between Something2Play Game Studio (Developer of Survival Strike) and a talented artist called Dominic Graul. Something2Play hired Dominic to produce some art brushes that they could use to create their own IP decals in a game and art program, they also documented the process for IGD so that others could benefit from this learning experience.
The tutorial covers how the brushes were created from artwork materials, testing and the results. Using some paint, paper, and a few household items the following results were achieved. We were very impressed with the outcome! Trying it? Safety first! Wear gloves and protective glasses and it is of utmost importance to use non toxic paint (checking the label to make sure) to prevent any potential accidents.
You can always use alternative food based ingredients that may be less messy, such as non diluted fruit juice, providing you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. It may well be easier on the cleaning up process afterwards without destroying the household items with ink!
Roll or sheets of paper. Paint or Ink – black acrylic non-toxic paint was used in the tutorial to provide the best contrast between the paper and paint. Newspaper or something else to protect your workspace. Measuring jug/ice cream tub to hold the paint. Water to dilute the paint if its too thick, and tools to distribute the paint (straws, brushes, syringe and a sieve)
2. Work Area.
Due to using a roll of paper I also had to pin down the paper to stop it from curling, using sheets of paper might be easier, but you would then need to stick them together. It would be wise to lay down some newspaper or something similar first as it could get messy!
3. Paint Tube Test & Result #1. As I began experimenting with how to produce the best blood like effects I dived straight in to see what would happen by dripping the paint straight out of the tube. I felt it was far too thick, and didn’t spread out as much as I would have liked.
4. Measuring Jug Effect Result.
I then watered down the paint in a measuring jug to make it slightly runnier. I then quite literally poured it from about two feet away onto the paper.
5. Result Close-Up.
As you can see the watered down paint helps to add to the splatter effect – a much better result and the first effect completed.
6. Straw effect.
My next effect idea was to use a straw. I used the straw to suck up a measure of paint. I then placed my thumb over the straw until I had it in the correct position above the paper. Removing my thumb released the paint onto the paper.
Be extremely careful to stop sucking the straw before the paint reaches your mouth. To be safe, you could use the syringe at one end by securing and sealing it with tape as a vacuum; or as mentioned at the start use a safe food alternative that you are not allergic to, instead of ink.
7. Straw Effect Result.
The effect it produced was individual splatters with crisp edges to each of them.
8. Syringe Effect.
I used a standard syringe that you can purchase from an art shop or chemist to see what effects I could achieve from it.
9. Syringe Effect Result.
The result was a very directional spray when fired out at about an angle of 15 degrees from the page.
10. Syringe Squibs Effect Result.
Using the syringe to slowly squeeze blobs of paint out from about 2-3 feet directly above the paper, produced the following results.
11. Sieve Effect.
I placed an amount of paint (not diluted with water) within one area of a sieve. I then applied a little force at again a 15 degree angle, from approximately two feet away from the paper and shook the paint onto the paper.
12. Sieve Effect Result #1.
The result from using a sieve produced a spray effect with blotches of paint at the ends where the applied force stops.
13. Sieve Effect Result #2.
Using the same technique but adding a little water to the paint and more force behind it, giving a greater splatter on the paper.
14. Sieve Effect Result #3.
I also tried another effect technique using the sieve. On a new canvas I used a swaying motion to produce a spread effect, as a test.
15. Sieve Effect Result #4.
Using the same technique as in #14 I then added another layer of paint using the same technique as my initial sieve test in #12.
Now the hard part of the artwork has been completed and all we have to do now is turn our splatters into Photoshop brushes. Here’s how:
The most important thing to remember when creating brushes is that the maximum brush size is 2500px. If you’re taking pictures as I have at 10 megapixels, you will need to scale them down before you start working on them.
16. Open your image.
Start by opening your chosen splatter image into Photoshop. I then duplicate the image and hide the original so that I always have a backup to fall back on.
First desaturate, to remove any unwanted colour. Image->adjustments->desaturate. Then tweak the levels of the image to sharpen the black and white contrast between the paper and the paint. Image -> adjustments -> levels settings.
I have used: shadow input levels 32, midtone input levels 1.26, highlights input level 180.
I then added +0.68 to the exposure level in order to clean up any faint shadow around the edges of the image. Image -> adjustments -> exposure.
This example shows the effect from the last two stages.
I then removed some of the paint splatters using the eraser tool, that intersected with the edges of the image (shown in red). When applying the brush later on, this little edit prevents the brush from having cut off shapes or sharp edges.
21. Turning the images into brushes.
Make sure you have your active layer selected in the layers channel. Then select the whole image either by dragging the marque tool around the confines of your work area or, by clicking Select -> ALL (CTRL+A). Then, navigate to Edit -> Define Brush Preset – then give your selection a name.
If you are doing a series of brushes – numerical tags would be beneficial, i.e. bloodsplatter_01. To test your new brush, create a new layer, Layer -> New -> Layer or (Shift + Ctrl + N) select the Brush tool (B) right click anywhere on your workspace and a brush selection window will open.
22. Viewing your newly created brush.
Scroll down to the bottom and you should see your newly created brush, select it, then apply it to your new layer.
If you find that it’s patchy or lighter in some places, click a few times to apply the brush on top of itself to build up the depth.
24. Saving the Set.
Once you have made as many brushes as you like, it’s time to save the brush set outside of photoshop so it can be used. To do this right click again, with the brush tool enabled (shortcut ‘B’) to see the list of brushes you’ve made. Click the expand window arrow (red circled button). Click Preset Manager. This will open up a new box with the current list of brushes available in your set. Select the ones you’ve just made (shift+click) then click save set, give it a name and a destination and you’re done!
Thanks go to Dominic Graul and Something2Play for creating and allowing us to use this tutorial. We hope that you will find a use for this great way of creating your own effects and brushes, if you prefer to create your own.